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The Best American Recipes 2002-2003 (Best American) Hardcover – October 15, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618191372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618191376
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Since 1999, the Best American Recipe series has offered top yearly formulas from books, magazines, the Internet, and even product labels. The Best American Recipes 2002-2003, edited by series founder Fran McCullough with Molly Stevens, offers 150 doable recipes that range from starters to desserts and drinks. The selection embraces both the dressy and the down-home, ranging from, say, Porcini Mushroom and Red Onion Tart to Shrimp with Garlic and Toasted Bread Crumbs. Dessert stopovers include Butter Toffee Crunch Shortbread and Valentino's not-to-be missed Chocolate Truffle Cake.

Are these the year's best recipes? It doesn't really matter, as McCullough has cast her net wide and drawn in a diversely appetizing selection. With a section on the year in food (sage, for example, is dubbed the herb cooks wanted "more than a little of lately"); headnotes that put the recipes in context ("New riffs on guacamole seems to spring up every year," say the authors in respect to Guacamole with Lemon and Roasted Corn); and Cook's Notes that make the recipes even more useful ("you can extend the marinating ... it will only add to the flavor," advise the authors of Pork Stew with Leeks, Orange, and Mint), the book is a something-for-everyone addition to a welcome tradition. Readers will also enjoy the foreword from Kitchen Confidential author Anthony Bourdain, which ends with a characteristic injunction to "cook free or die." --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

The latest volume in this annual series, with a foreword from enfant terrible culinaire Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential; A Cook's Tour) that concludes "Cook free or die," strives to be of-the-moment, but sometimes feels generic. The recipes collected from books, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet are perfectly serviceable and occasionally truly innovative (Grape Salsa from the San Francisco Chronicle). Each recipe appears with a source, a cook and a header from the editors, as well as helpful cook's notes derived from the testing of approximately 700 recipes during the process of compiling the book. For example, a recipe for Laksa (Malaysian Noodle Soup) from a handout at Ramekins, a California cooking school, has a header that offers an aromatic description of the finished product, as well as notes on variations, a recommendation for buying laksa paste and suggestions for leftovers. Certain recipes are notable for their techniques: Chickpea Salad with Four-minute Eggs from Food & Wine includes a reliable method for soft-cooking an egg so that it coats a salad like a dressing. McCullough (Low-Carb Cookbook) and Stevens (One Potato, Two Potato) produce a list of top-10 trends, and while some observations may seem stale (the return of butter, the popularity of grilling and the national obsession with chocolate) others (bread as an ingredient rather than on its own, "eggs over everything," and cabbage) do surprise.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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My daughter gave me this book and already I have made seven of the recipes.
Beverly Balfour
I've only used a couple of recipes so far; and since they have turned out so well, I'm looking forward to trying others.
Hoc Stercus
Main dishes come with a "serve with" menu, with all the recipes included in the book.
cookbook critic

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Janklow on November 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
After 26 years of cooking turkeys, I finally cooked one that everyone including myself loved. It's the cider-brined turkey in this book which is as good as the authors say. I also made the great pumpkin and goat cheese gratin which is delicious. Now I'm sorry I didn't make thw whole meal from the book. Everyone at our Thanksgving table wanted this book for Christmas.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The polenta recipe alone is worth the price of the book. It is a no-stir recipe, and very easy.
There is also a great chili recipe with lamb and beans. It is a very eclectic collection with some unusual and delicious dishes. It is a cookbook well worth having.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Scriba on January 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having gotten this great cookbook for Christmas, I've been cooking from it almost non-stop since. I have a large collection of cookbooks and think of myself as an accomplished cook, but I have never had a bookbook like this one in which all the recipes not only work but are delicious. My only regret is that I can't ask the authors to dinner; they sound delightful.I just had a dinner party for 6 very discerning friends and made the stracotto oflamb with olives and oranges and the oven-baked polenta. For dessert we had the butttermilk panna cotta with lemon jelly. My guests were in heaven! At New Year's I made the strawberries in Champagne Jelly which was quite a hit. And if anyone is still making cookies out there, make sure to include the apricot walnut biscotti. A big thank-you to the talented authors!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Balfour on December 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My daughter gave me this book and already I have made seven of the recipes. They are just as good as the authors promise! I especially loved the Manly Meat Balls, the Tandoori-style cornish game hens, the cheddar and pepper scones and the lemon almond pound cake. This is a delicious collection!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By cookbook critic on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This review refers to "Best American Recipes 2000." I noticed that Amazon hasn't always segregated these reviews by year, so I include this information. The review for the 1999 edition is at the bottom, due to Amazon's silliness with this.

I have trusted Fran McCullough ever since she co-authored "Great Food Without Fuss," another book full of easy-but-perfect and unusual recipes. I also loved McCullough and Hamlin's "Best American Recipes 1999," so I bought this for my birthday. WOW. I have had it for 2 weeks, and I cannot stop cooking from it. Just from browsing all the books in "Best American Recipes" series so far, I get the feeling that McCullough/Hamlin is the best co-author team in the series, but I haven't had the others as long, so I'll report back when I've cooked my way through the later ones.

So far, I have made:

Stuffed French Toast with Lemon-Cheese Filling and Blueberries: impressed even the most jaded of palates
Puffy Maine Pancakes: the classic Dutch baby pancake
Fresh Fig, Gorgonzola, and Walnut Salad with Warm Port Vinaigrette: worth the price of the book for the salad dressing alone (requires reducing 1 cup of nonvintage port)
Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce: so easy, creamy, and lovely, but without any cream
Watermelon Salsa: a salad, actually. My husband and I devoured the recipe that "serves 4," and not because the recipe was skimpy!
Wine Grapes, Walnuts, and Olives: a magical transformation of basic high-quality ingredients. Great as a side dish, or on pasta.

All have perfect directions, incredible flavor, and helpful notes. Main dishes come with a "serve with" menu, with all the recipes included in the book. I love that! Who can resist a foolproof, perfect dinner party menu?
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ellen M. Beeson on December 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This recipe book is perfect as a gift for someone who does a lot of entertaining. All of the recipes are fairly simple to make and do not take a lot of time. Each recipe also comes with a great introduction.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scriba on January 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A friend faxed me the recipe for"The Amazing Five Hour Duck" early in November and, as cynical as I am about anything that sounds like hype, this is truly the best duck that I--or anyone I have served it to--has ever had. Incredibly moist meat and that crisp, crackling skin that is almost impossible to acheive. I finally bought a copy of the book for myself a couple of weeks ago and I strongly recommend the Black Bean Burgers and the Mussels in India pale ale. Like the wine suggestions, too...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Best cookbook I've ever purchased. My family still talks about my Christmas turkey that I marinated in apple cider vinegar and apple juice. All 13 dinner guests ranked it their favorite Christmas dinner. Many of the recipes are now considered "keepers" by my husband, imagine a lamb dish with oranges and anchovies--it's fabulous. I even travel to my daughter's home with this book.
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