Customer Review

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Red Curry Pumpkin Soup, October 7, 2005
This review is from: Small Bites (Hardcover)
There is a revolution going on. The formality of the dining room table is being exchanged for a more relaxed gathering around the coffee table as the new mode for entertaining. ~Jennifer Joyce

From the first page, Small Bites impresses with artistically designed culinary temptations. With minimal effort you can make soups, salads, skewers, wrapped Japanese style delicacies, sweets and even dishes of tempting vegetables.

These dishes are known as tapas, antipasti, mezze or finger food. They are perfect for a lifestyle that promotes social gatherings like book clubs or parties.

Unique selections: Fried Artichokes with Saffron Aioli, followed by an entire section on Latin Fiesta that includes classic recipes for a margarita. For the fried food recipes, you are sent to various pages of interest. Crispy Scallops can be dipped in Wasabi Mayonnaise and Ithaca Zucchini cakes are served with a dill yogurt sauce.

The soups are served in small cups or creative containers. The Red curry Pumpkin Soup is made with coconut milk, chicken stock and fresh pumpkin. Cilantro and shallots garnish the spicy garlicky soup.

The Dips chapter also contains a recipe for Mango crush and a complete menu that includes Lemongrass Beef Skewers and passion Fruit Trifle. Each chapter has a "quick" section with tips on fast foods you can make in a hurry. Roasted garlic with warm bread and Spicy peanut dip are easy to make and have just a few ingredients.

The Salads in this book look like they are straight out of a gourmet magazine. Watermelon and Feta cheese? There is a salty/sweet theme to some of the dishes.

If you love making skewers on your grill then the Citrus Swordfish Brochettes may entice you with the pomegranate dipping sauce. This chapter is filled with luxurious flavors of saffron, dried fruits, fragrant rose water, pistachios, black olives and smoked paprika. The shrimp are even dusted with Sumac. The theme is Middle Eastern Delights and each and ever page is filled with delicious satays for every taste and sauce dipping desire. Whether you are hungry for shrimp, lamb, pork or beef, there is a recipe.

By the time you get to the chapter on Meats you may be a little overwhelmed with all the ideas and rather hungry for recipes like Five-spice hoisin ribs. These are made in the oven and only take 2 hours with minimal preparation and care.

The fish chapter contains recipes for chicken breast bites. There is some mingling of ideas in each chapter and this book doesn't focus on any one food like chicken or beef. There is a good variety of every type of food you could imagine. For wrapped seafood, onward to the Wrapped, Tied and Rolled chapter which also contains ideas for rolling fruit with arugula and parmesan.

If you are thinking "parties," then look for the Wild Mushroom Crostini with Marscarpone and Sherry vinegar. Rent your favorite Bollywood movie and enjoy a spicy Indian feast complete with magenta pink tablecloths, small spice boals and scattered rose petals. The imaginative table settings add beauty to the pages filled with tons of tasty recipes. The "Rolled Zucchini Ribbons" are a stunning presentation and will catch the attention of your guests. The Artichoke Puff Pastry Bites are also easy to make because you can purchase puff pastry in sheets.

The recipes are adventurous, delicious and are made from ingredients that are easily found at your local grocery store. The Sweets chapter includes such tempting delights as chocolate cupcakes with cherry colored icing and rose petals. Is there no mercy? Chocolate Crinkle Cookies would ship well at Christmas and thinking about Figs dipped in chocolate and pistachios is making me feel a bit heady.

An entire section is dedicated to "useful" recipes - mostly sauces and dressings.

Jennifer Joyce loves to travel in search of new flavors and recipes and her book is simply stunning in beauty and overwhelming in creativity.

~The Rebecca Review
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