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New Classic Family Dinners Hardcover – September 28, 2009
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Product Description A sumptuous collection of the best "Family Dinner Night" recipes from Mark Peel's award-winning Los Angeles restaurant, Campanile
For more than ten years, acclaimed chef Mark Peel has used Campanile's Monday night dinner menus to present his own special takes on popular comfort food dishes like eggplant parmesan and beef goulash. In New Classic Family Dinners, he shares recipes for more than 200 of his best-ever versions of family favorites such as Macaroni and Cheese with Wild Mushrooms, Steak with Anchovy Butter, and Monkfish Osso Bucco.
Peel's explanations and excellent guidance make it easy to follow the recipes, both for those relatively new in the kitchen as well as for more experienced cooks. Culled from more than ten years of Campanile's Monday night menus, the book features
- Upscale twists on popular, traditional dishes-honed to perfection by one of the nation's best-loved chefs
- More than 200 recipes, with clear instructions and step-by-step photos
- Options for every part of the menu, from starters to entrees and desserts
- Easy-to-make dishes (such as Cornmeal Dusted Pan-fried Trout) and more complicated recipes (such as Lasagna with Bolognese Sauce or Lobster Pie)
Once you discover these extraordinary versions of ordinary dishes and learn how easy it is to adapt them for a table for two or a crowd of ten, you'll be inspired to make every night a special family-and friends-dinner night.
Recipe Excerpts from New Classic Family Dinners
Steak with Anchovy Butter
Chocolate Pudding with Whipped Cream
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this sophisticated yet homecentric cookbook, Peel, the longtime chef/owner of Los Angeles's Campanile restaurant has assembled favorite dishes from his famed Monday night Family Dinners. In signature style, Peel, writing with Shulman (Mediterranean Harvest), elevates the common vernacular of comfort food —veal scaloppine, grasshopper pie—to refinement with select ingredients like smoked mozzarella and homemade vanilla ice cream, respectively, plus a bit of extra-mile technique (running a pureed potato leek soup through a sieve or toasting and grinding spices for a shrimp boil. If a reader needs an excuse to revive clams casino in the home kitchen, he's given ample justification with a simple, no-fail recipe, but if there is a hankering, say, for a more seasonal, green market dish like fresh shell-bean ragout, Peel's got it covered, too. Peel offers tips on menu planning, choosing produce and environmentally friendly seafood choices. The skill level required varies—making Peel's labor-intensive lobster potpie will demand more experience than his tuna confit. In most cases the ingenuity of process trumps conceptual creativity, and readers will find comfort in the familiarity of the dishes, which will make any home table proud. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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The surprising part was how much time was spent on the foreward. Rather than just a cookbook, with an index of recipes, Mark talks you through how to begin sparking up family dinners. I received the book Sept. 24, and have used it nightly since.
It is more fun to cook, when you have the reasons for doing it the way you should, right there. Complete with explanations on how to avoid lifeless green beans, or how to fry chicken just right. It's all in the know how...takes your family meals from plain to top level, just by knowing the secrets here and there.
This cookbook is a lot of fun, and is just like going through a lesson with a friend. There is a lot of personality in this book, so it is just not another dry cookbook, with no one encouraging you to try something new.
I am having fun with this cookbook, and my family of 5 looks forward to the change in the kitchen atmosphere...the boys lay out the ingredients, and my youngest reads the directions. We do it together, and they have learned something from each recipe. Now we know why our fried chicken just wasn't crispy enough before! We followed the recipe in Mark's book, and it was out of this world.
So when you explain to me why you are using a rough chop of parsley, rather than a "fine" chop, I get that. I learn from that. You make sense. And I appreciate that you share the details that will make me a better cook.
I read a lot of recipes. These are beautiful and thorough; and they represent food I really want to eat!
I did consider returning the book, because I don't see many of these recipes that I can actually use as they are. They take at least an hour, and some literally take days to make. I usually have thirty minutes before the house explodes around me.
I did decide to keep the book as a reference, rather than a direct source for my dinner. I tried a quick version of the cream corn and it worked. I think I can take the 3-day Bolognese and make it in an amount of time that will actually get food to my family.
But as for following the recipes as they are, I suppose if you are already a highly experienced home cook it might work; and if you have childcare for your cooking time (or children who can safely be in the kitchen for extended periods - like HOURS), then it might even be fun.
But I was disappointed. I give it three stars because I do understand that it is a well-written book, and the photos are lovely; and the professional chef author genuinely tried to experience life in a home kitchen. But I'm guessing he didn't cook with very young children and multiple pets to attend to at the same time.
Each recipe has produced a divine dish. I'm not going to say it was effortless, but the effort was enjoyable and well-spent, as well as educational. I made my first homemade mayonnaise! Truly, it was easy and delicious. The fried chicken was the best my 5 dining companions and I have ever eaten. I love the way Chef Mark Peel and Martha Rose Schulman have divulged restaurant secrets that are easy to replicate in a home kitchen. My next attempt will be the Beef Goulash meal suggested in the back, which includes Beet Borscht, homemade Spaetzle with Wilted Spinach, and Chocolate Pudding for dessert. Oh, YUM. It's sure to be outstanding.
Yes, some of the dishes take time, but a little forethought, a helping hand or two in the kitchen, and a smidge of extra care help tremendously. Besides, many are quite easy -- the seasoned breadcrumb-encrusted halibut was picture-perfect, uber tasty, and super fast. I have a feeling I'll make every recipe out of this book; they're all so enticing [and the photos are mouthwatering!].