Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
My new favorite book
on August 8, 2009
First, I will echo the positive reviews on this site. The recipes in this book are truly fast and dependable. Everything has been good, and some have been amazing. Berley avoids the pitfalls of vegetarian cookbooks, offering tasty, well seasoned food with truly fresh ingredients without reliance on pasta or bland hippie mush. A non-vegetarian would enjoy these meals.
What surprised me about this book is that the seasonal and menu organization works, and works well. I am not normally a fan of books that are organized this way. I especially find myself avoiding cookbooks that are arranged by menu, as they usually list an overwhelming number of dishes more suited to a dinner party than a weeknight dinner. In this book, both organizational schemes work. I bought this book in summer, and opened to the twelve summer menus. I started with the first three menus. Each recipe used ingredients that are local, abundant, and inexpensive this time of year. This made the shopping painless, and meant I could use produce I might naturally have on hand this time of year (sweet corn, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes). Each menu includes a dish that could stand alone and a simple complementary side dish. The side dishes tend to take about five minutes: put the ingredients in the blender until it is soup, or toss the cucumbers in a dressing. They are also easily left out if you still have leftovers from last night or you're having a smaller meal. The main dishes are quick, use fresh ingredients, and are restaurant quality.
In short, this is the first book I've ever had that could, by itself, form the basis of my weeknight cooking. The 12 summer menus can easily form two weeks of healthy weeknight meals; repeating the pattern all summer is an actual possibility. At the very least, these 12 menus can form a basic meal plan when I'm stuck for ideas. Having twelve realistic weeknight menus that match the season is enough to keep me in ideas all year.