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Get Saucy: Make Dinner A New Way Every Day With Simple Sauces, Marinades, Dressings, Glazes, Pestos, Pasta Sauces, Salsas, And More (Non) Paperback – February 10, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Parisi, a chef and writer for Food & Wine magazine, goes far beyond garden variety ketchup- and barbecue-based sauces in this compendium of flavorful recipes. Though she includes versions of those too, the bulk of her book is taken up by more unusual vinaigrettes, pestos and dessert sauces. She takes her inspiration from all over the world, showing that the French don't have a monopoly on inspired flavor combinations. On a two-page spread, recipes for marinades from Turkey, Tuscany, Vietnam and Latin America appear, all giving simple takes on ways to spice up various meats. Most of the ingredients are readily available, with the exception of a few Middle Eastern and Asian specialty items, and the instructions are easy to follow, though they do require some cooking knowledge, particularly for main-dish recipes like Turkey with Roasted Shallot-Teriyaki Gravy. Parisi introduces each recipe with a short note about appropriate ways to serve the sauce or tips on preparation; other helpful hints pop up in boxes throughout, addressing such dilemmas as how to keep gravy warm and lump-free or how best to freeze pesto. Cooks who want to take their meals to another level without learning a whole new repertoire of full-fledged dishes will find this book to be a great resource.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A comprehensive book that is full of ideas to help cooks broaden their repertoires. -- Winston-Salem Journal
All [recipes] offer new ideas for the dinner table . . . The variety of her recipes is stunning. -- Providence Journal
Full of concise recipes and expert tips. -- New York Times
The recipes are easy to understand and execute . . . The results are well balanced and satisfying. -- San Francisco Chronicle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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I have always enjoyed making sauces and salad dressings, but I usually just threw something together and hoped it tasted like I wanted it to. This book just overwhelmed me with the possibilities.
I have only made a few of the recipes so far, but everything has turned out very well. I made the mustard bechamel to go with the roast duck my family had on New Year's Day and I got rave reviews. Since the basic bechamel recipe makes about 4 cups, and I only needed 1 cup for the mustard sauce, I used the excess to make the Spinach-Pignoli Pesto Lasagne recipe included in the book. The only modification I made to the recipe was eliminating the raisins from the pesto - no one in my family cares for them. While the lasagne blorped a bit in the oven, it tasted delicious. I'd maybe up the ricotta content for next time, but that's a minimal issue.
I'd give the book a 5-star rating, but I haven't made enough of the sauces/pestos/marinades to properly judge how easy or hard all the recipes are. I'll admit the bechamel was a bit work-intensive, but the end results were totally worth it. I am definitely looking forward to making each and every recipe in this book.
UPDATE 10Sept2010: I spent most of the summer making BBQ sauces and had similar successes. I do, however, have beef with the section which contains "hot sauces". There is a single hot sauce recipe, and while I'm sure it's delicious, it is still a single recipe. I felt a bit betrayed. *sniff. Who ever thinks that Bible will let them down?
Ms. Parisi's book would not suffer much in comparison with Peterson's work if Parisi had not gone too far in simplifying great classic recipes, possibly in the interests of making recipes easier for the amateur cook. But then, this means that you think you are getting a pedigreed dog when you are actually getting a half-breed. The best example I found of this is in the comparison of Parisi and Peterson's recipes for `beurre blanc', French for `white butter', a relatively simple, extremely useful sauce of butter flavored with shallots, wine, and vinegar. The great value of this sauce is that it is a relatively crude emulsion similar to a vinaigrette which can be whipped back into shape easily instead of going through a lot of high maintenance procedures to bring back mayonnaise or hollandaise. It is most notable in being the darling of `nouvelle cuisine' because it was much lighter than bechamel or veloute. I say all this to emphasize that cutting corners in the presentation of this sauce is a more serious shortcoming of this book than one may think.
One can argue that while Peterson's book was written for professional cooks and Parisi's book has been written `for the rest of us', I will only recommend Parisi to those who simply want a quick and easy reference book for lots of common sauces which appear day in and day out in magazines, newspaper columns, and TV cooking shows. Having all these recipes in a single place with the added value of lots of cross references telling us what sauces are good for what dishes and ingredients. If you are a foodie or simply a serious amateur cook of any stripe, get James Peterson's book instead of this one.
For example, Peterson spends four pages discussing `beurre blanc' versus Parisi's half page column. Where Parisi gives an abbreviated (incomplete) recipe, Peterson, after giving us the historical perspective on the sauce, gives the full recipe in six steps (versus three in Parisi) and detailed instructions on how to store leftover sauce, including tips on how leftovers can be used in future hollandaise or béarnaise sauces. In the twice as long procedure for preparing the sauce, Peterson adds tips on what to look for to prevent bad things from happening, adds the butter over high heat rather than low for quicker incorporation, and adds checkpoints to taste the sauce for any needed adjustments. The most important step that Parisi leaves out entirely is the suggestion to strain the sauce before using. I have used `buerre blanc' both strained and unstrained and I am certain the strained version is superior, especially when entertaining. The bits of shallot remind one far too much of a vinaigrette and add little to the taste. Parisi would have done well to add this step as an option.
Now such differences in a single recipe may seem a bit trivial for lowering the rating of a 440-page book that has genuine value and lots of high-powered blurbs on the back cover from Jacques Pepin and Bobby Flay. But I find minor annoying things on every other page. For example, I think the organization of chapters is poorly done. Why have a chapter for pasta sauces when you have separate chapters on tomato sauces and pestos?
Other annoyances are based simply on the lack of skill used in the writing. In one sidebar on how to fix a broken hollandaise, I found two or three redundant expressions within two sentences. In another recipe, I was puzzled when the instructions had me putting butter in a microwave safe dish, with no instruction to put the dish in a microwave.
I also found other recipes that are not as good as ones available in standard texts. Ms. Parisi's recipe for Puttanesca sauce takes 17 minutes of cooking time while what is essentially the same ingredients are cooked up within 10 minutes in the `Cooks illustrated' version in their `Italian Classics' book. Aside from being outrageously flavorful, Puttanesca's main claim to fame is the speed with which it can be made. So, Ms. Parisi certainly does not have `the best recipe'.
In the long run, I think Ms. Parisi did an excellent job of collecting an amazingly comprehensive selection of sauce recipes that perform exactly the function she intends. That is, it multiplies the amateur cook's ability to vary dishes far beyond what can be offered by just another book of recipes. My only reservation is that the amateur needs to apply just a little critical judgment in applying sauces to dishes, and Ms. Parisi does provide the material with which to make good choices. I suspect Ms. Parisi and especially her copy editors may have been just a bit less careful than they should have in checking out English usage and recipe pedigrees. The very best thing this book could have included would have been a reference to each and every recipe to books that give more information and alternatives to Parisi's material.
I will still recommend this book to people who just want a fast reference to sauces, dressings, stocks, and salsas. But, I would recommend Peterson's `Sauces' to the serious amateur.
The recipes are simple and easy to follow. I've made many different recipes from this book now, and the ingredient lists and instructions have been solid throughout my adventures. I have modified them to suit myself successfully as well. Like I said, this has become a "go to" book for me because pretty much most sauces I want recipes for are here, in one book, and the recipes are accurate and modifiable.
If you are looking for a technique book, this probably is not the book for you... today. This book does not contain drawn out discussions on how to temper, use a double boiler, etc. Again, this is a comment, not a criticism. I am an experienced cook, but even for inexperienced cooks, like my daughter, the instructions are accurate enough that this is not a drawback and is actually a virtue. You want recipes? They're here, accessible, and doable, without a lot of clutter on the finer details.
I highly recommend this book and like it enough to make sure my daughter has her own copy. :) Thanks Grace Parisi for a gem of a book