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Gourmet Game Night: Bite-Sized, Mess-Free Eating for Board-Game Parties, Bridge Clubs, Poker Nights, Book Groups, and More Paperback – March 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
While many types of entertainment have suffered during the recession, the popularity of board games is on the rise. And with more game nights at home, there of course is the need for more hors d'oeuvres. Nims (Memorable Suppers) comes to the rescue and applies several different snack strategies in an effort to eliminate such social dilemmas as sticky playing cards, greasy dice, and stained Monopoly money. Skewers make for a perfect hands-off approach to treats like lamb and olive kebabs and herb-marinated shrimp. Sandwiches are a time-honored way to stay dainty. Among the 10 offered are chicken salad with orange and walnuts and petits croque monsieurs with Gruyere and plum tomatoes. And if it is a food that cannot be stabbed or placed between slices of bread, it can probably be miniaturized and self-contained. Witness the baby baja tacos, where seafood, cilantro, and sour cream are wrapped tight in a six-inch tortilla, or the stuffed large pasta shells with kale-ricotta filling. Nims also includes tiny desserts, such as mocha cheesecake bars, and large drinks, like lava lounge punch, with rum and Chambord, to help placate sore losers. (Mar.)
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"Gourmet Game Night is a creative and contemporary collection of recipes that make eating well a neat and tidy prospect."
--Amy's Table, 4/5/10
"Without question, Gourmet Game Night achieves what it sets out to do. I recommend the book for anyone who hosts game nights or is looking to start.
Final verdict: nine of out of ten cherry tomatoes."
--The Puzzler, Chicago Tribune Red Eye blog, 4/5/10
"The arrival of Cynthia Nims's new Gourmet Game Night cookbook made us reevaluate our game-night mentality. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the cookbook lives up to its title, with recipes that cater to an updated game-centric gathering. The wide range of dishes offer bite-size and mess-free (to keep your fingers and your Cranium clay clean) options that don't sacrifice sophistication."
--TastingTable.com National Edition, 3/11/10
"We’re all for the resurgence of old fashioned game nights—but we could do without the Doritos-dust coating our Yahtzee dice. In her brand new cookbook, Gourmet Game Night, food writer Cynthia Nims shares recipes to help game night hosts conquer the perils of sticky snacks. . . . Sounds like everybody wins."
--Seattle Magazine, March 2010
"Cookbook reviews are not something that we do a lot around here, but “Gourmet Game Night” was something we made an exception for. . . . Aside from a great variety of food, Gourmet Game Night is great book to lure your mom’s bridge night into Ticket to Ride night."
--Guilt Free Games, 3/2/10
“Oh my Yahtzee! Anything that brings friends and family together sharing delicious bites of food tickles my fancy. I’m going for an Orange Negroni and a Crostini with Wild Mushroom Tapenade. My domino train is open for dinner!”
--TOM DOUGLAS, James Beard Award–winning chef and author of Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen
“The recipes in this book, your favorite game, and some good friends: the ingredients for a great evening!”
--CORI SNYDER SCHUMAN, creator of Celebrity Chef! The Game
Top customer reviews
Cynthia shows you how to make good food, bite sized or hand held so it isn't very messy. Although the premise for this book is food for game night, knitting group, book club, etc., these recipes are wonderful appetizers. I'm always at a loss when I'm asked to bring an appetizer, there are so many wonderful ideas in this book.
Many of the recipes could easily be adapted to normal size food instead of bite size. After tasting some of these recipes, this book is definitely a keeper for people who love good food. You can make one dish, or, spend more time and make many dishes. They taste great, and the ideas are very creative AND practical. I'm buying copies for the "foodies" on my holiday shopping list, along with a board game!
We cooked eight recipes out of the book, and they were all, without exception, delicious. Some certainly ranked higher than others, but I think more important is that none were duds. Our least favorite -- the artichoke-stuffed mushrooms -- were still tasty, and we all would have been happy to eat them had nothing else been available. But they held nothing to some of the more outstanding dishes that all had us going back for seconds, thirds, and fourths. Our favorites all offered interesting contrasts in flavors:
- A citrusy salmon poke, served in a bitter endive leaf
- A sweet/sour cherry chutney & cheddar bruschetta
- Grape tomatoes stuffed with a sesame-flavored edamame paste
None of the recipes are difficult, but they're also not quick. Many of the dishes involve roasting, or marination, or multiple parts. This is a good thing -- you're serving your guests quality goods. You should expect to spend some time in the apron here. (Though Nims makes special mention at the beginning of the dozen or so recipes that can be made on the quick.)
Nims adds a few subtle touches that go a long way toward helping your average cook. Two examples: 1) each recipe has a special instruction for how to double or halve, which is often not as simple as multiplying the ingredients, and 2) she tells you which parts can be made ahead of time without compromising the recipe. This last point is an important one. My one complaint about the book is that if you're making a lot of dishes at once -- which you will be, since each dish is small and going to serve less than a full meal's worth of food -- you'll be flipping back and forth a lot between pages. There's no easy way around this, short of binding the pages in a ringed binder. Thus, the tips about pre-cooking some ingredients should be heeded as much as possible.
This is the crux of the issue. Quality cookbooks abound these days -- does Nims fulfill her mission of food that can be eaten tableside? By and large, the dishes we chose to cook suited gameplay very well, as soon as we found room at the table to put the platter (we have a fondness for playing component-heavy games). The shrimp cakes and salmon bites sat in finger-friendly leaves of lettuce. The bruschetta were easy to pick up and eat in one or two bites. One warning: Nims occasionally builds a dish around a particular piece of a party-friendly hardware, like single serving spoons, or shooter glasses for soup. It's often easy to work around these, just be aware. Or, if you're a frequent entertainer, invest in some; there is a list of retailers on the book's website.
Without question, Gourmet Game Night achieves what it sets out to do. I recommend the book for anyone who hosts game nights or is looking to start.