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Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence: Dinner Made Simple Paperback – November 13, 2012
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"As a cook, as a teacher and as an author, Joanne Weir has never strayed from her firm and unassailable convictions that cooking should be pure and simple and that ingredients should be pure and fresh."- Alice Waters"Joanne Weir's bubbly personality and wit come through in every recipe. Her food sparkles with flavor, there is sensibility in products chose, and the preparation is simple and fun." -Lidia Bastianich
About the Author
JOANNE WEIR is host of her public television series Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence and has written 17 cookbooks, including the James Beard Award-winning "Weir Cooking in the City." In addition to her cookbook writing, Joanne is the editor-at-large for "Fine Cooking "and has contributed to "Bon Appetit, Saveur, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Sunset, "and "Better Homes and Gardens." Joanne also teaches cooking classes in her home studio kitchen in San Francisco, hosts culinary journeys around the world, and is executive chef of Copita restaurant in Sausalito, California.
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So it could be a question of confidence, or the lack thereof and here this book can come marching to the rescue. The author seeks to help you enjoy cooking, making the art of preparing dinner a simple pleasure rather than a miserable, mundane event. The author has been there and got the proverbial t-shirt, being a cooking teacher, author, chef and host of a U.S. television cooking-based series and through this book she aims to teach you basic cooking techniques and service up 100 easy but filling main courses that would be suitable for any dinner.
After an interesting, honest introduction the reader is first given a good overview about what a basic pantry might need to be stocked with (for those who need this) and then it is straight on to the recipes. There is no time to fret or worry about your possible lack of experience and you just plough through the recipes, split into six key chapters, find something that catches your eye and get cooking. If you look at the rather excellent photographs of dishes you might start feeling nauseous and thinking that there is no way that you can make that… but put your trust in the author and follow the recipe methodically and prepare to be surprised. Some things might require a little fine tuning or repeated goes to get it right - hardly anyone makes a perfect crepe on their first go - and throughout the book there are many sections that give hints and tips on things that you might never have needed to know before such as roasting spices or scalding milk.
Unlike many books aimed at the beginner which invariably have overly-simple variations-on-a-theme for their recipes, this book gives you a great, diverse range of recipes that will surely have your family and friends thinking you are a secret top chef and have been just hiding your talents away from them. In fact the only danger is that once you serve up one great dinner, the bar will be raised and you will be expected to keep on serving up such goodies! Your local take-away might not like you though… It would have been nice to have had a photograph for each dish, if nothing else than to help reassure you that the dish you made should look like it does! Virtually everything else about this book works well. It is very clearly written, methodical, well designed and very beginner-friendly. Our usual niggles about the lack of a clear estimated preparation and cooking time as well as the lack of dual metric/imperial measures are sadly relevant here though. Hopefully there is a very comprehensive index at the end of this book to let you navigate by recipe and key ingredient but this pre-release review copy was missing this feature so no opinion can be given towards it.
Even with a few little niggles and desires this still remains a very good book that should stand out in a sector for cookbooks that is already groaning with many beginner-friendly titles.
Author: Joanne Weir
Publisher: Taunton Press
Genre: Food & Wine
Overall Rating: Great 4.5
Reviewed For: NetGalley
Joanne Weir is a professional chef who has hosted her own cooking show, owned and operates multiple restaurants as well as written over eighteen cookbooks. Her resume is quite impressive, but her specialty is what is so great. She takes the most complete novice cook and gives them the confidence and instructions to cook like a professional. Most have never even heard the key words tagine (Historically a Berber dish from North Africa that is named after the type of earthenware pot in which it is cooked), a la broche (Food cooked on a skewer), Mirepoix (A mixture of fairly fine, diced vegetables such as carrots, onions, and celery) or Hacher (Meaning to hash or mince). By the time you have read "Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence Dinner Made Simple" and worked a few of these delicious recipes these and other terms will no longer daunt you.
There are so many thrilling recipes to tempt your taste buds and your challenge your cooking skills it will be hard to choose. So if I may let me tell you of a few that were hits at my home. Baked Crepes With Creamy Mushrooms and Prosciutto (I used morels instead of wild as there is no where to pick wild mushrooms near my home, believe me I checked.) Pepperoni Pizza Strata was chosen best by not only the kids but quite a few of the adults at a church pot luck, and Ham and Lentil Soup With Mint and Tomatoes. Those are just a small percentage of the recipes you will find in Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence Dinner Made Simple. You and those you cook for will find a new favorite and then another and yet another.
Pick up a copy for yourself! You will be showing off to your friends and family right off the bat.
This book contains the recipes used in the show plus many more.