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Recipes from an Italian Summer Hardcover – April 7, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
In the book's favor, it is laid out well and is understandably a reduced version of Silver Spoon and thus easier to handle in the kitchen. Most of the recipes are written fairly well, but certainly not all. It is very common for the ingredients to be vague: tomatoes, potatoes, olives, apples, etc. are listed but what kind and weight you may ask? "Two zucchini" makes me want to know variety AND size.
I think that an inexperienced cook may be baffled by the vague directions and the often unclear ingredients list. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with Elizabeth David's also vague recipes you will not have a problem with these. David's books are at the very top of my most used and valued cookbooks and her Summer Cooking and Italian should be considered if you are tempted by this book.
Explanations of Italian cooking and attitudes are well done, especially Ferragosto; the vacation for the whole month of August and the food consumed then. Most recipes are one to a page and in clear type. Also the majority of recipes have a picture of the finished product. There are, in addition, pleasing pictures of Italy's scenery. The photos give you the flavor and colouring of Italy and its' food.
The grill recipes will lend a different aspect to your summer cooking, especially that of vegetables, the instructions are well done. There are also many simple good fruit recipes, again for keeping cool in the hot summer. Included are picnics, salads, barbecues, light lunches and suppers, summer entertaining, desserts and ice cream and drinks. Especially not to be missed is the Avocado and shrimp salad.
This is not really a beginners cookbook, but would be a welcome addition to cookbook collectors and those who enjoy Italian cooking that is not the usual spaghetti or lasagna.
When you first open up Recipes from an Italian Summer, besides noticing the beautiful artwork, you'll see where the cookbook is going to take you.. Picnics, Salads, Barbecues, Light Lunches and Suppers, Summer Entertaining, Desserts and finally Ice Creams and Drinks. At the beginning of each chapter is a wonderful introduction to what you're about to tempt your taste buds with and it's relevance to summer,
"The huge range of antipasti, appetizers, and salads in the Italian summer repertoire provide a wonderful source of inspiration for picnic food. Dishes such as frittatas, cold risottos, pies and terrines are easy to transport, and work very well at picnics alongside the more traditional filled sandwiches, cold meats, cheeses and salads." ...intro to picnic recipes
The recipes that follow are easy, with easy to find fresh ingredients that should satisfy our summer eating. From making your own mayonnaise, to making a delicious Tomato tartare with basil. Using the fresh apples you have, there's a recipe for Apple strudel, which you can make the day ahead. Or how about Baked ricotta with sun-dried tomato pesto as an appetizer for summer entertaining that's in the oven for only 10 minutes! The range of recipes is amazing, going from simple salads to more exotic dishes such as Swordfish carpaccio with caper sauce. There's a recipe for Summer stuffed peppers that you can serve hot or cold that looks delicious, and a traditional Italian recipe for Sweet and Sour meatballs. And there are plenty of desserts , such as Blueberry tart, or Peaches with summer zabaglione! This is a cookbook that can satisfy that urge you have in the summer to cook a little lighter, refreshing meal with fresh local grown ingredients!
*I received a copy of the book to review from the publisher, though this did not in any way influence my review of the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It doesn't have clear directions and, instead of showing at least the result...