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Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals Paperback – February 24, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
As the small plate fad migrates from restaurants to kitchen tables, this chic cookbook does its best to convince readers that grazing on a half dozen snacks is a novel and exciting way to eat. Perhaps it is. But few of the recipes in this book are necessarily small plates; throw another few Coffee and Spice Lamb Kebobs on the grill and you've got a hearty dinner. Likewise, the Farfalle with Creamy Peas and Prosciutto is rich and delicious, but nothing about it (except the serving size) separates it from a traditional main course. The cookbook also includes cocktail tidbits like Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Bundles, which are crispy and would work as an appetizer as well as a small plate. But beyond its central gimmick, this cookbook does offer lovely, easy-to-prepare recipes, and it's hard to find fault with such an eclectic and appealing collection. A Fennel, Orange and Pecan Salad balances the licorice taste of fennel with the tanginess of blue cheese. Braised Beef Short Ribs with Wide Egg Noodles is pure comfort food-warming and substantial. And Feta and Herb Stuffed Shrimp is so zesty it almost demands a big plate.
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"Small Plates leads cooks on a multicultural tasting journey as instructive as it is pleasurable...The book's a winner." -- MSNBC.com's Joan Wolfe
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Top customer reviews
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My theory is that small quantities of really delicious food is as good for the waistline as it is for the palette and I hoped this book would help me with that. In the flavor department, I am delighted with many of these recipes. One salad, for example, was a combination I'd have never thought to try until I had it in a gourmet restaurant and was shocked by how incredible it was--watermelon, cantaloupe and cucumber with a light vinegar and oil type dressing. I couldn't get over it and was eager to repeat it at home, so when I found this combination as a recipe in the book (different dressing but close enough) I was enthusiastic about trying others.
So far I haven't been disappointed with any of the recipes. The 'Holiday Spiced Game Hens' includes cranberry or pomegranate juice, honey, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and garlic and produces a heavenly warmth that combines elements of international cuisine with more traditional flavors for something really special. I look forward to making the Grilled Salmon with Mushroom Pinot Noir Sauce and the Fireworks Vegetable and Seafood Salad (includes toasted sesame oil and soy sauce with crabmeat and scallops). I ended up turning down so many pages with recipes I want to try, I sort of defeated the purpose :).
The pictures are really beautiful and offer ideas for presentation. Happily for me, there are not many recipes that include red meat, which I'm allergic to, so I am getting more value from this book than many that are heavy on meat dishes. Even most of these could be made with poultry like the Beef Tenderloin Kebobs with Roquefort-Rosemary Sauce. The seafood recipes are to-die-for good like the Sesame-Coated Tuna with Wasabi Mayonnaise.
Although there are some more exotic ingredients used in these recipes, most can be found in a well-stocked kitchen or are readily available.
Bottom line: I am very pleased with the fare in this cookbook, but disappointed that I'll have to calculate recipes to get smaller quantities since I expected `small plates' to mean small quantities, hence my purchase. This is not meant as a speed cookbook, but I didn't find the prep daunting in any recipes I've made so far. I do wish there was storage info included should I want to make the larger quantity and freeze some for later use. I recommend this cookbook for those who want something a little unusual for themselves (and are willing to get out the calculator to adjust the recipes), but especially for those who regularly entertain a crowd of sophisticated diners.
Most recent customer reviews
An intriguing idea for a cookbook, this; appetizer-style recipes quirked into meal...Read more