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Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen: An Indispensable Guide for Anybody Who Likes to Cook Hardcover – March 25, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
In what seems to be a bid to become a U.S. version of Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, Florence (who was chef at New York's Cafeteria and hosts his own cooking show) aims for a casual attitude. While organization is loose amorphous chapters on backyard cookouts and Dinner for Two sit side-by-side with highly focused ones on making your own sushi many of the recipes themselves are clever. Sage-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Plum Sauce features a tasty sauce made with red wine and prunes cooked until soft, and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Miso, Orange, and Sesame would make a great snack as well as a tasty side dish. The author darts from one subject to the next and often combines flavors unexpectedly, as in Grilled Salmon with Watermelon and Black Olive Salad and Horseradish Burgers with Havarti and Tomato Remoulade. Sometimes Florence's claims that the best cooking is easy, casual and quick are belied by recipes such as the one for Blue Cheese SoufflE with Chamomile-Fig Compote that requires creation of a bEchamel sauce, not to mention the notoriously tricky soufflEs themselves. Florence's tone is light throughout, but readers may be turned off by airy pronouncements (It's often been my experience that many of the cleanest, best flavors are very simple ones) that under closer inspection are fairly meaningless. Others may roll their eyes at his off-color or immature remarks (a man of Thai ethnicity pulls out a karate move when asked to share a recipe; the flavors of a Green Curry Chicken are mental).
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Tyler Florence's cooking show on television's Food Network, where he rescues people from stovetop disasters, has an avid following. These fans will snap up copies of Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen, where their master shares his own recipes. Florence's recipes range widely from Chinese dim sum to rich, cheese-laden lasagna. He pleases vegetarians with a pan-fried tofu "steak" and a high-piled muffuletta sandwich with layers of roasted vegetables. Florence's prosciutto-wrapped, cheese-stuffed figs can easily be the hit of any cocktail party. His recommendations for stocking a pantry call for so many staples that only those with substantial storage space can possibly stock them all. Mark Knoblauch
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The first thing I made out of this cookbook were the blueberry scones. My boyfriend is on a diet, so I opted not to slather the scones in lemon icing, so I will take responsibility for the fact that they weren't particularly sweet. However, I will not take responsibility for the fact that I had to add an extra 1/2 cup of cream to the batter to get something that was even halfway workable so that the blueberries wouldn't break on contact. With only one cup of cream, I had a brick. After this pretty significant liquid adjustment, they cooked up as directed and were halfway decent. They would probably be even better with the icing or additional sugar in the dough, but that missing liquid really shook me. I even went online to see if I was the only one experiencing this issue, but it seems to be common for this recipe. People were even recommending that the blueberries be frozen before adding so that you can mix them into the dough brick without breakage. Sorry, that's not necessary on anyone else's scone recipe. I'm voting this one is just wrong. But that leads to wondering what other recipes are wrong...
Next I made the spicy tofu with spinach and asian pear. This one seemed to have the correct proportions of all of the ingredients, except the spinach. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of spinach for 2 servings. That's a pound of spinach per person. That's a lot of spinach. I bought 1 pound of fresh spinach and there was plenty to go around. Tyler also doesn't specify what kind of chile pepper to use (which I'm seeing a lot in cookbooks these days), so I just guessed with a Thai chile. At least that's what it looked like he used in the photograph, but less experienced cooks will probably not have that knowledge. My boyfriend, who eats pretty much everything, had the comment "it was weird". That is the only negative response to food I have ever heard out of his mouth. And yes, he eats tofu in other applications.
I may still keep on trying to find something to love here, but I'm a little jaded at this point. What other errors are lurking in the recipes? I pick two at random, and they BOTH happen to have errors? The book is absolutely beautiful, and I love the pictures. It makes me want to make the food, but it seems like I'm just not getting what I hoped. I'll come back and alter my review if I find something absolutely stupendous, but at this point, I'm skeptical.
I love watching Tyler's show on Food Network and his dishes always look so delicious. But his cookbooks (I have another one as well) are not really for a busy Mom like me. The ingredients are not particularly everyday stuff. It's good if you're a professional cook like him or you're single, have all the time in the world to go look for all these ingredients (some unusual and expensive), then have the time to wash up after yourself once all the cooking is done. His recipes are a bit too complicated for me. I'd rather go to a fancy restaurant and order these types of dishes than cook them myself at home. The names of his dishes read like they should be on a menu of a fancy restaurant! Sorry Tyler!! Sorry I bought 2 of your cookbooks as well. Did not get my money's worth. Much prefer Ina and Giada's recipes.
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I really like his approach .Read more