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Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time Hardcover – September 26, 2006
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TV chef Tyler Florence brings a direct, regular-guy charm to cooking that is equally straightforward, simple and good. In Tylers Ultimate, he offers 100-plus recipes for just this kind of food-"ultimate" versions of dishes like onion soup, crab cakes and spaghetti carbonara, as well as more innovative fare like Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salad and Blue Cheese, Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lemon Chickpea Puree and Greens, and Coconut Shrimp with Basmati Rice, Apricots, and Lime. His desserts, all tempting, include the likes of Chocolate Banana Bread, and Almond Semifreddo with Spiced Honey Dried Fruit. Many of the dishes in this concise collection reflect a thoughtful winnowing of ingredients and technique to produce food that is not only delicious, but can be prepared on a regular basis. Some of Florences inventions-like Watermelon Gazpacho with Chile and Feta Cheese, which is entirely accomplished in a blender-are ingenious. Photo-illustrated throughout, "Ultimate" is for cooks who want their kitchen work to be as easy as possible, but who also require good cooking-dishes that capture fully their flavor potential. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Were this book not to share a name with Florence's Food Network show, its existence would be a puzzle. As it is, it's hard to make heads or tails of this jumble of decent but not spectacular recipes that share only one thing in common: a forced "guy talk" manner. Chapters are arranged by type of dish, with titles like "Surf" for fish, and each opens with a throw-away introduction of a couple of paragraphs: "noodles are a great way to put a smile on somebody's face." Recipes are equally casual: once you've started the sauce for Coconut Shrimp with Basmati Rice and Apricots, you're told to "jump to the rice," and in the headnote to Angry Lobster with Tomato-Chile Butter and Arugula, Florence reminisces about working "at a mafia joint in Tribeca" patronized by men "from Jersey with pinky rings... and girls decked out in big hair and gold." Despite this sometimes off-key tone, instructions are clear, and each recipe helpfully comes with an estimated cooking time, most of them quick. Still, one can't help wishing that despite offering truly helpful advice (such as the tip not to shake the pan when making Oven Fries for crispier results), Florence would, in his own parlance, tune down the 'tude, dude. (Nov.)
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Hubby fell in love with Tyler’s show on Food Network a while back, and espoused, ad nauseam, how simple and delicious all his dishes looked, so he finally decided to bite the bullet and order this book for (ahem) himself to try (himself, of course, meaning the Mrs.). What hubby doesn’t realize is that Tyler throws all these dishes together so easily because someone else has done all the prep for him (and the clean-up!). While most are fairly uncomplicated, don’t expect to throw them together in the time a half-hour TV show host does.
Most of these dishes *are* fairly simple to put together, and the instructions are clear, but they are time consuming – almost all of the time being in the prep work. When you are working with all fresh ingredients, it takes time to get them ready. However, it’s worth it. So many of these concoctions are to-die-for. Some of my favorites are the French onion soup, mussels with white wine, thyme, garlic and lemon (so simple!) and their accompanying herbed garlic bread, scallop saltimbocca, mouth-watering pot roast with velvet potato puree, sausage with brown sugar/thyme caramelized apples, roast chicken Provencal, the ultimate berry trifle (hubby contributes his made-from-scratch pound cake to this – he’s the baker in the family – but Tyler says store-bought is fine), and vanilla pots de crème (his version of crème brulee sans blow torch).
I have made close to half the recipes found here so far, and am eagerly awaiting the warmer weather to try some of the grilling recipes, salads and cold dishes. However, keep in mind that you may need to be willing to buy some specialized cooking equipment and cookware. While most people (or maybe not) have a Dutch oven, you’ll need a food mill to have the velvet potatoes come out right. (I don’t have the money to invest in one, but if you decrease the amount of heavy cream and simply whip them with a hand-held egg beater, your potatoes will still be more delicious than any other version of “mashed potatoes” you’ve ever had. It’s the consistency of the potatoes the food mill produces that allows all that cream to be soaked up by the starch.) You’ll also need a heavy-duty blender or food processor for some of the dishes, too, and the correct skillets, oven-going crockery, the right-sized roasting pan, 8 ounce ramekins ….
Although I wouldn’t say this cookbook is quite for the absolute beginner, Tyler does have videos online of himself making these dishes, so you can check those out to see what it is you’re going for. It’s helpful to see it all coming together and what the finished result should look like so you know you’re on the right track. While there is, of course, some weird chef-y type stuff that I may or may not try (and I just can’t get into a minestrone that’s chicken broth-based), if you’ve mastered your Better Homes Cookbook (a great cookbook for the absolute beginner) and you’re ready to stretch your talent, this book is for you. However, keep in mind that many of these recipes are time consuming, so it’s probably not realistic for a busy Mom or Dad who has been working all day and/or shuttling kids around and just doesn’t have the time and energy to spend on them at the end of a busy day. Also, a lot of them don’t create huge portions, so may not be realistic if you have a large family to feed. But if you’ve got the time and inclination … bon appétit – you’ll enjoy.
Of course he tells a story and explains stories behind the recipes. There are quite a few pictures which I like. I like to see if what I am going to be cooking is pretty or to get ideas on how to plate the food, what to serve it with, etc.
Most recent customer reviews
that night, inspired ? I guess so!