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Customer Review

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master chefs cooks in your home with you!, January 13, 2007
This review is from: Happy in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
This is one cookbook to cook with, ahead of your other cookbooks, and then just let your friends or guests rave..over your cookery skills.

This is as if a master chef, genie like, comes to your home and dispensed countless pearls of cookery knowledge..elevating a simple recipe to one that has you say "Oh my Gawd, why didn't I think of that...it's SO good".

He tells how to get certain foods "crunchy" to excite the experiences of taste..making vegetables and meats alike crunchy with flavor, yet not overdoing it. At the same time, he tells how to heat vegetables so they are soft and tasty, without overdoing it and giving that overcooked taste to them. Try his All-Crust Potato Gratin to see.

He "works" a vegetable to bring out it's best...with carrots, he braises whole carrots in chicken stock and orange juice, to give body, brightness and intense flavor, then finished off with touches of unusual spice combinations, and sprinkles the end product with orange zest. Heck, outside of glazing carrots, or eating baby ones raw, I didn't realize the fun I could have with the crispy critters. And onions..what magic he conjures up with cooked onions, as their soft sweetness, sometimes heightened with caramelization, are used as stuffed shells, a pasta-less pasta, a tart, and as a delicious component of a burger!

Have you read about sous-vide cooking and the once pricey thermal circulator set-ups? Get a $200 immersion heater and a Foodsaver* to vacuum pack your food in plastic bags to keep in the flavors while cooking it at ~ 125-160 F. If you want a DIY way, a styrofoam container, very hot water tempered as needed with some ice cubes to keep the water bath at a constant temperature will get you through most any sous-vide recipe in your home.

Want to WOW your guests, try his pureed sea scallops, and cook on low temperature as he describes, or make Chicken Faux Gras, Corn Nugget Crab Cakes, or various desserts even.

Try even his version of a lobster roll as a burger, for a fun appearance, and all the luscious taste of lobster.

I cook "higher end" meals for 8-24 people at a time, and often wonder how to serve something new and stunning...well, here's my source of ideas for the next few years! It's easy to see his recipe, and dream up another use for his technique with a different food or other variation. This is the measure of a great teacher..you are not bound to one recipe...he opens your eyes to all sorts of riffs, or variations you can do, and it's not too involved at all.

By the way, this is his second book, the first, Michel Richard's Home Cooking with a French Accent (1993), is a wonderful collection of fairly easy to make recipes with excellent general advice on preparation. Back then, he "tweaked" foods to reveal their best, i.e. adding a little mushroom to enhance a curry sauce, and possibly adding a little cayenne, for a different variation. These hints are even better in Happy in the Kitchen.

There are stunning photographs, and each recipe is well written.

BUY this book and start cooking and eating, and find yourself also Happy in the Kitchen.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 15, 2007 10:50:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 15, 2007 11:17:26 PM PST
This reviewer obviously enjoys cooking and writes with enthusiam and apparent insight - no doubt a fellow 'foodie'. Mr. Seligman's colorful writing inspires one to immediately relenquish hoarded Amazon gift certificates to purchase this seemingly delightful cookbook. If the food is as exciting as the reviewer states, there will certainly be happiness in the kitchen. Ideas and recipes notwithstanding, what a playful, artful, title to have displayed on one's kitchen shelf - cover image facing outward - a gentle, zen-like reminder to approach cooking, and life, with gusto!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2007 7:06:38 PM PST
I. Seligman says:
Thank you for your kind words. The title similarly caught my attention, and I read a few pages, then bought it.
I have a few cookbooks on the shelves, and this has perhaps the least dust upon it, due to using it at the stove, and reading at night, making me quite happy that Mr. Richard wrote it.

Posted on Dec 27, 2014 1:28:53 PM PST
knb53 says:
What a wonderful review! Thank you for it. My wife gave me this for Christmas this year, and I really look forward to digging into it, all the more because of your review.

A couple quick comments re. sous vide, something about which I was an early adopter as an amateur cook over 5 years ago: You can actually start out using ziplock bags, putting in the food, and then sinking the bag in water slowly until the water just gets to the zipper, forcing out almost all the air in the process. And if one wants to graduate from the pot on the stove method to an actual sous vide immersion circulator, there are some really decent options out there now for home cooks for less than $200. Aside from the current "trend" re. sous vide, it is an extraordinary and practical method for many things. Check out Jason Logsdon or Douglas Baldwin for starters. One thing to be aware of: There are some safety issues to keep in mind with sous vide cooking... nothing difficult or unreasonable, but don't skip that chapter. Enjoy!
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