Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Anglais) Relié – 20 septembre 2010
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I can't say enough about the coq au vin blanc. It was so yummy I was dreaming about it long after we'd finished the pot. The photos are gorgeous, and I love that Pam includes optional wine pairings, appetizers, and desserts for almost every dish - so if you're entertaining a crowd, you've got your menu planned already.
None of the ingredients are foreign or hard to get, and we (a family of 2) are easily getting 4 meals out of each dish. That makes for a super economical dinner, even if you're splashing out for really nice prosciutto or wine.
Next on my list to make: the pecan pie sundaes. This Texan approves of any meal that ends with pecans!
This is more than just a collection of recipes. Pam Anderson's experience as a recipe developer is evident and she isn't afraid to break the rules of traditional methods if she finds something that works better. She'll tell you why it's better, too. From tips on how to make mac and cheese incredibly moist to great suggestions on replacing the meat in some dishes with seafood or vegetarian options, this book is full of great nuggets of culinary wisdom that will serve you well in the kitchen.
I love cookbooks and I was excited to try this one when it came available on NetGalley. Several weeks later, I'm a little...confused.
Make no mistake about it - this is a breathtakingly lovely book. There's a lot of valuable recipes here, but they're definitely of the "advanced student" variety, so do be aware of that. Almost every recipe has at least a dozen ingredients, and almost everything in this book is made completely from scratch - anytime dumplings or biscuits are working into a recipe, for instance, you *will* be making those dumplings from floury scratch.
There's nothing wrong with an advanced-level cookbook, but it's just strange because the book is marketed as "easy" recipes, and there's really nothing easy about these. No prep times are estimated with the recipes, but I'd guess that most of them take over an hour to prepare. Adding to my confusion is the whole "one-dish" premise isn't kept to - the introduction states that "one-dish" dinners are easier, and thus was born this book... but every "one-dish" comes complete with an appetizer and dessert suggestion... as well as the occasional side. Don't get me wrong - it's great to have the suggestions of sides and desserts for when they are wanted or needed, but this is especially weird because everything is grouped together as one "meal", rather than the usual entrees, sides, appetizers, desserts layout of most cookbooks. The practical upshot of this is that if you want to make the "Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream", you'd better remember that it was listed with the "Lobster Dinner", because there's no Table of Contents to get you there. (In all fairness, there is an alphabetized index in the back.)
I'm also not sure about the "Get-Togethers" part - a lot of the recipes are very exotic and specialized, and maybe my family is different, but if you get more than 5 of us in a room together, someone is going to dislike (or worse, be allergic to) at least one of the ingredients in these dozen-ingredient extravaganzas.
So, ultimately, if you take out the "one-dish", the "easy", and the "get-togethers", we have "Perfect Dinners: All You Need". But, then, I don't know if this is ALL you need since the layout can still be a little wonky - there's no Table of Contents, the pictures aren't labeled (although they ARE lovely) and sometimes require a little guess work to match with the relevant recipe, there's no prep times listed, and there's no nutritional data summary (a nice touch in many of the Better Homes and Gardens books that I've come to like).
Really, if you have all the time in the world, love baking from scratch, are an advanced hand in the kitchen, and have a non-picky and open-minded group of friends and family, there are some really good three-course meals in this book. I just don't understand why they're not marketing it that way?
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through NetGalley.
~ Ana Mardoll
For a dinner party I hosted recently, I prepared the Coq au Vin Blanc with Spring Vegetables. The recipe was not only easy to prepare, but it allowed me to cook the entire dish before my guests arrived so that I could enjoy their company. The aromas that permeated from this dish made the house smell wonderful and the taste was absolutely delicious. I served this dish with a goat cheese salad and homemade rolls to soak up the sauce from the main entrée. For dessert, I prepared the Pecan Pie Sundaes recipe from the cookbook. The whole table went silent as we devoured the sundaes and savored each and every bite. A few days after the party, I received an e-mail from one of my guests asking for the recipes because she loved the food and couldn't wait to make it for her family.
This cookbook includes recipes for appetizers, stews, casseroles, roasts, salads, desserts...the list goes on and on. If you are hosting a dinner party, or need recipes for simple yet flavorful dishes for weeknight meals, this book, as stated in its title, is perfect.
The photography in this book is just gorgeous, and I love how each main dish is paired with appetizers, salads, desserts, and drinks. Even if you don't happen to have what you need on hand for a particular pairing, these drool-worthy suggestions are instant inspiration for planning a complete dinner party. The hardest part is deciding which recipe to try next!