Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cookbook Reviewitas

Some of you may know that one of my favorite pastimes besides reading is cooking.  I have gotten a few cookbooks over the past several weeks, and I've been testing them by using one or two recipes from each.  Which brings me to a dilemma- when you review a cookbook, how many recipes must you try before you can write a good review?  Do you have to try any?  Or all?  I usually try a couple and then base most of my review on the set-up of the book- the ease with which I can find important information.  So... hopefully that works for you, too!  These are pretty short reviews, so I'm calling them reviewitas.

As a huge fan of the local farmers' market, I was so excited to get Fast, Fresh & Green!  Unfortunately, as most vegetables aren't in season right now, I haven't been able to do much with this book quite yet.  However, I am all set to use it through this summer and fall!  In flipping through this book, I feel like it's well set-up.  Almost all the dishes in here are sides.  At least, I think they are as the book is not set up with "Appetizers/Mains/Sides" etc., the way that many traditional books are set up.  Rather, it's set up by the way you cook the vegetables (sauteeing, braising, stir frying, etc).  I like this book for emotional reasons.  So many people are anti-vegetable.  As I grew up in a household that was vegetarian probably 70% of the week, I find this fact very difficult to stomach (pun intended).  And I can't help but think that people are anti-vegetable because they don't know how to cook them properly.  So... here is a book that makes it so simple and has a lot of fantastic ideas on how to make vegetables a major part of your diet and enjoy them, too!  There's way more to do than just steam them, I assure you.

I received a copy of Creating Empty Bottle Moments to review, and it's very different than I expected.  Not in a bad way at all.  There aren't that many recipes in this book.  Rather, Clive Berkman shares with readers some "empty bottle moments"- occasions he participated in with friends and family and others and how special they were.  And then he shares with us the recipes he used for those occasions.  As there aren't too many recipes in here, I certainly wouldn't use this as your go-to cookbook, if you were to only purchase one.  But it's a nice coffee table book and I used his very simple phyllo brie recipe and it was a hit!  The only thing I disliked somewhat about this book was the index.  It was indexed by course, so I couldn't look up an ingredient (i.e., "chicken") and find all recipes relating to that ingredient, which I found annoying.

This last book, Wine Cocktails, I haven't made any recipes from mostly because I am lazy, mixology-wise.  But I love the idea of this book.  I think wine intimidates many people, and so I like that this book gives you inventive and creative ways of including wine in a cocktail party.  I am a huge fan of wine, though I never really analyze it in any way.  I just like to have wine with friends, often over a meal.  I love drinking wine outdoors in the summer.  I like the culture that surrounds wine.  I just think it's fun, and I'm thrilled that now I have a book that will let me experiment more with it.

13 comments:

  1. I really enjoy reading reviews of cookbooks. I'm always looking for the perfect vegetable recipe book, so Fast, Fresh & Green caught my interest in partticular. I love vegetables, but it's always nice to see some new recipes on how to prepare them.

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  2. I love reviewing cookbooks too! I find that as long as you try a recipe or two you get a flavor (haha!) for the book. I think the first and the third book look especially fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I am a cookbookholic! I just can't resist buying them. I love the idea of the cocktail one. I used to be able to make so many from memory in my younger years as a bar maid.

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  4. Fast Fresh and Green sounds like a great cookbook! We're always looking for new things to do with vegetables because steaming is not very glamorous. :) Thankfully my kids love veggies, so that's not a problem. Today we're going to be making kabobs with lots of veggies, so I'm looking forward to that.

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  5. I love cookbooks and it's very hard to pick favorites, but if I did, they would be:

    The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

    The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas

    Intercourses by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge (which has the most amazing pictures ever in addition to good recipes!)

    For desserts: The Silver Palate Cookbook

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  6. I'm a vegetarian and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes and different recipebooks - and I like the idea of one which is based on how you cook the vegetables. Thanks for the review!

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  7. OMG...I am just taking a break from review writing, but the one I was working on was: Fast, Fresh and Green, Middleton....LOL

    I Liked it but have a few minor issues with it. (I should have m review up tonight).

    Great Job!!!!

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  8. The first book sounds fun and intriguing. I am vegetarian as well and love trying new recipes.

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  9. I love that you called these your "Reviewitas", that is too cute! I know we discussed the wine book, and I am really excited about that one, but also the veggie cookbook. I am one who loves the veggies, but gets all kerfuffled when it comes to preparing them in interesting ways. Mostly I tend to steam or use sauces, and I think that the book would be really useful to me in my experimentations with different veggies and different cooking techniques. Thanks so much for sharing these mini reviews with me. I am off to look up a couple of these great looking books!

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  10. Ooh, I'm always on the lookout for new cookbooks, so this looks great! I hope you'll do more of these posts :-)

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  11. Bring Fast, Fresh and Green with you to MN! Let try some of those recipes when you come up here!

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  12. I love reading cookbooks too! But I have to admit I haven't been cooking much recently and I'm crap at following recipes!

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  13. I'm very shy about cooking vegetables. I love them, but I don't feel like I have a good understanding of ways to cook them. So Fast, Fresh, and Green sounds perfect for me! Thanks!

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