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The Ultimate Cook Book: 900 New Recipes, Thousands of Ideas (edition 2007)
The Ultimate Cook Book: 900 New Recipes, Thousands of Ideas by Bruce Weinstein
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060833831, Hardcover)In books from their popular Ultimate series, including The Ultimate Shrimp Book and The Ultimate Brownie Book, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough have plumbed the depths of single-subject cookery, offering base recipes with many variations. The Ultimate Cook Book, their magnum opus, follows the same approach--over 900 recipes with variations are included for every course and occasion, including breakfast and snacks, plus a wide range of breads and desserts. Included are straightforward takes on old favorites, like roast chicken and hamburgers; innovative versions of familiar fare, such as Grilled Chili, and Banana Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting; and "new" fare like Whole Fried Fish with Two Asian Sauces, Lemonade Bread, and Baked Pasta Casserole with Blue Cheese, Peas, and Artichoke Hearts. Present also are informative side bars, such as Know Your Greens, and equally enlightening notes on ingredients, equipment and techniques.
Falling somewhere between an all-purpose cookbook and a modern-classics compendium, this is an ambitious work that usually succeeds. Offering, for example, a basic recipe for deviled eggs and then providing six possible fillings for them, or supplying seven ways to bake thin fish fillets, is a welcome approach that helps readers grasp cooking anatomy. Occasionally, however, variations seem to have been included for their own sake, as when, for example, a lengthy list of alternative additions, including curry powder and lemon zest, is offered for scrambled eggs--the fact that one could use them doesn't mean one should. In addition, recipes, both traditional and modern, are not always in best taste--my grandmother would have rightly looked askance at matzo balls made with garlic and onion powders, and, probably, Winter Lasagna with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Tarragon too.
These things said, the book offers many solid, easy, and delicious formulas, like Tuscan-Inspired Pork Loin with Potatoes and Garlic and a wide range of cobblers with fillings including fig and pear cranberry, plus much useful and innovative insight into the cooking process itself. Cooks at all skill levels should find it a welcome kitchen addition. ---Arthur Boehm
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 28 Apr 2011 03:09:49 -0400)
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