Culinary Notes

Everything you need to know about cooking.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

`Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook' by expert bread cookbook author Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann is hands down the very best book on its subject you are likely to find. It is easily twice the size of my former slow cooker favorite, Judith Finlayson's `The 150 best Slow Cooker recipes' and easily more than twice as good, although this former favorite does have some virtues not in the current subject, such as both English and metric units of measure for all ingredients.

This is a cookery subject on which you do not expect to find a serious treatment by a major cookbook author. Like blender recipes and toaster oven recipes and grill pan recipes and pressure cooker recipes, you usually find books which are little more than one step removed from a manufacturer's booklet, published by the likes of Sunset Press or other speciality publisher, not by the Harvard Commons Press. But, like Jean Anderson's book, `Process This' on food processor cookery, this is a first rate addition to any good cookbook library. In fact, not only is it better than Finlayson's book, it is a lot better than Anderson's book on the food processor.

The quality of the book should be no surprise, given the track record of the principle author, Beth Hensperger. While she is not the leading currently active writer of books on bread (that honor would probably go to Peter Reinhart), she is easily one of the top three or four on the subject and has the James Beard awards to prove it. Co-author Kaufmann is less distinguished, but in reading her biographical sketch, it is clear this is a natural book for this pair, as they have already done a volume on rice cookers, and there are probably no two closer electrical cooking gadgets quite so close to one another as the rice cooker and the slow cooker. It probably also explains why there is relatively little in this book which tells one how to use a slow cooker as a rice cooker, since they already did a book on the subject AND, in spite of the strong similarities, there are enough differences to keep one from easily substituting one for the other.

Aside from the rice cooker stand-in role, this book has simply everything I expected it to have. Every single recipe and every single type of recipe you might expect is here. One thing I hoped for and found, in spades, was a group of recipes for stocks and broths. This is something I have found in no other slow cooker book, as obvious as it is to include it.

In spite of the fact that this is an excellent book which I would recommend to anyone wishing to cook with a slow cooker, I must insert the caveat here that while the slow cooker can be a modern version of time honored traditional cooking methods such as the braise, the daub, the tagine, and the Dutch oven techniques, many other recipes in this book are adaptations of techniques which may really be better done by other means. That is, the time saving gained by using the slow cooker may, in some cases, be gained by losing some culinary virtue. The best example I know is with the recipes for barbecued pork ribs. Adapting barbecue to the slow cooker is a natural, as both are low heat long cooking methods. But, you are approximating true barbecue and not producing a real barbecued result, as there is no smoke involved in the cooking. I will give one more plug to Ms. Finlayson's book on her pork rib barbecue recipe which I have done several times and I find it superior to the recipe for the same dish by Hensperger and Kaufmann. So, if you have Finlayson, Hensperger may not be a major advantage. But, if you have no slow cooker book and you want one, Ms. Hensperger and Ms. Kaufmann have given us the best one I have seen.

It is quite possible that the single most valuable section in this book is in the chapter `From the Porridge Pot'. This gives several different recipes for breakfast dishes with oats, granola, and other varieties of porridge. I saw Alton Brown do this on his `Good Eats' show on oats and I really wished I could find someone with some more details on the technique. Well, here it is. Everything you always wanted to know about making hot breakfast meals with oats, millet, wheat, rice, barley and corn set up the night before and ready for you in the morning.

The next best thing are all the general tips on slow cooking, including suggestions on how to adapt conventional braise, stew, and soup recipes to the slow cooker. One warning from this book which I will repeat here is that while the book includes recipes for several seafood dishes, almost all of them involve adding the seafood near the end of the long cooking period, so there are a fair number of recipes which require some mid-course or landing procedure intervention. But, the authors cover this point again and again.

I am happy to see that the authors avoid endorsing any one slow cooker manufacturer, although they do give some tips on evaluating and selecting a slow cooker and the size of slow cooker best suited to various requirements.

If you like to use the slow cooker or think it will fit into your lifestyle or just enjoy having a good book on every different cooking subject, then this is a book for you.

Highly recommended.

Reviewer: B. Marold

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Which Culinary School Is Right For You?

By: Paul Graham

Are you fresh out of high school, and appreciate good food? The United States has many culinary schools and the job market is booming, so if you have ever been curious about the possibility of turning a natural love into a career, read on. At the very least, you will have fun choosing which culinary school would be perfect for you.

1. Art Institute (AI)

This institution's culinary program is excellent. They are actually one of the leading institutions for students who are looking for not just a culinary school but a place that greatly specializes in the creative arts. Culinary programs of the Art Institutes are top-notch education and training in the following culinary fields of expertise: culinary arts, the art of cooking, restaurant and catering management, baking and pastry and culinary management. The availability of these culinary programs may vary from one Art Institute culinary school to another. It’s best to call your chosen campus location first to verify if they’re offering the courses that you’re interested in. This will help you save time in trying to find the best suited culinary school for you.

2. Atlantic Culinary Academy

The Atlantic Culinary Academy is actually a division of the popular McIntosh college. This culinary school boasts programs that specialize in Le Cordon Bleu training as well as associate degrees in Culinary Arts. This culinary school is known for being able to teach and train its students in just 18 months. And, in addition to the completion of their culinary courses, the students will also earn the Le Cordon Bleu Diplome, a highly recognized international culinary arts diploma.

3. California Culinary Academy

In San Francisco, California, this school is located in San Francisco’s Civic Center district as well as in the hip and stylish Portrero Hill district. Aspiring chefs flock to this culinary school because it is internationally known for being able to produce some of the world’s best chefs. This is made possible through their extensive training programs, great cooking facilities, and excellent instructors.

4. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

This school has several locations in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Las Vegas and Florida to name a few. It is a culinary school that is highly revered for its Associate of Occupational Science Degree In Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts. There is a fifteen month program that includes a highly extensive cooking technique and training program, but what makes this school unique is their inclusion of an internship wherein the students of this culinary school will gain over one hundred hours of real on-the-job experience before they ever leave. This is a classical culinary school for aspiring chefs, and oh yes, one more thing, it is also incredibly demanding.

5. Online Certificate
For those who simply don’t have the luxury of time to just actually go to a normal culinary school, there is the Art Institute Online, that hopes to be able to reach out to more students who are interested in taking up art courses as well as courses regarding culinary arts. This online program is actually uniquely designed for working people who have already earned their Associate’s degree. Of interest, this program combines all kinds of courses such as human resource management to law and ethics and accounting. Why, you ask? The program is aimed towards culinary arts students who are thinking of opening their own restaurant someday.

About the Author:

For more great culinary school related articles and resources check out

Read more articles by: Paul Graham

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Use Fresh Herbs In Your Cooking

By: Lee Dobbins

Many common herbs that you might use in cooking are well known for there healing properties. Using them in cooking is a great way to incorporate the healing attributes of natural herbs with your meals. Chances are you probably already use some herbs in your cooking like basil and thyme but experimenting with even more herbs can add taste to your dishes while improving health.

Cooking with fresh herbs is just as easy as using dried herbs. Just chop up a bit of the herb and season to taste. You will need to use about twice as much of the fresh herb than the dried. You may want to wait until the last 20 minutes of cooking to add the herb so the taste stays crisp. Herbs can be used to flavor any foods. Commonly used in pasta sauces, herbs can also be added to soups, oils, eggs and even desserts and drinks.

You can grow your own herbs in the garden on window sill and have fresh herbs all the time. Some grocery stores have fresh herbs right in the produce section and, of course, you can always find dried herbs in the baking section. If you grow your own herbs, you can freeze them or dry them yourself in a dehydrator to have for future use.

Here's some food and herb combinations that I like to use when cooking with fresh herbs:

• Eggs with dill
• Pesto with basil
• Mint in any tea or punch
• Parsley with salad
• Rosemary and Thyme on oven roasted potatoes
• Basil and sage added to flavor butter

If you have a special condition or illness that might be treated with herbs, then feel free to incorporate the herbs into your usual cooking. Start by adding a small amount of the herb(s) and taste - add more to suit. This is a great way to realize the healthy benefit of herbs without having to remember to take pills.

About the Author:

Lee Dobbins writes for pet and health related websites. Visit

Read more articles by: Lee Dobbins

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Tips on cooking hard boiled eggs

Make sure that the water you use is not warm or hot, cover the eggs at least an inch above with the water in the saucepan or pot. Place the pot on medium high, when it starts to boil, turn it off but leave the pot for 10-15 minutes with its cover on.

After the time has elapsed, make sure that you have ice water in a bowl, transfer the eggs into the ice water. Then you should be able to peel the eggs with no problem because the ice water will expand the egg shell, making it easier for you to peel the shell off the egg.This should work - I boil eggs all the time because my toddler likes it.

(From Yahoo Answers)

Some of the traditional italian methods of cooking food

Fresh ingredients and simple techniques are key to one of the world's most loved cuisines.

It's true that Italians have a passion for life, and one of life's great pleasures is good food. Take, for example, Italy's renowned food markets; the fresh local fruits, vegetables, and seafood one finds make it clear that Italian food is really all about using the freshest ingredients available and bringing out their flavors. It's a cuisine that one does not tire of easily, because it runs the gamut from rich and complex to light and simple.

Course by Course
Italian cooking is healthful, and so is the Italian way of eating. A typical meal consists of several courses, none of which dominates the meal, so that portion sizes need not be as large. The first course (primo piatto) is usually a soup, pasta, or risotto. The second course (secondo piatto) is a meat, fish, or chicken dish that's accompanied by a vegetable and followed by a salad. The meal often ends with fruit rather than a dessert (although occasionally Italians do like to indulge in something sweet).

Few cuisines have the breadth and influence of Italy's, so it was no small chore to select the following recipes. They both represent the different courses of a typical meal and exemplify the essential qualities of Italian food.

(From Yahoo Answers)

How safe is microwave cooking?

In the inception stages, microwave cooking was not accepted, as is the case with any new invention.

Subsequent changes in designs have perfected this gadget, and it very useful in the current times. It cooks at faster speeds, the food does not lose any vitamin and nutrients, and a variety of options are available, like spin cook, grill, and various time settings.Non veg food that normally takes hours, is cooked gently,thoroughly & fast.

(From Yahoo Answers)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals

Attractively designed and extensively illustrated with color photographs, line drawings, charts, and sidebars, this contemporary introduction to cooking and food preparation focuses on information that is relevant to today's aspiring chef. Comprehensive and well-written, it emphasizes an understanding of cooking fundamentals, explores the preparation of fresh ingredients, and provides information on other relevant topics, such as food history and food science. This introduction to cooking outlines professionalism, food safety and sanitation, nutrition, recipes and menus, tools and equipment, knife skills, kitchen staples, dairy products, principles of meat, fish and vegetable cookery, garde manger, baking, and presentation. For Chefs, Restaurant Managers and others in the food service industry.

All American Potato Salad

Note that this recipe calls for celery seed, not celery salt; if only celery salt is available, use the same amount but omit the addition of salt in the dressing. When testing the potatoes for doneness, simply taste a piece; do not overcook the potatoes or they will become mealy and will break apart. The potatoes must be just warm, or even fully cooled, when you add the dressing. If you find the potato salad a little dry for your liking, add up to 2 tablespoons more mayonnaise.


2 pounds russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Table salt
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 medium rib of celery , chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons minced red onion
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 cup mayonnaise (see note)
3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (optional)


Place potatoes in large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.

Drain potatoes and transfer to large bowl. Add vinegar and, using rubber spatula, toss gently to combine. Let stand until potatoes are just warm, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together celery, onion, pickle relish, mayonnaise, mustard powder, celery seed, parsley, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, gently fold dressing and eggs, if using, into potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour; serve. (Potato salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

More free weekly recipes

The Professional Chef's Techniques of Healthy Cooking, Second Edition

To put this review into perspective for you, it is written by a serious student of cooking that has been actively studying food on their own for 25 years. I have been focusing on Italian food for the last 10 years. My favorite cookbook is "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute of America.

This book is laid out as follows:
Section One: Healthy Cooking
1. The language of nutrition
2. The pyramids
Section Two: The Principles of Healthy Cooking
3. The elements of flavor
4. Fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes
5. Cooking with less fat
6. Moderating Salt
7. Sweeteners
8. Beverages
9. The techniques of healthy cooking
10. Agricultural issues in ingredient selection
Section Three: Creating and Marketing Healthy Menus
11. Menu and recipe development
12. Analyzing the nutrient content of recipes
13. Nutrition Labeling in menus and advertisements
14. Staff training and customer satisfaction
Section Four: The recipes

The book is geared to the professional kitchen. However, there is much information in this book for the home cook beyond the recipes. Many of the same considerations that the restaurant must address should be part of the menu development in the home.

If you are looking for ways to improve the "health quotient" of the meals you prepare your family, you will enjoy this book. All the recipes in this book have complete nutrition stats including: calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugar, and protein.

The book does a nice job of explaining smoking and the flavors given to foods by various wood chips. Their recipe for oven-smoked tomatoes (without purchasing a separate smoker, I used a heavy lidded roaster) was extremely easy to follow and turned out wonderfully.

The recipe section is more than 2/3's of the book. The recipes are developed for larger quantities than most home cooks will prepare. I have not had any difficulty reducing the size of the recipes to accomodate my family. The recipe for Risotto Cakes and Green Beans with Chanterelles was fabulous, as was the one for Chianti Granita. The recipe for pasta that uses only egg whites is also very nice, and versatile. Of the recipes that I have prepared so far, all of them have been very good.

I consider this book to be a valuable addition to my cookbook library. If you want to cook more healthfully, you will enjoy this book.

Reviewer: Amalfi Coast Girl

Cook'n & Grill'n The Barbeque! Bible

The ultimate live-fire recipe organizer with over 500 recipes from the author of the best-selling Barbecue Bible, grilling guru Steven Raichlen.

Cook'n for Kids

Cook'n for Kids Cook'n for Kids is a fun, easy-to-use program for teaching cooking basics while entertaining your young chef. Delicious recipes and rich multimedia make learning to cook fun and educational. Including over 150 "how-to" video clips and 100 fun and easy recipes with color, Cook'n for kids is the perfect way to introduce your child to the world of cooking. Cook'n for Kids features special menus to throw your own theme party with food to match. Just select one of Cook'n's preset menus. Also look for tricky and fun games that test your cooking skills by tracking down the thief who stole Grandma's secret recipe, or solve challenging and quirky cooking related riddles. In addition, your child will learn how to use cooking tools and utensils, proper preparation methods and etiquette such as setting the table, which utensils to use, where the napkin goes, when to start eating, and more. Cook'n for Kids also focuses on nutrition information, food facts, history and kitchen safety.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Hummus is a tasty and nutritious dip.


Nutrition information (per 100 g)
950 kJ (227 kcal)
Protein 7.4 g
Total fat 12.8 g
Saturated fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated fat 4.5 g
Monounsaturated fat 7.0 g
Total carbohydrates 23.5 g
Sugars 4.1 g
Dietary fiber 5.8 g
Sodium 430 m


  • 3 cups raw dried chickpeas (or skip the soaking and cooking steps, and use 7 cups of drained tinned chickpeas)
  • 9 cups water (twice)
  • 1 T cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup (175 g) tahini
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 12 cloves of garlic (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • approximately 3/4 cup chickpea cooking liquid


  1. Soak the chickpeas in the water overnight, then drain (skip this step if you are using a pressure cooker).
  2. Gently simmer the chickpeas with the next lot of water (generously salted) and the tablespoon of oil until very soft, but still whole (about 3 hours, or 1 1/2 hours if using a pressure cooker).
  3. Drain the chickpeas, and reserve a few cups of the cooking liquid (you will need it later).
  4. Rinse the chickpeas with plenty of cold water, while doing so, gently rub them between your hands to release the skins, they should float away with the rinsing water. After a several changes of water, and removing a majority of the skins, drain the chickpeas again.
  5. Using a food processor (or other means), mix the lemon juce with the tahini.
  6. Process (or mash) the chickpeas in batches, using the lemon juce and tahini mixture, the olive oil, and the cooking liquid as required to maintain the desired consistency (add the garlic to the batch with the olive oil, and process until smooth).
  7. In a large bowl, using a spoon, mix the salt and pepper into the other blended ingredients (add additional cooking liquid, if still too thick).

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Use a pot that will hold several times the volume of the chickpeas and the water for cooking the chickpeas, because they will foam (the tablespoon of oil minimises that, however).
  • Use olive oil (or Canola oil, it's cheaper) instead of the reserved cooking liquid to thin the hummus, it's nicer, but not as good for you. Alternatively, mix in a tablespoons of olive oil into a serving before eating.
  • It's particularly good when eaten with sliced french stick (bread), but is also a nutritionally sound alternative to most other dips.
  • Hummus freezes really well, so consider making a double batch, and then freezing most of it in containers small enough to hold two servings (they can be defrosted overnight in the refrigerator, as needed).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What is a good cooking magazine?

Cooks Illustrated is fabulous! It's done by the people who do the show America's Test Kitchen. They review lots of cooking equipment in addition to having recipes. If you want to learn cooking techniques and even a little of the science behind the dish, not just recipes, this is a great magazine. They are also very pretty, as far as magazines go.

Cooking Light is also really excellent. Never mind that the recipes are designed to be more healthful than usual. They give a great deal of information about the technique as well as the backgrounds of dishes, and their departments are organized so you will find several different examples of a certain type of dish, or dishes featuring specific ingredients, etc. Also, they have a website that is jam-packed with information.

(From Yahoo Answers)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook: 200 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

I have every one of the South Beach Books. Phase 1 third day of the 2nd week is the hardest to get through. Your body has rid itself of those high glycemic foods, so you crave and want to eat some bread or other processed white flour food item.
I have done every and I mean every diet out there (Atkins, Weight Watchers,Soup diet,Slim for Life, Slim Fast, American Heart Assoc. I also took Redux to lose weight which has caused me some heart trouble. Everytime any of the above was done I would loose then fall off the diet and gain what I lost plus an additional 20+ lbs. This was the only one which made since for me and has allowed me to have that cookie, french fry, or brownie once in a while and still keep on the diet.

I enjoy this cookbook more as it is simple. The first cookbook was too in depth. More for chefs to cook with vs a working person. I hate having to be in the kitchen cooking for hours even when I was not dieting. Very simple recipes that allow short prep times. The fewer the ingredients the better for me. Best part helps with the making of a grocery list and tells you which foods to always keep on hand, so when you need to fix a fast meal you have everything.

The South Beach Diet book is a must and you need to read through it. I skipped over the stories after a couple and went to the heart of what Dr. Agatston states about his diet (Not really a diet for me, just a guide to great healthy eating). Do highlight,write in the margins and use post it notes as you read the first book. This diet(guide to healthy eating) is about making your body work to process the foods which you eat instead of eating processed/high glycemic foods which your body doesn't have to work much to process. He even gives you a list of acceptable foods to eat in Phase 1. I leave this on my refrigerator even now, to remind myself that even though I am not in Phase 1 I still eat those foods which are best during Phase 1.
What I took from his books: Eat to live with the right vegetables, dairy products,proteins and fruits.

Reviewer: Suzan Plummer "Suzan"

Jamie's Dinners: The Essential Family Cookbook

I'm a big JO fan, and ordered this book from the site, so I've had it for a few weeks now. This is, by far, Jamie's best cookbook to date - the recipes are easy and nutritious without being too "out there" with weird ingredients (ie the beet cake in last book - yuck), there's a large section on how to make tasty foods that kids will eat, fantastic ideas for packed lunches... I'm very happy with this book. Three cheers to Jamie for giving us a cookbook that's actually USEFUL!!

Reviewer: E. Norwig

Cooking Healthy For Radiant Health

by: Adoz Lizzat

Who can resist the mouth-watering pictures in a cookbook? Who doesn’t have childhood memories of the fragrances that wafted from the kitchen on holidays, and even on regular, ordinary days? Spices, bread baking, cookies fresh out of the oven – all these trigger a deep longing in most of us. As eating holds a guaranteed spot in everybody’s daily schedule, so do those who prepare it. They have beome the uncrowned gods and goddesses of our lives.

Real cooking consists of more than opening a can with a dull picture of green beans on the front, or popping a TV dinner from a wax-covered box into the oven or microwave. The true goal of cooking is to nourish these marvelous bodies that we live in, to allow them to grow and express vitality and strength, to keep them healthy and able to overcome environmental germs and bacteria. Summarized in one word, the main purpose of cooking is heath!

When does a fruit or vegetable (or any baked item) furnish us with the most nutrition? The experts feel that food grown in one’s own environment will usually contain the most nutrition. Freshly harvested food provides the maximum nutritional value. After a fruit or vegetable has been sitting for several days, or transported around the world, the value of the vitamins and minerals diminishes.

The best means of ‘cooking’ fruits and vegetables for their health value is to eat them raw in salads or as snacks. As soon as heat is applied, a good quantity of the nutrition is destroyed. A good cook can prepare a beautiful plate with the natural colors of freshly picked fruits and vegetables.

Genetically engineered food has infiltrated the growing of almost all crops. This procedure didn’t exist until the last decade, and it remains highly controversial as the long range effect on humans has never been tested.

Briefly described, this procedure consists of infecting a healthy seed or grain with various bacteria or insects to lengthen its shelf life, to make it look ‘pretty’ for the consumer long after the nutritional value has dissolved. This not only has a negative effect on one’s health, but leaves the cook with a less than delicious product to serve.

Cooking with natural foods that are organically grown (that means with no harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers) gives today’s health conscious cooks the best chance to delight in the time spent shopping and in the kitchen. Whipping up a carrot cake that will enchant both family and friends (best make two cakes while you’re at it), or preparing a quick but nutritious breakfast so the body will gleefully handle the challenges of the day without needing to be drugged by coffee or caffeine, make heading for the kitchen the favorite part of the day! Truly the cook is the god of the household!

About The Author

Adoz Lizzat is the brain behind Recipes Galore An Outstanding Resource for all Cooking Requirements. Deals with all cooking requirments. Please visit for more information.

Daisy Cooks!: Latin Flavors That Will Rock Your World

I do agree with some of the reviewers that Daisy can be somewhat perky and annoying in her television show - but every time I watched it, I found myself salivating over those dishes. I anxiously awaited this book, thinking about all the things I would make - especially the homemade sofrito as I was sick of buying the frozen stuff at my local bodega.

I was not disappointed! This book is gorgeous to look at - nice pictures of the food and Daisy's beautiful family. And the recipes are not hard at all. I have been cooking away like a fiend - recreating many of the recipes featured on her PBS show. No one here has been unhappy - or hungry since! The sofrito recipe makes all that frozen stuff appear flavorless! We especially enjoyed the Chicken Diablo recipe - really amazing! Daisy DOES rock!

Reviewer: Sparkle Reed "smartmouth"

Garde Manger, The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen

Many of the readers have commented that this book is for professionals only. I happen to disagree with this opinion as there are no prerequisites required to understand the instruction given within. Having said this, if you are not even curious of understading the fundamentals of lets say for example, sausage making, there is no need to buy this book, you can find great sausage at the grocery store without the hassle of making it at home.

So this book, yes it is for professionals but also for anybody who wants to understand (and even apply)the nuts and bolts of the cold kitchen. Personally I think that understanding the method that is used to prepare something, gives one a greater appreciation of that something when it is offered to him/her.

So for all of you non-professionals, if you are simply curious, about how to make salad dressings, terrines, or bologna for that matter, this book is written in laymans terms and will be an interesting journey into the world of Garde Manger.

Reviewer: Cosmas Bisticas "Chez Cosmo"

10 Steps For Cooking-Up Family Memories

by: Geoffrey Cook

The kitchen is the perfect place for making memories. When you spend time baking, cooking and enjoying meals with your family, you create happy memories you and your children will cherish forever.

The benefits of preparing and enjoying food as a family are clear. You save money and eat healthier meals. You create opportunities to connect and communicate with your children and spouse. And most importantly, you show love for your family when you spend time cooking and eating with them. Children of all ages need your attention and your time. By working together to create a meal or bake a batch of cookies, you spend valuable time together.

So, here are 10 steps to get your family cooking up memories.

Step 1:

Teach small children the fun of cooking by helping them bake cookies and cakes. If you are short on time, you can use a boxed cookie mix and spend more time decorating.

Step 2:

Encourage the littlest ones to play pretend cooking. Kids love to play with real mixing bowls, strainers and wooden spoons. These make harmless toys and can be easily thrown in the dishwasher for quick cleanup.

Step 3:

If you live by your day-timer, schedule in baking cookies with your kids. Our schedules can be so hectic that something as simple as baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies can get skipped over. Write it down and do it.

Step 4:

If you have teenagers, let them play their favorite music while they wash the lettuce and set the table.

Step 5:

Work together with your spouse to prepare the dinner and use the time to catch up on each other's day.

Step 6:

Even if you are in a rush preparing dinner, remember to reduce your stress and focus on creating a fun atmosphere that naturally encourages the whole family to participate.

Step 7:

When spending time preparing food with your children, include lessons about healthy eating choices. Keep the conversation positive and avoid listing foods they can't have.

Step 8:

On days where you anticipate time will be tight, consider taking a short cut by using a frozen stir-fry mix or pasta with a jar of pre-made sauce. Your family will appreciate your relaxed mood much more than a made-from-scratch dinner.

Step 9:

Share the job of grocery shopping. One week have mom take one of the children as a helper, the next week dad can go with another child. Always work from a grocery list and let your children help you retrieve items and cross them off the list.

Step 10:

Have big family meals where you share about your day. Keep the conversation fun and avoid negative lectures over dinner. Remember to laugh.

Take these steps today and make your kitchen a fun and memorable place for your whole family.

About The Author

Geoffrey Cook

You too, can manoeuvre in the unfamiliar waters of gourmet cuisine, with just a few well-learned techniques that are easy to master, and build a repertoire of literally hundreds of dishes and deserts. Let Geoffrey set you on the path today, to gastronomical delights!

Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes

I have only begun trying to cook in the last couple of years. My father gave me this book for Christmas last year to my surprise. I love her show but always thought everything looked too fattening and complicated to actually make, but what a lovely surprise this book turned out to be. For a beginner cook, this has helped me tremendously! From every basic sauce to every classic Italian dish, Giada makes it so simple to understand and try. True, the book is lacking in a lot of photos of the food, but the recipes are so well written and clear that I haven't really had the need for the pictures. So far every dish I have tried has turned out amazing!!

What I find the most interesting is how many of the recipes require so few ingredients. Her penne with asparagus, smoked mozzarella, and prosciutto is absolutely to die for! I truly feel this book has helped me start to master "the basics" of Italian cooking. After I've covered the majority of this book, I am looking forward to trying her 2nd one, which in my opinion looks a little more challenging in terms of Italian cooking. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is new to cooking, wanting to learn how to make Italian food at a casual pace without just jumping in head first.

Reviewer: K. McNulty "Food Lover"

Dark Tort: A Novel of Suspense (Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries)

Goldy Shulz, the sleuthing caterer of Aspen Meadows, Colorado, has fallen into a tub of butter. She has landed a cushy job fixing breakfasts and occasional lunches for the lawyers of a local upscale law firm. Dusty, her young friend and neighbor, is a paralegal with the firm. Dusty tells her that she wants to learn to cook for someone special in her life and enlists Goldy as her mentor. The two agree to meet in the law firm's kitchen late one evening to do the preparation for an early morning client brunch, and Goldy is running late. She rushes into a darkened lobby only to trip over Dusty's body, the victim of a brutal murder.

Dusty's heartbroken mother, who distrusts police after her son died in police custody, begs Goldy to investigate. Evidence begins to point to a romantic involvement between Dusty and someone in the firm. When Goldy asks that Dusty's home computer be delivered to her at home, the man carrying the computer is struck by a speeding car. Others associated with Dusty are threatened, with Goldy herself becoming the target of the killer.

Goldy's policeman husband, Tom, is in equal parts supportive and frustrated by Goldy's determination to go beyond the usual investigative boundaries to find Dusty's killer. This tasty mystery dish is served up with a banquet of delicious recipes from Goldy's endless menu of delights.

The 13th Goldy Shulz mystery finds one important change. The recipes, which are many and delightful, have been scattered throughout the prior books, which always seemed to interrupt the flow of the story. This time, they're gathered neatly at the end, making them not only easier to find and enjoy, but allowing us to charge ahead with the tastiest morsel on Diane Mott Davidson's menu --- the plot.



This is one of the most entertaining books I have ever read. The fact that it is about kitchens and food and chefs, etc. hardly matters: it is, first and last, a swashbuckling adventure in which our hero, the author, driven by curiosity and some unreasonable lust for kitchen skills, faces the heat in the kitchens of a couple of the most outsized, megalomaniacal chefs in the world and in a butcher shop in Italy. There is gossip of rare incision, gory details that beggar fiction, scenarios beyond the imagination of theater, all falling over each other pell-mell because Bill Buford's lust for skills and experience is like a locomotive and his writing is brilliant.

His humility is the subject, really. It makes the story possible, makes the humor irresistable, puts him in situations that most of us are too proud to ever experience, and gives his prose the most winning lightness and warmth. By the end of the book, which I lamented like I was losing a pal, it became clear that Buford is a sort of modern-day Don Quixote, venturing forth into the unkown driven by a vague but powerful sense of childlike curiosity... actually, maybe he is the Elephant Child, repeatedly spanked by the grownups for his "Satiable Curtiosity"... or maybe he's a new breed of Late-Empire reporter, dutifully recording the vicissitudes of our wealth-enabled excesses from the foxholes of gluttony. Fact remains that he has shown us something keenly observed, something that is right under our noses but almost invisible, and he has done it so well because he is so omnivorous in his hunger for experience and so teachable. Here's another stab at describing Mr. Buford: he is the anti-Bond, in no way jaded, un-blinkered by savoir-faire, open to the world, and fantastically observant as a result.

This is great reportage, great story-telling, great humor... I strongly recommend it, especially if you loved Kitchen Confidential and The Reach of a Chef. Outstanding.

Reviewer: J. V. Lewis

Friday, August 04, 2006

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Oh, you are really going to enjoy this book...while you're reading it, that is. Then afterwards you'll be torn between the memories of the hilarious antics Bourdain describes in his book...and memories of the disgusting things that go on every day in restaurant kitchens. Believe it or not, it IS worth reading! (And take it from a former restaurant manager, it is, unfortuately, true - the after-hours shenanigans, especially!)

Bourdain has put together a truly gonzo collection of restaurant tales that aren't all depraved...but, like his restaurateur/chef subjects, most of them are! Kudos to him for a book that is this honest while being this hysterical. If you have the, um, stomach for it, this is a book you'll remember fondly. Well worth digesting!

Reviewer: J.A. Davis