Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cookbook Review: Soups, Stews, and One-Pot Meals

I imagine that someone, anyone, reading my blog would come to the part where I saw that I never learned to cook and would roll their eyes. The thing is, there's more to it. I can pop open a book and follow directions as well as the next girl (or guy). The problem is that about three out of four times, things just don't turn out the way they were supposed to. Either that or I have a heck of a knack for picking the worst recipes ever. So, I don't buy cookbooks. I borrow them from the local library. Tonight I tried out Tom Valenti's Soups, Stews, and One-Pot Meals. Let me tell you, this is a winner!

I was in the mood for something special, but something in keeping with my pursuit of living processed-food-free. The recipe I made was Simmered Shrimp Saute with Shiitake Mushrooms and Scallions. The directions were clear. The ingredients were common, with the possible exception of capers. I happened to have some in the fridge, so I was in luck. I didn't keep track of how long it took me to prepare this meal. I would say this isn't a super fast recipe, but also not one that takes a long time to prepare. The longest part for me was peeling the shrimp. If you find peeled butterflied shrimp you are home free. And the taste! Rich with a sophisticated melding of flavors, but not over-the-top. The recipe says it serves four. I divided it between the three of us and it was too much. I would say this serves six.

I suspect this cookbook would be a good one to have on the shelf as a go-to when preparing something special for company or special occasions. But a number of reviewers on said they use this cookbook frequently. If the majority of recipes in the book are comparable in taste and prep time, I might actually buy this book.

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