Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cooking For Two

Cooking for Two: 120 Recipes for Every Day and Those Special NightsCooking for Two: 120 Recipes for Every Day and Those Special Nights by Bruce Weinstein
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I picked up this cookbook hoping for a little bit of inspiration, and I was completely distracted from page 1. What I liked about this book is that from the very start the purpose of the book is clear: two servings, no leftovers. Meaning the measurements in this book are so miniscule, that when it comes to eggs, the recipes call for quail eggs or egg beaters. This truly is a book dedicated to cooking for two. Personally I like leftovers, so I'm off to find a book about cooking for four.

This book had a huge variety of recipe types, which would make it perfect for the cook who wants to try a new flavor without having to make a huge batch. There were a lot of ethnic ingredients, but the book conveniently includes an online source for many ingredients, as well as cooking/baking supplies. The book also includes helpful substitutions and helpful to do and what not to do tips. Probably one of the best displays of "personal cooking" recipes I've ever seen, meaning that I felt like someone had really taken the time to make the recipe and wrote it the way that people really cook.

Overall I only gave this book two stars because there wasn't really anything (other than the desserts) that I would really give a try to make in such small portions. Most of the recipes were just too weird for my midwestern palate, and when I did find something I wanted to try, it required an unusual ingredient that I'm not willing to purchase online. (I LIKE food that I can buy from my own grocery store, it's a convenience thing.) I will probably make a few of the desserts at some point in the future, as the idea of baking in small quantities suits my sweet snacking needs better than making a big batch.

Synopsis: Tea for two. That's what it's all about, right? So how come every recipe you pick up says "serves 4 to 6"? Or more! What do you do when you want macaroni and cheese, but don't want to be reheating it for three nights? Or a couple of cookies, but don't want to be tempted by two dozen sitting on the counter all week?

Creative cookbook authors and cooks Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have all the answers in Cooking for Two.

Brimming with 120 smaller-serving, big-taste recipes,Cooking for Two offers cooks familiar favorites such as PastaBolognese, Chicken Pot Pie, and Mushroom Barley Soup, as well as new dishes for today's tastes like Pork Satay Salad and Snapper Fillets Sautéed with Orange and Pecans.
Simply cutting down larger recipes leads to wasted ingredients. But Bruce and Mark have developed each recipe so you buy only what you need, and use all of what you buy. Instead of opening a can of vegetable stock only to use three tablespoons, use the liquid the dried mushrooms have soaked in. If an onion is too large for a recipe, chop a shallot instead.

The dessert chapters are filled with cookies, puddings, and cakes, all designed for two servings. Small-batch baking requires strict attention to detail. A regular egg can be too big for a small batch of six cookies, so they suggest quail eggs or the easy-to-find pasteurized egg substitutes, which you can measure out in tablespoons.

Truly a cookbook for everyday use, each recipe is labeled as quick (ready in minutes with minimal cooking), moderate (requires a bit more preparation or cooking), or leisurely (perfect for quiet celebrations or weekend meals) to help you decide which dish best fits into your day.

With ingredient and equipment guides, as well as tips on how to stock your pantry to avoid those there's-nothing-in-the-house-so-let's-go-out moments, Cooking for Two will surely become the cookbook you reach for every night of the week.

It's just two perfect.

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