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I just received and read this cookbook, and it's worth the price. I've been following Lucy Vaserfirer's blog for some time, so I was happy to support her endeavor in writing a cookbook. I'm a food blogger, myself, but I cannot imagine writing a cookbook of my own. I'm simply don't have the time. With that said, I'm an aficionado of searing & roasting. It's how I cook, several time a week. Lucy give very clear instructions on the art of searing. This is a great book for beginners, and even for the more advanced (like me). No, I haven't made any recipes from here... yet. It's just a matter of time, but I can already tell by reading the ingredients that she has a great selection. The lamb chops with rosemary are first on my list of "must try". The only thing I didn't pay attention to, when I bought this book -- and I should have gotten the clue by the inexpensive price (under $13.00)is that the only photograph is on the front cover...which is quite tasty looking. I'm a highly visual person, so I need to try to draw on my imagination in making these. Of course, had she included color photographs with each recipe, the price point would have been at least $40.00 each. Overall, I'll keep the book and will come back to update once I've actually made some of the recipes. Searing is something I teach, myself, to students where I work. I'm glad she wrote this book, as I will recommended whenever I teach a class on searing.
I've never been much of a cook but set my mind to learning while I was on Christmas vacation last year. I stumbled across Lucy's blog, Hungry Cravings, while searching for cookware reviews and started trying some of the recipes from her blog. After a few moderate successes, I ordered this book and started methodically working through the recipes - especially the steaks. The book taught me some basic searing techniques I never knew - how to leave the meat alone until it releases from the pan, how to properly heat the pan, the need to dry the meat before searing it, and so on. Moreover, there are great tips on how to select meats. For instance, I never knew there was a difference between "wet" and "dry" scallops. More recently I've started mixing the recipes. Julienne onions or a mushroom sauce are a staple for just about any steak I make now, and I love a simple garlic butter compound on a pan seared pork chop.
I'm thankful to Lucy's blog (and book) for opening my eyes to good food. Several of her recipes from this book and her blog are in my weekly rotation now - pumpkin creme brulee, lemon-blackberry brulee (my wife's favorite), pan-seared lemon-garlic asparagus (super easy and very flavorful), a variety of steak sauces from this book, potatoes au gratin, truffle infused mashed potatoes, chicken parmesan, and the basic tomato sauce (oh, the wonderful smell when I cook this) to name a few. I'm starting to see major themes in Lucy's recipes and keep copious amounts of Kosher salt, black peppercorns, olive oil, canola oil, Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese, parsley and other spices on hand. I'm convinced I can cook just about any meat with a good fry pan, oil, salt and pepper. :-)
Looking forward to Lucy's next book and will take the opportunity to request some blog posts or a book on dessert souffles please!
I have been following the author's blog Hungry Cravings for a while now and this book is an extension of that blog, educating home cooks on the craft of cooking like a chef. While the book does not have a lot of photography her blog does!
This is a wonderful book that really has helped my cooking all around. Before reading this book and trying many of the recipes, I wouldn't actually get my pans hot enough for a proper Maillard reaction - the result? Dry, gray meats that aren't very tasty and aren't cooked through properly. I would constantly touch the food in the pan, moving it around and preventing it from searing properly. After reading the recipes and making a few mistakes, I realized I needed to stop fussing with the food and just let it cook. This helped greatly and now I am much more comfortable preparing foods than I was before.
Also, before really experimenting with this book I never made sauces with my meals. After cooking with this book and really paying attention I have learned how to make sauces following recipes, but also the fundamentals of sauce making so I am much more willing to try things on my own.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for great tasting and quick recipes (searing is a very quick preparation method), anyone who likes to cook and wants to increase their skill level or anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen.
There is a lot of good information in here but I always feed cheated when a cookbook has no pictures. We eat with our eyes first and presentation is an extremely important part of cooking and dining. That said it is the only publication I know of that so thoroughly explains searing and its importance. Even though I'm grumpy about the lack of pictures I'm glad I added this to my collection.
I love love love this book. I have tried 4 recipes in the first weeek that I received the book, and they all turned out beautifully that I feel like I have been cooking for years. I flambed for the first time in my 51 years and found that it is not so scary after all with the instructions Lucy gives. I have only been cooking for 2 years and I am my worst critique, but I am very confident to use any one of these recipes for my guests. The ingredients are important in a recipe but just as important is the searing technique that Lucy teaches in this book. I am excited and looking forward to try out every recipe in this wonderful book!
I learned many things from this book, and often review the recipes and processes as I cook. Now that I understand searing, it all makes sense. Now I can cook meats that are moist and full of flavor. I love this author! Her new book on flavored butters is delightful.