Saturday, February 27, 2010
2009, 272 pages
Before I post a review for a cookbook, I should probably note that I'm pretty much a beginner when it comes to cooking. I haven't had much experience in the kitchen until this year, and I'm still garnering the skills (and motivation) to cook for myself on a regular basis. That being said, I've found that I really enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes, even when my "experiments" don't always turn out the way I planned!
Anyway, onto the review!
I picked up So Easy after reading a great review at Beth Fish Reads, and I definitely wasn't disappointed by it. The recipes in this cookbook are broken up into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert; and each meal is further divided in to one chapter devoted to quick, on the run, recipes, and one for more leisurely cooking. I really liked this set up, as my own life requires quick meals during the week, but I enjoy spending more time in the kitchen on weekends.
Krieger focuses on simple, healthy recipes, and gives the nutritional information for every dish, which I really appreciate in a cookbook. The recipes are straightforward, with clear instructions - such that even my tendency to mess up recipes was subverted. I also liked that she sprinkled tips throughout the book, for example information on how best to store a type of dish, or suggestions of ways to brighten up a simple sandwich.
Her pictures are beautiful - I need pictures in cookbooks to let me know if my recipe turned out like it was supposed to, and my only complaint is that not every recipe had a picture for me to compare the results with!
Over the last month I've tried a bunch of different recipes from this cookbook, and the results have ranged from a thoroughly satisfying meal to an absolutely delicious dish that I hope to make again soon. Oddly enough, I enjoyed the breakfast recipes the most, even though that's the one meal I always have the least time for. I actually cooked up her breakfast recipes for lunches or dinners instead! Below are pictures of some of my more successful attempts, although my food photography skills do leave something to be desired...
My favorite recipe that I tried was her beef taco salad as a "lunch to go". This recipe was a welcome relief from the salads that I ordinarily make for myself. It involved cooking ground beef on a skillet with beans and garlic, and then combining that with lettuce and a homemade dressing made from tomatoes, olive oil, and lime juice. It surprised me how quick and easy this meal was to prepare, but then again I always get nervous when cooking meat is involved. My only complaint is that it didn't hold up well in the fridge, and when I tried to pack it for work it wasn't nearly as good as when it was freshly made.
Here are a couple of dinner recipes that I tried, both from the "quick dinners" chapter. First is the Tri-color pepper steak, which was my first experience cooking beef... ever. But I really enjoyed this recipe, especially because it included liberal amounts of bell peppers, which are one of my favorite veggies! It did take me longer than I had expected to prepare - I think about an hour - despite the fact that it was in the quick dinners section. The next picture is of her Asian noodle bowl, which I also enjoyed because it was so full of vegetables and flavor!
Hopefully these pictures give you a feel for what the recipes in this cookbook are like. I definitely recommend it as a great source of healthy, easy recipes. Although I had to return my copy to the library last week, I first transcribed many more recipes to try and hopefully will get around to making them soon!
Beth Fish Reads. Head over there to see more food-related posts!