Title: America's Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook
Author: Americas Test Kitchens
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Boston Common Press
Source: personal copy / Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 11/8/2011
Rating: 5/5Recommend: yes
I've always loved looking at beautiful cookbooks, especially ones that have beautiful, mouth-watering illustrations, and recipes that are not too complicated or time consuming. This is my first experience with ATK's Cookbooks, and it's all that I look for in a cookbook and more (some recipes are a bit more involved and/or take longer to prepare.)
The book has (51) different complete menus for every occasion, special occasions and holidays included. There are about (250) different recipes all together. What is great is that there are seasonal recipes with lighter dinners, cold soups etc. for summer entertaining, and more substantial meals in fall and winter months. All the recipes are for 8-12 people, and the idea is that you can prepare these dishes ahead of time so that when your guests arrive, you can spend less time in the kitchen, and more time with your guests.
There are several things I like about this book, especially if I were to give it as a gift to someone just starting out. At the beginning of the book there is a section on cookware and tools to make your life easier in the kitchen. (with all the gadgets now available, this can be very confusing when you are a novice in the kitchen). Every menu shows what can be done in advance and when, but they leave it up to you to actual do the implementation, and there is even an emergency substitution list that is terrific if you've run out of an item. I also liked the sections on Quick Preparation Tips and Clever Serving Tricks and Clean-Up Ease. Last minutes appetizers and Easy Desserts were also great.
All this plus simply gorgeous, glossy illustrations, and this book will be one that you would be proud to display on a coffee table.
Some of my favorites (all of the desserts make me drool) which I plan to try are:
- Elegant Salmon Dinner - Israeli Couscous with caramelized fennel and spinach
- New England Cod and Potato Dinner
- Tomato and Mozzarella Tart (made with sheets of frozen pastry puff)
- Mushroom Pasta Supper
- Beef Tenderloin Dinner - potato and fennel gratin
- Individual Hot Fudge Pudding Cakes served with ice cream
- Lemon cheesecake with hazelnut crust
- Lemon Tarts (to die for)
- Oatmeal fudge bars
- Cranberry upside down cake