Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Cookbook Review - Cooking for Two, 2010 - The Year's Best Recipes Cut Down to Size

Cooking for Two 2010
The Year's Best Recipes Cut Down to Size
America's Test Kitchen
Hardcover, 312 pages

I love, love, love this concept. ATK takes the most popular dishes of the year and pares them down to two-person servings. How brilliant is that? This works out perfectly for people like us, whose nest is more and more empty as time goes on, or others who are singles or couples and don't always want to cook for a crowd.
Most recipes are geared for at least four, often more, leading to math issues which, for me, can often be messy. Cooking for Two presents the recipes to serve two, and also contains great ideas on what to do with that leftover half a pineapple, buttermilk, cabbage, etc., as well as offering you tips and advice gleaned from the many trials and tests they do in their famous Test Kitchen. It is a book that works.

We first sampled the Stir-Fried Shrimp, Pineapple, and Red Onion with Sweet and Sour Sauce. This is take-out done at home, sweet and savoury and delicious. Perfectly balanced for two people - at a fraction of the price of ordering in. No leftovers and no guilt.

The Pan-Seared Salmon with Lentils and Swiss Chard was a scaled-down version of a French classic. Elegant and easy, and super healthy. This is a dish we will be repeating again and again.

The Chicken Vesuvio was an easy to put together one-pan dish that delivered in the flavour department. Moist and tender chicken on crispy/tender potatoes, easily spiced to your liking with extra chili flakes.

Needing a long, slow simmer in the oven but not much prep time, the Osso Buco is a weekend favourite. Buying two cuts of veal doesn't seem so cost prohibitive as buying a whole tray, and it was absolutely delicious served on a bed of egg noodles.

One of my favourite aspects of Cooking for Two 2010 is the Desserts section. I love the fact that they are small and perfectly measured out. Scaling down baking recipes can be exceptionally difficult but ATK does the work for you - all you need is a few diminutive baking pans. We loved this Lemon-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with our tea.

And finally, my favourite, the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. This six-inch cake is the cutest thing ever and just as delicious. Real, fresh pineapple chopped up and nesting in a layer of delicious brown sugar and butter - topped with batter and then flipped over when done so that the buttery-sweet juices run down the cake... mmmmm. Delicious.

We definitely have a winner with this book, great recipes and a great concept. I know that my first Angel Food Cake will be from this book - the mini one uses only three egg whites. Fantastic!