Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes by Cat Cora

Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes by Cat Cora

Description from the publisher:
***To be published June 2, 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt***
On the wildly popular show Iron Chef America, Cat Cora uses her instincts to transform random ingredients into exciting creations on a moment’s notice. In this book, she turns her eye to some of our most popular dishes to make them faster, fresher, and lighter. These are the swift meals that Cat relies on when she comes home from work to cook for her own family: Greek-Style Nachos, Grilled Chili-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos, Crispy Baked Fish Stix with Mustard Dipping Sauce, Quick Chicken Curry with Peas, and Sour-Cherry-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes. In dishes like Baked “Fried” Calamari with Marinara Dipping Sauce and Tex-Mex Tuna Casserole, Cat puts a new spin on old favorites. She updates others, tossing chipotle-spiced croutons into a Caesar salad, or replacing the usual beef in stroganoff with chicken and adding fresh tarragon. Each recipe illustrates Cat’s motto: just because a dish is a classic doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love cookbooks and could spend hours in the cookbook aisle of the bookstore. This particular cookbook is fine, not an all time favorite but it has some interesting aspects that I really liked.

I found the food to be less family friendly than I'd hoped given that Cat Cora talks quite a bit in the introduction about her family and putting a new take on favorites. As I was reading through the recipes, however, I was worried because I was finding very little that I think my family would eat. It looked great for ME but not so much for the entire family. Perhaps my family is not as open minded as some ...

The photographs in this cookbook are beautiful. I loved the richness of the photographs. I just wish that every recipe was shown in a photo. I love love love it when cookbooks show a photo of every dish. This one does NOT.

There are a lot of great little tips, tricks and explanations throughout the cookbook which I found interesting and a great add-on to the cookbook. The cookbook also has a nice little resource section which I found helpful.

I love the idea of taking more classic dishes and making them new and different by adding a twist. Cat Cora does this very well here. If I were primarily cooking for dinner parties or adults, I would have felt much more positive about this particular cookbook. I just doubt that I will find a lot of uses here when cooking for my family as a whole. Particularly my young children who are less than adventurous when it comes to food. The idea is wonderful, but the execution will be difficult for me and my family. In fact, I had a hard time finding any recipes that I actually thought I could make for the family. There wasn't much here for family cooking. However, I did find quite a few recipes that would be great for dinner parties or dinners for my husband. I'll keep those in my arsenal but I won't be using this cookbook for my day-to-day family cooking.

My favorite section (for family cooking in particular) was the dessert section. The peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies (Peanutter Cookies) she provides a recipe for look mouthwatering. Definitely one I'll be trying!

In the end, I think this is a nice cookbook but I don't think its really practical for everyday cooking for small children. however, if you do a lot of dinner parties or adult oriented cooking, this is an excellent resource with a lot of different and unique recipes!

NOTE: I received a galley proof of this book from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for review.

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