Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Extra Virgin: Recipes and Love from our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan KitchenExtra Virgin: Recipes and Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this cookbook. I watch the Extra Virgin television show on occasion so I suspected what I might be getting when I opened this cookbook. Overall, I think the cookbook is a nice companion to the show but also serves as a stand alone cookbook for those who haven't seen the show.

The quality of this cookbook is fantastic. The cover is just stunning - so beautiful! It just begs you to open it! In addition, it is made of high quality material. The binding is fantastic - it allows you to open to any section of the cookbook without worrying that the pages will fly over. It's perfect for a cookbook and eliminates that annoying flipping that pages can do when you lay a book down. The photography is quite good and there is a good balance of food photography and photos of Debi and Gabriele.

The stories that are interwoven throughout the cookbook really make this special. It's similar to how they talk about their families and food on their show and it's one of my favorite things about the way they talk about food!

This cookbook is divided into 12 distinct sections - Appetizers, Pasta and Sauces, Risotto, Soups, Salads, Meats, Fish, Vegetables, Pizza, Panini, Desserts and Drinks. As you can imagine, anyone and everyone can find something here! I think the section on the essentials of the Tuscan kitchen is a fantastic resources for those specifically interested in Tuscan cooking and stocking your own shelves with the basics you need!

I love how each recipe includes commentary from one (or both) of the authors - giving tips as well as stories that bring that particular recipe to life for the reader! The recipe instructions are clear and detailed (but not too detailed). This cookbook is the perfect balance of traditional Italian dishes as well as new and interesting dishes that don't automatically think of when I think of Tuscan cooking. I love that about this book! And I think the recipes are going to challenge me to try new ingredients and cooking styles!

Some of the recipes that I'm most excited to try include - Pecorino and Honey Dip, Lasagne Alla Bolognese, Pesto Lasagne, Sausage and Asparagus Rissoto, Lobster and Cannellini Bean Soup, Grilled Tuscan Chicken, Fried Artichokes, Pizza Dough, Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich with Basil Oil, Carnival Fritters, Florentine Orange Cake, and the Lemon Brule Tart.

I have just two critiques for this cookbook - I wish there were more photos. I prefer to have a photo of EVERY recipe if at all possible and there were many recipes with no photo. Quite disappointing to me. In addition, I was frustrated by the fact that there is NO nutritional information in the book for any of the recipes. Also quite disappointing to me!

All in all, this is a great cookbook and I highly recommend it. It's definitely a great addition to any home cook's collection!

NOTE: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. However, my feelings about this book are 100% genuine, regardless of receiving it for review.

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