Monday, December 17, 2012

Cookbook Review: The Epicurious Cookbook

I know I tout Canadian Living a lot on this blog, and they are fantastic, but I do use other resources, too.  One of them is, which has one seriously bad-ass database for pretty much anything you want to cook or learn how to prepare.  They also have the catalogue of recipes that come from Bon Appetit Magazine and the now-defunct Gourmet Magazine, both of which I used to subscribe to (I don't subscribe to Gourmet anymore because it's defunct and Bon Appetit wasn't quite doing it for me anymore).  And this fall, Epicurious came out with its first ever cookbook: The Epicurious Cookbook.

At 400 pages, it's a bit of a tome, but it's a very attractive tome, with a bright red cover and lots of food porn photos between it's covers.  The chapters follow the seasons, starting with spring, and taking into account seasonal ingredients and seasonal fare, and all recipes come with a little blurb describing the dish etc.

I really liked the layout of the book.  Each recipe has its own page, and the ingredients are in one column with the directions in a facing column.  Most recipes are accompanied by scrumptious-looking photos, which of course everyone who is into cookbooks loves.  For more complicated recipes, the ingredients and instructions are broken down into steps for elements of the dish which is useful for planning and organization.  There are also a lot of tips about how to do certain steps ahead of time if you're preparing things in advance.  At the end there are menu ideas.

Cookies: Banana nut and Amazing Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter
Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa
The recipes look great, as one can expect from a site of this calibre.  I made five recipes myself, three of them cookies.  I made the Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal cookie recipe on page 199 (though I don't have any cherries, so I replaced them with dried cranberries); the Banana Nut Oatmeal cookie recipe on page 284 (this was a hit at home); and the Amazing Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter cookies on page 283 (and they were amazing and I WILL be making them again because they were so good!).  Additionally, I made the Extreme Granola with Dried Fruit on page 298.  This was great granola!  I really enjoyed it.  Finally, I made the Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa on page 70.  Again, this was great and I'll definitely keep this recipe in my repertoire.  It was a very simple, tasty salad with clean flavours.  I'd add some feta cheese to it next time, though, just for some variety.  It made a healthy amount and I felt quite virtuous eating it because it's a nutritious, low fat dish.  I love lime and cilantro, too.

This is definitely a keeper cookbook, and I have plenty more recipes bookmarked that I must make.  For instance, the Salted Caramel Ice Cream on page 87 looks ridiculously amazing, and the Chicken Chili on page 251 looks like a great, low cost meal with a lot of bang for your buck as it uses a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, which for some reason are always a few dollars cheaper than buying a fresh chicken and roasting it yourself.  And those are just a couple of what I intend to make out of this cookbook.

I for sure recommend this book, and it's Christmastime, too, so it'll make a great gift for the foodie on  your list!


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