By Claire Robinson
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style (October 6, 2010)
I am currently reading Dianne Jacob’s Will Write For Food and there is a section on how-to write a cookbook. In that section she quotes author Julie Sahni as saying, “A cookbook is more than a set of recipes. You have to have a message, a certain philosophy or technique or principle to pass on to the audience. It boils down to a simple concept. You know something more or something different than the reader. You have to inspire them.”
Claire Robinson does exactly that in her first cookbook, 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant and Irresistible Recipes. She has a clear vision of the food she wants to create in her kitchen, on her show and for her readers.
In her letter to the reader she says, “when your ingredients are good, there’s no need to mask and muddle the flavor with unnecessary add-ons.” There you have it, her philosophy on cooking. Claire’s inspiration comes from her grandmother and mother. Both women were as different as day and night in their approaches to cooking. Claire is a combination of both those women. Her high standards for good food, simple recipes and uncomplicated cooking techniques come through page after page.
5 ingredients. How could you go wrong? Simple, choose sub-standard ingredients. With Claire’s recipes you’ll need to buy the best ingredients you can in order to faithfully replicate her recipes in your kitchen.
Each recipe, there are just over 120, is accompanied by “What makes this recipe really sing” (an example is “The spicy tangy ginger flavor permeates the chicken and flavors the sweet fennel” from the roasted chicken recipe I cooked). Also, you find with each recipe “What to toss in if you have it” (I could have added garlic cloves to the compound butter used to rub the chicken with).
The recipes range from everyday to a special night with guests for dinner or brunch or cocktails.
Fennel Orange Crackers
Asian Beef Roll-up
Beer Shrimp Boil
If you are a fan of Claire’s Food Network show you’ll love this book. If you aren’t a faithful viewer, you’ll enjoy the variety of recipes, the simplicity of the ingredients and cooking process. The one thing I would have liked to have seen more in the book are photos of food and less photos of Claire.
The recipe I’ve chosen to make from this book is the Ginger and Lemon Roasted Chicken with Braised Fennel. I’ll share pictures and my experience on Wednesday.
One more thing before I sign off today. Think if it as a little gift, but here’s my disclaimer: I’m not responsible for all the things you will not get done during your day because you have clicked on this link. Okay, I’m legally cleared now. Phew. 🙂
I was watching Martha Stewart this afternoon and she interviewed author Margaret Roach (I’ve linked to her site, if you’re a gardener you’ll love it, if you’ve ever dreamed of chucking it all and living your dream you’ll admire Margaret) and she mentioned her kitchen was featured on Apartment Therapy. That meant I had to go and check out the site. The link I’ve given you is the direct link to the Kitchen Tour section. You’re getting the idea of why I warned you.
Scroll down, look at kitchens. Then if you click on any of the thumbnails you’ll be taken to a page that has an interview with the cook and a recipe AND a slideshow. Remember, this came with a warning. 🙂
The Cookbook Diva