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Reviews and Recommendations

Reviews and recommendations covers cookbooks, tools, and utensils, with suggestions that will make cooking for two easier, more efficient, and more fun.

Review: Delonghi Deep Fryer
I'm a Southerner, which means me and my deep fryer are like this. Oh, you can't see that, sorry I've crossed my fingers. The index finger is me and the long finger is my DeLonghi deep fryer.

Book Review: Sweeping Her off her Feet with Food
Sweeping Her off her Feet with Food is a beautifully produced cookbook geared specifically toward men who may not be particularly skilled in the kitchen.

Review: The Pleasures of Cooking for One
Earlier this fall, Knopf published The Pleasures of Eating Alone by Judith Jones. A marvelous little cookbook for one (or two) people.

Review: Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
The Cuisinart Ice Cream maker makes just enough ice cream for to last two people for about three days. And given my previous experience with Cuisinart, I expect this ice cream maker to last a long time. Recommended.

Review: Reynold's Handi-Vac
At $10 the Reynold's Handi-Vac does a decent job, extending the life of frozen by at least a couple of months. It's well-worth trying if you have budget constraints.

Book Review: Cooking for Two
Cook's Illustrated has been my favorite cooking magazine since issue 1 way back in 1993. So when I was sent a free review copy of the recently published Cooking for Two 2009: This Year's Best Recipes Cut Down to Size by the editors of Cook's Illustrated's America's Test Kitchen I jumped on it.

Bread baking equipment
I baked my first loaf of bread when I was about 14. It was a brick. Not too unusual, beginning bakers often produce bricks and I went on to produce some mighty fine bread bricks after that first one. Eventually I got better at making bread, but it wasn't until I spent 6 months baking croissants by hand, day in ad day out, that I finally mastered...

Review: Le Creuset Dutch Oven
I consider a Dutch oven an essential piece of cooking equipment. There is no pot better suited to making stews and braises - from pot roast to chicken curry - and it's also useful for making stocks, soups and even bread.

Tip: Try a Santoku Knife Blade
A santoku knife is perfect for dicing carrots, onions, and celery for mirepoix or simply cutting vegetables and meat into chunks.

Right-Sizing Your Bake Ware
Whether you're cooking for two or six, a standard cookware set such as the Cuisinart MCP works. But when it comes to bake ware, smaller pieces are worth the investment. For example, trying to make a soufflé for two in a 4 quart soufflé dish is asking for disaster.

Tip: Thermometers
You need kitchen thermometers because no single gadget can so improve your cooking as precise control of heat and cold.

Review: KitchenAid Stand Mixer
The KitchenAid Stand Mixer is a workhourse. I've had the opportunity to cook with KitchenAid, Viking, Cuisinart, and Sunbeam stand mixers. I like the KitchenAid Stand Mixer best.

Cameron Stove-top Smoker: An Indoor Alternative
Cameron's Stove-top Smoker isn't a replacement for a genuine outdoor smoker or grill. However, when the weather's bad or if you don't have access to grill or smoker it can provide genuine wood smoke flavor indoors.

Hawaiian Yellowtail: Mail-order Fish from Kona Blue
It's rare (except in the case of cookbooks), but occasionally I'm offered products for review. I recently had an opportunity to review, of all things, some fish. The fish is called variously Hawaiian Yellowtail (also known as Almaco Jack and trademarked as Kona Kampachi by Kona Blue).

Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Cookware: A Review
As a cooking instructor I've had long-time experience with most name brands, but when I upgraded my cookware I chose Cuisinart's MCP Cookware.

Kitchen Aid Immersion Blender: A Review
The Kitchen Aid Immersion Blender is a surprisingly handy kitchen tool, well worth the investment.

Book Review: Substituting Ingredients
This little book is quite thorough and passed my spot tests for the accuracy of the advice. I'll have it near my phone/computer when I man the ChefsLine help line in the future.

Review: Serrated Peeler
A few years ago a friend told me that I HAD to buy a serrated peeler. She told me it would change my life in the summer. Seems like a big responsibility to lay on a mundane tool, but she was right.

Review: Chantry Knife Sharpener
The Chantry knife sharpener is easy to use and effective. And despite my initial doubts about it has become my preferred tool for sharpening my knives

Review: The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches
The Encyclopedea of Sandwiches is a compendium of sandwich recipes. Although most are American favorites such as the patty melt and the Philly cheesesteak, it also includes many sandwiches of foreign origin. Most of the recipes are geared for two.

Review - A Spoonful of Promises
It took me three weeks to read A Spoonful of Promises. Not because I'm a slow reader or it's heavy going, quite the reverse. Instead I relished it, taking small sips each evening as I would fine cognac or bourbon. I didn't want to reach the end.

Favorite Cookbooks
The Silver Palate cookbook series by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins had a huge impact on my cooking style - solidified it, in fact - and I know I've cooked more recipes from them than any other cookbook I own. So what is your favorite cookbook?

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