Recently Real Simple asked if they could send me their newest cookbook to review. As a long time reader of their magazine - basically since day one - I was happy to accept!
When the editors of Real Simple magazine decided to publish this cookbook they had two requirements: the recipes must be easy and they must be memorable. I would say that they have succeeded.
As soon as I cracked open my copy of Real Simple - Best Recipes and started turning the pages, I immediately wanted to run to the kitchen and start cooking. The recipes are fresh, contemporary and require less than 10 ingredients and the huge, mouthwatering photographs that accompany each recipe are inspiring!
I was immediately attracted to the recipes for Deep Dish Polenta Pizza, Roasted Chicken, Apples and Leeks, Wheat Berry Salad with Bacon and Stewed-Vegetable Gratin. Warm weather recipes include Chicken and Peach Salad and Salmon and Fennel with Roasted-Lemon Vinaigrette.
The Easy Ice Cream Cake, which uses pre-made ice cream sandwiches, sounds like a fun, summertime dessert. More sophisticated desserts include Apricot-Coconut Cake, Roasted Apple and Walnut Tarts and Boozy Clementines with Pound Cake, which I'm making this weekend.
Though the book does sometimes rely on store bought ingredients (canned broth, rotisserie chicken, frozen pierogies, refrigerated pizza dough, frozen pie crust) it also calls for an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruit and grains in its recipes.
In almost every chapter there is an "At-a-Glance" guide to popular vegetables, how to interpret the labeling on chicken, cooking advice for common cuts of lamb, beef and pork, and what to look for when buying fish. The book concludes with practical advice: Meat cooking temperatures, Menu Suggestions and nutritional information for each recipe.
If you're the kind of person who loves to cook delicious, uncomplicated, beautiful food, but who doesn't have the time or the inclination to spend hours and hours in the kitchen, then Real Simple - Best Recipes is a cookbook that you'll love.