What a GREAT book! Nothing overly complicated, no weird ingredients, beautiful pictures, and a TON of recipes! The descriptions with each recipe are comprehensive and also gives serving suggestions for items to go with the recipe.
Tonight was my first foray into the book and I was excited to choose something to make. I wanted to make something that involved ingredients that I had at home, for the most part. I chose Chicken, Apples, and Cream a la Normande. Seemed pretty straight forward and had some great flavors in the ingredients: chicken, butter, olive oil, apples, onion, mushrooms, cream, and Calvados. Can't miss with that list of ingredients!
I was really hoping it would be an easy recipe because as excited as I was to do this, I wasn't feeling like preparing a big fancy meal. This did not disappoint. I love a recipe that comes together quickly and easily! The longest part of the preparation of this recipe was the prepping of the veggies beforehand and the reduction of the liquids at the end.
I will say that I was kind of leery about adding the apple but the whole point of the recipe was the Calvados and the pieces of apple in the sauce. I was actually disappointed that there weren't more apples when all was said and done.
I almost never follow a recipe exactly but wanted to make sure I got the true essence without messing around with ingredients. The only change I made was to double the sauce at the end because I was serving this with pasta and knew there would not be enough sauce for our family.
The chicken was perfectly cooked and the vegetables/apple were tender and bathed in a delicious cream/apple brandy sauce.
I couldn't have been happier with my first attempt to Cook the Books - except for my second recipe. Greenspan suggested serving this bit of deliciousness with Lemon-Steamed Spinach. I DETEST cooked spinach and can barely stand raw spinach but she promised that this was delicious and well seasoned and a good match for the richness of the cream. What the heck! I figured if it was horrible, we could eat green beans on the side.
Again, the recipe was fast and straight-forward. Toss spinach with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper and steam for 3 minutes. I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious it is and I will NEVER make it any other way again! So great!
I simply cannot wait to try more recipes from this book! I think next time I'll try a dessert. Hmmmm...maybe even tomorrow!