Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Perfect Pantry

When Barnes & Noble coupons roll around, I tend to find myself browsing the cookbook section. As one of my favorite judges on Chopped, I was instantly intrigued when I spotted Geoffrey Zakarian's My Perfect Pantry. With over 150 recipes, My Perfect Pantry works on the premise that a base of a well stocked pantry can be the jumping off point for a delicious meal. From pasta to salads, and desserts to hearty main courses I found this book to be well rounded and filled with recipes that put a twist on the norm. Each recipe has a full color photo to accompany it, featured in sections by pantry ingredients. With a few exceptions the ingredients were easy to source and each recipe is generously portioned (and often paired with leftover suggestions).

Before reviewing a cookbook I try to test a few recipes to get a feel for how easy the author's style is to follow. So far I have made the Chicken Gumbo (photographed below), Magnificent Meatballs, and Family Chicken Fingers. The recipes were well written and easy to follow. Each step and technique was clearly explained and I appreciated that he includes approximate times for many of the individual steps. All three were delicious, with some fresh twists to keep the basics interesting. I am excited to try more, especially some of his desserts.

Final Verdict: ★★★★☆
Overall a wonderful addition for any home cook's collection. There are a few recipes that don't fit in with the style and scope of the book, but the majority are well written and easy to follow.

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