It's been a great summer for cooking. I have more time at home due to fewer work hours now, and I've been able to plan and prepare meals more often. I also love the fresh, local food available in the summertime from friends with gardens or the farmers' market.
So this cookbook arrived in the mail at the perfect time.
I was ridiculously excited to crack open the cover of The Chopped Cookbook. The Food Network never fails to deliver when it comes to both quality and creativity. While I haven't watched the show Chopped, the description on the cookbook cover told me what I wanted to hear: "Use What You've Got to Cook Something Great."
I don't know about you, but I have often opened the refrigerator to see a hodge podge of produce or my cupboards to see some pasta noodles and spices...and haven't the slightest idea how to put it all together. The Chopped Cookbook teaches you how to think like a chef. I'm not only impressed with the fun (and tasty) recipes, but also the education. It teaches you how to substitute in recipes by knowing the ingredient's role (starch, sweetener, crunch, richness, etc.) and to even come up with your own recipe by knowing those same roles and which are essential.
At the end of each chapter, they take a basic recipe (spaghetti or frittata, for example) and show you ways to change it up. While I can certainly whip up more than a box of macaroni, I'm also fairly dependent on recipes and rarely venture out on my own with creativity. I think that's why I'm so excited about this cookbook; it's the perfect skill level for me, with just enough new ideas and ingredients to challenge my status quo yet not so advanced to feel like it's a Julia Child cookbook in French!
And the final perk to my new favorite cookbook (honestly, guys, I love it that much!)? Pictures!! Lots and lots of pictures!
Here's the book on the publisher's website for more info and a sneak peak at the pages--so colorful!
[Thank you to Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy of this cookbook in exchange for a review. These are my honest and original comments.]