Friday, October 15, 2010

5 Ingredient Fix Cookbook

Claire Robinson, the hot new Food Network star of 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge, helps people get dinner on the table with little fuss and a few great ingredients.

The quest for simple, affordable, and fresh, mouthwatering food is over. 5 INGREDIENT FIX helps put delicious and sophisticated meals on the table in a snap. With people struggling to simplify, streamline, and budget, the Food Network's Claire Robinson is here to help. Cooking doesn't have to be complicated to be impressive; simplifying the process with fewer ingredients saves time, frustration, and ultimately, money. From breakfast treats like Brioche French Toast with Strawberries and Cream to no-fuss meals like Grown-up Grilled Cheese and Iceberg Wedges with Buttermilk Dressing to a
romantic dinner of Grilled Scallops with Saffron Aioli and Green Goddess Rice, all of Robinson's recipes have five or fewer ingredients. A quick trip to the supermarket for one bag of groceries, and a delicious, restaurant-quality meal can be on the table in no time.

My Take:  I have nothing to be ashamed of.  I am a good cook.  In fact, I border on gourmet at times.  On the other hand, there is a basic chemistry to so many ingredients that I just don't understand.  I get the yeast-eats-sugar-and-drinks-water thing.  Hence, I make a beautiful loaf of french bread.  To clarify, I don't use sugar in my french bread and I also had to grasp the high temperature baking and spritzing with water.  But that's easy stuff.  Not so easy is all the other stuff.  

Browning an onion caramelizes it, making it sweet.  The way you cook your garlic dictates how your dish will taste; sweet, bitter, nutty, or garlic-ky.  Real word.  Not used in book.  

So I decided to make a meal using this cookbook.  I'd never used shallots.  Ever.  I know, so weird.
This one is called Zucchini Ribbon Salad.  It's much prettier in the book.  Still, I thought to myself, "Why not use cucumbers instead of zucchini?"  So I ribboned some cukes and dipped one or two in the dressing and bread crumbs.  

Not good.  

So then I went to my garden and picked a couple of very small zukes, sliced them and mixed all of the ingredients together.  

Beyond good.

See?  It's chemistry I just don't get.  That's why I need to start following the directions, which I did for this:
 Buttermilk Pecan Chicken.  Because apparently, the buttermilk tenderizes the chicken because of its acidity.  I know.  I'm as stunned as you are.
This one I nearly followed the directions but not quite.  I couldn't find English cheddar cheese so I used regular cheddar and then added mozzarella for good measure.  It was delicious.  The zingy ingredient was just a taste of Dijon mustard. 

My experience is that Claire Robinson uses the best ingredients in combination with each other.  She also understands the chemical reaction and teaches the method of preparation through her book.  The food is delicious but takes more preparation.  I will definitely use it again and again and again.  But not for all courses of a single dinner.  

Highly recommend.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I love this type of book and have now added this to my wish-list. I, like you, am a good cook and I'm fascinated by the chemistry of cooking.