In this unrivaled practical guide, one of America's most widely respected cookbook authors distills his vast knowledge and experience into the 100 essential techniques that every cook needs to know. Seven hundred and fifty photographs unravel the mysteries of the method and provide practical application on the spot.
Each technique is further explained in terms of how it makes the food taste: What happens, for example, if you cook the fish in butter versus oil? Why does roasting make vegetables taste so good? How do you decide whether you want to make a chicken stew or sautT?
Here are answers to just about every cooking question, from the simple to the sublime: how to boil an artichoke or cook a soft-boiled egg, or how to clean soft-shell crabs or even butcher and roast a whole saddle of lamb. Knowing how to execute a technique makes you efficient; knowing why you've chosen that technique makes you a master.
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After reading Essentials of Cooking, you will grill any fish with confidence, make delicious gratins using whatever vegetables are nicest at the market, and know that any pilaf, risotto, or paella you cook will come out just right. Author James Peterson's goal is to get people to cook comfortably without hewing to the precision of recipes and to feel relaxed in the kitchen whatever the task. Peterson accomplishes this by combining text with detailed color photos and paying attention to everything that makes a cook proficient. He teaches both small techniques, such as how to hold a swivel peeler, as well as large ones, such as how to determine the doneness of a steak, roast, or fish using just touch and sight and how to dress a salad by coating the leaves with oil, then dissolving salt in a spoon with vinegar and drizzling this over the greens before tossing them. In every case, the 1,100-plus color shots give a precise picture of what the reassuring text explains.
To teach skills and technique, Peterson leads you, for example, through sweating the leeks for Pureed Leek and Potato Soup in butter, then cooking the potatoes until they soften, and so on. This explanation includes no quantities or timing. Peterson's point is that these vary according to how much soup you are making, so he tells what to look for and when, enabling you to make this soup for 4 or 40. One possible drawback of this book is that you may have to consult its well-organized index when you need to locate one of the valuable hints grouped in any of the Kitchen Notes and Tips boxes, like the fact that chicken can be cooked over lower heat than steaks and chops because it takes longer to cook through. But cooks and eager students will settle into Essentials of Cooking, as one dives into a good novel, becoming immersed in its depth and practicality. Complete beginners might feel overwhelmed at first by the density of information and the tightly packed layout on each page. If they view this volume as a handbook, reading particular sections as needed, they will comfortably appreciate the nurturing Peterson offers their kitchen skills. --Dana JacobiFrom the Inside Flap:
In this unrivaled practical guide, one of America's most widely respected chefs/teachers/cookbook authors distills his vast knowledge and experience into the more than one hundred essential techniques that every cook needs to know. One hundred and fifty recipes and 1,100 photographs unravel the mysteries of the method and provide practical application on the spot. Here are answers to just about every cooking question, from the simple (why you shouldn't leave slices of apples sitting in water) to the sublime (why you should want to roast a whole saddle of lamb).
Each technique is further explained in terms of how it makes the food taste: What happens, for example, if you cook fish in butter versus of oil? Why is the flavor of roasted vegetables so wonderful? How do you decide whether you want to make a chicken stew or saut? Knowing how to execute a technique makes you efficient; knowing why you've chosen that technique makes you a master.
There's even an interactive element to the book: "Cues" throughout make it easy for you to delve further into related subjects that might be of interest. After you've made the mashed potatoes, you can learn how to puree other vegetables and fruits; explore how to use vegetables purees in soups or to thicken sauces or to make flans; and find out how to handle all kinds of kitchen equipment you might encounter along the way, from a ricer to a food processor to a food mill or professional drum sieve.
Expect recipes and techniques that are clearly, meticulously, and encyclopedically described in the style that has won so many awards for Peterson's books, as well as an extensive annotated glossary that you will turn to again and again. In fact, expect your experience of cooking to be forever changed.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
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