The Carefree Cook

Rodgers, Rick

Published by Clarkson Potter, 2003
ISBN 10: 0767914635 / ISBN 13: 9780767914635
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Synopsis: The Carefree Cook introduces a new, relaxed way of cooking from an award-winning star of the culinary classroom. Rick Rodgers, author of the “101” cookbook series (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Barbecues) and many other cookbooks, presents more than 150 recipes that busy home cooks will love, both for their ease and their flavor.Many home cooks’ palates have reached lofty levels of sophistication, but the amount of time and energy available for cooking has plummeted. With that in mind, Rick Rodgers has come up with a brilliant solution.In his most comprehensive book to date, Rodgers replaces stress and fuss with creativity and ease. While Rodgers has included numerous quick ideas in this collection, he believes “slow food” has a place in the kitchen of the busiest home cook, so many of his selections simmer and roast at a leisurely pace while the cook does something else—or nothing at all. Written in Rodgers’s appealingly irreverent style, each of the 150 recipes in The Carefree Cook draws dazzling flavor from just a handful of ingredients. What’s for dinner? Rodgers has compiled an enticing array of entrées, including meat, fish, chicken, pasta, and vegetarian dishes: Pork Tenderloin with Lime Butter Sauce, Halibut with Herbed Oil, Grilled Five-Spice Chicken, Bucatini Carbonara with Zucchini, and Santa Fe Corn Pudding, to name just a few. Soups, salads, and hot and hearty main-dish sandwiches (Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Carrot Slaw with Miso Vinaigrette, Bistro Skirt Steak Sandwich) can be mixed and matched for satisfying suppers.

To make life even easier he supplies what he calls “bonus recipes.” These are based on making larger quantities of a dish that can serve as the basis for future meals. Thus a meat stew can turn up as a pasta sauce later in the week with the addition of crushed tomatoes and some extra simmering, or a large roast chicken can be the basis of a chicken casserole the following night. He also provides the easiest and best recipes for sweets he has collected over the years, including Rocky Road Chocolate Cake, “Faux” Peach Tarte Tatin, and Banana Streusel Coffee Cake. Every recipe is conveyed in the realistic, detailed format that has won Rodgers so many fans.A down-to-earth approach to fine cooking, The Carefree Cook will give even the most inexperienced novice in the kitchen the confidence to cook well and have a good time doing it.

Review: In The Carefree Cook veteran food writer Rick Rogers confronts the problem of fixing good food fast. He's not alone in this preoccupation, as other, similarly themed cookbooks attest. If The Carefree Cook offers little novel to increase kitchen ease (which may be a tall order indeed), it nonetheless provides 150 tasty, simple enough recipes for everyday meal-making. Some of these, from a broad range of menu options that includes vegetarian main courses, are standouts. Dishes such as Roasted Clams with Peppers and Spicy Sausages, Grilled Chicken Breasts with Orange Jerk Marinade, and Santa Fe Corn Pudding with Year-Round Salsa are real keepers. Desserts, including Pear Pandowdy with Ginger and Five Spices and Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie, are attractively homey and non-taxing. Rogers also provides useful ingredient asides--on the "new" intensely flavored chocolates, for example--and preliminary instructions that will help readers better organize their kitchen lives. Recipes that take 30 minutes or so to prepare are so indicated. With color photos sure to get cooks cooking. --Arthur Boehm

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Title: The Carefree Cook
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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