Essentials of Cooking’s will be helpful providing you do not have another techniques book like Le Cordon Bleu’s Complete Cooking Techniques. What areas of cooking are you interested in ?
When I joined the club I choose books based on my interest, obviously, and the price. Knowing I would have to buy a number of books I made the list so the most expensive books would be free. I also went to the book store to look some over and I read cookbook critics on the net. Then I made my choices. What can I say I’m maniac when it comes to cookbooks. ;)
I haven’t used Alfred Portale’s book I just got it last week. I can’t comment on the recipes except to say they look good. It might not be for a Monday night but they don’t require a whole day in the kitchen either. The premise of the book is that each month brings its produces and we should take advantages of them when they are at their best. This will be a book I’ll use often.
Colicchio really like butter, you’ll see lots of it in the first chapter of Think Like A Chef. The first part is devoted to techniques, roasting, braising, blanching, stock making and sauce making. You may well be familiar with those techniques but continue reading the rest of the book is fascinating. Colicchio walks you through his thought process and how he creates different dish. You really get into his mind as he build his menu and explain his philosophy of cooking. He really like what he calls trilogies, groups of flavours i.e. ingredients who are particularly suited for each other. The recipes he creates for each trilogy is an eye opener, no doubt it will inspire you to create your own trilogy, based on your favourite ingredients.
One book I really like is Simple To Spectacular by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman. They build on one ingredients starting with a very simple recipe and built up the complexity of the recipe and sometime the cost of it too. They give you Keys To Success for each sections and advice for each recipes. I would choose this book over How to Cook Everything, but that’s just me.
One last thing, Bugialli On Pasta was another of my choices. Every pasta recipe you ever dreamed of will be in this book. Sauces, home-made pasta, what sauce to use with what shape. You will find all the answers in this book. You’ll find recipe made in under 15 minutes and other that need to simmer for hours. Provide you like pasta you’ll love this book.
Ok I better stop now I could go on forever when it comes to cookbooks. :D
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.
- Desiderius Erasmus