Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Illustrated Cook’s Book of Ingredients

9780756667306HIllustrated Cook’s Book of Ingredients – 2500 of the world’s best with classic recipes
Published at DK Canada

About the book

In today's global market, cooks are constantly coming across unusual or unknown ingredients in recipes; it seems that almost every day new varieties of fruit and vegetables, rare meats, exotic spices, and flavorings are available at supermarkets, butchers', and farmers' markets.

The ultimate comprehensive 'show and tell' reference to ingredients from around the globe, The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients showcases fresh food and explains how to get the best out of it. Packed with annotated images and expert information that tells which varieties are best, and how to buy, store, and eat them, more than 250 "simple classic" recipes, and over 2,500 photographs, The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients is an invaluable reference for food lovers and cooks intent on making the most of all the ingredients available today.

My Thoughts

I will be honest with you.  I had no clue whatsoever what to expect from this book.    I knew it was a huge book with more than 540 pages of information but I didn’t know what I would find and if it would be useful for us.

And imagine my surprised when I received it and cracked the book open…   It is literally packed with information about a multitude of potential ingredients that you can use in your recipes. I was literally pleasantly surprise and delighted by it.  

The book is divided in 10 colored sections in which you can easily find depending of what you are looking for.

  1. Fish & Seafood which covers saltwater fish, freshwater fish, clams, scallops, mussels, oysters, lobsters, prawns, crabs, smoked fish and salted fish.
  2. Meat which includes beef, veal, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck, venison, rabbit, goose, liver, kidney, heart, and cured meat.
  3. Vegetables which presents cabbages, leafy, greens, roots and potatoes, shoots and stems, bulbs, pods, mushrooms and sea vegetables.
  4. Herbs which will inform you on chervil, tarragon, fennel, lavender, bay,basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sorrel, sage and thyme.
  5. Nuts & Seeds which will list almonds, macadamias, hazelnuts, pistachios, flaxseed, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  6. Spices which covers chilies, citrus, coriander, anise, turmeric, nigella, sumac, cloves, tamarind and ginger.  
  7. Dairy & Eggs which informs you on eggs, milk, cream, yogurt, butter, fresh cheeses, blue cheeses, soft white cheeses and hard cheeses.
  8. Fruits which includes orchard, stone, berries, bush fruits, citrus and tropical.
  9. Grains, Rice, Pasta & Noodles which covers barley, rye, quinoa, wheat, wild rice, fresh pasta, dried pasta, couscous, rice noodles and wheat noodles.
  10. Oils, Vinegars & Flavorings which will provide information on olive oils, nut oils, wine vinegars, sugar, syrup, honey, soy sauce, miso, pastes and salt.

Not only will you find information on the ingredient but you will also get tips on buying it, storing it, eat it,flavoring it, cook it, and preserve it.   Some recipes are included here and there to stretch your tasting comfort zone as well.

As soon as I got this book, I jumped into it to discover the dragon fruit.   I’ve seen it.   I was curious about it.  I wanted to try it.  But I never bought one as I didn’t know how to eat it.   Now I have all the information I need to discover this interesting fruit along with guava, persimmon, prickly pear, figs and pomelo.    I can’t hardly wait to explore these tastes with my family…!

Earlier in the spring, my husband has bought a wonderful deal at a butcher in the downtown area.   Last time he went to get some meat, he told me that he would love to try duck.   “Duck?   How do we cook that?”, I said.   Well this beautiful book has information about duck on page 134 with a recipe of Duck in Orange Sauce.  Sounds delicious isn’t it? 

When my husband grabbed the book for the first time, he immediately went in the fish section.   Being a fisherman at heart, he wanted to see the kinds that were presented in the book. This book is fantastic to identify the type of fish that can be cooked on the BBQ as not all kinds will be good for that.

This book is a great tool to have in your kitchen.   I almost wish there was a recipe for each ingredient but that would double or triple the size of the book.   Two indexes are included at the end of the book – one for the ingredients and one for the recipes.   The images in this book are mouthwatering (well most of them anyway…. the meat section has some pictures that doesn’t appeal to me – not even cooking it!  *grin*).   I know that some individuals in my family will probably explore the cheese pages as I have avid cheese lovers with me.    I highly recommend this book for any family.   It is a wonderful reference book to have in your home.

The Illustrated Cook’s Book of Ingredients is available at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca.

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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