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Perfect Recipes for Having People Over

kbt's picture

Hello!  Has anyone purchased this most recent title by Pam Anderson?  I really like her recipes and her approach to cooking, but I thought I'd try to get a little feedback before I add to my already overflowing shelves of cookbooks.  Thanks!  Kristi

wisekaren's picture

(post #62735, reply #1 of 37)

Yes, and I just used it today to make chicken and mushroom crepes for the school faculty luncheon. They turned out great! I've also made a few other things from it and been pleased. I like the selection of recipes, and her short-cut/do-ahead tips are helpful, because I find I often don't have enough experience and confidence to figure that stuff out on my own.

So far, me likee.
Karen

AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #62735, reply #2 of 37)

What are you having the people over? Noodles? Perhaps a nice gravy then?

/sorry; bad joke. I'm off to the corner now.

 


"God is in the cosmic microwaves."

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

Kim's picture

(post #62735, reply #3 of 37)

Me likee this book, too.  There are great recipes in it and lots of extra information.  I say get it!

Robin's picture

(post #62735, reply #4 of 37)

If your library has it, borrow it and try it for a week or two and then decide.  It's saved me a bundle on books I decided I really didn't need.

 

 

AJ12754's picture

(post #62735, reply #5 of 37)

I do the same thing -- the cookbook section of the library is my first stop.  Them I make my purchase decisions.  Fortunately, our librarian seems to be big into cookbooks.

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Robin's picture

(post #62735, reply #6 of 37)

shhhh  don't tell anyone, but sometimes if the cookbook isn't that great but I find one or two good recipes, I'll make copies of them before I return the book. :)

 

 

AJ12754's picture

(post #62735, reply #7 of 37)

We are on the same page :-)

"Truth is the engine of our judicial system." Patrick Fitzgerald

Cave obdurationem cordis

Shaye's picture

(post #62735, reply #8 of 37)

I do that all the time! I have a stack of 10 library cookbooks in my den right now.

If I see a few recipes that sound good, I'll scan them into my computer. After I try it (if I like it) I'll type it into my Living Cookbook.

Ok, send the copyright police. <g>

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62735, reply #9 of 37)

I just got the book a couple of days ago.

It is not exactly what I expected - let me first say that I don t see anything wrong with the recipes, but there are way too many shortcuts. Please, don't call me a "snob" - but when I invite people over I like to go the extra mile. Sometimes it means picking dishes that can be prepared one day in advance - lamb you can eat with a spoon, coq au vin, etc... But that's the way I approach having guests over for dinner.

I will definitely use this book, but it will be in "family" dinners. Alex arrives this Sunday to spend 6 weeks with us - those recipes and shortcuts will be perfect to have nice, tasty dinners these following weeks.

FOr instance - her chicken chili (white or red) - uses shredded chicken from a store bought roasted bird. And canned beans. THere is nothing wrong with it, but I would not serve it for guests. I rather make the chili that takes 3 hours cooking, re-heat the next day.
Her cassoulet recipe, might be reasonably tasty, but if I have cassoulet for guests, I would go for a more traditional recipe, like the one from Fine COoking a few years ago, that was a labor of love, but would WOW my guests.

So, I feel that the title of the book mislead me - I was expecting a different kind of book.

 


 


"Her shimmyshaky is much better than her chimichurri"
(Glenys, June 2006)

ashleyd's picture

(post #62735, reply #10 of 37)

There's an interesting thought. Do we go for the "No pain, no gain" approach to cooking? Do we really have to make everything from scratch, and it isn't worth serving to guests unless it takes several hours to make? Well, er, no. The question I always ask myself is, "Does it make any noticeable difference to the finished dish?". So if I were to make a chili would anybody notice if I used a store bought ready roasted bird rather than carefully roasting a free-range organic bird myself? Errrr, probably not. Using canned beans instead of home made? Almost certainly. There is no hard and fast rule and if in doubt make it yourself, but always ask yourself is there something better you could be doing with your time.


Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

pamilyn's picture

(post #62735, reply #11 of 37)

ITA...if it makes a difference by all means make from scratch, if not....use the shortcut. Don't shoot me or run me out of town, but I am not such a good pastry chef, so I use the pillsbury pie crust that is rolled up. You just unroll into your own pan. I don't eat sweets too often, but I do use them for quiches. I think they are very good.  Better than anything I could make. DON'T run me off...I like it here. LOL   Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62735, reply #26 of 37)

Agree with you, except that it is more like "if I notice the difference

I would also like to clarify that I don t have anything against cutting corners - I buy Pillsbury puff pastry and use it 75% of the time. I buy lasagna sheets instead of making my own (although I want to try it sometime). I made ravioli at home once (loved it), but would probably buy it frozen if I wanted to serve it for 8 guests. Etc, etc, etc

BUt if I see a book entitled "Perfect Recipes for Having People Over", I have a different idea in mind. And in that sense it was a bit disappointing.

Again, I will use this book often, in the context of family dinners

 


 


"Her shimmyshaky is much better than her chimichurri"
(Glenys, June 2006)

ashleyd's picture

(post #62735, reply #27 of 37)

I've not seen the book but I would guess from the title that it is aimed at being able to produce a tasty meal without stressing out the cook too much so I would expect dishes that can be prepared in advance, finished easily and yes, use shortcuts. I think the use of "Having People Over" conveys more of a social than gastronomic occasion which would be "Entertaining" or "Dinner Parties" or some such.


Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

wisekaren's picture

(post #62735, reply #28 of 37)

Bingo! Or "Bob's your uncle," or whatever Brits say for "Exactly right!"

I do have the book, and I appreciate the organization: Every recipe includes a section afterward for shortcuts (e.g., buying instead of making crepes), do-ahead tips, substitutions and variations, suggestions for other dishes to serve with the current one, and so on.
Karen

Ballottine's picture

(post #62735, reply #12 of 37)

What Sally said.


When DD was an infant the newspapers reported that the  baby apple juice I was buying contained no apples, only chemicals.


Since then I learned a lot more about  the food industry.  The more I know, the more I want to make as much as possible from scratch.  The can opener is the least used tool in our kitchen.  Sorry, Ashley.  Bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

ashleyd's picture

(post #62735, reply #13 of 37)

No need to apologise at all! I very rarely used canned anything as a shortcut but we are fortunate to have an extensive range of chilled and/or additive free pre-prepared items available in most of our supermarkets and specialist shops.


Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Ballottine's picture

(post #62735, reply #14 of 37)

We may have that kind of food too, but I don't know where to find  it. During the lent  I was shopping at Costco  and saw a  "sophisticated" lookins couple buying  frozen food.  They bought boxes and boxes  of  crabmeat something that was $13,   mushroom  ravioli  and vegetable tortellini.  I bought a box of each too.


We could not eat any of those things.  End of my story.    Bal    


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Gretchen's picture

(post #62735, reply #15 of 37)

Well, since I do not make pasta I probably would have found it palatable. I buy frozen ravioli when I want ravioli.

Gretchen

Gretchen
wisekaren's picture

(post #62735, reply #24 of 37)

I made the chicken and mushroom crepes for a faculty luncheon hosted by the PTO to thank the elementary school teachers at the end of the year. There was NO WAY I was making two dozen crepes (the crepes themselves, I mean). I bought some very nice French ones, and I can be fairly certain they were better than anything I (having never made crepes) could turn out on my first go-round.
Karen

pamilyn's picture

(post #62735, reply #16 of 37)

Same here. Edit to add: picky eater that is. Not as in picky I don't eat much stuff, picky as in high quality fresh preferably local food.


The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls


Edited 6/28/2006 5:43 pm ET by pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

ashleyd's picture

(post #62735, reply #17 of 37)

Okay, I'll confess, I said "If anybody would notice". That's not true. What I meant was "If I would notice". I've said it before, with no shame whatsoever, I cook for me. If other people enjoy it, well, bonus, but I am the original Mr Picky. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant in Carcassonne (another thread) there were three (count 'em, three!) items on which I would have taken issue with the chef, so if it's good enough for me...


Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

TracyK's picture

(post #62735, reply #18 of 37)

Hmm... I don't agree. Crust is key to good pie, IMO. That Pillsbury stuff tastes like chemicals to me...  plus it has an off-putting greasy and cracker-like texture.


Don't know where you live, but around here, most every supermarket has chickens rotissing throughout the day, and they're perfectly serviceable, especially for use in other recipes rather than served as-is. Even Costco has good chickens.


Salt early, salt often.

ashleyd's picture

(post #62735, reply #19 of 37)

You're right on the pie thing, good crust is the key otherwise what you've got is a decent compote with a lid.


Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Ballottine's picture

(post #62735, reply #21 of 37)

What Ashley and Tracy say, but Julia insisted that it is better to use store bought pie crust and bake your own quiche or pie, than not to make them  at all.  In THE WAY TO COOK, page 383, she has instructions To Prebake Frozen Store Bought Shells.  bal


PS: I am hooked on HEAT, can't put it down.  I expected the book to be unadulterated praise for Mario,  his cookbooks, restaurants and Foodnetwork shows.  It ain't so.


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Shaye's picture

(post #62735, reply #20 of 37)

I think I remember reading somewhere that even Julia Child recommended Costco's rotisserie chicken. (It could be total bunk, but I like to tell myself it's Julia approved when I pick one up.)

Ballottine's picture

(post #62735, reply #22 of 37)

I believe it was a long PBS interview.  She was asked about meat and after  mentioning her butcher in Napa  she said that the Price Club, (now Costco) has good meat.  I never heard about the chickens. I would be interested to find out if she really felt that way.  I wish Costco  sold  better quality of  chickens even if they had to raise the price a bit.  Bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Gretchen's picture

(post #62735, reply #23 of 37)

Both Costco and Sam's, in my opinion, have outstanding meat. They also, in my opinon, have the best rotisserie chickens. They taste natural--they happen to be HUGE-- but the supermarket chickens taste of either a brine or injection or whatever you want to call it. THEY are inedible.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Heather's picture

(post #62735, reply #25 of 37)

The San Francisco Chronicle did a comparison of rotisserie chicken several years ago and I remembered Costco scored very high, even though it was by far the cheapest. I just searched the archives and found that the Costco chicken was in the top 5. These were described as having "succulent, well-season meat with excellent texture and real chicken flavor. We still dream about these."
I bought a Costco chicken last week for the first time and it really was good, very moist, tender and flavorful--and quite salty.

Ballottine's picture

(post #62735, reply #30 of 37)

Everything tastes better in SF.  Napa valley produce is to die for in SF, it is not worth giving up one's life for when it gets to VA. LOL.  I am sure SF Costco sells better quality chickens than my Costco in Arlington.  Le sigh.  bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.


Edited 6/29/2006 1:14 pm ET by ballottine

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Heather's picture

(post #62735, reply #32 of 37)

I really was surprised by the Costco chicken. I never buy this sort of thing but it was 99 degrees outside and I was heading right past Costco on my way home at 6 pm--cooking was out of the question. I threw together a salad when I got home and we enjoyed our dinner.