Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Michael's Genuine Food by Michael Schwartz: Cookbook Review by Chef Jeff

This is a treat guys, my hubby is going to review a book for you today. The only type of book, my book hating hubby will look at, a Cookbook. See bottom of review for pictures taken while hubby made the Banana Toffee Panini

Michael's Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who  Like to Eat
by Michael Schwartz
Clarkson Potter (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-307-59137-1
Suggested Level: This is for the more experienced chef
Purchase from Indigo

Description: JAMES BEARD AWARD–WINNING CHEF Michael Schwartz put Miami’s Design District on the culinary map when he opened his restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, in 2007. In a town where food and cocktails are as much a part of the pulse as tans and nightclubs, Michael’s Genuine strikes a very different note. Reviving the city’s dining scene from an overabundance of “Floribbean” cuisine, the restaurant quickly won national praise for its superlative yet unpretentious fare, with Frank Bruni of the New York Times naming it one of the country’s top ten best new restaurants. In his first cookbook, Michael Schwartz shares his approachable, sought-after recipes with home cooks everywhere.

Michael focuses on sourcing exceptional ingredients and treating them properly—which usually means simply. A salad truly becomes a meal, such as BLT Salad with Maple-Cured Bacon, as do pizzas, pastas, soups, and sandwiches. Snacks aren’t precious bits on toothpicks but hearty, eat-with-your-hands fare that can be mixed and matched, such as Caramelized Onion Dip with Thick-Cut Potato Chips and Crispy Polenta Fries with Spicy Ketchup. Side dishes are adventurous accompaniments that hold up mightily on their own, while the boldly flavored main dishes—from Grilled Wild Salmon Steak with Fennel Hash and Sweet Onion Sauce to Grilled Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde—come in two sizes: large and extra large, for serving family-style at the table. From simple desserts that riff on classic childhood favorites and flavors, including Banana Toffee Panini, to Michael’s favorite drinks, you’ll have everything you need for the perfect dinner at home.

With seventy full-color photographs and abundant ingredient tips to help make the most of what’s freshest at the market, Michael’s Genuine Food is a guide you’ll return to time and time again for meals that will slip everyone into a state of genuine contentment

The Good Stuff
  • Some of the pictures of the recipes are absolutely beautiful and make you want to make the recipe right away
  • Directions are easy to follow
  • Very creative recipes
  • Nice to see full menu ideas (including cocktails)
  • Very much into buying organic and locally, so very environmentally friendly
  • The Banana Panini recipe was out of this world delicious, but they made it way too complicated sounding and I would have left out the toffee bits - And btw - you can make something similar while camping and just using a Pie Iron- doesn't look as nice but tastes just as good and way less complicated
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Would only make about 10% of the recipes
  • Pictures are uneven, some look very appetizing and others sort of turn you off
  • Extremely regional, would be extremely difficult to make the recipes as listed if you live in Ontario
  • A lot of frying
  • The introduction almost turned me off wanting to do the recipes, chef seemed extremely full of himself and sort of high and mighty
Favorite Recipe's (Well we only made one)

Banana Toffee Panini - the picture itself is scrumptious

What I Learned
  • How to make my own ricotta, which was interesting
Who should/shouldn't read
  • This isn't for your day to day cook or those with younger kids
  • Better suited for those from Florida or other warmer clients where buying locally is a little more varied than here in chilly Canada (During the winter only of course)
  • Definitely suited more for the experienced cook, those who have money to buy organic, and for those who have access to varied ingredients - not for us in Bolton
2.5 Dewey's

Banana Toffee Panini (Here is an adapted recipe inspired from the cookbook - we used the actual recipe from the book)


Chef Jeff at work

Looking sweet - must go find my stretchy pants

Mmm - banana's
OMG might need to get the REALLY stretchy pants

Finished Product

Chef Jeff eating fruits of his labour

Jake in heaven - Jesse to right of him is stealing the chocolate off of Jeff's plate

Even the frickin Cat wanted some of this slice of heaven
We received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review -- sorry guys wish we had liked it better - I think it will do better in the States

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