Friday, March 19, 2010
Cookbook Review: Giada's Kitchen
I can easily say that Giada's Kitchen is one of my favorite cookbooks at the moment. The recipes are simple, but also unique with fun twists here and there. For instance, classic tomato soup is Hearty Tomato Soup, topped with a Lemon and Rosemary Cream. Chicken Scallopine is Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce. The recipes are easy enough for a beginner cook, but unique and beautiful enough for a well seasoned cook.
I was lucky enough to borrow the book from the library, keeping it a total of about ten weeks! Over the ten week period, I made nine recipes: Roasted Pork Loin with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette, Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup, Hearty Tomato Soup with Lemon and Rosemary Cream, Pecorino Crackers, Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas, Amaretto Sour with Prosecco, Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce, Artichoke Gratinata, and finally Strawberry and Mascarpone Granita. All nine recipes have been a big hit. Here is a recap of all nine recipes below (Note: When my computer crashed I lost my picture of the Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas)
Below is a picture of Giada's Roasted Pork Loin with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette. In January, I did a recipe throwdown comparing Ina's Grilled Pork Tenderloin and this version of Giada's pork tenderloin. Ina's recipe blew our socks off, but Giada's version was also a big hit. The pork was meltingly tender and the sauce was full of robust flavor. The meal had a gorgeous presentation and I would definitely make this recipe again.
Next up, I made Giada's Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup which was right up my alley. It really satisfied my bean craving, while at the same time being hearty and delicious, especially served with bread on the side. This is an extremely easy and economical meal, not to mention delicious. Also on my list of make again recipes.
Lured in by the gorgeous photograph in the book, I made Giada's Hearty Tomato Soup with Lemon and Rosemary Cream, served alongside her Pecorino Crackers. I should have known better than to think I would only partake in one cracker! Those crackers were addictive and the soup was too. The soup is extra hearty with the addition of canned white beans. The dollop of lemon rosemary cream makes the soup fun and special. Definitely a soup that would be wonderful for a dinner party. My new "go-to" recipe for tomato soup.
Before my computer crashed, I made Giada's Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas. I don't have a picture to share, but we did enjoy the recipe. Giada goes light on the cream and cheese in this recipe, but it feels indulgent. The peas really liven up the meal, but they do add a sweet dimension to the dish, which might not be for everyone. Also worth noting, I enjoyed this recipe more before the pasta was baked. I'm not sure I would make it again, but if I did I probably wouldn't bake it.
I had a Valentine's Day Throwdown with a bottle of Prosecco. Nigella's Fruit Fizz won the Throwdown, but Giada's Amaretto Sour with Prosecco came in second place. It was a wonderful drink that I would be happy to serve to a crowd or at a party.
With the remainder of my saffron, I made Giada's Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce. It was a gorgeous meal which was made in less than a half hour. We felt like we were dining in a fine restaurant when we sat down to eat this. Also something that will be made again soon!
Onto my favorite of all the recipes, Giada's Artichoke Gratinata. I knew this would be good, but I didn't know it was going to blow my socks off. I made it for lunch yesterday and ate both helpings! I loved it as much as anyone could love a meal. Truly delicious. I'm thinking of eating it everyday until I stop craving it.
Lacking seriously in the self control department this week, I made this summery Strawberry and Mascarpone Granita. Strawberries were blended with simple syrup, lemon juice and mascarpone into a smooth, thick, creamy, dreamy, glorious mixture. It was so good that I wanted to drink the whole batch before freezing it. The only thing stopping me was not being able to take that final picture of the granita! The granita was delicious. It was almost the texture of an ice cream, but was still slightly icy like a granita.
That wraps up my roundup of Giada's recipes. The good news is that all of the recipes posted here, as well as many others from her book, are posted on the Food Network for free. I have many more recipes from this book bookmarked to make.
For now this book makes my top ten list! The recipes are well-written and tested, the pictures are gorgeous, everything is easy with simple fresh ingredients, plus the recipes are impressive and worthy of your most special guests. Simple and classic recipes with a unique flair.