At last a cookbook whose recipes do not disappoint! In fact, the meals produced from these pages exceeded my expectations. Emeril Lagasse, longtime Food Network TV chef, as well as reknowned chef in his own right and proponent of flavorful food, has come up with a real winner of a cookbook.
For each recipe he manages to convey the same excitement and enthusiasm he demonstrates on his cooking shows. The premise of the book is the use of fresh local ingredients, particularly from farm markets. However, it is Emeril's from-scratch assembling of the dishes that gives such delicious results -- no relying on cans of mushroom soup here! I urge you not to skimp or skip on any of the ingredients: each one plays a part in creating a memorable symphony of flavors.
The book is organized by types of related crops, so it is easy to cook by what's in season, and therefore, fresh. Even if you are a vegetarian, you will be happy to know that veggies dominate this cookbook.
Some of the recipes deserve special mention: the Provencal Style Stuffed Zucchini was a revelation , and especially good leftover; the Spicy Zucchini Bread exceptionally moist and a wonderful keeper. But my favorites were the Roasted Tomato Tapenade and the Eggplant Relish Crostini. The explosion of flavors in my mouth with these simple appetizers was astounding. How could a tomato taste so intense? Who knew eggplant could be a tabula rasa for such a heady carnival of flavors? I never knew food could taste so good.
Every recipe I tried tasted delicious, which made me want to work my way through the whole book, or at least most of it! Then I am moving on to his newer cookbook: Emeril 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast. Take it from me, the Turkey Meatloaf is yummy!
Recommended by Betsy Schroeder