Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kitchen Sense - A Cookbook Spotlight

*Note 7/2/06: I just received an e-mail from Sara of I like to cook letting us know that there was a miscommunication from the publishing company. They did not want us to blog about a recipe in the book, all they wanted were reviews of the book. So I've taken the recipe out. If anyone is interested in the recipe, e-mail me and I'll give you the ingredient list and my version of how I made the dish. :D

Imagine my surprise and great delight to be invited to participate in the very first Cookbook Spotlight event! Ali e-mailed me with the invitation from Cathy at A Blithe Palate asking me if I'd like to receive this cookbook called Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis to check out and review on my blog.. how exciting!

I received my book a few days later and couldn't wait to see what it contained. I was happily surprised to see that it contained over 600 recipes and many, many tips for the home cook. Mitchell says that he wanted to write a book for the home cook - basic recipes that could be transformed into your own creations (along with many variations of his own), tips on just about anything food related such as how to buy a good piece of meat, cleaning your leafy vegetables when you bring them home, creating perfect pan sauces and much, much more.

To be honest, my first impression of the book wasn't all that spectacular. I'm one of those people who purchases a cookbook that has pictures showing what a recipe looks like. This book is pictureless. But the more I delved into it's pages, the more I ended up liking it - as it truly is a great book to have for the lessons and tips to help make the average home cook more knowledgeable.

You'd think that with over 600 recipes, I'd be able to find one right off the bat that struck my fancy.. but it took me a while to decide which one I wanted to try first. I ended up going with Mitchell's Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese, because please.. who doesn't love a fantastic macaroni and cheese dish?? I've been trying recipes for years to find that one perfect mac & cheese recipe that will stop me in my tracks and have me swooning after one bite of it's creamy, cheesy goodness.

When looking at his ingredient list, I thought this might be a major contender for the title, so off I went to the grocery store to get my supplies. What I liked about this recipe the most was his use of cream cheese and aged cheddar & gouda.. I'd never used gouda in a mac & cheese recipe and was amazed at how I never thought of it myself - the creamy goodness of gouda by itself was a winner - so melted over some curly pasta had to be the bomb, yes??

Well, unfortunately, this dish didn't end up being the "ultimate" for us. The flavor was right on.. the cream cheese and gouda, along with the sharp aged cheddar lent a magnificent savory flavor that reminded me of macaroni and cheese dishes I'd had a restaurants.. but the texture of the dish was not creamy at all, actually it ended up quite dry. I don't consider this a failure though. The spirit of the book is not one where the author is pushing his recipes, but showing you the basics and allowing you to build off from there. So, I will make this macaroni and cheese again one day - but I will tweak it with the knowledge I've accumulated over the years and with the tips Mitchell has taught me to quite possibly create my own "Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese". =)

The Ultimate?? Mac & Cheese
Mitchell Davis' The Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese
Parmesan Tilapia

*Note: I served this with Broiled Parmigiano Tilapia fillets, which I'll post later :D

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Comments on "Kitchen Sense - A Cookbook Spotlight"


Blogger Laura Rebecca said ... (6/28/2006 11:38 AM) : 

Oh my God, that's gorgeous! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!


Blogger Acme Instant Food said ... (6/28/2006 1:19 PM) : 

What a wonderful recipe to select! Mac & cheese is such wonderfully seductive food.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6/28/2006 3:09 PM) : 

It looks ultimate!


Blogger Lis said ... (6/29/2006 6:12 AM) : 

Hey guys.. yeah the flavor was outstanding. I'm looking forward to tweaking this recipe to make it more creamier. Any suggestions?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7/17/2006 10:20 AM) : 

I got this book after reading a couple of reviews and also find it excellent but haven't cooked out of it yet. It is sort of a challenge to think that a cook book is for learning and creating!
Your photo of the dish is awesome!
Reading this I see a number of "dry" ingredients: bread crumbs, parmigiano, flour, goat cheese but you'd think that 2 c of milk, 2 c of cheddar and 2 c of Gouda would cream things up.
Sometimes I take oat bran and run it in the food processor and use it in place of flour knowing that I need to increase the liquid in a recipe but get the oat meal creamyness.
You've got sort of a mystery on your hands. Let us know what you come up with for the solution.


Blogger jasmine said ... (7/21/2006 9:29 PM) : 

Hi Lis

When my package appeared I looked at the mac recipe too. Glad to read that you tried it, but also appreciate knowing about it's shortcomings. Great post!



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