When I first saw The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook: A Collection of Our Favorite Recipes for the Home Chef I admit it...I was leery. Was it going to be too "chef" like for the novice home cook who really wants something simple and needs guidance? Or was it going to be filled with recipes for the advanced home cook?
The answer... YES to both questions. The recipes are simple - all 375 of them - and very easy to follow the step by step directions and pages like "selecting and preparing legumes". Throughout the book are tons of tips from the top chefs who teach at the CIA. The more complex or complicated dishes also have photos to help you understand the process. I'll be making the Crepes with Spicy Mushroom Filling very soon...a perfect brunch dish for the Holidays.
And nowhere have I seen such a comprehensive list of charts and tables to help the novice figure out temperatures for ovens, grills, "doneness" of every conceivable fish, fowl or meat, plus a chart for "best quick cooking method for fish" and a separate one for shellfish. Not to mention (okay...I'll mention them) charts for stocking your pantry, by ethnic kitchen - Mexican, Caribbean/South American, Asian, Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, French and Indian and by food type. As I said...very comprehensive.
I made their version of Pasta Puttanesca with Shrimp which really rocks! And couldn't resist taking a picture of the sauce cooking...the aromas, the colours... It takes hardly any time at all to prepare and, because it's so thick and spicy it will also be great spooned over scrambled eggs or over roasted chicken or fish. I'm in Heaven and so far, I've only tried one recipe!
So if you're hunting for the perfect cookbook for the novice or for the adventurous...this book tops the list.