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Cookbook Review of the Month - October 2007

This month's selection is The Cook's Book Abridged from the James Beard KitchenAid Award-Winner The Cook's Book.

This is not your typical cookbook selection, but I chose it because not only is it filled with many wonderful recipes but it is the ultimate in cooking techniques both for the novice cook and the kitchen veteran.  There are several chapters by world renown chefs such as Michael Romano, Charlie Trotter, Shaun Hill, and many others.  There are chapters on foreign foods, techniques, recipes, whatever you need to know, you'll find it in this book.


  • Forward
  • Introducing the Chefs
  • Desserts
  • Useful Information
  • Sauces and Dressings
  • Soups and Stocks
  • Flavorings
  • Eggs and Dairy Products
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Poultry and Game Birds
  • Indian Cooking
  • Meat
  • Chinese Cooking
  • Vegetables
  • Asian Noodles and Dumplings
  • Thai Cooking
  • Grains and Beans
  • Breads and Batters
  • Pastry and Sweet Doughs
  • Desserts
  • Cakes
  • Fruits and Nuts
  • Glossary
  • Index
  • Acknowledgments

This book is a pictorial visit to culinary school.  It will teach you all the technqiues you need to become a master chef, and then some.  It is beautifully and simply portryed.  There are so many delicious recipes to choose from you won't know where to start.


Sample Recipe from the book: Apricot Streusal Crumble Cake

I choose this recipe because we haven't done too many desserts and this one look so good, I had to make it.  It is a great fall dessert and could be a nice choice for Thanksgiving as well.

Apricot Streusal Crumble Cake                                                                    

Serves 8

Makes a 9 x 9-inch cake



  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh apricots, halved and pitted
  • sprig of thyme
  • 1 juniper berry
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • confectioners sugar to dust
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces marzipan, finely chopped
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 3 ounces marzipan, finely chopped
  • 6 medium eggs, precise shelled weight 10 ounces
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp liquid glucose or light corn syrup
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon

     1.  The day before, place the apricots, thyme, and juniper berry in a bowl.  Bring the water and sugar slowly to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour this over the fruit and leave for 24 hours.  Drain the fruit and remove the loosened skins.  Pat dry with paper towels.

     2.  Butter a baking orroasting pan that is about 11 x -inches and 1 3/4-inches deep.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.

     3.  For the streusal, combine the butter, sugar, marzipan, lemon zest, vanilla seeds, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and mix together until smooth. Sift the flour over and rub in with your fingertips (do not knead) to make a light crumbly mixture.

     4.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  To make the cake batter, sift together twice the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Set aside.

     5.  Put the marzipan and one of the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand held electric mixer.).  Beat well to form a smooth paste.  Add the butter and sugar, and beat until lump-free.  Beat in the glucose or corn syrup.

     6.  Add the remaining eggs, one at a time.  Beat the mixture very thoroughly after each egg is added so that it will be completely absorbed and the mixture remains smooth and shiny.  Mix in the vanilla seeds ans the orange and lemon zests.  Carefully fold in the flour using a rubber spatula.

     7.  With a metal spatula, spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Arrange the apricot halves on top, close together and cut side up.  Sprinkle the streusal mixture over the top and finishe with the almonds.


     8.  Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake for 45 minuted.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.  Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.


Book Title:

The Cook's Book


Editor in Chief: Jill Norman

Category: Instructional Cookbooks
ISBN: 978-0-7566-3231-1
Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
Publisher address:

375 Hudson Street

New York, NY 10014

Website or e-mail of publisher:
Published: 2006
Edition: First
Description: Hard Cover
Photographs: Full Color Photos
Price: $30.00
Reviewed by: Elise Feiner
  September, 30, 2007


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