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Cindy Pawlcyn's Appetizers
ISBN: 1580089798
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: March 2009
Format: Spiral-bound easel with case
List price: $15.95 
Type: Entertaining: Appetizers
Sample recipe: Goat Cheese-Stuffed Gypsy Peppers
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: The owner of three well-known Napa Valley restaurants – Mustards Grill, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, and Go Fish – Cindy Pawlcyn provides 40 recipes for small-plates and sampler-sized starters. Unlike many chef's cookbooks, this is not overwhelming in complexity or in the length of the ingredients lists or obscurity of the ingredients. A few uncommon ones sneak through – Basque chile powder, for example, but on the whole, these are no-nonsense recipes that a reasonably competent cook will love making.

There are some unusual choices, such as Parsnip and Mushroom Lasagna, Grape and Almond Gazpacho, and Grilled Yam and Potatoes with Harissa. Other dishes, such as the Duck, Olive and Fig Skewers; the Porcini Mushroom Pot Pies; the Asparagus and Truffle Butter Toasts; and Mustards Famous Onion Rings, look exceptional.

The "book" is really a spiral-bound easel, which works well, but because of space limitations, there are a few recipes where it can be a little difficult to tell where ingredients for one part of a recipe stop and those for another begin. For example, the Avocado Papaya Salad, which looks delicious, asks you to combine all the dressing ingredients. It is clear where the dressing ingredients start, but not exactly where they stop. You'll figure it out, but it could be a little easier.


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