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Cooking from the Hip:
Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals
By Cat Cora
ISBN: 0618729909
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 107
List price: $30
Type: Quick & Easy; Chef's
Sample recipe: Olive Panna Cotta with Tomato "Raisins"Glazed Baby Carrots and Fresh Dill
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: breakfast brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color all/mostly color
Art contribution: disappointing distracting decorative beautiful 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 kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good 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: Honestly, who hasn't written a quick-and-easy-cookbook? Bookstore shelves are full of them. But Cat Cora has the chops – as combination Iron Chef and mom, she knows what it takes to produce real flavor fast.

The book is divided into four sections – fast, easy, fun (intended to get everyone working together), and phenomenal – each with its own appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, sides, and desserts. Recipes in the fast chapter include Spicy Chicken and Peach Stir-Fry, Creamy Fettuccine with Sausage, and Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes; in the easy chapter, Watermelon Gazpacho, Thai Chicken Salad, and White Cheddar Corn Bread; in the fun chapter, Sunday Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Crispy "Fried" (baked) Chicken, and Lemonade Cookies; and in the phenomenal chapter, Mango Margaritas, Pomegranate-Glazed Cornish Hens with Wild Rice, and Italian Cream Cake.

Reflecting Cora's background and training, there are Greek recipes, Mississippi recipes, French, Italian, and other American recipes, and a hodge-podge of other regions and styles represented.

Cora says her book is all about flexibility. You should be able to use what you've got on hand without being afraid to substitute, learn how to cut down on cooking steps, and combine only a few ingredients in inventive ways, whether you're just trying to get dinner on the table or entertain guests.


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