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Savory Baking
By Mary Cech; Photos by Noel Barnhurst
ISBN: 0811859061
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication date: October 2009
Format: Paperback
Number of recipes: 75
List price: $24.95
Type: Baking
Sample recipe: Fingerling Potato and Crispy Bacon Pizzas
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: all 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 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: Those of us blessed with a sweet tooth are mostly unaware of those not so blessed. But surely those dear souls want to bake, too. Riding to their rescue is pastry chef Mary Cech, who has developed a whole book of savory baking recipes (there is a tablespoon or two of sugar here and there, to bring out the other flavors, "much like salt"). The book introduces readers to baking with herbs, nuts, fruits, cheeses, mushrooms, meats, and garlic rather than chocolate chips and buttercream.

Chapters include quick breads (muffins, scones, biscuits, pancakes, crepes, waffles, and loaves); flaky pastries (short dough, pastry dough and pie pastry, and phyllo); rustics (cobblers, crumbles, betties, bread puddings, shortcakes, dumplings, and cheesecakes); "pastries with a puff" (soufflés, pate a choux, and popovers); cookies (soft, crispy, chewy, and flaky); and "the side show" (sauces, spreads, chutneys, and salads). Some of the cookie recipes might be construed as modestly sweet, being made with fruit, figs, and apricots, but in general they hew to the line of not sweet.

Even though blessed with a sweet tooth and quite capable of living our lives on the sweet side of the baking spectrum, we love having access to all these essentially new, creative savory recipes.


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