Monday Review – Seriously Simple Deck

19 Jan


Seriously Simple Deck: 50 Recipes for Simply Delicious Meals by Diane Rossen Worthington

By Stephanie Dickison

While I am all for spending a number of hours in the kitchen, chopping and shredding, sauteing and blending, I’ve got to admit that with all this cold weather and trudging through the snow everyday, sometimes you just want to put something together quickly and hunker down with a good book or settle on the couch with a thick blanket and a movie recommended by a friend.

That’s why I love the Seriously Simple Deck.  It’s like a saving grace for those days where you don’t want to spend time flipping through your recipe books and cards.  You just want to whip something together and get on with your day.

But do not for one second think that “simple” means boring.  Oh no!  Diane has created dishes that will have your mouth watering and guests wondering how you managed such a great meal in such a short amount of time.  These are fun and modern dishes on easy-to-read cards with sumptuous photos on the back.

When thinking about dinner tonight, how about Tuna Tartare with Cucumber-Avocado Relish to start, Island-Style Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes and Carrots, Crispy Scallion-Potato Pancakes and Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes?

Diane has also included recipes for “basics” such as Pistachio Pesto, Balsamic Syrup and Chipotle-Garlic Puree to name a few.  These are the most exciting basics I’ve seen in a “simple” recipe collection in a long time.

Oh, and she also manages to add wine recommendations along the way.

Diane, where have you been all of my life?

The way she is able to pull off making these seemingly sophisticated recipes in a simple manner is due to what she calls her “guiding principles.”  Diane says, “Straightforward techniques are fail-safe: High-heat roasting, broiling, grilling, braising, high-heat reduction, and immersion blending are techniques I use again and again.”

In a world where “true” cooks use slow cooking methods to bring out the taste of food, it is awfully refreshing to hear Diane’s take of making good food quickly.

I have been doing this for 20 years, but somehow I was made to feel like simple and fast meals were less than something that took hours to make.

And now I have 50 new recipes to add to my arsenal!

Let’s see, now that I have dinner all planned out for tonight, what shall I do tomorrow – Poached Salmon Nicoise or Veal Ragout with Pasta tonight?

Now deciding what to make is a true pleasure.  And dead easy to execute.

I could get used to this.


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