5 in 5 for Every Season by Michael Symon

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Chef Symon is by far my favorite chef! I have followed his career ever since he competed and won Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef.” He later went on to be quite successful as a chef on Food Network, and later branched out to be a co-host of “The Chew” on ABC. He is so lighthearted in the kitchen and passionate about cooking that it is both contagious and infectious. 5 in 5 for Every Season is the sequel to 5 in 5 which is based on the idea of having a home cooked on table in five minutes.

When I first began reading the book, my main question was how can you have a meal cooked from scratch on the table within five minutes when you have to consider cooking times for poultry or beef, or root vegetables? The answer I received from Chef Symon was simple: Choose fresh ingredients that can be cooked within five minutes. I consider myself to have a well-stocked pantry, however, I do have both a deep freezer and top freezer loaded with frozen meats, vegetables, and fruits. So I would have to break the “fresh” rule half of the time by thawing what I had and buying the rest fresh.

5 in 5 for Every Season is broken into five seasons: Spring, summer, fall, winter, and holidays. Each season consists of at least 28 recipes or more based on the ingredients of that season, which Symon gives you a list just before each chapter so you can review and become familiar with the recipes and ingredients. If you think you are going to read novel headnotes, then think again. All the headnotes are both informative and entertaining in a one paragraph format which makes it easier to be engaged with the recipes, without the tangent some cookbook authors tend to go on, and the recipes are as equally short.

As promised, the recipes are composed of five ingredients, but they are hearty and leaves you craving a second helping. Although Michael Symon does come from an Italian heritage, he manages not to overload the home cook with a lot of pasta dishes, but he does incorporates a few. My favorite recipe, and I do have a lot of them, is the Autumn Panzanella which can be served as either a side or an appetizer. I love salads and I am always looking for new ways to create them and I was glad that it was included in this book. Although the Autumn Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad, it was similar to the Asian slaw with the extra crunch from the baguette. It was the perfect combination of flavors, and I ended up making it a one person salad.

Visually the book is appealing and has a lot of quick, great recipes for any home cook to work with. Although the book is based on the idea of a home cooked meal on the table in five minutes, it does not skimp out on quality, fresh ingredients which is the foundation of the book and the recipes.

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