CookSmart: Perfect Recipes for Every Day

Overview

Perfection has never been so convenient.
Pam Anderson's infallible renditions of favorite dishes have made her America's most trusted cook. In COOKSMART, she returns with can't-fail recipes for everyday meals we all love, from spaghetti and meatballs, oven-fried chicken, and fajitas to foods for special occasions like crab cakes and vegetable lasagna. Pam knows today's cooks are too busy to tolerate less than superb results. She has tested and retested every recipe dozens of ...

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Overview

Perfection has never been so convenient.
Pam Anderson's infallible renditions of favorite dishes have made her America's most trusted cook. In COOKSMART, she returns with can't-fail recipes for everyday meals we all love, from spaghetti and meatballs, oven-fried chicken, and fajitas to foods for special occasions like crab cakes and vegetable lasagna. Pam knows today's cooks are too busy to tolerate less than superb results. She has tested and retested every recipe dozens of times so each one works flawlessly in real cooking and entertaining situations.
Cooking smart is about cooking sensibly. It means reducing the time and effort that go into a dish while delivering every bit of the flavor. You'll find oven-cooked ribs as succulent as those barbecued all day over a fire, a voluptuous chocolate cake as easy as a boxed mix, and cinnamon buns as fragrant and pillowy as they are convenient.
Cooking smart also means creating dishes the whole family can enjoy, such as turkey burgers as juicy as the best all-beef burgers but much lower in fat and cholesterol, and a crisp and creamy Caesar salad that isn't made with raw eggs.
COOKSMART recipes eliminate the unnecessary steps and troublesome quirks that keep you from making your favorite dishes. You'll learn how to prepare a pot roast as juicy and tender as the old-fashioned kind in just ninety minutes. You won't need special equipment for the meals in this book. Every ingredient used can be found in your local supermarket.
In COOKSMART, you'll be able to choose from dozens of holiday standbys: fresh shrimp cocktail, stuffed mushrooms, beef tenderloin for a crowd, silky pumpkin pie, and perfect pecan pie. And you'll find just as many effortless family-pleasing meals to rely on during the week, such as chicken Parmesan and Pork Tenderloin with Curried Apple Crust, which comes with many flavor variations.
In every case, cooking smart means making a dish the very best it can be: a gazpacho chock full of summer-vegetable flavor, a pasta salad that—for once!—tastes as good as it looks, and a peach pie with a crisp crust and a fruity flavor that slices to perfection.
In COOKSMART, you'll not only get more than a hundred impeccable dishes that will become part of your cherished repertoire, but you'll acquire a wealth of culinary knowledge that you can apply to other recipes.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Once again, the very dependable Pam Anderson has spent countless hours in the kitchen, developing by trial and error the very best way to a recipe so you can get it right from the beginning.

How do you get a great Caesar salad without adding raw eggs, or peanut butter cookies that don't fall apart before baking? Anderson has tested her way through each recipe -- often up to 75 times. She even went through 80 pounds of sweet potatoes on the way to eight different recipes for holiday sweet potato dishes. Now, that's a perfectionist at work.

These 100-plus recipes are the great everyday dishes you (and your family) would be thrilled to get really right: tender pot roast, spaghetti with meatballs, great fajitas, 14 variations on pasta salad, and the truly perfect chocolate chip cookie. Some recipes work well for holidays or weekend entertaining -- poached or grilled salmon for a crowd, vegetable lasagna, and grilled butterflied leg of lamb.

I confess that I love this genre of cookbook, where the author details the trials and errors en route to perfection -- the different doughs for cinnamon rolls, for examples, made variously with two yolks, then four yolks, then two whole eggs and two extra yolks. (The latter produced the best results for Anderson.) These books read like little culinary thrillers. If you like to cook more than a little, you could spend a fine Saturday afternoon shuttling among The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook, David Rosengarten's Taste, and Pam Anderson's CookSmart and The Perfect Recipe, having mini competitions for which book has the best fried chicken, barbecued ribs, gazpacho, or chocolate chip cookie. Your friends and family would enjoy it, too. (Ginger Curwen)

From the Publisher
"Pam Anderson is as tenacious as a junkyard dog when it comes to perfecting a recipe." Boston Herald

Anderson has once again produced a winner.
Publishers Weekly, Starred

Anderson continues to uphold her reputation as a scrupulous, dedicated and no-nonsense adviser to the home cook. The Washington Post

If you're a fan of Pam Anderson's "The Perfect Recipe" and "How to Cook without a Book", her "CookSmart" won't disappoint. The Oregonian

(cooksmart) is a book that you'll find yourself reaching for over and over.
The New York Daily News

"Packed with kitchen-science insights, creative solutions and irresistible recipes, this is one of those rare cookbooks that begs to be read cover to cover." - Miami Herald

Publishers Weekly
Anderson (The Perfect Recipe; How to Cook Without a Book) brings her wide experience and easy style to this latest offering. She takes the recipes one step further, explaining the testing method of each, much in the style of Cook's Illustrated where she was the former executive editor. Highlighting such dishes as Oven-Fried Chicken That's as Good as Fried, 90-Minute Pot Roast with Rich Red Wine and Onion Gravy, and Pasta Salad, Anderson caters to cravings for comfort food. Once the principles of pasta salad have been explained, for example, a number of versions are put forward, from Greek-Style Pasta Salad with its creamy vinaigrette, through Pasta Salad with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus, to Asian-Style Pasta Salad with Chicken, Baby Corn and Snow Peas. The home cook will feel at ease with the recipes, which have been designed for simplicity; the more advanced cook, interested in the whys and hows, will be able to apply the principles learned to other areas of food preparation. By combining both audiences so successfully, Anderson has once again produced a winner. (May) Forecast: With copromotion in USA Weekend and the success of her previous books, there is every reason to think that this one will do as well. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Anderson's The Perfect Recipe presented foolproof recipes for classics from roasted turkey to strawberry shortcake. This time, she focuses especially on favorite family-style dishes, from cream of mushroom soup to spaghetti and meatballs to chicken and dumplings. Each master recipe (many include variations) is prefaced by an essay detailing the testing process that led to the final recipe ( la Cook's magazine, where Anderson was executive editor for many years); she notes that for Perfect Peach Pie, for example, she conducted 31 different tests of thickeners alone. There are also informative sidebars, as well as step-by-step illustrations of various techniques. Anderson's previous books have been popular, and she now writes a weekly column for USA Weekend, which has no doubt gained her new fans; for most collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618091515
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 7.13 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

PAM ANDERSON is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great and the best-selling Perfect Recipes for Having People Over and The Perfect Recipe, winner of an IACP Award. The monthly food columnist for USA Weekend, she is a contributing editor to Fine Cooking and Runner�s World. She is the former executive editor of Cook's Illustrated and teaches cooking classes across the country and appears frequently on TV and radio.

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Recipe

CREAMY PASTA SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN, AVOCADOS, AND TOMATOES

If you're not a cilantro fan, simply substitute 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, brushed with vegetable oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 pound bite-size pasta
6 ounces (about 1/2 dry pint) cherry tomatoes, halved and lightly sprinkled with salt
4 ounces (about 6 medium) radishes, thinly sliced
3 large scallions, cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
6 ounces (1 medium) avocado, halved, pitted, skinned, and cut into bite-size chunks
Creamy Buttermilk Dressing (see below)

  1. Bring 1 gallon of water to boil. Preheat grill on high for 10 minutes.
  2. Grill chicken over high heat until opaque throughout and fully cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on size. Set aside.
  3. Add salt and pasta to pot and cook until just tender. Drain, spread out in a shallow baking pan, and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Transfer chicken, pasta, and remaining ingredients, except avocado and dressing, to a large bowl; do not mix. (Pasta salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.) when ready to serve, prepare avocado and add it and dressing, toss to coat, let stand for 15 minutes, and serve.

CREAMY BUTTERMILK DRESSING

Use this dressing for tossed salads as well.

1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl; set aside or refrigerate until ready to toss with salad. (Dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

NOT-YOUR-AVERAGE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

These peanut butter dough balls do not need to be flattened with a fork. The ratio of butter, flour, sugar, and peanut butter causes them to spread naturally as they bake.

1 cup all-purpose bleached flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted just until warm, not hot
1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375° F. Mix flour and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Mix butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Mix eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to peanut butter mixture, and beat with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add flour mixture and peanuts; stir until well combined.
  3. Line a 13-by-9-inch or similar-size pan with plastic wrap. Use a 2-ounce (1/4 cup) spring-action ice cream scoop to form dough balls and scoop into pan. (About 14 balls will fit in first layer). Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top and make another layer, scooping balls from remaining dough. Freeze until solid, about 30 minutes.
  4. Place 9 cookies on each of two parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake, switching and turning cookie sheets from front to back, after 15 minutes. Continue to bake until cookies are golden but not dark brown, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. (They are relatively fragile at this point.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Copyright © 2002 by Pam Anderson
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003

    My Copy is Already Dog Eared

    Pam Anerson has to be the best cook in the world. I have made the Simply Scrumptious Ceasar Salad too many times to remember. My daughters positivly love it. Her recipes are forgiving too. If you are missing an ingredient or don't like an ingredient she usually has a substitute. I love how she has written the background of how she developed each recipe.

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