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Goodcooking.com Cookbook Review---


Title: Simply Summer
Author: Angela Tunner, 2007
98 pages; Hardcover 21.99 US/24.99 CDN
Publisher: Eat Like a Millionaire Inc.
Reviewed by, Chef John Vyhnanek May, 2009


The review---

Even the hot weather lovers among us have experienced the dreaded chore of cooking in a hot kitchen on a really hot day. Restaurant cooks have horror stories of working during heat waves with temperature in the cooking area often reaching 120 degrees F. Ah the lucky customers who are seated in the cool dining room must be having a great time while we are boiling cooking their meals. "I'm going to quit this business someday" echoes amongst them. Many seek shelter in cool malls, theaters and restaurants and others just like to remain at home either in or out of air conditioning.

Simply Summer is an interesting cookbook because in following the recipes as they are written, you actually have to do very little cooking! The principle is set forth early by the author Angela Tunner, in a section called "Read this First" she explains the concept. It simply is listed in 13 points ranging from use the oven as little as possible reduce your trips to the store by buying in bulk and make the most of your toaster oven, actually cook in it, to using supermarket shortcuts like buying pre-cooked meats and cakes. Hey why not buy a rotisserie chicken or precooked shrimp. Some of us will argue that store roasted chickens are overcooked and precooked shrimp rubbery and bland. You will have to make a choice here, being frazzled by the heat of a chicken roasting in an oven and standing over a pot of steaming shrimp when the temperature outside is 99 F., or staying cool!


In the section "Getting Started", Angela suggests some basic equipment to use, tips on how to successfully use a microwave for cooking. A well thought out list of summer pantry items and shopping tips are a nice touch and helpful too. So we are ready to cook!

(Author Angela Tunner)

 

The Fancy Tuna Melt with Fine Herbs Mayonnaise and Swiss Cheese was easy enough to make and tasty too. I would have liked a bit more mayonnaise in the recipe for moistness and you might too. I must say that the Swiss cheese is a nice touch because when toasted and a little crispy, it has a very pleasing nutty taste. The Gourmet Dinner Salad with Rotisserie Chicken or Smoked Salmon (I chose to use chicken) was great. The flavor of the pears, dried cherries and goat cheese really worked well with the other ingredients. Red wine vinegar and olive oil was all that was needed to keep it fresh and simple. Angel Food Cake with Fruit Compote was a snap. No baking of messy and sometimes tricky cake to make from scratch, actually this is one cake better store bought! Cooking a few apples and some seasonings in the microwave was easy too. All that was left was to slice the cake, top with custard and apples, top with whipped cream and garnish with strawberries---pretty cool!

Give yourself a break this and every summer to come with this book. There are good suggestions for keeping cooking simple on hot days. The recipes are meant to be easy and really the no fuss approach works. Besides beating the heat you will have less to clean up and more time to spend planning your next meal for Simply Summer!

Angel Food Cake with Fruit Compote and Custard

It does not get any simpler-or cooler-than this! Cake and canned custard from the grocery store and a fruit compote made in less than 10 minutes in the microwave. Topped with whipped cream, it's simply delicious!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
For the Compote
3 to 4 apples (Royal Gala, Empire, or Fuji)
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1/z teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest

For the Cake
1 store-bought angel food cake
1 1/2 cups Devon-style canned custard
Whipping cream (optional)
4 strawberries

Shopping List
Apples (Royal Gala, Empire, or Fuji)
Butter
Sugar
Cinnamon
Vanilla extract
Orange zest
Angel food cake
Canned custard (a Devon-style custard is a great choice)
Whipping cream (optional)

Tools and Equipment: Microwave-safe dish, zester, knife, cutting board, vegetable peeler, spoon, serving plates

For the Fruit Compote:
1. Peel the apples then core them and cut them up. Place in a microwavesafe dish for cooking. Add the butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and orange zest Toss to combine. Cover with a microwave-safe silicone cover and microwave until the apples pierce easily with a knife, about 7 minutes.
2. Take out of the microwave, uncover, and set aside until needed.

Assembling the Dessert:
1. Cut up the cake to make four 3-inch wide slices. Place one on each plate.
2. Spoon custard over half the cake, allowing it to pool around the corner and side.
3. Spoon apple compote in a small heap at the base of the cake in the pool of custard. Top with whipped cream, if using, and garnish with a strawberry fan.

Gourmet Dinner Salad with Rotisserie Chicken or Smoked Salmon

Looking for a quick yet tasty dinner for tonight? Stop at the supermarket on your way home and pickup a rotisserie chicken for this gourmet take on fast food. There is relatively little oil in this recipe as the salad can get soggy if you overdo it. However, if the greens seem too dry, you can always add more according to taste.

Serves 6

Ingredients
5 cups salad greens
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 pear
1/2 cucumber, English
1/2 bulb fennel
3 Belgian endives
1 jar (170 ml) artichoke hearts packed in oil, drained
2 tomatoes, cut into 8 slices each
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Shopping List
Salad greens
Rotisserie chicken
Pear
Cucumber
Fennel bulb
Belgian endives
jar of artichoke hearts packed in oil
Tomatoes
Sea salt
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Dried cherries or cranberries
Goat cheese

Tools and Equipment: Large salad bowl, food processor, large spoons for tossing salad

Method

1. Wash and dry the salad greens. Put the greens in a large salad bowl. Add the chicken.
2. In a food processor, thinly slice the pear, cucumber, fennel, and Belgian endives. Toss with the greens.
3. Add the drained artichokes (leave a little oil on them to go into the salad) and tomato slices.
4. Add the salt and toss. Add the olive oil and toss again.
5. Add the red wine vinegar and toss again.
6. Add the cherries and goat cheese. Toss and serve.

Angela's Tip This is another salad you can have fun with by making substitutions. Add or substitute any of the following: green beans, cooked potatoes, carrots, crisp fruits such as apples. Vary the lettuces as well or combine several kinds. The only lettuce that doesn't work well is iceberg lettuce.


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