Plated: Weeknight Dinners, Weekend Feasts, and Everything in Between by Elana Karp & Suzanne Dumaine
This is a cookbook designed to work as building blocks as you improve or develop your cooking skills. It was written by the purveyors of a food-delivery company (also called Plated), which was founded with the goal of helping anyone be able to create meals they could be proud of without having to do the meal planning and shopping themselves. These building blocks start out with the equipment one should have on hand (with second and third lists detailing nice-to-have and awesome-to-have items), lists for stocking one’s pantry, info on knife skills, and a short list of rules for the kitchen. After that, the book moves on to basic recipes for components including spice rubs, marinades, dressings, sauces, condiments, and infusions. I can see these component recipes being quite handy. Finally, we hit the actual recipes for meals, starting with weeknight dinners. These ostensibly take less time to prepare. Then comes a chapter called Great for Leftovers, which gives not only the initial recipe but instructions for how to use the leftovers. We move on from there to make ahead meals, weekend feasts, dishes appropriate when serving a crowd, side dishes, and desserts. There are a lot of great-looking recipes here and the book itself is put together to be aesthetically pleasing. It reminded me a little of the Mana Fast Slow Food restaurant, with their many colorful dishes. Not every recipe however includes a photo of the finished product – many offer an artful photo of an ingredient instead. This may be frustrating for some cooks but it makes for a cookbook that feels different from many others.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books