|Average Customer Review: ( 17 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 found the following review helpful:
Beautiful But Flawed Oct 30, 2001
Typical to a Martha enterprise, this book is well-conceived, thoughtful, and gorgeously produced. It contains a wide variety of meals, arranged according to season. This concept allows the cook to find recipes for foods that are fresh in the market and make the most of what is in peak flavor. The recipes include familiar dishes with new twists and unique dishes that tempt. Unfortunately, the recipes seem not to have been tested adequately, as sometimes the amounts were off or the cooking times were wrong. This seems to be a problem in some of the recipes presented in the Martha Stewart Living magazine. Also, ... not all of these dishes are exactly quick. The criticism about underseasoning in the dishes is valid; final products were at times quite bland. In a cookbook de-emphasizing fats, use of herbs, spices, and seasonings becomes important. For an experienced cook with a critical eye, this may be a source for ideas. ...
16 of 16 found the following review helpful:
This Delivers Mar 12, 2004
By C. Ebeling
Most people think it is impossible to deliver on a weeknight a dinner that is elegant, healthy and quick. This book makes the impossible quite possible.
The only reason I've nicked it a star is that for some, a cookbook titled "healthy" requires nutritional data, which this does not have, and quick in this instance sometimes means more simple than last-minute preparation. MS makes a case for not including the read-outs, about learning to fly without training wheels (sorry about the mixed metaphors). As for the simple vs. last-minute, a case in point: the wild rice pilaf with dried fruit is elegant and very easy to prepare, but it does require cooking the wild rice ahead and setting it aside. If you start an hour before dinner is to be served, no problem; in fact, starting the wild rice that early leaves you quite a bit of time to throw in a load of laundry or complete other chores before you pull together the rest of the recipe in the last 10 minutes.
I've never had a problem with a MS recipe. Things always cook up in the allotted time, they always make the proposed quantity, they brown as they're supposed to, rise as they're supposed to . . . The charge has been made by another reviewer that dishes are underseasoned or bland. I suspect that is because the MS style is to emphasize the natural flavor of the basic ingredients. A lot depends, then, on the integrity of the ingredient.
23 of 27 found the following review helpful:
Pretty? Yes. Tasty? Not Really May 03, 1999
The foods are beautifully presented and the ingredients are interesting and upscale enough that you can serve some of this stuff to guests with pride. Unfortunately, in general the recipes are under-seasoned (bland and one-dimensional) and don't taste nearly as good as the pictures might imply. Some of the recipes--fruit sushi and grilled fruit panini come to mind--are downright silly in addition to being time-consuming and not very appetizing. Overall, a good book to learn about presentation, but disappointing recipes.
13 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Martha's "healthy pleasures" Sep 09, 2003
By Alejandra Vernon
"artist & illustrator"
This 1997 book grew out of what Martha Stewart calls her "ever-growing search for the new and different", and it has many interesting ideas and recipes for fresh, healthy eating, and menu planning. As one would expect from Martha, the appearance is almost as important as the contents, with marvelous photography, and great use of vintage plates and Depression glassware
It is divided into seasons, and as I live in California, and primarily eat fruits and vegetables, the Spring and Summer sections are of most interest to me; they have novelties like "Cool Jicama Slaw" (pg. 77), which consists of julliened jicama, minced jalapeño peppers and chopped cilantro, in a orange and lime juice dressing, and a fabulous "Corn, Fava Bean and Cucumber Succotash" which includes red bell pepper and white onion to make up this colorful and wholesome recipe.
For the colder climates, there are wonderful hearty soups and stews, roasted vegetables, and rice, quinoa, and couscous dishes. There is a lot of what Martha calls "clean food", where "the flavors are clear and straightforward" and come from the "quality of the ingredients rather than elaborate techniques".
There are some unique desserts, like "Frozen Chai" (pg. 126), which can be made without an ice cream maker, using a food processor instead, and a "Rosé Gelatin with Blackberries", which I have not tried but looks lovely. Some of the desserts, like the rich chocolate sorbet pictured on page 193, are served in teacups with saucers, making an attractive table setting.
This is a beautiful book to look at, and it is full of ideas on how to add interest to a health-conscious diet, with simplicity, and a lot of flavor.
16 of 18 found the following review helpful:
The pictures were great...but did anyone test the recipes? Sep 23, 1998
As usual, this is a beautiful book. Martha Stewart has presentation down. Unfortunately, cooking takes more than presentation. I am health conscious and have very little time to cook, so I thought this book would be ideal. I prefer a cookbook that has more good recipes than bad, though.
I have never been one to turn down dessert, but I threw out the mini blueberry shortcakes before I finished one. They tasted terrible. Also, there is a butternut squash soup recipe that has bad proportions. There was too much squash even after using only one (the recipe called for two). Unless we just have exceptionally large squashes in California, I don't know how this could go unnoticed. There is a handroll made with rice and vegetables that would be delicious except for one small problem. Has anyone tried to bite through nori? It is the seaweed used in sushi. I have never found a piece of untoasted nori I could chew threw.
One good recipe: the cranberry oatmeal dessert. It is very simple, but is best eaten fresh & not kept for left-overs.
See all 17 customer reviews on Amazon.com