I have an admission to make…I have a guilty pleasure…I like to watch Food Network and cooking shows on television. Since I do the bulk of the cooking in my house, I am always on the hunt for new things to try and new ways to make dinner easier.
So I was intrigued by Chef Michael Symon’s new book, 5 In 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners. Symon is a co-host of a god awful daytime show called The Chew, which I would never have seen if my parents didn’t watch it religiously and had on when I visited. Symon is better known to me as an Iron Chef and Cleveland, Ohio restaurant owner.
The one thing I have always liked about Symon is that much of the staff I have seen him make is stuff I would actually eat. He doesn’t come off as chef-y for the sake of being chef-y; he makes stuff that is fresh and flavorful, but never highbrow.
The concept is pretty straight forward; take five fresh ingredients, add some staples from the pantry and basically in 5 minutes you’ve got a simple, but delicious meal. Granted, I think the 5 minutes may strain credulity just a bit, but most of the 120 meals can be put together in a pretty short period of time if you use a few tricks to shortcut the process. Any number of the pasta dishes can be cut down to size by pre-cooking a batch of pasta and keeping it handy in the refrigerator.
Most of what’s in the book seems pretty easy to assemble; nothing worse that some gizmo or device heavy cookbook that requires you to visit the local kitchen accessory store to buy something you’ll use once then place on the pantry shelf for the next year. I also like the fact that Symon seems to get the fact that most people who actually want to try to cook using the cookbook, (C’mon admit it, most folks have a pile of these things sitting on a shelf in the kitchen and most have never been cracked open) are not going to run out and buy parchment paper to try packet cooking. I loved the fact that he says in the book that there is nothing wrong with good old tin foil! That scored him points with me and I scored points with the family when I whipped up a packet on the grill.
If you’re looking for something simple, fresh and tasty, check out this book and give it a whirl tonight.