Book Review: 5 in 5 for Every Season by Michael Symon’s

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The cover photo of this cookbook is what initially appealed to me. Colorful, and the author holding a carton of vegetables. Speaks quality and taste. Then, the promise of quick dinners, sides, holiday dishes and more drew me in.

I love cookbooks, and I’m always eager to try out a recipe or two within to see if a book is worth keeping or passing off to someone else.

First off, the book is full-color, but that’s to be expected. The first few pages of the book contain the introduction and a short list of suggested pantry items. And then it dives into the first season, spring. Each section in the book is divided by seasons, and the majority of recipes have a photo accompanying the recipe. There are a few sprinkled within, that do not. The pictures always help in deciding whether or not to try or recipe or not, especially if the trend in the book is to showcase it visually.

There were two recipes I tried in the book. First, was the White Bean Crostini with Arugula for the Fall season. I made the recipe exactly as described. My first try of a recipe, I try not to make any modifications, unless it becomes necessary to adjust the flavor. This recipe, I discovered uses too much salt. Well, actually the instructions for the recipe omitted just how much salt to use, instead within the instructions it would direct you to “season with salt and pepper”. The beans were to be “seasoned with salt and pepper”, no indication of how much is suggested to start from. Then later, it says to season the bread with salt and pepper. The arugula with the lemon juice also, included a pinch of salt. At least here a measurement was suggested. Still, all in all, there was too much salt added. If I did this recipe again, I’d omit the salt from the bread.

So when it came to that recipe, the flavors were good, just salt was an issue. Would I make it again, probably, but in cutting back on the lemon juice. That was way too much from my half of a lemon, which wasn’t by far a large lemon.

My second attempt at a recipe, I chose to make Pasta Puttanesca. It sounded easy enough and I had all the ingredients in my cupboard. I always like the prep ahead of time, so that is what I did. But, what the ingredient listing fails to tell you is that again, you will need salt and pepper for the recipe. Why that can’t be added at the listing of ingredients, I’m not sure, unless it would break out of his “5 ingredient” listing. That said, I found it a little disturbing to know that as I’m cooking I need to run across the kitchen and get a few extra ingredients not mentioned before hand. A small detail, but frustrating.

That said, my pasta dish again I made just as described. Unfortunately, I did need to edit to make my pasta more tasty and appealing to me. I guess I’m spoiled by other recipes or cookbooks where I can make a dish as is and end up with something awesome. This wasn’t my case. Twice I’ve tried making dishes from the cookbook, and both times I ended up with issues.

All in all, I probably wouldn’t buy this book on my own nor would I give it as a gift. It’s a great item to leave on a coffee table and dream of maybe one day cooking. For me, I’d rather go online and find a similar recipe.

I received this book from bloggingfrombooks in exchange for an honest review.

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