Shortcuts to Gourmet Cooking Encore

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2018

Member Reviews

This was the authors second book in this she talks about healthy foods without        artificial additives and recipes using white whole wheat flour, unbleached and gluten-free flours. She emphasizes how cooking from scratch is easy, saves you time and money and is healthier for you and your family. Many of the recipe are  gluten-free, low cholesterol, all natural, or include honey.
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I found this book to be full of good old fashion recipes. The healthy part comes from the beginning of the book when the author tells you that she cooks with ingredients that are natural. For example butter not margarine. Items that are not made with preservatives and other items that are unhealthy for you in the long run. This really is how my grandparents ate and they were farmers from Nebraska. The recipes are all simple and easy to follow along with the pictures and the stories that go along with the chapters make for a very good book.
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Reading this cookbook is remarkably like spending time in the kitchen with an older relative. Yes, you get stories about pictures about people you don't know, and some cooking tips that make you just smile and nod politely, but you also get good, down-to-earth cooking wisdom. 

The recipes range from very simple (oatmeal, grilled cheese sandwiches and such) to the more intensive homemade pasta, but the majority fall in the category of good standard recipes that anyone can use (potato rolls, crockpot Beef Burgundy, pepper steak stirfry and such). 

The one recipe I've tried so far was for a beet chocolate cake, called a 'natural red velvet cake' in the description. In that sense it was disappointing, because the red color faded when I baked it, and I was left with a good, but very normal chocolate cake. I would use the recipe again though, because hey, if you can  make a good chocolate cake with vegetables in it, why not. 

I have the chicken cacciatore from this cookbook in the crockpot now and will add to this review after we try it tonight. (Edited to add: Unfortunately, we found the chicken cacciatore bland. There's a slight chance it's because I modified the recipe a bit, but in my opinion it needed the spices increased quite a bit and garlic added. I'll still try a few more recipes from the book, but that one was not a winner.)

Overall, the cookbook was not aimed at someone like me. I don't own a microwave, so all of the helpful time saving microwave recipes would need to be adjusted before I could use them, and I discovered white whole wheat flour long ago (and soak or ferment it before I use it, ala Weston Price). 

I would however, highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who wants to cut back on processed food and start cooking more meals with basic ingredients without having to navigate all the healthy, trendy ingredients like coconut oil and kale. 

(I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)
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A very interesting and useful guide to different types of cooking.
It was nice to find the recipes of Italian-American cookery as well as a lot of others.
Gave some good ideas and tried a couple.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Concierge Marketing Inc.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  From the publisher --- 
Enjoy cooking from scratch on almost any diet.
A winner in cookbook category at the 2016 Los Angeles Book Festival, this second cookbook from Fran focuses on healthful foods without artificial additives and recipes using white whole wheat flour, unbleached and gluten-free flours. She emphasizes how cooking from scratch is easy, saves you time and money and is healthier for you and your family.
Many of the recipes in this book can be used for any type of diet, and icons are used throughout to indicate a recipe or its options are gluten-free, low cholesterol, all natural, or include honey. Healthful Hints provide tips on how to make a dish more healthful and Helpful Hints will help make your cooking and baking easier.
The end product is a timely book. More and more articles in all types of the media from newspaper and magazine to television and the internet are touting all-natural cooking, and more healthful supermarkets are becoming accessible to consumers. Many have specialty sections dedicated to all-natural, organic and gluten-free foods.
This book is a sequel to her first cookbook, Shortcuts to Gourmet Cooking and Family Favorites, and has the rest of the recipes from her restaurant, Nonna's Palazzo, that she was unable to include in the first book. Another addition to the book is color, healthful hints, and God's Pharmacy. Enjoy this timely personal cookbook.

I love Fran’s total honesty – her preface to the book started off with explaining that her family was on the Feingold Diet (which I had to google) --- it removes food additives for ADHD symptoms --- and that her first cookbook “Family Favourites” followed that guideline. She went on to say that with so many of the diets/food plans of today (Gluten Free, Paleo, etc.) can use her recipes. REFRESHING!  So many cookbook authors are rigid in their statements of how ONLY their book and recipes will work but Fran’s admission that choosing a similar ingredient that you can tolerate (or permit per your food plan) made me love her to the moon and back. 

The book starts with pantry staples and then digresses into Italian pantry staples and stories about growing up Italian in a time when the KKK considered being Italian (or Greek or Mexican) a sin worthy of burning a cross. 
The recipes start using the following descriptors:
N – all-natural ingredients
LC – low cholesterol
GF – gluten free
H – honey used in recipe (for vegans??? Because it is natural? Not sure why honey needs an indicator.
The recipes are clear and well written/described along with family photos and stories fill up the 400+ pages of this cookbook. These are simple, yummy recipes that any cook could accomplish - will I only use white whole-wheat flour as it is milder for the sake of it needing less “sweetening “? No:  it is hard/next to impossible to source for me at a reasonable price point but hey, it is only the colour of the flour IMHO for me…then again, I would never make chicken stock in a microwave either!)
A good addition to any cookbook lover’s shelf - shortcuts, if you want them, abound - I generally do not but that would not stop me from using the cookbook. 

p.s. - the cover totally confuses me as I expected it to be either a Southern Gothic Novel or a NOLA/Cajun-inspired cookbook.
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I didn't quite see the point of this book.  Perhaps for the absolute novice who wants some encouragement, but there was not one recipe that I would make.  I didn't think there was enough care given to presentation either
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Shortcut to Gourmet Cooking Encore appears to be a community cookbook, full of snapshots and school photographs. No specific theme is followed throughout the cookbook, thought there are different sections including an
Italian themed chapter, and chapters on fish, meat, candy cookies and cakes. Although the introduction mentions having an interest in healthy recipes, I did not find any evidence of that in the recipes. 

Some of the recipes were coded N, LC, GF and H, which turned out to represent recipes that were Natural (although that can be an ambiguous label), Low Cholesterol, Gluten Free, and Honey (includes honey in the recipe, not convinced of the necessity of that). 

Things I liked included:

- recipes for home-made replacements for canned cream soups
- the candy section looked pretty instructive
- many recipes had options, which improved recipe variety, and allowed easy customization 

Things I did not love:
- very low production value for a professionally published book
- photographs were unprofessional and / or too small
- there was a glossary at the beginning of each chapter, I just found that odd
- where is the table of contents?? I need a table of contents!

I can imagine that the community of people surrounding this author would cherish this cookbook, as it seems to include many photos and recipes from family and friends. I do not know that people not connected to the author would enjoy the book quite as much.
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