Gourmet Recipes for the Adventurous Home Cook, May
Oprah's cookbook is filled with gourmet
flavors and beautiful pictures that will draw you into
fantasizing about making her recipes. The best way to approach
this cookbook is to read the entire book and then to choose 6-8
recipes you want to make. I say this because many of the recipes
require special ingredients. For the 8 recipes I chose to make I
needed 6 special ingredients. I bought ground chipotle chile
seasoning, 6 cans of San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, white rice
flour (for the lavender cookies), 6 cans of Lychees, Sabatino
Truffle Zest and Sabatino White Truffle Oil. Cooking with these
ingredients was really fun.
Here are the recipes I tried and my experience:
Summer Corn Chowder – There are so many flavors going on in
this chowder I decided to skip the thyme. Instead of making the
recipe for chicken stock I just used six cups of water and six
teaspoons chicken base. That saved a lot of time. The garnishes
are the highlight of this soup and I chose bacon, pimentos and
corn seasoned with chipotle chile seasoning.
Mashed Cauli-Potatoes – These are better than plain mashed
potatoes. I admit I doctored them up a bit with more butter,
paprika and seasoning salt and added 5 green onions, sliced and
sauteed. The recipe called for Yukon gold potatoes but I used
russet and cubed them before boiling.
Skinny Cornbread – This is a more savory cornbread and if you
like you can still serve it with butter and honey. Definitely
with butter. It has onions and jalapeno chiles in it. My husband
ate 3 pieces and I admit to having two. Since I don't have a
cast iron pan I just used a 9-inch glass pie plate.
Turkey Lasagna – OK this recipe is very challenging because
you have to use a mandoline slicer. I suggest you get a slicer
with cut-resistant gloves as I did. This recipe calls for San
Marzano Italian tomatoes and I must say they are the best canned
tomatoes ever! With just three regular zucchinis and one medium
Mexican eggplant I was able to make the dish. You layer the
vegetables, sauce and mozzarella cheese. The dish you should use
is a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Also I didn't have any
granulated garlic or onion so I just used one teaspoon each of
garlic powder and onion powder. I also used one tablespoon dried
parsley and one tablespoon dried basil in place of fresh.
Instead of minced garlic I just pressed three garlic cloves. I
also used less pepper and salt. One teaspoon of seasoning salt
was perfect. So that was the most complex recipe in the book!
Lavender Shortbread – Making lavender shortbread is a very
aromatic experience. The orange zest and crushed lavender are
heavenly scented. I found that I did not need to refrigerate the
dough and could bake it immediately. Instead of regular salt I
used crushed Fleur de Sel. Instead of a vanilla bean (mine had
dried up) I used two teaspoons vanilla extract. I cut the
shortbread into 24 squares.
Lychee Sorbet – This recipe is worth making because it is so
exotic. If you don't have an ice cream machine you can also do a
few tricks to make it work great. I froze the lychees and
refrigerated the syrup. Then the next day I put everything into
my food processor and spun it all around. It turned into a
lovely Lychee Ice.
Twice-Baked Potatoes – Making this recipe takes a little time
but these potatoes are delicious. You first need to bake the two
russet potatoes, then you scoop them out and add in sour cream
and cheddar cheese. Then you bake them again. I found that a 13
x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish lined with foil kept clean up to
Romaine Hearts with Warm Mushrooms and Truffle Vinaigrette –
It is way worth the effort to order truffle zest and truffle oil
for this recipe. The fresh romaine is so crunchy and the lemon
based dressing is a perfect contrast to the other flavors.
Parmesan cheese substituted great for the hard to find Pecorino
Romano. This is the most delicious recipe in the book!
Each recipe has prep time, cooking time and how many servings
plus Weight Watchers points per serving. Calories are also given
Some of the things you need to make the recipes include a pasta
roller, pastry bag, high speed blender, microplane, Kitchen aid
mixer, cast iron skillet, splatter guard (for tomato sauce),
food processor (7-cup) and whisk for salad dressings.
The ingredients you might have to order include lavender
flowers, anchovy paste, truffle zest, Old Bay seasoning, red
curry paste, Thai fish sauce, tamarind concentrate, curry
leaves, mascarpone cheese, star anise, oat flour, xanthan gum,
truffle flour, fresh truffles, sea salt and frozen truffle
One recipe requires you to find a 5-gallon bucket to brine a
20-pound turkey. Most of the recipes serve 4, 6 or 8.
Some of the other recipes include:
Maya's Smothered Chicken
Fresh Cherry Crostata
Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad
Fettuccine Bolognese with Peas
What I really loved about this cookbook was all the personalized
hand written notes by Oprah. You also learn a lot about Oprah's
life and her struggles with weight loss. Oprah is a very
creative writer and she excels at the headnotes. One story she
tells is about how she first tasted a pasta dish at an Umbrian
castle after a truffle hunt. This type of information makes the
book so entertaining.
A lot of love and expertise went into this cookbook. I highly
recommend it for adventurous home cooks who want to cook like a
chef. I vote this one of the most exciting cookbooks I've ever
found. The only thing I'd skip is the alcoholic drink recipes as
alcohol causes disease.
~The Rebecca Review
Oprah likes something I tend to take notice. In the past I
haven't really run out and purchased everything Oprah recommends
but this truffle zest looked delicious and I have Oprah's
cookbook so I knew she'd use it in creative and divine ways. I
first tried it on regular popcorn and added melted unsalted
butter and a sprinkling of truffle zest. It is pretty strong so
a little goes a long way. Then I tried it in the recipe for a
salad with a truffle and lemon plus olive oil vinaigrette. On
romaine lettuce it was a hit. I am definitely making it again.
If anyone has alternative ways this zest can be used in cooking
I'd love you to leave me a comment. I also found it was good
with hardboiled eggs. I will definitely be keeping a bottle of
this zest around for culinary experimentation and fun ideas. If
you get this also get some truffle oil to make a salad dressing.
~The Rebecca Review