Sunday, October 31, 2010

Review: 5 Ingredient Fix

Summary: Claire Robinson, the hot new Food Network star of 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge, helps people get dinner on the table with little fuss and a few great ingredients. The quest for simple, affordable, and fresh, mouthwatering food is over. 5 INGREDIENT FIX helps put delicious and sophisticated meals on the table in a snap. With people struggling to simplify, streamline, and budget, the Food Network's Claire Robinson is here to help. Cooking doesn't have to be complicated to be impressive; simplifying the process with fewer ingredients saves time, frustration, and ultimately, money.-- Grand Central Life & Style

Anytime there is a cookbook that calls for 5 ingredients or less, I'm immediately interested. And when it also has the word "easy" in the title, I'm pretty much sold. So it's natural that I was drawn to the new cookbook 5 INGREDIENT FIX: EASY, ELEGANT, AND IRRESISTIBLE RECIPES by Claire Robinson. A cookbook containing quick and easy recipes with few ingredients sounded ideal for my family's busy lifestyle!

I found 5 INGREDIENT FIX to be a wonderful cookbook. Of course there are the typical cookbook chapters you'd expect like appetizers, soups and salads, main dishes, sides, and desserts, but there are also some unique chapters with breakfast foods as well as cocktails and "nibbles." Ms. Robinson also has a section in the back of the book which gives readers menu ideas for memorable meals. I especially liked that for each recipe, the five ingredients were printed across the top of the page for a quick and easy reference. I also appreciated that the author gave the reader some options for every recipe like: "What makes this recipe really sing" and "What to toss in if you have it."

One thing that I absolutely loved about this cookbook were all of the beautiful color photographs. I can appreciate a cookbook without photos, but I will admit that pictures of the food just make it all the more special. Almost every recipe has a color pictures associated with it, and I found myself skimming through this cookbook quite a few times. It's really a gorgeous book.

Claire Robinson is the host of 5 Ingredient Fix on the Food Network. I used to be a huge fan of the Food Network, but I've found that I don't have as much time to watch cooking shows as my kids get more involved in activities. Now that I've had a chance to see Ms. Robinson's recipes, I think I'm going to give her show a try. I can always use more ideas for quick and easy meals!

There were quite a few main dish recipes that I wanted to try; however, I decided to make the Buttermilk Pecan Chicken. The recipe was super easy and the only alteration I made was to bake it instead of frying it on the stove. Ms. Robinson did give this option at the end of the recipe, but it wasn't the recommended way. I really enjoyed the chicken and would definitely make it again, but my husband thought it was just okay. When I mentioned that the recipe called for frying and I chose to bake it, he shook his head as if that explained everything. I guess when I make it again, I'll try frying it. (Ironically, Kathy aka BermudaOnion made the exact same recipe a few days before me and also chose to bake it instead of fry it. I swear we didn't even discuss it beforehand, but her husband had the exact same reaction as mine!)

I also made the Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions. Since I am the only one in my family who eats sweet potatoes, I got to eat this entire dish -- not all at once I swear. I really liked it as a side dish, especially during this time of the year. I can easily see serving it as a side for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I'm not sure it's my all-time favorite sweet potato recipe, but I do think it's a good option to have in my recipe stash!

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper plus more as needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Put the sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large mixing bowl. Toss to evenly coat and transfer to a baking sheet; roast in the oven until the sweet potatoes are soft, 35 to 40 minutes. Check on them after 15 and stir, if needed.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and 2 tablespoons maple syrup and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is deep golden brown, about 10 minutes, adding water, a tablespoon at a time, if the skillet gets too dry. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Transfer the sweet potatoes to a food processor and add a tablespoon of hot water. Pulse until just blended and then add half the caramelized onion. Pulse a few more seconds to incorporate the onion; for a very smooth puree, add another tablespoon of water and run the machine for 1 minutes. Fold in the remaining caramelized onions, reserving some for garnish.

Serve in a warm dish and garnish with the reserved caramelized onion.

If you are like me and enjoy cookbooks with quick and easy recipes, then I suggest checking out 5 INGREDIENT FIX.

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Beth F said...

Oh boy -- I can't believe it. I bought a couple of huge sweet potatoes just yesterday, and I always have grade B pure maple syrup in the house. I know one dish I'm making this week.

I haven't seen her show but between you and Kathy, I think I may add this book to my collection.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the reaction of the two husbands! Great story!

Sandy Nawrot said...

It seems like you and Kathy are always luring me into some great cookbooks. The idea of five ingredients is appealing, then if I want to jazz it up with something else I can. I am off to the library website to see if they have this one and the Southern one Kathy just reviewed!

bermudaonion said...

I like this cookbook a lot too! I've tried 3 recipes so far, but want to try a lot more. Great review!

Beth S. said...

I love Claire Robinson's show on Food Network (I especially love when her dog Newman is on the show). This cookbook is on my agenda of books to buy or check out from the library.

lisab said...

My daughter and I met Claire a few weeks ago at the Texas Book Festival. She is just as bubbly and cute in person! I have a few pictures posted on my blog of her under Texas Book Festival-Day 2. We bought the book and had it personalized for my daughter. She loves Food Network!! We bought a few more and had them signed for Christmas presents.

We also made the Buttermilk Pecan Chicken and we did pan fry it. The coating did not stick very well, and I was thinking baking would be better. We have also had the sauteed mushrooms and the Cheesy Penne Pasta...all were delicious!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I think I am going to check this cookbook out the next time I go to the bookstore. That sweet potato recipe sounds like it might make it's way to my Thanksgiving table. Great review!

caite said...

I love sweet potatoes and I love caramelized onions, so this sounds fantastic. And I happen to have some sweet potatoes on hand too!

Alyce said...

Simplicity in cooking is always a plus!

Karlie said...

I was just reading about her in the Food Network magazine. I might have to check this one out!

Heather said...

While I don't mind making the busier recipes, there are certainly days when I appreciate only a few. The potatoes sound wonderful. Thanks.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

ok, I'm sold as got me with your description of the photos...I know I should be able to handle a cookbook with no pictures...but I just can't. It's one of the reasons that even though I like Rachael Ray's magazines, I do not like her cookbooks. I also love to watch the Food Network...but don't get a lot of opportunity...of the new shows I really like Ellie Kreuger and I think I would like this one as well :)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Oh, yum! I'm reading this as I'm thinking "what will I make for dinner tonight?"

Unfortunately I don't have the ingredients, but this cookbook sounds like a good one for my shelf.

(Thanks to your many mentions, I've just subscribed to Food Network magazine)