Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: In the Kitchen with David

Summary: David Venable will be the first to tell you: He loves his food. And as the beloved host of QVC’s popular program, In the Kitchen with David,® he’s put that passion on mouthwatering display, welcoming some of the greatest names in the food world. But Venable’s own culinary skills—honed in the Carolina kitchens of his mother and grandmothers—are nothing short of remarkable and tantalizing.

Now, in his anticipated debut cookbook, Venable shares 150 delicious recipes of hearty, easy-to-make, comforting dishes. In the Kitchen with David covers everything from appetizers and breads to soups and salads to main courses and sides, as well as his lifelong love of bacon (The Divine Swine!). You’ll get ideas for quick Monday-to-Friday dinners, let-it-cook-all-weekend suppers, savory breakfasts and brunches, cocktail party fun, game-day eats, and family reunion feasts. And of course, no Southern-influenced cookbook is complete without a little something sweet. Venable’s favorites include

Party Starters:
White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip, Chicken Nachos, Cheddar-Broccoli Poppers with Ranch Dipping Sauce, Cheesy Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Supporting Players:
Summer Squash Fritters with Garlic Dipping Sauce, Scrumptious Hush Puppies, Mom’s “Browned” Rice, Sweet Potato-Pineapple Casserole
Main Events:
Breaded Pork Cutlets, Chicken Marsala, Braised Beef Short Ribs, Low Country Boil
Sweet, Sweet Gratification:
Deep Dish Apple Pie, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Banana Pudding Cheesecake, Peach Cobbler

Loaded with gorgeous photographs, helpful “Dishin’ with David” tips, and personal anecdotes, In the Kitchen with David encourages you and your family to gather around the dinner table for great meals and, more important, great memories. After all, the portions are generous; the options are limitless. -- Ballantine Books

Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this, but prior to picking up IN THE KITCHEN WITH DAVID: QVC'S RESIDENT FOODIE PRESENTS COMFORT FOODS THAT TAKE YOU HOME, I had never heard of David Venable. Based on the title of this cookbook, I presumed that he's a well-known program host on QVC; however, I can't remember the last time I even watched this home shopping station. (I actually do enough damage just shopping around town. I can't imagine how much I'd spend if I shopped on television too!) However, I admit that I was intrigued by this cookbook when I learned that Paula Deen wrote the foreword and that it featured recipes for good old-fashioned comfort food. With the cooler weather arriving, I just crave classic faves like mac and cheese, apple pie, and more!

There is no doubt that I do enjoy the occasional comfort food -- who doesn't?, but in reality I don't actually eat many of these types of dishes. Sadly, the calorie and fat content of most comfort foods is just too high to make them a regular part of my diet. So while I discovered IN THE KITCHEN WITH DAVID to be a gorgeous cookbook with amazing recipes, I probably won't be cooking from this book on a daily basis. Having said that, I loved this cookbook and it will be one of my go-to places for entertaining and special occasion recipes!

Author David Venable is the host of the popular QVC show In the Kitchen with David, and he definitely knows Southern cooking. In fact, this cookbook is heavily inspired by Southern dishes especially his childhood favorites; and he learned to cook from his grandmothers and mother (isn't that sweet?) He grew up in North Carolina and understands that food can be an important part of family celebrations so he includes plenty of "special" recipes, but he also balances these with many quick meals as well as appetizers and sides.

IN THE KITCHEN WITH DAVID is a wonderful cookbook with over 150 recipes; however, it's also gorgeous to look at. There are loads of colorful photographs, and I love the patterned borders for each chapter that line every page. I appreciated that the format of the cookbook is very clear and easy-to-use. The recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients are readily available. I also liked that there were suggestions for substitutions and "dishin' with David" sections that included helpful advice from Mr. Venable. And finally, I loved that Mr. Venable's vibrant personality shined through on each and every page!

IN THE KITCHEN WITH DAVID is pretty much set up like a traditional cookbook. The chapter titles are: Appetizers - party starters!, Biscuits, Muffins, and Quick Breads - our daily bread, Breakfast and Brunch - rise and shine!, Soups - big bowls of happiness, Salads - green goodness, Sides - supporting players, Pork - the divine swine, Casseroles and One-Pot Meals - dinner in one dish, Chicken - birds of a feather, Beef - mighty meaty, Seafood - jump right in, and Desserts - sweet, sweet gratification. Believe me when I tell you that there are dozens of recipes that I want to try... especially in the dessert section.

I can hardly even begin to list the recipes that I intend to make in the near future. I think the holiday season is the perfect time to try so many of the delicious-sounding breakfast and dessert dishes. And while I have stressed that most of these recipes are for comfort food, and not necessarily low-calorie, I do want to say that there are some recipes in this book that aren't heart attacks on a plate! They just don't appeal to me quite as much as the decadent ones.

So when it came time to try one recipe from IN THE KITCHEN WITH DAVID, I selected one from the Biscuits, Muffins, and Quick Bread section -- Banana - Peanut Butter Muffins. This recipe is marked as a Foodie Favorite and I can certainly see why. They were unbelievable and the photograph below does not do them justice. (They actually were quite pretty especially with the little banana slice on top!) The recipe made 12 rather large muffins and used five bananas -- sounds healthy right? And for the most part, these muffins were pretty healthy -- they used very little oil because the bananas help to keep them moist. I have to say that they were the best muffins I've ever made and maybe even ever eaten! I took half of them to my neighbor and her entire family raved too. These muffins were so good I could hardly stand it!!!!

Overall, I absolutely loved IN THE KITCHEN WITH DAVID! While the recipes aren't ones that my waist-line can afford to it on a daily basis, there are tons of great recipes for entertaining and special occasions. Highly recommended to comfort food foodies!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this cookbook.

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Beth F said...

Those muffins looks so pretty with the banana slice! I know what you mean about how some cookbooks are for every day and others for once in a while. This sounds like a good cookbook.

bermudaonion said...

This cookbook does have a lot of tempting recipes. I'll have to try that muffin one!!

Chinoiseries said...

I was just going through the list of recipes and thinking... wow, this isn't light dining xD Your muffins look delectable, I'd take two any day :)

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I met David at BEA this year and he mentioned that he was the first person to put Paula Deen on TV. He is very chatty and spent time with each person in line. The muffins you made look wonderful, I wish I had seen them before I made banana bread today.

Christine said...

Banana peanut butter muffins! Genius!!!

Laurie C said...

My husband won't eat peanut butter and one daughter won't eat banana, but the rest of the family might like these sometime when everyone's home. They do look good!

Marg said...

I have no idea who David is but a rave review like this definitely has me thinking about tracking down the cookbook!