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Michael Symon’s Newest Cookbook, 5 in 5 For Every Season
I’ve been hoping a follow up Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 (published in 2013) since I first opened it. It was everything a cookbook should be (and nothing it should not be) and it quickly became one of my favorite cookbooks ever.
Given the huge success and popularity of the book, I had a feeling there’d be a similar book in the future. Fortunately, the wait wasn’t long. The newly released 5 in 5 for Every Season is here and I’m thrilled to have my hands on it.
My copy actually came in the mail a few days ago and I did what any obsessive food blogger would do. I rushed to my favorite grocery store to get what I needed to make one of the recipes immediately. Because of the brilliant simplicity of these recipes, I actually had everything I needed except for one spice.
Chef Michael Symon is cut from a different cloth than a lot of celebrity cooks. He somehow seems more approachable, doesn’t he? It’s kind of like we know him, without ever having met him. This unique quality comes through in each of his cookbooks. In addition to, quite frankly, being one of the best recipe creators on the planet, his upbeat disposition set him apart.
Given the fact that he’s a unique chef, tv personality/host, and cookbook author – I thought it only fitting that this cookbook review be a little different too. Instead of a traditional review, In keeping with the 5 theme, I’ll give you 5 reasons this is the next cookbook you have to buy!
- Quick and Easy Recipes with Simple Ingredients. Most of us just don’t have time to Google substitutes for exotic ingredients we’ve never heard of. We don’t all live in or near large cities and I think that’s something a lot of cookbook authors fail to realize. 5 in 5 For Every Season, like its predecessor, is built on the fact that you don’t have to have tons of ingredients and the ones you do have don’t have to be weird – they just have to be flavorful. 5 Fresh ingredients is all it takes – and they’re ingredients that’ll keep you off Google.
- Beautiful Color Pictures for the Vast Majority of the Recipes. Okay, this one’s just a personal thing – but I love for cookbooks to come with lots of pictures. I realize that “back in the day,” cookbooks seldom included anything more than drawings – maybe a photograph at the beginning of each section, but certainly not a picture for the majority of the recipes. But… well… this isn’t “back in the day” and this foodie is a very visual foodie. 5 in 5 for Every Season has gorgeous pictures throughout the book. I kinda love that a lot.
- It’ll Help Make You a Better Cook. Seriously. When you follow recipes and tips from a trained chef, you pick up things that you wouldn’t pick up on on your own. You learn about flavor combinations, you experiment with different techniques, and you gain confidence that’ll be evident in every bite. Even if you’re already a great cook, it’ll only make you better. It’ll also make you more creative – which, in the kitchen, is an especially good thing. Creativity is what will separate you from the rest of the cooks and will make your food stand out.
- Very Gluten Free Friendly. When I
had togot to start eating gluten free, it turned my little caffeinated world upside down. It touched two vital areas of my life – eating and cooking. I soon realized that even one of my life-long hobbies (collecting cookbooks) would be touched as well. Some cookbooks are what I call “gluten-free friendly” while others are like total strangers. Both of the 5 in 5 cookbooks are off the charts gluten free friendly. Many recipes are, as is, gluten free. Others are ridiculously easy to adjust. For example, in 5 in 5 for Every Season, on page 216 is a recipe I plan to make for Christmas – Cheesy Broccoli Gratin. It looks so delicious! As a bonus, the vivid green will be gorgeous on the Christmas table. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs. The fact that you can find gluten free bread crumbs pre-made at the grocery store makes it a VERY easy swap. Another example is the Kale Bread Salad with Feta on page 230 (not waiting for Christmas on this beauty!) – the recipe calls for 3 cups medium-diced crusty bread. A loaf of gluten free bread makes this a cinch. Naturally, any recipes that call for pasta.. simply use gluten free pasta. Because the ingredients are so fresh, gluten rarely rears his head – and when he does, gluten free bread or other swaps make it a non-issue. More about the gluten free friendliness below.
- These are recipes that’ll quickly become family favorites. You will make and re-make the recipes again and again. With the first 5 in 5 I have a certain number of recipes that I’ve made so often, I know them by heart. A quick look through 5 in 5 for Every Season lets me know that history is about to repeat itself. These beautiful, fresh, and flavorful, recipes span the entire year – holidays included. This will be a cookbook you’ll keep out on your counter from January through December.
Some of the Recipes In 5 in 5 for Every Season :
- Fried Calamari with Okra & Hot Sauce
- Grilled Skirt Steak with Radish & Blue Cheese
- Vegetable Stir Fry (to make gluten free, use Tamari in place of regular soy sauce)
- Sirloin Steak with Sweet & Sour Onions & Arugula
- Grilled Chicken Thighs with Edamame & Grapefruit
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino
- Mashed Potato Cakes with Parmesan
- Cubed Pork with Cabbage & Walnuts (again, Tamari, if you’re gluten free)
- Beef Tri-Tip with Broccoli & Fresno Chile
- Mushroom Philly Cheesesteaks
- Thai-Style Shrimp Salad
- And MANY more – for a total of 165 recipes.
Review Continued Beneath the Deliciousness….
Spicy Beef Tacos with Fresh Salsa- Crazy Delicious!
The first recipe I made from 5 in 5 for Every Season was the Spicy Beef Tacos with Fresh Salsa (the best tacos I’ve ever had). They’re pictured on the back of the cookbook and they caught my eye immediately. If you’ve had to give up gluten, you know by now that it’s almost impossible to find a taco seasoning that’s gluten free. As someone who’d always enjoyed Taco Tuesdays, I missed the yummy tacos I’d grown so in love with.
Then along comes the best tacos I’ve ever had…. and they’re naturally gluten free.
Did I mention they were the best tacos I’ve ever had?
By using a few spices (most you’ll have on hand), you create a taco filling that puts every other taco seasoning to shame. These are spicy, packed with flavor, and absolutely addictive.
Even if you don’t eat gluten free, you’ll never buy another packet of taco seasoning again.
Flavor, flavor, FLAVOR!
Back to the subject of eating gluten free. Not only has this cookbook given me a fantastic new, easy “go to” gluten free taco recipe (pictured above and below), there’s also a recipe for Fried Calamari with Okra & Hot Sauce (page 91) that calls for rice flour and cornstarch – another wonderful gluten free recipe that’s going to reunite me with fried okra.
I love you, 5 in 5 for Every Season.
Yet another recipe, Tempura Green Beans (page 101), takes a traditionally gluten-laden recipe and makes it gluten free by using rice flour.
No. I really, really love you, 5 in 5 for Every Season.
Best. Tacos. Ever.
Like every Michael Symon recipe I’ve ever made, the food makes an impression on you – and everyone else – before you even take a bite. He’s a master, not only of flavorful food combinations, but also at creating recipes that are also beautiful.
I guess he’s a visual foodie too. And we are all reaping the rewards of it.
I was pretty intent on sticking with the 5 theme and only listed the 5 reasons – but you could also add the fact that this cookbook is ridiculously inexpensive. You can actually buy it on Amazon right now for less than $14, which is just nuts. This cookbook is worth at least twice that. I hope you’ll grab your own copy immediately, if not sooner. You’re going to love everything about this cookbook.
Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.