Robin's Reviews > Monday to Friday Cookbook

Monday to Friday Cookbook by Michele Urvater
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Feb 05, 10

bookshelves: cookbook
Read in February, 2010 — I own a copy

Professional chef Michele Urvater wrote this cookbook for people with busy lives who want to eat tasty and healthy dinners. One important premise is that meals are designed for flexibility and ease, not necessarily speed. Most dishes require no special knowledge and preparation can be interrupted and resumed at a later time. Many provide ideas for reusing leftovers creatively. Though the preparation time is noted on each recipe, careful perusal of the recipe is necessary, as some ingredients require advance preparation and I’ve found that not all timing is accurate in our kitchen.

This review is of the original hardbound edition.

The beginning section on stocking the kitchen and pantry with basic ingredients is useful, though not all ingredients may be to your liking. The section on kitchen equipment is worth reading, as the author assumes that you have her various preparation tools on hand to work the recipes in the time allotted. The Monday to Friday strategies chapter gives good meal and cooking planning tips. Other chapters include one-pot meals, vegetable sides, soups, pasta, seafood, poultry, etc., and each of these begins with useful general preparation tips.

The recipes themselves vary in deliciousness. Some seem to combine incompatible ingredients and overall we felt that she used entirely too much olive paste (though we like olives.) Go lightly on this and other ingredients that are combined with other strongly flavored ingredients such as tuna, and watch out for combinations that just seem weird. Some basic recipes, like sautéed chicken breasts, have useful variations written in an entirely non-usable format. Flipping back through pages to find quantities and substitutions does not make for easy cooking. Cleanup from some recipes can be time-consuming, but as Urvater states, speed is not her main goal.

With this said, some of the recipes are exquisite and fairly quick to prepare. Braised fennel, New York chicken (with basil and sundried tomatoes), minted mushroom and turkey ragout and orzo with asparagus and salmon are favorites in my house.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this cookbook’s idea but not always its execution. Still, it is worthwhile to have on one’s cooking shelf.
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