Bobby Flay's Grilling For Life Hardcover – May 10 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Even though each recipe in Flay's new guide to grilling is accompanied by an analysis provided by nutritionist Joy Bauer (including number of calories and grams of carbs, sugar, fat, sodium and fiber), the Food Network star insists this is not a diet cookbook. Flay's goal, he says, is not to encourage high-protein living, but rather to give readers the nutritional information they need to support a healthy diet. Written with the help of Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson, the introduction and headnotes capture Flay's tone and provide clear direction and interesting tips. It's easy to make grilled food healthy, and therein lies Flay's test: he must make this book necessary—otherwise readers could just throw some chicken and veggies on the grill and call it a day. He rises to the challenge by skipping fake, processed foods like Splenda and bottled barbecue sauce, instead favoring fresh herbs, spices and "good carbs" such as multigrains and vegetables and "good fats" like olive oil and salmon. Flay is an advocate of moderation, and his trademark use of bold flavors in dishes like Grilled Red Snapper with Grapefruit-Thyme Mojo, and (skinless) Grilled Duck Breast with Black Pepper-Sweet Mustard Sauce bring out appealing contrasts and result in food that's satisfying even if it's reduced in calories, carbs or fat. (May 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Just in time for a new season of outdoor cooking, television food-maven Flay (with coauthors) brings out another compilation of grilling recipes. This time Flay jumps on the carbohydrate-control bandwagon and designs recipes that reduce simple sugars without eliminating the complex carbohydrates that are less nutritionally negative. For those who think of grilling as a carnivorous endeavor, Flay begins with recipes that show how much vegetables profit from contact with a hot grill. Asparagus, fennel, mushrooms, and zucchini all gain additional taste and texture and combine perfectly with assorted herb and cheese vinaigrettes. Thanks to their relatively low-fat content, fish and shellfish make for healthful eating. Flay loves to season them with bits of mango or citrus fruits, whose acidity enhances what might be flat flavors. Hot peppers play a significant role here, in seasoning both seafood and red-meat choices. To wash down all these items, Flay includes some recipes for cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks. Grilled fruits, imaginatively dressed, make appropriately healthy dessert offerings. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In addition to the low recipe count, you also get the budget treatment from the photography, which is almost entirely in black and white and almost entirely of small amateur looking snapshots of Bobby at the grill. The book has none of the insider culinary wisdom I have seen in my last two reviewed books written by chefs (Gordon Ramsay and Michael Schlow). On the other side of the coin, Bobby does give us some very nice, no nonsense introductory chapters on basic grilling equipment; cooking to safe meat temperatures; herbs, spices, and chiles; flavorings; and basic grilling how-tos. All of these sections are done in the confident style of someone who knows what he is talking about and without a trace of doubt. This is in spite of at least one egregious error that probably has Alton Brown cringing in his `Iron Chef America' anchor chair at his colleague's scientific gaff. The error was in Bobby's correctly rejecting an artificial sweetener for the very wrong reason that it contained chlorine. Just two pages later, Bobby sings to the importance and varieties of table salt, which is half chlorine and half sodium, an explosive metal!
Flay repeats one really great feature from his earlier book when he gives the titles of each and every recipe in his table of contents. He also repeats his appendix of Internet sources.
The overriding raison d'être of this book is to give us nutritionally sensible recipes, ideally to replace all the high saturated fat, high sugar recipes in all the world's previous grilling recipes. And, the nutritional analysis is done by a professional dietitian, Joy Bauer, who oddly, is not given author's crediting, only the honor of writing the foreword.
One very good thing about the book's nutritional strategy is that it does not follow any one-diet plan. Rather, it gives you all the facts you need to have about the amount of total fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates, sugar, protein, sodium, fiber, and total calories. Thus, you pick your regimen and look for the recipes that fit that regimen, be it low carb, low fat, high fiber, or low calorie. The problem is that in order to find the recipes that best fit your lifestyle, you have to be pretty sophisticated about nutrition. For example, is 410 milligrams of sodium a lot or a little? It seems like a big number, yet a milligram is a very, very small amount. The same recipe shows 30 grams of fat, which seems like a small number, except that a gram is 1000 times larger than a milligram. The blocks of nutritional analyses would have been just a little more useful if they would have included the minimum daily requirements for a middle aged person of slightly higher than normal weight. A similar service would have been to give a nutritional summary for the party menus at the end of the book, summing up all the statistics for the various dishes in the menus. A third nutritional service the book overlooks is to provide a good moderate calorie / low carb barbecue sauce. In the index, there is no reference to any recipe for barbecue sauce at all. A fourth idea would have been to give a cross reference of recipes by type of diet, whether low fat, low calorie, low carb, or vegetarian.
Bobby's general outlook on healthy eating is the same as mine and the same as Rachael Ray's point of view in her latest book, '30 Minute Get Real Meals'. That is, avoid empty calories and eat reasonably sized portions. Bobby (and Rachael) both avoid extreme products such as 0 fat imitation cheeses and other dairy products. This is important not only because non-fat dairy (and many dairy imitation products such as margarine) simply do not behave the same as the real thing when baked or sautéed. Like Bobby, I also like to avoid the synthetic weight loss foods as you can never tell what some of the many chemicals put into the mix will do to you over time. We learned our lesson on margarine and transfats. I'll stick to moderate amounts of real butter and vegetable oils and go easy on other animal fats.
So why provide all the statistics when the objective would have been served by portion sizing, replacing white bread with lettuce wraps and whole grain flatbreads, and avoiding transfat sources. As I said above, these numbers are still useful if either carbohydrate or protein or fat content is important to your regimen.
As far as the recipes go, they are all classic Flay, with lots of strong flavors from chiles, cilantro, garlic and onions, vinegars, ginger, fresh herbs, and strongly flavored cheeses. There are a few grill friendly recipes such as cole slaw that are not actually grilled, but the large majority of the recipes have one or more grilled ingredients. Flay keeps the recipe selection on the healthy side by using lots of vegetable recipes (15), seafood recipes (26), and poultry recipes (11). That's over 2/3 of the recipes right there. There are only 16 four hoofed meat recipes and 8 drink and dessert recipes to round out the count. In addition to the selection, I really like the very simple organization into basic ingredients. All this really fits Bobby's `no nonsense American boy made good in the kitchen' persona.
Recommended to health conscience grilling enthusiasts.
Collection is extensive and creative, not just carb redos of some regulars, although some are included as well. Those tried so far are fabulous, e.g. Grilled Fennel and Orange Salad with Almonds and Mint; Grilled German Sweet Potato Salad; Red Cabbage and Beet Slaw; Grilled Spice-Rubbed Vidalia Onions; Buckwheat Pizza with Cilantro Pesto, Jack Cheese and Grilled Shrimp; Grilled Red Snapper with Grapefruit-Thyme Mojo; Souvlaki with Merguez Sausage and Pepper-Yogurt Sauce; Cantaloupe-Mint Agua Fresca;
Each recipe has great, clear instructions along with sections on equipment, sources, menu/party suggests.
Thus, this is serious consideration for the healthy conscious into great grillin' food for friends and family.
I tried this book by first borrowing it from the Public Library. At first glance, I was not sure it would work for me, but then, on page 193, I read how Flay suggests mixing and matching his vinaigrettes, relishes, sauces to my needs. He also gives specific suggestions on what to pair with which type of protein, so I thought I would try it.
For example: My husband and I made the Grilled Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese with Green Chile-Cilantro Sauce. They are excellent, but the pounding, stuffing and grilling of the chicken breasts takes more time than our schedule often allows.
We vowed to enjoy the original recipe again as soon as possible, but in the meantime, we have used the Green Chile-Cilantro sauce for everything from our own, quick garlic-grilled chicken tacos to omelets (using the sauce with eggs came from a suggestion in the book). This single sauce recipe alone makes purchasing the book worthwhile.
Since then, I continue to experiment with fitting Flay's sauces and seasonings into my lifestyle and budget. I can take the simplest vegetable or protein, put a Flay sauce on top, and turn it into an impressive burst of flavor.
What is equally important: Flay includes the nutritional information on each recipe.
Publishers take note: A growing number of us want nutritional information in ALL cookbooks, regardless of the type of recipes they contain -- those of us who love great food yet also love to take care of ourselves -- those of us who are not looking for "diet" recipes, but rather want the highest quality recipes with the perfect ingredients. Taste mixed with portion control is what is important to us, and having the nutritional information is a wonderful asset that allows us to enjoy whatever we want.
Amazon, perhaps you will take note, too? How about allowing us to search your cookbook selections by showing us exactly which cookbooks contain nutritional information and which ones do not?
This is an outstanding cookbook you will really USE. I had to purchase it.