Can you tell whether a recipe will work before you cook it? You can if you really know what's cooking.
In the long-awaited CookWise, food sleuth Shirley Corriher tells you how and why things happen in cooking. When you know how to estimate the right amount of baking powder, you can tell by looking at the recipe that the cake is overleavened and may fall. When you know that too little liquid for the amount of chocolate in a recipe can cause the chocolate to seize and become a solid grainy mass, you can spot chocolate truffle recipes that will be a disaster. And, in both cases, you know exactly how to "fix" the recipe. Knowing how ingredients work, individually and in combination, will not only make you more aware of the cooking process, but transform you into a confident and exceptional cook -- a cook who is in control.
CookWise is a different kind of cookbook. There are over 230 outstanding recipes -- from Snapper Fingers with Smoked Pepper Tartar Sauce to Chocolate Stonehenge Slabs with Cappuccino Mousse -- but here each recipe serves not only to please the palate but to demonstrate the roles of ingredients and techniques. A What This Recipe Shows section summarizes the special cooking points being demonstrated in each recipe. This little bit of science in everyday language indicates which steps or ingredients are vital and cannot be omitted without consequences.
Among the recipes you'll also find some surprises. Don't be afraid of a vinaigrette prepared without vinegar or a high-egg-white, crisp pâte â choux. Many of the concepts used here are Shirley's own. Try her method of sprinkling croissant or puff pastry dough with ice water before folding to keep it soft and easy to roll.
CookWise covers everything from the rise and fall of cakes, through unscrambling the powers of eggs and why red cabbage turns blue during cooking but red peppers don't, to the essential role of crystals in making fudge. Want to learn about what makes a crust flaky? Try the Big-Chunk Fresh Apple Pie in Flaky cheese Crust. Discover for yourself what brining does to poultry in Juicy Roast Chicken.
No matter what your cooking level, you'll find CookWise a revelation. Different people will use CookWise in different ways:
- Home cooks will value CookWise as a collection of extraordinarily good recipes.
- The busy chef can use CookWise as a reference book to look up and solve problems. Major headings are shown in the Contents and 42 At-a-Glance summary charts make problem solving quick and easy
- Beginning cooks can use CookWise as a howto book with easy-to-follow recipes that produce dishes looking and tasting like the work of an experienced chef.
- Food writers and test-kitchen chefs who are developing recipes can find the formulas and tips for successful recipes,
- Anyone who wants to improve a recipe can use CookWise as a guide. Here is how to make cakes moister, a pate A choux drier and crisper, a dish lighter or darker in color; how to make muffins peak better, cookies spread less, or a roast chicken juicier.
- Everyone who cooks needs to be able to spot bad recipes and save the time, money, and frustration that they cause. Many of the At-a-Glance charts point out specific problems.
CookWise is not only informative, it's engrossing, and many sections react like a mystery story. The knowledge you gain from its pages will transform you, too, into a food sleuth, an informed and assured cook who can track down why sauces curdle or why the muffins were dry -- a cook who will never prepare a failed recipe again!