Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook Hardcover – Mar 30 1999
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With Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook, Stewart, along with Martha Stewart Living food editor Susan Spungen and photographer Dana Gallagher, has created not just a handbook but a dream book. The first 225 pages consist entirely of beautifully photographed, exquisite nibbles, tastes, and bites--and the following 270 pages give you the recipes and instructions to re-create them at home. Pink and orange ribbons bound into the book allow you to easily mark photos and recipes. Only Martha and her staff would come up with something so beautiful and practical.
You can browse the photos for inspiration, or dive right into one of the chapters, all organized by presentation, such as "Layered and Stacked"; "Wrapped, Rolled, Filled, Folded and Stuffed"; "Skewered and Threaded"; "Bites and Pieces"; and "Sips and Drinks," just to name a few. Having a few friends over for cocktails before the show? How about Crispy Asparagus Straws, a delicious combo of asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and phyllo and sprinkled with Parmesan? The sophisticated flavors belie the ease of preparation. Have a little more time to prepare? The Jicama and Green Papaya Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce are tasty and beautiful.
As gorgeous as this cookbook is, don't dismiss it as coffee-table cooking--several helpful photos show technique as well as finished product, and Martha's tips and notes are sprinkled throughout the text. For example, a lengthy sidebar on purchasing and preparing shrimp shares how to buy shrimp (the high quality of flash-frozen shrimp these days makes it perfectly acceptable), how to cook it (use kosher salt in your cooking water), and how best to peel and devein the little treasures. Similarly, reading the note on preparing phyllo will encourage even a novice cook to try her hand at Phyllo Triangles with Feta and Spinach or Curried Walnut Chicken. If you're planning a party and need fabulous finger food, you needn't look any further than Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook. --Rebecca A. Staffel
From Publishers Weekly
In her second book on the subject (after Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres: The Creation & Presentation of Fabulous Finger Food, 1984), Stewart seems to have enjoyed the collaboration. This is a wonderfully produced compendium, with exhaustively detailed recipes to suit a wide range of palates, budgets and culinary skills (though not intended for neophyte cooks). Following the introduction are more than 300 color photographs (not seen by PW), cross-referenced to the recipes in the book's second half. The first chapter, "Building Blocks for the Best Hors d'Oeuvres," includes Stewart's typically painstaking instructions for making such foundations as Pattypan Squash Cups, Miniature Flour Tortillas and Green Tea Crepes. The next five chapters are organized by type: "Layered and Stacked" offers pizza variations and imaginative terrines; "Skewered and Threaded" has Moroccan Salmon Skewers and Figs in a Blanket; "Bites and Pieces" features Classic Crab Cakes and a section on marinated olives. "Classics" contains previously published recipes, including Phyllo Triangles with Wild Mushrooms. Throughout, helpful sidebars discuss such topics as dumpling wrappers (paper-thin sheets of dough); selecting, preparing and serving oysters; or the best hors d'oeuvres to bring to a potluck party. Advice on party planning, menus, lists of suppliers and an index top off this well-stuffed volume.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this massive tome, Martha covers all types of hors d'oevres. In addition to easy-to-follow instructions, every "finished product" is beautifully photographed and labled. All you have to do is flip through the photograph section at the beginning of the book, select the hors d'oevres you would like to make, mark it with one of the attached silk book holders, and flip to the recipe in the back of the book.
Here are a few notes:
1.) Included in the back of the book is a good index (This is helpful if you want to search for a specific main ingredient -- like if you have 10 lbs. of asparagus you need to use up.) and a resource guide (This is great for those who don't have a gourmet supermarket within driving distance. Almost all ingredients and tools can be ordered either via the internet, by phone, or mail.).
2.) As is typical with Martha's books, the recipes are high on presentation and low on portability. These delicacies are best suited to an at-home cocktail party, as most of the items to not travel well due to their sometimes elaborate construction.
3.) A nice feature is the classic recipes section featuring party favorites such as stuffed mushrooms. (These recpies are great, as my guests are not always in the mood for nori or endive.)
4.) While I appreciate the design choice to put all of the photos at the beginning of the book, I would have preferred the pictures be featured with each recipe. Expect to flip back and forth a bunch of times.
You'll need bookweights or a cookbook stand to hold this open, as the pages are packed pretty tightly.
This informative book has been a welcome addition to my cooking library and I recommend it to anyone who loves to entertain. It will also make life easier for those who are sometimes forced to entertain whether they like to or not!