Books for cooks



"Seriously Simple:
Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks,"

by Diane Rossen Worthington
(Chronicle Books, 2002, softcover, $24.95)
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Busy cooks will appreciate
these simple, tasty recipes

Here's a cookbook that delivers on its title, "Seriously Simple." Author Diane Rossen Worthington is right in tune with today's busy home cooks who want meals that taste great, but without the wait.

Sophisticated simplicity is her philosophy. That translates into recipes that use a wide array of the freshest ingredients, pantry-handy flavor enhancers and time-saving cooking techniques. The cookbook contains 192 pages and about 100 recipes, with a design that is reader-friendly.

Many recipes, such as Lemony Green Beans and Sweet Pea-Avocado Vichyssoise, take only minutes to prepare. Others, like Toasted-Coconut Rice Pilaf and Caramelized Pear with Almond Upside-Down Cake, can be made in advance.

Less is more when it comes to flavors, according to Worthington. Relying on one or two bold flavors to create a dish is a key strategy for cooking seriously simple yet memorable food. A pinch of cumin gives split pea soup new punch. Maple syrup infuses traditional coleslaw with an unexpected sweetness. Cilantro-mint sauce perks up grilled lamb chops.

"The Clever Cook Could" accompanies nearly every recipe, encouraging home cooks to trust their instincts and modify a recipe to make it truly their own. For example, the clever cook might use the sauce recipe from Baked Pasta with Sausage and Tomato Pesto as a filling for omelets or to top polenta.

Worthington shows us that cooking can be fun and rewarding even when our lives are rushed, and that it is possible to put together a great meal and still have energy left over for family and friends.

The following recipe is a twist on the traditional American ham-and-egg breakfast. Try straining the eggs before cooking for a more tender texture.

Scrambled Eggs with Prosciutto and Fontina

° 8 large eggs
° 2 tablespoons milk
° Salt and pepper to taste
° 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
° 1/3 cup finely diced fontina cheese
° 3 ounces prosciutto, finely shredded
° 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives for garnish

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Add milk, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Melt butter over medium heat. Add eggs, stirring constantly until eggs begin to set, then for 3 more minutes or until very creamy. Stir in cheese and prosciutto; cook until cheese melts, 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn into a shallow bowl, or divide among serving plates. Garnish with chives. Serves 4.

The clever cook could: Substitute cheddar, Swiss or goat cheese. Replace prosciutto with crisp bacon or pancetta.

Approximate nutritional information per serving: 250 calories, 18 g total fat, 8 g saturated fat, 450 mg cholesterol, 19 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate. Sodium content is approximately 490 mg without adding salt to taste.

Barbara Burke is a Hawaii Pacific University instructor who teaches and writes about food and nutrition.

Rating Scale: StarStarStarStar Best in its class / StarStarStar Highly recommended / StarStar Recommended / Star Not recommended

Barbara Burke is a Hawaii-Pacific University instructor who teaches and writes about food and nutrition. Contact her at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail her at:

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