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Simple to Spectacular: How to Take One Basic Recipe to Four Levels of Sophistication by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Butternut squash soup with herbed cheese dumplings

    • debwfrank on February 06, 2010

      No chicken wings, just broth, a mistake in the listing. This is delicious. I subbed herbed cream cheese for half of the goat's cheese.

    • Laura on June 21, 2012

      Pg. 21. I have not made this recipe, but I did want to make an addendum to the note by debwfrank. She writes that there are no 'chicken wings' in the recipe. Actually, while there are no wings in the soup recipe, they are included in the chicken stock recipe that is suggested for this dish. It is EYB practice to include all ingredients for sub-recipes so that the reader knows what they're getting into.

  • Curried butternut squash soup with shrimp

    • Laura on September 16, 2016

      Pg. 20. Made this for lunch today and we really liked it. I did make a few changes either due to necessity or preference. Used ghee rather than butter. Used green curry paste because I've never been able to find yellow curry paste. Used cooked shrimp and just added them to the finished soup, rather than sauteeing fresh shrimp in butter. The flavor of the soup was really good and we both enjoyed it. I'd make it again.

    • wodtke on February 27, 2016

      This is quite good, and with the shrimp sufficient for a light supper, but it's not hugely better than most curried butternut squash soups.

  • Oven-roasted beets with goat cheese

    • Laura on January 22, 2016

      Pg. 130. My usual method of roasting beets is to peel them, cut them into bite-size pieces, toss with olive oil and black pepper, then roast. Not anymore! I'll be cooking them this way from now on -- so easy and so delicious! I combined the beets and goat cheese with some salad greens and drizzled the dressing over. It made a wonderful lunch.

    • wcassity on January 04, 2014

      One of my favorite beet preparations ever. Perfect ratio of beets to goat cheese to olive oil. The raw beet green ribbons are a great addition.

  • Roast vegetables with red pepper oil

    • Laura on August 22, 2014

      Pg. 132. This was a marvelous way to cook lots of fresh summer produce from the farmers market. It was absolutely delicious, although a bit of a pain to make -- it was quite labor intensive. The red pepper oil I made using a food mill rather than a juicer to 'juice' the pepper and that worked well. The pepper oil added a nice sweet and hot accent to the dish. This is certainly a very special preparation that I will probably reserve in the future for special occasions.

  • Sautéed chicken chunks with onions

    • Laura on May 24, 2011

      Pg. 259. The title of this recipe does not sound terribly appealing, and yet it is really good! And it's quick and easy. I would definitely make this again.

  • Chicken breasts in foil with rosemary and olive oil

    • Laura on November 11, 2012

      Pg. 267. Wow, this produces an amazingly moist and juicy chicken breast. And the rosemary and lemon flavors are just right. The cook time seemed a bit short to me, but it turned out to be perfect. The only thing that was a disappointment was that the spinach turned an ugly brown and there was very little of it left. In future, I would just leave it out and cook it by another method. Also, be sure to cook this in a pan that is already seasoned, because if it isn't, this cooking method will season it, whether you want that or not -- I learned that awhile back from a companion recipe to this one. This time I used my seasoned wok and that worked well.

  • Thai-style chicken breasts in foil

    • Laura on May 08, 2010

      Pg. 271. Loved this! It was so easy and yet delicious. Next time I would sub roasted sesame oil for the peanut oil (as the authors suggest) just because I like it better. Next time I would also use my seasoned wok rather than a regular, unseasoned frying pan -- it nearly ruined my pan, creating an unwanted seasoned effect. Next time I might skip the jicama -- not much flavor -- although my husband liked the crunch it added. The mango was a delicious, refreshing component. Will definitely make this again!

  • Roast pork with rosemary

    • Laura on August 01, 2014

      Pg. 312. This was very good. I made a couple of modifications: I roasted a 2.5 lb boneless pork roast, so I altered the roast time and temperature to accommodate it. Also cut the amount of sugar in half. It still formed a nice crust, but wasn't as sugary as I imagine it would be with the full 1/4 cup of sugar. I would make it again.

    • tagubajones on April 13, 2013

      So easy and so good. I cut the sugar a bit so it doesn't brown as nicely but it's still plenty sweet. Also, for a good time, cram a few cloves of garlic and rosemary leaves into the meat before cooking.

  • Frisée salad with gizzard confit and lentils

    • wodtke on January 15, 2016

      Although this recipe looks challenging, it isn't really hard, and the results are delicious. Strongly recommended for ambitious cooks. Bittman and Vongerichten think their recipe feeds 4, but not in our house. (I made the confit in the oven to maintain the 190 degree F required, rather than trying to constantly adjust temp on the cooktop. Worked perfectly.)

  • Spaetzle with butter

    • sarahawker on February 15, 2015

      This dough was very heavy. Did not push through a collander at all. We rolled it out and cut into ribbons. The saute step was very sticky, lots of clean-up. Tasted great though.

  • Alsatian chicken with creamy Riesling-onion sauce

    • sarahawker on February 15, 2015

      Made this for valentines dinner w/ the family. Very good sauce, made a lot of it. I did end up putting the chicken back in the oven without the sauce to crisp the skin and that was definitely a good idea.

  • Sautéed chicken chunks with harissa and couscous

    • Charlotte_vandenberg on July 20, 2018

      Nice flavors, but a bit bland. Next time I’m going to add a little bit more salt, harissa and cumin.

  • Best scrambled eggs

    • theuninvitedguest on June 13, 2015

      This is a very particular type of scrambled egg -- very soft and rich, with an exceptionally small curd (the recipe's note that it should "look like oatmeal" is spot on). It's delicious on thick toast. It's not my everyday scrambled egg, but it's very tasty.

  • Roast chicken with ginger-and-soy whiskey glaze

    • e_ballad on November 24, 2016

      Yum-o-yum. The glaze makes this incredibly moreish. Can highly recommend. I only brined for an hour & don't think I would have wanted to have extended the time any further.

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  • ISBN 10 0767903609
  • ISBN 13 9780767903608
  • Published Nov 01 2000
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc)
  • Imprint Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Del

Publishers Text

What happens when a four-star chef and a renowned culinary minimalist cook together They invent a delicious style that adapts to every occasion and every level of expertise. This book introduces a simply spectacular concept created by New York's hottest chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman, author of The New York Times's hugely popular column The Minimalist. Ever since their tremendously successful collaboration on Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef, the acclaimed duo has been developing a repertoire of dishes that can be prepared in any of five progressively sophisticated ways.


Featuring a total of 250 recipes, Simple to Spectacular begins with a simple, elegant recipe (creative flavors with just a few ingredients) followed by instructions for four increasingly elaborate variations. For example, a recipe for Quick Oven-Braised Halibut Steaks leads to Halibut with White Wine and Shallots, Provencal Halibut, Halibut with Mustard-Nut Crust, Three Fennel Halibut and Halibut Braised in Red Wine. Every aspect of the menu is covered, from superb soups and salads to unforgettable side dishes, entrees and desserts. Now the most tempting dishes can be tailored for a quick Tuesday night dinner or an elegant weekend party. And in the Jean-Georges tradition, all of the recipes can be made in any home cook's kitchen. With fifty full-color photographs throughout, readers will pore over the possibilities, from Simple to Spectacular.



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