The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider

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    • Ingredients: garlic; canned anchovies; olive oil; lemons
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Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    2007 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award Winner

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Potatoes with rosemary-scented fried egg and parmigiano

    • sturlington on April 28, 2013

      It's not that difficult to figure out that fried egg over almost anything equals deliciousness, so I wouldn't call this improvisation a revelation, even though it does taste good.

  • Braise/sauté of asparagus, sugar snap peas, and green soybeans

    • Jane on August 07, 2011

      This is one of my favorite vegetable dishes of all time. I vary it according to what green vegetables I have on hand - green beans, snow peas - but always with edamame which I keep in the freezer. It is quick to make but so much more interesting than plain steamed vegetables.

    • lorloff on April 11, 2020

      Thanks Jane your recommendations are always the best. This was wonderful spring side dish for dinner. I added a bit of garlic with the leeks and added a little good organic soy sauce. Added the fresh herbs from the garden. Perfect.

  • "Lazy Man's Favas" with extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano

    • sturlington on May 20, 2013

      P139. A great use for edamame. Quick, easy, keeps well and makes a tasty nibble.

  • Parsnips with roasted sesame oil and cilantro

    • Dannausc on April 26, 2019

      Decent but nothing special

  • Rustic bean stew with bacon and caramelized onions (frying pan beans)

    • PennyG on August 04, 2013

      This was really nice. Made as a side dish for dinner this evening and will eat as a stew for lunch one day this week. I used Yellow-Eye Beans.

  • White beans with fried sage leaves

    • lorloff on April 10, 2015

      Very good added thyme and savory and lots of garlic. Garnished with pan fried prosciutto

  • Lobster essence (rich lobster shell broth)

    • lorloff on May 23, 2020

      I have made this several times and its great. This time added one carrot and one celery to the leeks. I used 6 cloves of garlic and added fresh parsley and tarragon from the garden when I added the thyme. Since the lobster bodies I made the stock with had a lot of roe, I followed Eric Ripert’s instructions to use the roe to rid the finished stock of impurities. For a lobster broth for a soup this step is great, not needed for the stock for risotto. The stock was absolutely amazing. Will make again. Highly recommended.

  • Guinea hen with bacon and madeira

    • bching on April 18, 2015

      Really good and easy. I cooked it in an oval creuset cocotte rather than the complicated folded foil that the instructions specified. Next time, I would broil the bird for 5 minutes or so before serving in order to crisp the skin.

  • Duck breasts with confited kumquats

    • bching on March 11, 2018

      The confited kumquats exceeded expectations. They are a perfect foil to the rich duck breasts with the sour and bitter notes. Easy, too.

  • Panfried ravioli

    • sturlington on January 19, 2013

      Sounds good in theory, but this method doesn't work nearly as well as I was expecting. Better to go out for fried ravioli when a craving comes on.

  • Fragrant olive oil cake with fresh thyme

    • laurenlangston on May 21, 2017

      This is so simple and so delicious -- the texture is lovely from the buttermilk. I wouldn't mind a more pronounced olive oil flavor, but I'm so impressed with how easy and tasty this is. A great go-to. I did not sift the dry ingredients.

  • Orange flower and other citrus cakes

    • lawrencecharcuterie on April 30, 2021

      Super tasty and simple. Used the orange glaze. Dale and Ken commented that it was the perfect sweet level.

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  • ISBN 10 0060731648
  • ISBN 13 9780060731649
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 01 2006
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher William Morrow
  • Imprint William Morrow Cookbooks

Publishers Text

2007 IACP Award Winner!

In The Improvisational Cook, Sally Schneider helps home cooks declare their independence from recipes and set lists of ingredients and offers an invitation to a fun, more spontaneous way to cook with whatever is on hand. But how do you become an improvisational cook

Once you understand how a basic technique or a recipe works, you can then begin to improvise. Start with one of The Improvisational Cook's essential recipes, such as Caramelized Onions. A special Understanding section follows, explaining the internal logic of the recipe and its creative possibilities. With that in mind, a savory onion jam; a real onion dip; a quick bruschetta topped with the onions, anchovies, and olives; or a rustic onion soup with dried porcini mushrooms is just a step or two beyond. Sally's notated improvisations illustrate simple, clever approaches and can be followed as is or used as a jumping-off point.

The possibilities are endless. Slow-roast fish at 300 degrees, along with some cherry tomatoes and olives for a sauce. Prepare a savory lemon jam to go with lamb or veal chops, or turn it into a cake filling. Roast a whole lobster instead of a fish in a salt crust. Add minced rosemary or Earl Grey tea to butter cookie dough. Turn a brownie batter into an elegant pepper-scented chocolate cake.

Sally gives you the know-how to embellish, adapt, change, alter, modify, and experiment in your cooking with plenty of encouragement and helpful information -- the tools and insights you need to find your own voice and cook improvi-sationally. These include an exploration of the inside of improvisation -- the creative mind-set, where to find inspiration, how to deal with the unexpected, practical approaches to learning what goes with what, including a chart of classic flavor affinities, and tips on organizing your kitchen to make improvising easier, from long-keeping pantry staples to makeshift tools.

Using The Improvisational Cook, you'll discover a way of cooking that's fun, unfussy, and truly pleasurable. Everyday cooking can become creative every day.



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