Oct 2008

Appetizers – Shane Osborn

About: Appetizers are everyone’s favorite part of dinner. People who really love a restaurant’s appetizers often order two of them instead of one appetizer and one entrée. For anyone who has ever wished their appetizer was a main course comes Appetizers by Shane Osborn.

Appetizers presents a provocative idea: main meals can and should taste as exciting and flavorful as appetizers. “At the start of the meal, appetites are at their keenest and most receptive to new taste experiences,” Michelin 2-star (Pied a Terre) Chef Shane Osborn explains. Here he presents over 50 flexible recipes that succeed as appetizers, entrees or finger foods.

“Don’t think of these dishes solely as starters,” writes Osborn. “The recipes are versatile and throughout the book you’ll find suggestions for serving them as main courses.”

My Thoughts: One of the perky perk perks of writing this food blog are freebies. While I was still living in Vietnam, the kind folks at Quadrille Publishing sent over Appetizers by Chef Shane Osborn for me to peruse, test, review and enjoy. Now, that I’ve settled into my new home, I finally have the time and energy to bust out my dorment kitchen skills.

Although I own a dozen cookbooks, Epicurious.com has been my go-to source for recipes because I find user reviews indispensable. I also love recipes from America’s Test Kitchen because well, they’re foolproof, and you can’t beat that.

While cooking from Appetizers, I had to step out of my comfort zone and let Chef Osborn’s words guide me.  There were a few moments in the book when Chef Osborn’s directions read a bit foggy, but David Loftus’ vibrant photographs carried me through to a splendid end product.

What I like best about Appetizers is the philosophy behind it—I’m totally the type of person to order two appetizers as my entree because I love small nibbles and intense flavors. Plus, I find the traditional entree combination of meat, starch and vegetable rather boring. I also appreciated how each recipe came with not only serving ideas, but directions on how to expand the dish to a main course.

Appetizers is an inspiring little number that I will continually look to for brightening up my dinner table and treating my tired palate.

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