Cookbook Review: Kitchen Confidence by Kelsey Nixon
Before I begin this review, I have a confession to make. I have a cookbook addiction. I buy them far too often, and I very rarely cook from them. However, I don't really see this as a waste of money, because I read them. From cover to cover. Every recipe. I love to see how other people cook, even if I never try any of their recipes. Many times, though, I don't use the recipes because they call for crazy ingredients that you just don't find in southern West Virginia. Or they use techniques and equipment that the average home cook doesn't have.
This is not the case in Kelsey Nixon's debut cookbook, Kitchen Confidence. She has a wide variety of recipes, and gives genuine ideas for how to use substitutions to make them your own. When she talks about a technique in a recipe, (i.e. braising, working with yeast dough, making stir-fries, etc.) she gives careful instructions about how to do it. If she gives a recipe for pan-roasting chicken, she also tells you how to pan-roast other meats and vegetables, too. She gives directions for making pan sauces, and explains how to substitute meats, vegetables, starches and liquids in recipes. I already own nearly every tool that she mentions!
I love a cookbook with stories or descriptions before each recipe, and Kelsey doesn't disappoint. Every recipe is prefaced with a story, example or tip for making it better. Many of the recipes also have variations to change them to your tastes.
I found at least a dozen recipes in this book that I want to try NOW. A lot of times I struggle to find side dishes that my family will eat, that won't break the bank or take longer to cook than the main course. Kelsey delivers with things like Butter-Braised Cabbage, Rapid Rolls and Toasted Vermicelli Pilaf. (I've always wanted to know how to make a pilaf.) The desert chapter is also a favorite with things like Banana Spilt Icebox Cake and Skillet Blueberry and Peach Cobbler. I can't even begin to list all of the great breakfast meals, salads, appetizers and main courses. Suffice it to say, I loved nearly every recipe here.
Kitchen Confidence claims to have "essential recipes and tips that will help you cook anything." That's a pretty tall order, and I honestly had my doubts at first, but I believe that Kelsey truly follows through on this claim. There are a few pictures in the book, and they are gorgeous, but I wish there had been on of every recipe. Although that would have only made my mouth water more! I can't wait to try some of Kelsey Nixon's great recipes!