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December 1998 Issue
Four Selections
by Ronda L. Halpin
Table of Contents | Single-page view

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Cook Smart: Camilla's Catering Secret's for Home Cooks

About the Author

    Camilla Koenigseder is a Texas-based caterer and author who has been perfecting her culinary abilities for more than 25 years. More than a decade ago, she established Camilla's Catering and began offering cooking classes. She has also been writing a monthly cooking column for the Fort Worth Boulevard Banner for 3 years.

About the Cookbook

    Cook Smart takes a unique approach to cooking by offering the reader tips that are often employed by successful caterers. As a result, many of the recipes in this book can be made quickly and efficiently without sacrificing flavor. While it includes a multitude of recipes appropriate for "everyday living", it focuses on party foods and preparing for a large number of people. Throughout the book, helpful tips for using and storing leftovers, freezing advice, and variations on recipes are given.

    Since this book does offer recipes that serve a large group (usually eight), it is a great resource for anyone who enjoys hosting parties and get-togethers. With the holidays here, it comes in handy when unexpected guests arrive at your door. Many of the recipes included can be prepared in 15 minutes or less, so all you need to do is mark a few favorites and have ingredients on hand for quick entertaining. Just because the portions are large doesn't mean that couples can't benefit from this book. I experimented with several of the recipes by halving them and following freezing instructions. I ended up with a quick dinner and another for later in the month. Every recipe includes freezing and storing information, so you needn't worry about reheating disasters.

    Safety, seasoning, condiment, and ingredient tips are found throughout Cook Smart. Want to know how to store garlic puree? Want to know what it is? It's in there! There are even some great entertaining tips from someone who's a pro. Imagine your guests' surprise when you treat them to the kind of style that professional caterers present!

    For an extra element of fun, Camilla adds witty quotes alongside her recipes. One favorite is:

      "Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers."
    Do you know who coined that one? Good 'ol Bill Shakesphere!

    Of course, the most important part of the cookbook is the collection of recipes. And what a collection it is! The Table of Contents gives you a glimpse of the over 180 recipes in this book:

    1. Appetizers (like Crab Fondue)
    2. Soups (like Tortellini Soup)
    3. Meats
      • Beef, Lamb, Pork (like Honey Baked Ham)
      • Chicken (like Chicken with Raspberry)
      • Fish (like Shrimp with Feta and Tomato)
    4. Starches
      • Potatoes (like Fried Polenta)
      • Rice (like Spanish Rice)
      • Pastas (like Fettucine Alfredo)
    5. Vegetables (like Chinese Stir Fry Veggies)
    6. Salads (like Pasta Salad with Shrimp)
    7. Desserts (like Bavarian Apple Strudel)
    8. Drinks, Brunches, Sauces and Other Special Recipes (like Fruit Mimosas)
    If the examples above have you yearning for more, Cook Smart will probably be a welcome addition to your cookbook collection. With all of its time-saving ideas and helpful hints, the only thing it lacks is illustrations of the finished products. Of course, there is a solution to that problem -- get out your pots and pans!

Where to Buy

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