In case you haven't guessed, the way I am able to read and review so many books is that, as a rule, I don't watch TV. It's not that I have anything against TV, it is just that I can't read and watch TV at the same time, and I'd rather read. Since I don't watch TV, I'd never heard of Claire Robinson, the author of 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, and Irresistible Recipes so I really didn't know what to expect when I got my complimentary review copy of the book from Hachette. Usually when I see cookbooks that feature a certain small number of ingredients, I think of cookbooks aimed at busy moms and of ingredients like canned cream of mushroom soup. 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, and Irresistible Recipes is not aimed at moms feeding children nor does it feature dishes that get on the table quickly without much effort. Rather, it is Robinson's philosophy that if you have high quality fresh ingredients, you don't need a lot of extraneous sauces and seasonings to bring out the best flavor.
The cookbook features gourmet-style ingredients and fresh preparation. Looking at the recipes, I saw quite a few that I know my kids wouldn't touch. A fig and blue cheese tart wouldn't fly here I'm afraid, nor would roasted cauliflower with dates and pine nuts (my kids like their veggie plain and tender-crisp). However I could see them eating Ricotta-Thyme Spaetzle or Cheesy Penne.
Tonight I decided to try one of the recipes in the book: Brown Butter Banana Muffins. As it was an extremely complex recipe, I decided I needed an assistant.
Brown Butter Banana Muffins from 5 Ingredient Fix, page 36
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup raw agave syrup or honey (I used honey)
- 1 large egg
- 1 3/4 cup self-rising flour
Yield: 12 Muffins
Preheat oven to 375. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper muffin liners (I sprayed with cooking spray)
Put the butter in a small saucepan or skillet and melt over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until milk solids have turned a nutty golden brown. Remove from heat and cool.
Peel the bananas and mash in a large bowl with a fork until liquified (I used a mixer). Add the agave syrup and egg and stir well; pour in the butter and whisk until completely combined (since the beaters were already dirty, guess what I used). Ad the flour and, with a rubber spatula, fold in the wet ingredients until just combined; not not overmix (I used a spoon since I don't have a rubber spatula). With an ice cream scoop, evenly divide the batter among the muffin tin cups (used the same spoon I mixed with, since I don't like to dirty extra dishes).
Bake in the center of the oven until golder brown and the tops spring back when pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool for five minutes in the muffin tin and then transfer to a rack to cool completely (don't have a rack, just left them in the tin until they were eaten).
These muffins were very tasty, and are now half gone (and still warm).
The cookbook itself is attractive, with lots of photos of the recipes. It offers suggestions of other things to add to the recipes. For example, it suggested adding nuts to the muffins, but since my kids won't eat nuts.... While many of the recipes call for ingredients I don't usually have in my kitchen, I'd say about half are things my kids would eat. Some seem a little complicated to put on the table when I'm in a hurry, but there aren't any that would take all day to cook and dirty every dish in the house.
If you enjoy cooking and eating food beyond the basic but don't want to spend hours in the kitchen or a small fortune on ingredients you'll never use again, I think you'll like this cookbook. There are several more recipes I plan to try. Grade: B+