Readers may be aware that Stephanie Izard has won several coveted awards such as Top Chef and Iron Chef. She also owns three acclaimed restaurants, and now she has written a beautifully designed cookbook, which I found both enjoyable and practical. I love the idea of casual dining, and many of the recipes in this book are great for that purpose. But what I first noticed is the exciting and inventive dishes. While I wouldn’t think of having Grilled Pork Belly with Sauce Green, Peaches, and Blackberries, it does sound new and different. In fact, after going through the selection of dishes in the book, I was inspired to think of ways that I could add more fruit to savory dishes.

I think the fact that this cookbook encouraged me to think outside the box and create something tasty but not too fussy is what I liked best. One of my favorite recipes was Biscuits with Sausage and Gravy, which is the best comfort food I can think of. There’s a Greek Yogurt Chicken that is easy and enjoyable and Blueberry-Strawberry Hand Pies that are the perfect treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. There are lots of interesting recipes with unexpected combinations that I haven’t tried yet, for example, Marinated Sweet Cherries with Whipped Feta and Sweet Corn Frozen Nougat with Tart Plum and Basil. If you are looking for originality and unexpected flavors, this is a cookbook you don’t want to miss.

Reviewed By: Susan Miller

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