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Review and Giveaway: Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell


It’s been a long time since a cookbook has really inspired me.  Inspired me to the point of having to buy a pasta maker on a Saturday at a store located in the center of the Point Pleasant Beach Seafood Festival and its 60,000 visitors. But, I had to have that pasta maker and embark on my very first pasta making adventure. Anne Burrell’s new Cook Like a Rock Star cookbook has inspired me to not only make pasta once, but three times in the last week.  I made the most amazing Ravioli’s which she calls Raviolo Al’Uovo. Each ravioli is filled with delicious ricotta mixture and an egg yolk.  It is one of those dishes that you will never forget and would make a very elegant appetizer.  Last week on our first pasta making attempt, we made Anne’s Sweet & Spicy Sausage Ragu. My BF compared it to the sauce his Italian Grandmother used to make.  Tonight I’m cooking up her Wild Mushroom Ragu.  Actually, I think I’ve crossed the line from inspired to obsessed.

Chef Burrell’s book isn’t just about pasta. Earlier in the week, I made her Spiced Chickpea Soup which is creamy and oh, so satisfying. She seems to have some favorite ingredients which happen to be mine as well, like red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and home made chicken stock.

For those of you who don’t know who Anne Burrell is, she is a classically trained chef and host of Food Network’s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and cohost of Worst Cooks in America. The introduction of her book explains Anne’s perspective on cooking. “Cooking is not a genetically inherited skill – people forget this. Just because your mom or your grandma is a good cook doesn’t mean you will be.Cooking is something that you need to learn how to do – just like everything else.” I can attest to this. I do not come from a family known for its cooking skills. It was something that intrigued me and I made it a point of learning how to, many times by trial and error. Lot’s of error. I think this is one reason I love this book. In some of the recipes, Anne recommends cooking a tester, tasting it, and adjusting the seasonings just like you would in a restaurant.

Anne’s time spent in Italy has a definite influence on her cooking. She later went on to work with Lidia Bastianich in New York and Mario Batali, who wrote the foreword for the book.  The book has recipes that will appeal to everyone, no matter the skill level.  I am an experienced cook and found the recipes that I tried to bring new ideas and techniques to my attention and resulted in extremely satisfying meals. I think the novice cook will find some of the recipes to be challenging, like filling raviolis with egg yolks without breaking them. That was a little tricky.

Anne divides the book into 6 chapters covering everything from Piccolini or “little nibbles” which she describes as small plates to be eaten with a big glass of wine (or two!) as an intro to dinner. The chapter includes recipes like Zucchini & Parm Fitters with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Figs stuffed with Gorgonzola & Walnuts.  The chapter on “Firsts” provides 18 recipes for different appetizers, soups and salads including Grilled Pizzetta with Stracchino, Sausage, Arugula and Chili Oil and Pumpkin Soup with Allspice Whipped Cream and Fried Leeks.  Chapter 3 is on Pasta which I think I have already covered to some extent. Expect recipes like Spaghetti with Olive-Oil Poached Tuna in Tomato-Fennel Sauce and Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi with Fontina Fonduta. The chapter entitled Seconds is all about the Main Event and includes recipes for Chicken, Duck, Pork, Lamb, Beef and Fish. I’ve got my eye on the Dry Rubbed Bone-In Rib Eye recipe which Anne describes as “Just Good Stuff.”  The next chapter on Sides takes us through 16 recipes including Super Creamy Cheeeeeesy Polenta and Sweet Potato & Apple Hash which I’m thinking will make a wonderful Thanksgiving side.  The last and of course sweetest chapter of the book walks the reader through 14 different dessert recipes including Apple & Olive Oil Cake with Sauteed Apples & Mascarpone and the recipe I’m currently drooling over, Maple-Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

Anne will be making some stops in New Jersey and New York in the coming weeks for book signing events, so we want to give you a chance here in the next two days to enter to win a copy of her book and get it in time to visit the book signing closest to you. I think I may be taking my already splattered copy to get it signed.

How To Enter: Just leave a comment with your email address in the comment section below. You can earn extra entries by Tweeting and/or Facebooking this Giveaway. Just be sure to come back and let us know you did so.

This Giveaway will End tomorrow Tuesday, September 27th at 11:59pm. Winners will be notified on Wednesday, September 28th.

Book Signing Dates and Locations:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2:00-4:00pm

Anne Burrell Book Signing

Williams-Sonoma

1200 Morris Turnpike

Short Hills, NJ 07078

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

7:00pm-9:00pm

Anne Burrell Talk, Q&A, and Book Signing

Barnes & Noble

33 East 17th Street

New York, NY 10003

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

12:00-2:00

Anne Burrell Book Signing

Costco

325 Promenade Boulevard

Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

7:00pm-9:00pm

Anne Burrell Book Signing

Barnes & Noble

3981 US Highway 9

Freehold, NJ 07728

Deborah Smith , Founder and Executive Editor of JerseyBites.com.  Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. Deborah is also the owner ofParents With Nannies, Inc. which operates a network of nanny employment websites established in 1999.  In her spare time, (Ha) she works as a Social Media consultant and speaker.  You can learn more about her services and marketing through social media on her blogwww.DeborahLSmith.com

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