Title: 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, and Irresistible Recipes
Author: Claire Robinson
Release Date: October 6, 2010
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Claire Robinson begins 5 Ingredient Fix by discussing her philosophy about food: it doesn’t need to be overly seasoned. Sometimes simple is best because it allows the natural flavors of the food to emerge. I really liked the idea of this simple, natural approach to cooking, so I was eager to take a look at the recipes and see whether this philosophy actually worked in practice.
The recipes are divided into eight different sections, from breakfast to dessert. They cover a wide range of genres, though there is an emphasis on dishes with large slabs of meat in the entrees. For example, flipping through the entrees section, I see Pork Roast with Hard Cider Gravy, Classic Roasted Leg of Lamb, and Ginger and Lemon Roasted Chicken with Braised Fennel. If, like me, you aren’t a fan of meat with every meal, this section might leave you wanting. The presentation of the book is really solid. It’s printed on high quality paper, and most of the recipes have beautiful pictures to accompany them. It’s superficial, but I love beautifully presented cookbooks, and this one is definitely well put together.
The recipes do each contain about 5 ingredients (not including salt and pepper), but each recipe also has a “what to toss in if you have it” section. This contains suggestions of what else you can put in a dish above the 5 ingredient mark. They are very good suggestions and I think the recipes would probably be better if they were included as part of the basic recipe.
The book also contains a section entitled “The Tools Every Kitchen Warrior Should Own” and proceeds to outline the contents of a well stocked kitchen. It’s not about what should be in the pantry, but what cooking tools a person should have on hand, such as pots, pans and utensils. If you are stocking your kitchen for the first time, or often find that you don’t have what you need when you’re cooking, this list would really be invaluable. I enjoyed going through it to see if I had everything that Robinson recommends; it’s a complete, thorough, and useful list.
I made Beef Stew-Stuffed Potatoes from the cookbook, and using the “extra” suggestions was really necessary – otherwise, I would have had stew with just beef and onions! The stew was good, if a little watery – I used some corn starch to thicken it, which worked much better. The potato bowls were a really cute idea, if a little impractical – they didn’t hold very much stew, and my husband finally just ditched the potato in order to eat straight out of a real bowl. Overall, the dish was good, and I would definitely consider making it again.
5 Ingredient Fix wasn’t the best fit for me, but it would be a great gift for a new cook learning how to work with food and spices. Robinson’s approach is one that I wholeheartedly agree with, but her choice of dishes wasn’t really in line with much of what I cook. It’s a solid cookbook, and I definitely recommend flipping through it to see if the dishes appeal to you.