Olive oil, carrots, rosemary, potatoes, sage, garlic, a bit of salt and pepper… those are the only ingredients needed to make this delicious potato dish – an adaptation from a recipe in a cookbook I recently received, Extra Virgin, written by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos.
I received the book from a site called Blogging for Books. Basically, anyone who has a blog can sign up, receive a free book, review it, then request their next book. I would highly suggest the site for any readers/cooks/crafters because they have all kinds of books on their site – even ebooks.
So, Extra Virgin is a beautiful Italian cookbook written by the hosts of the Cooking Channel’s Extra Virgin. The photography in the book is amazing; most of the pictures are large, some spanning a full two pages. Some of the more difficult recipes even feature step-by-step photos (such as the recipe on Tuscan Bread).
Just as extraordinary as the photos is the writing. Each recipe has at least a paragraph of an intro, giving the reader insight into the personal lives of Gabriele and Debi. Some of these paragraphs are simply about the history of the dish, or maybe the family history of the dish as it pertains to the couple. Other recipes feature the memories of Gabriele and Debi; how they used to have this recipe as kids, how the scent of certain desserts bring them back to the many Christmases spent in Italy. Some of the writing is set up as a conversation between Gabriele and Debi, the two going back and fourth about the memories they have made together through cooking and enjoying a certain dish.
In addition to the little snippets about each recipe, each section begins with an introduction about what each type of Italian food means to them. They write about the differences between buying packaged meat in the US and buying fresh meat from a butcher in Italy, or how fish is an essential part of the Italian diet and, therefore, fishing is much more than just a sport in Italy.
The only criticism I have is that there aren’t quite enough pictures. I like cookbooks that have a picture for every recipe; though this probably has pictures for most recipes, I would have greatly enjoyed even more. That being said, this book is a great buy. With over 100 recipes, there’s something to please everyone. From simple pasta dishes, to things more exotic and complex, like swordfish rolls, home chefs of all levels are invited into the world of Italian cooking.
You can start off with this amazing baked potato recipe to hold you over until you buy the book.
- 4-6 potatoes (Yukon Gold are best)
- 2 carrots
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- rosemary, to sprinkle
- sage, to sprinkle
- salt and peper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Chop potatoes into square-inch cubes. Chop carrots into long, thin slices. Arrange both on the parchment sheet. Drizzle with oil, rosemary, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, flipping the potatoes every 20 minutes. Serve immediately.