In Chic, you have a little bit of everything, from French-inspired Beef Bourguignon to Orange-Scented Rack of Veal, from Pistachio Pesto Fettuccine Alfredo to Spiced Mocha Mousse with Viennese Crunch. And there is even a step-by-step guide to make the cutest Chanel cupcakes.
I got a chance to ask Esther a few questions about the book.
What drives you to keep on creating and developing recipes?
I have a hard time following recipes precisely. When cooking with a recipe I have this innate compulsion to change or add ingredients. (It’s so much easier using ingredients you already have on hand than having to run out and buy ingredients). Because of my "inability to follow a recipe syndrome" developing new recipes became second nature. Many of the recipes in CHIC include substitute suggestions that can be used to replace certain ingredients in the recipes. Other than being convenient, the suggestions convey a message of confidence to the readers that enables them to use their own creativity in the kitchen. Most of all, it's a thrill for me to create recipes that are super easy yet give the impression that you slaved for hours.
Where do you gain inspiration?
Wanting to spend time with my children inspires me to create fast and easy recipes. Raising young children definitely does not offer the luxury of fussing in the kitchen all day. When expecting company, I don’t want to spend an entire Friday cooking in the kitchen while my children are home. So when I cook, my main objective is to cook recipes that will be quick and easy.
How long did it take you to work on your cookbook?
It took me two years to work on the book. But, since I was having so much fun doing it, it went by fairly quickly.
What makes you feel successful in this endeavor?
I am most proud that I managed to write this book while still being there for my children
when they got home from school every day. Balancing both was a daunting challenge.
Cramming full time hours in to a part time day taught me tremendous discipline and
focus that transfers to other aspects of my life.
You have great skills in styling and plating the food. Where did you learn and what tips
can you share with our readers?
I have never gone to culinary school and don't consider myself to be a chef - I am a cook. So, there isn’t really a specific method of training behind my food styling. My approach is "less is more" when it comes to plating food. What people find appealing is presentation that's kept simple - all you need is a clean white plate, a simple garnish, and a little TLC to produce a beautiful dish. It's ok if it's not perfect. There is beauty in imperfection. The photographers that worked on Chic Made Simple are amazingly talented and they were able to capture the special quality of the recipes. The camera is less forgiving than food that's presented in real life, so in the studio my most important tool is a pair of tweezers. Who knew tweezers can be so effective?
Thank you Esther for sharing your experience with us.
Now to truly gauge the success of a cookbook, you must try the recipes. I did just that, starting with the Coconut Tilapia with Apricot Teriyaki Sauce.
The fish was coated in a crunchy layer of breading and coconut flakes, with the coconut adding a hint of flavor that was at once unexpected and welcomed. It enhanced the delicate flesh of the tilapia and balanced the flavors remarkably.
I served it alongside a fresh arugula salad and it made a perfectly light and filling dinner. The kids liked it, too, which means it got promoted to being part of my meal planning (the one I make and never keep) repertoire.
If you'd like to peruse the book yourself, now you'll have a chance to win a copy, a special gift just in time for the holiday.
HOW TO ENTER
1. Leave a comment. Tell me what your favorite fast, yet fabulous recipe is. Or what you're making for dinner tomorrow. Or what you'll do with the cookbook if you win.
1. Follow The Kosher Spoon by subscribing to the email list here and/or to the RSS feed here
2. Email and/or post on your Facebook wall about the giveaway: Win Esther Deutsch's Chic Made Simple Cookbook @ The Kosher Spoon http://bit.ly/U5YhT1
3. Follow @thekosherspoon on Twitter
4. Tweet about the giveaway: Enter to #win Esther Deutsch's Chic Made Simple #Kosher #Cookbook @thekosherspoon #giveaway http://bit.ly/U5YhT1
Remember to leave a separate comment for every entry. If you already follow The Kosher Spoon, leave a comment saying so.
Giveaway starts on November 30, 2012 and will run until December 9, 2012 at 11:59pm PST.
I will announce the winner on December 10th, so please check back to see if you won, otherwise leave an email address or a link back to a site so I have a way of contacting you. If the winner does not respond within 3 days, I will pick a new winner.
*Two food blogging friends are also hosting giveaways here and here, so check them out for more chances to win fabulous cookbooks.