Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dave's Dinners: Cookbook Review & Contest

Recently I was watching a British cooking competition on television. The contestants had to do a segment on a live chat show. The producer said that television chefs have to be about 80% entertainment and the remaining 20% about cooking. Sad, but true. And love them or hate them, the cooking personalities of the food network all have some sort of appeal that makes them entertaining--be it looks, style, humor, or that certain something (could it be wackiness?) that makes them compelling to watch. The more "cooking focus" chefs and shows seem to have disapeared.

I like to watch chefs with personality, enthusiasm, intelligence and a certain quality that makes them feel like "real people" instead of automatons or kooks (as opposed to cooks). As long as I learn a little from them, or even just get a good idea or two per episode I'm happy. Along with perpetual favorites like Jacques Pepin and Nigella Lawson, I have to admit I like Dave Lieberman, and here's why--he's personable, has some good practical ideas, and last but not least, not too hard on the eyes.

While I have passed on most of the Food Network cookbooks, I rather like Dave's Dinners. There are some surprising recipes in the book I haven't seen before that I would definitely make like Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops with Kale and Canellini Beans, Penne with Butternut Squash, Chorizo and Thyme, Beet Mash Chocolate Cake and a dip made from cauliflower, almonds and cream cheese. There are also a bunch of vegetarian recipes and some finger foods you could easily use for entertaining. The recipes follow his philosophy of not taking too much time, money or effort and don't rely on processed foods. Most importantly the recipes sound and look appetizing, and most of them are featured in photographs. This is a good book for someone just getting into cooking or getting back into cooking or looking for some easy options. Don't we all know someone in that category?

Win a copy of Dave's new book!
How big a fan of Dave Lieberman are YOU? The first three people to guess all the correct answers will win a copy of Dave's Dinners. Be sure to enter your email in the comment section along with your entry so I can contact you if you win (if you don't I'll have to choose someone else). Only one entry per person, US addresses only this time, please. Members of Dave Lieberman's family are not eligible to win!

1. Dave learned to cook from his:
A. Mom
B. Dad

2. Dave studied cooking:
A. As as an apprentice in Italy
B. At a culinary academy

3. Dave's family lives in:
A. New York
B. Philadelphia

4. When cooking for a date Dave prefers:
A. Salmon & molten chocolate cake
B. Chicken & strawberry shortcake

5. Dave's big break came when Amanda Hesser wrote about him in the New York Times, what was the title of the article?
A. Dude, Where's My Spice Grinder?
B. New Kid in the Kitchen

6. How often does Dave claim he shops for groceries?
A. Once a week
B. Everyday

7. During his "junior year abroad" Dave stayed with a guest family in which country?
A. England
B. France

Good luck!