One-recipe review: ‘Cooking Know-How’

In honor of Jessie’s birthday, I wanted to cook a grand meal tonight. I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to try a meal (and, hence, do a traditional one-recipe review) from Cooking Know-How by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.

We were fortunate enough to meet the authors and attend a cooking demo of theirs at the Epicurean Classic in St. Joseph, Mich., in August (their paella demo was one of the highlights of the weekend), and I’ve been wanting to try a recipe from Cooking Know-How ever since. I’ve opened it up several times for reference and inspiration, but this is the first time I’ve cooked from it.

I love the format and organization of Cooking Know-How. Rather than give the reader just a few recipes and one flavor profile for each dish, the book teaches you the basic technique and ingredients for several “standard” dishes: pot roast, paella, ribs, roasted meats, etc., and then eight variations of each.

Most cookbooks seem to implicitly threaten to turn you over to the food police should you dare veer from their sacred recipe by half a teaspoon of kosher salt. But good cooking is about technique and ratios, not rigid adherence to some master chef (unless you’re a pastry chef or competing in the Bocuse d’Or). Cooking Know-How doesn’t just acknowledge that fact, but encourages you to experiment and gives you the best directions to head in should you choose to do so.

Tonight I made the Cajun variation of Cooking Know-How’s rib recipe. It was fantastic, and a technique I hadn’t thought of: namely, steaming the ribs before baking them to speed up the fat-rendering process. I obviously won’t give away the whole recipe, but I will say that Cooking Know-How would be a great cookbook to own if you’re interested in learning more about the techniques of fine cooking and want to expand your culinary horizons.

For the dinner, I also made cream-corn muffins (Jiffy mix recipe, not exactly a hugely inventive side-dish, but still tasty. The recipe is here), a side salad and one of my standby potato dishes (I’ll post the recipe sometime when I get a better photo of the end result).

Related posts:

  1. One-recipe review: “Bones” by Jennifer McLagan
  2. Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita – Recipe Review
  3. Jalapeno Cornbread Recipe, Simple and Delicious
  4. Pizza recipe to try
  5. Beef short-ribs with veg in red wine

About the Author

Owner of a graphic design firm specializing in magazine design and wannabe chef. Former resident of Belgium, the United Kingdom and...North Dakota.