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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekend Cooking- Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food!
Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen- 100 of My Favourite Recipes by Michael Smith
Published by Pintail, a division of Penguin ISBN 978-0-14-317763-0
Paperback $32
Source: received from the publisher for review consideration

I guess I'm not up on my chefs because I don't know too much about Michael Smith, arguably Canada's most famous chef. I received a copy of his newest cookbook, simply titled Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen - 100 of My Favourite Recipes. (The spelling of favourite is a clue that he is from Canada.)

The book, like the title, is simple but gorgeous. It is divided into the typical chapters- Breakfast, Soups, Salads, Main Course, Dessert. In between chapters there are pages, like Salt & Pepper and Knives & Pots, where Smith describes simply what you need to know about using salt and pepper to season and the six (Martha Stewart would faint!) kitchen tools you need. They are:

  • One large pot, big enough to boil pasta in
  • One small pot, big enough to make a small batch of pasta sauce
  • One frying pan, large enough to make a batch of pancakes
  • One large chef's knife, for slicing and dicing
  • One serrated knife, for slicing bread
  • One small paring knife, for opening envelopes and cutting limes for your gin and tonics
Even a small apartment kitchen like mine can handle that.

The book is beautifully done, and each recipe is divided into four sections, with different colors and fonts: the recipe name and introduction, the ingredients, the directions and kitchen tips. Each recipe has an accompanying photo (well done by James Ingram), either of the finished product or of ingredients.

The recipes are simple too, using ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores, another plus for me. I don't have room for ingredients I will use only once.

I have bookmarked at least a dozen recipes to try that I know my adult sons would enjoy, including:
  • Bacon Breakfast Taco with Cheddar Scrambled Eggs
  • Chicken Cheddar Quesadillas with Jalapeno Cilantro Pesto
  • Buffalo "Wing" Salad with Spicy Chicken Chunks and Spicy Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili with Cinnamon Sour Cream
  • Pan Roasted Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano
One recipe that is in the book is also on Michael's website. It's Cheddar Apple Flipjack, and you can find it here:
The flipjack from Michael's website
What I like best about this book is that it is filled with recipes that aren't intimidating, they are simple, made with fresh ingredients, and I think pretty much anyone can make them. I'll keep you posted on which recipes I try.

rating 4 of 5


  1. This sounds like my kind of cookbook. And the recipes you have marked to try sound wonderful! I'm not familiar with Chef Michael either, but I'm going to take the time to get to know him.

  2. I've seen his show a while back on cable and I can understand why he's a favorite in Canada. Looking forward to hearing more about the recipes that you'll try.

  3. "Filled with recipes that aren't intimidating, they are simple, made with fresh ingredients, and I think pretty much anyone can make them."

    That sounds like my type of cookbook!

  4. A man's cookbook! I bet my husband would get a kick out of this one, too. Love how he notes the paring knife is for envelopes and limes.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I thought the paring knife thing was funny too.:)

  5. Thanks for the intro to Chef Michael. Nice to hear each recipe has a photo and that they're doable and call for common ingredients. The sweet potato chili and roasted zucchini sound good :).

  6. I would buy the book just for the "flipjack" recipe. Sounds great!

  7. Sounds like a great cookbook. I'll keep an eye out for it.

  8. This sounds like a great cookbook - and the Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili definitely caught my eye. I'll be looking out for this cookbook!

  9. I have seen him on the Food Network - and silly me, thought he was American.

    Have a super day.

  10. Oh my! He can cook in my kitchen any day!

  11. Shame on me being Canadian and never having heard of him.That flipjack looks like a dessert.

  12. Intetesting ideas - have to check out!

  13. That sounds great. This is the perfect season for "Pan Roasted Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano."

  14. The fact that you can find numerous recipes to cook in a cookbook is a sign of a successful find to me!