This review is on one of the oldest books in my collection, Clueless in the Kitchen. When I was living on my own, this was one of the two books I bought. I bought this online just from the title alone.
The book claims it is a cookbook for teens, but it’s for everyone and it’s a book you can grow with. It’s aimed at individuals who are living on their own and goes over kitchen essentials, how to defrost a freezer, and how to shop for food. Throughout the book are icons to designate cheap eats, comfort food (“mom food”), vegetarian, cooking to impress, couch potato food, and quick food. I wish the index had a section for these icons so I wouldn’t have to flip through the book looking for an icon. There’s also suggested menus and a glossary at the back that is helpful.
I’ve made a ton of recipes in here and have dishes that make it into regular rotation. When my cooking skills increased and I had to figure out how to make a gravy, I turned to this book. The recipes here are simple but solid. My mom, who can make crazy good Filipino dishes, struggles with dishes that aren’t in her usual repertoire. She would use this book to make meals for when company came over and they always turned out tasty. If this book helped my mom and me out, it’s sure to help anybody else.
The book doesn’t have any photos at all. It has diagrams on how to cut up food, but no pictures of finished dishes. Please don’t let that deter you, the outcome is always turns out.
Here are a few of the (many) recipes I love:
- Curry glazed chicken
- Chocolate mocha torte (back when I couldn’t bake, I made this all the time)
- Mushrooms masquerading as escargots (mushrooms drenched in garlic and butter, instant winner)
I recently tried the stir fry recipe that’s in the book and it’s also repeat worthy. And guess what? This dish was more liked than the Cook’s Illustrated recipe I tried.
Stir fry is probably the quickest and easiest way of getting more vegetables into your diet. I used marinated tofu cubes that gave it a nice punch of flavour.
Stir-Fry (adapted from Clueless in the Kitchen)
1 bunch of broccoli, florets cut and stems thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise
4 green onions cut into 1″ pieces
Marinated tofu cubes
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
Soy sauce mixture
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup broth
Prep everything beforehand as this is quick to cook. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients of the soy sauce mixture. Pour half the vegetable/peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir-fry the tofu until it gets a bit crispy, remove and set aside.
Add the rest of the oil and when hot fry garlic until fragrant (about 10 seconds) then add the broccoli and pepper and stir-fry for 1-2 mins. Add green onions, the rest of the broth and cover the pan to steam the veggies (about 2 mins). The broccoli should be lightly cooked. Put the tofu back in, add the soy sauce mixture and stir constantly. When the sauce thickens and becomes glossy, it’s done.by