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I know it sounds obvious but a cookbook is only as good as its author. The first good thing about Sur la Table’s cookbook is Marie Simmons. Marie is one of this country’s finest cookbook authors. By that I mean that her recipes work as written, which is, as far as I’m concerned, the most important element for any cookbook. I dare say that I will try hard not to recommend any cookbook on my blog where the recipes do not work. It is a real pet peeve of mine.

The Sur la Table cookbook offers a distinctively new prospective. It works backwards, it suggest, that the reader look in their kitchen and see what implement has been sitting on a shelf or hidden in a box because you haven’t use it in a long time, or you might not use it at all because you don’t know what to do with it. This is the books starting point. Use that thing you bought but….

I have tons of stuff in my kitchen that I have put away and haven’t used for years. After reading Sur la Table’s book, I decided to take out that old stove top smoker and give it a whirl again. I tested the prosciutto wrapped smoked shrimp on page 100 loved it! Easy and fun . I also chose cauliflower and sweet potatoes in spicy tomato sauce with cashews, this one recipe is worth the price of the book. I would suggest people roast the cashews separately and then toast the spices. When I added the cumin and mustard seeds to the hot pan they jumped and sputtered, I jumped to cover the pan quickly. So be careful, aside from that this recipe was an absolute favorite. Finally I tested the ground lamb kebabs with ginger and mint yogurt sauce. The results were very tasty, particularly refreshing with the yogurt sauce

One of the reasons I chose to test Marie’s Indian recipes is because I know how much she loves Indian food. Although Italian by birth and delightful as an Italian chef Marie has traveled to India and passionately describes her trips, and love of Indian cuisine.

Finally, I decided to show Marie’s cookbook to friends who love to cook and are on the beginner/intermediate side. I gave them the book and asked them to take a look. Michael, a graphic/video guy with a weekend passion for food loved the way it looked and was intrigued by the concept. Cynthia, a very detailed person, enjoyed all the photos and the contemporary nature of the recipes. Both Michael and Cynthia gave the book an enthusiastic positive opinion. Cynthia already has the book on her cookbook wish list. Marie Simmons has created a must-have cookbook.