A lot of cookbooks these days feature celebrities that also are chefs. This is not one of those kind of books. Host of â€œIn The Kitchen With Davidâ€ on QVC, David Venable is not a chef. He is a guy who likes to eat and knows a thing or two about cooking. The result is this 254 page cookbook with the same title of as his TV show. It features 150 recipes to make food and company fun. It is worth noting up front that pictures of finished dishes are few and far between, the text is small and light in shading which can make it difficult to read, and no nutritional information is included.
After a brief forward and introduction it is on to the recipes. First up is â€œAppetizers: Party Startersâ€ beginning on page 2. There is a brief introduction to the section followed by 15 recipes. This is where you go for â€œWhite Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Dipâ€ (page 5), â€œChicken Nachosâ€ (page 9), or â€œCrispy Potato Skinsâ€ (page 15) and many others. Pictures of finished dishes are few and far between, text is small and light in shading, and no nutritional information is included. Directions, ingredient lists, and servings are included as are small highlighted tip style boxes using the logo â€œDishinâ€™ With Davidâ€ containing various information. The information in these boxes is not throwaway information, but actual quality information well worth your time to read.
â€œBiscuits, Muffins and Quick Breads:Â Our Daily Breadâ€ comes next on pages 26-43. â€œSouthern Buttermilk Biscuitsâ€ (pages 28-29), â€œBlueberry Muffins with Streusel Toppingâ€ (pages 34-35) and â€œSour Cream Coffee Cakeâ€ (Page 38) are here. A number of the recipes in this chapter would easily fir in the next chapter devoted to breakfast and brunch.
â€œBreakfast and Brunch: Rise and Shine!â€ features 13 recipes that should hit the spot. â€œSpinach-Tomato Frittataâ€ (pages 48-49), â€œAmaretto Brioche French Toast with Cinnamon Butterâ€ (page 53) and â€œChristmas-Morning French Toast Casseroleâ€ (pages 56-57) are just three of the delectable choices here.
I never was much of a fan of soup though Mom made a good vegetable and beef one. So did Davidâ€™s mom. That love of soup caused â€œSoups: Big Bowls of Happinessâ€ to come next with choices such as â€œCream of Broccoli Soup with Cheddar and Bacon” (page 67) and â€œLoaded Baked Potato Soupâ€ ( pages 74-75) among others. Besides his advice to go beyond a normal bowl and use a bowl carved out into bread, David suggests heating your regular soup bowls up for better soup taste. He also suggests keeping soup hot in a crockpot for larger gatherings.
Starting on page 80, it is all about â€œSalads: Green Goodness.â€ 10 recipes are here including ones for â€œCreamy Potato Salad with Baconâ€ (pages 90-91) and â€œTangy Coleslawâ€ (page 91).
Side dishes get their due here in the next section titled â€œSides: Supporting Players.â€Â These include â€œScrumptious Hush Puppiesâ€ (page 101), â€œCreamy Garlic Mashed Potatoesâ€ (page 107), â€œBeer-Battered Onion Rings with Horseradish-Dill Dipping Sauceâ€ (pages 110-111) — for me just hold the sauce and keep the rings coming — and â€œNew England Baked Beansâ€ (pages 116-117). Mac nâ€™ Cheese lovers do not despair as that recipe comes later.
David Venable loves pork and makes that clear in the next section titled â€œPork: The Devine Swine.â€Â From pages 120-139 he proclaims his love of pork with â€œBLT Mini Cupsâ€ (pages 122-123), â€œBreaded Pork Cutletsâ€ (page 130) and â€œSmoked Gouda-Bacon Cheeseburgersâ€ (page 135) among others. One would expect a ham recipe and here is one with â€œHoliday Ham with Honey-Mustard Glazeâ€ recipe on page 126. He also teaches you how to properly cook bacon in a variety of ways on page 137 in â€œMakin Bacon.â€Â The first tip is â€“ â€œWhichever one you choose, always remove the bacon from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a good 20 to 30 minutes before cooking.â€
The neat thing about casseroles is they can be a one dish deal. Starting on pages 140-141 the section titled â€œCasseroles and One-Pot Meals: Dinner In One Dishâ€ is all about them. It opens with â€œMy Ultimate Macaroni and Cheeseâ€ on pages142-143 (includes bacon), before moving on toÂ the â€œUltimate Game Day Chiliâ€ (pages 146-147), â€œPepperoni Pizza Pasta Bakeâ€ (page 149) and â€œDay-After Roast Turkey and Stuffing Casseroleâ€ (page 155) among others. While this section does contain the recipe for â€œChicken Enchilada Casseroleâ€ on page 159 as well as other chicken ones, the next section is devoted specifically to chicken.
â€œChicken: Birds of a Featherâ€ has recipes for â€œDown Home Southern Fried Chickenâ€ (pages 164-165) and â€œSouthern Barbecued Chickenâ€ (pages 166-167) among others. Not just traditional dishes, but things like â€œChicken Parmesanâ€ (page 170) and â€œChicken Cordon Bleuâ€ (pages 174-175) are also included here.
â€œBeef: Mighty Meatyâ€ comes next and opens with â€œSage and Rosemary-Rubbed Beef Tenderloinâ€ on page 178-179. Among other choices, there is â€œMeatloaf with Mashed Potato Toppingâ€ (pages 182-183) â€œChicken-Fried Steak with Country Gravyâ€ (page 184), â€œBeef Stroganoff with Buttered Noodlesâ€ (page 190) and â€œSloppy Joesâ€ (page 194).
â€œSeafood: Jump Right inâ€ follows beef and features a lot of variety. â€œFried Calamari with Marinara Sauceâ€ (page 198) and â€œHerb-Encrusted Tilapiaâ€ (page 199) are just two choices here.Â â€œCrab Cakesâ€ (page 206-207) and â€œShrimp Poâ€™boyâ€ (page 208) are also here.
Maybe what really you want is a â€œDeep-Dish Apple Pie.â€ You can find that on page 212 along with other choices in â€œDesserts: Sweet, Sweet Gratification.â€Â Along with several pie variations that are also recipes for â€œBurnzieâ€™s Coconut Layer Cakeâ€ (pages 218-219), â€œPeach Cobblerâ€ (pages 232-233) and â€œBananas Foster Bread Pudding on page 240.Â The only dessert that really truly matters is chocolate cake. That is represented here with â€œFlourless Chocolate Cakeâ€ on page 225 for those who need gluten free and â€œThree-Layer Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frostingâ€ (pages 226-227) which includes coffee as a secret ingredient.
The 260 book closes with a two-page acknowledgement and a ten page index.
While lacking in nutritional information this 254 page book is a gastronomical treat.Â In The Kitchen With David: QVCâ€™S Resident Foodie Presents Comfort Foods That Take You Home is aimed at kitchen cooks everywhere who do amazing things with regular stuff from the grocery store. This is a cookbook designed to use ingredients you should be able to easily get, no matter where you live, so that you can have fun cooking in the kitchen. With 150 recipes you should be able to find something that works no matter the number of guests or the situations.
In The Kitchen With David: QVCâ€™S Resident Foodie Presents Comfort Foods That Take You Home
Ballantine Books (Random House)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple Â©2012
Author of the e-book short story collection Mind Slices available at Amazon and Smashwords in a variety of formats. Contributor to the Carpathian Shadows, Volume II anthology available in print and e-book.