Monday, April 4, 2011

Simply Done Well Done – Aaron McCargo, Jr.

Simply Done Well Done - Aaron McCargo Jr.
 I have been a huge fan of Aaron McCargo, Jr. since he won The Next Food Network Star, in 2008. Since then I have never missed an episode of Big Daddy’s House and was looking forward to his first cookbook. I am so proud of all Aaron has accomplished thus far. If you have never watched Aaron on the Food Network or tried making one of his recipes, one time is all it takes to be hooked on his cooking. Aaron is truly a culinary great in the kitchen. This cookbook will make all foodies happy and full (burp). Aaron McCargo, Jr. is all about featuring bold flavors in his food. He likes it spicy (whew!), so if you are a wimp like me you can tone it down a notch and adjust the spice level to your liking. The photos by Lucy Schaeffer bring to life his delicious food and you can almost taste it. I'm getting hungry for some... I love the way Aaron cooks and he beautifully pairs ingredients together. The recipes in the book are not intimidating at all and are fun to make with your significant other and/or children.

The cookbook opens with a brief introduction about Aaron and his recommendations for some kitchen gadgets and basic suggestions for the cook. I love the chapter Appetizers with Gusto and all the recipes too. They are not wimpy appetizers either in terms of portion size and as Aaron suggests, some can be served as a light meal. I would with a salad on the side. I plan to make the following recipes first:

-Spicy Beef Quesadillas
-Shredded Beef Short Ribs
-Mushroom-Chicken-Cheese Balls
-Pork Empanadas with Ranchero Sauce
-Coconut-Ginger Chicken Skewers with Sriracha-Honey Butter
-Savory Taco Chicken Pizza with Guacamole and Chipotle Salsa

Smooth & Hearty Soups feature yummy looking recipes. I need to make more soup recipes so I look forward to trying:

-Spicy Cheeseburger Soup
-Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup with Rosemary
-Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Aaron dedicated Side Salads & Bigger Salads to his wife since she loves salads. They all look delicious. These three popped off the page:

-Bacon and Pesto Pasta Salad
-Family-Style Curry Chicken Salad Platter
-Spicy Beef Salad with Peppers, Onion, and Fresh Herbs

Who does not love a great sandwich? If you ever watched Big Daddy’s House, you know Aaron is the king of killer sandwiches. His brother Donavan can attest to this too since he often visits the set and gets to eat Aaron's creations. This chapter, Sandwiches That Burst with Flavor is all that and more. I cannot wait to make:

-Inside-Out Pulled Pork Panini with Arugula and Chipotle Mayonnaise
-Jerk Chicken Sandwiches with Smoked Gouda
-Catfish Nugget Sandwiches with Roasted Peppers and Jalapeño Relish
-Braised BBQ Pork Belly Sliders with Pesto Mayonnaise, Cheddar Cheese, and Caramelized Onions
-Grilled Marinated Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches

You can make some lovely dinners for your family following recipes from this chapter, My Main Courses. I especially love these recipes:

-Jerk Chicken Pasta with a Sweet Kick
-Black and Tan Tilapia with Anchovy-Lemon Butter
-Broccoli Rabe and Artichoke Pasta
-Jerk Me Sweet Pork Chops
-Herb-Yogurt Chicken

My Favorite Side Dishes offer some exciting alternatives to the usual sides we make all too often. How about trying:

-Chilled Taco Loco Rice
-Orzo, Winter Squash, and Applewood-Smoked Bacon
-Lemon-Pepper Orzo
-Toasted Jasmine Rice with Crunchy Bean Sprouts

I love making my own aioli and dressings, and Aaron’s Dressings, Mayonnaises, Spice Blends, Sauces and Condiments chapter has a vast selection. I only wish pictures accompanied the chapter. I am going to start with:

-Lemon Vinaigrette
-Warm Cider Vinegar, Dijon, and Bacon Dressing
-Cilantro Mayonnaise
-Chipotle Salsa

Of course, Aaron would not omit some sweet sumptuous delights. Indulgent Deserts and Sweet Treats offers a selection that can satisfy whatever sweet craving you may have. I have four I plan to bake first:

-Tiramisu Cupcakes
-Apple-Pear Cobbler
-Buttermilk Doughnuts with Blueberry Compote
-Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter-Mascarpone Frosting

I hope I have enticed you to purchase a copy of this cookbook. This review is just a sampling of the diversity each chapter has to offer. There are so many different kinds of recipes so you can change up your routine and bring some new exciting and enticing flavors to your kitchen courtesy of Aaron McCargo, Jr. I plan to make all the recipes in this book and have highlighted here the ones I will cook first. I think the recipes speak for themselves and my husband and I plan to use this cookbook a lot.

Aaron McCargo, Jr.
Aaron McCargo Jr. Blog
Food Network Aaron McCargo Jr. Recipes
McCargo's Flavor of Bold Signature Blends Spices
Aaron McCargo Jr. Facebook Page

-Sophia/Two Frys

1 comment:

  1. You Said: My husband and I plan to use this cookbook a lot. (I agree 100%) Aaron's food rocks!

    -Allen/One of Two Fry’s


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