26 October 2013

Weekend Cooking: Melt by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Melt by Stehanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCordThe fist thing I need to tell you about Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese is to quit thinking about school lunches and start imagining cheese and pasta, which is the real focus of Stephanie Stiavetti and Garret McCord's new cookbook.

Whether you're a fan of the traditional cheesy white sauce or prefer more modern, brighter flavors, Melt has multiple recipes that are calling your name. The dishes range from classic baked ziti to a Cheddar and avocado entree and from light salads to rich desserts. Even better, Stiavetti and McCord take us out of the American heartland and transport us to Greece, Italy, Asia, and beyond, one delicious dish at a time.

More than just a collection of recipes, Melt includes a mini-course in pasta, cheese, and foundation sauces, all geared to giving you confidence in the kitchen and guaranteeing your success at the stove. Even if you consider yourself an experienced cook, you'll find plenty of new information in the opening chapter and the appendices. I particularly like the cheese chart and pasta glossary.

copyright Matt ArmedarizMany of the dishes will look familiar, such as a Swiss chard and pasta soup; others have clever twists, like the stuffed peppers that use orzo instead of rice. Imagine hosting a late-summer brunch that includes goat cheese pasta salad with grilled peaches or putting together a holiday season dinner centered around crabmeat and blue cheese over fettuccine. I love the modern take on chili mac, with its smokey, spicy flavors and the sharp taste of the fresh greens pesto instead of the more common basil.

The directions are all straightforward and easy to follow, making the recipes accessible to most home cooks. Be warned, however, that there are no cooking times for the pasta, so be sure to check the packaging. Some of the dishes are a little too fussy for a weeknight dinner after a hard day at work, but all are perfectly suited for casual weekend meals with family and friends. In fact, Melt may become your go-to book for this year's company menus.

copyright Matt ArmedarizNote that Stiavetti and McCord call for specific (brand name / artisan) cheeses in their recipes. Because not everyone around the country or around the world will have access to these particular cheeses, the authors have included a list of alternatives for every recipe. Most good grocery stores and farmers' markets will have something suitable. In addition, each recipe includes suggested wine pairings and other foods that go well with the featured cheese.

Stiavetti and McCord have put together a fabulous collection of recipes for almost every taste, from the Indian flavors of the paneer korma with idiyappam noodles to the more familiar baked buffalo chicken with cheesy macaroni, mozzarella-laced mango pasta salad, and down-home tomato soup with star noodles. Don't hesitate to buy Melt and enjoy the new look of mac and cheese. Your family will be forever grateful.

Vegetarians will find quite a number of recipes to use as is or that are easily adaptable; vegans, of course, will want to pass on this cookbook. People on gluten-free diets will appreciate the flourless Mornay sauce and advice on GF pasta.

Note on the photos: The photos were scanned from Melt; all rights remain with the original copyright holder, Matt Armedariz. Click the images to see full size.

Hachette Book Group / Little, Brown & Co., 2013
ISBN-13: 9780316213370
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


25 comments:

Col (Col Reads) 10/26/13, 8:27 AM  

In our family we always say, "Nothing bad can come from cheese and pasta." Any cheese, any pasta! I think this book sounds like something we would all LOVE!

rhapsodyinbooks 10/26/13, 8:38 AM  

I definitely agree with the first comment! I even love the title of this cookbook!

jama 10/26/13, 8:46 AM  

Did someone say cheese and pasta? I'm there! This sounds like a great primer for beginners as well as wonderful inspiration for seasoned cooks. I like that they offer alternatives for the artisan cheeses they mention. Yummers.

Heather 10/26/13, 8:58 AM  

I haven't had any mac & cheese in a loooong time. Now I'm craving it. This book looks amazing! So glad there is information for gluten free! I will have to look for this one!

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/26/13, 9:18 AM  

Mozzarella laced mango pasta salad? This book is just calling my name.

Molly 10/26/13, 10:06 AM  

Your go-to book for company menus? I am SOLD!!

I think this will head the top of books that I am requesting for Christmas :)

Joy 10/26/13, 11:16 AM  

This sounds like a terrific way to explore cheese in interesting ways.

Joy's Book Blog

lawstudentscookbook 10/26/13, 11:56 AM  

mmm... Mac and Cheese. A cookbook on it sounds wonderful!

Esme 10/26/13, 12:09 PM  

this is so my type of book-anything melted is delicious.

Beth S. 10/26/13, 12:22 PM  

My mouth was watering the entire time I was reading your review. I'm thinking I need to make mac and cheese for dinner tonight! :)

JoAnn 10/26/13, 1:40 PM  

I've yet to meet a macaroni and cheese dish I don't love!

Grandma Coco 10/26/13, 2:21 PM  

Looks like a great book. For years, I avoided cow's milk cheese. Nowadays, there are so many substitutes...from goat and sheep's milk to soy...that I'm having a lot of fun experimenting. This looks like the kind of book it would be fun to experiment with.

bermudaonion 10/26/13, 4:22 PM  

Oh man, I love macaroni and cheese. Well, really, I love anything and cheese. This sounds terrific!

Carole 10/26/13, 6:23 PM  

I've been trying to link in but nothing is showing up - hope that it doesn't end up being there multiple times!

Joyce Lansky 10/26/13, 6:50 PM  

Those stuffed peppers look good.

http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

angrygreycatreads.com 10/26/13, 10:30 PM  

We love macaroni and cheese. It is true comfort food.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 10/27/13, 12:02 AM  

First time joining in the fun! I've been making a ton of soups this fall. That cheddar and avocado dish sounds good!

Teddyree 10/27/13, 7:21 AM  

oh YUM! As much as I'm into clean eating these days, I will never say no to cheese or pasta. Love the photos ... I like that the authors have included an alternative ingredients list for those hard to find items

Gilion Dumas 10/27/13, 3:31 PM  

I could eat any melted cheese product at any time. I'm having a hard time imagining a dessert incorporating cheese and pasta, but I would be willing to try one.

Peaceful Reader 10/27/13, 4:18 PM  

The title alone makes my mouth water...

Sue Jackson 10/27/13, 5:04 PM  

Better late than never? It's been a month since I've done a Weekend Cooking post, and I was determined to do one today but didn;t get to it until 5 pm - and still barely had time to finish! Busy time of year.

This book you reviewed looks great - the recipes you mentioned and photos look/sound so good! But it's a major tease for me since I can't have dairy - cheese is what I miss the most!

Hope you are well and enjoying good food!

Sue

Book By Book

Book by Book is now on Facebook!

grammajudyb 10/27/13, 10:45 PM  

I could have used a copy of this book this weekend. I made "from scratch" pasta and cheese for the first time in my entire life, and I have been married 49.5 years so you can guess how old I may be. It was not a great success, although it was pasta and it did have cheese. I need to tweak it for sure!. My husband who rarely complains about my cooking, said, "not as good as we had hoped, huh?" Guess that pretty well sums it up.

Tasha Brandstatter 10/28/13, 1:08 AM  

Pasta and cheese are two of my favorite things in life.

Daryl 10/28/13, 8:19 AM  

this weekend i had some interesting dining experiences ...

Charlie (The Worm Hole) 10/28/13, 1:05 PM  

This sounds excellent and I'm currently looking into getting some cookbooks so I'll see if it's available here. I like that they've included alternative items as that was the only thing that would put me off, not being in America.

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