Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook

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9780609603109: Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook

No one knows better how to give a party than Martha Stewart--and as she proves in this comprehensive and visually dazzling handbook, great parties begin with great hors d'oeuvres. Three hundred all-new recipes, each photographed in full color, show why Martha Stewart is still America's style authority and most trusted party host.

It was fifteen years ago that Martha Stewart first turned her creativity and talent for teaching to this subject, when she defined the look and flavor of party appetizers for professionals and home cooks in Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres. Since then, America's tastes have evolved and Martha's own approach to food has expanded to encompass flavors from around the world, seasonal ingredients fresh from the garden, and  innovative preparations all presented with an unsurpassed eye for beauty.

In this book, after laying out the basic foundations and techniques, Martha presents chapters on different hors d'oeuvre categories that are brimming with new ideas--Layered and Stacked; Wrapped, Rolled, Filled, Folded, and Stuffed; and Skewered and Threaded. Whether a classic cocktail party food reinvigorated with her wit and style--chicken salad tea sandwiches turned on their sides and encrusted with sesame seeds, for example--or deliciously decadent dips for crudités and seafood updated with Indian dhal or white beans and mustard greens; tiny toasted breadboxes filled with Welsh rarebit; or savory sips of soups in edible cups, these impeccable jewels are as exciting as anything Martha has ever invited her readers to serve on the buffet or tea table or pass among guests.

Reflecting Martha's favorite way to entertain now--informal and relaxed--there is also Bites and Pieces, a chapter packed with simple recipes for parties that please the guests without undoing the host. Marinated olives, spiced and seasoned nuts, handmade cheese crackers, and spicy cocktail ribs can be prepared quickly and easily in advance and arranged before the doorbell rings. Even the drinks have been provided: classic and contemporary cocktails, imaginatively garnished, are accompanied by a guide to stocking the bar and serving champagne.

Everything about Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook has been considered to create a book that is easy to use. The size was chosen to comfortably fit in the hand, in the cookbook holder, or on the kitchen counter. Color photographs in the front of the book help cooks select which hors d'oeuvres to combine for their own parties; the cross-referenced recipes in the back have been tested in Martha's own kitchen and in the test kitchens of Martha Stewart Living; and two place-marking ribbons keep track of both picture and recipe. And every detail has been covered--tips on techniques and ingredients, serving ideas, menu suggestions, recipe variations, advice on party planning, and even a glossary of equipment, special ingredients, and supplies, with a guide to finding them. With its range of recipes, its wealth of ideas, its lavish photography, and its innovative format, Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook is simply the most instructive, inspirational, and indispensable guide to hors d'oeuvres ever compiled.

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Review:

With Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook, Stewart, along with Martha Stewart Living food editor Susan Spungen and photographer Dana Gallagher, has created not just a handbook but a dream book. The first 225 pages consist entirely of beautifully photographed, exquisite nibbles, tastes, and bites--and the following 270 pages give you the recipes and instructions to re-create them at home. Pink and orange ribbons bound into the book allow you to easily mark photos and recipes. Only Martha and her staff would come up with something so beautiful and practical.

You can browse the photos for inspiration, or dive right into one of the chapters, all organized by presentation, such as "Layered and Stacked"; "Wrapped, Rolled, Filled, Folded and Stuffed"; "Skewered and Threaded"; "Bites and Pieces"; and "Sips and Drinks," just to name a few. Having a few friends over for cocktails before the show? How about Crispy Asparagus Straws, a delicious combo of asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and phyllo and sprinkled with Parmesan? The sophisticated flavors belie the ease of preparation. Have a little more time to prepare? The Jicama and Green Papaya Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce are tasty and beautiful.

As gorgeous as this cookbook is, don't dismiss it as coffee-table cooking--several helpful photos show technique as well as finished product, and Martha's tips and notes are sprinkled throughout the text. For example, a lengthy sidebar on purchasing and preparing shrimp shares how to buy shrimp (the high quality of flash-frozen shrimp these days makes it perfectly acceptable), how to cook it (use kosher salt in your cooking water), and how best to peel and devein the little treasures. Similarly, reading the note on preparing phyllo will encourage even a novice cook to try her hand at Phyllo Triangles with Feta and Spinach or Curried Walnut Chicken. If you're planning a party and need fabulous finger food, you needn't look any further than Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook. --Rebecca A. Staffel

About the Author:

Martha Stewart, the author of thirteen best-selling original books on food, entertaining, gardening, and home restoration, is the chairman and chief executive officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She lives in Connecticut, Maine, and on Long Island.

Susan Spungen is the food editor at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She joined the company eight years ago, as a member of the launch team of Martha Stewart Living, the award-winning magazine. A former caterer, chef, and student of printmaking, Susan lives in Manhattan.

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