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Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love - Cookbook Review

Delight Family and Friends with More than 150 Simple, Fabulous Recipes

By Cristina Ferrare

(Sterling Epicure, 2011)

Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love

The Oprah Winfrey Show helped to sell millions of books. Now that it is over, can the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) assist book publishers to move their wares? Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love is the cookbook based on the OWN series of the same name. Oprah, who frequently features Ferrare's cooking throughout her magazine, website, and former television program, is a big fan — and the book could help readers become fans, too.

As a wife, mother and businesswoman, Ferrare states that she understands what it means to have to pull a quick meal together for a family, so included in the cookbook are helpful "cook once, eat twice" tips as well as essential staple food item lists. Growing up with her live-in Italian grandmother helped influence Ferrare's palate, and her father, a butcher, gave her knowledge of meat. She appreciates and mostly uses organic, fresh, seasonal ingredients and helps the reader understand how to use these foods efficiently.

The recipes are organized by courses (appetizer, salad, soup, pasta, meats, veggies and dessert), and include a wide variety of interesting items, such as Tomato- Mozzarella Tower with Shallot-Bacon Dressing, Chicken Tostada Salad and Soba Noodles in Lemon-Ginger Chicken Broth. The menu items are carefully laid out, uncomplicated and feature everyday ingredients.

Most of the recipes include inspirational photos and list the ingredients on the side, separated from the recipe, making for a clean and clear appearance throughout the book. However, cook times are not listed there, so we recommend reading through the entire recipe before deciding whether to begin. Another reason to do so is that certain recipes, such as Rack of Lamb with Mint syrup, include a reference to another listed in the last recipe section of the book, "dressings, sauces, and salsas." The good news is that many of the sauces — Cucumber Avocado Salsa and Reduced Balsamic Syrup, for example — may be added to an overused meal of your own to give it a new twist. Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love should earn a spot on your shelf based on that section alone.

Reviewed by Katie Pircher

Cristina Ferrare's recipe for pasta with prosciutto and peas

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