It’s hard to know where Denis Cotter and I will go from here.
From the start, Cafe Paradiso Seasons bowled me over with that squash/leek/corn/cheesy sauce number. Sadly, on that dish’s well-buttered heels sloshed a complete dud of a soup. Then came redemption in the form of a tasty, easy polenta.
The fact is, I’m dying to try about 20 more recipes in the book, even the ones that guarantee a night hunched over multiple cutting boards and hot burners. Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Cashel Blue Cheese, Pecan Crumbs and Sage, and Smoked Paprika Aioli? Sign me up. Pistachio, Cardamom and Basmati Rice Cake with Coconut Greens and Gingered Mango Salsa? Yes, please. Oyster Mushroom Ravioli with a Truffled Lovage Cream and Peas? Heavens.
Clearly all those glossy photos and creative vegetable pairings have yet to lose their pull—unlike my final days with The Hali’imaile General Store’s cookbook, as lovely a tome as it appeared to be.
That’s the siren song of a good cookbook, isn’t it? All that potential. The untapped, untasted flavors waiting to burst forth from whatever odd combinations and positions a pile of ingredients has been forced into by the book’s authors.
I, along with my fellow home cooks, will continue to dream and try, as I search for that perfect blend of ease, taste and nutrition that marks a truly wonderful recipe.
Overall cookbook rating: 7 spatulas.