Cookbook makes gourmet cooking easier for the holidays

By Kaylene Morrill Wheeler

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10 2013 5:20 p.m. MST

The word “gourmet” probably brings to mind complicated, expensive and time-consuming recipes, but a new cookbook redefines the word by showing how anyone can create gourmet dishes this holiday season.

This time of year often brings with it festive parties and the chance to flex culinary muscles and get a little fancier in the kitchen. “Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” (Covenant Communications, $21), by Alice Osborn, Jeanne Wolfley and Kaycee Leishman, provides straightforward recipes, utilizes accessible ingredients and offers helpful tips to make gourmet cooking easier during the holidays and throughout the year.

“Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” gives recipes a gourmet taste with a little something the authors call putting “new twists on familiar themes.”

One example is a recipe in the book called “Cloud Nine Frosting.” It has all the normal ingredients one would expect to see in a frosting recipe with the exception of one: brown sugar.

“People mix white sugar and powdered sugar into cream cheese, but you never have really seen brown sugar mixed into it,” Osborne said. “We wondered, what would that taste like?”

While their findings are implied in the name of the frosting — Cloud Nine Frosting — Osborne also deemed the frosting to be “amazing.”

“It’s just using normal, everyday ingredients people have, but it’s just kind of giving them a new twist. And that’s what this cookbook is all about.”

While “Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” isn’t a holiday-focused recipe book per se, it does have many recipes with holiday-appropriate spins, such as the recipe for Cinnamon Syrup — another instance where a single spice elevates an ordinary breakfast staple to the gourmet status.

Taste plays a critical role in a gourmet dish, but visual presentation plays a key part, too.

“When you look at (food), you want it to look appetizing, even as much as it tastes good,” said Leishman.

This is something Leishman said she and the other authors tried to capture in the images of the cookbook because if a recipe doesn’t look appealing, then few will want to make it.

“We knew with our cookbook that we wanted an image for every recipe and that we wanted it to look good.”

It turns out that gourmet recipes often have visual twists, too. The cookbook offers ideas for presenting dishes attractively, such as adding garnishes or plating in unique ways.

One of these is the recipe for Lasagna Cupcakes. Instead of serving the lasagna in one large pan, the lasagna is made into individual servings that are baked in a muffin tin. The result is a classy version of a common dinner.

It is typically a cook’s goal to create food that is pleasing to both guests’ eyes and guests’ taste buds, but ideally, the prepping and cooking part should be easy and stress-free. “Everyday Gourmet Cookbook” emphasizes that anyone can cook like a gourmet each and every day of the year, and it provides 52 tips at the end of the book for cooking smarter and not harder in the kitchen.

Even the recipes in the book are catered toward an easier time in the kitchen.

The Quick Crescent Rolls in the cookbook freeze really well, which can be very convenient for those who want to have homemade, ready-to-bake rolls on hand for holiday gatherings.

“Those kinds of things just make for a more enjoyable holiday because you’re not trying to do everything last minute, and it gives you time for the things that need to be fresh right then like the meat and potatoes, and stuff like that,” said Wolfley.

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