Kitchen Confidence
By Kelsey Nixon
Published by Clarkson Potter
224 Pages

About Author: KELSEY NIXON is the host of Kelsey's Essentials on Cooking Channel. She got her start in food media in college when she created 100 episodes of Kelsey's Kitchen, a cooking show that aired at Brigham Young University. Upon graduation, she trained at Le Cordon Bleu and the French Culinary Institute, and held internships at Martha Stewart Living and Food Network's Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. In 2008, Kelsey was a finalist and voted fan favorite on The Next Food Network Star. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their son. This is her first cookbook.

Back Cover: Host of Cooking Channel's Kelsey's Essentials and fan favorite on season four of The Next Food Network Star, Kelsey Nixon shares the essential recipes, techniques, and tools that new home cooks need in their back pocket.

A young food star and new mom, Kelsey is an invaluable friend in the kitchen to everyone settling into their first kitchen of their own. Her recipes, which are broken down into simple steps, teach readers how to cook, highlighting key tools and basic techniques everyone should know. And yet her flavors are anything but basic; Kelsey gives everyone the confidence to start with the 2.0 version of a recipe instead of the boring standards. For example, she makes her house pilaf with quinoa instead of rice, and her addictive fruit salad is a savory first course instead of a lackluster dessert.
     With 100 recipes and 60 color photographs, Kitchen Confidence brings home all of the energy and spirit of the Cooking Channel show of the same name, making it an excellent handbook for newlyweds, recent college graduates, and those discovering their kitchens for the first time.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that introduced me to a passionate chef and yummy food recipes.  I haven’t seen Kelsey Nixon on T.V. but this book has made me want to check her show out. My husband and I have switched off cooking and cleaning up the kitchen for years now. I haven’t cooked in a while. I thought this book would help me get back into the cooking groove! I was right. This author has tips for beginners and experienced cooks that are helpful to both camps.

I liked the introduction of this book where the author shares a little bit about her cooking journey and how her mom’s love of cooking stirred her passion for food and helping others to create great meals like her mom. Her mom loved to cook and relished the unbeatable feeling of making something at home to nourish the people she loved.

Kelsey states, “My love for food followed me to college, but unfortunately my mom didn’t – so no more home-cooked meals every night.  It didn’t take long for that void to send me straight to my own bite-size dorm kitchen to begin cooking for myself, my roomates, and any prospective boyfriends…”

I was a broadcast journalism student who loved food and television, but wasn’t all that interested in a news career. So, I committed myself to an unorthodox idea of hosting my own cooking show…”

I liked learning how Kelsey developed her cooking style and how she had a passion to teach others to create healthy and yummy meals that everyone could make and love.

She walks readers thru the getting started stage and for those who have been at it for a while some great pointers about “Essential Pantry” supplies. She says, “Having a well-equipped Pantry is like having an insurance policy for dinner.”

Tips on organizing (and re-organizing) your kitchen – “Essential Equipment” – “When it comes to equipment I believe in quality over quantity.” Kelsey states. Then there are the “Essential Techniques” Techniques you’ll use over and over again. I felt they were very helpful.

Cooking from the hip section tells readers how to get your creative juices flowing. Each recipe has at least a few variations on the basic theme of the dish. She encourages you to come up with a few variations to make it your own.

The recipes are easy to read, ingredients are readily available, and the most she has in each recipe is four or five steps with instructions to follow. They are not complicated to understand.

The book is broken into the following sections. Breakfast and Morning Treats, Starters, Salads, Sandwiches and Soups, Main Courses, Sides, Desserts and Sweets.

This cook book is filled with beautiful color pictures of most of the food recipes, some of the authors and others of cooking techniques. I loved to look at them.

The recipes I tried were the Blueberry Muffins, Chicken Piccata, and the Oven-Fried Chicken. These dishes were fun to create and my family loved them.  I loved watching them empty their plates and ask for more!

Some of the recipes I’d like to make are Stove-Top Mac N’Cheese (she has 4 variations to the master recipe for you to try) Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, Banana Split Ice Cream Cake, Baked Eggs with Smoked Bacon, Spinach and Goat Cheese, Almond Scones, Buffalo Chicken Wings and many more.

I really liked the fact that once the reader got a handle on creating the basic recipe they could change it up and make something new. I’ll be referring back to this book often. This will be my go to book for bringing fun back to family dinners. I look forward to learning more about the How’s and Why’s of cooking techniques that make the dishes in the book work and taste great. This is a win, win for cooks, and our families. This would make a great gift too!

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
Book Fun Magazine
The Book Club Network Blog


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