Select one of the keywords
Emeril's Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude    by Emeril Lagasse order for
Emeril's Potluck
by Emeril Lagasse
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

My first impression of the cookbook is of lots of photos of the author cooking and eating, and looking like he's having a great time doing both! Emeril offers food that 'brings family and friends together', just the thing for the holidays. He tells us that potluck is about sharing, and that dishes need to travel well.

The recipes begin with Basics - and a reminder that 'Making stock requires only a little extra time for a huge amount of taste.' I've never made fresh Mayonnaise but will try it on Emeril's recommendation. On to Drinks, where Green Vodka Coolers (with fresh lime juice), Dark and Stormy (with rum and ginger beer), Mango Lassi, and Champagne Punch all tempt me. Emeril tells us that Starters 'are the essence of the potluck mentality - fun food.' I've always wanted to make Baba Ghanoush and there's a recipe here. Kicked-Up Spinach and Artichoke Dip sounds like it's to die for (seriously, beware cholesterol!) Spiced Nuts are always popular, Blue Cheese Coins sound tasty, and how about Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Terrine? Yumm!

Salads here tend to be hearty, like Curried Chicken Salad and Emeril's Favorite Potato Salad (with bacon and eggs, it's a meal in itself) - found good candidates for my New Year buffet in this lot. Soups are just the thing for colder climes. Not sure about Cheese and Beer Soup, but the Chowders and Gumbos sound ideal to warm a body up after outdoor winter activities. In Casseroles, Emeril's robust offerings include Creole Breakfast Bread Pudding that I plan to try, also a Tuna Tetrazzini that appeals, and for sure the Cajun Quiche (if I can find any crawfish tails!) Beyond Casseroles, we have Creole Mustard and Herb-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin (sounds similar to a family favorite French Canadian recipe) and a Poor Man's Beef Wellington that intrigues.

Getting ideas for your next potluck? Need Sides too. I'm salivating over the Creole Cornbread Stuffing recipe, and Carrot Soufflé (with brown sugar and pecans) will be on my holiday table. Next, Breads. I make Cranberry Pecan Bread every year at this time, but this recipe has buttermilk, hmmm ... and Prosciutto Breadsticks hit the spot. I agree with Emeril on the importance of Desserts, and must try Flourless Chocolate Cake (with kahlua) and Mr. Lou's Key Lime Pie, always wanted to make that. There's a cheesecake and a tiramisu and much, much more to satisfy any sweet tooth in your circle of friends.

Emeril cooks with lots of spice, my family's kind of food. My only concern with the cookbook is that many recipes include 'Emeril's Original Essence' as an ingredient without specifying an alternative (at least I couldn't find a mention of one). Aside from that, the recipes appeal as appetizing, filling dishes, just right for entertaining a winter holiday crowd.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews