You'll notice it doesn't say "cookbook". That's because while it does have recipes, it's not your same ol' same ol' cook book. It's more conversational than instructional. Some of the recipes are structured in recipe format while others may just be narrative and both work.
You see, Stephen is less about getting you to follow a set of instructions. He's more about motivating and inspiring you to get in the kitchen and maybe stretch your cooking comfort zone a bit. It's kind of like having him in the kitchen with you just kicking around possibilities. In the process, he entertains with sharp wit and irreverent humor. Here's an example from his bit on St. Louis-style Spare Ribs:
There is a membrane on the back side which some people* insist needs to be removed. It's a little difficult to do and after a brief try I just said screw it. It won't hurt if you are a bit more persistent than I was (56).
He kids around a lot, gets on his soap box a few times, and encourages you to experiment on your own. Here's a recipe I made from A Cook's Book For Cooks and in true Crout fashion, I didn't follow the directions exactly. I knew he would want it that way....
Asian Chicken Wings
adapted from Stephen Crout's A Cooks Book For Cooks
- 8 chicken wings, cut into wingettes and drummettes, tips reserved for stock
- 1/2 cup mirin cooking wine
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, sliced on a bias, divided between marinade and garnish
- 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup sweet Asian chili sauce
- Mix the mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, half the onion, roasted red pepper and black pepper together.
- "Marinate the wings in this for one day. Don't have a day? Fine, go for an hour (Crout 75)."
- Set up your grill for indirect heat and preheat it to 375f. This will be fire roasting instead of direct grilling.
- Remove wings from marinade (reserve marinade) and fire roast them for 30 minutes.
- Flip wings and roast another 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put marinade in a preheated saute pan over medium high heat. Rapidly simmer for at least 5 minutes. Stir in sweet Asian chili sauce.
- Toss wings in the sauce and return to the grill for 10 minutes.
- Remove, garnish with remaining green onion, and serve.
- The book gives bake/broil method for doing this inside. I'd tell you what it is but then I'd have to pay Stephen royalties. Go buy the book, it's only $10.99.
- Wing tip: When placing wings on a grill, place their cut/open side down first. This will help the rendered fat drip off/out easier. Can't remember who I got that tip from but it works.
*Present company included.
[Standard Disclaimer] Stephen Crout Industries, Inc paid me one kajillion dollars to write this review. Just kidding I paid full price and received no compensation. There, happy FTC?