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Rocco's 5 Minute Flavor: Fabulous Meals with 5 Ingredients in 5 Minutes [Hardcover]

Rocco DiSpirito , Kris Kurek

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company; First Printing edition (6 Dec 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743273842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743273848
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 20.8 x 3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,799,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1. Combine the jalapeno pepper, red onion, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor: pulse to chop fine. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gimmick 3 Mar 2006
By Elizabeth - Published on
I agree with the other reviews that this cookbook is nothing more than creative marketing. As a new mom, I was enticed to buy because of the five min cooking time. I can prep holding a baby, but I can't cook with her in my arms. So the less time over heat, the better. However, the recipes consist of a lot of fondue (not a meal, but more of an appetizer), "ideas" (brownies w/ sauce on top) rather than real recipes, and too many processed or prepared foods that simply are not widely available (and I live in a metro area!) After reaading other reviews that refer to Rachel Ray I think I'm going to check out her books! At least she uses ingredients that I can find in a grocery store. I've tried several of our specialty grocers and still have not been able to find the majority of the Rocco ingredients. I asked for this book as a birthday gift, and I'm truely saddened to have wasted my mother's money on it!
46 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Mix of Junk Food and joie-de-vivre. Facinating. 22 Dec 2005
By B. Marold - Published on
`Rocco's 5 Minute Flavor' by famous culinary `personality', Rocco DiSpirito is the type of book I typically avoid reviewing, except for the fact that it answers the question I asked myself just a week or so ago. It tells us what former NY restaurateur / Food Network star / Reality Show martyr Rocco is doing nowadays. While the quick cooking theme is pretty much owned by the current queen of the Food Network, Rachael Ray, it has been appropriated by just about every major chef / author with good name recognition. But Rocco is promising us, to borrow a phrase from Emeril, `to kick it up a notch' by reducing the window to it's bare minimum of five minute cooking with five key ingredients or less for $5 per serving or less.

My overall impression of the book is that there are many, many gotchas with this book's premise and many weaknesses, but the skills of a very talented chef to this task does have its rewards which make the book worth reading and studying. I'll start with the many caveats and end with my overall impression of why the book still works.

My overriding impression is that the book is a perfect illustration of Marold's Two Laws of Fast Cooking which state that `Fast Cooking requires a firm grasp of good cooking techniques, above and beyond what the written recipe tells you.' and `Fast cooking requires more expensive or more highly processed ingredients than slow cooking.'.

As I read each recipe, I sense that each and every one requires some special culinary knowledge without which you may be fumbling with the prep long after your perceived `quick result' time expires.

The very first recipe assumes you can peel and chop garlic, grate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and chop basil promptly, before leaf blackening sets in. The second recipe assumes you know how to grate zest from a lemon and find tough ends of asparagus. Another early recipe calls for 2 cucumbers, 1 being peeled and diced, with one left unpeeled, followed by food processing all the cukes, with no explanation for the difference in treatment. Now this is not a bad thing. In fact, I welcome a cookbook that assumes you know what you are doing around the kitchen. The problem is that if you do not, you may not get satisfactory results. There are a few points at which the assumption of Kitchen Kompetance (sic) can lead to trouble, as when Rocco instructs us to heat up a non-stick pan, do a few other things, then add butter to the pan. Every cooking guru from Alton Brown to Sara Moulton makes a point of NOT leaving a Teflon coated pan on the heat with no oil or other contents to keep the coating down to a reasonable 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so it doesn't get so hot as to give off toxic gases. This concern is especially worrisome as one of Rocco's linchpins to fast cooking is to get pots very, very hot. Put his advice together with ignorance of Teflon's Achilles heel and you could be getting into troubled waters.

A second concern may be that the headliner `5 minutes' means only the time it takes to actually `cook' the dish and not including the prep time and certainly not including the shopping time or what Tony Bourdain calls the pre-prep time for cleaning produce, filleting meat, and whatever. It certainly does not include the time it takes to read and understand the recipe. It you take three of Rocco's recipes and add in the prep time, I am willing to bet you will come very close to what Rachael Ray does in 30 minutes, including almost all prep time. Another little shorthand is that the `five ingredients' condition leaves out a pretty large number of pantry items and that many of those five ingredients may be pretty highly processed products. A last little caveat is that the $5 is per serving for a single dish. That means that four servings of four dishes may run to $80. This is not much, but not to be sneezed at either!

A third concern is that Rocco uses a lot of supermarket preparations and commercially packaged products. Looking through his pantry list, I spot close to 20% of his items may be available in his New York, but may not be available outside the New York metropolitan area under the same name. There are other product recommendations such as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Jell-O Gelatin snacks where my first reaction is that I don't appreciate a highly trained chef's suggesting I eat junk food.

There are some other oddities that annoy me, such as chapters labeled `Sandwiches' and `Panini' when `panini' is simply Italian for `sandwich'. Another is the assortment of rather drab black and white photographs, several of what appears to be dirty dishes, produce, or kitchen counter. While many have something of an artsy feel to them, they are not exactly up to the standards of Man Ray or Annie Lebowitz. A third annoyance is that while the title and introduction to this book makes sly reference to the author's James Beard award winning first book, `Flavor', there is really nothing about the recipes which make any reference at all to the good things done in that book.

The irony of all this is that in spite of all those annoyances and gotchas, I am very likely to refer to this book more often than many others when I need to make something quick, but where I don't want to fall back on all my familiar recipes or a can of Campbell's soup.

My favorite things about the book is that like Rachael, this is `all at once' cooking rather than part of the `cook ahead on the weekend' school and, like Jamie Oliver, it embodies cooking as part of a `joie-de-vivre' where preparing food becomes a celebration rather than a chore.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 5 Minutes to Cook 60 to prep - Horrible Photography! 8 Jun 2006
By kiwanissandy - Published on
I can only believe that people who left a 5 star review are friends or family of Rocco's.

The reason people are into quick cuisine is because they're busy, they have children, they work long hours, etc. His recipes promise 5 ingredients, 5 minutes, under $5.00. Ah! It's at least 30 minutes prep time on even the quickest recipes and some are up to 60 minutes and most are not family friendly. There is a recipe for scallops with lemon butter and the recipe never calls for cooking the scallops. Well yeah, I guess you could prepare it in 5 minutes when it's raw. Then you're suppose to get a teflon skillet as hot as humanly possible (which I've always read is a no no) and brown some butter with lemon zest then pour over the uncooked scallops. Gross! Then his 5 ingredients does not count for herbs, spices, oil, vinegars, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, butter, etc etc so there's another 5-10 ingredients per recipe that are not included in his "5" ingredients. And many of the 5 ingredients are packaged jello, canned cheese whiz, etc. Gross!

Most of the pictures are black and white and just absolutely horrible photography. There's a B&W picture taking up both pages of what appears to be a stock pot filled with who knows what. They picture is so dark and undefineable that the contents actually look gross. There are a few color, glossy pictures near the back of the book, not enough to give you a feel for the dishes.

And then to say thanks to your partner for putting out for you? Isn't that an open sexual innuendo? Gross.

Overall, don't bother. Book is poorly designed, recipes are so-so, and the photography is just horrible. How embarrasing for Rocco who I'm sure is a nice person, he seems to have a nice personality and I love his shows but forget this cookbook. He should be suing his publisher for putting this to print.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for kitchen novices and for foodies who want some tasty quick recipes 17 Jan 2006
By K. Walters - Published on
I hesitated purchasing this book until I browsed through it at a local book shop because I feared that 5 minutes and 5 ingredients meant bland flavor. Not true at all. While the name and premise of the book are somewhat misleading, i.e., 5 minutes refers to the COOKING and not the time it takes to prepare the meal (as Rachael Ray says) "from start to finish." Nevertheless, the recipes that I have tried or reviewed require easy preparation (a little chopping here, a little grating there), and they contain minimal ingredients with big flavors that result in enjoyable dishes. The flavor combinations are often more complex than the simplistic nature of the cookbook might suggest, and these are certainly meals that you can make for yourself on a busy week night, or for friends on lazy weekends. They'll never have to know that you made the dish in "5 minutes," and you'll have more time to spend socializing rather than slaving away in the kitchen.

Rocco hopes (and he expressly states this in the book) that 5 minutes will become the new cooking catch-phrase, leaving Rachael Ray's 30-minute meals in the dust. I'm not sure that this will happen (nor do I want it to because I'm a loyal RR fan), but this book and concept will certainly be a welcome addition to anyone's cookbook library. If you're a kitchen novice, hey, here are some recipes too impress that won't break the bank or your back. If you're a foodie, these recipes will serve as tasty additions to your repertoire when you just don't have time to make a more complex meal. Sure, Rocco uses prepared, pre-packaged ingredients in a number of the recipes, but you couldn't have a 5-minute book by avoiding them completely, and overall he balances these quite nicely with fresh and healthy ingredients.

So, for the overall concept - quick, easy and flavorful - the quality of the recipes and the layout of the book, I rate Rocco's new cookbook 5 stars.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great black and white photo essay of Rocco's family. An awful cookbook! 23 Feb 2006
By Cappac CAS - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I haven't met many cookbooks in which there were so few unspirited or untantalizing recipes. Even worse, the book was peppered with recipes containing but no limited to "sliced deli roast beef" or "hot dog ruebens!!!" Excuse my surprise but this was not a grade school competition on how to make a sandwich for lunch.

This was also not labeled as a photo journalism book on Rocco DiSpirito's family. There were a full 16 color pages of food and 80 black and white pages of people, dishes, stoves, napkins, a can of tomatoes, and stuff I can't even make out. When there is an actual reciipe, I need to see photos.

The 5 in 5 gimmick did attract me. I did not fully expect a total of only 5 ingredients. Nor did I expect prep to eating in 5 minutes. This part came true. Cleaning and deveining 1 1/2 # shrimp and shredding 2# turkey breast, cutting 2 large eggplants and 1 duck into 1 inch chunks. Minimum of a half an hour more.

But given all of my gripes, the absolute number one disturbing complaint is that this new cookbook used so few fresh ingredients. The best parallel is that it reminded me of the old Minnesota casseroles where you could open 5 cans and dump them into a 9 x 13 pan, throw it into the oven and let it go. Those were easier and about as healthy.

Definitely not worth the time or the money.
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