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Cookbook review: 'Gourmet Cooking for Two' delivers delicious, perfect-for-two meals
Chicken Parmesan from "Gourmet Cooking for Two" by Christi Silbaugh. - photo by Whitney Butters Wilde
"GOURMET COOKING FOR TWO," by Christi Silbaugh, Front Table Books, $21.99, 263 pages

When Gourmet Cooking for Two author Christi Silbaugh became an empty nester, it wasnt just her home she found needed downsizing. She also needed to become accustomed to cooking for two instead of cooking for a crowd.

She ended up on what she calls a journey to not only learn how to scale down her meal proportions but also nurture her relationship with her husband. The result is Gourmet Cooking for Two, a cookbook with romantic tips and delicious recipes that are sure to enhance your love life, according to the books cover.

The cookbook contains the standard sections of appetizers, salads, soups, main dishes, side dishes and desserts. The recipes deliver on their promise by yielding dishes that are just the right size for two (unless otherwise indicated), saving the cook from a fridge filled with containers of leftovers.

For cooks well-versed in the art of gourmet cooking, the ingredients called for are likely to be familiar and readily available. But for anyone new to fancier culinary endeavors, some of the ingredients, including bamboo shoots, mirin, fontina cheese, turmeric and masa harina, may take additional research and a special trip to the grocery store.

Almost every recipe is accompanied by a large photo to give the cook an idea of what the end result should look like. The recipes do not indicate, however, the amount of time it will take to reach that end result. Be sure to read the recipes thoroughly to gauge the amount of time needed to complete each dish. Although most of the recipes are surprisingly simple considering the gourmet result, there are some that are quite involved and may take more time than anticipated to make.

Most of the recipes include a romantic tip from the author, with ideas ranging from playing 20 Questions with your loved one to having a picnic at home to sending a series of postcards in the mail to express love. Although the author gives several useful tips, many others are rather intuitive and often repetitive, leaving the feeling that the tips would have been more effective if there were fewer of them.

Overall, with page after page of delicious recipes, including Bacon-wrapped Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Parmesan, Crock-Pot Creamy Chicken Chili and more, that deliver on their gourmet, perfect-for-two promise, this cookbook is sure to be a useful one.



1 (8-ounce) package spaghetti noodles

1 chicken breast

salt and pepper to taste

cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

cup bread crumbs

cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

canola oil for frying

1 cup marinara sauce

cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions.

2. Trim the fat off the chicken breast and rinse it off. Cut it up into four pieces. Salt and pepper the trimmed chicken breast pieces.

3. Line up a dipping station. Put the flour in one bowl, the eggs in another and the crumbs, cheese and Italian seasoning in another bowl.

4. Start by generously covering the chicken with flour.

5. Next, dip the chicken in the beaten eggs, and then into the crumb/cheese mixture.

6. Set the chicken aside while preheating the skillet.

7. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. Heat to 350 degrees.

8. Add the chicken in small batches. Cook for about five minutes per side.

9. Place the chicken in a baking dish. Top the chicken with marinara, followed by the shredded mozzarella.

10. Bake for 15 minutes and serve immediately over the cooked spaghetti.

Gourmet Cooking for Two, by Christi Silbaugh
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