Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cookbook Review - Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2

It is time to share some early impressions of one of my Holiday Present Cookbooks.  Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur is... so far so good.  I don't know that Mr. Wilbur absolutely nails every clone, but the three recipes that I have tried so far have all been winners in their own right. 

First I tried the Applebee's Tequila Lime Chicken Recipe.  I didn't  blog it because I had to alter the recipe. I didn't have all of the ingredients listed in the recipe, heck, I didn't even have lime, however, even with a few substitutions and a fresh lemon, this recipe was really delish.  I can't wait to try the real version now that I have limes and Liquid Smoke. 

One thing I took away from the Tequila Lime Chicken recipe that will probably serve me in other ways, was how to quickly make Tortilla Strips from Tortillas.  Stack 8 6inch Tortillas (I only had 4 in my test), cut in half and then stack the halves and cut into thin strips.  Fry the strips in 2 Cups of preheated oil in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes.  Salt lightly and cool on paper towels.  The kids loved the homemade tortilla chips.  They were fresh and light, quite superior to store bought chips.

The second recipe I made was The Houston's Chicago Style Spinach Dip.  This was the weakest of the recipes so far, but it stood up as a decent spinach artichoke dip.  I am hesitant to blame the recipe though, since I mistakenly used marinated artichoke hearts and the recipe called for un-marinated ones.  I will try this one again.

Lastly and most represented pictorially, I made the Original Pancake House Apple Pancake.  Twice...  Well, technically three times, since today's batch was a double.  I have never had the Apple Pancake at the Original Pancake House, but this recipe is wonderful.  Other than using skim milk instead of whole, I have followed this one properly.  I made it two ways, once with Heavy Cream and Milk and once with Half and Half as an alternate suggested in the book.  Both versions are fine, but the Heavy Cream version is tough to beat. 

The Apple Pancake recipe is a bit time consuming, a Cuisinart is handy to slice the apples and you'll have to start the recipe early enough to wait an hour for the first step to cool. Also, you will need to flip a 475 degree pan like in the tartin recipes we have posted in the past. No matter how many times you tell yourself don't grab the hot pan... you may end up with second degree burns (ask Husband of Food).

All that aside, the results of this recipe are fantastic.  One pancake is enough for two people or two adults with a toddler or two.

I do recommend this Cookbook, just be prepared for long lists of ingredients and be flexible enough to substitute when you don't have that 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke.


MandiCrocker said...

Obviously I'm catching up today. :) THESE PANCAKES LOOK DIVINE!!!!

Family of Food said...

Thanks for leaving all the comments Mandi!

Anonymous said...

I loved your blog. Thank you.

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