Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review of "6 Ingredient Solution" [58]

by the Editors at America's Test Kitchen
Boston Common Press, ISBN 978-1936493449
August 1, 2013, 328 pages

Oh boy, my friends at America's Test Kitchen have a new cookbook out and I got my hands on a copy! So what is this one about?
"How to Coax More Flavors from Fewer Ingredients
Think it takes more than a handful of ingredients to get a hearty chicken soup, Sunday dinner-worthy roast beef, or robustly flavored spaghetti and meatballs on the table? Think again. The test cooks at America's Test Kitchen tackled a new challenge with this collection of 175+ fuss-free recipes that slash the shopping list but deliver the big flavor you'd expect. We put our ingredients to work and revamped cooking methods for everything from starters and soups to braises, casseroles, pastas, and desserts--without losing any of the flavor."
How will they achieve great recipes with just six ingredients? Well, they are a number of key points. Look Beyond the Usual Cooking using coconut milk to fry in.
Use High Heat to Develop Flavor...searing and browning add great flavor.
Stock Up on Spice Blends..and add some new ones to your pantry like 5 Spice or herbes de Provence.
Unlock the flavors of Spices and, for examples, heating them in a little oil.
Discover New Uses for Store-Bought made pesto or BBQ to name just two.
Build Glazes for Meat with Jams and Jellies...fig jam on a pork roast or hot pepper jelly on chicken!
Rethink Pickles and Marinated Vegetables...jarred roasted peppers, Giadiniera and stuffed cherry peppers appear in several recipe. Easy and full of flavor.
Explore the International Aisle...think outside the box with curry paste or oyster sauce and many other suggestions.
Consider the Snack Shelf When Cooking...baked cheese sticks crushed as a coating for fish or chicken..crushed cookies to make a quick trifle, to name just a few.

This book is full of great, interesting recipes, from easy appetizers to quick desserts, and in between, casseroles, soups, grilled items, a big pasta section, lots of chicken, beef and pork and a nice section of vegetarian mains dishes which even tempted this carnivore. And every one with just 6 ingredients.

As always with ATK books, there are lots of great photos and the ever helpful "Why this recipe works" intro to each recipe, along with lots of tips and product recommendations. 
So which recipe to make first?
There are so many...the Hearty Italian Chicken Soup with Kale and Gnocchi looks so good in the photo. That added pesto sounds like a great idea. Or how about Braised Beef with Red Wine and Cherries...yum. You get the idea...these are not Plain Jane dishes just because they have only 6 ingredients.

So I picked something a little spicy..

Spicy Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

  • 9 ozs. fresh peeled and cored pineapple
  • 1 small red onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 8 Store bought taco shells (old El Paso brand recommend by ATK)

Cut 6 ozs. of the pineapple into 1/4 inch pieces and coarsely chop the remaining 3 ozs.
Finely chop the red onion and mince a 1/4 cup cilantro. Toss the finely diced pineapple, half the onion and the cilantro in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Process the tomatoes with their juice and the coarsely chopped pineapple in food processor until smooth, about 15 seconds. Cook the remaining onions and the pork together i a 12 inch pan over medium high heat until pork is no longer raw, about five minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer until thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Warm taco shells as directed on package. Divide pork mixture evenly among taco shells and to with pineapple salsa. 

This one was a winner, quick, easy, full of flavor and very popular with the folks! Of course, the key is the spicy Rotel tomatoes that add a big punch of flavor and a nice bit of heat. Paired with the sweet salsa and the fresh kick of cilantro it was excellent.
I doubled the I could have some left over for my lunch this And I should mention that I used ground turkey instead of pork. It was on sale! I am not usually too fond of ground turkey but with this sauce it was very good. Beef, pork or turkey..I think all would work just fine.
I also added a squeeze of lime to the salsa, because I had a lime on the counter. So maybe my version was 6 and 1/2 ingredients. As you can see, I served it with some rice with black beans. And there is that lime again....
Very good, from a very good new cookbook, and a recipe I will certainly be making again soon.
And I have so many more in this book to try.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Love the idea of six ingredients! What would be even better would be a whole cookbook using the SAME six ingredients, to make shopping easier! LOL

  2. Wow, looks yummy! Sounds like a great after-work cookbook. I will look for it!

  3. I didn't know that ATK had a new cookbook! Thanks for letting me know and for deeming it worth owning.

  4. You can't go wrong with Rotel - I could eat that straight from the can.

    1. i find them a bit too spicy usually, but here they were perfect..maybe the addition of the pineapple.

  5. Any cookbook from ATK is a hit with me! I need to see if my library has this one... even with ATK, I still like to take a closer look before buying.

  6. Yes, I love the idea of using six ingredients or less and the idea of squeezing more flavor out of fewer ingredients.

    Thank you for sharing this book with us.

    Here's my Weekend Cooking post.

  7. I need to track down a copy of this book! I love ATK recipes and this one sounds like it has some great ideas and tips on top of the usual great recipes. We had mac & cheese from a BBQ restaurant once and they used crumbled cheese crackers for the crumb topping. Yummy!

  8. Now I know which cookbook to get my sister-in-law this Christmas; thanks for the great review.

    1. if she is an ATK fan she will ove it..and if she is not a fan yet, it will make her one!

  9. I'm a huge ground beef taco fan, but the idea of a fish taco turns my stomach. Pork sounds like something I might like, and I love pineapple. Think I'll give this a try.
    Here's My Weekend Cooking

  10. I don't know whether I could find ground pork in my supermarket. I would also have a problem with knowing how many ounces of pineapple I had chopped. Would you say you need to have a kitchen scale for a lot of these recipes or that you at least need to feel comfortable winging it on the amounts of some of the ingredients?

    1. well, I actually have a scale and used it for the pineapple..but I would guess you would need about half a fresh pineapple for 9 ozs.
      and as I said, use ground anything!

  11. I like the taste of tacos - but how do you eat them neatly?

  12. Cool that it works with ground turkey. My husband can't eat pork, but we could have turkey tacos!

    Joy's Book Blog

  13. You can't go wrong with Cook's Illustrated/Test Kitchen. I had that magazine for years and everything is wonderful. Love a tact, nice choice of representative meal!

  14. Fig jam on pork? Now that sounds interesting. As it happens, I have 2 jars of fig jam my niece gave me just begging to be used.


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