How to Cook Without a Book, Completely Updated and Revised: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart: A Cookbook

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New York Times bestselling author Pam Anderson updates her classic cookbook—which put “cooking by heart” on the map—to include modern flavors and new techniques that today’s home cooks will love, with new and original full-color photographs.

It’s been 17 years since the blockbuster How to Cook Without a Book was published, and Pam Anderson’s method of mastering easy techniques to create simple, delicious meals is even more relevant today. From the working professional who loves cooking to the busy family member trying to get dinner on the table, today’s modern home cook wants to master useful techniques and know how to stock pantries and refrigerators to pull together delicious meals on the fly.

Understanding that most recipes are simply “variations on a theme,” Pam innovatively teaches technique, ultimately eliminating the need for recipes. The new edition will reflect ingredients and techniques home cooks love to use today: chicken dishes are revamped by using thighs instead of boneless skinless breasts; hearty, dark greens like kale and swiss chard replace hearts of Romaine in salads; roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes move from side dish to the main event in more meatless entrees; plus, tips for creating a whole meal using one pot or one sheet pan (instead of dirtying multiple dishes). Each chapter contains helpful at-a-glance charts that highlight the key points of every technique and a master recipe with enough variations to keep you going until you’ve learned how to cook without a book.

From the Publisher

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Grilled Pizza Crusts

Makes 4 pizzas (serves up to 8)

1. Measure the 1/3 cup warm water in a 2-cup measuring cup. Whisk the yeast into the water and let stand until foamy, just a few minutes. Add the remaining 11/3 cups water and the oil to the yeast mixture.

2. Meanwhile, pulse the flour, salt, and sugar in a large food processor fitted with a steel blade.

3. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour and process to form a rough soft ball. If the dough does not come together, add additional water, a couple of teaspoons at a time. Continue to machine-knead the dough until smooth, about 30 seconds longer. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few seconds to form a smooth ball. Coat a large bowl with vegetable cooking spray, add the dough, and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

4. When ready to make the pizzas, turn all burners of a gas grill on high until very hot, about 10 minutes. Without punching the dough down, dump it onto a lightly floured surface. Using a chef’s knife or a metal dough scraper, quarter the dough. Working one at a time, stretch each portion into a rustic 12 × 3½- to 4-inch rectangle; transfer to 1 of 2 large cornmeal-coated baking sheets.

Repeat with the remaining portions of dough. (The dough can also be punched down and refrigerated for up to 3 days, and is immediately ready to stretch)


1/3 cup warm water and 1 1/3 cups room temperature water

2 teaspoons (or 1 envelope) active dry yeast

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups bread or unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons table salt

2 teaspoons sugar

Cornmeal, for the baking sheets

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5. Carefully lift the stretched pieces of dough and lay them on the hot grill grate. Cover and grill until the bottoms are spotty brown, moving them around to ensure even cooking, and piercing the puffing dough as necessary, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on heat intensity. Turn the pizzas over and continue to grill, covered, until spotty brown on the second side, a couple of minutes longer. Remove the pizza crusts from the grill. (Crusts can be wrapped tightly and frozen for several months)

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