cover image Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time

Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time

Tyler Florence, . . Clarkson Potter, $35 (254pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-5238-7

Were this book not to share a name with Florence's Food Network show, its existence would be a puzzle. As it is, it's hard to make heads or tails of this jumble of decent but not spectacular recipes that share only one thing in common: a forced "guy talk" manner. Chapters are arranged by type of dish, with titles like "Surf" for fish, and each opens with a throw-away introduction of a couple of paragraphs: "noodles are a great way to put a smile on somebody's face." Recipes are equally casual: once you've started the sauce for Coconut Shrimp with Basmati Rice and Apricots, you're told to "jump to the rice," and in the headnote to Angry Lobster with Tomato-Chile Butter and Arugula, Florence reminisces about working "at a mafia joint in Tribeca" patronized by men "from Jersey with pinky rings... and girls decked out in big hair and gold." Despite this sometimes off-key tone, instructions are clear, and each recipe helpfully comes with an estimated cooking time, most of them quick. Still, one can't help wishing that despite offering truly helpful advice (such as the tip not to shake the pan when making Oven Fries for crispier results), Florence would, in his own parlance, tune down the 'tude, dude. (Nov.)