The concept for this book has been building for the last decade. During these years the author has been teaching, out of her own kitchen, various groups of friends how to cook and put together menus. At the end of the day, everyone needs and loves to eat, especially when what s on offer is made with love. And the truth is, a thoughtfully prepared dish is far more interesting than a perfectly prepared one. In fact, the author never approaches any dish with the idea that it will be perfect. Not only is this attitude freeing, but it inspires her to try new ingredients, flavors, and techniques. She has prepared the recipes in the book dozens of times; they re tried and true, foolproof, and beautiful. Her students always want to know what goes with what, so she organized the recipes into menus, named for the way the dishes make her feel. There s a Vibrant menu, filled with color, which inherently translates to flavor; the Crisp menu is loaded with pleasing crunch; the Saucy menu highlights the transformational power of a well-made yet simple sauce. The menu arrangements are simply suggestions; feel free to mix and match as you like. But never, ever skimp on the passion you put into making any dish, right down to a simple salad dressing. Because when it comes to cooking, what you put into it is what you get out of it.