Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire

In Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire, the famed Napa Valley chef (Tra Vigne, Bottega) and television personality (Food Network’s Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, Bravo’s Top Chef Masters) turns his attention to outdoor cooking. And while some of the 125 recipes tick off boxes on the standard grilling cookbook checklist (there are burgers, ribs, steak, chicken, and vegetables), many will surprise you, including grilled takes on spaghetti and meatballs, chili, guacamole, and strawberry shortcake. A good chunk of the book is devoted to menus for parties and gatherings, such as Chiarello’s annual harvest dinner, an easy grilled pizza supper, and a backyard camp-out breakfast. The rest of the book spotlights different approaches to outdoor cooking, with chapters focused on planchas, fire pits, rotisseries, and Cuban-style hot boxes or box roasters. Chiarello lets his fire determine what he cooks, sharing recipes perfectly suited for each cooking style. This makes for a book that features everyday meals like turkey burgers or cowboy steaks, as well as significantly more ambitious feasts such as a whole lamb cooked on an iron cross over a “30-log kind of fire.” Chiarello explains why he loves each method, and offers a basic how-to, but he also admits you can adapt just about any of his recipes for any type of fire. Of course much of the book is about inspiration, and thinking outside the grill. You may never set up an iron cross in your backyard to cook a whole lamb, but you just might try Chiarello’s slightly less involved recipe for baby goat on a spit. Recipes to try: Grilled Pasta with Grilled Meatballs Strawberry Pazzo Cake with Herbed Crème Fraîche

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