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At Home with Michael Chiarello: Easy…
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At Home with Michael Chiarello: Easy Entertaining

by Michael Chiarello

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0811840484, Hardcover)

"As a chef," says Michael Chiarello in At Home with Michael Chiarello, "I can either build on a classic recipe or deconstruct it and put it back together with a new identity." The Napa Valley-based TV chef and author takes his own message to heart in this collection of 135-plus recipes for imaginative entertaining. Chiarello's formulas, for the likes of Grilled Salmon and Spinach Salad with Corn Juice "Zablione," Turkey Osso Buco, and "Short Stacks" with Shredded Chicken and Balsamic BBQ Sauce, do reflect his ceaseless invention; but unlike some other chef's recipes, these are cook-friendlier, with flavors rooted in "homier" Italian and American culinary traditions. His chapter on pasta and rice dishes, with the likes of Lasagna of Roasted Butternut Squash, and Bordetto of Shrimp-Stuffed Pasta Shells, is particularly good.

The book also provides useful advice for easier, more original party-giving in, for example, Entertaining 101, which includes counsel on choosing a dining area, scaling recipes, and wine do's and don'ts, among other topics. Readers should know that many of the attractive dishes require a kitchen workout, and that invention occasionally overruns best taste, as in, for example, a dish of fennel-flavored pork tenderloin with a dressing of molasses, sage, and balsamic vinegar. Still, the majority of formulas, which include tempting sweets like Molten Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes and Freeform Cheesecake Poured Over Fresh Fruit, should make guests very happy as well as expanding the cook's repertoire. With alluring photos, the artfully produced book should, in itself, get the entertaining-at-home urge going. -–Arthur Boehm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:31 -0400)

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