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Your opinion on Michael Chiarello's

SallyBR1's picture

I thought that Feast would be my last, but Marcia kindly pointed out to me that with four (now THREE) days left in this beautiful year, I might as well slip in a cookbook or two

I was wondering about CHiarello - I like his show, most of his recipes seem good and straightforward. His chicken cacciatore is a definite winner and regular dish in our house - I wonder if it is in his cookbooks, it was BIscuit who pointed it out to me here in CT

Anyway, should I go for it? Which one of his cookbooks is THE best? (supposing I would go for it, of course... :-)



"Sally who? Sally in the corner"
(Amy, November 2006)

marie-louise's picture

(post #62794, reply #1 of 20)

I like the one that came out about four or five years ago-it is one of the ones I kept. It's got casual home cooking recipes, and as a bonus, great pictures of his food on my beloved Luna Garcia pottery. To me, Tra Vigne has recipes for the kind of "fussy" restaurant cooking I don't do much of (but they are great recipes, don't get me wrong.) I've never made anything I didn't like from him, and his recipes are among my favorites.

Take a look at his website-a lot of his recipes are here for free.

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62794, reply #2 of 20)

Well, I found Casual Cooking used for less than 9 bucks

impossible to resist, of course

That does it, my last cookbook of the year

Enablers, you've done a good job, now please leave Sally alone!




"Sally who? Sally in the corner"
(Amy, November 2006)

Wolvie's picture

(post #62794, reply #11 of 20)

oops. Late to a thread per usual. glad you got such a deal on one of his books!


I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. - Will Rogers


ehBeth's picture

(post #62794, reply #12 of 20)

the question is ... how many more cookbooks can you buy before midnight on the 31st?  


oh and another question ... do you think you'll be able to visit Toronto and leave without any cookbooks?

If you can't play a sport, be one.
If you can't play a sport, be one.
pamilyn's picture

(post #62794, reply #13 of 20)

The Thanksgiving Table.

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

marie-louise's picture

(post #62794, reply #14 of 20)

Casual Cooking is the one I like so much. My copy is so beat up, I could actually justify buying another one, LOL.

I happen to have the cookbook right in front of me, so here are some of my favorites from it:

Toasted Spice Rub (often keep a supply on hand)
Bagna Cauda butter (frozen garlic-anchovy butter)
Homemade Ricotta-lucky friends get this as a starter on crostini
Roasted Olives-amazingly good for not much effort
Onion Soup-best I've ever had
Winter Panzanella (w/ roasted squash & brussels sprouts)-great fall dinner
***Forever Roasted Pork w/ Toasted Spice Rub***-I'm a big fan of Gretchen's Pulled Pork, but this takes a pork butt to a whole new level. Same idea, except you cut the pork in half, fill it w/ sauteed onions, fresh sage & garlic, then rub it w/ this spicy fennel rub. Mmmmmm....

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62794, reply #15 of 20)

Oh, I can hardly wait for my copy to arrive!!!!!!

THanks, Marie-Louise

(I intend to make the homemade ricotta very soon)



"Sally who? Sally in the corner"
(Amy, November 2006)

marie-louise's picture

(post #62794, reply #16 of 20)

The ricotta is fun to make (and good, too.)

Here's one more favorite recipe (this one's from the Tra Vigne cookbook) for anyone who has access to fresh crab:

It is so good!!!

KarenP's picture

(post #62794, reply #17 of 20)

Here is another to tempt you.  Rosetta says that the technique of cutting the ricotta into the criss cross shape makes a difference..since I've never done it any other way, I don't have a clue.

Fresh Homemade Ricotta


Ricotta, which means “re-cooked”, is actually a by-product of the cheese making process itself; and as such, is not considered a true “cheese” in Italy. In Southern Italy, pecorino cheese is typically made from fresh sheep or goat’s milk. The whey that is left behind is re-cooked, hence the name “ricotta”, and the curds that are collected and drained form the ricotta.

Ricotta is wonderful eaten fresh. In Southern Italy, it can also be found dried as “ricotta salata”, smoked as “ricotta affumicata” or coated with peperoncino “red hot pepper”. This recipe produces a fresh ricotta that most closely duplicates the creamy texture and rich taste of the ricotta that I grew up with. It is made with store-bought whole cow’s milk and coagulated with liquid vegetable rennet.

The liquid rennet and the ricotta draining baskets can be purchased online at New England Cheesemaking Company, their website link is:


1 gallon whole milk

3/4 cup cream

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon liquid vegetable rennet

1/4 cup water

2—2  1/2 cup size ricotta draining baskets


1. Put the milk and cream in a heavy bottom pot. Stir to mix well. Gradually bring to a boil, turning the heat off as soon as the milk begins to foam up, climbing towards the top of the pot (The temperature of the milk will be about 200F).


2. Skim all of the foam from the milk. Pour the milk into another pot to leave behind any scorched milk adhering to the bottom of the pot. Add the salt and stir until dissolved.


3. Let the milk cool to about 100 °F, skimming off any new foam skin that forms on top of the milk. (An ice or cold-water bath can be used to speed the cooling process). Combine the rennet with the 1/4 cup of cold water, and stir into the pot to mix evenly with the milk. Let stand, undisturbed about 10 minutes, until the milk is visibly thickening.


4. With a wooden spoon, cut a criss-cross pattern through the center of the pot. Stir quickly with the wooden spoon for about 15 —20 seconds to break up the coagulated milk. Then, using a perforated metal skimmer, slowly and gently circle the pot in one direction (so slowly that it takes about 20 seconds to make a turn around the pot) and watch as the milk begins to separate into curds and whey. Continue the slow, gentle stirring motion with the skimmer, moving the curds towards the center of the pot, until they have gathered into a large mound in the center, with the whey surrounding them (the whey may be dotted with bits of curd). This can take up to five minutes.


5. Gently and slowly pour off the whey, which can be done directly into the sink, or into a cheese cloth lined colander, if you want to catch every stray curd. Using the metal skimmer, gather the curds, disturbing them as little as possible, and gently “spoon” the curds into the baskets, mounding the curd as high as needed.


6. Set the baskets to drain in plastic containers, and let stand at room temperature, until the whey no longer drips from the cheese baskets, emptying the liquid several times during the process. Quite a bit of whey will drain from the curds.


The ricotta can be used after 2 hours of draining or put away in the refrigerator for later use. It is best used within 2-3 days, kept refrigerated.



Copyright 2005, Rosetta Costantino. All rights reserved



Adele's picture

(post #62794, reply #18 of 20)

I have his Casual Cooking and have made quite a few things from it, I love the mushrooms, think I posted about them before and have made them many times.  Makes button mushrooms something special.

Now I'm going to tag on to your post. I need a tried and true for clay pot cooking, do you have any cookbooks on that?  (One more day til the end of the year)

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Gretchen's picture

(post #62794, reply #19 of 20)

Take a look at this google page. It seems to have not only recipes but ideas for adapting regular recipes to a clay pot.  You got one--right.  Tandoori chicken should be a good start for it.

Adele's picture

(post #62794, reply #20 of 20)

Thank you ma'am!  I UPS'd it from Up North, so should have it by the end of the week. 

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

wonka's picture

(post #62794, reply #8 of 20)

Thanks for the link to his website.

Biscuit's picture

(post #62794, reply #3 of 20)

I really enjoy his "Casual Entertaining" book (I think that's the title??).  Have loved everything I've made in it. 

Actually - I like him and that book so much I asked for his other book for Christmas.   Didn't get it so I'm ordering it today from Amazon.

I like this guy.  His food really is simple, and really easy to put together.  His "trick" if he has one is simply to use really good ingredients. 

"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Chrismas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"  - The Grinch

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

MadMom's picture

(post #62794, reply #4 of 20)

While sitting on the sofa in my jammies yesterday, I also watched one of his "entertaining" shows.  He actually made the potatoes everyone is raving about, along with some other goodies, and did his final cooking in the fireplace.  Really a cute idea.  I might have to pick up one of his cookbooks.

Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

CulinaryArtist's picture

(post #62794, reply #5 of 20)

His books are on my list, which I have to update as DD made a big dent in it for me.

Here's what I got for Xmas:

Lidia's Family Table

Food Lover's Companion

The Making of a Chef

DW's comment: So does that make it 300 yet???  Not quite but we're definitely on the approach!





peabee's picture

(post #62794, reply #6 of 20)

I think what I like about his shows, is all the pre-prep work that he does. He makes it looks so easy and organized. Because I like/have to do as much as possible in advance, his show/recipes work well for me. I have tried a few and they were easy to do, and the results were tasty!

shoechick's picture

(post #62794, reply #7 of 20)

I have three of his, all but the oil and vinegar ones I think.  I really like him.  Funny you also bought Feast...they were the last two I bought :)

When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

KarenP's picture

(post #62794, reply #9 of 20)

 You can't go wrong with his books.  Casual Entertaining and Casual Cooking both have great pantry items that you can build very nice meals from in reasonable amounts of time and are easy to do variations from.  He came from farm country and a farm family.  They grew their own produce, made the wine, the vinegar.  I think his books demonstrate those roots.  I have the flavored vinegar book, as well. It was just rereleased in combination with the flavored oils book.

Wolvie's picture

(post #62794, reply #10 of 20)

I have his Casual Cooking, and the Tra Vigne cookbook - love them both.

of course, I am addicted to his website - Napa Style. his cookbooks are on sale at Jessica's IIRC, I was just browsing that site yesterday.

Good luck!


I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. - Will Rogers