Around The Fire

9781607747529With an unusual chill in the air for Florida in the month of April, I have eagerly been anticipating the start of barbecue season. Anxiously waiting to put my newly improved barbecue skills to test—or at least hang around a nice, warm fire to escape the chill in the air.

I found Around the Fire to be one of the more sophisticated grilling books I have read thus far despite the straightforward and family oriented recipes. The recipes in Around the Fire are composed of various cuisines from places authors Greg and Gabrielle Denton have visited which produces different flavor profiles for each dish, but the same essence of what a good barbecue is.

Expert grilling skills are not required for recreating the recipes in your own backyard, or kitchen for that matter, however, I would suggest to anyone who picks up this book to at least have basic knowledge of grilling techniques, equipment, and supplies because it will make following along with the recipes a lot easier on yourself and more edible for your family and friends. The book briefly touches on grilling techniques and equipment in the beginning, but I found it to be extremely helpful with prepping and cooking when I was confident with my knowledge of grilling.

Because you are grilling there will be some prep time and patience involved with the cooking process, but the best thing about this book is that the recipes can be recreated on an old-fashioned grill outside, or in the kitchen with a stovetop grill; the only difference is you will not get that smoke flavor that tends to run through barbecue food.

I loved the diversity of Around the Fire when it came to the recipes because it covered everything from starter courses to desserts and cocktails. The only thing I wish I could change about the book is the cocktails section. I wish there were more non-alcoholic and alcoholic drink recipes available because at the end of the day it is a barbecue which tends to bring different age groups together, and I think the drink recipes could have reflected that more.


Koreatown by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard

9780804186131Koreatown is unlike any other Asian cookbook because it is composed of experiences of both the authors and those who frequently indulge in Korean food. Chef Deuki and Matt wanted to give the Korean food enthusiasts and the home cooks a look inside the Korean culture, what exactly makes Korean food so darn addictive, and how to prepare authentic Korean dishes at home.

Koreatown has by far been my favorite cookbook to read because not only does it effectively teach you how to make Korean dishes at home, but it shines a light on Korean culture. I loved reading the headnotes because I got to understand the history and the origins of the recipe—like bedtime stories, but for the appetite instead of sleep. Although informative, the headnotes were really personal which made it easier for me to connect to cuisine and culture even more, and made it easier for me to tackle the dishes in my kitchen even though I had to chase down a few ingredients unbeknownst to me.

Some of the recipes were easier to prepare than others due to lengthy lists of ingredients, however, when I sat down to try some of the recipes I made, I truly understood the necessity for the ingredients and how the complemented each other. Toasted rice ice cream is a must to make first because it is so simple to make, and no eggs and heat are required. It’s really quick and a new favorite treat of mine; and even if you don’t want to recreate the recipes from this book at home, the pictures alone are worth your time.