One rainy day this winter, I treated myself to a morning at a café that not only has delicious food and a great atmosphere, but also has this wonderful wall of cookbooks. They are the proprietress’s collection, open to perusal over a steaming cup of coffee or pastry. This wall is like Christmas morning to me – full of so much lure and excitement I hardly know where to start.
I somehow managed to narrow it down to a few choices and settled into this perfect morning. At Home with Michael Chiarello may not be the first cookbook I opened, but it is certainly the one that fully absorbed me. You could say I’m a bit of a Top Chef junkie and thus was familiar with Chef Chiarello as a contestant on Masters Season 1. He was personable on the show and I liked him even more as I started thumbing through the pages of this book. His recipes are approachable, creative and playful. It was hard to put this book back on the shelf that day.
Luckily I have a husband that is a good listener, and took note when I made mention of this cookbook that already had the cogs of my brain turning with new ideas. Shortly thereafter, a copy of my own arrived on the doorstep. The first thing I made was the Crispy Sausage-Stuffed Olives – one of the recipes I had drooled over that rainy day. In fact, this whole cookbook makes me want to call in sick to work and just dive in – cooking all day and then inviting a big table full of friends over that night to enjoy. I’m thinking the Italian in Chef Chiarello would approve.