“Fire In My Belly” Cookbook Review

Fire In My Belly: Real Cooking by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim 

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Kevin Gillespie was raised in Locust Grove, Georgia and is executive chef at Woodfire Grill in Atlanta. You may remember him from his appearing on the sixth season of Top Chef. Although he didn’t win the title of Top Chef, he did win the much-coveted ‘Fan Favourite’ distinction.

Upon receiving this cookbook, one of the very first things that caught my eye was the chapter entitled, “Foods You Thought You Hated.” While I’m sure the salmon, okra or Brussels sprouts recipes might win me over…getting me to embrace haggis may take a little more time.

In any case, I couldn’t wait to try out some of the recipes in the book. The first that I tried, was the Cast-Iron Skillet Chicken on pages 89-91.  I really enjoyed the flavor of this dish, however my cooking time was a bit longer than his. When I checked mine at the suggested cooking time, it was still bloody – not something you want to see with poultry. But that is really no big deal – cooking times with certain meats are always going to vary. I still thought it was a delicious dish, and would make it again.

I think one of my favorite adaptations from this book, is his Baked Hot Wings on page 267. I say adaptation, because I tend to not stick to recipes word for word, measurement by measurement or ingredient by ingredient.  I changed the cooking method from the original, and made a couple slight alterations to the sauce and loved the results. And while I am a ridiculous wimp when it comes to spicy foods, these wings were flavorful and hot, but didn’t sear off my taste buds. I like my taste buds – and my whole family loved these wings.

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Now some of you might be aghast that I altered his recipe, but I can assure you, that I don’t think he would be offended. Why? Well, this is something he has to say about it:

In writing the recipes, my goal was…to encourage you to really start cooking instead of just following a recipe…These recipes – and the whole cookbook, for that matter – are a direct result of my dreaming up delicious things that I couldn’t help but share with my family and friends, and now with you. That’s what drives me to cook. That’s the fire in my belly. ~

Kevin Gillespie

In addition to great recipes, there is a chapter on ingredients, techniques and equipment. There are also some fantastic tips – like grating frozen butter into biscuit dough instead of tediously cutting in the cold butter!

All in all, I greatly enjoy this cookbook and look forward to trying out more creations.

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Fire In My Belly: Real Cooking by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim from Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

$40 (356p) ISBN 978-1-4494-1143-5

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