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A brutal winter can’t stop the die-hard grillmaster

By Doug Mosley

My goodness, has this ever been a brutal winter. I know everyone here takes pride in firing up their cookers in the types of weather that would make a mailman stay home, but this year has seemed to have been really extreme. Thus, your forgiven if perhaps once or twice this winter you’ve reasoned with yourself to just throw that pork butt in a crock pot rather than lose fingers to frostbite.

I will admit, however, that my new favorite part of winter now is watching the reports on the Weather Channel from my south Florida patio!

Nonetheless, I do want to tell you about a new book that completely embraces outdoor cooking in the winter months. Author Tom Heinzle heads the Austrian competition barbecue team Tom’s Grillwerkstatt and lives in the western part of Austria that is tucked between Germany and Switzerland. His new release, Winter Grilling ($29.95, Whitecap Books, 160 pp.) is written with the idea of “…hearty recipes tailored specifically to seasonal tastes…”. So don’t expect this to be a book about how to light your grill when you’re waist-deep in snow and its covered with a half-inch of ice; rather, this book suggests specific recipes and spice combinations that work well in the winter season, and then pairs them well with in-season sides featuring freshly available produce.

Among the 50-plus recipes in the book, Heinzle’s offerings include Wintry Spare Ribs that get some added punch from curry powders, Chicken with Hay which features a unique technique of stuffing the poultry cavity with hay, and Smoked Trout Filets with Smoked Mushrooms and Habaneros. He closes with a brief chapter on desserts.

It’s certainly a fun book, particularly if you’re looking for some new ideas as you wait out the last weeks of this year’s record-breaking winter. So ice down a 12-pack in the nearest snowbank and light the fires as you pick which recipe you’ll be trying from Winter Grilling.

This is a bit embarrassing. I could probably more readily give you directions to where Morocco is located in Epcot’s World Showcase than to point it out on an unlabeled world globe. But at least through my introduction to Morocco courtesy of Walt Disney World I do know that Morocco has outstanding food, particularly those dishes that benefit from cooking in a tagine. These two-piece earthenware cooking vessels are actually a type of slow cooker and were originally intended to be used over an open fire. In the hands of a talented cook, they produce incredible dishes.

Ruth Barnes, aka The Petite Gourmande, has a new book out full of recipes from her home country. Sharing Morocco: Exotic Flavors from My Kitchen to Yours ($29.95, Greenleaf, 298 pp.) is a richly illustrated book with full-color photos of practically every finished dish. Barnes has assembled a complete volume of everything Moroccan, from drinks, soups and salads to main dishes and sides and finishing appropriately with desserts. Just a sampling of options includes Moroccan-Style Short Ribs with Honey, Lamb and Chicken Kebabs with Vegetables and Sauces, Moroccan-Style Lamb Lollipops with Dried Fruit Couscous, Moroccan Lamb Burgers. To Barnes’ credit there is nothing required in the ingredients list that is so exotic that it couldn’t be found at most supermarkets.

After reading this book, I’m planning my stay-at-home getaway to Morocco. I just have to choose a few dishes to prepare from this book, cue up the movie “Casablanca” on my DVR and away I go!



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