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Michael Symon's Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen

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  • "Michael uses pork as his 'ace in the hole,' a card he plays often and with tremendous results," writes another celebrity chef and friend, Food Network's Bobby Flay, in the introduction to "Live to Cook."

    "Live to Cook" reflects that gastronomic largesse. The book includes a recipe for his signature dish, Beef Cheek Pierogies With Wild Mushrooms and Horseradish, as well as a procession of paeans to pork. The index is testimony to the power of the pig, with recipes and variations reflecting more than a dozen uses for pork -- dishes as varied as homemade sausages, and home-cured pancetta or Lola Bacon, Pappardelle With Pig's-Head Ragu, Braised Pork Belly With Soft Polenta and Seared Mushrooms.

  • Besides regular performances in the kitchens of his area restaurants, Michael Symon will make several appearances in the weeks to come. Here's a list of cooking and product demonstrations, as well as signings for his book "Live to Cook":

    My number came up at the library – it was my turn to read Michael Symon’s cookbook, Live to Cook. Joy! I didn’t even wait to get home to start. While Andy browsed the videos, I flipped through and read some comments and drooled over the recipes. I have decided that this is a cookbook I need for my own library.

    Cooking at home with Liz and Michael Symon: Part 1
    Cooking at home with Liz and Michael Symon: Part 1 Cleveland’s iron chef Michael Symon and his wife, Liz, cook a few recipes from his new cookbook, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook.

  • Cooking at home with Liz and Michael Symon: Part 2
    Cooking at home with Liz and Michael Symon: Part 2 Cleveland’s iron chef Michael Symon and his wife, Liz, cook a few recipes from his new cookbook, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook.

    In case you didn't know that Michael Symon, author of Michael Symon's Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen () appears on Iron Chef America, it says it right there on the front cover byline: "Michael Symon of Iron Chef America." For some people out there (and it's cool if you're one of them — without that show, I might never have fallen in love with Jeffrey Steingarten) this is the reason they'll pick up the cookbook. There's the tie-in angle, the familiar face. Michael Symon is so cool, the book promises. He's that guy from TV! He has tattoos! He wants to rock your kitchen!

From Michael Symon's "Live To Cook" cookbook

The wonderful thing is that Symon makes good on his promise to "open up a new way" of thinking about food — though not, it is worth noting, anything that will be terribly new for the seasoned home cook. Live to Cook is a book geared for beginners, with large, friendly fonts and helpful boxes explaining things like the difference between caramelizing and sweating, or the importance of using high-quality stocks. The recipes, too, are simple (though this can be credited just as easily to Symon's "if it takes more than two pans, I won't make it" philosophy), but without the dumbed-down tone that can easily sour a text aimed at the inexperienced. He urges his readers to cure their own lamb bresaola, to experiment with hot vinaigrettes, to confit pig ears for fourteen hours in a crock-pot. The technique may be entry-level, but the palate assuredly is not.