Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Fire + Wine Cookbook

Summer is here. The grills are out. It’s time to get those fires started, and of course, enjoy some wine. And to help cook that meat or fish or vegetables perfectly, and to pair with the right wines, open up the Fire + Wine cookbook, the Please The Palate pick of the week.

I have been cooking more than ever these last few months, as I know everyone has. As we first went into shelter-in-place, I re-familiarized with everything in my kitchen. I then turned to my grill out on my patio, which I had not touched in more than five years. I was able to remove it and ordered a new gas grill. I then ordered the Fire + Wine cookbook by Sean Martin (a pitmaster) and Mary Cressler (sommelier and wine writer). As I perused the book, I noticed that many of the recipes required smoking instead of grilling. I was concerned that I should have purchased a charcoal grill or smoker, instead of a gas grill, but it was all right. At the beginning of the book, Sean explains each type of grill and smoker and explains how a gas grill can be adapted.

I ordered a smoke box and a sampling of wood chips (applewood, cherry, mesquite and hickory), as well as a meat thermometer, and I was ready to go.

Fire + Wine offers 75 Smoke-Infused Recipes from the Grill with Perfect Wine Pairings. Sean and Mary are Portland-based. A husband and wife team, they focus on BBQ and grilling recipes with wine pairings that they share on their blog Vindulge. In addition to a combined two decades of experience in recipe development, entertaining, writing and professional cooking, they also own the award-winning wine country based catering company, Ember and Vine, that was created as a result of the popularity of the recipes on their blog. And now their recipes are in the Fire + Wine cookbook.

The Pacific Northwest serves as the inspiration behind the recipes in Fire + Wine. The book includes recipes for rubs and glazes that are inspired by Northwest flavors. And there are recipes with beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish and vegetables. There is something that will appeal to everyone!

So far, I have made four recipes from the book. I started with the Smoked Tomato Gazpacho. I smoked the tomatoes and onions for an hour with applewood chips which gave a subtle smoked touch to the gazpacho.

I smoked portobello mushrooms and made a chipotle aioli.

And I made the Maple Chipotle Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with a side of Grilled Asparagus. The recommended wine pairing was Riesling so I paired my salmon with the 2016 Kruger-Rumpf Münsterer Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe, an off-dry Riesling. The slight sweetness of the wine balanced the spice of the salmon and finished with beautiful bright acidity.


I made extra salmon and then made the Smoked Salmon Dip, a recipe on the Vindulge website. Instead of cream cheese, I used stracchino (an Italian soft cheese) and instead of creme fraiche, I used Greek yogurt. I also used fresh dill from my herb garden.

I have felt so accomplished after each recipe I have made and it inspires me to try more! Fire + Wine makes a great gift for anyone who likes to grill! The book is available on Amazon but if you want a signed copy from Sean and Mary, purchase the book from the Vindulge site.