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November 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Cast Your Votes Here

We're trying to select the cookbook of the month a little earlier to give hounds time to reserve them from their libraries. After careful consideration, I've decided to follow the suggestion of postponing the Zuni/Sunday Suppers cookbook selection until January 2007, when folks will have more time to cook.

November marks the beginning of the busy holiday season for many of us, and since there's been so much enthusiasm for Rick Bayless' cookbooks, I thought he would be a good choice for us. This is food to wake up the palate after a heavy dinner of Thanksgiving turkey. Rick Bayless has done a wonderful job of translating Mexican recipes for the American kitchen, and in some of his cookbooks, he gives traditional as well as contemporary renderings of Mexican recipes.

I'm going to list his first three books as possible choices. Please select the ONE you would most like to cook from next month. I have omitted the most recent book since some folks thought it was a bit weaker than his previous work-- also, libraries and hounds are more likely to own the older volumes.

Of course, you should feel free to choose any of his cookbooks to cook from, but we'd like to focus the discussion on one cookbook. So, hounds, which will it be?

-- AUTHENTIC MEXICAN by Rick Bayless
-- MEXICO, ONE PLATE AT A TIME by Rick Bayless

Please post your votes on this thread. Voting will be closed on midnight, Thursday, October 12th. I'll post the selection on Friday, October 13th.

Thanks for participating and happy cooking!

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  1. I have been cooking from his Salsas That Cook book for awhile now and love it. I have been wanting to buy another one of his so I am game for any of them as I have no opinion of the ones chosen. Sorry for not being more definitive.....

    1. Love them all, so would be happy with any. But if I had to pick, I'd say "Mexican Kitchen" - so many good recipes, but especially because of that chapter on "Essential" sauces. It has about 15 different sauces, salsas, seasoning pastes, etc. At the end of each one, he suggests a variety of recipes to use that particular seasoning sauce in. So you can make a batch, and use it throughout the month in different recipes. For example, one of my favorites is the "Sweet-and-Smoky Chipotle Seasoning Salsa". It makes about one and a half cups and for most recipes you only use a tablespoon or two (it's piloncillo (or brown sugar), chipotles, and garlic). Recipes in the book using this include spicy clams or mussels, spicy cheese spread, black bean-masa cakes, chipotle chicken, and chipotle shrimp (this is fantastic).

      1. Before you get too far into this, have you considered a cookie cookbook for this time of the year?

        3 Replies
        1. re: yayadave

          seems like December is the time for a cookie book - cant see two months of cookie baking!

          anyway, on Bayless Id vote for one of the first two since those are the ones I have.

          1. re: yayadave

            Hmmm, don't know if I'm alone in this but I'd really rather keep this on cookbooks as opposed to baking books. Maybe that could be a separate of-the-month? I'm honestly just not much of a baker or sweets-person so maybe I'm being selfish...

            1. re: mellycooks

              I just thought it was timely. But since I'm not contributing to the activity, just lurking, maybe I should just butt out.

              But, getting the book chosen early seems a good idea.

          2. I've never cooked with Bayless and all three are available from the library. I have no opinion and am no use for this vote. But, I am excited to delve into one of the Bayless books and Mexican cooking in general.... ;-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: beetlebug

              I'm with Beetlebug, excited to try one of the Bayless books but no opinion on which one.

              Thanks to Redwood for all of your work on this I love following the posts but I'm feeling guilty for only having done one braise so far!

              1. re: llinza

                I'm with beetlebug and liinza--all are available at my local library. I have no experience (but certainly some interest!) in cooking from his books, so can't make a rec but am eagerly awaiting the decision.

            2. Tough choice, but I would have to toss my vote to Mexico One Plate at a Time. I like all his books, but I found this one to be simple with very distinct tastes. I really liked the section on Taquieria tacos. as usual he does a great job with explanations, suggestions and make ahead information. I also appreciated the "tips for American cooks."

              1. OPPAT for me (cause that's the one I have, and I have to cook more out of it before I get Authentic Mexican. I already have Diana kennedy for Authentic : ))

                I don't see any problem in people posting on the same threads for ALL his books tho . . . do you?

                I think he's a great choice for the transition to winter - I like to cook mole when it's getting chilly! The green pumpkin seed mole in OPAAT is YUM.

                1. I vote for One Plate at a Time.
                  And I think we should stick to one book. Otherwise everyone would have to get 2 or 3 to be able to cook as a group, which I think is The Point. We haven't had a whole lotta overlap yet on the Molly Stevens braising book, so I'd think 2 or 3 books would overlap even less.

                  I wouldn't have voted for Bayless probably had there been a choice oh, as between him and Diana Kennedy. But I'll go w/ the flow, and I'll be cooking! (I had 3 braises under my belt by day 8 of this month!) I have OPAAT out of the library and I must say it's more appealing than Mexican Kitchen, and has received some critical acclaim for authentic and very tasty Mexican.
                  Redwood, you're doing a great job, and mucho thanks. (Although I don't see you've been braising . . . :-)

                  Is there a place -- perhaps on this thread?-- where we can just generally toss out ideas of books for future months? That way we can feel that our suggestions are hanging out there for future cookbook of the month, and we can also discuss what type of cooking for which month (e.g., general baking versus cookies for December, etc). Just a thought. And I look forward to fellow hounds' company in the kitchen!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: NYchowcook

                    I'd say the best place to suggest ideas for cookbooks for future months would be in the general discussion thread here
                    or in the feedback thread that I try to post at the end of the month. I try to keep up with all the threads, but those would be the most obvious places.

                    Later on, I'll be asking for suggestions for December. Feel free to suggest!

                    The only thing I've managed to braise so far is the bistecas rancheros (see my reply in the beef recipe thread). I have lots of recipes earmarked but family obligations have been intervening. Also, this organizing is taking a bit more time than I thought-- a bummer! since I'd love to be cooking more-- but it's fun for me to read others' posts. At least I get to cook vicariously through them.

                    1. re: redwood2bay

                      Just wanted to chime in and say you are doing a fantastic job organizing. It's too bad we can't share the food with each other, so people who can't cook at least get to eat!

                  2. I have Authentic Mexican and Mexican Kitchen, so either would be fine by me. If I had to choose I'd say Authentic Mexican.

                    1. I have all the Bayless books, and I'd say that Mexican Kitchen is by far my favorite. They're all good but MK seems to me to strike the best balance between authentic and accessible, and again, the recipes are fantastic. I use this more than any other Mexican cookbook in my library, including Diana Kennedy, whose cookbooks, while fabulous, can be a bit fussy for the average home cook.

                      1. I vote for Mexican Kitchen since I've owned it for many years and haven't cooked a whole lot from it. Reading others' reports will surely inspire me, and I'll try to make a couple of recipes even though I will be pretty busy that month.

                        Can't believe we're already voting for November's book; better get cracking on October's braising!! << feeling behind and a little guilty >>

                        1. I have one of his. Mexico..one plate at a time. That is my choice. I'd like to continue with the braising one thru November as I haven't done one yet. I'd better get crackin!

                          1. The only one I have is Authenic Mexican and--I've already checked--my library doesn't have either of the other two. That makes AM my choice by default.

                            1. Mexican Kitchen gets my vote. I've cooked a few recipes from this book (thru a culinary course) and they've become favs of mine. Great variety of books so far. Thanks again for all your work - please, if you need help let us know, and delegate. Love this project!

                              1. I have never cooked Mexican Food and it is not my favourite cuisine, I do like it, but probably not enough to buy the cookbooks. So, my vote goes to whatever might be in the Library or remaindered. I am not sure that I will cook in November. We shall see what I can find, without spending too much. I await the choice, with one caveat, there should be some easier recipes for Mexican novices, such as I.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: faijay

                                  i like mexican, but i have not ventured to far into cooking it. i might not delve to far into the cook along this month...maybe look for some recipes online, but i don't know if i would buy the book...

                                  after the book has been chosen, could ppl post links to some of the recipes?

                                  i have loved the braising by the way! i've only done two recipes so far as they are usually something i would want to make on the weekend.
                                  this has been fun though---and i'm looking forward to 3 more weekends of braises!

                                2. I am a little late to this thread but I love this idea and Mexican food. I really don't care which book you pick as I do not have any Mexican cookbooks in my collection in am happy to add whichever you choose. I can not wait to start cooking. Happy voting.

                                  1. Mexico, One Plate at a Time.

                                    1. First choice: One Plate at a Time
                                      2nd: Mexican Kitchen

                                      1. Voting for Rick Bayless' Mexico One Plate At A Time — it was the only available copy at my library.

                                        1. I vote Mexican Kitchen...(I know, I know I havn't done any braising, but in my defence it was about 80 degrees here in Los Angeles yesterday, and it just doesn't feel right) I will definately be cooking out of one of these!!

                                          1. I just discovered Rick Bayless' cookbooks, and I just wanted to add that I am thrilled that we'll be cooking from one of the books this month. I have no preference on which one. Thanks for organizing!

                                            1. I say Mexican Kitchen, since I have it.

                                              How does this work?

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: marieber

                                                To give you an idea, this is how we're doing it this month. The October book is "All About Braising".


                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                  Thanks. I hope I can get a copy of the book from the library so I can play.

                                              2. Well, by a slim margin, it looks like Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless is the cookbook of the month for November 2006. Thanks for voting!

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: redwood2bay

                                                  I'll be cooking with Bayless in November!

                                                  Redwood, you're doing a great job and I'm totally loving this project! It's a nice discipline to be oriented toward one particular cookbook, and a pleasure to get the feel of one cookbook author's techniques -- I've come to more fully appreciate Marcella, and it's been a very informative introduction to Molly's techniques -- both the dishes I've made and reading (and earmarking!) dishes others have made.

                                                  I want to suggest that we toss around ideas for future months. (In this thread or elsewhere?) For example, if we're thinking about baking in December, I would put forward Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, Rose Beranbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible or Cake Bible, Baking at Home by the CIA, or perhaps a Maita Heater cookie or cake book. I'm not suggesting we jump ahead and pick ahead of time, but rather allow folks time to offer up a range of choices well before voting.

                                                  For future months, I'd love to try Indian, Asian and Southern. (And at some point we gotta do Zuni or Suzanne Goin!) For Southern, I'm thinking Frank Stitt's Southern Table or Edna Lewis' The Gift of Southern Cooking.

                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                    Thanks for the suggestions on future cookbooks, NYchowcook. Duly noted! That's a great range of cookbooks to start the discussion for December.

                                                  2. re: redwood2bay

                                                    Thanks, redwood2bay! I've now requested it from my library. Thanks for all your work in organizing!

                                                    1. re: redwood2bay

                                                      HURRAH!! I've been wanting to make his Pozole with Pigs Feet for awhile... this is the PERFECT excuse!! :)