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April 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions Needed

Voting for April is coming up quick! I had a tough time in March deciding on a cookbook that we could all find inspiration from until I decided upon a website, and then it was easy from there. So, here I am in need of suggestions for April! I think my brain is ready for warm weather, hence the troubles!

I'm thinking climates are still going to be up and down in April, so I think it still needs to be a somewhat versatile cookbook, maybe a good all-around cookbook. I really want to do a farmer's market type cookbook (suggestions are welcome for this too), but want to leave that until warmer months.

Classics are always good, as are readily available newer cookbooks. Please post your suggestions in this thread!


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  1. I have been loving Claudia Roden's "Arabesque" lately.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Rick_V

      I would love to do a Claudia Roden or Paula Wolfert book. I've been very interested in the cooking of the midE/mediterranean region.

      1. re: Smokey

        Wolfert's Slow Mediterranean Kitchen is great....

        1. re: Smokey

          Do you think Mediterranean would be good in April (for most people) or do you think it would be better in a warmer month? (I don't know that much about Med. cooking, so I honestly don't know.)

          1. re: Katie Nell

            I've cooked from both Arabesque and Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. Either would be fine in April in my opinion and I'd vote for either!

            1. re: Katie Nell

              Wolfert's is "Slow" Med. and contains lots of long-baked, simmered and braised dishes. Perfect for a cold month.

              I'd go for any books by Wolfert or Roden. They are two of my very fave cookbook authors.

              1. re: oakjoan

                See, I'm thinking the 'slow food' one isn't a good rec, but some of the other books (by either) might be ok. Are all of Wolfert's books 'slow food' books?

                1. re: oakjoan

                  My vote would be two books suggested that I own and have yet to explore - Slow Med, or Sunday Suppers.

          2. Along the lines of "all-around cookbook", what about the Joy of Cooking? Most people probably already have this in their collection. Or what about a James Beard book like American Cookery...

            1. Classics, all-around, versatile, I'm thinking:
              Joy of Cooking
              Bittmans How to Cook Everything

              1. I'm crazy about "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Suzanne Goin. It would take a long time to describe it, but if you go to www.feastivals.com/cooksch.php and hit "Cookbook Review," you will see my description of the book. I've been cooking from it for a while, and absolutely everything has been a winner.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ChefJune

                  We had a long thread a while ago about her Short Ribs with horseradish cream. Oooohhheeeee was that ever great.

                2. I just love "Screamingly Good Food" by Karen Barnaby - A Canadian Chef. It is arranged by seasons with special feasts for special days- wonderful recipes!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: flipkeat

                    It's hard to imagine have a month long 'cook along' that was from a book that is arranged by season and holiday. Maybe my imagination is just limited...

                  2. "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Suzanne Goin

                    also interested in Arabesque, but I don't have it yet...
                    and wouldn't mind a Bittman HTCE deconstruction, to find hidden treasures in this staple

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: pitu

                      Since we did Zuni cafe recently, I'm more inclinded to go with a cook book from another region of the U.S. or Country we haven't explored yet. Personally, I think Julia's bible Mastering the Art of French Cooking should be a natural for this group! :)


                      1. re: Dommy

                        Oh yes, I meant to mention that... we discussed a Julia cookbook, and some thought it would be more appropriate in the Fall... I'm not super familiar with her cookbooks, so I will let others decide what is most appropriate.

                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          I would agree with Katie and go against Dommy! [sweetie, I'm sorry] The recipes in MTAOFC are a joy to work with and teach so much but having just thumbed through it, most of the recipes might work better in the fall. My suggestions are Nigella Bites; wonderful little dishes which seem to be full of flavor. I would love to try Salt and Pepper Squid which with a side salad, would make a perfect springtime meal.

                          My other suggestion would be Jacques Pepin: Fast Food, My Way. while not his best book, it would give people who have been spending 10 hours in the kitchen on the cookbook of the month series a small break. Plus some of the recipes can be found online on the show's site.

                          Take Care.

                          - P.

                          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                            I like Nigella Bites too, though it's not my favorite of her cookbooks. Still the kale, white beans and chorizo recipe is definitely a keeper.

                            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                              I'll vote for Nigella Bites too since I have her books, but have only made a handful of recipes from them (all of which I've enjoyed, I should add).

                          2. re: Dommy

                            I'm with Dommy -- I think it would be fun to do a french cookbook. I'm a big fan of Julia Child, but would also throw out there as ideas "Simple French Food" by Richard Olney or "French Provincial Cooking" by Elizabeth David.

                            I've also heard great things about "The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook" by Paula Wolfert.

                            I would also be up for Claudia Roden's Arabesque. It sounds fabulous! Here's a link to the amazon.com review:


                            1. re: DanaB

                              "Simple French Food" by Richard Olney
                              I'm into that. Julia, not so much.

                              1. re: DanaB

                                How about splitting the difference and doing Wolfert AND French, namely her recently updated and re-released classic _The Cooking of Southwest France_?

                                A broader selection of recipes than Slow Mediterranean Kitchen (which is one of my favorites... but I can really only cook "slow" once a week or so), and it fulfills the request for French.

                                1. re: DanaB

                                  Tying the 2 threads - French and Wolfert - her book The Cooking of Southwest France is a treasure. Great recipes for chicken wing ragout, bbq spare ribs (with a sweet and sour onion and raisin relish), chicken liver, apples and watercress salad, cabbage and dumpling soup, chicken with sour grape sauce (the first place I ever saw the word "verjus") and garlic cloves.

                                  Also several kidney, tripe, pig's feet recipes as well as lamb chops with port wine and tarragon.

                                  Desserts include pear cake, a croustade filled with apples and prunes in Armagnac; a walnut cake, a very complicated fruit terrine with many different sauces and creams, and my favorite ice cream - Glace aux Pruneau a l'Armagnac - prune and armagnac ice cream.

                                  There's also one of the most complicated recipes I've ever seen - Molded Mint Parfait Stuffed with Chocolate Mousse. I wish somebody would make it and report back....somebody with loads of time on their hands.

                                  All this said, I wouldn't mind an Elizabeth David cookbook - French Prov or Medit. and also love Roden.

                                  How I do babble on!

                                  Also duck breasts with mushroom timbales and a ragout of duck with prunes and onions.

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    Lots of good suggestions on this thread so far, but for next month, I'm feeling "The Cooking of Southwest France" by Wolfert. Seems like a nice transition from winter to spring cooking. Does anyone know if the recently re-released version is much different than the original edition?

                                    Not that we need anymore suggestions to make it harder on Katie, but I really like Patricia Wells for Provencal cuisine. The Provence Cookbook comes to mind...

                                    And to tie in both Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, what about "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home"? It has good reviews on Amazon:

                                2. re: Dommy

                                  I'm with Dommy!

                                  I would love Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

                              2. Frank Stitt's Southern Table?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: EJC

                                  Oh yes, yes, yes. Love Southern Table

                                2. How about using Chow recipes on this site? Are there enough? There are a lot of good ones that have caught my eye.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser

                                    How about using recipes submitted by all of us? Lots of them have caught my eye!

                                    1. re: morebubbles

                                      That's a great idea! There are a lot that I've "been meaning to get to"! What does everyone think of that as a potential idea? Might be more difficult to organize. Not everyone has recipes that are their own recipes too. And I wouldn't want anyone to get their feelings hurt if someone didn't like their recipe....

                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                        that is a fantastic idea! the home cooking board is an incredible resource, and it would be a fun way for all of us to tap into it more.

                                        a way to organize it might be to have everybody submit their top 2-3 tried and true CH recipes, and 2-3 meaning to try recipes; compile them all and organize into categories.

                                        i agree that it might be more work for our intrepid organizer, but i'm sure you could recruit folks to help out.

                                  2. I love the idea of a chowhound recipe month, but since March was a website maybe we want to go back to a book for April? (Especially since later in the summer might be better for such classics as Sir Gawain's fruit cake or galleygirl's pear tart). I like the ease of a website, but in the end I really prefer cooking out of a book.

                                    I'd kind of love to do a celebrity chef month for fun, since they're always getting bashed. Not Sandra Lee (GOD FORBID) but maybe Giada's cookbook, or Nigella Lawson's How to Eat, which is one of my favorites.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                      I love Nigella - one of her books would be fantastic!

                                    2. I think there's plenty of room on the rest of the board for working on recipes already posted here...
                                      The cookbook theme is special and I hope we don't lose that. Or do hated celeb authors - JEEEEEZ!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pitu

                                        Alright, alright, no need for crankiness! ;-) The more I thought about this today, the more I think we should stick with a cookbook for the month of April. I don't want to lose what the cookbook of the month is all about either. So, keep the ideas coming Hounds!

                                      2. Frank Stitt's Southern Table is a glorious cookbook, with lots of good spring veggie recipes!

                                        1. ..we're brainstorming, right? So, books, French cooking...These are good books that I already have but have not had a chance to work from:
                                          1. Under the Sun - Caroline Conran's French Country Cooking (healthy southern French cooking), everything from soups to poulty to desserts (includes Basque Green Peppers w/Chorizo, Tuna Steaks w/Roasted Tomato & Onion from Provence, Navy Bean & Sausage Casserole from Gascony, Tender Walnut Tart from Lot. Simple food, fresh ingredients.
                                          2. The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking, from America's foremost French Chefs (Jacques Pepin, Alain Sailhac, Andre Soltner and Jacques Torres). Seasonal dinner menus using fresh, healthy, flavorful ingredients. Each menu consist of 1st course, main course & dessert. Additionally there are menus for entertaining (backyard bbq, cocktail party etc). Techniques for dishes that are healthy & easy.

                                          1. Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating might be a cool option. Lots of good recipes (though perhaps a bit too basic?) and plenty of spectacular information about food and products.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ccbweb

                                              I've got a copy of that book, and feel as though it's more information on food vs. recipes. I would be surprised if there were enough to cook from in the Zingerman's guide.

                                            2. My suggestions:

                                              Patricia Wells - Bistro Cooking
                                              Claudia Roden - The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
                                              Madhur Jaffrey - World Vegetarian

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: TheGloaming

                                                I like the idea of a vegetarian book, or something quick and light.

                                              2. There seems to be a leaning towards a French book and to get away from the west coast. I'd like to bring up Frank Stitt's Southern Table. Yes he is a southerner, the real deal. But! A big but, he did his training in France. Many many of his dishes use classical French preparations. I was maing his Highland Baked Grits last weekend and i know you are scratching your heads on how that is going to get French. Well the sauce was a classic beurre blanc. His book is also very seasonal and relies on the best produce etc. available then and in the south many of the new crops are coming along so about April would ideal to explore some of his food.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Candy

                                                  Hey Candy, I know what you are saying about the French influence in Stitt's book. I own the book and def. want to explore it further w/ the group, but I keep thinking that it would be best to wait til corn, tomatoes, summer fruit are in full swing. What do you think?

                                                2. Either time but some of the foods are available for such a short time in the spring which comes early and leaves fast. Have you tried the sweet potato tart with cocoanut crust and rum creme anglaise? I had it Sunday and it was amazing. It was light enough to float. My DH declared it the best he has ever eaten. But I will agree it can wait a month or so it is a very seasonal book.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                    No, I haven't tried that tart but it sounds amazing! I'll have to take a look at it. If I don't make it soon, then it sounds like the perfect pumpkin pie substitute for Thanksgiving since I don't really like PP!

                                                    I would love Stitt's book for July or August. I always associate the South w/ being hot and humid, and I won't even break a sweat in coastal CA til then. Plus tomatoes and corn will be all over the place! I know the world and this project don't revolve around us Californians, even if we sometimes think they do. :-)