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Dec. 2008 - Jan. 2009 Cookbook of the Month: Sunday Suppers at Lucques [May 2007 COTM revisited]

Welcome to the general discussion thread for the May 2007 cookbook of the month, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin. Use this thread to make general comments about this cookbook or to discuss the whole cookbook-of-the-month idea.

You may wish to bookmark this thread, as it contains links to all the other threads on this cookbook.

Here's the thread for recipe planning, links, and previous picks and pans: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397078

Here are the links for full length recipe reviews. Please select the appropriate one.

For Spring menu items: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397077

For Summer menu items: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397075

For Fall menu items: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397074

For Winter menu items: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397072

Happy Cooking!

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  1. Ooh, boy, I agonized over how to organize this month's threads... I hope this ends up making sense! I just thought it would be really fun if someone did an entire menu to be able to post it in one thread. Looking forward to the reviews!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Katie Nell

      This is a VERY good idea. I put my entire Arabesque menu last month on one of the threads and was worried it'd be confusing...not enough to actually put the posts in their correct threads, though.

      But this should be easy, eh? It's all SUPPERS, no? ;+)

    2. Thank you so much for organizing this!

      1. This is just perfect. I have had the book quite a while and not cooked from it, so this is good motivation. A friend is having cancer surgery in late May, so that is a wonderful opportunity to cook a dinner before that happens. I will go to the farmers market and check out what is local right now. There will not be much, since it feels like winter ended last week, here in Toronto.

        1. I must be odd, but I have taken the book out of the library twice and returned it with out making anything from it. There were a couple of things that interested me but nothing that is in season or readily available.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            I can see there being something about the book that can be off putting for anyone not living in Los Angeles.

            I bought it for my friend and she's made a few things, but isn't terribly excited about it.

            I, on the other hand, recognize my local farmers' market in the photos, and all the seasons for the produce are spot on for me, and am absolutely thrilled by it.

            1. re: Pei

              I'm not in LA, and I've found it quite inspiring - though alot of her desserts seem focused on custardy dishes, which don't appeal to me. My only gripe - albeit small - is that it's not the kind of cookbook that, assuming you have all the ingredients at hand, you can just whip up most of the recipes on a week night. But, I've gotten raves from guests (and the most important critic, my husband) on all the dishes I've prepared from the book.

              1. re: MMRuth

                I agree - after just the two salads, here in Boston I'm looking forward to getting deeper into the book.

                I do agree on some of the recipes not being do-able for weekdays. I was all set to make the bass with black rice and farro this week for dinner until I read through the recipe for cooking the rice and farro alone. Definitely a weekend meal. So now I have a nice piece of bass to cook up. However, it will be a quick dish, drizzled with leftover Green Goddess 'sauce'.

                1. re: Rubee

                  Hey, Rubee... have you been eating that green goddess on rubber tires too?!? ;-)

                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    hmmmmm...now that you mention it... ; )

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      Well, it's better than eating the tires without any dressing at all!

            2. I've begun to read through the recipes in this book and am struck by the fact that there are no serving amounts listed. Of course, reading through the recipe can give you an idea about how many the finished dish will feed....but still, this is the first cookbook I've seen without number of servings. It looks like I'll be halving most of the recipes anyway since we're only two peeps here.

              12 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                She says somewhere in the book that all the recipes are for six people. I usually just halve them as well, since we are usually just two peeps as well!

                Some of the desserts serve more, of course. I have some beets in the fridge and am going to make them with her horseradish creme fraiche sauce. It is so good. Do note that a lot of the recipes suggest seasoning the protein overnight, or for four hours ahead of time in the case of fish. It took me a while to get myself organized enough to plan ahead for some of her recipes. The beef nicoise stew is perfect for this weather, and fabulous.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Yes, MM, I did think that 6 was the number of servings.... I'm usually not that organized to get the next day's meal ready the night before, but that's not an impossible thing to do. The more involved dishes will be made on the week-ends, I think.

                  I'm going to start with the Fall - it's Autumn, dang it - recipes first then move to the Winter collection. I like doing things in order. This is going to be a very fancy month of eating, I think, even though she has some simple Staff dishes in there. Looking forward to this.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Zuni and Lucques have really helped me in my cooking organizational skills. As for serving sizes, I always think of Lucques as "company food" because I can make the full servings, have another couple over for dinner, and also have leftovers. Halving the recipes also works well, especially when one is feeling anti social. Lastly, there are some items that are so good, you make the full serving even though there is only 2 of you. Things like the parsnip/potato puree and the aforementioned beet salad with horseradish creme fraiche.

                    A warning about Lucques though, regarding the seasonal menus. They are in LA and most of their seasonal items don't correspond with ours. Also, Goins tends to use a million pots. I always try and streamline a bit more and if I've made it, I've posted the shortcuts.

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      Ah - many thanks for your warning BB. I remember reading about the difference in seasons in the previous COTM threads for this book. I too like to streamline procedures. I'll be sure to read all your reports... they've been so helpful in the past!

                      1. re: Gio

                        I don't know if this confused anybody else but me....however, the main threads for Zuni and Lucques start out with the original dates...I didn't see the second date for a moment. Obviously, since I knew about which books were chosen, I figured it out. I was thinking that others who hadn't participated in the earlier COTMs or who were new to Chowhound might skip over them thinking they were from 2007.

                        1. re: oakjoan

                          Hmm - do you think it would be better the other way around?

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I don't know. I just know when I first saw it I was confused and thought it was a typo. What about leaving out the original date in the title all together? Why does it need to be there? Or perhaps the word "revisiting" should be there instead. Dec/Jan 2008/09 COTM - revisiting Sunday Suppers at Lucques? Or Sunday Suppers at Lucquest Revisited.

                            I'm probably just worried over nothing. Perhaps you should wait a few days to see if anybody else is confused. I'm just thinking of those who didn't participate in the voting and come across this for the first time....blatherblatherblather.

                            In any case, I'm very excited to cook more from these two books. I've got both out of the library.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              I think the way the dates are currently listed could be confusing to a person who hasn't been participating in the COTM all along. It's just a little awkward. I think listing them as "revisited" as vs. the original month as the lead off, would be more clear.

                              Meanwhile, I am looking forward to January, when I'll really be able to cook! I love both of these books, and have Lucques out from the library already. I have final exams between now and Dec. 18th and then am going home for the holidays, so probably won't be able to contribute much before January, but I'm going to try to make the Beef Nicoise Stew referenced by MMRuth this weekend. A grad student has to eat, after all, finals or no finals!

                              1. re: DanaB

                                OK - how about it now? And maybe I should add an explanatory note to the thread, for posterity?

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Much better in terms of the title of the thread!

                                  If they will let you edit the original message to add a P.S. or a bracketed note at the top, that would be even better, but as-is, I think it's pretty good!

                                  1. re: DanaB

                                    Thanks - I'll get the other one done too.

                                    One quick comment for folks - I think that to make these older threads as useful as possible, please try to do the following:

                                    1. If making a recipe that someone has reported on in the thread, please post your report as a reply to the first person to post about it.

                                    2. If posting about a recipe that no one has reported about before, please try to reply to the OP - i.e., Katie Nell in this case. This way I think we'll end up with less threading where it kind of becomes difficult to tell who is responding to what.


                          2. re: oakjoan

                            I wasn't confused about the dates. After following the voting etc,. I knew that we were picking up from last year. It's really a good thing that we have the reports from then to guide us about what to look for when we plan our menus this time around. When we begin to report, those who are cooking along will see that we are updating and going forward.

                            In another vein, tonight I made a root vegetable soup from Flexitarian Table which was COTM a few months ago.... in many cases folks are reverting to past COTMs and reporting in the original threads. In that way all gets brought forward to entice others to join in the fun.....

                2. I was just flipping through the book last night, planning what new recipes to try, and I was reminded of past favorites and some pics -

                  Bass with farro, black rice, and tangerine, p. 59
                  Green Goddess Salad, p. 126
                  Romesco sauce, p 44
                  Heirloom tomato salad with burrata and torn croutons, p. 135
                  Grilled pork burgers with chorizo and apple wood-smoked bacon, p. 147
                  Grossi's potatoes, p. 261
                  Pastel vasco with blackberries, p. 217
                  Onion, cantal, and bacon tart, p. 297
                  Chicken paillards with capers and rosemary, p.310
                  Salad with blood orange, dates, parmesan and almonds, p. 343
                  Flageolet gratin, p. 339
                  Salmon a la Lutece, p. 138
                  Coconut flan with apricots, p. 103
                  Creme fraiche panna cotta with strawberries, p. 82

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee

                    Thanks Rubee - this is enormously helpful.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Here are some of my favorites as well:


                      Boeuf a la Nicoise (very hearty stew -great for winter)
                      Fava Bean Puree
                      Dungeness Crab Salad (though I used jumbo lump crab meat)
                      Satueed Alaskan Black Cod with Endive and Hazelnuts
                      Orecchiette Carbonara with English Peas and Pea Shoots
                      Wild Salmon Salad with Beets, Potato, Egg and Mustard Vinaigrette
                      Curried English Pea Soup


                      Green Goddess Salad
                      Wild Salmon a la Lutece
                      Almond Financier
                      Bucatini and Clams with Fennel, White Wine and Thyme Bread Crumbs
                      Grilled Pork Burgers with Rob's Famous Coleslaw
                      Lamb Skewers with Lima Bean Puree and French Feta Salsa Verde
                      Ricotta Gnocchi with Chantarelles, Sweet Corn and Sage Brown Butter


                      Roasted Pear Salad with Endive, Hazelnuts and St. Agur
                      Pan-Roasted Rib Eye Steak "Marchand de Vins" with Watercress and Grossi's Potatoes (the potatoes are particularly fabulous)


                      Devil's Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon Mustard
                      Sauteed Halibut with Arugula, Roasted Beets and Horseradish Creme Fraiche (I often make just the beets with the creme fraiche to go with other things)
                      Hazelnut-Brown Butter Cake with Sauteed Pears (I love this cake, and it's good even w/o the pears).

                      Going through the table of contents, I'm happy that there are so many things I haven't yet made!

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Again, this is so helpful - thanks. For those of us who didn't cook from the book the first time around, having some guidance on what tends to turn out best is so useful. I got my copy yesterday and can't wait to sink into a comfy chair with it.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Rubee and MMRuth--thank you so much for these lists. I'm going to read up on your posts for these dishes (although, frankly, I remember the posts on the Devil's Chicken Thighs and Pan-Roasted steak and already had those on my list because they sounded so fabulous...the panna cotta and Bass with farro, black rice, and tangerine sound especially wonderful, too.)

                          For nervous newbies to Goin (like me), are there any of these dishes that you might consider easier/less involved than others? I'm just looking for a couple of the less intimidating dishes to dip my toe into so I can get a feel for her style, etc.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            I'd say the pasta dishes tend to be easier. One thing I've been thinking this week, having a made a couple of her dishes is that doing mise en place for her recipes would really help, and I'm going to start doing that. (I don't normally do that much other than for Asian and Indian cooking where I need everything reading to toss in the pan in quick succession.)

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Excellent suggestions, MMRuth, thank you! I find this book so intimidating but I really want to dig in. The next couple of weeks will be hectic for me, so, no cooking, but I hope to at least dive in and start picking out some recipes. I'll pay closer attention to the pasta dishes!

                              Mise en place=important. Got it.


                              1. re: MMRuth

                                I finally got a chance to sink into this book yesterday, and while a lot of stuff sounds incredible, I have to admit to feeling somewhat intimidated myself (you're not alone TDQ!). I do plan to dive on in though, as much as possible in crazy Dec (which won't be much). Hopefully Jan. will give me a little more chance.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  I will say - very little of it is difficult, per se. It's just that some of it is time consuming, and at the last minute I always feel as if I'm juggling things and I may snark at my husband when he comes into the kitchen to get a piece of cheese because he's hungry and gets in my way!

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    LulusMom, I'm glad I'm not alone! BUt, if there's any time to dive into this book, now (meaning the next two months) is the time, I guess!

                                    For what it's worth, JoanN had similar advice to MMRuth's above regarding diving into one of these cookbook in a COTM discussion on Site Talk. I found it very encouraging:

                                    "Zuni can be prep intensive in that one must sometimes prepare a second recipe (or even a third) in order to prepare the main recipe. But, as MMRuth also said about the Goin book, it's always worth it.

                                    I'm of the belief that practically no recipe (clearly there are exceptions) are too advanced for an ambitious beginniner. Trying a somewhat more involved or complicated recipe is what takes that beginner to an intermediate level. Even something that may seem complicated initially (Julia's cassoulet, perhaps) can be broken down into various component parts and prepared over a couple of days. Just be sure to read a seemingly complicated recipe a few times, picture doing each step, make sure you have all the ingredients on hand, do your mise en place, and take it step-by-step without rushing. If you're using a well-written, well edited book (and Zuni and Lucques both are), I'll bet you'd be surprised at what you'll be able to accomplish."

                                    Here's her post in context: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4977...


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Don't be intimidated. You can totally handle it--it just can be time consuming and prep-intensive. A recipe that I love that is less overwhelming and incredibly comforting in cold weather is the farro with parsley and butter. It will also give you a feel for her style. I now start just about everything I make by 1) heating dutch oven, 2) heat up olive oil, 3) add a chile de arbol and some thyme, 4) add onions based on her instructions.

                                      If you find things you like that are easy, I look forward to hearing about it. I have no time for elaborate meals anymore, but do love Goin's recipes. (I did get to have the fantastic Kabocha squash soup at Thanksgiving, which my family loved and remembered from last year...delicious, but time consuming indeed).

                                      1. re: rose water

                                        For me it isn't the work that is intimidating so much as how I'm going to manage it ... I've got a 2 year old tugging at my leg during much of my kitchen time, so it can be hard to fully concentrate. But that said, I'm very excited about both of these books.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          I think if you try to break the tasks down - maybe make your own lists of the order in which to do things (since sometimes hers can be improved on, I think) - that would help.

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            I'm FOR SURE going to make sure to read each recipe through at least once before I get started (and by before, I realize it means a couple of days before), and get as much done in advance as possible. I quite often do my chopping, etc. while Lulu is having her lunch (ha! up in the high chair, can't pull at legs!). So I do think it is doable, just not on a nightly basis. I'm starting with a couple of Zuni recipes this week - as I say, I"m excited by these books, just slightly daunted by the length of things. I think reading old posts is going to help a lot in sometimes streamlining things. Thanks to all of you for the encouragement - it really does help.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              I just posted an approximation of my time table for my Saturday dinner here:


                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                This kind of thing is So helpful. Thanks very much MMRuth!

                                        2. re: rose water

                                          I love farro. And I have some leftover from AoSF! I will definitely have a peek at that recipe, rosewater, thank you!


                              2. re: MMRuth

                                I realized I forgot to include:


                                Warm Squid Salad with Spinach, Chorizo and Black Olives.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  I've been looking at Lucqes again too, in preparation for COTM, and I'm struck by how similar it feels to another book I just acquired, My Favourite Ingredients, by Skye Gyngell. She's an Australian who has made quite a name for herself at a restaurant in, of all places, a garden centre! If you like Goin, I think you would like this as well.


                                2. re: MMRuth


                                  Devil's Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon Mustard
                                  Sauteed Halibut with Arugula, Roasted Beets and Horseradish Creme Fraiche (I often make just the beets with the creme fraiche to go with other things)
                                  Hazelnut-Brown Butter Cake with Sauteed Pears (I love this cake, and it's good even w/o the pears).>

                                  These are among our favorite recipes, too. I just use a whole chicken, cut up instead of thighs. The leeks are good alone as a side dish.

                            2. Waiting for my books in the mail! I was sad not to be able to participate much in the last two months. Looking forward to the next two months.

                              But dumb question here, please excuse me, I'm a little bit sleepy... So we should use Katie Nell's original links to post our reviews? Thanks!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: moh

                                Yes - please use the links above in Katie's original post to post on particular recipes. Also, just so no one misses it, I believe there are quite a few links to online recipes for those who don't have the book on the thread called:

                                Here's the thread for recipe planning, links, and previous picks and pans: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397078

                              2. I'm thking of making the vanilla pot de creme with chocolate sables this weekend, and have two questions:

                                1. Does anyone have a guesstimate as to the size of a ramekin that I should use?

                                2. What are 'chocolate shards'?

                                Recipes - pp. 235-36.


                                5 Replies
                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  I think I can answer 2.:
                                  Chocolate shards are made by dragging a sharp knife, blade side against the chocolate bar, to create a curl... like when you're shaving carrots, for instance.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Ah ok - I know how to make chocolate curls!

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      I use a good vegetable peeler to "shard" chocolate. Less scary than a knife.

                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                    I would guess that 6-ounce ramekins would be the correct size. First, I happen to have "Simply French," the cookbook from which she says she adapted the recipe and in that book the recipe specifies a 6-ounce ramekin. Also, although I can't find confirmation of it, I believe a standard coffee cup, which Goin suggests as an alternative to a ramekin, is 6 ounces.

                                  3. I'm really happy to see this book make a return appearance, as I LOVE cooking from it almost as much as my own!

                                    I'm going through it this weekend to see what attracts me.

                                    and yes, you want to use a 6-ounce ramekin.

                                    1. Does anyone know what I can use as a substitute for chile de arbol? I've never seen them in the UK, although I suppose the Cool Chile Company might sell them. I have ancho chiles and a couple of other South American varieties I picked up somewhere.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        In the Zuni book list of pantry ingredients (which should be fairly close to what Goin thinks) she says you can sub any small red chile.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Thanks LulusMom. Isn't it terribly late at night for you - still jetlagged?

                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                            More like very early ... I get up this time each day to get some exercise in before Lulu gets up. But yes - I'm still exhausted!

                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                          Re. the chiles de arbol, you can substitute, but keep in mind that chiles de arbol are a dried chile. Ancho chiles have a different flavor than the chiles de arbol, so I'd probably substitute cayenne pepper or Italian dried red pepper flakes instead. Or, you can order chiles de arbol over the internet:


                                          1. re: DanaB

                                            I agree - I'd do the dried pepper flakes before I'd use anchos.

                                            1. re: DanaB

                                              Thanks for that. I think I've found a shop in London that sells them, so I might pop down there next week if I've got the time/inclination.

                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                Just stay away from chipotle as a sub....to strong a flavor. I agree about the chile flakes.

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  Oops. I just wrote something "to strong a flavor" that I sneer at when I see it in the posts of others..... "to" instead of "too". Gasp! I cringe in shame. Well, at least I didn't say "two strong a flavor."

                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                    Don't worry about that, oakjoan. Yesterday. I think it was, I typed, "We has in my family instead of We have...." I'm still embarrassed. Spellcheck can't help with those mistakes.

                                            2. Last night I made three and a half recipes from Lucques in just over four hours!

                                              On reflection, it was a bit too much. Not only was it a lot of work and clearing up, there was just too much food! It was all very good though - I will write up the recipes in the appropriate threads.

                                              I still haven't finished all the washing-up. *embarrassed*

                                              1. I've just noticed something strange on this thread and the Zuni one: People are posting, but it's a lot of "yaddah yaddah" and very little cooking. I'm not complaining; I just find it interesting.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  That's because these are the "General Discussion" threads, as it describes in the first paragraph. The actual cooking threads are linked above. I've only made a couple of recipes this month, but now that the holidays are over, hopefully I'll have time to do more.

                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    Right - the idea is that posters will post on the appropriate threads for the dish that they have made. I just made the short ribs and potato puree again tonight.

                                                2. Kabocha squash and fennel soup with crème fraiche and candied pumpkin seeds p. 323

                                                  I love squash and was delighted to find this recipe on a recent EYB search. This soup was simply spectacular; I can’t wait to serve it at my next dinner party. The pumpkin seeds were so tasty; I’ll likely make them and serve them up as snacks, even when we’re not having this soup.

                                                  Squash and fennel bulbs are roasted then added to onions, toasted fennel seeds herbs and chiles de arbol that have been sautéing in butter. Sherry is then added (see what I mean, how can you go wrong w this recipe!!); reduced then chicken stock is added. Once this has all simmered away nicely, it’s pureed, in batches until silky in texture.

                                                  For the pumpkin seeds, first you toast cumin seeds until they’re fragrant and slightly browned. They’re set aside and butter is added to the pan along w the pumpkin seeds, sugar, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne and the cumin seeds. Toss the lovely lot to coat w the butter & sugar then remove and add in the honey and salt. These are spread on a plate to cool and eventually make their way to top the soup, on a dollop of crème fraiche.

                                                  My squash-loving golden retriever was unable to contain himself, anxiously anticipating this soup at every stage of the process!! Two spoons up from the humans and two paws up from you know who!!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Love, love, love that recipe. It's been my Thanksgiving opener since the book was first COTM back in 2007. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3970...

                                                    If you haven't tried it yet, don't miss the Kabocha squash risotto. Every bit as good as the soup.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Thanks Joan, sorry I missed your earlier post or I'd have put this beneath! You're so right, it would be a lovely Thanksgiving starter.

                                                      I actually just got this book for Christmas so this is the first recipe I've tried but I still have some of this squash left so I'll have to try that risotto. Thanks!

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        Yep, it's been a staple on our Thanksgiving table for years too. And the candied pumpkin seeds are fantastic.

                                                      1. FYI, just spotted a used copy of Sunday Suppers at the Los Angeles Public Library book store (Brentwood branch) for $8.00 - a great deal if you need a copy!