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June 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions Needed

Voting for June is coming up, and I'm in need of some suggestions.

Ideally, I would like to have a book that highlights produce to really start summer off with a bang.

Classics or new suggestions are welcome, as long as they are somewhat readily available. Please post your suggestions here.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. How about the new Barefoot Contessa book?

    1. The Farmer's Market Cookbook seems appropriate
      http://www.amazon.com/Farmers-Market-...

      1. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Lots of different items in there that can be used as mains, sides or adapted.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jsaimd

          I was thinking of this book, too. It seems that many of us have it and it is often mentioned when people ask for cookbook suggestions. My only concern was that it may not be exciting enough for those who really want to do some serious cooking. Is it too basic? It's not for me but not sure about others. I've just decided to get it back out and read through it again.
          Lately I've been reading Nina Simond's Spices of Life, too. I enjoy it but not sure if it has universal appeal. Anyway, I'd love to do some cooking out of Veg Cooking for Everyone.

          1. re: jsaimd

            I've not participated in Cookbook of the Month before - either didn't have the book or was intimidated by the time required. But VCFE fits in well with my cooking routine and I would love to explore this book with the group.

            1. re: jsaimd

              How about Deborah Madison's Local Flavors, which really celebrates farmers' markets?

            2. I,too, would love Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I have the book, and have made some things from it, but would love to expand my vegetarian repertoire, as my daughter is a vegetarian.

              1. I have VCFE and have barely cracked it open, though I've just begun to read through it, so I would welcome the incentive, but I think Chez Panisse Vegetables (or maybe a double-book month with CPV and Chez Panisse Fruit?) better fits what Katie Nell is looking for, since it's specifically focused on produce, and it was a popular choice in the suggestions thread last month.

                So I'm going to recommend Chez Panisse Vegetables, which should be readily available at libraries, since it's not new. (That's my hope, anyway, because I don't have it.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  I'm with you Caitlin. I have VCFE (and love it and cook from it often), but I'm thinking CP Vegetables/Fruit would be a great combo for June!

                  1. I would be thrilled with either Vegetation Cooking for Everyone or Chez Panisse Vegetables.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: megek

                      Following up with respect to delaying a vegetable-focused book to another month, when others have more veggies - fine by me! I would love to do either of these books anytime.

                    2. Patricia Wells, new book, "Vegetable Harvest," is gorgeous. It's main focus is vegetables, but it is not strictly a vegetarian cookbook (some meat, fish, poultry), so I think it might appeal to a wider audience. I've loved her previous books, and am really looking forward to delving into this one.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pikawicca

                        I highly recommend this book. Personally, I have no interest in a purely "vegeterian" book, but I do love using vegetables and fresh produce.

                        I have just gotten this book from The Good Cook ($9.99) and I absolutely love it! I love reading it, it is so well written. The recipes I have tried have been excellent, and with the Farmer's Market coming soon, it will be my go-to book.

                      2. Just my two cents, but prime veggie season doesn't really get underway around me until july (my CSA from upstate NY doesn't start until June 24), so I'd rather wait a month.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DGresh

                          I would love to cook from any of these veggie books. But, like DGresh, here in New England, we don't starting the good stuff until late July, early August.

                          I also love the idea from Chimayo Joe re: Madhur Jaffrey's World of East Vegetarian Cooking.

                        2. While I like the Chez Panisse books, I'm finding myself wanting to move away from a restaurant-linked book for next month.

                          I like Deborah Madison (didn't she work at Chez Panisse at one time?), but prefer The Savory Way or Local Flavors over Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

                          While this isn't a vegetarian book, I'm also very curious about Barbara Kafka's Vegetable Love. I've never cooked from one of Kafka's books and don't know much about her style, so this could be a good opportunity.

                          Thanks, Katie! I'll be happy w/ whatever you choose...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Carb Lover

                            The Kafka veggie book is very good, as are all of her cookbooks -- well-tested and -written recipes.

                            1. re: Carb Lover

                              The kafka book appealed to me, too. Good suggestion.

                            2. Couldn't find last month's so don't know if you've covered it but nancy Silverton's new book, Twist of the Wrist...wonderful

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: whit565

                                How about Marcus Samuelsson's The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa

                                1. re: Megiac

                                  Samuelsson's is a very interesting cookbook -- an African man raised in Sweden cooks his native African food. I think it might be a nice stretch for us chowhounds.

                                  I have no doubt we'll get to Alice Waters' Vegetables, but for us northerners July might be a more prodigious time.

                                2. re: whit565

                                  I own this book, and I'm torn. I'm intrigued by some of her food combinations, but put off by the many hard-to-find ingredients. Plus, in one recipe she actually calls for CANNED POTATOES, my nominee for one of the absolute worst canned foods on the planet!

                                3. I'm a Cookbook of the Month lurker.... I've always wanted to participate..... I actually checked Arabesque out of the library, then cooked nothing from it....

                                  So I would be thrilled if you picked CP Vegetables and/or Fruit as I own both, adore them, and look to them for inspiration all the time. I own Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone too, but sadly Deborah Madison never inspires me.

                                  1. Couple more vegetarian cookbooks for consideration:

                                    World of the East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

                                    The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                      The Bishop book is brilliant -- your friends will never suspect they're eating "vegetarian food." Everything I've tried from this book has been great, and I've given it as a gift to five different people.

                                      1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                        Although I really love Jaffrey's Eastern Veg. Cooking. I'd also be happy with D. Madison's V Cooking for E, I agree that we should wait until July to do vegetarian cooking. Here in Califa we'll probably have great vegs in June, but to get the full benefit of summer produce, we need to wait til everybody catches up.

                                        I actually HAVE both Jaffrey's and Madison's books, which would be a first. Maybe we should choose a double cookbook of the month, i.e., Jaffrey's World Veg. Cookbook and Madison's Veg Cooking for Everyone. They came out at almost the same time, too.

                                        1. Another book in this same vein that has always intrigued me is "Vegetables: From Amaranth to Zucchini" by Elizabeth Schneider. Here's a link to the book from Amazon.com:

                                          http://www.amazon.com/Vegetables-Amar...

                                          1. Katie Nell, you're doing a great job!

                                            I'm all for a vegetable cookbook, but in upstate NY, June's fresh produce is spinach, peas and maybe lettuce. July and August are our vegetable bounty months.

                                            I'm going to suggest people check out White Dog Cafe cookbook. Yes, restaurant book tailored to home cooks. Everything I've made is excellent.

                                            1. How about something different such as the Lee Bros Southern cookbook. (I think it just received an IACP award.) Or Frank Stitt's Southern Table.

                                              Or a Jamison Southwest or barbecue book. Border Cookbook looks good for Southwest/Northern Mexico. Cheryl & Bill Jamison have a new book out: The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & entertaining. We may not have a wide range of fresh vegetables in June in upstate NY, but we can cook outdoors!
                                              And what happened to Sunday Suppers as a contestant for COTM?

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                                Sunday Suppers is the May cookbook of the month. Here's the mother thread for it:
                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397079

                                                I do want to get to Frank Stitt's Southern Table anytime this summer.

                                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                                  I like the idea of "Southern Table one month this summer.

                                                  Like the others around my area, I'd much rather do a vegetable book in July or August. To mix it, for June up I'll suggest a cookbook I already own. How about a Nigella book like "Feast" or "Nigella Bites".

                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    Forever Summer might be a fun Nigella Book. That's the source of the much commented on on CH watermelon and feta salad.

                                                    1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                                      Forever Summer would be a great book to try! I also love the idea of a Southern book, especially an Edna Lewis title.

                                                      1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                                        I should probably add that one of the reasons I suggested the Nigella Lawson book is because her recipes tend to be simpler - more ideas for ingredient combinations than heavy on technique. I don't have the time or the energy to cook that I used to (darn pregnancy) but I REALLY don't have the energy to cook out of some of the more complex cookbooks that others have suggested. What I am looking to get out of the COTM project is either ideas for cookbooks I might like to buy or ideas for recipes to try in cookbooks that I own that I might have overlooked. That's really my goal, and what drives my votes and suggestions. I realize that others have differen things they want to get out ot it.

                                                        1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                                          Totally agree!

                                                          Obviously, I love the wonderful, complicated, talented chefs - but I also love the books like Nigella, Barefoot Contessa (and Emeril and Tyler Florence), and will be suggesting the "Silver Palate" in the months to come because it's all about how delicious and 'foolproof' the recipes are!. I don't delineate between "what I know" or "what I want to cook"; not every book has been something I'm interested in. But, everything that Redwood in the beginning, and now Katie Nell, picks, teaches me something. It's made me realize that I really really love everything about food, and some people pick and choose. Me - I love it all : )

                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                            I just received my copy of the New Revised Edition of The Silver Palate Cookbook. It looks terrific!

                                                            Really, one of the books I use most often for everyday cooking, as well as special occasion meals.

                                                2. Okay, I'm really not going to be able to research this month like I should, so I would like to get somewhat of a general consensus.... vegetables for June, or not? It's not really prime season here either, but I thought it would be for the majority. If not vegetables, then are there choices that majority would lean towards?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                    My preference is to have a vegetable book for later in the summer (maybe August?).

                                                    Maybe, for this month, a Nigella book or a Garten book. I honesty don't have a strong preference, but I just looked above for suggestions. These were the non-restaurant, non-veggie books that I saw from a quick skim.

                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      I'd concur with the above (Garten or Nigella) and with veggies for August-- I don't have either a Nigella or Garten book, but they are often mentioned here and I wouldn't mind checking them out-

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        I third this suggestion - a vegetable book for later in the summer, and one of Nigella's books (I have "Feast", "Forever Summer", and "Nigella Bites" so those would be my picks, or an Ina Garten book (the original "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" and "Barefoot Contessa Parties" are two of my favorites).

                                                    2. re: Katie Nell

                                                      Katie Nell, I say just have a vote on 3 books that have been mentioned consistently. I personally would have no problem w/ (and, in fact, would actually prefer) you deciding on the next 3 books for the next 3 months based on collective feedback you've received over the past few months. You've been so good about soliciting feedback all along, that I wouldn't find that dictatorial in the least. Thanks for your thoughtfulness around this endeavor!

                                                    3. I think veggies later in the summer is a sensible idea. Garten and Lawson, while having some really good recipes, don't have much new to offer. I find Garten's latest a bit of a disappointment. Take a look at "The 150 Best American Recipes" (edited by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens). Published in 2006, it should be widely avilable in libraries. This book contains delicious recipes, many with up-to-the-minute takes on ingredients and techniques. If you're not familiar with the book, it's a selection of recipes from cookbooks, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet. Its free-ranging sources should have something to offer for everyone.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                        I really like the idea of doing one of the "150 Best American Recipes" books. They always have an interesting selection. I know that my library has them all...

                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                          I agree with pikawicca. I would rather wait until July for fruits/vegetables, and I don't want to do garten or Lawson as a cookbook. The 150 best sounds reasonable to me, but I've never looked at it...

                                                        2. I'll offer the dissenting view (thus far) re:veg in June. I'm all for Chez Panisse Veg/Fruit because I already know what to do with August corn and tomatoes -- I use it for the more new-to-me (or little cooked by me) veg of winter and spring.

                                                          also, I don't know if people [other than the most hardcore of course : ) ]
                                                          actually check in to this thread repeatedly after they've made a preference known . . . and there are a quite a few posters into either DMadison or CP Veg

                                                          I'm not into Garten or Lawson.
                                                          I'm waaaaay into a Southern book for July (July 4, hello!), say, Edna Lewis or some of the others people love.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: pitu

                                                            I'm definitely into a Southern book this summer too - besides Lewis, other suggestions are Frank Stitt's "Southern Table" and "The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook".

                                                            1. re: pitu

                                                              I too think that June is the best month to do vegetables -- you get to straddle the Spring/Summer seasons, and there are so many interesting things already available in the farmers markets. Besides, books like Deborah Madison and Chez Panisse Vegetables aren't limited to "summer" vegetables -- they are good for all seasons.

                                                              I also think that a Southern book would be great for the month of July.

                                                            2. I hate to muddy the waters even further, but a grilling book (and there are many good ones) would be super-appropriate for this time of year.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                Lol, I was going to suggest a grilling book for August.

                                                              2. poor Katie Nell, overwhelmed w/ opinions . . . Of course you should not take on more research than you can handle.
                                                                My two cents (w/ apologies) A grilling book or perhaps a Southern book I think would be good for June. Jamison or Schlesinger come to mind for grilling. Edna Lewis, Lee Bros, Frank Stitt for Southern.
                                                                Summer produce is not just tomatoes and corn, and I think the full array that July-Aug provides would be a great time to do a vegetable cookbook.
                                                                While I love 150 Best American Recipes (has the dynamite Amazing Five Hour Duck) but it's a collection rather than one author, and having been here from the start, thought the purpose of COTM was to feel out one author's oeuvre.

                                                                1. My copy arrived last week of Patricia Wells' latest cookbook "Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate".

                                                                  It is a wonderful book. French home cooking at its very best, using the bounty of the garden and the market to creat wonderful dishes and meals. It is well written, beautifully illustrated, and the recipes are fabulous!

                                                                  Here is the description:

                                                                  The potager, or French vegetable garden, represents the very best of French cuisine: fresh, flavorful, and easily accessible for home cooks everywhere. In Vegetable Harvest, Patricia Wells presents a collection of recipes inspired by the garden she tends at her home in Provence.

                                                                  No one has done more than Patricia to bring the art and techniques of French cooking into American kitchens. Now, in her tenth cookbook, she covers every kind of produce favored by French cooks from north to south. In addition, there are charming profiles of French farmers, home gardeners, and cooks, with sixty-five stunning color photographs.

                                                                  From arugula to zucchini, Patricia offers up a wealth of dishes that incorporate vegetables, herbs, nuts, legumes, and fruits fresh from the garden. And her recipes aren't limited to summer's bounty—there are plenty for fall squash and winter potatoes, too.

                                                                  The recipes in Vegetable Harvest include everything from appetizers, soups, and salads, to meats, poultry, and pasta. There are classics like Spicy Butternut Squash Soup, Roast Leg of Lamb with Honey and Mint Crust, and Pea and Mint Risotto, as well as innovative new dishes that are sure to become time-honored favorites, such as Potato-Chive Waffles with Smoked Salmon, Capers, and Crème Fraîche, Tomato and Strawberry Gazpacho, and Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Basil. To finish your meal with a flourish, there are decadent, fruity desserts like Pistachio-Cherry Cake with Cherry Sorbet, Rhubarb-Berry Compote in Grenadine, and Crunchy Almond-Pear Cake. In addition, there is a chapter on pantry staples that includes Patricia's recipes for Zesty Lemon Salt, Truffle Butter, and Fresh Cilantro Sauce.

                                                                  And while Patricia's wonderful dishes sound sinful, they are in fact quite healthful, low in fat and calories; nutritional information is given for each recipe.

                                                                  With Vegetable Harvest, you'll be eating the best nature has to offer—fresh, flavorful produce—all year round.

                                                                  1. Hey, Hounds... My apologies, but I'm going to have to wait until this weekend to post the voting thread for June. I've been working 12-hour days lately, and I just don't have time this week to even really look at all of the suggestions. Look for the voting thread on Sunday! Thanks for your understanding!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                      Katie. Don't go nuts! 12 hour days!! Aieeeee!

                                                                      How about doing NO reserach, just counting up how many times which book was put forward and choosing that one.

                                                                      The trouble is that so many of the posts say "I really LOVE and want to do thisorthatbook, but...... It'd be hard to sort through all of them and find the ones that actually got suggested without some caveat.

                                                                      Whatever you decide to do is fine with me. If I don't have it and neither does my library, the internet has worked out fine for me with Goin's book and I suspect will for future books as well.

                                                                      12 hour days! Sheesh!