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Dec 3, 2007 04:37 AM

January 2008 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions Needed

The holidays will be over (yes, they will) and most of us will be fully sated and ready for a little temperance. So let’s aim for something a bit more austere than usual this month. It need not be a diet book. It might be a vegetarian cookbook, an Asian cookbook, a fish cookbook—or an Asian vegetarian cookbook, for that matter. But let’s keep it light. I think most of us will be ready for it.

PLEASE NOTE: In order to make it easier for participants to scan others’ suggestions and for me to tabulate the results, I’d appreciate it if you would make your recommendations in the following format:

TITLE (in all caps), Author: Description of the book or reason you are recommending it (optional)

If you want to second or third a title that someone else has already mentioned, please repeat the title, typing it in capital letters. Just saying “I agree with Stewpot” may well get lost and your choice might not get counted. And the more often a particular title is mentioned, the greater the chance it will be among the finalists.

I’ll post the two or three most recommended books on December 10 and we’ll begin the voting for January Cookbook of the Month on December 11. I’m looking forward to seeing your suggestions. And, as always, thanks for participating.

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  1. THE MODERN VEGETARIAN KITCHEN, Peter Berley. Former exec chef of Angelica Kitchen, a vegan restaurant in NYC. Vegetarian and healthy. Won both James Beard Foundation and IACP awards.

    SIMPLE CHINESE COOKING, Kylie Kwong. Simple yet exotic, with mostly light recipes. She's a celebrity chef in Sydney, Australia.

    2 Replies
    1. re: NYchowcook

      Kylie also has a culinary show that appears on the Discovery Home Channel.

      1. re: gabby29

        I saw her this weekend! It was a good show - she made pork and braised cabbage w/ apples. Looked great.

      I bought this after getting it out of the library after suggestions on this board. It is not vegetarian, but fairly vegetable-focussed. Interesting flavor combinations. She has quite a bit of traditional beliefs of medicinal value, etc. of various spices in sidebars to the recipes. I'm not much of a believer in that, but it's interesting reading even if you're not. The recipes are what really interested me in this book. Here's an amazon link:

      1. VEGANOMICON. I'm not a vegan, not even a vegetarian, but I love this book. My daughter has a vegan friend who frequently comes to dine, and I bought this book for inspiration. I found it. I was first drawn in by the gorgeous photos, but was entirely captivated by the recipes -- everything I've made so far has been wonderful. These recipes have made me look at cooking in an entirely different way. Can't recommend it highly enough!

        1. I don't know if we're supposed to post *only* titles on this thread, so forgive me for posting this comment if it's the wrong place for it.

          I am *definitely* interested in a vegetable-oriented month, but winter months aren't the best time of the year for some of us in the Northern climes to get good quality in many veggies. (Especially for those here who rely on farmers' markets for best quality.)

          I'd be really interested in a comprehensive, innovative soup cookbook with hot, savory soups and stews PLUS chilled-room temperature savory and dessert soups. One that could appeal to those of us dealing with winter *and* our Southern/tropical friends here. We really need heavier, substantial food in winter in the Northern parts, and, IMO, a soup cookbook could offer that *and* the lower-fat, more healthful aspect. I don't know of any immediately, but I'll research and was wondering if anyone here knew of some?

          6 Replies
          1. re: MaggieRSN

            SOUPS, STEWS, AND ONE POT MEALS, by Tom Valenti: an excellent book for this. It was up for voting at the beginning of the year, but something else won out instead- I'm blanking at the moment what it was! His Ham Hock and Split Pea Soup is really, really good, and it was the first time I ever liked a split pea soup!

            1. re: Katie Nell

              Thanks, Katie! Nice to know about it, whether we pursue it as a group or I check it out on my own. Pea soup can be either great...or horrible. I think the seasoning's tricky because the peas are so absorbent. (JMO) TY for the recipe, too. Just the week for it--cold and snowy. ;-)

            2. re: MaggieRSN

              MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT DAILY SPECIAL by The Moosewood Collective would also be a match for this, Maggie. Vegetarian, with a few seafood foods, and flavors are drawn from around the world. Recipes are healthy and innovative. People always say "wow" when I cook from this book. Chapters are divided up exactly as you mention above: homemade stocks, veggie soups, bean & grain soups, creamy dairy soups, chilled and dessert soups, seafood soups.

              The second half of the book covers salads - excellent, eclectic ones (like Alabama "hot" slaw and Persian rice and pistachio salad), and a few extras like biscuits, dressings, croutons to round out the soup/salad meal. You might want to at least check it out of the library -- it's exactly what you described looking for.

              1. re: MaggieRSN

                THE WINTER VEGETARIAN by Darra Goldstein. Not 'austere', but speaks to MaggieRSN's concern about the season, and has sections of soups and stews. From an Amazon reader review: Ms. Goldstein is a scholar and a university professor...this book ... is an affectionate, joyful look at the little-known cold-weather food and recipes from many cultures, from the Finnish pulla bread Ms. Goldstein loved so much as a student, to an arcane but wonderful-sounding fruited Bairam plov from Central Asia. There is an entire chapter devoted to the "much maligned" rutabaga, and chapters about Tolstoy's table and Shrovetide festivities which include recipes for Russian blini and Swedish semlor buns. In all, this is a fascinating look at winter culinary traditions around the world as well as a wonderful book to actually use in the kitchen.

                1. re: clepro

                  This sounds like it would be a fun read as well.

                  1. re: ginnyhw

                    Sounds great -- I like the idea of cold weather food, world-wide :) and vegetarian!

              2. I don't have any suggestions yet, but here is the list that beetlebug kindly compiled of the books we've done so far:

                But, for all those viewers out there, here is a list of our all the mother threads starting with September 2006 (the first month of this project)

                Sept - Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

                Oct - Molly Stevens, All About Braising

                Nov - Rick Bayless, One Plate at a Time

                Dec - Dorie Greenspan, Baking from my home to yours

                Jan - Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe Cookbook

                Feb - Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, Hot Sour Salty Sweet

                March - Leite's Culinarie

                April - Claudia Roden, Arabesque

                May - Suzanne Goin, Sunday Suppers at Lucques

                June - Edna Lewis, Country Cooking

                July - Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer

                August - Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

                September 2007 - Patricia Wells, Vegetable Harvest

                October 2007 - Julia Child "Cookbook Author of the Month"

                November 2007 - Julie Rosso & Sheila Lukins, Silver Palate Cookbook

                December 2007 - Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook *AND* Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook

                2 Replies
                1. re: MMRuth

                  Thanks, MMRuth. I meant to do that and completely forgot. :-(

                  1. re: JoanN

                    No problem - thought it would be handy to have on this thread!