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February 2008 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions, Please

JoanN Jan 5, 2008 01:02 PM

February is Mardi Gras. And although there are other holidays that month, we have not yet chosen as Cookbook of the Month the kind of book that could pay tribute to that one. Keeping in mind that Mardi Gras is celebrated not only in The Big Easy but also in other Gulf Coast regions as well as Brazil, Central America, and the Caribbean, there are some exciting cookbooks to choose among in addition to ones that are specifically Cajun and Creole. For instance, Alabama has a long history of Mardi Gras, so Frank Stitt’s “Southern Table,” although Provençal-influenced, might be considered as might “The Book of Latin American Cooking” by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz. And, of course, there’s Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, the Dooky Chase and Commander’s Palace cookbooks, the new book “Crescent City Cooking” from Susan Spicer and the old classic “Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz.” I don’t mean to limit your suggestions to these titles, just to indicate the range of possibilities.

I’d like your help in winnowing down the field to just two or three such titles for us to vote on. What book would you like to cook from to celebrate Mardi Gras?

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 the above” 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 Sunday, January 13th and we’ll begin the voting for February Cookbook of the Month on Monday, January 14th. I’m looking forward to seeing your suggestions. And, as always, thanks for participating.

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  1. JoanN RE: JoanN Jan 5, 2008 01:29 PM

    Here, for those of you who are interested, is the list of Cookbook of the Month titles to date with links to the master threads.

    **2006**

    Sept - Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/325712

    Oct - Molly Stevens, All About Braising
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/330177

    Nov - Rick Bayless, One Plate at a Time
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/339027

    Dec - Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/347476

    **2007**

    Jan - Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe Cookbook
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/355995

    Feb - Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, Hot Sour Salty Sweet
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/366679

    March - Leite's Culinaria
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/376081

    April - Claudia Roden, Arabesque
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387069

    May - Suzanne Goin, Sunday Suppers at Lucques
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397079

    June - Edna Lewis, Country Cooking
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406983

    July - Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/416938

    August - Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/427007

    Sept – Patricia Wells, Vegetable Harvest
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/437177

    Oct – Julia Child
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/446374

    Nov – Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, The Silver Palate Cookbook
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456241

    Dec. – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook AND Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/465358

    **2008**
    Jan – Paula Wolfert, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474978

    1. pikawicca RE: JoanN Jan 6, 2008 02:25 PM

      I would be happy to cook from a New Orleans book. I have Gallatoire's, but that's probably a bit hard to come by. If there's a big push for Emeril or Prudhomme, I'd go along. I do hate to see us pass up the "Chocolate for Valentine's Day" opportunity, however. I could certainly do a month of chocolate!

      1 Reply
      1. re: pikawicca
        jen kalb RE: pikawicca Jan 6, 2008 07:30 PM

        Just a random comment - bought a prudhomme book last year on ebay - recently I started to browse in it and realized that its recipes involved oceans of butter, cream and other fats. Im hardly a fat-phobe but are hounds are going to want to cook this sort of thing? btw Fat Tuesday comes quite early in Feb this year.

      2. JasmineG RE: JoanN Jan 6, 2008 09:29 PM

        Even before clicking on this post, I was coming to stump for CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN. I just made gumbo from it tonight, and was reminded again of how good his recipes are. However, I also got Susan Spicer's CRESCENT CITY COOKING for Christmas, and some of the recipes look like a lot of fun, so I'd love to do either.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JasmineG
          jen kalb RE: JasmineG Jan 7, 2008 05:50 PM

          Louisiana Kitchen is the one I was looking at - some of the seafood recipes call for 1-1/2 sticks of butter - or more - for recipes made for two. Im sure there are delicious, but could never make those, ever.

          1. re: jen kalb
            JoanN RE: jen kalb Jan 7, 2008 06:34 PM

            The Cajun Seafood Gumbo with Andouille Smoked Sausage has no butter in it; just vegetable oil for the roux. The Chicken and Seafood Jambalaya has 2½ tablespoons of fat and serves 8 as an appetizer. The Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hocks and Andouille Smoked Sausage has no added fat at all. Julia Child’s recipe for Fillets of Sole Meuniere uses 4 tablespoons of clarified butter to cook the fish and an additional 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. And many of us, at least on occasion, will eat a butter cream frosting. We each have choices to make. If you wanted low-fat Prudhomme, you’d have been better off buying “Chef Paul Prudhomme's Fork in the Road.”

        2. Gio RE: JoanN Jan 7, 2008 04:23 AM

          CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN
          CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S FORK IN THE ROAD
          CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S SEASONED AMERICA
          COMMANDER'S PALACE, Ti Adelaide Martin and Jamie Shannon

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gio
            g
            ginnyhw RE: Gio Jan 8, 2008 03:02 AM

            I had a copy of Fork in the Road, the book Paul P wrote when he became ill with heart disease, but I gave it a friend who had a heart attack and had to learn to cook low fat dishes. Now I'm older and more inclined to think about how to cut the fat in our diets I wish I had that cookbook back! I might try the library. But this might answer an earlier poster who was concerned about the oceans of butter in cajun and creole cuisine.

            1. re: ginnyhw
              Gio RE: ginnyhw Jan 8, 2008 03:50 AM

              FORK IN THE ROAD is a vastly different book than LOUISANA KITCHEN. When I met Chef Prudhomme at a book signing in 1991 he was so big he couldn't walk. He had to use an electric wheelchair to get to where we were waiting. A few years later I saw him on TV and it looked as if he had lost 200 pounds. Still the happy and vibrant personality,,,,obviously he practiced what he preached. He signed my books:
              Live long
              Laugh long
              Love long......

          2. k
            karykat RE: JoanN Jan 7, 2008 10:10 AM

            I would love to cook from a New Orleans book. Going to Jazz Fest in May and it's not too early to get in the mood. I support Susan Spicer's CRESCENT CITY COOKING. It's New Orleans cooking with a little different twist. I've made one thing from this book (a semolina cake with a sour cherry compote and a pistachio cream sauce) and it was unbelievable. Really different and good. Everyone just loved it. So I have very high hopes for the rest of this book.

            1. Candy RE: JoanN Jan 7, 2008 07:33 PM

              I know I am one of the lone voices begging for Frank Stitts book, but it is is fine with so few losers it just has to make it sometime. It is truly one of my favorites and most of my cooking group uses it regularily. Can't go wrong here peeeps!

              1. The Chowhound Team RE: JoanN Jan 8, 2008 03:54 AM

                A gentle reminder - please help JoanN with this thread by following her request for making recommendations:

                "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 the above” 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."

                1. b
                  Babs RE: JoanN Jan 8, 2008 06:46 AM

                  I would also like to endorse Susan Spicer, Crescent City Cooking. Got it for Christmas but haven't made anything from it yet, still reading. Her restaurant Bayona is our favorite in New Orleans.

                  1. pikawicca RE: JoanN Jan 9, 2008 05:00 PM

                    I have to say that I think this has the lowest response of any COTM post. I think the topic is not appealing to many.

                    1. Rubee RE: JoanN Jan 10, 2008 06:16 AM

                      My vote is one I've had for a long time, but can't remember if I've ever cooked from it, so February would be a good opportunity. I like the variety - from Sopa de Albondigas and Huevos Rancheros, to Gumbo and Etouffe.

                      CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S SEASONED AMERICA

                      1. k
                        Karen_Schaffer RE: JoanN Jan 10, 2008 07:47 AM

                        CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN
                        CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S FORK IN THE ROAD
                        or
                        CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME -- chef focus, all of his books

                        I'd love to cook more from either (or both) of these books. I adore the Barbecued Shrimp recipe from LK, although I always use way less butter than he calls for (I use more broth instead). I love the complex mixes of spices tailored to each dish that he calls for (progenitors of his premade Magic mixes).

                        How about doing any Prudhomme book, not limiting it to a specific one, like the Juila Child focus?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                          Gio RE: Karen_Schaffer Jan 10, 2008 07:54 AM

                          That's a great idea Karen. Laissez les bons temps rouler !!

                        2. beetlebug RE: JoanN Jan 10, 2008 07:50 AM

                          I think this is a very clever idea for February. I have no suggestions as I haven't delved into any of these authors but I look forward to the voting. Thanks JoanN.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: beetlebug
                            k
                            karykat RE: beetlebug Jan 10, 2008 08:37 AM

                            Can I jump in again? For people who may not be enthusiastic about a Mardi Gras based book, think about the Susan Spicer book. It is Louisiana and New Orleans inspired, but not slavish to it. In leafing through the book, I saw that many of the recipes are not based on the "trinity" with peppers. So her recipes are not the usual standards, but still influenced by the area. Just a thought.

                            1. re: karykat
                              beetlebug RE: karykat Jan 10, 2008 09:01 AM

                              You may have misread my post. I am enthusiastic about this subject - I also think it's a clever idea.

                              I just don't have any suggestions for a specific book since I haven't cooked from any of the above authors. I have no basis of knowledge to wax poetically about any of the cookbooks. Instead, I see this as an opportunity to explore a new cuisine/author. Kind of the way the Rick Bayless COTM caused me to learn about cooking mexican food instead of just eating it in a restaurant.

                              That's why I am looking forwards to the VOTING thread v. the SUGGESTION thread.

                              1. re: beetlebug
                                k
                                karykat RE: beetlebug Jan 10, 2008 09:25 AM

                                I was responding to an earlier post. And am new to this so I may not be following all protocols.

                                1. re: karykat
                                  beetlebug RE: karykat Jan 10, 2008 09:43 AM

                                  NP.

                                  FYI, if you look a little lower, on the bottom right hand side, there is a "Reply to the original post" link. Otherwise, you'll reply to the last poster.

                                  Welcome to the HC board. ;-)

                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                    k
                                    karykat RE: beetlebug Jan 10, 2008 09:56 AM

                                    I will watch that. Thanks!

                          2. NYchowcook RE: JoanN Jan 11, 2008 03:40 AM

                            I would love a suggestion for a Central American cookbook! (I don't have any such suggestions, but will endorse the books below)

                            GULF COAST KITCHEN: bright flavors from Key West to the Yucatan
                            by Constance Snow
                            FRANK STITT'S SOUTHERN TABLE -- a pioneer and I'd love inspiration to wade into the book
                            CRESCENT CITY COOKING by Susan Spicer

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: NYchowcook
                              Katie Nell RE: NYchowcook Jan 11, 2008 07:54 AM

                              I will second (or third?) FRANK STITT'S SOUTHERN TABLE. I just got it for $9.98 at B&N and am excited about it! I can't wait to try my first pimento cheese spread!

                            2. maplesugar RE: JoanN Jan 11, 2008 06:34 AM

                              FWIW I was just telling DH I'd like to explore Creole... I did a quick check on chapters.indigo.ca and both:
                              CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN(but unfortunately not Fork in the Road) and
                              SUSAN SPICER'S CRESCENT CITY COOKING are available...
                              I'm wondering which of the two have a lighter take (in terms of fat and calories not spice) on their food? Trying to ahem watch the scale go down not up.

                              Well, that's my $0.02 :)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: maplesugar
                                z
                                zataar RE: maplesugar Jan 11, 2008 07:01 PM

                                Frank Stitt's Southern Table gets my vote.

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