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Runoff Vote: MARCH Cookbook of the Month

Okay, so I've read your opinions, votes, and suggestions and have come up with the following:

The Fuchsia Dunlop books got the most overall votes. Some smart person (too lazy to go look to see who it is but thank you) came up with the idea of having BOTH Land of Plenty and Revolutionary Chinese as COTM. This sounds like a good idea to me. Both books concern the food of the same country, just different regions and both are by the same author. There's also a greater chance of finding recipes on-line if both books are chosen. A vote for one is a vote for both.

Mario Batali (Molto Italiano and Molto Mario) got the next highest vote count.

So vote for one or the other - Dunlop or Batali...rather two or the other....or is it two or two?

I'm going to watch a rerun of Grey's Anatomy to relax.

Happy voting.

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  1. I can't participate as I am moving and no kitchen to speak of, but just wanted to say that you are doing a great job and I really wish I could! one of these days (will be in transit for many months) !

    1 Reply
    1. re: alex8alot

      FUCHSIA DUNLOP, please. Thank you again, oakjoan. I can't wait for my first COTM to begin.

      ~TDQ

    2. Here are the links to the two preceding threads in case any one needs/wants to read more about the selections:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/492303

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/490316

      1. FUCHSIA DUNLOP

        Thanks, Joan!

        1. FUCHSIA DUNLOP

          (We haven't cooked Chinese yet and I'm excited about the Hunan book; we did Marcella for Italian.)

          1. Another vote for FUCHSIA DUNLOP! Thanks, oakjoan!

            1. You've all sold me on FUCHSIA DUNLOP. I'm putting in an order on Amazon now ... Thanks, oakjoan, for all the work.

              3 Replies
              1. re: LulusMom

                Oh do try Jesssica's Biscuit at ecookbooks.com
                I buy all my cookbooks from them, weaned off of Amazon because they're a real brick and mortar cookbook store, their prices are generally lower than Amazon and they provide great customer service (and very prompt and free shipping!)
                I just ordered the non-Hunan Dunlop book from them (hoping it's the COTM), oh and 2 others!

                1. re: NYchowcook

                  Besides having great prices and free shipping (if I buy a cookbook at $21 and it doesn't reach the $25 minimum for free shipping, I typically will buy a bag of coffee for about the same price as the shipping costs) Jessica's Biscuit is the sister company to the New England Mobile Bookfair, a large independent book store in Massachusetts.

                  http://www.ecookbooks.com/

                  1. re: NYchowcook

                    Thanks for the heads up, I'll be sure to look into ecookbooks, but I have a huge (thank you, thank you, wonderful LulusDad) gift certificate on amazon to help me get through the year with my book and cookbook addictions.

                  1. FUCHSIA DUNLOP (although I'd like to do Batali some other time). Thanks for doing both books. I have them on request at my library, yay!

                    1. I've been wanting to do a Chinese cookbook since we started this project, so my vote goes for FUCHSIA DUNLOP.

                      1. I'm surfing the tidal wave that is DUNLOP Duo
                        (and look forward to voting for Mr Batali in the future)

                        1. FUSCHIA DUNLOP gets my vote.

                            1. DUNLOP gets my vote.

                              I have Revolutionary Chinese Cooking home from the library right now so maybe I'll actually get the courage up to participate, even though I'm much less experienced/skilled than the rest of you.

                              Oakjoan, what an undertaking! Thanks for doing this.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: fern

                                Fern, I'm new to COTM, too, and by no means a confident or skilled cook (or baker--for anyone who saw my disasterous posts in the Elvis cake thread.) Please take the COTM plunge, and we can be new at this together!

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Thanks TDQ and beetlebug! Alright, I'll give it a go. I always learn so much here, I suppose there is only much, much more to learn by actually cooking with you.
                                  also, I love the idea of reading about your ww modifications. I think many of us modify to suit and I do have a few lbs to lose. Will be helppful to see what works and what doesn't.

                                2. re: fern

                                  Also, from my recollection, the directions in Dunlop's LOP are pretty good. I can't see her doing a poor job in the Hunan cookbook. Regardless, whether the dishes succeed or not will help the rest of us reading along. I can't even quantify the tips from other COTM threads about certain dishes.

                                3. I guess it's a good thing that last week I reserved both DUNLOP books from my library. Looking forward to it. Thanks, oakjoan.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Looks like I'm the second person to hold the dunlop books on the NY Public Library system. I've been so busy that I haven't been able to participate in COTM for a long while. Here's to March and DUNLOP. Thanks, oakjoan!

                                  2. woo hoo--I'm starting to receive notices from the library that the cookbooks I've put on hold are in. I'm not sure I can get down there tonight, but I think I can get them tomorrow night and start picking out receipes.

                                    One question, for oakjoan, and my apologies that I haven't been following the COTM threads closely enough in the past to already know the answer, but since I am currently following Weight Watchers Core Plan, I will likely end up having to modify some of the recipes (to exchange white rice for brown or to reduce the amount of oil, etc.) to make it fit the core plan. Is that going to be a problem if I post about those in the regular COTM threads--should I set up a separate COTM thread for "core plan" modifications? Should I just participate "silently" on those occasions where I modify the recipe and only post results when I follow the recipe exactly? I know you all have this fantastic structure where you set up a mother thread and children threads, etc. and I don't want to mess things up for everyone else. oakjoan, please let me know what your preference is. Sorry for the dumb question.

                                    Thank you!

                                    ~TDQ

                                    14 Replies
                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      I don't know about oakjoan - but posters frequently tweak things and note that, so I see nothing wrong w/ your doing so on the threads oakjoan establishes.

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Personally, I think you should post all your changes and modifications within the relevant COTM thread. This way, if other people want to modify the dish, they'll have guidance from your helpful thread. Just as useful is if the modification did or didn't work and of course, how it tasted.

                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          Thank you MMRuth and beetlebug--I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't be violating the spirit of the COTM experience by modifying the recipes. It's one thing to say, the recipe called for X but my grocery store didn't have that so I sub'd Y, and another to systematically adapt all the recipes (though, it's quite possible that the recipes won't need much adapting...you never know). Of course, if oakjoan has other thoughts... Thank you! (as always)

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            The only thing I'd object to is someone saying, "This is a terrible recipe!", then revealing that they made so many substitutions that it no longer resembled the original. But I've never seen a COTM poster do that, and I sincerely doubt you would either! I agree that I'd like to see your modifications.

                                            I'm reminded of the time my aunt asked me for a recipe for a dessert I had brought to many family gatherings, then complained that it didn't taste right when she made it. On questioning, I found she had substituted cheaper or more 'convenient' ingredients for everything, including Dream Whip (that nasty, vile, powdered stuff), for real whipped cream! The whipped cream was mixed into the dessert, so it was an integral part of the recipe, not an optional topping. Yet she refused to believe that her substitutions had anything to do with it not tasting right. Unbelievable.

                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                              I agree with your first sentence to a degree. I would like to hear if the recipe didn't work because of the modifications with the distinction that it was the modifications and not the recipe itself.

                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                Re: Karen S: Actually, I think that'd be weirdly funny or interesting. Yours is certainly is interesting and I'm glad you posed it.

                                                I think COTM should be fun, interesting and provide insights and comments by the posters. You may say you absolutely HATED the Smeltburgers with Taffy Sauce or SWOONED with delight over the purple-tinted tofu modeled into the shape of the Eiffel Tower.

                                                Many people discuss changes they've made to recipes, or say a dish tasted terrible. Some cook certain dishes longer or realize that a dish was all dried out due to a cooking time that was too long.

                                                That's an important part of CTOM as far as I'm concerned.

                                                I'm getting excited as well, as my husband has just reserved Land of Plenty at our local library and I can get it today.

                                                As Jacques Pepin would say "Appy Coookeeng"

                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Please please please post. I am not on WW, but I just generally try to eat healthy and the choice of really heavy cookbooks has held me back from participating (e.g. I just couldn't do most of the Frank Stitt cookbook - there are so many other things I would want to use my discretionary empty calories on)... so I would love to hear how people adapt and how it works for them. I am sure I will be doing the same thing. and by the way I am fine with DUNLOP (BOTH BOOKS).

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              To Diary Queen: Many posters make changes to recipes due to last minute realization that they have no purslane or walnut oil, etc. No problem at all for us as long as you describe your modifications

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                "Many posters make changes to recipes due to last minute realization that they have no purslane or walnut oil, etc. " So very true!

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  Thank you everyone. I will indeed post about my experiences, making careful note of any modifications.

                                                  I flipped through Revolutionary Chinese last night (assuming that Dunlop will win because that's where the tide seems to be headed, plus the Batali book I have on hold isn't in yet...) and many of the recipes call for a lot more oil than I'm allowed on WW (I'm currently allowed 2 tsp per person per day) and many of the recipes call for 1 tsp of sesame oil and 3 TBSP of peanut oil. A few of the recipes call for less oil, so, I"m going to start with those, I think. In some cases she doesn't specify a quantity, e.g. for the General Tso's chicken she just says "peanut oil for cooking" so I'll have to figure out if that's just a little oil and therefore an okay recipe for me or it's a lot of oil (as in deep frying) and off-limits for me.

                                                  Naturally, being the apparently self-sabotaging beginning cook that I am, I was immediately attracted to one of the most difficult recipes in the book, the "yolkless eggs with shitake mushrooms" (pg 150)--ha!

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    You can always reduce the oil. Also, you have to keep in mind that three tsps. of oil is in one recipe, and its meant to serve 4.

                                                    1. re: DanaB

                                                      Yes, you're right, it's essential to keep the portions in mind. She says (pg. 43) that the recipes are meant to serve two people with 1 or 2 other dishes and rice (or four people...with 3-4 other dishes and rice). I'll be cooking for 2. So, yes, you're right, I think I'll have to cut back some of the oil if she's calling for 3 TBSP and it's supposed to serve 2 people. And, I'd probably have to choose to serve it with another dish with no oil at all, or perhaps, not from this cookbook.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        We can talk about this more, later, but you could always do steamed rice as a side, and complement it with a salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, etc.) with seasoned rice vinegar and a wee bit of oil.

                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                          Yes, please, once we start getting into the cooking, I would love advice on low-fat complementary side dishes as I have the feeling my one "primary" dish might use up my daily oil allotment.

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                1. I was between Batali's Molto Italiano or Dunlop, but since my wonderful CH friend Beetlebug is sending me DUNLOP'S LAND OF PLENTY for a housewarming gift (YAY!!), that's my vote!

                                                  1. what happened to the Batali fans??

                                                    16 Replies
                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                      I have them tied up out back of the corral. I got Lefty and Shorty keepin' an eye on them.

                                                      Actually, NYchow, I wondered the same thing. Weird.

                                                      I will certainly put Mario up for next month. I hope you'll join in on this Dunlop book month! There are lots of her recipes online, and MMRuth usually posts a big chunk of them if you don't have the book(s).

                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                        I'm so there Joan! I have my Hunan on the table, ordered LOP from ecookbooks and started making a shopping list -- peanut oil, dried shitakes, potato flour, now just what *are* salted chiles?? I will have to bring the book in to the Asian store and point at the Chinese characters to complete my list. Fuchsia does not recommend brands which is unfortunate.

                                                        My two cents: Mario maybe in a month or so (since we already did Italian a la Marcella); I'm lobbying for Peter Berley next month!

                                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                                          Maybe we could start an ingredient thread on the General Topics board - and with online resources for finding things ....

                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              Really great idea. And thanks to the poster who mentioned that most of the ingredients can be found at WF and Trader Joes.

                                                            2. re: NYchowcook

                                                              At the beginning of LOP, Dunlop has a pantry section with descriptions of the products and the corresponding chinese characters and pinyin pronounciation. For potato flour, she states that corn starch is an acceptable substitute (use 50% more cornstarch).

                                                              I think I am going to break down and buy the shaoxing wine. I've pretty much depleted my sherry stores hiccup.

                                                              Other than Asian grocery stores, I've also seen miscellaneous products at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. It's too bad we can't share some of these items...

                                                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                TO NY CHOWCOOK:

                                                                Well, I'm not sure Dunlop's salted chilis are the same as this, but Barry Foy posted some time ago giving a recipe for salted chilis.

                                                                If you search within this board for "I have discovered the universal condiment", it'll pop up.

                                                                I've made these. They're a cinch to prep and they're FABULOUS!!!

                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                  I need to get some working. It is slow and cold. A perfect cold weather projrct

                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                    okey dokey Joan.

                                                                    But we're so getting ahead of ourselves. It's still Feb and I need to push myself to go beyond Frank Stitt's (fabulous!) buttermilk vinaigrette. But it's nice to see such enthusiasm. Hope we'll be cooking up a storm of Chinese in March!

                                                                    You can relieve Lefty and Shorty of their corral duties 'bout now I reckon.

                                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                      I highly recommend making the baked oysters w/ carmelized onions - easy and so very good.

                                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                        I'm still cooking from Stitt and probably will continue to go back to it when I need a break from Chinese. I always do, especially when planning a party. But I am very happy to have the push to get into the Dunlop books. Maybe Hunan first since it is cold and snowy and that book seems to be the cure wor winter doldrums.

                                                                2. re: NYchowcook

                                                                  I am a Batali fan, but by the time I saw the vote thread it seemed to me that Dunlop was basically a done deal.

                                                                  Lefty is to die for, BTW..... :-)

                                                                  1. re: OldDog

                                                                    Ditto, OldDog.
                                                                    I pulled a few Dunlop recipes from the net and... we'll see how far I get with them.

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      Gio - when the COTM threads go up - if you still have the links - will you post them on the links thread? I'll do a search as well and add to them.

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                        Yes I will, MM...I'll be happy to.

                                                                  2. re: NYchowcook

                                                                    I'd love to do Batali another month, but I've been hankering to do a Chinese cuisine book since we started this project like 18 months ago, so I've been Dunlop all the way. Batali will have his time ;-)

                                                                  3. I'm wondering when the COTM threads will be posted. I'll be gone most of the day and evening today (the 29th), and I have many links to FD's recipes. Should I wait to post them or is OK if I make one post with all of them? This is assuming the COTM is going to be the Dunlop books......

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      Gio - if you want - you can email them to me and I'll put them in. My email is in my profile - just put Chowhound in the title.

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                        I've got both Mario and Fuchsia cookbooks standing by. Freak that I am, I've already chosen recipes from both so I won't lose any time! (I suppose I could cook from Bruni while I'm waiting, but I am so on the March train already...)

                                                                        Can't wait!

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                          OK ... we're not leaving till 12:30, but to be safe I'll e-mail them to you, MM.