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JUNE COOKBOOK OF MONTH - Suggestions, etc.

The time has come, comrades, to pull on our boots and get to work choosing the next cookbook of the month.

For inspiration, the May suggestion thread is somewhere on this site and you can search for it if you feel the need. I imagine that all the other suggestion threads are also here.

This is the thread in which you may tell us of your love for "My Bakersfield Cauliflower Cookbook" or "Favorite Recipes from Denny's" or "Extremely Difficult Dishes Made With Hard To Find Ingredients"....whatever.

You may attempt to convince others of the merits or demerits of a cookbook.

I'll leave this up until May 20 (7 days) and then we'll move to the run-off.

Sorry to be late with this again, but I've been out of town twice this month and am just getting back to my chores.

Bon appetit!

Oakjoan

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  1. Here's a newcomer for a suggestion -- "White House Chef" by Walter Scheib.
    I found it a really fun read and has lots of recipes that sound very solid, delicious and scaled for the home cook. Broad range of mains, veggies, appetizers and salads. Scheib was the exec chef at the Greenbrier before getting the WH gig.

    Scheib was the Clintons' chef for 7 years, where he says he worked w/ Mrs. Clinton to showcase what's best about American food. No longer stodgy french food. There's even a cheery note from Julia Child about how she had been a guest at the White House during several administrations and that since the LBJ administration she had not been so impressed but stated that at a recent lunch at the WH she found the food delicious.

    Accessible, diverse and all recipes read: yummy! Orange, jicama and red onion salad, rack of lamb w/ peach and ginger chutney, oven roasted tomatoes and blue cheese on crispy polenta, grilled arctic char, buttermilk biscuits, jerk-spiced shrimp on corn cakes w/ mango and black bean salsa, shrimp and vegetable quesadillas.
    (Published in 2007; lots of copies not checked out in my library system)

    2 Replies
    1. re: NYchowcook

      Personally I like the idea of a book that doesn't force me to source out ingredients (I live in an area where it's a hike to get some things). The WHITE HOUSE CHEF book looks intriguing to me--

      BTW are book titles supposed to be in CAPS?

      1. re: DGresh

        Hi, DGresh: The caps are so that I can easily find the titles in your posts when I tally. It hasn't been mandatory for this first thread, but it DOES make it easier for me. In the final voting, if the vote isn't in caps, it's not counted.

    2. How about Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey: The Flavors of Sardinia. It was nominated for a Beard prize, and it is Italian cooking with a twist. A lovely book that I just received for Mother's Day...

      10 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        I've really enjoyed cooking from this. One caveat is that some of the ingredients may be difficult to find, since they are from Sardinia - I'll take a look through the book and see how often they are called for and how much I think it matters if you can't find them. The other issue may be that there are very few recipes available on line, from what I recall. Here's a thread on which I posted about my cooking from the book:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/460138

        1. re: MMRuth

          I've just gone through the book - boy am I hungry now. A lot of really beautiful seafood dishes, which I think would be wonderful in the summer. And many ways to use zucchini - just noticed a recipe for "Fettuccini with zucchin, zucchini blossoms and bottarga", which somehow I never noticed before - can't wait to make that! The list below is ingredients that might be harder to find - though plenty of recipes don't call for them, and he offers substitutes that I've tried to list as well. It may look "daunting" but I was thorough, and as I said, loads of things could be made without them, and most with just the couple of ingredients I suggest in the next paragraph.

          If I were to acquire several new ingredients for cooking for this book (available on line if not locally), I'd get: Pecorino Sardo, Bottarga, Fruttato and Saba (which I dilute when the recipe calls for the Mosto d'Uva). This is his website selling them (I've not bought anything there), but there are other on line sources too:

          http://www.gourmetsardinia.com/

          Ingredients:

          Cheeses:

          Pecorino Sardo stagionato (or other semi-aged pecorino
          )Pecorino Sardo (or other pecorino)
          Fiore Sardo ("Flower of Sardinia" cheese)
          Ricotta Salata
          Sheeps's Milk Ricotta (or other creamy ricotta cheese)
          Gorgonzola

          Condiments/Herbs:

          Fruttato EVOO - amazing olive oil from Sardinia - but a v. green/high end EVOO would be a good substitute - he recommends finding a "single orchard one.
          Mosto d'uva & Saba - I've found these in NYC - saba is the syrup made from the mosto, which is a reduction of grape must
          Mirto Liqueur - haven't looked for
          Myrtle - never found/used substitutes
          Bitter Honey/Miele Amaro - never found it
          Abbamele - "honey & pollen reduction" - I've never found this in any Italian mkts in NYC that I've been to.
          Squid ink

          Pastas/Grains:

          filindeu ("or angel hair pasta nests")
          Malloreddus (I've found it in NYC, but used other pastas shapes before I found it)
          Orecchiette
          Fregula/Fregola
          Lorighittas (or shell shaped pasta)
          Macarrones de busa pasta (or bucatini pasta)
          Sardinian Roma rice (it's a short grain risotto rice, so I'm sure one could substitute arborio)
          Pan carasau - it's a Sardinian flat bread - never looked for it - but there is a recipe for it.

          Other:

          Bottarga - pressed grey mullet roe (tuna is also available, though I prefer the grey mullet)
          Lamb or Duck prosciutto
          Durum Flour (for fresh pasta dough to make ravioli
          Salt cured cod

          1. re: MMRuth

            How sad that you never found either of the eponymous ingredients!

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              So true! Though, I could have gotten the honey on line, but there weren't any recipes that were particularly calling to me the get me to do that. Same w/ the myrtle, though I gather you can buy myrtle plants ....

            2. re: MMRuth

              I found bitter honey (miele amaro) on line by searching for it. Can't find it anywhere out here in the usual snooty gourmet shops.

                1. re: NYchowcook

                  I don't believe so, but I'll check. I think it's more like a balsamic vinegar.

                  1. re: NYchowcook

                    no alcohol in sab, it is an intensely concentrated, almost grape syrup light vinegar. It is sometimes referred to as Italian cough syrup. Fab with fruits

                    1. re: Candy

                      I just tossed some sliced strawberries with it last night - divine.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        It's also good with panna cotta.

            3. My suggestion would be Alford and Duguid's new book "Beyond the Great Wall."

              1 Reply
              1. re: Father Kitchen

                Oh yeah! I got that in April and have been slowly enjoying it. I made the Tibetan Momos last weekend, see the post on Home Cooking with photos. The Romaine salad with hot beef dressing is a snap to make and wonderful. It may be too new for many libraries to have but if you ar a D&A fan it is definitely a book to own.

              2. My suggestions are the MORO cookbooks, which specialise in Spanish/Moorish cuisine. The beauty of these books is that they combine tapas favourites with more inventive recipes from the Muslim Mediterranean. Their paellas are to die for and I've made the fiduea several times. I'd like to cook more widely from them though.

                I'd also like to nominate the RIVER CAFE EASY cookbooks which are I think known as ITALIAN EASY in the States. Simple yet sophisticated recipes using quality ingredients which are perfect for summer, and for those of us who work full-time. Authors Ruth Rogers and Rose Grey run the wildly expensive but renowned River Cafe restaurant in London - apparently their books are recommended by Mario Batali.

                6 Replies
                1. re: greedygirl

                  I'd like to use the RIVER CAFE books as well. Either of the EASY books would be a perfect seasonal segue.

                  OTOH, Father Kitchen's recommendation of BEYOND THE GREAT WALL sounds intriguing to me. Having loved the Fuchsia Dunlop books looking to other parts of Asia would be an interesting culinary journey.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    I'd love to cook more from the RIVER CAFE EASY books. I've had really good luck with the one I have (the second one, I think).

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      gg: Have you ever eaten there? I was too poor to do so last time I was in London. I also really like their books. Weren't they mentors of J. Oliver, too?

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        I haven't, sadly, but my friend says it's one of the best meals she's ever had (and her parents paid the bill!). I should go really, but it's a bit of a trek from where we live.

                        And yes, it's where Jamie Oliver was discovered. He was spotted by a BBC producer while they were doing a River Cafe cookery programme. His other mentor is Genarro Cotaldo of Passione - I really like his book of the same name.

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Passione is as great a book to cook from as a restaurant to eat in.

                          J

                      2. re: greedygirl

                        I'd like to see the RIVER CAFE EASY for June. I've seen the authors on TV and their food always sound wonderful.

                      3. Where can I find a list of recent Book of the Month winners?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hoosiercheetah

                          This posting contains the list through March 2008:

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/500030

                          April was Simon Hopkinson's Roast Chicken and other Stories
                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/503888

                        2. I would love again an Indian cookbook (Sahni and Jaffrey come up).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jsaimd

                            I would also enjoy an Indian cookbook, but I don't know who is good.

                            1. re: vmorgan

                              vmorgan: If you want info on Indian cookbooks, there are several threads here (search for Julie Sahney, Madhur Jaffrey, Yamuna Devi, Indian food, etc.)

                              You can also probably find reviews on Amazon, also searching for the above authors.

                          2. I am going to suggest Penelope Casas -- The Foods and Wine of Spain or Tapas.

                            I am also going to renew my suggestion for Elizabeth Andoh's Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen.

                            http://www.amazon.com/Washoku-Recipes...

                            If there was a new book out there like Sunday Suppers at Lucques, that would be great for this time of year. Maybe Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food?

                            1. Spanish - PENELOPE CASAS (Tapas, The Food and Wine of Spain, etc.)

                              Italian - BATALI (The Babbo Cookbook, Molto Italiano)

                              I also like the idea of a Sardinian cookbook (SWEET MYRTLE) or the MORO COOKBOOK.

                              Thanks OakJoan!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Rubee

                                I would be very, very happy w/ Penelope Casas" TAPAS. It was recently updated, and so many of the recipes are calling out: Cook me!. And Spanish seems to be the "new French".
                                Sweet Myrtle is also intriguing, and I rooted for it to be COTM in the past.

                                It seems we should not do a brand new book because of the difficulties of accessing at the library (for those of us -- not saying me -- who have, er, a cookbook collecting problem).

                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                  I'd love to do a Casas book too - but I'm going to be away for a bit of next month, and couldnt' justify buying one as cookbook of the month when I wouldn't be playing along quite as much. If it comes up another month I'll definitely vote for it though. Pure selfishness!

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    I'd love to do Spanish cuisine in July when the peppers and tomatoes and such come into season. It makes me think of Spanish food.

                                  2. re: NYchowcook

                                    I borrowed it off my friend the other day but have yet to cook from it. I think I prefer the MORO books though.

                                2. Giving another try to Mario Batali - MOLTO MARIO or BABBO COOKBOOK

                                  1. I would be thrilled with Penelope Casas TAPAS or Batali's BABBO. I was just gifted with Paul Bertolli's COOKING BY HAND and have been as riveted with it as the juiciest novel. Very beautiful book, and I'd love to cook from it, but uncertain of how accessible it is.
                                    I look forward to really participating in June after being so thrilled to finally contribute one post in the May cookbook thread. I have to make June cooking count as in July I am eating only raw so hopefully whatever is selected will be filled with amazing food =)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ArikaDawn

                                      REMEMBER! Only 3 more days to vote.

                                      For reference, here are the runoff candidates for last month:

                                      INDIAN COOKBOOKS: BOMBAY KITCHEN, MADHUR JAFFREY, JULIE SAHNI, CURRY CUISINE by THOMPSON, SREEDHARAN, et al (curries from South and Southeast Asia)

                                      MEXICAN COOKBOOKS: Diana Kennedy, and an author named only “Morgan”

                                      JAMIE OLIVER (Jamie at Home and generic “Jamie Oliver cookbooks”

                                      WORLD VEGETARIAN COOKING - Madhur Jaffrey

                                      TAPAS by P. Casas

                                      SWEET MYRTLE AND BITTER HONEY (Sardinian cooking)

                                      SPICE by Sartun

                                      RIVER CAFÉ COOKBOOKS, by Rogers and Gray (Rodgers and Grey?) (duel choice) ITALIAN EASY and ITALIAN TWO EASY (2)

                                    2. I would propose CRESCENT CITY COOKING by Susan Spicer, New Orleans chef. Her book isn't just Louisiana cooking but a mix.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: karykat

                                        yea Susan Spicer! I bought the cookbook and would love the encouragement of COTM to cook from it.
                                        (I'm lobbying from serveral fronts!)

                                      2. TAPAS by P. Casas looks yummy.

                                        1. I'll add another Vote for TAPAS!

                                          1. put me down for TAPAS, please. :o)

                                            1. How about the new THE SPLENDID TABLE'S HOW TO EAT SUPPER.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Jane917

                                                How is this cookbook? It's on my "get from the library list" (which I do with all cookbooks before I buy them?)

                                                1. re: kshankar

                                                  Lynne Rossetto Kasper has a website... Many are from the book:
                                                  Here's a link to the recipe page:
                                                  http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/...

                                              2. I like the idea of doing one of:

                                                SWEET MYRTLE & BITTER HONEY
                                                Penelope Casa's books - I have Delicioso, have cooked successfully from it a lot, but am happy to do any of them, including TAPAS
                                                MORO COOKBOOK.

                                                1. Italian Cooking in the Grand Tradition by Mary Jo Bettoja.....

                                                  Elaborate seasonal menus, suggestions for preserving, and a chapter with simple dishes.

                                                  1. Since oakjoan has said it makes her job a little harder when we post anything other than votes in the voting thread, I thought I would add my comments in this thread instead, in reply to DanaB's and greedygirls comments here http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52146...

                                                    I agree with DanaB's suggestion to expand the Casas vote to include her other cookbooks and consider her instead as the "author of the month". If one of her books were chosen for COTM it will be unlikely, I think, that we would ever do another one of her books again because there are so many other books and styles of cuisines we want to try. In fact, it's the rare occasion, I think, that we'd repeat a cookbook author (unless, I suppose, the author came out with a new book... sort of like Alfred and Duguin has done since we cooked from one of their books...).

                                                    And greedygirl, I had the opposite experience from you. I was looking at Food and Wines of Spain on Amazon to see if I wanted to vote for it and not only did I want to vote for it (and buy it), but I took notes on a couple of the recipes because I want to try them this weekend!

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    20 Replies
                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      To tag on to TDQ's comments - the Alford and Duguin book looks beautiful. But, I hope people don't vote for it this go around. It's a brand new cookbook and for those of us library users, it makes it difficult to get and renew. Maybe in 6 months of so when the book isn't so popular and more branches have had a chance to purchase it. Moreover, it's a fairly expensive book to buy as well.

                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                        I wouldn't be in favor of Alford and Duguid's new book at this time for exactly that reason, beetlebug. It's too new to be in libraries, or for someone to pick-up used, or for there to be a lot of recipes out there on the web. Anyone who wanted to participate in COTM would have to buy the book. I agree, though, that it would be great to do in 6-8 months.

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          That point came up pretty early on when we started the COTM, and I'm pretty sure everyone agreed that brand-new books just weren't practical for everyone to acquire. Also, we've done an Alford and Duguid book - Hot Sour Salty Sweet - (link below). I remember too being a bit disappointed that though fans of theirs were enthusiastic and voted for it, there were only 5-6 of us who cooked from it that month. I love their books too, but I'd rather explore authors we haven't done before, and maybe do their new book a while from now.

                                                          Hot Sour Salty Sweet
                                                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/366679

                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                            I really enjoyed cooking from HSSS. I liked that book a lot. But, I haven't bought it because it's just too big for my shelves. But, I have taken it out at least 3 times from the library since that COTM ended.

                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                              Oh, would love to know some of your favorites. I make the desserts often - the coconut sticky rice with mango, and over-ripe bananas always go into the banana shakes, though those avocado shakes are so good too.

                                                              Hmmm. I might have to pull that book out again. A couple of favorites I liked was the Thai beef jerky, and the spring rolls. I may have to make those this weekend. Now that I have a grill, I can try some of those grilled recipes too.

                                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                                Ok, it's time for me to leave LOP and look at HSSS (after all, I do have it from the library again). Looking back at past reports, I had as many misses as I did hits. There are other recipes that I never got to though and the hits were huge ones.

                                                                Here are things I want to repeat:

                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36667...

                                                                Minced pork and Lemongrass pork patties - I'm growing my own lemongrass, thai chilies and thai basil so I expect to make this in the late summer/early fall.

                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36667...

                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36667...

                                                                Egg with cellophane noodles.

                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36667...

                                                              2. re: beetlebug

                                                                I am a bad 'hound. I was going to check HSSS out of the library for a trial run because y'all spoke so highly of it. When I saw how huge it was, I decided I didn't even want to borrow it. I think their books are lovely, but I really wish they'd make them a more practical size and proportion.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  I know. And, the size makes it difficult to cook with because it takes up so much space on my table. It also annoys me because there is a lot of white space on the edges. While visually beautiful, they should decide, are these coffee table books or cookbooks. If there are going to be cookbooks, they can still make them gorgeous but with a more manageable size.

                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                    I have their book Home Baking which uses a similar format with lots of gorgeous photos mixed in with the recipes. But the recipes I've tried have been so good, that I decided, life is short, I'm going to use this book even if it gets flour and eggs on it in the kitchen.

                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                      My solution (and I love cooking from both HSSS and Mangoes & Curry Leaves) is to photocopy the recipes (I have a really cheap printer/scanner/copier at home) from my books.

                                                                2. re: Rubee

                                                                  Well, it would seem that the "no new cookbooks" rule has been lost over the months as the new Alford and Duguid book (released in the last month), is in the final running for June COTM. Maybe we should consider asking oakjoan to reinstate it?

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    I think it's a good idea since it comes up again every few months as we have new participants.

                                                                    Here's the most recent thread where it's discussed:

                                                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/426960

                                                              3. re: beetlebug

                                                                FWIW: I too was a "library user" for both Fucshia Dunlop books a few months ago but afterward bought Land of Plenty to add to my over flowing cookbook collection. There is a web site, Jessica's Biscuit, http://www.ecookbooks.com/
                                                                which sells cookbooks at discount prices. I have bought quite a few in recent months, all in brand new condition and at a price remarkably lower than most book sellers. For instance the Alford Duguid BTGW is listed at $24.00 instead of the retail $40.00. That's 40% off! It's on my list to buy next.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Jessica's Biscuit is a wonderful site and $24 is very reasonable. But, I like to test drive a cookbook before I make a commitment. As a city dweller, I have limited cookbook space and the Alford Duguid books are a bit unwieldly to buy a book on a whim.

                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                    Oh I understand perfectly, beetlebug, I must begin winnowing my collection ASAP, although I'm lucky in that I do have space to add if I choose to. I had trouble using the Frank Stitt book of a few months back. Big & Heavy! Test-driving is a v. good idea!

                                                                2. re: beetlebug

                                                                  I agree, but I looked it up and it's 24 bucks on ecookbooks.com
                                                                  My library doesn't have it yet. I'll wait.

                                                                3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  Thanks - I think I was confused, but it does seem as if Oakjoan means to include at least the two books. But it seemed to me that people were voting for a particular one, which is why I raised the issue. Thanks for bringing it over here!

                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                    That's how I interpreted it, MMRuth that a vote for Casas is a vote for the duo, but I could be wrong. But, as DanaB suggested, I would be happy to include some of Casas more current cookbooks, the entire Casas ouvre, really, if that works best for people.

                                                                    Someone (can't remember who, LulusMom, perhaps?) mentioned she was worried about the difficulties of meal-planning if the winner is only "Tapas." While I absolutely am voting for both Foods&Wine and Tapas (and the other Casas books if oakjoan is okay with that), I have to say, with summer upon us, the idea of serving tapas on a hot summer evening sounds absolutely splendid, and very Spanish, to me.

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      Yep, it was me. I love eating a meal of tapas, but the work I'm guessing is involved in a full meal of those is probably more than I can give (with 2 year old Lulu underfoot). But ... I'm thinking that the Foods and Wine book will have plenty of meal ideas, and I went ahead and got it from the library today. Yay!

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Ah, yes, it might be a challenge to do a meal of tapas while looking out for a toddler. I'm glad F&WofS will work for you. I'm very excited!

                                                                        ~TDQ