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I've now counted up the votes for next month's COTM and they are as follows:

Penelope Casas wins in a landslide with 14 votes! I combined the votes for all her books and, because of numerous suggestions that 3 of her books be included as the COTM, I have added all the votes for Casas together.

PENELOPE CASAS (Food and Wine of Spain, Tapas, Delicioso and La Cocina di Mama)

14 votes.

CRESCENT CITY by Spicer, 5 votes
RIVER CAFE BOOKS, by Rogers and Grey, 4 votes
BATALI, 1 vote

Vamos a la cocina!!

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  1. Excellent! I've been so looking forward to delving into Spanish cuisine, so I'm really excited about exploring Casas. Just ordered her books (updated Tapas and La Cocina discounted at Jessicasbiscuit.com, and a used but "like new" Food and Wine of Spain from Amazon - $10.00). I forgot about Delicioso...hmm.....

    BTW, highly recommend Latienda.com for Spanish ingredients - I've always been impressed with the selection and high quality of products from this site. Keeping my fingers crossed that they will have Pimientos de Padrón available the first week of June, as they did last year, just in time for Spanish tapas with the Home Cooking Board.

    Pimientos de Padrón (I'm addicted to these Spanish peppers ever since enjoying them at Prezza in Boston):


    1 Reply
    1. re: Rubee

      I agree - latienda.com is wonderful and the family that runs it is very helpful. I've been to their store in Williamsburg, VA a couple of times.

      For those in Manhattan, Despana on Broome Street is a great place, and there is a Despana in Queens as well.


      This will also be a fun month to focus on Spanish wines, sherries, etc.

    2. Thanks oakjoan! I've never cooked anything Spanish before this so it will be a learning experience for me. Just ordered La Cucina De Mama from Jessica's at a pretty good price...$17.97.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Just load up on garlic and parsley and you'll be set! Delicioso is one of my "standard" books, along with Marcella & JC, though I'll probably buy one of the other ones. Time to start looking for on line recipes!

        1. re: MMRuth

          Oh terrific! I have a load of Italian parsley already up and growing in the garden.... and garlic is always at hand althoiugh this is the first time in a long while I don't have it in the garden. :-(

          1. re: MMRuth

            I bought Tapas and have requested La Cocina de mama and Food and Wine of Spain (it's older --1982) from the library. Publisher's Weekly raves about drop-dead delicious recipes from La Cocina; the library does not have Delicioso, but they do have a paella book.
            I just can't buy another book -- since my Jessica's Biscuit (large) order is en route -- unless you tell me Delicioso is a must have. In that case we'll just avoid the "a" word (as in cookbook addiction) and I'll simply buy another bookcase!

            I am so excited! I've already poured over the Tapas book (and confess I have one recipe under my belt in the refrigerator -- which I'll wait to post on until June) and many more tabbed to go! yea!! There's actually a section in the back w/ menu suggestions, including how to make an entire meal on Tapas based on different themes.

            1. re: NYchowcook

              LOL.... I see that I called the book I bought La Cucina - instead of La Cocina. I have to move from one country to the other in my brain.....

              1. re: Gio

                LOL Gio! And you have to remember that it's la coseena rather than la cocheena.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  Or, since it's Spain, cotheena!

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Oooh, folks in other parts of Spain would strongly disagree with that. It would be difeetheel for them to accept.

                    By the way, I have a partial list of links already prepped and will post tomorrow. Just announcing to avoid dupes and extra work.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      That would be wonderful, oakjoan! Since I *think* I'll be cooking only from La Cocina I would love to see the recipes her other books hold.
                      Very grateful to you am I.....

                      Edit: I see that NYchowcook has a list of recipes below......

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        Just checked w/ my husband and he said it's a "softer" "thee" than the "z" in Spain, fwiw.

              2. re: MMRuth

                Do you have any favorite seafood/fish recipes from Delicioso? I hope to get a chance to look at it and F&W of Spain today, but would love some inside tips.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I don't have Delicioso, but I've been cooking from F&WoS for quite some time. The Paella a la Valenciana is one of my go-to party dishes and I've been told by a friend who spends quite a bit of time in Spain that this one is as good if not better than any he's had there. When the picks and pans thread goes up, I'll post some minor modifications I've made to the recipe that make it even easier to do ahead.

                  The Shrimp in Green Sauce, Shrimp in Sherry Sauce, and Prawns in Garlic sauce are all easy and really good. The Zarzuela is only a bit more complicated and truly wonderful. I used to make the Fillet of Sole in Wine and Mushroom Sauce quite often, but it calls for 4 egg yolks so I don't make it much any more. I love the Butterflied Porgy, Bilbao Style--another fairly simple, quick prep. And there are quite a few shellfish recipes in the Tapas chapter that are terrific, too. Come to think, I've never made a fish or shellfish recipe from this book that I didn't think worthy of doing again and only a very few are the least complicated and practically none require unusual ingredients.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Wow, wonderfully helpful post. I'm going to go soak in F&W and Delicioso now. Thanks so much for the suggestions.

                    1. re: MMRuth


                      Anchovy & Avocado Canape, p. 31 - amazing
                      Clams in Garlic & Wine, p. 33
                      Clams in Almond Sauce, p. 34
                      Garlic Shrimp, p. 39
                      Shrimp Pancakes, p. 41 (says "excellent!" in pencil next to it!)
                      Grilled Squid in Vinaigrette ("v. good"), p. 47 - a long time favorite

                      Main Course:

                      Clams with Rice, p. 79
                      Salmon Trout with Clams, p. 89 ("Favorite", in pencil)
                      Hake with Clams in Wine and Parsley Sauce, p. 91
                      Monkfish in Almond & Hazelnut Sauce, p. 195
                      Chicken & Shrimp in Almond & Hazelnut Sauce, p. 205
                      Fish Baked in Salt, p. 360

                      Going through the book makes me realize how many recipes I haven't tried.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Fantastic. I only got through F&W yesterday afternoon, so today I'll look through Delicioso. I love the sound of anchovy and avocado together - so unusual, but I love both.
                        Thank so much.

              3. Wonderful! I can't wait. I've picked up cheap used copies of Tapas and F&WofS, which should be a good start anyway...


                1. Ummm, what is this COMT thing exactly?

                  I have been obsessing about Spanish tapas this month, but I am not sure how this works? Did I have to sign up for something?

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: moh

                    moh... no siging up....it's just folks who would like to increase their knowledge of world cuisines and try to, or agree to, cook some meals from a specific cookbook during the month and eat well in the bargain. A report of the dish you made and other comments are greatly encouraged. I lurked for a few months before I actually cooked along. There are past threads about other books which are helpful but really it's quite simple. Many folks get the books from their local library instead of buying a new cookbook each month....there's absolutely no pressure and you get tremendous advice and tips from others who have made either the same dish or cooked from the same book in the past.

                    Edit: I hope you join us! The input from everyone cooking along is invaluable, plus it's a lot of FUN... and who doesn't need more of That? :-)

                    1. re: moh

                      Hi moh, I'm relatively new to COTM (cookbook of the month--Casas will be my fourth month of participating), so, I don't know if I'm the best person to describe it to you, but, first of all, there's no commitment or signing up. Just jump in for all or part of the month at any time.

                      The idea is that , as a group, we choose a cookbook each month that we decide we want to cook from for the month (the Casas books are for June) and report back on. It's just a fun way to dive into a new book or a new cuisine and learn from other people's successes, mistakes, questions and so on. The COTM my first month were Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese and Land of Plenty and it was fantastically helpful to have everyone's input about how to find and use unfamiliar ingredients.

                      Please do join us!

                      All you need to do is buy or borrow (the library is a COTM's participant's best friend) a copy of the books (just one or all of them, whichever works best for you) and then, on June 1 (or anytime in June) just start cooking and reporting. We love photos, too, if you are so inclined. We also try to find links to recipes online so people who don't have access to the book for whatever reason (sometimes the books can be hard to find in the UK, for instance) can cook along.

                      oakjoan is the organizer of the COTM (bless her volunteering heart--we've had several organizers over the course of the almost 2 years we've being doing COTM, so, she's just one in a long tradition of honorable and patient souls)--on June 1 she'll post the official "Casas" threads that will be organized in some logical way... A "master" thread link to the official threads will always be stuck to the top of the forum. You can see right now the COTM of May is Berley's Flexitarian Table. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/514822 Also, starting in May, we decided we wanted to have a DCOTM (dessert COTM) that runs for TWO months. We've chosen two Alice Medrich cookbooks for May AND June. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/514831 (sometimes, like we did with Dunlop and Medrich, we choose a "combo" of cookbooks to cook from for the month or, like Casas and Julia Child, we choose a "cookbook author of the month"--this is just something that seems to happen organically during the suggestion and voting process).

                      That's pretty much it, unless you're interested in the selection process. Usually sometime midmonth, oakjoan will put up a suggestions thread for the following month where people post all their ideas for what they want to cook from. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/518751 This is your chance to make your case for the cookbook you love and ask questions about books recommended by others. It helps oakjoan if you can put your suggestions IN ALL CAPS. If you're interested in a book suggested by someone else, it's a good idea to confirm your interest (again, in ALL CAPS) because after a week or so, oakjoan will put up a voting thread where the three or four books that got the most mentions will be deemed "finalists" and asks for us to vote for just one. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/521463 Then, she'll post the winner (that's this thread we're typing in right now), so we can all acquire the book, start stocking our pantries, and choosing recipes.

                      That's about it. Please do join us. It's a lot of fun. And, again, there's no commitment. You can cook from all the books, one of the books. Post daily or just once a week or whatever suits your schedule.

                      EDIT: oh, one last thing. Don't feel like you have to be an expert cook to participate. I'm certainly not a strong cook. People have been so helpful and patient and encouraging. I'm learning a lot. Also, it's not unusual for people to need to adapt the recipes for various reasons--to be gluten free or to fit into a certain kind of diet or whatever. The community is very patient and interested in those kinds of adaptations as long as you're clear about disclosing the changes & substitutions you made.


                      1. re: moh

                        Gio & TDQ have summed it up well - it's a lot of fun, I've learned a great deal from the books as well as from other posters, and have some new favorite cookbooks that I'd probably not have explored otherwise.

                        Here's a link to a list of the books we've done so far:


                        Hope to "see you around" COTM!

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Thanks for the explanation Gio, MMRuth and TDQ! I will put in an order for Tapas and maybe one of the others, and will certainly report on a few of the recipes! I've been going a little nuts over Spanish wines and sherries recently (we have some delightful Lustau Oloroso in the house right now), the tipples are always at hand, and one must eat!

                          1. re: moh

                            I just bought Tapas and plan to peruse this evening. I like the Muga rose, for summer by the way, as well as Manzanillas and fino sherries. The Osborne is remarkably reasonable.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              MMRuth, forgive my ignorance--those are Spanish wines you are referring to? Are they discussed in the F&WofS or just ones you particularly enjoy?


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Yes - Spanish ones that I enjoy. I don't have F&WofS. Maybe we should see if there's a "well priced Spanish wines" thread on Wine, or start one!

                                Osborne is a brand of sherry - Lustau is a better brand of sherry. Manzanillas and finos are kinds of (dry) sherries.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  I love sherry. We normally have a bottle of Fino in the fridge, and we also enjoy a reasonably priced Manzanilla called La Gitana. Pedro Ximinez is one of my favourites as well, although it can be a bit pricy.


                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    I forgot about La Gitana - I like it as well, and it's reasonable here too. For finos, I also like La Ina.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Yep, that's my staple fino as well.

                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                    Ooooh --this is going to be fun!


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Or this could be a disaster :)

                                      I'll make sure that when I report on my recipes, I disclose how much sherry was consumed during the making of the dish...

                        2. I've had this thread bookmarked for a while. In it, JulietG hosted a tapas party completely from Penelope Casas' books and has pics and prep tips. Full of great ideas!

                          New Year's Eve tapas party


                          1. I've reserved F&W and Tapas from the library. To all those hounds who have cooked from the Casas books before. Is there one all around book that you can suggest that I cook from? Between my hectic June and my own semi scattered nature, I do better when I can focus on one book v. having my attention diverted to many books. Thanks.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: beetlebug

                              I've only cooked from Delicioso - the first chapter is tapas, and the rest are divided by region, with appetizers/salads/soups/main courses/desserts. It's a favorite of mine! Haven't looked at the others (yet).

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                I don't have Delicioso, just F&WoS, but reading MMRuth's list of recipes above it seems to me there may be a good deal of overlap. The recipes may go by different names, but they certainly sound as though they'd be awfully similar. F&WoS, for instance, also has Shrimp Pancakes, Clams in Wine (with plenty of garlic), Clams in Romesco (which is a kind of almond sauce), Squid in Shellfish Vinaigrette, etc., etc.

                                I often feel that for many authors, their first book is their best. Paul Prudhomme, Rick Bayless, and Mario Batali come immediately to mind. After that they're just churning them out to keep the brand alive. Of course that's not true for a lot of others: Paula Wolfert, James Peterson, Jean Anderson. It could well be that in Delicioso Casas took the opportunity to improve on some of the recipes that appeared originally in F&WoS.

                                I'm sure you'd be happy with whichever book appeals to you, and as the month goes on and we share notes perhaps we'll all get a sense of how each compares with the others.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  I may just get a copy of F&WoS so that I can compare. I think there are loads of recipes that involve various nuts that you grind up etc. and add to dishes. The funny thing is, I'd never heard of romesco until Goin!

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    I was just going to ask that - I love Goin's Romesco, have you made Casas' version to compare?

                                    I can't wait to start cooking, l'm so impatient for my books to arrive!

                                    1. re: Rubee

                                      I've not ... but there is one in Delicioso - p. 170 - may try tomorrow!

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        I love Joyce Goldstein's romesco recipe as well. Mmmm, had forgotten all about romesco...HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? It's so deelish.

                              2. wow _ I missed the voting this month. Never heard of Casas, but sounds great!

                                1. Does anyone know if I can purchase an online version of this or other cookbooks? I am currently living abroad and don't have easy access to these cookbooks but would still love to participate.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mielimato

                                    I'm not familiar with it online, but usually some participants start searching for online recipes from the author, and then post them in the master thread. I haven't started looking yet this month, but will!

                                  2. Here’s a link to a bunch of recipes online: http://www.tomhull.com/ocston/food/sr...
                                    (Search for Casas) The recipes are:

                                    Penelope Casas: Delicioso

                                    Red Bean Stew with Hot Peppers and Garlic Bread
                                    Garlic Chicken
                                    Clams in Almond Sauce
                                    Dried Cod With Tomatoes and Peppers
                                    Rice with Duck, Sausage, and Chickpeas
                                    Roasted Vegetable Canapes with Anchovy and Olive Paste
                                    Green Beans Sauteed with Cured Ham
                                    Orange Salad with Onion, Almonds, and Raisins
                                    Orange Yogurt Cake
                                    Oven Roasted Potatoes
                                    Marinated Quail Eggs
                                    Saffron Rice with Pine Nuts

                                    Penelope Casas: Paella

                                    Cheese Pate with Walnuts and Peppers
                                    Piquillo Pepper Salad with Raisins and Pine Nuts

                                    Penelope Casas: Tapas

                                    Sautéed Frogs' Legs
                                    Calves' Liver in Almond Sauce
                                    Potato Salad with Pickles and Capers
                                    Marinated Quail

                                    Baked rice w/ parsley http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ba...

                                    sauteed green beans http://wednesdaychef.typepad.com/the_...

                                    shrimp pancakes
                                    Moorish style green salad
                                    chicken and spare rib stew
                                    shrimp and avocado phyllo triangles

                                    (this is kind of a cool link – Food & Wine provides what they consider to be a few of the best recipes from the best cookbooks


                                    Bean Pebbled Paella http://www.thefoodmaven.com/diary/arc...

                                    Garlicky clam paella

                                    Mushroom and Manchego Cheese Timbale
                                    Shrimp and Zamorano Cheese Croquettes
                                    Cheese and Truffle Omelet

                                    Spanish Paella a la Valenciana
                                    (rice recipe #3) http://www.spanish-food-and-recipes.c...

                                    Spanish rice w/ clams

                                    Clams with Garlic Sauce

                                    Honey-Coated Fried Tuna

                                    Smoked Fish on Avocado Rounds

                                    stewed prunes & apricots

                                    20 Replies
                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                          Ah, NYchow: I guess I won't post the list I spoke of above after all, since these seem to be most of the same links I found yesterday. Your list wasn't posted when I first checked.

                                          Thanks for all the work!

                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            you're welcome, sorry and thank you my queen.
                                            I didn't know you were collecting when I posted.

                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                              It looks like we crossed paths on this. I am actually glad I did it too (although not as organized as yours) since I got an idea of what's on line and, since I don't have any of the books yet, will be using these sources at first.

                                              Thanks again for your work. It's much appreciated.

                                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                                I just logged on to Alibris and found several Casas books for really low prices. Some are used and some new.

                                                Delicioso can be had (prob. used) for as little as $7.97
                                                Tapas for as low as $2.14 and $6.25
                                                Foods and Wines of Spain for $5.99
                                                La Cocina de Mama for about $14

                                                These seem like very good prices and, after I look the books over in my local library tomorrow, I can decide which ones I want.

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  Those are great prices! Unfortunately her books aren't as widely available (or as cheap) in the UK. I've borrowed a copy of Tapas but this might be one where it's worth paying the shipping costs. Does anyone know how long it takes to ship from the US to England? Would I be stung for customs duty?

                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    No duty on books. Shouldn't take more than a week, I'd think.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      The website says three to four weeks, which would make the whole exercise a bit pointless! Ah well, I do have Tapas and the internet options. I don't really want to spend a lot of money on the other books as I've already got two MORO books as well as Floyd on Spain.

                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                        Too bad! I looked at the Moro book at the store yesterday and it looks v. nice as well.

                                                        I think I've posted a couple of recipes from Delicioso over the years - I'll try to look for them and post links. The lamb albondigas are terrific.

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          Amazon has it too - not as cheap, but might have better shipping:


                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            Thanks but that would probably work out the same as getting it from Amazon UK. I don't think I can justify spending £15+ on another Spanish cookery book when I have several! (I also bought two cookery books this month already - eek!)

                                                    2. re: oakjoan

                                                      As for the Tapas book, I'd caution you to check that it's the updated rather than original book.

                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                        Are there significant differences between the "original" and "updated" tapas--I have the original...


                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          The new one says that it has 50 new recipes.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            Oh, I hate to miss out on any new recipes! Oh well, if I decide I love it and want more, I guess I'll buy the revised of Tapas...


                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            In one of the blurbs I read, it mentioned that the updated book has "fifty exciting new recipes and eight full pages of new color photographs showing tapas in all their glory."

                                                            (sigh) I broke my "trying not to buy new cookbooks" rule, and bought three. I bought Cocina and Tapas new (but discounted 30-40% at JessicasBiscuit), and FWS used at Amazon for 10.40$. I'll have to check into the site Alibris Oakjoan mentioned above if I decide to get Delicioso.

                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                              I think you should look at it as community service - someone should have ALL of them so you can compare recipes for us. <grin>

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                Too bad we didn't live conveniently closer, we could consolidate and compare our books, stock up on sherry and Spanish wine, and cook blow-out meals together!

                                                                Care to visit Phoenix? ; )

                                                  2. re: NYchowcook

                                                    here are some other links i found to penelope casas recipes:

                                                    Red Pepper, Tomato, And Tuna Salad, Andalusian Style

                                                    Luisa Osborne's Shrimp Pancakes

                                                    Isabel's Vegetable Paella

                                                    Manchego Cheese Canapes With Olives And Piquillo Peppers

                                                    Mari Carmen's Orange Cake

                                                  3. I've been looking for an on-line shopping site for a paella pan, wooden spoons to eat with, saffron & Spanish olive oil, etc. PaellaPans.com seems to offer good wares. http://www.paellapans.com/index.html

                                                    Does anyone have a better site? Or, do I need any of these things or any other Spanish equipment, for that matter? It's so much easier for me to do this on the web....

                                                    38 Replies
                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      I bought my paella pan and various cazuelas at La Tienda. The cazuelas are handy and "authentic looking" but not necessary. I actually use a large oval one for roasting chicken.


                                                      You have to prep them, but then I do use mine on the burners with a flame tamer, for gambas al ajillo (sp?). You might also want to look at the www.despanabrands.com site. This is my favorite Spanish olive oil for drizzling on things - pretty reasonable for the quality and quantity:


                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        Many thanks for the links, MM. I'll definitely look into those sites. I think I even have La Tienda bookmarked..... I need another computer just for My Favorite recipe/ingredient/equipment sites....LOL

                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                        A friend brought a paella pan back from Spain for me. It has been hanging on the wall for about 10 years and I've only used it a couple of times. I hope to change that next month.

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          Just wanted to add in that paella pans are not essential to making paellas, unless you are looking to make the traditional Valencian style paellas that require a very thin layer of rice spread over a large surface area.

                                                          You can make perfectly fine paellas in a regular pot or in a cazuela or a large pan. In Andalusia, they prefer their paellas or rice dishes more ¨wet¨ so they often cook rice in a large pot. My Catalan mother-in-law cooks paellas in a cazuela or large heavy pan.

                                                          This is just to say that not having specialized equipment shouldn't stop anyone from joining in on the fun!

                                                          p.s. I also use the cazuela to roast chicken!

                                                          1. re: mielimato

                                                            Thank you for that advice, mielimato. I rather thought that was the case regarding equipment. What size cazuela would be large enough, or does it depend of the number servings being made as with the paella pan?

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              I'm sure you know this, but you need to be very careful when cooking with a cazuela on the stovetop. I managed to crack mine a few years ago by putting it on direct heat - very messy!

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                Forgive my ignorance, but I know what a paella pan is for, but what is the cazuela for?


                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  TDQ, a cazuela is an earthenware cook pot. Here's the LaTienda page with explanation and photos:

                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                  Many thanks for telling me, GG...although description of cazuelas state they can be used on a cooktop, I wondered how sturdy they are.

                                                                  So, they should not be used over a direct flame, but only in the oven. Is that right?

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Cazuelas can and are traditionally used on the stovetop. They, however, should be considered as semi-disposable. Even if they are very well cared for and maintained, they usually don't last for more than a year if used regularly.

                                                                    You need to soak new ones in water overnight. When using on stovetops, you should gradually heat them so that they are not subjected to very sudden changes in temperature. Sudden changes in heat, increases the likelihood of cracking.

                                                                    In Spain, they are pretty cheap--about 8 euros each, depending on the size. So they are affordable even though they do not last long. I don´t know how much they cost online, but it may not be really worth investing as a daily kitchen tool if the costs are high.

                                                                    That being said, I've cracked many cazuelas in my life. But I've managed to salvage them all. They've become pretty fruit holders, serving platters for non-saucy foods. I also used cracked cazuleas to roast chicken and vegetables without problems because the cracks tend to be hairline.

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      As mielimato says, it's a sudden change in heat which causes the cracking. I wouldn't use mine on the stovetop now without a heat diffuser. In fact, I tend to use them only in the oven or as serving dishes.

                                                                      I saw from some links posted earlier, that cazuelas aren't that cheap in the States, as they are in Spain, so I'm not sure that I would bother unless you really want that rustic Spanish thing!

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        Just checked online and cazuelas can cost up to $40 in the US! I didn´t realize they were so expensive...you are right to use a heat diffuser and to mainly use in the oven!

                                                                        1. re: mielimato

                                                                          Thank you for all of this information. Is a cazuela just used for general cooking purposes or is it used for a specific dish (the way, obviously, a paella pan, is used for paella)?


                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            You´d use it as you would use a saucepan to make ragouts, stews, etc.

                                                                            Since I am living in Spain now, we use the cazuela regularly because it is a fun and novel way to cook. But in terms of taste and texture, I´m not sure what you gain from cooking in a cazuela versus a regular metal pan.

                                                                            1. re: mielimato

                                                                              I use mine more often as serving dishes, though they are also useful in making small gratins for two.

                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                MMRuth, I was just reading the glossary section of Tapas and Casas mentions that one of the key features of cazuelas is that they hold heat, which I can imagine would be very helpful if you want to keep your tapas warm in their serving dishes for as long as possible... So, not only are they attractive as serving dishes, the heat-keeping qualities are important, too!


                                                                          2. re: mielimato

                                                                            I'm actually in the UK, so the cost isn't so much of a factor, but once bitten, twice shy!

                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                      It depends on the number of servings like you said. Ideally, the bigger the better as long as your burner is big enough to distribute heat evenly across a large surface area. Many stovetops in Spain are equipped with a special paella burner which has several coils of heat to cover a larger surface area. It looks something like this except it is actually apart of the stovetop: http://www.tienda.com/paella/products...

                                                                      The purpose of this method is so that you get a very thin layer of rice. You have some purists arguing that there should not be more than a couple grains of rice laying on top of each other. You get an almost toasty crunchy texture.

                                                                      Personally, I'm not a fan of this method. I prefer the saucier, soupier paella that's more popular in the south. For this, you can do it in a wide pot on a regular stovetop.

                                                                      Hope this helps!

                                                                      1. re: mielimato

                                                                        All of your responses have been invaluable, mielimato. Thank you! And thanks to greedygirl as well. I think I'll forego the cazuela but would like to get a paella pan. That should do it for this month.... now I await the arrival of LaCocina and a treasure hunt for ingredients.

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          It's worth hunting around for bargains. There's a very good Spanish speciality shop in London (and also online) called Brindisa, but the prices they charge are shocking! My local Portuguese butcher sells piquillo peppers for a fraction of the price, for example.

                                                                        2. re: mielimato

                                                                          Yes--this is very helpful. Do you know if paella can be made with brown rice?


                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            It's a bit like risotto - you *can* make it with brown rice, but it won't get the same creaminess you get with short grain rice.

                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                              Yeah, that's what I am afraid of. Brown rice and wild rice are allowed on my diet (WW core plan) but other kinds of rice are not. So, I might go ahead and try making paella with brown rice, knowing that it won't be authentic. So, here's my question, if I'm making paella (inauthentically) with brown rice, is there any point in getting a paella pan right now (eventually, when I'm off the core plan, I'll need one) since I'm already straying from one of the key requirements of authentically prepared paella?

                                                                              Or, will using a paella pan still get me a little closer to "authentic" in terms of taste and texture even though I'm using brown rice? Or will a paella pan not really make a difference (except for presentation) since I'll be using the wrong rice?


                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                TDQ, from what I understand given mielimato's responses and elsewhere, a paella pan is used when making traditional Valencian style paellas. Otherwise, any large pot can be used satisfactorily.

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  Yes, you're right! I remember mielimato's answer on that point.

                                                                                  So, if I wanted to make a Valencian style paella with brown rice, would there be any point (aside from presentation) to buying a paella pan? Or, if I'm going to use brown rice, should I just not bother trying to make Valencian style paella at all (while on my diet?)

                                                                                  I'm just trying to decide if I need a paella pan right now or if I shouldn't bother. I suppose I could wait for my copy of F&WofS to see if how many paella recipes she has that aren't Valencian (according to the index I see on Amazon, it looks like there are only two pages 177-178 devoted to Valencian paella and about 13 pages devoted to paella in general.


                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  Using brown rice may be unorthodox but there is no reason why it can't be delicious! I say go for it and let us know how it turns out!

                                                                                  Much of the flavor of paella comes from a well made stock. As long as you get that down, the flavors will still be there. I don't have a lot of experience making brown rice...the stock to rice ratio and timing may have to be adjusted.

                                                                                  Like Gio said, either way is fine. It just depends on which type of rice dish you want to go for.

                                                                                  1. re: mielimato

                                                                                    Thank you, everyone, for your input! I think I'm going to wait for my copy of F&WofS to show up before I decide if I need a paella pan and perhaps just try it in my regular pan with brown rice before deciding...

                                                                                    We do a lot of grilling on our gas grill in summer and I think paella on the grill (using a paella pan) would be a lot of fun, if it would work with brown rice.


                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    If you've got a large sauté pan, I'd use that. Your paella will probably end up more like a pilau than a paella anyway, but it will still be very tasty if you have good stock, like mielimatto says. If you're only making it for a couple of people you don't really need a huge paella pan anyway. I also think in your shoes I'd try using the technique Peter Berley uses in Flexitarian for risotto-style brown rice.

                                                                                    Off-topic, but how's your diet going, anyway? Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                      Great idea, GG for checking FT for the risotto-style brown rice! I shall have a look and see if there's some happy compromise between "authentic" and using brown rice. I don't need to be perfect, I just need (or would like to) to get close(r).

                                                                                      Thank you for asking about my diet. It's going well (I just reached another personal milestone in my weight-loss journey), but I think I'll probably be at it throughout the summer. I'm delighted that my CSA is starting up in a couple of weeks (finally!) and I've decided to buy a pressure cooker to help me with preparing all the whole grains and legumes I need to eat. I probably need to update my "core plan" recipe thread, which I haven't done since Dunlop! http://www.chowhound.com/topics/473398


                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        Good for you TDQ!!! You've proven one can eat well and still lose weight. Total props.

                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          Thank you, LulusMom. My participation in COTM has been instrumental with my twin 2008 goals of eating healthy and expanding my repertoire of healthy dishes I can cook at home. So, really, I have the COTM participants here on Chowhound to thank for their support and encouragement and for everything they've taught me!


                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          Great purchase, the pressure cooker! I made Berley's barley dish with spelt and it was too dry, BUT, the spelt came out perfectly when I pressure cooked it, AND it was very easy. Just an aside: The first batch I made burned on the bottom layer. The spelt above was okay and not ruined by the burnt flavor. Next batch I used the insert which lifts the spelt berries a little above the bottom of the cooker. Perfect.

                                                                                          Perhaps it's my electric (CURSES CURSES FIE ON YOU) stove. Does anybody else have a problem with electric stoves and pressure cookers? Or solutions?

                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                            I don't know if this would help at all, but I took a pressure cooker class and they were using a little portable induction burner that they said cost about $80 and it worked like a charm, as far as I can tell. Would that be a solution for you? I'm considering getting one just for summer cooking (because it wouldn't heat up my kitchen...)

                                                                                            EDIT: PS, thank you for the Berley/spelt tip and, also, the encouragement re: the pressure cooker. I'm a little nervous about using it (after all, who needs more PRESSURE?) and, in fact, am going to cook some beans in it tonight as my first attempt at using it.


                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              The pressure cooker is amazing and the induction helps cut the time even more. I hope that your beans were great.

                                                                                              I teach pressure cooking and even my junior college students can use it successfully. I am sure that you will do just fine.

                                                                                              If you have any problems (and it's not likely), I am sure that you can get help here on the boards.

                                                                                              1. re: The Veggie Queen

                                                                                                My beans were okay--too mushy. The book that came with the PC gave a time range and I opted for the middle of the range. Next time, I'll target the shorter end of the range. Also, I was surprised by the additional time it took to come to pressure, and then come back down from pressure naturally. I know there's no way you can elminate the time waiting to come to pressure, but, is there a rule of thumb for adjusting the cooking time (ie., for a little longer) if you want to quick-release rather than letting it it come to room temp naturally so you can reduce the amount of waiting time at the end?


                                                                                            2. re: oakjoan

                                                                                              I teach pressure cooking and use an electric stove and don't have problems with burning but you have to turn the heat from way high to way low right away. Or move the cooker off the stove until the heat goes down a bit and you still maintain pressure.

                                                                                              good luck with it.

                                                                                            3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              I'm glad to hear that you're getting there, and I find it's much easier to eat healthily during the summer, when the heat naturally cuts your appetite and all those lovely veggies are at your disposal! Hopefully you'll have achieved your goal by the time "comfort food" season comes around again...

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                One of my students just ran into me a the market and reported that she'd lost 8 pounds in the past couple of months by using the pressure cooker and eating lots more vegetables. That is just wonderful. I didn't coach her at all on what to eat but she said that she is now dividing her plate with 1/3 grains, 1/3 vegetables and 1/3 protein, and that she is working on cutting down on the animal protein part.

                                                                                                She says that she really owes a lot of it to the pressure cooker. And her husband was thrilled because she is actually doing more cooking. Go for it. And enjoy.

                                                                                                I am sure that with your CSA, and your pressure cooker, the road to weight loss will be easy to follow.

                                                                              2. All right, I've started bidding for Casas books on eBay. Don't all of you go bidding against me!

                                                                                1. I will try to cook along as time permits. May I recommend the snails that are breaded and deep fried. I like to use Panko for the breading. It makes a very yummy appetizer/hors d'ouvre. Who could resist garlic and crunch?

                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                                    I agree - who could! Glad that you're going to participate as you can! M

                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                      My husband just brought back La Cocina de Mama from the library! I looked through it and it looks really great. Especially taken by a chicken cutlet that is painted with aioli and then breaded. Perhaps tonight.

                                                                                      Anyway, the book looks beautiful and the recipes seem terrific.

                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                        Oh that's encouraging, oakjoan, since I bought sight unseen.... we shall see.

                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                          Sneak Preview Help Needed: I need to bring a dish to a gathering this Thurs , June 5. I'm thinking of bringing the Rice Salad, Barcelona Style, from TAPAS, p74. I would have to make it the evening before. Does anyone see a problem with that? T(way) IA.

                                                                                          1. re: onefineleo

                                                                                            Well ---- The Book arrived yesterday and I have my Sunday menu already...

                                                                                            1. Pollo al Jerez pg. 203
                                                                                            2. Sauted Spinach pg 74
                                                                                            3. Sherry infused potatoes pg 88
                                                                                            Can you tell I can't wait to start this month.
                                                                                            Curiosly I find the ingredients very similar with my beloved Italian.
                                                                                            Although not all that different.... All ingredients at hand or at least close by...

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              Sounds yummy! Which book are they from?

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                These are from La Cocina de Mama.... the only book I bought. I'll probably make some of the recipes from the other books that NYchowcook listed above, though.

                                                                                            2. re: onefineleo

                                                                                              My copy of Tapas is coming from the library tomorrow. I'll take a look. Hope somebody else already has it. I only have Mama's Cocina book.

                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan


                                                                                                Thanks so very much. What a book! You will love it.

                                                                                                1. re: onefineleo

                                                                                                  I think that would be fine the next day - though, I wonder, what if you added the lettuce and cucumber the day of? I'm wondering how the texture would be affected overnight, and doing that the next day wouldn't affect the flavors. Sounds delicious.

                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                    Thanks so much, MMRuth. I will do exactly that.

                                                                                              2. re: onefineleo

                                                                                                I've made the Barcelona Rice Salad before and it should be fine overnight. I'd mix the rice and dressing but leave the rest of the ingredients on top so the leafy stuff doesn't wilt too much. Other than that, it should be fine. As weird as it may seem, the salad tastes great with the mayo on top. Best of luck!

                                                                                      2. We have 3 big bookstores in town and none of them have any of her books. I won't be playing.

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          Oh that's too bad... but there are some online recipes up thread you could read.... just saying.

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            Yes, that is too bad - as Gio says, someone posted a bunch of online links - or maybe the bookstore could order one for you? Mine usually takes less than a week to get a book in for me.

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              Yes - you must have missed the post by NYChowcook above - there are more than 35 recipes she found on the Internet - plenty to try! (linked below)

                                                                                              I'm still waiting for my books to arrive, so I tried one of them this week. It was simple but very good - Ensalada Mora - a Moorish salad with a dressing flavored with cumin and smoked paprika.

                                                                                              Casas recipe links:

                                                                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                I did miss that post, Rubee. Thanks for the link.

                                                                                            2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                              you could order from ecookbooks.com
                                                                                              their prices are very reasonable. It takes a week to 12 days in my experience for the slow (free) shipping, but you could upgrade.
                                                                                              Or I and someone else posted links to many online recipes.

                                                                                            3. Well, I'm excited. Went to Despana in NYC this morning after the farmer's market and a trip to a wine store to pick up a variety of sherries and some Spanish wines. I was pleasantly surprised at some items they had that I'd not even put on my list, as I had not recalled seeing them there before. Ended up buying:

                                                                                              V. large container of Olive oil - $22
                                                                                              Piquillo Peppers (bought two different jars - one is the brand that I've bought before but has become terribly expensive - $14 a jar, the other much less expensive)
                                                                                              2 jars large green Spanish olives (one to cure, one to cook with)
                                                                                              Jamon Serrano (had some for lunch - really terrific, nutty tasting)
                                                                                              Chorizo Picante - soft, made by them in the US
                                                                                              El Palacio Chorizo - the dried one
                                                                                              Morcilla (blood sausage - making Veal Meatballs in Spicy Chorizo Sauce for dinner from Tapas and it calls for some, and I'm being brave and including it!)
                                                                                              Noras - dried sweet red peppers
                                                                                              Guindilla dried hot red peppers

                                                                                              I resisted buying Spanish sea salt, thinking that, given the number of salts I have right now, that's going just a bit too far, and already have sherry vinegar, Spanish "finishing" olive oil, and pimenton. Also picked up three jars of Clam juice at the regular market, two of which I bought, as one I dropped, leading to store wide announcements at Citarella "Clam juice on the floor, Clam juice on the floor'. They were very sweet about it though, even the guy who had to clean up.

                                                                                              Also returned my first copy of Tapas, as, I discovered, someone cut out about 30 pages of it. Now I have a "complete' one!

                                                                                              Home for lunch and, though I meant to make something from the book, realized that all the recipes I'd selected take some time etc,, so we had a plate of the chorizos and Jamon, cheeses from the farmer's market, grilled bread w/ Spanish olive oil, and my husband's take on a Peruvian dish he's had with octopus and kalamatas (his take was to boil sliced squid, mix in with sliced green olives, lemon juice and olive oil, and put in the freezer to chill until lunch was ready ;-) ). Somehow we also managed to polish off a bottle of Muga Rose that I'd also put in the freezer to chill.

                                                                                              Off to plan dinner ....

                                                                                              19 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                  Dang MMRuth! Those are lovely photos!

                                                                                                  I can't wait to start! I just got Tapas and Food and Wine of Spain!

                                                                                                  1. re: moh

                                                                                                    I know, she's a troublemaker. My books still aren't in so I just called and have Delicioso on hold at a local bookstore...can't wait to start after those pics.

                                                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                      So I have somewhat of a problem. I only have Tapas and Cocina de Mama and so cannot plan threads that are specific to the other books. I don't know how those books are set out. If one of you has Delicioso and F&W of Spain, I'd appreciate a list of their categories.

                                                                                                      So we don't get confused, please send them to my email which is on my description page here on Chowhound.

                                                                                                      Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                      PS: I think I'll make just one thread for Tapas, since there are only 4 chapters of actual recipes.

                                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                        I just emailed you the list from Delicioso, which includes one chapter on tapas.

                                                                                                        Good luck!

                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                          I also sent you a link to Amazon that shows the index for Foods & Wines of Spain.

                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                            And just before I saw MMRuth's post, I sent you an e-mail with the contents as listed in my copy of F&WoS.

                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              I now have all the tables of contents. Thanks to both of you guys.

                                                                                                              HOWEVAH: I think that to make separate threads for each book and then for each subtopic, e.g., rice, fish, etc., or Northwest Spain, Andalusia, etc. is going to make for the longest list of threads we've ever had. Since this is also the largest number of books we've had....

                                                                                                              I'm thinking of doing the following list of topics:

                                                                                                              Tapas - from all the books

                                                                                                              I then have the dilemma of choosing topics for each book (Foods and Wines of Spain: Rice Dishes, F&Wof Spain: Seafood, etc.). This quickly becomes a very long list of topics.

                                                                                                              Soooo, my idea is to just do (a) threads just naming the book and leaving it up to you guys to describe what you're cooking. or (b) threads just listing categories (Meat, Paellas, Salads, etc.) and leaving it up to you to mention the name of the book from which you're cooking.

                                                                                                              Please post any comments you may have ASAP so that I can get this done before tomorrow morning. Thanks.

                                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                I would actually prefer a single thread for each title. At the moment, I only have one book and a single thread for each would give me a much better sense of whether or not I want to add another to my collection and if so, which one.

                                                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                  I prefer option (b) above, though I also understand JoanN's reasoning. Maybe you can implore posters to make sure to mention the book to which they are referring when posting, if you decide to go that route.

                                                                                                                  Either way though, I like the idea of all tapas being in one thread, regardless of the book.

                                                                                                                  Thanks, Oakjoan .....

                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                    I'd prefer option a, organized by book.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                      JoanN and Karen Schaffer! Your wish has been granted. The threads are posted!

                                                                                                                      Joan and Melissa: thanks for your help and suggestions.

                                                                                                      2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                        Okay, I've had my own shopping trip (The Wedge in Minneapolis for you Twin Citieans who might be curious)... Some success. I found

                                                                                                        ~brown pearl rice (according to Tapas, pearl rice is the only kind of rice used in Spanish cooking. I imagine they use white pearl rice instead of the brown stuff, but I need brown rice to make it fit my diet)
                                                                                                        ~Spanish olive oil (L'Estornell from Catalonia)
                                                                                                        ~Spanish saffron

                                                                                                        I also found some Spanish red wine vinegar and some Spanish cheeses but didn't pick any up for now.

                                                                                                        My little co-op didn't have serrano ham, (I'm sure one of the bigger groceries around town will have it), so I picked up some prosciutto for tonight's dish.

                                                                                                        But, here's the thing, which variety of olives are Spanish olives? I figured it would occur to me when I was staring at all the options, but, alas it didn't.

                                                                                                        And, MMRuth, when you found these items (listed below), were they specifically made in Spain? My co-op didn't even had Spanish pimientos (though they did indeed have roasted red peppers, but not those that were a product of Spain). I assume they would be in the same place where you'd find jars of pickled vegetables and such, but, no such luck.

                                                                                                        Noras - dried sweet red peppers
                                                                                                        Guindilla dried hot red peppers

                                                                                                        Also, for any Twin Citieans looking for small clams at the Wedge, they don't really have them, except occasionally on Thursdays and Fridays in anticipation of the weekend. No worries, I'm sure Coastal Seafoods or (maybe that place in Midtown Global Market) will have them.


                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          Yes, all three peppers that you list that I bought are from Spain. I noticed, when I opened the cheaper bottle of piquillo peppers, that those peppers are already chopped up a bit - which is just fine for dishes that call for them to be chopped up - no reason to pay a premium for the whole ones, that might be stuffed for tapas, etc. I used them to make a sauce for a meatball dish and they were just fine. I wouldn't worry too much about the guindilla (just use red pepper flakes) or the Noras (I'd use dried ancho chiles, as Goin does). I didn't even have them on my list, but since I saw them and they were cheap, I bought them.

                                                                                                          The olives I bought just say "Spanish Plain Green Olives" - La Espanola brand, from Spain. I have some marinating now from the Sevilla recipe for marinated olives from Tapas. But, some sort of just plain green olives in their pits would probably be fine.

                                                                                                          The rice I have for Paella is called Bomba - short grain (but white, not brown).

                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                            Excellent, thank you! I'll keep my eyes open for some of those things at other markets, too, but this was the one that was convenient to me at that particular moment.


                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                              I normally use Calasparra rice for paella, which comes in a cute little cloth sack. I think it's the creme de la creme of Spanish rices!

                                                                                                              If you come across Forum Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar, snap it up. It's expensive, but the best red wine vinegar I've come across.

                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                I usually use Calasparra as well, mainly because it's about half the price of Bomba. But according to latienda.com, Bomba is "the ultiimate" rice for paella.


                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  That's good to know. I'll look out for it. There's a very good but outrageously expensive Spanish food shop here in London which will no doubt stock it. Might have to remortgage my house first though (oh wait, I can't - damn you Americans and your sub-prime mortgages ;-0).

                                                                                                              2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                I found bottled piquillo peppers that were whole at Berkeley Bowl in .... guess where....Berkeley. They were NOT expensive and they were not broken up. We also have The Spanish Table on San Pablo Ave., also in Berkeley for local Hounds looking for ingredients.

                                                                                                                And speaking of olives, BerkBowl also has my new favorite olives. I used to love Lucques above all others, but nobody around here carries them much anymore. So these are blue-green and almost round. Not quite as large as cerignola but almost. The color really looks weird (from another planet weird) but you get used to it. I have to thank my sister for discovering these. I plan to use these in any recipes I try calling for "Spanish olives".

                                                                                                        2. Penelope Casas died on August 11, 2013. Here is her NYTimes obituary:


                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                            That's a shame. I haven't used her books, though I've read with interest other posters' enthusiastic reports. Thanks for the obituary link; interesting to learn something of her background.

                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                Sad news indeed. Her books The Foods and Wines of Spain and Tapas had such a huge impact on me. They helped me recreate Spanish foods long before Spanish foods were as available and common as they are today.

                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                  It is sad news isn't it? May She Rest in Peace. JoanN had a thread as well yesterday.

                                                                                                                  G and I have made so many wonderful recipes from her La Cucina de Mama that recently I bought The Foods and Wine of Spain and feel compelled to cook a few recipes from it in her honor.