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COOKBOOKS of MONTH OF JUNE: Penelope Casas

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
BEYOND THE GREAT WALL, 1 vote
INDIAN BOOK, 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):

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444356

    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.

      http://despananyc.com/
      http://www.despanabrandfoods.com/

      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

                      Tapas:

                      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...

                ~TDQ

                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.

                      ~TDQ

                      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:

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/51875...

                        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?

                              ~TDQ

                              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.

                                  http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/...

                                  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!

                                    ~TDQ

                                    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

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352187