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Which cookbooks are you giving to family and friends this season? On my list are Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita, Baked, and Malgieri's Modern Baker. Any other new tried and fab?

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  1. Last year my husband gave me a copy of ExtraVeganZa and I gave copies to my sister and sister-in-law (I was pretty sure he was getting it for me since we had looked at it together.

    1. I am giving Desserts by the Yard and Cooking suvide (sp?)

      15 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        I gave my sister - don't think she's reading along - a note book full of favorite recipes that I've typed up and simplified for her, many from COTMs. Haven't given any other books, but asked for the Zuni book and the Platter of Figs book.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Wow, that is SUCH a thoughtful gift. Your sister is very lucky.

          I asked for More Roast Chicken. The only cookbook I'm giving is Flexitarian to a vegetarian friend who has just gotten back into cooking after a few years.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Thanks - I'm open to other suggestions of recipes - I only did about 25 recipes, but want to keep adding to it for her. She's getting better at cooking, but doesn't have lots of time to dedicate to it, doesn't eat fish, and the only cooked vegetables she'll eat are potatoes, corn and green beans. Her husband is a reed and will eat most things. She likes to make casseroles on the weekends for the week, so if any one has any favorites, I'd sure be interested in seeing them, as that's not something I make. I did things like roast chicken, various pasta sauces, some salads, a pork loin roast, some of ChrisVR's "dirty dessert" recipes, Marcella's chickpea/tomato/rosemary soup, several roast potato and mashed potato recipes, a couple of corn salad/relishes, some other relishes, Pimiento cheese, those Batali mozzarella sandwiches, and the Flexitarian sundried tomato one. I tried to simplify the recipes, indicate where she could omit certain expensive ingredients (like saffron from the Well's prune/pear compote), etc.

            You have to make the duck soup from the More Roast Chicken book.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Something that comes immediately to mind (given what she likes to eat) is the Molto Italiano recipe for pasta with potatoes, green beans and pesto (I myself cheated and used store bought pesto so you can tell her to do same - it worked just fine). We liked it very much.

              I'm *really* going to have to find a duck source ...

              1. re: LulusMom

                Thanks - I'll paraphrase and send that one along! And try it myself!

          2. re: MMRuth

            I'm having a lot of fun assembling recipes as gifts with Tastebook right now--it's not as personal as what you're doing, but it is a pretty slick tool and you can add in photos, which is fun...

            To answer the OP, "Italian Pie" and "All About Braising". If I thought Santa would hear my plea for more cookbooks, I'd ask for Platter of Figs, Weight Watchers New Cookbook (yep, honestly), Peterson's (or is it Patterson's?) "Fish and Shellfish, " "All About Braising", Cradle of Flavor, and anything by "Alford and Duguid"...


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I've found that Santa hears my plea when I put together an Amazon wish list. I didn't realize that people were using it, but when I got a couple of obscure books last year for Christmas, I was like, "Oh, my god! How did you know I wanted this book!!!!" The I felt like an idiot when I realized that they had just searched Amazon!

                1. re: roxlet

                  Oh, I found out about the Ottolenghi cookbook, available at Amazon UK, sent Santa (DH) a request, it arrived in less than a week. Showed it to a co-worker and she had to have it too. Measurements are metric but so what. 2 yrs. ago in London I had to walk past their Kensington take out shop at least twice day. Gorgeous book and gorgeous food. Now that the L is not so dear I am getting ready to plan a new trip, in the meantime I can cook their food.

                  1. re: Candy

                    I picked this one up on the recommendation of fellow chowhound greedygirl, and am really excited about cooking from it. Let us know if you find particular favorites.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      The Red Rice and Quinoa with Orange and Pistachios is killer!

                    2. re: Candy

                      I LOVE that book and have made a few things from it. The chicken with sumac is delicious and simple to make, as is the radish and broad bean salad. I've also made the killer pistachio and rosewater meringues.

                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                    The Nov 24 New Yorker - their annual Food Issue - has an interesting profile of Alford and Duguid. Also long pieces on innovations in knife design, localvore cuisine in China, and searching for the perfect brodetto.

                  3. re: MMRuth

                    Last year I gave my sister Bittman's How to Cook Everything in an effor to minimize those desperate phone calls at dinner time asking: how do I cook . . . .
                    Now she still calls, and I tell her: it's in your cookbook. But I often tell her anyway. I just try not to grind my teeth as she tells me every single night she's steaming asparagus. Egads, miss the fall greens -- kale, bok choi, cabbage! Pains me.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      And I'm very happy to have received the Zuni book - have been browsing through it today. Merry Christmas to all.

                  4. We received "Hippy Gourmet's Quick and Simple Cookbook for Healthy Eating" by Bruce Brennan and James Ehrlich, "Rawthentic Recipes": James Schafter Family Recipes, and "Pure and Simple" by Tami A. Benton

                    1. Oh, Santa came in with an unexpected bonus. Nigel Slater's "Eating for England". Not a cookbook but a bunch of food related essays. My day off tomorrow will be preoccupied with it.

                      1. My husband gave me a copy of the Alinea cookbook. I may never forgive him.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: jlafler

                          Hey, I got that Alinea book too! Not sure what to make of it yet - I know nothing about it or the restaurant but I guess that's about to change. Also got Zuni, which I love. Also Jamie Oliver in Italy and Gordon Ramsey Quick Cooking (or something like that), I don't love the ego stuff, but there's a few good looking things in the Oliver one. I don't see the point of Ramsey.

                          Anyway, that's a lot of cookbooks even by my standards, so I guess Beyond the Great Wall will have to wait - I'm running out of space.

                          1. re: waver

                            If you enjoyed chemistry lab, you'll probably love it. The discussion of equipment needed to do the recipes is a hoot.

                            I love the Zuni cookbook, though I've only made a few things out of it. The roast chicken is canonical.

                            1. re: waver

                              I've made quite a few Ramsay recipes and they always come out well, so don't dismiss him out of hand as he's a very talented chef. The lobster spaghetti out of that quick cooking book you mention (which I think must be Gordon Ramsay Easy) is very good, and the scrambled eggs method has changed my life!

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Are you familiar with his "Kitchen Heaven" book? I gather these are the recipes he developed for restaurants that were featured in the British version of "Kitchen Nightmares." A friend brought it from London for me and I've never cooked from it, only partially because of the metric measurements. If his recipes are good, though, I'll deal with the metric.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  I don't have that one, but have several others and like them. I made his honey roast ham on Boxing Day and it was fabulous. It surprises me that so many people on Chowhound are dismissive of Ramsay - probably because the American version of Kitchen Nightmares is so dire.

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    I don't hate him or discount his talent, I just think he's a rather overexposed and I am also disgusted in the shenanigans in his personal life, which shouldn't matter to his cooking except his books are such glossy glorifications of him that it's hard to set that aside. Having said that, if there's a great recipe in there I'll certainly give it a go, so thanks for the tips.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      The American version is pretty darned bad, and he seems like a totally different person from the man on the British version (as in on your version he seems like he actually wants to help people and here it just seems like he's in it for the freakshow). Also, on the show Hell's Kitchen, he seems to distain any sort of spiciness, which is a bit of a turn off for me. That said, I'd love to eat in one of his restaurants.

                            2. I received a copy of the Da Silvano Cookbook, which I knew nothing about. My husband got it from the publisher and passed it along to me in my Xmas pile. It's an old-ish book, published in 2001 I believe, but we are both smitten with it. For those of you not from NYC, Da Silvano is a restaurant in Greenwich Village that is the occasional haunt of celebrities and thus, sometimes written about in gossip rags. The book turns out to be an absolutely lovely and simple Tuscan cookbook of a type that is rare these days. There are no exotic ingredients or special tools needed to make this food, which is, in itself, rare. The food and recipes are accessible and simple enough to make without planning ahead and making a special trip to the market. We plan to cook from it a lot. I have no idea whether this book is even still in print, but for fans of simple Italian food, it is absolutely worth taking a look at!

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: roxlet

                                Because this is a book I'm interested in I just did a quick Google and ecookbooks.com has it in stock. A $40.00 book for.... $9.98. Can't beat that!!!

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I hope you enjoy it as much as we are!

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Hah! Gio. You always get me into cookbook trouble. Thank you. I shall return the favor.

                                    While you’re at Jessica’s Biscuit, notice these three by Tournabene:
                                    100 Ways To Be Pasta
                                    Sicilian Home Cooking
                                    La Cucina Siciliana Di Gangivecchi
                                    Two of the three are James Beard Award winners.

                                    While I was there, I bumpt into this one:
                                    Piano, Piano, Pieno
                                    It looks very interesting to me.

                                    I guess I just ordered some late Christmas presents.

                                    Merry and Happy and Be Well in the new year.

                                    PS~ My DW left me stranded for an hour and a half a few weeks ago. It was a dark, cold, and stormy day. I was forced, FORCED, to seek shelter, succor, safety in a used book store. Forced. I found Rao's Cookbook for $12 and Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories for $12.50.

                                    1. re: yayadave

                                      YAYAYAYA..... I missed ya.

                                      I just couldn't help it. The price of that book, I mean. Thanks for the other recs.
                                      The 3 Ps looked interesting to me too.

                                      May 2009 be your best year evah!!! Happy Happy.

                                      1. re: yayadave

                                        Have you cooked from Rao's cookbook yet?
                                        The shrimp scampi-ish dish is divine. As I recall you semi-fry the shrimp and then load in tomato sauce and eat very very happily w/ pasta. And then again and again.

                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                          I did the recipe for baccala. It's the right stuff, but I needed the experience of making it once. Next time will be better. What I did was not wrong, but now I will do it better. That speaks more to my cooking skills than the cookbook. I probably would not have done this recipe but we were shopping at the Strip in Pittsburgh and someone said "Let's do baccala" and I found a piece in my basket. When we got home, we looked through several books and I liked that recipe.

                                          With less commotion from the holidays and with a little more planning, I think I'd go for shrimp another time. Rao's Cookbook has six shrimp recipes and I may have to try all of them, they look so good.

                                          1. re: yayadave

                                            I found Rao's Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe online for those who wonder if the book is worth it. (I paid regular price at ecookbooks, and I say: yes)
                                            shrimp fried in olive oil w/ garlic. What's not to like? Mmmm.

                                    2. re: roxlet

                                      I have the Da Silvano book but I haven't really cooked from it. I'd love to start. Are there recipes you would particularly recommend?

                                      1. re: NYCkaren

                                        We have not yet begun cooking from this book, but take a look at the pastas, soups and risottos in particular. That is where I plan to start once I'm done cooking for my New Year's Day Open house for 100!

                                    3. I was visiting family down in the DC area. There was a Borders book store, going out of business. All books were 40% off. I showed remarkable restraint and only purchased two cookbooks. Huge leaps of faith because I hadn't even borrowed or tested library copies. But, I read favorable reviews on this board. My lucky finds were, Platter of Figs and Cradle of Flavor. I remember hounds (maybe Mirage?) raving about Cradle of Flavor. My arm never shot out to a shelf so fast when I saw this buried under the Rachel Ray books.

                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                        I got Cradle of Flavor too. Maybe we can lead a groundswell to make it CoTM soon...

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          I recommended it for last October (and I think September as well). It got quite a few seconds, but not quite enough. I think people were a bit tired of Asian and wanted to try something else.

                                          I have the book, have even bought a bunch of ingredients for it, but haven't gotten around to trying anything yet. I'm sure we could get a good groundswell going, perhaps in March? I suspect people a still going to want more winter-like food in February. Can we start a conspiracy and just hijack one of the suggestion threads?

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            I too, really want to do CofF, though, my library doesn't have it so I'll have to violate my so-new-it's-not-even-in-effect-yet ban on buying new cookbooks in 2009...

                                            But, I really want to do Sally Schneider "A New Way To Cook" in February to help "lighten" up my diet. New Years resolution and such. THEN do CofF in March.

                                            But, I suppose Feb for CofF would be great, too because, technically, I can cook from ANWTC anytime since I already own it.


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I wanted to get back into the swing of things so I ordered A New Way to Cook right before Christmas for like $1.35 or something like that! I hope that one gets selected for COTM soon!

                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                Now that's embarrassing! I paid $2 for it and $3 s & h.

                                                1. re: yayadave

                                                  Well, I did have to pay the $3 for shipping, but I don't count that when I tell my husband how much it was! He's much more impressed without shipping costs attached! Heh, heh!

                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                    Oh goody, I'll join the conspiracy... I've had ANWTC for a few months now and turn to it when I'm stumped for something to cook from the pantry. It was cheap, cheap, cheap. My kind of cookbook...after all these years.

                                                    Just don'r mention the books I ordered today to D H.

                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                On the advice of all the posters, I've ordered "A New Way To Cook," and I can't wait until it arrives. I am doing The South Beach Diet, and I am wondering if ANWTC has recipes that can be adapted for low-carb cooking -- or maybe that is what it is? I've yet to find any "diet" or low carb cookbook that is inspirational at all. I'm looking for recipes with big flavors even though some ingredients may be limited. ANyone have any thoughts on this?

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  Ha! Love it. I have a conspiracy of my own, which is called Ottolenghi.... ;-)

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      Not quite your own. You have me and Picawicca in on it, and also someone who works with me but is not a poster on CH. She saw my copy and had to have a copy of the book too. I don't know how many copies of the book have made it to the US but 3 are here in Bloomington, In. I'm just frustrated I can only read it at the moment. Surgery on my hand yesterday will keep me from doing much cooking for a few weeks. but, it is great to read and plan what I'll be preparing in the future.

                                              3. re: beetlebug

                                                Oh, beetlebug -

                                                You will love Cradle of Flavor. I bought some of the more difficult-to-find ingredients at indomart.us

                                                Everything I've made has been really good:

                                                Javanese Cucumber and Carrot Pickle (excellent w/Satay)
                                                Beef Satay
                                                Lemongrass-Scented Coconut Rice
                                                SttirFried Water Spinach
                                                Green Beans w/Coconut Milk (still don't like green beans, but loved the sauce!)
                                                Kevin's Spiced Roast Chicken w/Potatoes
                                                Javanese Grilled Chicken
                                                Beef Rendang
                                                Indonesian Spice Cake (you've had that)

                                                I've marked off MANY more recipes I want to try.

                                              4. Aromas of Aleppo, a beautiful volume on Mid East cooking.