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Feb 12, 2009 06:31 AM

**March COTM 2009** suggestion thread!

Good morning, Hounds! I'm thrilled to embark on my time as moderator of Cookbook of the Month. What an honor! I'm delighted to give back to an endeavour that has so enriched my life and -- of course -- my kitchen.

So, please excuse me as I'm a little late getting started this month with the passing of the baton... thanks oodles MMRuth! In the future I'll get this suggestion thread up right at the very start of the month, promise!

This month, we'll have an abbreviated suggestions thread, giving everyone a chance to make suggestions until the end of the day on FEBRUARY 17. That's six days for suggestions. I'll leave this thread up until February 17th, and plan to do what MMRuth did last time, which is not to have a run-off vote, unless two books are hopelessly tied. That way, participants can order the book and have it in time for March 1.


When you recommend a book, please try to mention if you've cooked from it or not, why you think it would work for COTM, and feel free to add in your own critique of the book ---- but please, please use all CAPS for your actual suggestion. I'm excited to see the ideas!

PLEASE NOTE: In order to make it easier for participants to scan others’ suggestions and for me to tabulate the results, I’d appreciate it if you would make your recommendations in the following format:

TITLE (in all caps), Author: Description of the book or reason you are recommending it (optional but preferred)

**If you want to second or third a title that someone else has already mentioned, please repeat the title, typing it in capital letters.** Just saying “I agree with So and So” may well get lost and your choice might not get counted. And the more often a particular title is mentioned, the greater the chance it will be among the finalists.

A little note -- I'm on a road trip cross-country right now (in Amarillo, Texas this morning), but I will be online each evening, so I will respond each night to any questions or concerns.

Thanks so much for participating!

*foxy fairy*

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  1. A list of past COTM, for your perusal:


    Sept - Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

    Oct - Molly Stevens, All About Braising

    Nov - Rick Bayless, One Plate at a Time

    Dec - Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours


    Jan - Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe Cookbook

    Feb - Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, Hot Sour Salty Sweet

    March - Leite's Culinaria

    April - Claudia Roden, Arabesque

    May - Suzanne Goin, Sunday Suppers at Lucques

    June - Edna Lewis, Country Cooking

    July - Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer

    August - Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby

    Sept – Patricia Wells, Vegetable Harvest

    Oct – Julia Child

    Nov – Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, The Silver Palate Cookbook

    Dec. – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook AND Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook


    Jan – Paula Wolfert, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

    Feb – Frank Stitt’s Southern Table

    Mar - Fuchsia Dunlop, Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook and Land of Plenty

    Apr – Simon Hopkinson, Roast Chicken and Other Stories

    May – Peter Berley, The Flexitarian Table

    June - Penelope Casas

    July – Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

    Aug. - Diane Kochilas, The Glorious Foods of Greece

    September - Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham and Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen

    October - Mario Batali: Babbo, Molto Italiano & Simple Italian Cooking

    November - Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food

    December '08/January '09 - Revisiting Sunday Suppers at Lucques and The Zuni Cookbook


    February '09 A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider

    5 Replies
    1. re: foxy fairy

      No suggestions, but WOW! our list is really getting long! It's impressive!

      1. re: foxy fairy

        THE NEW SPANISH TABLE by Anya Von Bremzen. Because while Casas has been done, there has not been a book dedicated to the "newer," more modern Spanish recipes. I use this book often; there is a great depth of dishes here (Book is more than 400 pages with good color pics.)

        1. re: erica

          Rats! I was just at the library today and actually saw The New Spanish Table. I didn't look at it because we'd recently done Casas. Will have to go back soon. Thanks for the info erica.

          1. re: foxy fairy

            Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian... just cuz I just purchased it and because the recipes look very promising LOL

            Thank you for doing this, Foxy Fairy!


            EDIT: oops, I responded at the wrong level.

          2. OK, I'll go first!

            FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT by Moonen & Finamore. I haven't cooked from this yet, but plan to do so on Saturday, and have a long list from the book of things I want to try. JoanN's thread on her results from it have me very excited to try it.

            4 Replies
            1. re: LulusMom

              Here's that thread in case anyone wants to persue it:


              I also have the book and like it a lot. Still ruminating about suggestions.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Thanks so much for adding that link MMRuth, meant to do that myself and then just spaced.

              2. re: LulusMom

                FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT

                Interesting selection, LLM... March is smack in the middle of Lent this year so this will indeed be handy! Past "cotms" can be referred to for side dishes. I have cooked several dishes from this book and have been very pleased with everything. I use the Montery Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch booklet when I go to buy seafood now. I'm trying to buy seafood ethically....

                Many thanks to foxy fairy for coordinating this endeavor!

                1. re: LulusMom

                  FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT -- I absolutely second this nomination. Just recommended it in response to another post, before I saw this. I've made several dishes from the book, favorite being Sauteed Char with Moroccan Spices, Lentils and Harissa Tomato Sauce. The techniques/ tips on cooking fish are extremely useful.

                2. Let me first say thanks to foxy fairy for taking over, and add that the delay was my fault, as I was tardy in forwarding some information to her! Mea culpa. Nice to be participating as a civilian again!

                  1. Fish Without A Doubt is not available in the UK and I'm wondering if that's partly because it uses a lot of fish that are specifically North American. Can anyone advise on that?

                    Anyhow, I'm going to suggest KITCHEN DIARIES by Nigel Slater. He's not that well known in the US but is one of our most celebrated food writers. Kitchen Diaries is his latest book, and it's focus is eating seasonally and simply. It is as enjoyable to read as it is to cook from.

                    I'd also like to recommend THE OTTOLENGHI COOKBOOK by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This is my standout cookbook of 2008 and I know quite a few hounds have got it already. There are also a lot of recipes online as Yotam Ottolenghi has a weekly newspaper column. This is a book for anyone who loves strong flavours, and food with a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern twist. Everything I've made from it so far has been outstanding. There are lots of creative salads and vegetarian dishes, as well as wonderful cakes (rosewater and pistachio meringues, anyone) and meat/fish dishes.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: greedygirl

                      I've really enjoyed reading Kitchen Diaries. Check your email - I'm heading to London!

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        2nd. THE OTTOLNEGHI COOKBOOK. Last trip I had to walk by their Kensington location at least twice a day. The place was mesmerizing. Ordered the book from Amazon UK in Dec. after getting a look at Pikawicca's copy. Wow what a book! Now available in the US. I am going to make that orange polenta cake next week. It was featured in the Jan. issue of Gourmet. There is something for everyone in the book. It is a major WOW!!!!!!!!

                        1. re: Candy

                          It is a great looking book and I wouldn't be at all disappointed if it won.

                        2. re: greedygirl

                          “Fish Without a Doubt” does seem to be available in the UK. See this from Amazon:


                          Some of the less expensive “used” copies even ship from the UK, holding down shipping costs. I’d assume these are all US editions of the book, not revises specifically for the UK market.

                          It could be that UK publishers feel it’s too North American-centric to appeal to a UK audience, but it could also just be that it’s a new book, published last year, and a British version is still in the works.

                          Just for kicks, I looked up a couple of articles on fish and shellfish sustainablility in the Guardian. A lot of recipes in the book wouldn’t need substitutes at all: salmon, mussels, scallops, tuna, mackerel, sole, prawns, haddock, turbot. Whiting could be substituted for cod, haddock, pollack, and scrod. Megrim could be substituted for sole, flounder, and other flat fish. Sea bream could be substituted for red snapper and sea bass. Frankly, with a bit of research I think an awful lot of the recipes in the book could be made with fish available in the UK. And one excellent aspect of the book is that the author encourages you to experiment, so the recipes are often suggestions and techniques as much as hard and fast rules.

                          Having typed all this, I guess I’ll just go ahead and nominate it formally.

                          FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT by Rick Moonen & Roy Finamore.

                          I’ve made eight recipes from the book so far and all but one have been easy, quick, and excellent. I still have loads more I’m eager to try and would love to have COTMers join me.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Thanks for that JoanN. I did briefly look at the Used and New section, and they all seemed to come from the US, which means a 2-3 week wait. I guess I didn't look closely enough!

                            Most of the fish you mention are easy to come by here, with the exception of scrod and megrim, both of which I've never heard of.

                            I suspect the reason it's not been published here is that we have our own fish specialist, Rick Stein, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall also published a fish book last year.

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              I'd never heard of megrim either, but it was listed as readily available and sustainable in the UK in this Guardian article:


                              The article made it sound to me as though it was fairly common in the UK. Guess not. Or maybe it's called something else. So many fish in North America seem to have two or three different common names and I always get confused about what is what.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Ah, Rick Stein! What a great day it was when I first saw his cooking show on PBS here in California about 10 years ago. A wonderful source for recipes.

                                However, since my copy is now in the mail AND since there is such a large number of recipes online (UKGuardian website has 140 in an easy to find section),

                                I also nominate OTTOLENGHI, THE COOKBOOK, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, who have several take-out places in London.

                                Since hearing about him a while ago, from Greedy Girl, I've used many of his recipes and every single one has been great. I had a hard time at first getting the book over here (pub. in UK), but now I've bought it from a bookseller in New Jersey and it's on its way. There are quite a number of books available for purchase here in the states.

                                Here's quite a long sampling of the online recipes.

                                quinoa and red rice salad with dried apricots and arugula
                                spinach pancakes with meyer lemon butter
                                individual tarts in the style of tart tatin made with potato, onion & goat cheese (amazing!)
                                chard cakes
                                crab and radish bruschetta
                                roasted goose with quince
                                whole bream stuffed with pine nuts and lemon
                                smoky duck eggs on toast
                                fried rice and poached eggs (Indian spices) with fried onions and raisins
                                clementine and almond syrup cake
                                fatayer (Palestinian/Lebanese savory turnovers)
                                garlic soup with harissa
                                seared beef with cucumbers and seaweed
                                fried calamari with cucumber salad
                                warm mackeral with potatoes and garlic
                                champagne and saffron jelly with cardamom shortbread
                                polenta cakes with rocket salsa
                                roast chicken with jasmine rice
                                new potatoes with horseradish

                                I've made his quinoa and red rice salad several times for guests and it's always a huge hit. I've never had so many people ask me for a recipe. The fritters and their accompanying flavored butters or sauces alone are worth the price of the book.

                                End of rant.

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  I was just at Kitchen Arts & Letters and was perusing his book "Complete Seafood" - it's lovely, and I hadn't realized that there is a U.S. edition.

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    There was much wailing and nashing of teeth when his little dog, Chalky, who was probably more popular than Rick himself, died a few years ago.

                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                      Where are these on line? I have been looking for a recipe for fatayer (hoping it's the same as fateer) for two years! I just found it on line, and alas, it is not fateer, which we have when we are in Egypt.

                              2. FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT

                                The Ottolenghi book sounds wonderful, but it was only published in December here in the U.S., and none of my local libraries carry it yet. (I'll put in a request to my local one who probably already has it on order, knowing them.) If we come back to it in a few months, I'll bet it would be more readily available. I'd love to try it after reading all the raves about it, but not until I can check it out from the library. So that's why I'm voting for Fish without a Doubt, even though I have 2 other new fish cookbooks as well! (Maybe I'll post comparisons.)

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                  No suggestion from me. But, I have the same concern about the ottoenghi book as Karen Schaffer. My extensive library system (Minuteman system in Massachusetts) does not have any copies in the system or on order. I'm going to ask them next week to see if it is available for purchase. Even if they buy it, that will be one copy for the entire library system in the greater boston area.

                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                    Did you see Oakjoan's post about there being 140 recipes available on line?

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Yotam Ottolenghi writes a weekly column for The Guardian called "The New Vegetarian" so there are indeed a lot of Ottolenghi recipes on The Guardian Web site. But there's no indication, at least in the articles I looked at, whether or not those recipes are from the book. I would think it would be a major, although certainly appreciated, undertaking for someone with the book to go through the list of Guardian recipes and note specifically which ones are included in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.

                                      There are eleven recipes on their Web site. But without the book in hand there's no way to know, unless it says so, which of those are in the book either.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        I've had a look at the online recipes, and with the exception of a couple on the Ottolenghi website, most of them are not in the book. The Guardian column is exclusively vegetarian, for one thing, which the book is not.

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          I suspected as much, but thank you for taking the time to confirm, greedygirl. Good to know.

                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                            Greedygirl: Actually Ottolenghi's column for the Guardian is not exclusively veg and there ARE a number of fish and meat recipes (which I noted above in my list of some of the online recipes).

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              They're not? His column is called "The New Vegetarian." All of the recipes I've seen here ARE vegetarian. What am I missing?

                                        2. re: MMRuth

                                          I did see Oakjoan's post above and the comments below. For some reason, I don't do well when there is only an online source. I think I like to touch the book. I like reading a newspaper and when I see something interesting, I'll go on line to forward it. But, I don't read the newspaper on line. Same goes for books and magazines. The internet supplements hard copy. It's one of my (many) oddities.

                                        3. re: beetlebug

                                          I realise I'm a lone voice on the other side of the pond, but I'm in the same position with regards to Fish Without a Doubt. I agree that it's not ideal though.