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February 2010 COTM: Nominations please!

It's that time already... What are your nominations for next month's COTM? Any and all suggestions welcome, please chime in!

Here is a link to the book's we've covered already:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

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  1. HOW TO EAT
    Nigella Lawson

    MY BOMBAY KITCHEN
    Niloufer King

    Gio posted on Nigel Slaters top 5 cookbooks, thought the Lawson book sounded fun.

    1. I could definitely get behind How To Eat, but I'd also like to recommend KITCHEN DIARIES by Nigel Slater. He's a wonderful writer, and this is a cookbook which reads as well as it cooks, ifyswim. It's also based on seasonal eating, which feels right for our times. I haven't used it nearly as much as I should.

      I also got A PLATTER OF FIGS by David Tanis on a recent trip to the States, and have yet to delve in. I'd love my fellow hounds to join me in this endeavour. :-)

      17 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        KITCHEN DIARIES is a lovely book. I've also been interested in A Platter of Figs - GG, maybe you could try a dish and let us know what you think. His cooking strikes me as being in the vein of Suzanne Goin, though perhaps with slightly less complicated recipes.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Apparently Kitchen Diaries is now harder to find in the U.S., as I am told it wasn't reprinted. There are some on Amazon right now:

          http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Diaries...

        2. re: greedygirl

          greedygirl: I just got Platter of Figs, too. Have only leafed through it and would love to hear what others have to say. I sometimes feel a bit put off by the Chez Panissers' subtle "we're so fabulously simple and use only the finest ingredients" attitude. Dunno if I'm ready to go for it as COTM. One recipe caught my eye, though, and I plan to make it this week. It's the Jellied Chicken Terrine. I also got beets in my CSA box this week and plan to make his Watercress, Beet and Egg Salad. Sounds like a wonderful combo.

          Tried to get Kitchen Diaries out of the Berkeley Library, but it's always out. Will have to reserve or, horror of horrors, actually buy it. I would be happy with it as a COTM.

          However, I'd actually like to rec. Paula Wolfert's WORLD OF FOOD or COOKING OF SOUTHWEST FRANCE. Both are amazing and my copies are well worn and splattered.

          We did a Wolfert book a while ago, Slow Med. Kitchen, but I think it's the least successful of all her books.

          1. re: oakjoan

            I also have Platter of Figs and haven't cooked much from it, and would love the nudge. I'd also love an excuse to buy Kitchen Diaries.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I've also had this book for about a year. I've cooked 1 thing from it. Part of my problem is that each dish is for 8 I think. And sometimes, I just don't feel like doing math.

              Here is an old thread.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588367

              1. re: beetlebug

                I also own this book and haven't been able to cook from it, I need a push.

                1. re: wineos

                  Interesting how many have the book and how few have actually cooked from it. Is everybody just busy? or is there a message here?

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Well, I've been too busy to do any cooking lately, but I agree that it's a bit annoying that all of the recipes are for 8-10 people. But, the recipes do sound appealing. I definitely want to cook from it one of these days...

                    ~TDQ

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Nah, aside from "the recipes serve 8-10" I don't think there's any message here. It really is a lovely book, with the concept being simple, elegant menus for entertaining a small group of friends. It's divided seasonally and it seems that each menu includes some very simple dishes, and some more complicated dishes. So, you could find some recipes that you could whip up on a weeknight if you wanted to, or, save the entire menu for when you have more time to do it from a to z.

                        The winter menus are

                        [I really want to try this one:] "Tapas Party", with an octopus salad w/pickled onions and pimenton ; potato and salt cod tortilla; scallops a la plancha; black paella with squid and shrimp; membrillo and sheep's milk cheese. I totally want to try that black paella.

                        Slow beef--watercress, beet and egg salad. Braised beef with celery root mashed potatoes, roasted apples

                        Nuevo Mexico--avocodo quesadillas, spicy pickled vegetables, green chile stew [def want to try], bizcochitos

                        Feeling Italian--oricchette al forno, lamb osso bucco with citrus and capers, persimmon pudding

                        And it goes on like that. Next one is "Peasant Fare From a Parisian Kitchen," North African Comfort Food," ...

                        I just need more time. And a calculator and a pencil so I can divide all the recipes in half, and note that in the book. :).

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Yeah, I have the book too. And for me, it is both. I really *want* to love it, but nothing has inspired me over a full year of owning it. That said, I've gotten so many other new cookbooks, and had so many other fun cooking projects (like COTM) and that has to factor in.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Oh, sorry, I forgot you have the book, too! Funnily enough, I'm starting to find that, for cookbooks that are seasonally focused, I have a lot better luck with fall and winter recipes, than with the spring and summer recipes. It seems the spring and summer recipes call for all kinds of glorious and delicious produce that just really isn't grown in the Upper Midwest, whereas, the fall and winter recipes tend to call for things I can easily find locally.

                            So, although the spring and summer menus in PoF do sound great to me, it's the fall and winter ones where I really go, yeah, I have all that, I can do that.

                            Winter is the great equalizer.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I'm a longtime lurker on the COTM board, I would love to start participating with Platter of Figs!

                              1. re: ElenaRose

                                ElenaRose: It's best to put your nomination in ALL CAPS. It's so they'll stand out for the Moderator's tally. In the final voting your choice MUST be in all caps.

                                1. re: ElenaRose

                                  ElenaRose, welcome! COTM is one of those more the merrier kinds of things, so, please do join us!

                                  Have you cooked anything from PofF yet? If so, I would love to know how it's working for you?

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    thanks, PLATTER OF FIGS then is my vote!
                                    TDQ - I haven't even purchase it yet, but I have been eyeing it since it came out, this would be the perfect nudge in that direction. Plus, since I don't eat pork or shellfish, the New Orleans theme discussed below isn't going to work out.

                                    1. re: ElenaRose

                                      Good deal. And don't forget, there is a PLatter of Figs thread started, so, if you wanted to buy the book sooner rather than later, I'm sure there would be plenty of people who would be interested in anything you posted in that thread about PofF!

                                      I'm glad you've joined us!

                                      ~TDQ

            2. I have two books that I would love to explore with the COTM folks. One or the other, not at the same time.

              WASHOKU Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen. This is a really pretty book, lots of pictures with a good section about ingredients. The two recipes that I have made remind me of the food I ate during my short visit to Japan.

              A KOREAN MOTHER'S COOKING NOTES Though I have read through this book, I have not yet actually made anything. My understanding of the Korean palate is limited to one favorite restaurant from years ago.

              1. While I'd love to do a Japanese book and a Korean book sometime this year, for Feburary I'm nominating KITCHEN DIARIES by Nigel Slater. The more I read the more I like.

                1. I know this idea has been discussed before, and I have no real suggestion on what book would fit, but maybe a New Orleans Creole/Cajun book to celebrate Mardi Gras?

                  I have had Platter of Figs for over a year now, and haven't cooked a single thing from it. Probably because I'm busy and having too much fun with COTM stuff.

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Ooohh. I would love to cook from John Besh's new book My New Orleans (and an excuse to buy it), but even more so, I have "Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans" by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker, which is a collection of all of the recipes they succeeded in recovering after Katrina. Real home cooking recipes from real people.

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      That one sounds like a must buy even if we *don't* end up doing it as COTM. I'm going to go look it up. Thanks TDQ.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Which one, LulusMom? Besh or Cooking up a Storm? Cooking up a storm has no photos, by the way. (Besh does!)

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Well, honestly they both sound great, but I meant Cooking up a Storm. I have it now on my wish list.

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Yes, My New Orleans looks interesting.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I agree...I just went on a whirlwind Google and found some recipes from that book I'd love to try. This for one:
                          http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/jo...

                      3. re: LulusMom

                        I recently got Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer and really like it. I also have the Prudhomme book but haven't cooked from it yet. My New Orleans looks interesting but I can't really justify buying another cookbook specialising in that city!

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          I've had Susan Spicer's book since it came out - it's showing wear. I *love* that cookbook. Have read two or three not-so-great *local* reviews on Cooking Up A Storm. Said the recipes are typical newspaper fare - yes, local recipes but most people already know how to make those. What have you heard? Has anyone cooked from it yet? -Paula

                          1. re: bayoucook

                            I haven't cooked from "Cooking Up a Storm", yet, but it is, indeed, a lot of ordinary, day-to-day recipes. These were recipes people would write to the paper and say, "I lost my recipe for X during Katrina; do you have a recipe for X?" and the newspaper would track one down for them.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Here's a link to a story about "Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans" that includes a couple of sample recipes, too:

                              http://blog.nola.com/judywalker/2008/...

                              Here's a list of 10 recipes included in the book: Fair Grounds corned beef; Crabmeat Remick; Johnny Becnel's Daddy's okra gumbo; turkey bone gumbo; Jolene Black's cream biscuits; salt and pepper shrimp; Rosie's sweet potato pies; brownies to die for; Ursuline Academy anise cookies; rosemary cookies.

                              So the question is, are these recipes any good? That, I can't answer, because I've been a lazy-cookbook owner as of late, collecting without cooking...

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                It looks good, I'm sure the recipes are good. I don't know if it could touch Tom Fitzmorris's New Orleans Food (another much-used fave of mine). Look at that one and see what you think. Since Cooking Up A Storm is Katrina-related, it may be sour grapes on my part. After the storm that totally destroyed our beautiful MS Gulf Coast, New Orleans got all the attention and press; we had very little and we took the direct hit in Pass Christian, MS. But still, more than five years later, Katrina is all about poor New Orleans.....their levees broke and they flooded. We lost everything.

                                1. re: bayoucook

                                  I will have a look at Tom Fitxmorris' book. I have heard about it, but haven't looked at it yet, even though I've heard some good things.

                                  I'm so sorry to hear about what you and your community lost during Katrina. Thank you for the reminder that the scope of that disaster was broader than what we (as a nation in whole) sometimes hear about.

                                  If this is too sensitive a question, don't feel obligated to answer, but did you and your community find a desire to engage in a similar kind of search for lost recipes and such after Katrina?

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Thank you DQ. Yes, we did and it's still ongoing. Haven't heard any talk about an actual cookbook. A great deal of citizens left the area when Katrina was coming in, so our death toll might not as been as high as New Orleans, and those people came back and picked up their lives, working hard to get back to normal. I know when my two best friends packed their stuff, they took their old recipe files with them; people here probably still have their treasured recipes. When we lived directly on the beach and had to run from a storm, I took mine with me, too. Every June we'd pack valuables and documents, then if we had to run, we'd add the cookbooks and photographs. One of our closest friends who lost her antebellum home to Katrina did not take her recipes, and a group of us got together and hand-wrote her a book of favorites into a pretty journal. She treasures it. We *still* have many many volunteers and helpers on the coast, still haven't fully recovered. The biggest deal was when we got our two main bridges back - the two that connect all the communities on the coast from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula. We're a hardy bunch!

                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                      Wow, that is intense. I have to say, it's only until recently that it occurred to me that family recipes are something I'd want to grab in the event of an emergency. You are smart to be prepared in that respect, and it's something I really should think about as there are certainly recipes I'd be devastated to lose.

                                      What a wonderful story about you and your friends putting together the lovely recipe book for your friend. Very sweet.

                                      ~TDQ

                                  2. re: bayoucook

                                    As someone who lost pretty much everything when my house flooded, in "poor New Orleans," believe me I empathize and sympathize. I'm sorry the media focus was on New Orleans. But that didn't make it any easier. And the city is far from fixed. I think it's admirable that The Times-Picayune food editors tried to recover the recipes that people lost in Katrina although it's not a collection that I personally find particularly inspiring or a good COTM choice. But the effort is inspiring, and I hope someone is doing the same for you all on the Gulf Coast. Our losses strike me as painfully similar, especially regarding treasures such as photos and recipes and cookbooks.

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      I didn't mean to sound unsympathetic; I *know* New Orleans went through a horrible disaster, and it's not the city's fault that the media chose it to focus on. I am so sorry for your loss. I feel as you do about the T-P food editors collecting recipes, but from those I've seen, they're not inspiring to me either. My husband hails from New Orleans and we go there often. The city still has massive recovery to attend to (and I'm sure the big movie stars and the media will be right there - sorry couldn't resist). -Paula

                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                        I'm just curious why neither of you finds the recipes very inspiring. Are they just such ordinary, day-to-day type recipes?

                                        And nomadchowwoman, my sympathies go out to you, also.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Thank you, but I'm not really looking for sympathy. We were so much more fortunate than most and have been able to recover, and I'm sure we're stronger for it (not, as I'm sure Paula would agree, that I would want to go throught it again!); at any rate, I feel guilty focusing on the problems here in light of the horrific situation in Haiti.

                                          But, before the mods get us, let me try to answer your question: many of the recipes are for very local or community-specific dishes (sometimes the type for which you might find variations in many communities), many call for very local ingredients, like crawfish or other seafoods that are not common or are expensive in most other places, or are very local preparations. A fair number call for processed foods. You have a lot of Aunt So-and-So's favorite _____________ or This Restaurant's Recipe for _____________ . Culinarily speaking, it's very loose-themed and somewhat eclectic: favorite newspaper recipes that people lost.

                                          I'm not dissing this cookbook. For many socio-historic or anthropologic (and certainly sentimental) reasons, it's a great cookbook, but if COTMers want to try their wooden spoons at New Orleans or Creole or Cajun, there are so many better choices, books that will explain technique and style--and will offer new challenges--to the geographically disparate and diversely influenced, talented CH Home Cooks.

                                        2. re: bayoucook

                                          Oh, I know we're really on the same page, esp. where cookbooka are concerned. I still think LK is the definitive book on Cajun cuisine, and my list of favorite recipes almost mirrors yours. But I have a question: do you find amounts of spices called for to be too much? I love spicy food, but I routinely reduce the amount of salt and peppers esp. called for in Chef Paul's recipes. I have to, in many cases, or some of my family or other guests wouldn't be able to eat the food.

                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                            Yes, many of the dishes in LK are very spicy, much more so than people might expect. In fact, it would probably be a good idea for people new to this book to cut the spices in half the first time they make a dish. Better it should be less spicy than they might like than to have it be inedible.