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February 2010 COTM: Voting Time

Thank you for all your nominations. I've narrowed the field to three choices, selecting our most discussed books on the thread.


Place your votes here, by midnight January 18th. And don't forget, they must be in ALL CAPS to be counted!


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  1. P.S.This will be my last month coordinating COTM, next month Caitlin McGrath will take over beginning with the March nomination threads. Thanks for participating and forgiving my slight delays and slip-ups, I wish I could've cooked more with all of you, but it is always fun to read along!

    1. For reference, here is the February nomination thread in which these choices are discussed: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/679281

      1. Damn, this is a tough one! Thanks for all of your work with this, Yamalam. And thanks, Caitlin, for taking over!

        5 Replies
        1. re: MMRuth

          I echo everything MMRuth says: this is a tough choice (I own 2 of 3 of the books and would like to own a copy of Kitchen Diaries). Also, I, too, would like to express my gratitude to Ms. Yamalam as she passes the torch to Ms. Caitlin, whom I shall thank in advance!


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I think I'll be consulting my husband on this one (perhaps w/o mentioning which book I own, and which I don't!). Was there an older thread about cooking from A Platter of Figs? If so, I should go look at it.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Yes, someone linked to the PofF thread in the nominations thread...


            2. re: MMRuth

              I own all of these! Which makes it a hell of a lot harder....

            3. I would love to start participating with A PLATTER OF FIGS!

              1. I wouldn't mind to cook from any of these books, but since this NO book nomination has come in time for Mardi Gras, I would like to nominate PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN.
                Thank you yamalam for all the work and thanks Caitlin McGrath for taking over!


                  1. They all seem worthy, and I hope whatever doesn't win gets another chance, but my vote will go to LOUISIANA KITCHEN.

                    And I add my thanks to yamalam for all her hard work.

                    1. LOUISIANA KITCHEN--Mine is tattered but COTM would inspire me to try some new recipes, not the ones I do over and over. IMHO, Prudhomme's Seafood-Andouille Gumbo is the best gumbo ever.

                      But I would not be upset to try either of the others.

                      1. LOUISIANA KITCHEN - I think it's a great book for February, more accessible (sp?) in various ways than the other too, and we've never managed to do NOLA/Creole/Cajun food thus far.

                        1. I think PLATTER OF FIGS would be nice after all the heavy holiday fare.

                          1. I'd be willing to cook from any of the finalists but this month I'll vote for LOUISIANA KITCHEN.

                            Many thanks to Yamalam for her leadership these past months and my Very Best Wishes for her new Chowpup to be. Looking forward to Caitlin McGrath's tenure and send her mega Good Luck wishes in coralling this crowd of avid and very vocal home cooks.

                            1. Longtime lurker, minimal participant, so take my vote with a big ole grain of salt, but...I was completely leaning Platter of Figs, as that type of cooking is really where I'm more comfortable and happy, but I have to say that the Amazon reviews won me over to LOUISIANA KITCHEN. I may not cook from it as much as some, but look forward to new inspirations (plus, I think my husband will be made very happy by whatever I do as he loves NO cooking!). Yamalam, thank you for your hard work -- and good luck with the adventures of parenthood ahead!

                              1. I just ordered a copy of PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN, so that's my vote!

                                1. I went through my copy of Louisiana Kitchen last night, and to be honest although the recipes look great they are far too heavy and involved for me to make more than one in the month, so I am going with my original choice of KITCHEN DIARIES.

                                  1. PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN. And many thanks to yamalam for your hard work and to Caitlin for taking over - may it be an easy task!

                                    1. excited to see what happens with Prudhomme threads (looks likely, eh?)
                                      but I'll cast a vote for
                                      A PLATTER OF FIGS AND OTHER RECIPES, David Tanis and Alice Waters

                                      1. A PLATTER OF FIGS!

                                        thank you!

                                        1. LOUISIANA KITCHEN (This will be my first time participating)

                                          1. I'm a first time participant as well and my vote goes to A PLATTER OF FIGS. My waistline could not take a steady diet of the L.K.!

                                            15 Replies
                                            1. re: foodtrip

                                              I find I can cut down the fat in Prudhomme's recipes a lot, and they still taste great. I can guarantee that if L.K wins, my posts will include discussions on how I pared down the recipes! Spicy, high-fat foods = acid reflux, and I can live without that.

                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                I was going to post the same thing about paring down the fat in his recipes. They don't lose any flavor at all. As for the spices...I find they can also be diminished according to one's preference. DH loves spicy and I seem to be able to handle heat too, so I'll just taste my way through some of the highly seasoned dishes and adapt accordingly..

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  I know this is a bit of a diversion, but I've always been afraid of the fat in L.K., which is why I bought Prudhomme's Fork in The Road, to get a sense of Prudhomme's own approach to reducing the fat in his cooking. But, FITR seems to be full of all kinds of icky, fakey, ingredients. I'm just wondering, if you both have quite a bit of success in reducing the fat, why Prudhomme didn't just do the same?

                                                  P.S. I've been so flaky about participating in COTM lately, mostly due to my obscene and unpredictable work schedule, which is somewhat out of control AND out of my control right now, so, I'm not doing anything other than "discussing" in both the voting and nominations thread right now... I would love to cook from any of the three books under consideration, though...


                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    "if you both have quite a bit of success in reducing the fat, why Prudhomme didn't just do the same?"

                                                    A couple of reasons. First, people weren't as assiduous in cutting back on fat in the early 80s as they are now. But even more important is to remember that these are restaurant recipes--the recipes as served in his restaurant. They are Prudhomme's recipes, but he didn't actually write the book. He acknowledges a woman named Paulette Rittenberg. It was she who spent a couple of years in Chef Paul's kitchen taking recipes with restaurant-sized yields prepared with professional equipment and making them accessible for the home cook. Her mandate wasn't to adapt the recipes, but to reproduce them as authentically as possible so people could make at home what they had eaten in his restaurant.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Oh, whoops, that's not exactly what I meant. I didn't mean, why didn't he reduce the fat in L.K. but, instead why didn't he introduce a bunch of fat-reduced recipes in FITR instead of writing a bunch of recipes that call for fakey ingredients for FITR?


                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        Oh. Sorry. I misunderstood. But the answer is almost the same. I've mentioned on this board before that Chef Paul's editor was a good friend and office colleague so I know a lot of the back story. His publisher was pressuring him for another book. He was on a very strict, doctor's orders, diet. He refused to do another book (said that just tasting the tested recipes would be problematic for him) unless it specifically conformed to his diet. The publisher wasn't thrilled about it, but finally agreed. So for Chef Paul, at least, it wasn't a question of simply reducing the fat, he had to pretty much eliminate it entirely. And FitR reflects how he personally went about it.

                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      As others have noted, one can modify the recipes in LK and still cook successfully from it. I have always, for instance, cut the red and white pepper, esp., to about half--and the results are still plenty spicy.

                                                      Another important point: the suggested portion sizes are much larger than required for the average appetite, so most people won't be consuming as much fat as it may first appear.

                                                      Still I NEVER use the amounts of butter he calls for (and I'm not a butter-phobe; it's just not necessary). Also, for many of the recipes that don't require high heat, some of the butter can be replaced by olive oil (I do it whenever I make Shrimp Diane or Garlic Shrimp on Oysters and Pasta; these are highly flavorful dishes that do not suffer at all from reducing the amount of overall fat, using some olive oil, and being paired with Barilla's Plus multi-grain pasta.
                                                      And we've found that we prefer the nuttiness of brown rice with gumbos or etouffees.) While I follow (and love) his roux-making technique, I use a 2:1 ratio of flour to oil. The roux looks exactlt the same in the end as his does using equal parts, and it has all the flavor, but half the fat.

                                                      And I don't usually follow the suggestion to make recipes in two batches, as in, for example, the BBQ shrimp, which the book suggests serves two. I double the recipe, reduce the butter, do it in one batch, and it easily serves seven or eight.

                                                      Yet for all the modifications, these recipes never taste anything but rich and flavorful. If LK ends up as the choice, I think CHs will discover that these recipes take to all kinds of healthful modifications without suffering. By its very nature, Cajun cuisine is not exacting.

                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                          I completely agree with you. But I think it's worth pointing out that even if you DO use the full 1:1 ratio for making roux, you're only talking about a tablespoon of oil per serving.

                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                            Yes, Joan, that's right, and with smaller portions, even less. Even with the 1:1 ratio, a recipe like seafood gumbo, which gets almost all its fat from the roux, is a pretty low-fat dish, serving for serving.

                                                          2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                            I do the same thing with the butter and oil, and sometimes even use heart-healthy butter. But I try to save his recipes for an occasion, preceded by and followed by light, low-fat meals - the same way I do some French foods that are high in butter content. With the huge French heritage and accent in New Orleans, butter is pretty darned important!

                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                              This is all very useful information. What I've found is that I often find that kind of food delicious but way way too salty. So knowing that cutting back in that direction won't hurt is very helpful. Spices I love - the spicier the better, normally.

                                                              I guess I'm also a little daunted by someone saying that the recipes are very labor-intensive. Only so many days a month I can really do that kind of thing.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                I *have* the time to cook now, but one of my favorite things to do is to freeze portions of a labor-intensive dish (only if it freezes well). Heck, I'd never make gumbo or braises or any number of things I make if I couldn't freeze them afterward. But I have a seperate freezer and a full-size fridge downstairs, plus a nice new huge fridge-freezer up here. I love to put some Diana Krall on and cook the day away on a rainy or cold day!

                                                          3. re: Gio

                                                            thank you all for the reinforcement of the reduced fat Prudhomme, and the back story of FitR...

                                                          1. re: yamalam

                                                            Yea! That's going to be so much fun. I already made so many recipes from it already (my copy is dated 6/84 !! Lessez les bon temps roulez!!

                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                              I forgot to vote before we went away last weekend and had a harrowing return trip over Donner Pass in a snowstorm and didn't remember to vote before I left and so......too bad for me. I'm not going to be cooking much from Prudhomme because I just don't like him and can't get into his cooking.

                                                              This opinion is long-held and, I'll admit, it doesn't consist of sensible ideas. Maybe I'll try to get the book out of the library and see if I've been wrong all these years.

                                                              Maybe I'll buy Kitchen Diaries or it'll be on the shelf of either Berkeley or Oakland's library.....Say goodnight, Joan. "Goodnight, Joan."

                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                I have to confess, for completely baseless reasons - in fact, I can't even think of a reason - I've always felt that way about him too. But I'm going to give it a go. Glad you made it home okay. Kitchen Diaries is lovely.

                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                  I picked the book up at the library today, and feel *somewhat* daunted. Looks like a lot of work. In some ways, every recipe looks the same, but I think that is mainly because there is always this huge list of spices followed by onions, celery, green pepper, garlic. But I have to say, I've always loved this kind of food, so I'm hoping to have some fun with it.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    I just can't get that excited by Louisiana Kitchen. I've also been working hard to lose some excess pounds since Christmas so I won't be making more than one or two recipes, I'm afraid, although I'm interested to see how people make the dishes a bit lighter and less involved. The BBQ shrimp is currently top of my list.

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      I've never had his BBQ shrimp, but I've made another recipe, and it is absolutely sinfully wonderful. With all the calories and fat that you'd expect from that statement.

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        I've got a lightened version of BBQ shrimp that I love. The original dish is amazing, but all that butter made me feel slightly ill afterwards. I'll post it when the threads go up.