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March 2010 Cookbook of the Month Nominations: Open until Sunday at Midnight

Yes, it's that time again. Big thanks to Yamalam for her adept stewardship of COTM for the last six months. I will endeavor to fill her shoes well.

Please suggest cookbooks for us to cook from collectively in March. This link includes a list of all the cookbooks we've done in the past (excepting the present month's, Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen), and explains how COTM works: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

IMPORTANT: Please type the names of nominated books in ALL CAPITALS to make it easier for me to pick them out from the discussion.

Nominations open until SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 at MIDNIGHT, EST.

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  1. SAUCES, Third Edition, by James Peterson

    2 Replies
    1. re: 280 Ninth

      I love 280 Ninth's suggestion. Doing James Peterson's "Sauces" would be a lot of fun.

      1. re: gfr1111

        I'm going with SAUCES by James Peterson. I love Diana Kennedy's books, but have a lot of trouble finding the ingredients for them, and find many of them *very* time-consuming.


      12 Replies
      1. re: Rubee

        I'd love to do a Diana Kennedy book. As Marcella is to Italy, Diana is to Mexico. . .

        (I've been out of the game for a bit . . . my kitchen painting -- and painter's moving everything! BTW, I painted it Mexican colors! so what's more apt than Diana Kennedy for me?!!)

        Glad to see you hardy COTMers are still at it!

        1. re: NYchowcook

          I want to amend my nomination to be DIANA KENNEDY

          Leaning toward THE ART OF MEXICAN COOKING.
          From my mexican kitchen is more techniques than recipes.
          I read that alot of folks find her recipes intimidating. Would defer to those who have cooked from her books as to which has simpler recipes.

          1. re: NYchowcook

            I know I'd prefer simpler. Anyone out there cooked from her books and can tell us which is less arduous?

            1. re: LulusMom

              I have them. I've read through them. I've never cooked from them.

              1. re: bayoucook

                I've cooked a bit from them - the most easily cookable is "Nothing Fancy" but it's the least Mexican!

              2. re: LulusMom

                I have cooked quite a few (from Essentials Cuisines). It's over 300 recipes so there are a lot of options from complicated to easy, and the complicated recipes are usually celebratory/holiday dishes. I'll post tomorrow on some of my favorites. I should add that the basis of most traditional Mexican recipes is actually how to make a large amount of something that can be shared or the use of leftovers (for example, tacos, quesadillas, chilaquiles). Which makes sense when you think about it. So once you have ingredients like tortillas, fresh chilis and/or dried chilis, queso/cheese, a batch of pot beans or braised meat, tomatoes, onions, etc. you can make a lot of dishes. Then add fresh herbs, seafood, vegetables, well then Mexican cooking is not as intimidating as it sounds...

                1. re: Rubee

                  I'm definitely excited about the prospect, just worried about time management. What you've said makes sense.

          2. re: Rubee

            I am new to this and a novice at cooking Mexican, but I see by the list of previous choices that a Mexican COTM is long overdue. I think Kennedy's book is a good choice.

            1. re: meatzaaa

              Finally, I may speak!!

              ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO or anything else Kennedy

              1. re: yamalam

                here's an article I found interesting on Diana Kennedy, and The art of mexican cooking

            2. re: Rubee

              I vote for THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO.

            3. MY NEW ORLEANS - John Besh

              If I can nominate two:

              A PLATTER OF FIGS - David Tanis

              15 Replies
              1. re: Tom P

                Back to back Louisiana food does not do it for me. A PLATTER OF FIGS, however would get my vote. I've cooked from it a lot.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  FINALLY! Someone who has cooked from PoF!

                  pikawicca, would you please give us some feedback on what you like about the book? If I recall correctly, most of the recipes serve 8. Are you finding that the recipes make too much and you're halving them to make them practical?

                  Any favorites so far?


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Two big pluses for me: The recipes are arranged by season, and grouped into various menus, so you're never stumped, wondering what to serve with your main course.

                    There are a lot of excellent soup recipes, and I always make the full recipe (for the 2 of us). We either eat the leftovers for lunch. or I freeze them.

                    I save the roasts for when we're having company.

                    Some of my favorite recipes, e.g., fish tacos, are easy to scale down.

                    There's a nice mix of ethnic recipes thrown in: classic French and Italian, but also Mexican and Moroccan. For the most part, the ingredients are easy to come by, but the author assumes you'll be using the freshest local produce and meat; the recipes are fairly straightforward, allowing the quality of the ingredients to shine. (At this time of year, I love to make the Green Lasagne with Greens with produce from our Winter Market. This yields 8 generous servings, but somehow it never goes to waste.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      I have POF and have not yet coooked from it. I'd welcome the challenge to give it a whirl.

                  2. re: pikawicca

                    Very true! I took off this month so was not paying attention. PLATTER OF FIGS moves to #1 !

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      I love the John Besh book, but I was surprised how many of us didn't cook much out of My Louisiana Kitchen. Guess it's time to move on..

                      1. re: bayoucook

                        I have a bunch of things on my list from this month's book, but between Lulu getting sick, snowstorms making the roads hard to drive (making trips to the store difficult) and husband not being around for quite a few dinners, it just hasn't happened. Hoping to make my first attempt next Saturday. Also some of the recipes seem like they take a REALLY long time, and unfortunately I just don't have hours and hours on a meal these days. Soon, I hope!

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          The recipes I've made have been on the longer side. But, it's more inactive cooking time. I just have to plan on not going out when something is simmering on the stove for 3 hours.

                        2. re: bayoucook

                          I agree that 2x in a row for LA doesn't make sense.
                          I haven't been with y'all this month cause Louisiana Kitchen is awol at my public library. When I visit friends (out of town) who have it, I'll be checking in with that thread, so I hope people think of it outside of this designated month.
                          : )

                          1. re: bayoucook

                            I surprised myself about not cooking at all from this month's book even though I had marked quite a few recipes to make. But with time constraints and various medical happenings I haven't even felt like eating let alone cooking. I hope March brings a renewed interest. In that case, probably a jamie oliver book would do for me. I have happy days with the naked chef and jamie's italy and like them both.
                            I'm not voting but I'll wait to see which book wins then I'll decide what to do.

                            Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

                            1. re: Gio

                              And just this morning I was saying to myself "where's Gio? I hope she's all right." Welcome back!

                              Myself, I only ended up cooking one dish from this month's book. The chowpup took one look at the man on the cover and said "what are you trying to do to me?" Yesterday the book went back to the library....

                              I've never actually voted before, but count me in for KENNEDY.

                              1. re: clamscasino

                                Awwwww.....thanks Clams. Your Chowpup's comment is hilarious. (when I met him at a book signng he had to ride around in one of those wheelchair/scooters.) But, she should know that since that photo the man has lost a ton of weight. And, apparently has kept most of it off.

                                Happy Valentine Day

                              2. re: Gio

                                I've missed you too. Usually you're one we can count on when the rest of us lose our zip in the kitchen! Hope all is well.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  What she said.

                                  As I'm going to be away for three weeks in March (yay!), I'm not voting either, but am watching with interest.....

                        3. I haven't had a chance to look at it, and will be away for part of March, but if I'm allowed to vote anyway, I think I'll vote for THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO. A Platter of Figs would be great too, I know it was a runner-up last month.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Another vote for Kennedy, here. I have had this book for ages and need a kick-start to really get to know it. :-)

                          2. DIANA KENNEDY is fine with me too, haven't used her books in a long time.

                            1. I wonder if it wouldn't be most useful if those who are suggesting Diana Kennedy named particular books (as a few have)? It seems as if the more successful COTM months have been those that included just one or two specific books, rather than all or many by a given author. Just a thought.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                THE CUISINES OF MEXICO (the 1970's or early '80's edition) is the one that comes to mind.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  I should have added that "Essential Cuisines of Mexico" is a compilation of Kennedy's first three books - The Cuisines of Mexico, The Tortilla Book, and Mexican Regional Cooking. I also have "From My Mexican Kitchen" that NYChowcook mentions above.

                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    I have MEXICAN REGIONAL COOKING and Nothing Fancy (which isn't all Mexican but is a heck of a book anyway) too.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I have The Art of Mexican Cooking, but none of the other books. There seem to be few, if any, copies of any of the books suggested at the Oakland Library - missing or reference only.

                                      Berkeley library has Essential Cuisines. If I can reserve it before Caitlin does ;+), unless she owns it....I'll certainly consider it.

                                      My vote, however, is for JAMIE AT HOME. I got it out of the library at the beginning of last week and have cooked from it several times already. He's always been a fave of mine and I can't believe that, after all this time, we've never chosen one of his books for COTM.

                                      JAMIE AT HOME is divided (as is Platter of Figs) by season and includes gardening tips. I've made his Baked Fish With Leeks recipe twice already. Amazingly rich and delicious. It's out in paperback as well.

                                      Other recipes that sound great:

                                      Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup With Sage Butter
                                      Winter Veg Coleslaw Served On Top of Sliced Lamb or Beef or Pork

                                      Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad With Orange and Lemon Dressing

                                      Steak, Guinness and Cheese Pie with Puff Pastry Lid

                                      Italian Ham and Spinach Tart

                                      Asian Sqash Salad with Crispy Duck

                                      Spicy Pork and Chilli-pepper Goulash

                                      Creamy Rice Pudding With The Quickest Strawberry Jam

                                      Crispy and Sticky Chicken Thighs with Squashed New Potatoes and Tomatoes

                                      Potato Salad with Smoke Salmon and Horseradish Creme Fraiche

                                      Several Pizzas

                                      Balsamic Baked Onions and Potatoes with Roast Pork

                                      English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar

                                      Zucchini Carbonara

                                      Indian Carrot Salad

                                      Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli Cannelloni

                                      Curried Cauliflower Fritters

                                      Homemade BBQ Sauce

                                      Rhubarb and Custard Kinda Souffle

                                      Hot and Sour Rhubarb with Crispy Pork and Noodles

                                      Pan Fried Barnsley (Double) Lamb Chops with Creamy Cannellini Beans, Rainbow Chard and Salsa Verde

                                      Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs with Pistachios and Spicy Salad Wrap

                                      Baked Meringue with Pears, Cream, Toasted Hazelnuts and Chocolate Sauce

                                      Eggy Breakfast Crumpets

                                      Asparagus and Potato Tart (Filo)

                                      Sorry for blathering on and on here, but I'm really in love with this book.

                                      My vote, however, is

                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                          Just FYI oakjoan, I'd be thrilled to do a Jamie Oliver book at some point. I have the Italy book and the one that is something like How to be a perfect cook (I'm sure you know the real title). Both look like lots of fun. Everything I've made of his (except some sort of baked onion thing - just like my catastrophe with S. Hopkinson) has been wonderful.

                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            I voted for Jamie at Home at the top of my original message. Just forgot to delete that last sentence freagment after the arduous task of typing out all the recipes to tempt you guys to vote for JAH, So there you smarty pantses!

                                            Tonight I made the Spicy Pork and Chili Pepper Goulash. Used the pressure cooker. Wow, my husband and I both loved it. Very flavorful with lots of gravy.

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              I kinda wonder what a kinda souffle is. Care to fill us in?


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                That's the name of the recipe. He says it's a cross between a souffle and a light pudding. The photo looks great (in ramekins)

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  You inspired me to get this book out of the library. I have only ever read about JO, never read his books. Thanks for mentioning it - it looks great!

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    You're welcome. I felt the same about Jamie Oliver...all that publicity and tv shows, but what was behind all the flash? I ended up really respecting him and his cooking and love his books.

                                      1. I think Platter of Figs is one of the best, and most practically cookable, books to come out in years. I can think of loads of highlights, including the spice rubbed duck breasts (a must in our family, now), the duck legs, his various baked desserts including the sublime plum tart, etc etc. My #1.

                                        I also love the John Besh book but for different reasons. It wouldn't beat David Tanis.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: aguy239


                                          If you are actually suggesting P of F for Cookbook of the Month, you need to capitalize it.

                                        2. Any interest in Mollie Katzen's MOOSEWOOD cookbook? I've been cooking from it a lot lately and I find it so charming (and delicious).

                                          1. I guess this is a slow month. Because there haven't been a lot of responses, I'm going to extend the nomination deadline to SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 at MIDNIGHT, EST.

                                            I'm requesting that the title and deadline info in my original post be edited to reflect this.

                                            1. PLATTER OF FIGS!
                                              (would love to COTM Diana Kennedy at a later, warmer date)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: pitu

                                                I love your usage of COTM as a verb. How awesomely efficient. I would love to COTM Kennedy for May, for Cinco de Mayo. If I had been a more reliable participant in COTM the past year or so, I'd put my vote in all caps, but I know my busy schedule just isnt' going to ease up until late spring or summer, so, I'm just going to leave my remarks in all lowercase... Since I own it, the idea of doing platter of figs is incredibly appealing...


                                              2. FWIW (I haven't yet cooked anything from LA Kitchen), OakJoan sold me on JAMIE AT HOME. Backup vote would be fore PLATTER OF FIGS. I agree with Dairy Queen that Diana Kennedy would be fun for May (or April, so we're all geared up for our Cinco De Mayo menus with fully test-driven recipes).

                                                1. PLATTER OF FIGS gets my newbie vote

                                                  1. Anyone interested in MOMOFUKU? Or is it too soon after publication for it to be readily available for folks...?

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: pitu

                                                      Amazing to me that both Oakland and Berkeley libraries have multiple copies of Momofuku../however, there are multiple holds on the book and all of the copies are checked out now. Didn't realize my local libs. were so hip and up to date!

                                                      1. re: pitu

                                                        Oh my I would LOVE to do Momofuku....but I have the book, and as much as I love his techniques, it is not an easy home-cook book. But I love it.

                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                          I've made the brussels sprouts (with the cauliflower recipe) . . . doing some pickles now, going nuts with a Bo Ssam later....let's do a thread, Rubee!

                                                          1. re: pitu

                                                            I would love it if you guys would start a thread for Momofuku. I spent quite a bit of time with it in the bookstore (just the day after having had dinner at Ssam Bar) and wondered if there was anything in the book I'd ever make more than once--and that, mostly as a challenge. I'm used to cutting serving sizes in half, but quarters and more is pushing it for me. In the end, it seemed like a book I'd want as a curiousity and because I admire the chef more than a book I'd actually cook from.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Ditto about Momofuku. I saw something online about "Crack Pie" that Martha Stewart was investigating.

                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                Here's a link to a recent thread on "Crack PIe" that Oakjoan mentioned. Now I'm curious, too! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687144

                                                                I'm mixed on Momofuku. On the one hand, the super challenging books are the ones that are often the most interesting and rewarding and for which people need the most support/encouragement. And, on the other hand, it just seems like people (maybe just me) haven't had as much time lately for involved recipes and the more difficult the book, the lower the participation.

                                                                But, I am super drawn to this book. I just know it is a train wreck waiting to happen if I dive in. But, I would love to at least read along while the rest of you cook from it. I'm on a self-imposed COTM hiatus (well, a self imposed "no new projects" hiatus) for the next couple of months. Too, too busy at work.

                                                                The recipe for Ginger Scallion Noodles and Ginger Scallion Sauce is on Amazon, for anyone who is curious, but, unfortunately, Chowhounds who have tried it are getting pretty mixed results. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/683252

                                                                Pork bun discussion http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6689...

                                                                General Momofuku Cookbook thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/663285

                                                                Nevertheless, Momofuku can't be COTM until at least April, anyway, as it didn't make the cut for March, voting wise.

                                                                Voting thread is up! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/688032



                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  Meet you at the existing Momofuku book thread...

                                                                  thx for those links TDQ

                                                                  1. re: pitu

                                                                    I'd forgotten about that thread since it started off more as a discussion of the book in general than a report on the recipes. You really seem to have jumped into it, pitu. I will indeed be following along over there.

                                                          2. I am no help. I would cook from any of the Kennedy books, Momofuko or Platter of Figs... though I would love to be closer to Spring for Platter of Figs.