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March 2010 Cookbook of the Month Voting (Open Through Friday, Feb 19)

Please vote for one of the following for our March Cookbook of the Month. Voting is open until FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19 at MIDNIGHT, EST.

IMPORTANT: For your vote to count, it MUST be typed in ALL CAPITALS!

- THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO*, Diana Kennedy

*As this is a compilation of The Cuisines of Mexico, The Tortilla Book, and Mexican Regional Cooking, if it wins, people could also cook from any of those three individually as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Cuisi...

- A PLATTER OF FIGS AND OTHER RECIPES, David Tanis

http://www.amazon.com/Platter-Figs-Ot...

For reference, here is the nomination thread with discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/686095

How Cookbook of the Month works: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

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  1. PLATTER OF FIGS

    1. A PLATTER OF FIGS

      I changed my vote after reading and agreeing with the comments that Diana Kennedy and Mexican food would be better for April to be ready for Cinco de Mayo.

      1. THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO. Have Platter of Figs and was not inspired to cook from it. Not being in the Bay Area (any more, sob) means I don't have access to the superb produce that I think would be necessary to the complete success of his recipes.

        1. THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO

          what buttertart said. No local produce in March in upstate NY!

          1. THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO, Diana Kennedy

            1. not a vote... but I'm just getting in to Mexican cuisine and I was thinking of getting Kennedy's Essential Cuisines of Mexico - do I also need to invest in a tortilla press and/or any other specialized equipment to get the best use of the book? I can only get fresh corn tortillas about a 1.5hr drive from where we live. Thanks and sorry for the tangent...

              3 Replies
              1. re: maplesugar

                I use the bottom of my cast iron frying pan to flatten the tortillas. Not perfect, but I already have a place to store my fry pan. Not sure I could fit another piece of equipment into my kitchen.

                1. re: maplesugar

                  I think a press makes it easier, but I like smtucker's tip.

                  A Mexican friend uses a device I hadn't seen before - an electric tortilla press. Pretty nifty - it presses and cooks flour tortillas. Her's is similar to this:
                  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI...

                  I've thought about investing in one, but it's so easy to buy hot fresh tortillas in Phoenix, that I take that easy route.

                  1. re: Rubee

                    Thanks to you both :)

                    I'm sold on getting the book! I'll give my Lodge a shot and if that doesn't work then I may be able to locate a Norpro press.

                    I'll give all of this a start once the book arrives (and this dang cold goes away) - though I'm an infrequent (at best) COTM contributor I hope we do Kennedy sometime.

                2. A PLATTER OF FIGS

                  1. another quick question: how "porky" is this book (the Kennedy)? And are the tortillas always made with lard?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I haven't seen Kennedy's book yet, so I can't answer generally, but corn tortillas are never made with lard (or any fat).

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Right - as Caitlin mentions, corn tortillas aren't made with lard - just corn flour/masa harina and water. And actually, in this book, Kennedy's recipe for flour tortillas call for shortening.

                        Regarding pork, the book is pretty comprehensive with a lot of variety in recipes. There are 20 chapters; for example, Pork, Beef, Poultry, Seafood, Salads, Vegetables, Light Meals, Eggs, etc.

                        I also should add that "Essential Cuisines" doesn't have any pictures. Just thought I should mention that as it's been noted in past COTMs, that sometimes with no or few pictures, some have found it hard to get into the book or be inspired by flipping through it.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Both very helpful replies, and while I may be out of town part of the month, I really would like to try to cook from ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO.

                        2. it doesn't look like we're going to have alot of participation. Maybe we shoud tale a month of (and perhaps cooks and post about past COTMs)
                          Bit I have been a laggard on this board

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: NYchowcook

                            I don't have either one of the books. My Kennedy book is different from the one chosen here and I certainly don't want to buy another one. I'm very happy with the Kennedy book I already have.

                            I'm voting for PLATTER OF FIGS even though I think it's pretty paltry in the recipe department. Seems mostly to be food porn - fancy paper, gorgeous photos, and the name of Chez Panisse hovering quietly in the background. At least I don't have to pay for it cause it's in both my local libraries.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              I'm with you on the food porn aspect of POF. I just can't cotton to chef's books for some reason, never met one I liked/used.

                          2. I'd be happy to do (or not do, and simply read along if my recent non-participation trend despite best intentions continues) either book as both are on my "list".

                            ~TDQ

                            1. THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO by Diane Kennedy

                              I wasn't going to vote (and let other COTMers decide which book I would be buying, as I don't own either, thus alleviating my personal responsibility for adding yet another book to my already overloaded shelves!). But I do love Mexican food and, despite owning several Mexican cookbooks, do not own the Kennedy. So I am rationalizing that that is a critical void in the collection, a space that needs filling, a necessary luxury, a bargain, really, if it means cooking more Mexican food at home rather than eating it out. And if POF wins, well, I can surely make a convincing argument to myself on its behalf.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                LOL. I can go with that rationalisation. DK's book was not in my collection either, but I ordered it and it should arrive today. I'll really be happy with this one or POF. POF was already on my shelf, but I have not cooked one thing out of it - yet.

                              2. THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO

                                1. THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO

                                  1. Hmmm...wondering if we're going to have a sudden last minute surge of support for Tanis, or if I should just go ahead and track down a copy of Kennedy...

                                    ~TDQ

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      TDQ: I gave up on my Jamie Oliver nomination a while ago and have now gotten Essential Cuisines out of the library. It's really irritating when the group chooses a book that is not the one you have by that author.

                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                        Keep pushing on the Jamie Oliver! I promise, promise, promise I'll back you up.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Oh I shall too, OJ. There's always next month...

                                          BTW: I love the "new" simon hopkinson book, "the vegetarian option." At first reading anyway...

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Thats another one I'd LOVE to do. (and a major thanks to MMRuth for being my supplier!)

                                    2. THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO*, Diana Kennedy

                                      1. Votes have been tallied. March COTM thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/689269