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May 12, 2011 04:41 AM


It's that time again! Spring is here and we need a new cookbook for June.
Last month we had a run-off and My Bombay Kitchen came close to winning it. Other books nominated and seconded were : Radically Simple, Seduction Of Rice and Flatbreads and Flavors, 660 Curries, The Olive and The Caper, and The Splendid Table. There was much discussion about other books and cookbook authors; please see the May thread if you'd like to freshen your memory. Nominations for new and/or not- previously mentioned books are very welcome.

Please nominate your selections ALL IN CAPS. Deadline for nominations is Monday, May 16th at 5pm CDST.

Here we go......!

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  1. Thanks bayoucook! Boy, I just can't believe how quickly time passes!!

    I have no idea which book I'll nominate this month but I do know with the good weather finally arriving I seem to have more tasks, events etc competing for my time so I'll be thinking of books:

    • With recipes that can be prepared quickly (or w a cuisine I’m familiar with)
    • That make good use of seasonal produce
    • That include some recipes that would work on the grill

    I’m also thinking one book would be a lot more manageable than a pair.

    I'm always interested to see where this journey will take us!! What's everyone else thinking?

    11 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      Hey BC - I agree! Would love to see a book on grilling and/or fresh produce for the month. As you know, our plants are ripening now. My friend is bringing me some cucumbers out of her garden today. The problem down here is drought, we're in desperate need of rain! Okay, this should be interesting....waiting for noms.

      1. re: bayoucook

        Funny I was thinking of your lovely tomatoes yesterday as I picked up two patio planters on my way home. Lots of nice green leaves . . . but not a tomato in sight yet I'm afraid!!! We're supposed to get rain this weekend and rest assured, I'd like nothing more than to send it your way instead!! ; - )

      2. re: Breadcrumbs

        Seasonal produce is so very variable by region. We won't have local "summer" produce, like corn, tomatoes or cucumbers for another couple of months. To me, a seasonal book works best later in the summer when most on CH have seen the fruit of their gardens. That being said, I have no clue as to what book to nominate!

        1. re: roxlet

          Like roxlet our seasonal summer vegetables really don't come to fruition till late July and August, with smatterings of peas, green beans, lettuces and herbs along the way. I've been thinking about Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook* but then perhaps we're ready for an Asian book for June. A country we haven't visited yet... Thailand? Japan?

          1. re: Gio

            Ooh, Japan sounds great! What about Elizabeth Andoh's 'Washoku'? Or 'Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art'......but then again, I would be just as happy doing Thailand......decisions, decisions!

            1. re: Allegra_K

              I love "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art", a real tried and true standard in our house.

              1. re: qianning

                I like the idea of Japanese cooking next month. I have Japanese Cooking, a Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji but have rarely used it except for sukiyaki and a couple of other dishes. It looks to be a wonderful book which would yield some wonderful recipes.

                I'll do a check on its availability in various libraries around the country and post results. Will also search Dunlop's availability. On the other hand, I just read buttertart's suggestion of a repeat of Fuchsia Dunlop. I'd actually been thinking that'd be a great idea.
                Since I don't own any Dunlops, I don't cook from them often. I'd LOVE to revisit.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  I was excited but it met with a big resounding nothing doing.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Tsuji's recipes really do work., and instructions are clear and very informative. At some point I'd love to have others insights into interesting recipes to try (for example I've never tried his sukiyaki....), even with books I love it is so easy to get into a rut; turning back to recipes over and over.

                    To whit, the old COTM Dunlop threads have really helped me expand the recipes I've tried from her books. I can really understand why there's a strong push to try "new" authors; but at the same time I'd love to see some of the older threads expanded/updated somehow....but Iim not sure the best way to do it.

              2. re: Gio

                Living in the same neck of the woods, the seasonal stuff at my home is a blink and you miss it affair, Asia, on the other hand is eternal theme around here, with a particular soft spot for thai cooking.

              3. re: roxlet

                Of course, later in the summer would be better. It feels like it's been summer here for months already. Hot. Humid. Dry. And it's just May. Have a feeling it's going to be a blistering summer with a good possibility of hurricanes.

            2. REVISIT FUCHSIA DUNLOP. Every time I pick up a book I come out with a winner recipe. I worship her. Lots of vegetables so good for produce season too.

              7 Replies
              1. re: buttertart

                Just made "Steamed Eggplant with Spicy Chili Sauce" from LOP last night, Mr. QN's first comment "How come we've never had this one before". Needless to say it was yet another hit fom Ms. Dunlop.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Much as I'm in total agreement with you on the worship issue, I don't think her books need a formal revisit (at least, not until she publishes a new one, which I sincerely hope will be sooner rather than later). There are so many of us who cook from those books regularly and many of us continue to post on those threads so they remain quite active. I'd prefer something new. Seems as though we've been doing more than the usual amount of revisiting lately.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I completely agree with JoanN. I much prefer new books to revisits, even if it means buying a new book or sitting out a session or two. If I want to revisit, I can just go back to the original thread on my own.

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        I don't understand why we need to revisit anything, when you can always cook from it and post to the original thread. It seems to me we better serve the purpose of COTM by doing a different book each time and not repeating.

                        1. re: dkennedy

                          I do not understand the need to "revisit" either. So many cookbooks, so little time:)

                  1. I'm going to have to make another attempt at getting SEDUCTIONS OF RICE into the archives!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Allegra_K

                      I also bought Seductions after the nomination thread a couple of months back. I am a big fan and I would love to cook from this book as a group. If we do, we might want to add Flatbreads and Flavors as they would really compliment each other when putting menus together. I posted a long pitch last time round, I will try to post a link to it later. Second SEDUCTIONS along with FLATBREADS AND FLAVORS.

                      Not sure how to attach a link so here is the content cut and pasted from the previous thread:

                      Second the nominations for SEDUCTIONS OF RICE AND FLATBREADS AND FLAVORS.

                      Here are my notes from the April nomination thread:

                      I ordered Flatbreads and Flavors so I am glad to hear the two books will compliment each other. Based on how much I am enjoying this book, I anticipate completing my Alford and Duguid collection sometime down the road.

                      As for those of you who do not have Seductions to refer to, I am going to lay out how the chapters are set up:

                      The first section of the book is, quite obviously, all about rice. And it's fascinating! I have learned all kinds of things I never knew I wanted to learn about. How rice grows, different types rice, different methods of cooking rice, and on and on.

                      But the remaining chapters, for me, are even better. Each chapter covers the cuisine of different region. Not a lot of recipes in each section, maybe 25-30, but they are representative of everyday food you might eat if you lived in this region. Here's the breakdown: Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Central Asian and Persian, Mediterranean, Senegalese, and finally, North American. Each dish mentioned is intended to be served with rice or is a rice snack. The recipes run the gamut from simple sauces to pour over rice, to snack food, to dinner fare - and there are some breakfast and desserts thrown in for good measure.

                      I know earlier in the thread I complained that it is hard for me to cook from an Asian book exclusively for a month (due to my family's protests) but I foresee a book like this being very easy to cook out of day in and day out without getting monotonous. In fact, I am planning on it.

                      I have now read Seductions cover to cover and I think it would make an ideal COTM.

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        I agree completely, Seductions would be a terrific COTM. I purchased this after it came up in the past nomination thread and was utterly captivated by it.

                        I also see the wisdom in pairing it w Flatbreads. That said, I definitely prefer when we cook from just one book. Somehow the energy level / participation seems higher to me.

                        1. re: dkennedy

                          I bought Seductions too after the recent nominations discussion. Have not made a lot from it and would love it a COTM. Still thinking...

                      2. A YEAR IN MY KITCHEN and/or MY FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS by Skye Gyngell. The former was recommended recently on Chowhound as a good present for Mother's Day.

                        Skye Gyngell is an Australian who works in a restaurant in a garden centre (really) in London. She cooks seasonally, and her food is beautiful. I haven't cooked as much as I would like from either of these books, and would love the chance to explore them a bit more. Her approach reminds me a bit of Sunday Suppers at Lucques - great ingredients and gorgeous combinations, cooked precisely and creatively.

                        Here's what Chow said:

                        A Year in My Kitchen by Skye Gyngell
                        This London chef's book has tons of pretty, earthy photos of recipes, flowers, and produce. The dishes fall in between fancy/restauranty and weeknight in scope—mostly things that would make awesome weekend suppers with friends, like pan-roasted chicken with lentils, roasted tomatoes, and basil oil, and cauliflower soup with Gorgonzola and pickled pear relish. The book is divided by season but doesn't get too precious about the whole deal, other than a brief digression into mushrooms being fall's gift or something.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: greedygirl

                          I have just remembered that I am away for most of June! Doh. I think it's probably best if I withdraw my nomination if possible. Thanks.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            That gives me some time to check these out gg! I just recently discovered Skye when Costco had "How I Cook" which I flipped through and of course, decided I just must have it!

                            The recipes and photography remind me of Donna Hay who I adore. I haven't cooked from that book yet but have seen enough to know I'd enjoy her food.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              It amuses me to see how Commonwealth preference still works because there are several people, Donna Hay among them, who are not at all well-known in the States except among the obsessed. ;-)

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Very interesting observation buttertart. I wondered whether Donna Hay may get more exposure in the US after she cooked for Oprah & guests during her visit to Australia.

                                I came to know DH via her beautiful magazine. I used to be a magazine junkie!! Interestingly enough, DH's is one of the very few I still buy. I now own almost all her cookbooks too. Her Lemon Chicken Pasta recipe is one of our all-time favourite dishes. One of those meals you're always in the mood for!!

                            2. re: greedygirl

                              This reminds me, I think there was some discussion one month about The South American Table. Greedygirl suggested we look at it for the month she would be away, if I am not mistaken. I checked this book out from the library, it has some pretty interesting stuff in it.

                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                . . . yet another book I'd be happy to cook from.

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  I bought South American Table after the nomination thread two months ago. It would make a great COTM selection, and I would also be happy to cook from it. If anyone needs more specifics about the book, post your questions here and I will try to answer from my copy.

                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                    I thought it was you! I didn't look up the old thread, but I remember that it sent me straight to the library. The book is indexed on EYB if people want to get an idea.

                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                      Haven't been able to find a copy to look at yet, the idea of a completely new to me region is intriguing, but on the other hand my dumb-nuts uninformed impression of South American food is "lots of beef, lots of salt, rice and beans, kinda dull", this has got to be wrong, but can you give me a feel for wrong in what way?

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        Every time Anthony Bourdain goes to SA, he mainly seems to eat a lot of stewy things. I have never seen this book, so I wonder if that predominates. The only book I have that is vaguely South American is Seven Fires.

                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                    I got The South American Table from the library too and really like it! Especially the soup chapter. I made a couple of the soups so far and they were delicious.

                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                      OK, I will nominate THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE.
                                      As I recall greedygirl felt she might have difficulty obtaining ingredients, and she is going to be away in June. There are many books on this list I'd be delighted to cook from, just thought I'd jump on that scheduling opportunity.

                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                        I really don't think many of the ingredients in this book are hard to find, FWIW. Plaintains maybe, but there are plenty of recipes with readily available ingredients, and she offers suggestions for substitutions, like sweet paprika if you can't get anatto.

                                2. SEVEN FIRES - FRANCIS MALLMANN

                                  it is grilling season. just look at the length of the unusual things to grill thread.

                                  ROVING GOURMAND - JIM HARRISON

                                  an excellent yarn.