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JUNE 2011 COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH: RUN-OFF

The books with the most "votes" this month are as follows:

RADICALLY SIMPLE
FAST FOOD MY WAY
SEDUCTIONS OF RICE

Please vote your title ALL IN CAPS. DEADLINE for voting will be Thursday the 19th at 5pm CDST.

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        1. Oh gosh; now that I've read the reviews I'm changing my vote to:
          SEDUCTIONS OF RICE

                            1. Bit confused.... The book or the books? Are we doing one or two books this month?

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: smtucker

                                We are choosing one book out of the three above.

                                1. re: herby

                                  Thanks. Somehow it was unclear to me. Must be the rainy weather fogging up my brain.

                                  1. re: smtucker

                                    Happens to the best of us:) Rainy weather is fogging my brain to - non stop since Saturday - enough already, no?!!!

                                    1. re: herby

                                      My town in Utah had .89 inch of SnOw today -- and it's nearly June!
                                      ... simple seduction ... radical rice ... I can't decide yet.

                                      1. re: blue room

                                        I shouldn't complain about the rain but I am sick with the flu that has been going around; stressed over going to NYC this weekend for my daughter's surprise BD party because I am moving next week and not even close to be packed yet....

                                        If there is a season for seductions, spring is it!

                                      2. re: herby

                                        Please send some this way -- we're in a drought!

                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                          With pleasure if I only knew how:(

                                          We've been modeling and predicting and visualizing the change in climate but the reality is much more drastic that we ever imagined. Makes me think of "The Road" if anyone read.

                                          1. re: herby

                                            One of my favorite books regardless of its bleak content. I love McCarthy. I average three books per week: readaholic.

                                            1. re: herby

                                              Sorry to hijack the thread but I had to respond because I love McCarthy and The Road as well and I do not meet too many others that love that particular book.
                                              Having said that-- I also wait can't wait to see which cookbook turns out to be Miss June! ;-). It looks very close!

                                  2. RADICALLY SIMPLE., please. Thank you.

                                    1. RADICALLY SIMPLE. (I guess I'll just have to cook out of Fast Food My Way myself!)

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                        I'll be there with you Karen... We haven't seen the sun here since last week. Do you have some?

                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                          Yeah, don't know what happened with that; it was getting votes in the nominations.

                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                            I just got my copy of the Jacques Pepin book from the library yesterday, and I have only had time to look at a little bit of it. I'll probably vote at the last minute.

                                          2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                            I'd be glad too cook along with you (and Gio and Jay F) out of Fast Food My Way...in addition to next month's COTM.

                                            1. re: BigSal

                                              Me too. My copy just came in at the library today. Several things to try, even Mr. Nightshade wants to do some Pepin fast food cooking.

                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                The Pepin recipes are so speedy it will be an easy matter to insert a dish into a menu from either winning book or to make a complete meal from it on an "off" COTM day. I fall apart mid-week because most COTM recipes take longer to cook than my regular meals.

                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                  I have both the Rozanne Gold book and the Jacques Pepin book, so if the rice book wins, I'll be happy to cook out of either "loser."

                                                    1. re: jmckee

                                                      Wow, the voting is very evenly split this month.

                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                        I'm going to even it out a bit more:
                                                        RADICALLY SIMPLE

                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                          Heehee! We have ourselves a real race here!

                                                          By my (potentially inaccurate!) count I see 10 for RS and 11 for SoR . . . . and 3 hours to go!!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            I got a slightly different count, 9 for RS, 11 for SofR, but just a loose count.
                                                            I think the vote ends tomorrow though.

                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                              Yes, tomorrow at 5:00, and anything could happen by then.

                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                Oh, my mistake, it is tomorrow. This is quite exciting!!

                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                  I'll be happy cooking from either one!

                                                            1. RADICALLY SIMPLE

                                                              I think this one will have a lot more variety than the all-rice book.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                To be fair, blue room, Seductions isn't just an all rice book. There are also recipes for dishes to serve with or without rice.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  I never would have voted for it if it was all rice recipes, but I took a look and saw what a huge variety of dishes there are recipes for, as many or more not rice-based as are, and was very intrigued.

                                                                  This index on Eat Your Books shows the list of recipes (you don't need to be a member to view it): http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/3...

                                                                  I'm interested in checking out Radically Simple, but my library system doesn't have it.

                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Same here, on all counts. I wasn't the least interested in Seductions until I looked it up on EYB and discovered it was dishes to serve WITH rice, not just dishes that CONTAINED rice. Far more appealing than I'd expected.

                                                                    And although my library has five copies, there are 21 holds on it, which means I'd be lucky to get my hands on a copy of Radically Simple sometime in 2012.

                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                    Oh yes, I have the book and like it very much. I shouldn't have called it "all rice". (Although "all seductions" wouldn't have worked either!) I have a feeling it's gonna win anyway...
                                                                    which is fine. My 5 or 5 1/2 recipes per month participation rate makes me feel guilty to vote at all. :(
                                                                    But it's a compelling book-- (I hope it compels everybody to buy a rice cooker--a life-changing appliance.)

                                                                2. Seductions of Rice is the winner for June!

                                                                  31 Replies
                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                    This is the first time that the book I voted for won the COTM - I am excited. I should be all move in by early June and ready took. Everything I made out of Seductions so far (not a lot) has been very tasty. And it is a great reading book to boot!

                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                      herby, do you have a rice cooker? Just curious, I'll probably ask everyone before the month is over, tedious of me...

                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                        I'm thinking of buying one br so I'm interested in what herby and others might recommend.

                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          About nine months ago I inherited a 20-year-old, no-bells-and-whistles 5.5 cup Tiger brand rice cooker that had belonged to my Chinese ex-sister-in-law. I never thought I needed a rice cooker. I didn't think I had room for one in my minuscule NYC kitchen. I was wrong. I can't believe I deprived myself of one for so many years.

                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                            I have a slow cooker that triples as a deep fryer and a rice cooker (different inserts, settings). I rarely use the slow cooker, used the fryer once for Chinese appetizers, have never used the rice cooker, and don't know if it's any good. I just keep the big old thing in the garage. Those of you raving about rice cookers, what is the advantage over a pot on the stove? Ease? Outcome? Maybe I'll lug mine in and try it for June.

                                                                              1. re: Bethcooks

                                                                                Bethcooks, I'm afraid it's already over for this vote, (month of June 2011) the winner is "Seductions of Rice". But some posters (earlier in this thread) said they could cook from "Fast Food My Way" also.
                                                                                With just a quick look, I see that Jay F / Big Sal / Gio / L. Nightshade might give it a try.

                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                  I hope that those interested in "Fast Food My Way" will set up a thread and cook from the book. I was so underwhelmed by the recipes that would be most curious to read about CHs cooking experience. Some things are great made simple - roasted asparagus, rocket tossed with simple dressing, a poached egg... but then these simple things need to go with some more complex things, no?

                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                    I got FAST FOOD MY WAY, but I don't find it as interesting as RADICALLY SIMPLE (I've wanted to make practically everything I've seen in RS, whereas JP puts ketchup in his pico de gallo).

                                                                                    But either one is better for me than a book about rice. I have tinnitus, which presents as a hissing-ringing sound that goes up and down in volume. It's been ten years, so I've learned to live with it, but during this time, I've observed that nothing makes it sing like certain white carbohydratic foods, the loudest volume produced by plain white rice.

                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                      Jay F, have a look at Seductions and you will be pleasantly surprised to find many dishes there that do not include rice. Many are meant to be eaten with rice but certainly could be eaten with farro or quinoa or whatever. There are many other rices, not all of them white that you might be able to eat without unpleasant consequences. EYB has it indexed and you do not have to be a member to browse books.

                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                        Thanks, Herby (love your name, btw). I just ordered a copy of the rice book from the library. I tried the EYB thing several months ago, and all it tell me was whether were in certain books. It didn't provide me with recipes, IIRC.

                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                          No Jay, no recipes but ingredients are listed so you can tell if what you have on hand in your pantry will match a recipe in a cookbook you have. And, there's a feature that gives a link to an on-line recipe that you're looking for.

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            IIRC, it didn't say how much of anything I needed. I don't see the point in that.

                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                              When using EYB, you do have to go back to the book for the measures and the recipe, if it repeated all the recipes and amounts, no one would ever buy a cookbook. I use it all the time, when I find some beautiful vegetable at the farmers' market, or something good at the fishmonger. I can look up one or two ingredients and see all the recipes in all my books. Plus you can bookmark and make notes about your books and about recipes, and have them all available in one place. I love it!

                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                That actually sounds really handy. I often buy stuff on a whim just 'cause it looks so lovely or interesting, and would love to optimize its usage. I may have to do some research on this EYB thing......

                                                                                              2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                The beauty of EYB is in finding recipes in books that you already own. I own a couple of hundred cookbooks and I used to get in a rut and just look through the same dozen or so when I was looking for something to cook. Now that I've listed all those books (or at least most of them) on EYB, I can not only search for ingredients I may have purchased or already have on hand, but I can see in just which of my cookbooks I might find a recipe for ceviche, for instance, see what ingredients that recipes calls for, and narrow down which recipe I want to make. EYB has had me picking up books that are truly wonderful but had been languishing on my shelves for no reason other than simple neglect. It's has changed the way I go about deciding what to cook.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  JoanN, how do you find the cookbook you need -- are they arranged alphabetically? I mean how do you know where a book physically is in your home?

                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                    there is actually a thread circulating on CH about how people arrange their cookbooks. I also have in excess of 100 cookbooks, (as do many CHs) and if you use them frequently enough, you just know where they are instinctively.

                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                      My older books and those I use mainly as references are in the kitchen. The rest are arranged by country, category, and/or cuisine. And as dkennedy says, you sort of know pretty instinctively where they are.

                                                                                                      The thread she refers to is an interesting one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/769866 I was really surprised by how many people organize their books by size or color. If I did that, I'd never be able to find anything.

                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                        Yes, I read that thread too, and have tried some methods, but without really satisfactory success. I have very approximately 220 books in 4 separate rooms. My "instinct" leads me to very few on the first try--I'm bent over sideways reading titles often! Have considered taking close-ups of the shelves (and rotating the photos) for a pictorial index on my screen. Physically searching takes much time and if I miss seeing it the first time...

                                                                                                        (Haha what would I do if I had a REAL problem?!)

                                                                                                        Eat Your Books of course can't know where I put the book I want.

                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                          Actually, EYB CAN know where you put the books you want--at least to a certain extent. You could, if you thought it would be worth the bother, create a bookmark for each book reminding you which room that book is in.

                                                                                                          But I hear you on the bent-over-sideways thing. Even though I know approximately where the book I want is located, that seems to be the position I assume automatically whenever I'm standing in front of my bookshelves.

                                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                      I always wondered about the advantage too until I decided to get one:) For me, it is the ease, no accidental spillage, put the insert in the fridge and warm up in the rice maker (+ a touch of water/stock) and into the dishwasher it goes when done. None of my precious pots go into a dishwasher!

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        I can make risotto. I make a killer paella. But I could not, consistently, put a decent bowl of plain white or brown rice on the table. It was overcooked or undercooked or it dried out while I was preparing the rest of the meal. No more. Perfect rice every time. And it can be held at the perfect texture and temperature seemingly forever.

                                                                                        If you're happy with the way your rice turns out cooking it in a pot, you probably don't need a rice cooker. But I tried one method after another (measuring?, check; cover with water by a fingertip? check) and it was just luck if I got a result I was happy with. I resisted buying a rice cooker because I had no place to put it. But once I tried it, I was determined to find room for it even if I had to completely rearrange my small pantry--which I did.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          for us the being able to hold the rice at the right temperature & texture once cooked is the key, that's prertty difficult to do without one. Also using a rice cooker frees up a burner, which for Asian cooking can bne key, as almost everything is stove top cooking, not oven.

                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                            JoanN - me too. Can't consistently make great rice for some reason. So a few years ago I bought a Cuisinart rice cooker, which is OK but not brilliant as it can burn the rice a little on the bottom. So I just sprang for a super-duper Japanese Zojirushi one after seeing it in action at a friend's house. Expensive, especially in the UK as it's only sold by one company, but makes amazing rice. Am waiting for it to be delivered right now - can't wait!

                                                                                      2. re: blue room

                                                                                        I have a small Cuisineart rice cooker. It is about 7" square - tiny (for a rice cooker) footprint which is what attracted me. I can cook rice in any pot just fine but like the idea of dumping everything in and just let it do its thing and stay warm for a long time. My children, on the other hand, both have an amazing Japanese rice cookers that keep rice hot for 72 hours without it going mushy or changing in any other way. It is big and makes rice for a crowd - or for four days for an average family. If anyone is interested I'll find out and post the make and cost. Mine was around $50 3-4 years ago.

                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                          I think the "fuzzy logic" feature is what has so many people sold on rice cookers

                                                                                          http://home.howstuffworks.com/rice-co...

                                                                                          I've used mine for plain white long, and sticky short, and quinoa, and steel cut oats so far. It's effortless and just right every time. (It's a basic Panasonic no longer made, about a foot long and 10 inches wide, holds about 8 cups to the very top I'd say.)

                                                                                          I'm looking forward to cooking from "Seductions of Rice".

                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                            I'm really not keen on my Cuisinart one - it tends to burn the rice a little on the bottom, or if you add more water to prevent this it goes soggy. Am about to give it away in favour of a Zojirushi.

                                                                                          2. re: blue room

                                                                                            A chinese friend of ours gave my husband a rice cooker for his birthday a couple of years ago, and we, too, wonder how we did without it. All rice cooks perfectly, and I love that it will stay warm and perfectly cooked for 12 hours. You can make it in the morning and have it ready at dinner time. Just measure the rice and water, and push the button. And I don't think you need a rice maker with all the bells and whistles. Ours is pretty basic and does the job you need it to do efficiently.

                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                              OK, I was so inspired by the discussion of rice cookers AND by the June COTM selection that I just ordered the one that Cooks Illustrated liked! It was $54 at Cooking.com. Not that cheap, but not as expensive as some of the others, Never had one before, so I'm really looking forward to the convenience, as well as the perfect rice!

                                                                                              "Sanyo ECJ-N55W 5-1/2-Cup Electric Rice Cooker"

                                                                                              I'm also looking forward to testing and sharing recipes from "Seductions." Had to opt out of the Ottolenghi month because of rotator-cuff surgery but the sling comes off next week!

                                                                                      3. It really surprises me that so many have a problem cooking rice. I don't foresee us buying a dedicated rice cooker simply because we have no problem cooking rice of any kind. ( will I have to eat my words a couple of days into the month? I hope the book has advise for side dishes in that case...)

                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                          You will not have to eat your words, Gio! Rice cooker is a convenience item, not a necessity for cooking great rice. But if you want to cook your rice and keep it hot and ready for the next 72 hours, the pot is not going to do it for you:)

                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                            Gosh... 72 hours later the rice is still ok to eat?

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              I was SUPER sceptical but it really tastes like freshly cooked...

                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                            I'm with you, Gio. I don't know how I cam to be this proficient, but rice is no problem at all for me. I can't see myself buying a rice cooker.

                                                                                            Yikes! For what reason would you need to have rice hot and ready to eat for 72 hours? I mean, if you weren't doing an all-the-rice-you-can-eat-in-72-hours party. Herby, plz expand.

                                                                                            My local library systems don't have the book. Sigh.

                                                                                            Are there some online recipes? I'll check it out.

                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                              Well, checking around Amazon, I find the book in paperback for about $7 used.

                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                http://books.google.ca/books?id=d_phZ...

                                                                                                This is the googlebooks link, and there are a few recipes in here that might interest you.

                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                  Oakjoan and others,

                                                                                                  I bought my copy used on Amazon and it was super cheap. It is a great book, well worth the investment. Before any of you go out and buy a rice cooker, read the rice section of the book. The beauty of this book is that it covers dozens of different rices and each require their own cooking methods. You may be able to utilize a rice cooker for the chinese section, but I think you will want to experiment making the various rices uses the various methods. For eg. Thai sticky rice, I went and bought a cheap conical basket to use for this recipe - and it came out great - and it looks so cool in my kitchen!

                                                                                                  Now that Seductions is the official book, I hope some of you will consider incorporate Flatbreads and Flavors (by the same authors) to round out the menus and report back. Looking forward to a fabulous month of cooking!

                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                Well I cook great rice no problem on the stove, but I still love my Zojirushi neuro fuzzy rice cooker. It keeps rice at perfect eating temp for hours which I find to be extremely useful.

                                                                                                1. Since in this June runoff thread, there were quite a few people interested in Radically Simple, I hope you all know that there is an attempt to get a Radically Simple/Rozanne Gold Thread going. Hank Hanover has even posted a link for 133 recipes online at Bon Appetit, in this post:
                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7860...
                                                                                                  (great find, Hank, thanks!)

                                                                                                  I'm not trying to lure cooks from COTM, I'm still contributing there myself, but some evenings after work I just want something that comes together easily, and still has the charms to get those little taste buds giggling. Thus far, I've reviewed 4 dishes on the Rozanne Gold thread, not a failure among them.

                                                                                                  If you are still curious about the book, or want to cook something of Ms. Gold's, come take a look over here:
                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786040