HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What are you cooking today?


bayoucook Jun 11, 2011 06:17 AM

Hello cooking friends. I'm starting this a little early because I have only through this Friday the 17th to complete it (going to Europe for a couple of weeks). IF it's not finished to everyone's satisfaction by then, our friend Gio has offered to take it over. I'll be back by first of the month posting.

A few recent nominations include Radically Simple, 660 Curries, My Bombay Kitchen, The Splendid Table, and The Olive and The Caper. There also has been talk about nominating summer cooking/grilling books. There are several new offerings out there that should be interesting as well.

Please nominate your choices ALL IN CAPS, please. Let's get started!

  1. blue room Jun 17, 2011 03:18 PM

    Interesting month.

    10 Replies
    1. re: blue room
      Gio Jun 17, 2011 03:37 PM

      Nail biter this, isn't it?

      1. re: Gio
        Breadcrumbs Jun 17, 2011 03:58 PM

        I've lost track of which books are in the running!! When's the deadline for nominations?

        1. re: Breadcrumbs
          L.Nightshade Jun 17, 2011 04:00 PM

          Upthread Caitlin says 5pm today. So far I see 11 books have been nominated!
          Edit: that's 5pm Pacific.

          1. re: L.Nightshade
            Breadcrumbs Jun 17, 2011 04:04 PM

            Oh my goodness, we're all over the map! Only minutes left. . . can't wait to see where we end up for the voting! Caitlin you're an angel, thank-you for taking this on!!

            1. re: Breadcrumbs
              herby Jun 17, 2011 06:39 PM

              5pm Pacific has come and gone... I have not noticed a posting by Caitlin - maybe she is not the one?

              1. re: herby
                qianning Jun 17, 2011 06:48 PM

                making sense of the, dare I say schizophrenic, nomination thread may take some time...

                1. re: herby
                  Caitlin McGrath Jun 17, 2011 08:45 PM

                  My Plea: It's Friday evening! The voting thread is up: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/790804

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                    blue room Jun 17, 2011 09:03 PM

                    Thank you, and enjoy your weekend.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                      herby Jun 17, 2011 09:26 PM

                      Great job, Caitlin, thank you for stepping in!

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                        qianning Jun 18, 2011 09:56 AM

                        Thanks so much, this one was especially tough.

          2. q
            qianning Jun 16, 2011 06:08 AM

            Has anyone ever cooked from Jane Grigson's "Vegetables"? Worth considering?

            14 Replies
            1. re: qianning
              buttertart Jun 16, 2011 07:13 AM

              Whenever I need something different I go there first. Fruit Book and Vegetable Book are incomparably wonderful. I'd love a Grigson month but since I have best intentions and almost zero followthrough I don't think I should be voting any more.

              1. re: buttertart
                The Dairy Queen Jun 16, 2011 08:51 AM

                Ditto (except for your first sentence. I've never cooked from this book, only heard great things about it.)


                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  dkennedy Jun 16, 2011 08:58 AM

                  I am going to throw THE SANTA MONICA FARMER'S MARKET COOKBOOK into the ring. It is a GREAT cookbook for summer produce.

                  I would also be excited to cook from THE SPLENDID TABLE, a personal favorite in my home.

                  I had previously seconded the nomination for MARIO'S GRILLING book, still interested in that book, but since we do not seem to have a strong contender as of yet, I thought I'd try again. Obviously, I will confine my vote to one title as of the 17th.

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    buttertart Jun 16, 2011 11:28 AM

                    Jane Grigson is my goddess. I have a picture of her on my refrigerator. One of my biggest regrets is that I never took a cooking class with her when I had the chance (Macy's, in ? 1976).

                    The books are incredibly informative and beautifully written. They read like novels and the recipes work. Try "Good Things" for a taste. "Food with the Famous" is fun (background and recipes from John Evelyn, Jane Austen, Alexander Dumas, Emile Zola, Claude Monet,Thomas Jefferson and the Reverend Sidney Smith).

                    I also love her British and European Cookery books and especially "The Mushroom Feast". I do hope some of you will take a look at them...

                  2. re: buttertart
                    qianning Jun 16, 2011 08:58 AM

                    She's one of the "classic" authors that I've never even looked at and feel that I really should.

                    There seem to be both American and British editions and a couple of re-prints, of her works, so I'm assuming her books are available in a lot of library systems? And specifically "Vegetables", do people have it/ have library access/ have an interest?

                    1. re: qianning
                      herby Jun 16, 2011 09:20 AM

                      Not available in my library system

                    2. re: buttertart
                      herby Jun 16, 2011 09:19 AM

                      It is available on Abe's for $1 plus shipping from UK to Canada at $5.44

                      1. re: herby
                        italy531 Jun 16, 2011 09:45 AM

                        RADICALLY SIMPLE

                        1. re: italy531
                          oakjoan Jun 17, 2011 01:01 PM

                          I hate to be a grumpus, but I'm starting to turn against new books as COTMs. I realize this book has been out for about 8 months, but it's not in any local libraries and I will not buy another book that isn't something I've REALLLLLLY wanted and that I know beforehand that I'm sure to use frequently.

                          I just don't have the money to shell ot $20-40 a month for a cookbook and there are so few bookstores around anymore that it's sometimes difficult to get a look at them.

                          I AM interested in Jane Grigson and wish the posters wrote more about the books they're discussing, describing some recipes, etc. Alibris has a bunch of her books for under $5! I'll write JANE GRIGSON in caps but don't know which specific book is being put forward here.

                          1. re: oakjoan
                            qianning Jun 17, 2011 01:25 PM

                            JANE GRIGSON'S VEGETABLES.

                            1. re: oakjoan
                              buttertart Jun 17, 2011 01:33 PM

                              I think I've maundered on about her quite a bit on threads discussing English cookery writers.

                              I bet she'd be up a lot of people here's streets, because the books are full of historical and literary information and personal reflection as well as great recipes (written in the English Elizabeth David-y style, presuming some basic cooking chops, not the hyperdidactic modern American style).

                              One recipe that is worth the price of "The Mushroom Feast" is the pork stroganoff-style, with wild mushrooms. Rough paraphrase with none of the JG charm and precision, unfortunately -

                              Slivered pork tenderloin, salt and pepper, a very little paprika, a very few caraway seeds. Sliced mushrooms, about the same weight (I use oysters because that's what I could get when I first started making it - and they're widely cultivated and quite cheap now), either one type or mixed with buttons. 2 shallots, 4 tb butter, 2 tb oil (can use less fat).

                              Cook one thinly-sliced shallot in some butter and oil until soft, cook the pork in the same pan just to the barely-done stage, remove from pan (or use 2 pans). Cook another thinly-sliced shallot in butter and oil. Cook the mushrooms until they release their juices and those boil away, browning them somewhat. Return the pork to the pan, stir briefly, stir in 1/2 c appx of creme fraiche or sour cream, heat through, serve.

                              Noodles with poppyseeds and butter are nice with this. JG suggests the classic accompaniment of shoestring fried potatoes, which are terrific alongside. Easy, fast, delicious, typically JG (although not all the recipes are this simple, of course).

                              The book to start on is "Good Things". If you like that, you'll like the others. The closest contemporary book I can think of is Hopkinson, but JG's have by far greater breadth and depth.

                              1. re: buttertart
                                Gio Jun 17, 2011 01:43 PM

                                BT, You may be referring to "Good Things" by Jane Grigson...?


                                1. re: Gio
                                  buttertart Jun 17, 2011 01:45 PM

                                  Grazie mille cara Gio, yes, I had simple on the brain it seems. Edited to correct.

                              2. re: oakjoan
                                blue room Jun 17, 2011 03:38 PM

                                I've bought several books for COTM and I'm afraid probably less than half have been wise purchases. So now I participate at *my* level -- even if it means making the plainest recipes in the current book (and still having the nerve to photograph and post the lame results!). The Plenty & Ottolenghi month I used Internet recipes only -- I know the books are lovely, but it's enough that they exist, I no longer need to have them in my house!
                                So, yeah -- older and overwhelmingly available is good.

                      2. LulusMom Jun 15, 2011 10:14 PM

                        RADICALLY SIMPLE, if I am not too late. Thanks everyone.

                        1. j
                          JaneEYB Jun 15, 2011 08:14 PM

                          I'd be happy with either RADICALLY SIMPLE or THE SPLENDID TABLE.

                          1. Caitlin McGrath Jun 15, 2011 05:34 PM

                            Nominations for July COTM will now be open through FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 5 P.M. PDT.

                            1. Allegra_K Jun 15, 2011 05:00 PM

                              How about something Japanese? I've been having fun dabbling in the Japanese section of the current COTM, and would love to try more......would anyone be interested in something like Tsuji's "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art"? Or one of Elizabeth Andoh's books?

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Allegra_K
                                Jay F Jun 15, 2011 05:07 PM

                                If you want to nominate something specific, Allegra, you should type it in ALL CAPS. Today is the last day for nominations.

                                1. re: Jay F
                                  Allegra_K Jun 15, 2011 05:10 PM

                                  Just tossing out ideas. I don't have any specific nominations yet. I do believe that the nominations are going to be extended a few days, though.....

                                2. re: Allegra_K
                                  BigSal Jun 15, 2011 06:06 PM

                                  I would be game for Tsuji's or Andoh's books at any point.

                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                    herby Jun 15, 2011 07:24 PM

                                    I would love a Japanese book - just got Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking from the library - would love to cook from it in the fall. For now, any NA farmers' market book is way more appealing to me or Greek or Spanish.

                                    1. re: herby
                                      BigSal Jun 15, 2011 07:58 PM

                                      I'd also be willing to cook from Morimoto any time of the year. As well as Spanish, as I missed the Casas COTM. Jose Andres has classic and modern interpretations, Janet Menel has a number of books, although seemingly lesser known here. Jose Pizarro's Seasonal Spanish Food is also enticing, as well as The New Spanish Table. I did just get Roden's Food of Spain, but am not smitten yet...but it is a lot to go through.

                                      1. re: BigSal
                                        buttertart Jun 16, 2011 05:13 AM

                                        The desserts are exciting - chocolate-chestnut cake and FLAN I can't wait to make, also a sexy little almond cake.

                                        1. re: BigSal
                                          qianning Jun 16, 2011 06:02 AM

                                          Another possibility in the Iberian theme would be Colman Andrews' Catalan book. It is pretty available library-wise, at least around here.

                                      2. re: Allegra_K
                                        rasputina Jun 16, 2011 06:08 AM

                                        WASHUKO: RECIPES FROM THE JAPANESE HOME KITCHEN

                                        1. re: rasputina
                                          herby Jun 16, 2011 06:19 AM

                                          I took it out of the library once - didn't cook anything from it, just read - beautiful book!

                                          1. re: rasputina
                                            MelMM Jun 16, 2011 06:48 AM

                                            There is also a newer book, Kansha, from the same author. It's on vegetarian Japanese cooking.

                                        2. herby Jun 15, 2011 12:01 PM

                                          I would like to nominate two books:

                                          VEFA ALEXIADOU: VEFA’S KITCHEN
                                          Aimed at all lovers of Mediterranean food, the book will appeal to anyone who loves to cook easy, tempting and delicious dishes, from simple but stunning salads and mezedes in summer, to slowly simmered meat dishes and crisp filo pastries in winter. As well as presenting definitive recipes for taverna favourites such as moussaka, tzatziki and hummus, the book documents the extraordinary variety of local sweets and pastries, delicious home-baked breads and cheeses of the mountainous interior, as well as the fish and vegetable dishes of coastal areas, simply fragranced with lemons and herbs.

                                          This book celebrates the collaboration between farmer and chef—and the journey from land to table. Readers are invited along to visit the men and women who grow, herd, ranch, and create artisanal foods that supply the finest restaurant chefs in the country. Harvest to Heat explores this dynamic relationship and paints beautiful portraits of these often unheralded people, even while it offers up a bounty of never before published, easy to cook recipes—100 in all. It will encourage readers to think fresh first and buy food locally, as well as motivate them to cook with the confidence of a four-star chef.

                                          I would also be happy to cook from either Vietnamese or Spanish book - something light, flavourful and fresh for the summer. Not keen on either Italian or grilling.

                                          14 Replies
                                          1. re: herby
                                            Breadcrumbs Jun 15, 2011 12:48 PM

                                            Herby I have Harvest To Heat on my Chapters wish list. I looked at it in the store and thought it was a beautiful book but I don't know anyone who's cooked from it yet. Do you have it? If so, I'd love to hear what dishes you've tried.

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                              herby Jun 15, 2011 01:14 PM

                                              I do not have it but it is available on GC and I am very tempted to sign up - I will get
                                              The Food of Spain
                                              Fiesta at Rick's
                                              Harvest To Heat
                                              One Big Table
                                              for $4 plus Falling off the Bone for 1/2 price plus free shipping = ?19 for all books!!!

                                              Now the problem is that one needs US shipping and billing address and I am in Canada. I am going to ask my daughter if she would let me use her creadit card and when I am in NY late in the summer, I am going to get my own card and use her address or ship to an UPS store at the border, just an hour away from me.

                                              1. re: herby
                                                Breadcrumbs Jun 15, 2011 01:20 PM

                                                Wow! What a great deal that is Herby! It's crazy what we have to pay here isn't it? Sadly we're not as close to the border so that's not an option. I did learn though that we can order from Amazon US and sometimes they have bargains we can't get here.

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                  herby Jun 15, 2011 01:32 PM

                                                  It is a great deal! And I will only have to buy one additional book for the rest of year, which will not be a problem for sure:)

                                                2. re: herby
                                                  buttertart Jun 15, 2011 05:45 PM

                                                  I'm not crazy about Rick's although I love him to bits, you might want to get something else.

                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                    herby Jun 15, 2011 07:16 PM

                                                    Thank you for the advise, BT, I was wondering about it too...

                                                    1. re: herby
                                                      buttertart Jun 16, 2011 05:12 AM

                                                      Not his best. But I bought it, didn't I? ;-)

                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                        Breadcrumbs Jun 16, 2011 10:26 AM

                                                        I'm a huge fan of Rick Bayless and have all his books but this one is the only one I wouldn't be comfortable recommending. Along w some recipes we've quite enjoyed, there have been some misses and I haven't cooked enough from the book to be able to discern whether the misses were the exception or the norm. I especially like his Everyday and One Plate at a Time books. I also know that a lot of folks are fond of Salsas. . . I just got that one so can't speak to it.

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                          herby Jun 17, 2011 07:42 AM

                                                          Thank you both! I opted out of Fiesta and instead got Radically Simple and Maine Classics. I'll have to wait until August when I will be in NYC to pick them up but worth the wait considering the price.

                                                          1. re: herby
                                                            buttertart Jun 17, 2011 08:09 AM

                                                            At your service, herby!

                                                            1. re: herby
                                                              Breadcrumbs Jun 17, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                              Hi Herby, glad you got your order finalized! Just in case you're still in a cookbook shopping mood, I thought I'd mention that Chapters has 2 promotions at the moment. There's an additional 10% off any online orders until Sunday (June 19) enter promocode "Junesavings" at checkout. There's also 20% off on all cookbooks in their stores. . .

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                herby Jun 17, 2011 12:13 PM

                                                                Thank you, Breadcrumbs! I am always in a cookbook shopping mode:) I'll be near Chapters store tonight and will have a pick at their cookbook section. I usually find that books are better priced on Amazon but maybe not this time.

                                                                1. re: herby
                                                                  Breadcrumbs Jun 17, 2011 12:17 PM

                                                                  I agree w you herby but the discount didn't seem to exclude sale items so if you can find a book already on sale . . .

                                                                  There were a few Martin Yan books on our sale shelf in addition to Jacques Pepin, not sure if The Asian Grill is still on sale but if so, that's a great little book.

                                                                  Happy shopping!!

                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                  Allegra_K Jun 17, 2011 01:22 PM

                                                                  Excellent to know, Breadcrumbs. Thanks for the heads up! I may need to take advantage of that discount....

                                                3. blue room Jun 15, 2011 09:47 AM

                                                  The deadline is *today*, right?

                                                  25 Replies
                                                  1. re: blue room
                                                    Karen_Schaffer Jun 15, 2011 10:01 AM

                                                    I wonder if the problem is that people just aren't expecting to look for a nomination thread this early.

                                                    Anyhow, I'd be interested in exploring THE SPLENDID TABLE. I picked it up a while ago, but have hardly looked at it, but I do enjoy the radio broadcast.

                                                    Also, I'd also love a respite from the hot off the press books that we've been choosing lately. I haven't participated much in the past few months because I've only managed to get the book from the library when the month was nearly over.

                                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                      bayoucook Jun 15, 2011 10:47 AM

                                                      Yes, it was a little early. As I explained in the original text I am leaving for Europe in a couple of days and I wanted to get it done before I left. Since it's been "slow" I've let it go longer, and a chow friend is going to take it from here, bless her heart.

                                                      1. re: bayoucook
                                                        Karen_Schaffer Jun 15, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                        Right, I did read your intro and I certainly understand. I didn't mean it as a criticism, just a possibly explanation of why discussion was slow.

                                                        Great that Caitlin is going to take it over. Caitlin, are you going to add an update to the original post so people will know the nominations can continue beyond 6/15?

                                                      2. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                        qianning Jun 15, 2011 01:19 PM

                                                        I am very interested in the splendid table also, but got the impression on June's nomination thread that it was "slated" for some time this fall? in truth I'd rather cook from it during cooler weather, but will definitely participate when/if it is the COTM.

                                                        1. re: qianning
                                                          jen kalb Jun 16, 2011 01:12 PM

                                                          please save Splendid Table for a cool season! E-R food is not summer chow!

                                                          1. re: jen kalb
                                                            JoanN Jun 16, 2011 03:19 PM

                                                            I'm in full agreement. I have the book; I'd love to cook from it. But in cooler weather.

                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                              jen kalb Jun 17, 2011 07:38 AM

                                                              I am not around for half of this month so its not fair for me to nominate. but I hope that my vote can be recorded as a strong (-) for this book!

                                                              We were in Emilia Romagna for a week in late June a couple years back and even though we loved the food, it is was very rich - my husband vowed we would never go there again in Summer.

                                                        2. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                          beetlebug Jun 16, 2011 07:53 AM

                                                          I agree with Karen about the "hot off the press" books. My feeling is that COTM is turning into a have v. have not situation in access to these new books. I know I sound like a broken record but it is disheartening when new books are being nominated and chosen on a more consistent basis.

                                                          I'm going to nominate, WORLD VEGETARIAN by MADHUR JAFFREY. Although we've cooked from a Jaffrey book in the past, this books will help us use the summer bounty in different ways. Jaffrey draws upon a lot of international sources for her recipes. Lastly, this book is over 10 years old so library systems should have it and it's probably reasonable for buyers to purchase.

                                                          1. re: beetlebug
                                                            Berheenia Jun 16, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                            I guess I'm spoiled living in the Boston Area. Our library is part of the Minuteman Library Network and is able to get me a copy of any COTM that I request (so far anyway)and it's usually a 4 week loan with renewal possibilities although the really hot-off-the press books may only be a 2 week loan and no renewal if another library patron has a request for it. I'm just curious if you have access to a library system or not. I have local friends who would rather buy than borrow and of course now there is Kindle and its cousins.

                                                            1. re: Berheenia
                                                              beetlebug Jun 16, 2011 08:34 AM

                                                              I'm in your same library system and I'm the poster child of library usage. But, when Ottolenghi, the original was chosen, there were only TWO books in the minuteman system. It took me months to get a copy of the book and the COTM was long gone. Now there is a whole whopping 5 copies of Ottolenghi listed. When we had the re-visit of Ottolenghi and Plenty, there was still a long waiting list for Plenty. Today, there are 56 holds on 15 copies of Plenty.

                                                              Around My French Table was COTM a few months ago. Currently, there are 3 holds on a total of 38 copies. When it was COTM, the request list was longer.

                                                              As for Radically Simple by Roxanne Gold, it looks lovely. But there are only 10 copies in the system because it's a fairly new book. In my city, you can only check out the book for 3 weeks and if someone is waiting for the book, you can't renew it. I know of at least 2 other hounds who use the minuteman system, so between the 4 of us, we would be borrowing almost half the books in the system.

                                                              Our library system is great but many may not has as much access to these books as we do. Personally, I have a hard time with accessing recipes on the web. I don't focus as well and I don't have a printer (I use the library's printer).

                                                              I do buy cookbooks, usually after I've tested the library copy to make sure it's something that I will like and re-use. The few times that I've impulsively bought new COTM cookbooks because of price, I've regretted it (AMFT and Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge).

                                                              COTM should be accessible to everyone, and not just to those who have the means and space to buy books.

                                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                                JoanN Jun 16, 2011 10:49 AM

                                                                Yes, it's a real problem. I just checked the NYPL system and there are 2 holds on 1 copy of World Vegetarian and 13 holds on 5 copies of Radically Simple. No chance I get either in time to cook along next month and neither is a book I'd be willing to buy without spending some time with it first.

                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Jun 16, 2011 11:06 AM

                                                                  Yeah, neither of my local library systems even have Radically Simple on order.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                    beetlebug Jun 16, 2011 02:19 PM

                                                                    @JoanN. Sorry, I made the incorrect assumption about an older book. It's surprising that the NYPL system only has one copy of World Vegetarian.

                                                                  2. re: beetlebug
                                                                    Berheenia Jun 16, 2011 02:26 PM

                                                                    Well I'm glad we 'talked'- I took out Radically Simple when it was up for COTM in June and still have it- it is due the 20th but I'll return it tonight- I enjoyed reading it but was not moved to cook. Remember the days when you could take out an older book for the summer? I used to take out a barbecue book..

                                                                2. re: beetlebug
                                                                  MelMM Jun 16, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                                  And it is also a really, really good book. One of my all-time favorites.

                                                                  1. re: MelMM
                                                                    dkennedy Jun 16, 2011 08:49 AM


                                                                    I see your point about the hot off the press books, but the way I look at COTM, or any book club for that matter, is that the intent is to get people excited about reading, or in this case cooking. One of the things I like best about COTM is that it challenges me to cook outside my comfort zone.

                                                                    If I don't own the title that is chosen, and I don't think I want to own that book (or I can't afford a new book that month) I sit by and read the thread that unfolds. If something interests me, I ask someone to paraphrase the recipe. Or I go into a book store and I look at that specific recipe and make mental notes.

                                                                    Some months I am surprised to find I really enjoy a title that I would have otherwise passed by. Those months I put the title on my wish list and I buy it when I am ready. Then, I add to the old COTM threads as I cook out of them. For the months I don't find the title enticing, I try to check the book out of the library.

                                                                    The thing that is nice about the hot off the press titles is that there is an excited buzz about them, everyone is featuring them in reviews and on blogs, so oftentimes a lot of recipes can be found online. Plus, when so many people are interested, it makes for a really active discussion. And isn't that what we are really striving for when we group cook, an active discussion that enriches our experience?

                                                                    1. re: dkennedy
                                                                      beetlebug Jun 16, 2011 02:18 PM

                                                                      I disagree with your assertion that the hot of the press books lead to more active COTM discussions. If a good part of the COTM community is excluded from cooking with the group because of access to the book, that will lead to fewer posts. The most active COTMs are when everyone participates which leads to more discussions which leads to lively threads. The ones that pop into my mind are Dunlop, Vietnamese, Zuni, Lucques, Oseland and All About Braising. All these books were on the older side and could be borrowed from the library. Even though the Ottolenghi/Plenty or Around my French table, or the Hesser NYTimes book did have good discussion, they weren't nearly as active as the older books. A classic example is the Breakfast, Lunch, Tea book, which generated a lot of buzz during the nomination and voting period. But, that's a book that was not easily purchased in the US and very few library systems had it. Despite glowing reports, they were few and far between. The COTMs with older books were the ones who really enriched the cooking experience because everyone was learning about ingredients and sharing changes to recipes.

                                                                      Again, it comes down to the haves, who lead the discussion because they can easily purchase the book and have space for the book, v. the have nots who wait until there is access and join in on a much later date. To me, that is the antithesis as to what COTM is about. It's about sharing the experience together.

                                                                      For the record, I do what you do, I follow along the reports for books that I can't get. But, it's also hard to get excited about a recipe that I may not be able to make in the foreseeable future.

                                                                      Lastly, I'm in three different book groups. All of the book groups have agreed to choose books that are either in paperback or easily accessible from the library. This way most members can participate with minimal stress.

                                                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                                                        jen kalb Jun 17, 2011 07:45 AM

                                                                        In this context, older books which can often be purchased for say $10 including shipping are good choices, even if its just an investment for a month of pleasure. Excess books can easily be given away or donated to a library. Personally, I think we have a good balance in the COTMs of older and newer books and 12 opportunities a year to select. and participate. So I dont think that any book with sufficient broadbased suport should be excluded under a hard and fast rule that a book has to be readily available in everybody's libraries (thats never going to happen), that on-line is not good enough,etc.

                                                                        1. re: jen kalb
                                                                          beetlebug Jun 17, 2011 12:49 PM

                                                                          I agree with you for the most part, especially about the balance between new and old books. However, for my, that changed this year, in 2011. 4 of the 6 months so far have been all new books. 3 of the 6 if you consider Breath of a Wok and old book that is paired with a new book (Stir Fry).

                                                                          The other new selections for 2011 were Hesser, Ottolenghi (Plenty was just released in the US), and Greenspan.

                                                                          I'm not saying that there should be a hard and fast rule that new books should be excluded. I'm just pointing out, that choosing new books for COTM isn't a very inclusive cooking together process.

                                                                  2. re: beetlebug
                                                                    Karen_Schaffer Jun 16, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                                    Oh, WORLD VEGETARIAN by MADHUR JAFFREY would be fun. Lots of interesting ideas there. Even for non-vegetarians, plenty of the recipes would be great as side dishes. Throw a steak on the grill and make an interesting side to go with it.

                                                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                      BigSal Jun 16, 2011 08:55 AM

                                                                      If I get a second vote, WORLD VEGETARIAN. I bought this book used a while ago and have not had a chance to cook from it.

                                                                      1. re: BigSal
                                                                        Karen_Schaffer Jun 16, 2011 02:05 PM

                                                                        Remember that these are just nominations, not votes. My understanding is that we can nominate multiple books. Not sure just how many -- my sense is no more than 2 or 3, but I don't think it's codified.

                                                                3. re: blue room
                                                                  bayoucook Jun 15, 2011 10:45 AM

                                                                  It was supposed to be today but I let it go since there wasn't much response. A fellow chow friend is about to take it over since I'm leaving for Europe in a couple of days.

                                                                  1. re: bayoucook
                                                                    L.Nightshade Jun 15, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                                    Thanks for your work on this so far. Have a spectacular trip!

                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                      bayoucook Jun 15, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                      Thank you, really looking forward to it. Now, I leave y'all in the capable hands of Caitlin McGrath (thank you, girl!).

                                                                4. pikawicca Jun 14, 2011 06:37 PM

                                                                  There is a surprising lack of posts here. What's going on?

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                                    bayoucook Jun 15, 2011 04:29 AM

                                                                    I noticed that! Maybe we need a 'what I'm cooking" month. No, it'll come together....gonna leave it with Gio to finish since I'm going out of town.

                                                                  2. herby Jun 13, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                                    I am not nominating yet but wanted to share a NPR list of 2011 cookbooks: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/05/1368627...

                                                                    They've done reviews for previous years too - just search on the site.

                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                      Gio Jun 13, 2011 10:12 AM

                                                                      Good find, herby! Curiously, the 2 books from the 2010 list are 2 I haven't cooked from yet even though I've had them for about a year.

                                                                      Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking, by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner
                                                                      The Vegetarian Option, by Simon Hopkinson

                                                                      I like the idea of the Southern books for summer for obvious reasons.

                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                        bayoucook Jun 13, 2011 10:39 AM

                                                                        One of my favorites and most used is Smoke and Spice; have you seen it?

                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                          BigSal Jun 15, 2011 04:36 AM

                                                                          Thanks for planting the seed, Gio and BC. I'll vote for MOLTO GUSTO. I haven't had a chance to cook from it yet. As BC indicated vegetables are featured prominently in the book (approx 34 recipes). There are also a large number of fish recipes too, in addition to meat, fowl, fresh and dried pasta and antipasti.

                                                                          1. re: BigSal
                                                                            qianning Jun 15, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                                            If we go this route would there be any chance of doing a duet with his "Italian Grilling"? In general the "one book at a time" philosophy is pretty persuasive, but on the other hand the "breath of the wok" vs "stir fry to the sky's edge" duel thread approach (i.e. two long threads one per book w/o chapter breakdowns) worked pretty well, and i can see that working for these two books as well. On the other hand if we were going to try to include all of his books (kinda ala the Oliver month) I'd rather just chose one.

                                                                            1. re: qianning
                                                                              BigSal Jun 15, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                              I'd be game for the duo MARIO'S ITALIAN GRILLING AND MOLTO GUSTO.

                                                                              1. re: BigSal
                                                                                dkennedy Jun 15, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                I hadn't voted until this point because none of the contenders appealed to me. I really want to focus on summer cooking. So, I am up for MARIO'S ITAILIAN GRILLING. It I'd hard to write in caps on your phone, so I will not be correcting my spelling errors!

                                                                              2. re: qianning
                                                                                Allegra_K Jun 15, 2011 11:18 AM

                                                                                I agree, I would be very interested in including the Italian Grilling book along with Molto Gusto, but not having either as the only one. This is the only nomination this month that has piqued my interest.
                                                                                Although I really want an excuse to buy Claudia Roden's "The Food of Spain"........

                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                  qianning Jun 15, 2011 01:15 PM

                                                                                  I love Roden, but have to admit I'd prefer to tackle that book in the fall/winter, both because of weather, and to give my library system time to acquire it.

                                                                              3. re: BigSal
                                                                                rasputina Jun 15, 2011 09:31 AM

                                                                                If you look through the history of the COTM Mario has been featured and there have been multiple italian cookbooks done already also.

                                                                                A little variety would be nice, even though I do like Mario and own a few of his cookbooks.

                                                                            2. re: herby
                                                                              Breadcrumbs Jun 13, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                              Thanks for posting this list Herby. I'd forgotten about it. While I still have to go through my produce and grilling books to see if there's anything "nomination worthy" there, I thought I'd share my thoughts on some of the books on the NPR list.

                                                                              I own 5 of the 10 NPR books and haven’t cooked from all of them as yet but here are my thoughts%3

                                                                              Melissa’s Everyday Cooking w Organic Produce: I ordered this book online (along w The Big Summer Cookbook) based on the NPR list. Had I seen this cookbook in the store prior, I likely would not have purchased it. On the plus side, I like the format of the book as it’s organized by type of produce, it has quite a few photos of the produce and, finished dishes and, includes good information about each type of produce including buying and storing, prep and use tips, info on availability, nutrition and serving suggestions. That said, there are fewer recipes than I’d expected and, nothing especially unique or, that caught my attention as “must try dishes” as I looked through it. I think this would be a great resource for someone less experienced in the kitchen that was looking to learn more about produce and, wanting to prepare fairly straight-forward dishes.

                                                                              Eating Local: It was love at first sight when I saw this then new release on my bookstore shelf. I just had to have it. There are so many things I love about this book. It includes recipes from farmers across America and includes some background info about the farmers, farm life and crops grown. The photography is exceptional and photos are abundant. Recipes are beautifully and smartly laid out – 1 per page with ingredients clearly listed separate and distinct from the instructions. Every recipe has a head note and some have footnotes or tips. Recipes are interesting and innovative. I’ve prepared a few dishes from this book and all have been wonderful including the Grilled Eggplant Canneloni with Ricotta and Prosciutto, Shaved Brussels sprouts with pancetta and fennel seeds, Tuscan Kale with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins. I can’t wait for our first peas of the season to appear at the market so I can make the Sicilian Spring Vegetable Stew. I love this book and think it would make an amazing COTM at this time of year. It has lots of variety and includes some meat, seafood and poultry dishes as well.

                                                                              Planet Barbecue: We love to grill in the summer and I really liked the concept of this book . . .favourite grilling dishes from around the world. I bought this book in the depths of winter so we haven’t made anything from it yet however I did find a ton of dishes that appealed. In terms of suitability for a “growing season” COTM, I’m not sure. This is definitely a “meat/fish/poultry” book w a light treatment of vegetable/vegetarian dishes, relatively speaking. Definitely a great grilling book, as someone suggested, perhaps a good choice as a supplementary COTM.

                                                                              Molto Gusto: In my view, you can’t go wrong w Mario and this is another book that had immediate appeal. We’ve made a few dishes from it already and of course, Mario didn’t disappoint. I was pleasantly surprised to find that vegetables figured prominently in this book. Nothing especially complicated in this one, just lots of delicious recipes making use of fresh, quality ingredients. I think this would make a great COTM and although I prefer a one book a month COTM, I think Mario’s Italian Grill cookbook would make a perfect companion book to this one.

                                                                              The Big Summer Cookbook: Though this book has no pictures and isn’t as artfully presented as other books, what it lacks in visual appeal it more than makes up for in quality content. The book is abundant with helpful information from charts outlining the flavour profile of greens and heat scale for chilies to side bars with tips on preserving, marinating, foraging, planting, taking the bite out of onions, melon and sorbet pairings this book has it all and then some. I really love this book, even for its readability alone! All that said, there are lots of really terrific sounding recipes in here as well. I think this would make a great COTM.

                                                                              Maybe others can fill in the blanks on the some of the other books on the list or share their thoughts on the books above too.

                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                herby Jun 13, 2011 12:14 PM

                                                                                Breadcrumbs, many thanks for a thoughtful and detailed review of the 2010 books! Eating Local got my immediate attention followed by Batali's book. I'll check the library and, if I can, will borrow both before going to amazon.com:)

                                                                                Did you also look at 2011 list?

                                                                                1. re: herby
                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Jun 13, 2011 12:31 PM

                                                                                  I did Herby and the Southern, Heartland and Maine books all looked interesting. I'll be looking for them on my next trip to Chapters. They came out in April so I'd think we should be seeing them in our stores soon. I note we can order them online now. Have you seen any of those yet?

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                    herby Jun 13, 2011 12:52 PM

                                                                                    I haven't seen any of these yet but placed a hold on Southerly Course at the library; it is "on order" and I am 17th in line! Maine Classics they do not have.

                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Jun 13, 2011 12:49 PM

                                                                                  After looking at my EYB bookshelf, here's my "not-so-short-list" of books I'm going to look through as I think they'd be great COTM's:

                                                                                  Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion (love, love, love this book!)
                                                                                  Donna Hay Seasons
                                                                                  Vegetable Love - Barbara Kafka
                                                                                  The Santa Monica Farmer's Market Cookbook (a great book but if memory serves it may be a bit "small" for a COTM . . . not enough recipes)
                                                                                  Earth To Table - Jeff Crump
                                                                                  Smith & Hawken Gardeners Community Cookbook

                                                                                  and, per my post above:

                                                                                  Eating Local - Janet Fletcher
                                                                                  Molto Gusto & Mario's Italian Grill
                                                                                  The Big Summer Cookbook

                                                                                  I'll have to find time to do this while watching the hockey of course!

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                    Breadcrumbs Jun 15, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                                                    MARIO BATALI'S: MOLTO GUSTO & ITALIAN GRILL

                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                      herby Jun 17, 2011 07:44 AM

                                                                                      MOLTO GUSTO - it is in the library ready to pick up.

                                                                                3. Breadcrumbs Jun 12, 2011 05:30 PM

                                                                                  This is a tough one I'm finding. This is the time of year that I like to take every opportunity I can to be outside, taking advantage of the nice, warm weather . . . and I'm assuming since we've had so little to-date, that things will vastly improve next month.

                                                                                  Assuming that's true, my cooking will be inspired by what's fresh at the market and, dishes that can be enjoyed al fresco.

                                                                                  Yesterday we picked up 2 additional bookshelves to house my ever-growing cookbook collection and today I spent some time re-organizing my books. At hand, near the kitchen are all my produce/farmer's market/seasonal and grilling books and I'm so excited to try new dishes. I'll take a look at those books and see if there's something that might be suitable to nominate this month.

                                                                                  Looking forward to hearing what everyone else is contemplating . . . as always!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                    BigSal Jun 12, 2011 07:12 PM

                                                                                    Although I have been pleasantly surprised by Seductions of Rice, I too would like a book that would allow me to use the fresh produce that's available. Has anyone cooked from Slater's Tender yet? I have the book, but haven't had a chance to cook from it yet.

                                                                                  2. bayoucook Jun 12, 2011 07:17 AM

                                                                                    Oops! Didn't mention a deadline for nominations. Let's try for Wed. the 15th, then have the voting thread start.

                                                                                    1. pikawicca Jun 11, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                                                      RADICALLY SIMPLE

                                                                                      1. Gio Jun 11, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                                                        <"There also has been talk about nominating summer cooking/grilling books.">

                                                                                        Although my personal preference is for one COTM per month, I can certainly see the reasoning behind a grilling cookbook or a cookbook that focuses on Summer meals. So in my mind an adjunct thread for grilling sounds logical, keeping the COTM for a seasonal or other general cookbook. This would give voice to those who Love to grill and get grilling reports on the board and in the archives.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                                          bayoucook Jun 11, 2011 11:00 AM

                                                                                          Gio: great idea! When are you gonna start it?!

                                                                                          1. re: bayoucook
                                                                                            Gio Jun 12, 2011 06:21 AM

                                                                                            If there's any interest an announcement thread would appear after the July COTM noms and votes are finished.

                                                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                                                              Gio Jun 12, 2011 07:06 AM

                                                                                              I've been surfing the boards and found this thread already started, "What's On Your Grill?" Looks like a good grilling thread to me...


                                                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                                                Berheenia Jun 13, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                                                                I would love a grilling book as I have a weber charcoal grill for 2 weeks in July and am on vacation with internet access!

                                                                                        2. L.Nightshade Jun 11, 2011 09:23 AM

                                                                                          RADICALLY SIMPLE
                                                                                          I've been cooking from this book, very happy with the results so far. Many of the recipes seem appropriate for a hot summer month. A lot of dishes that can be done quickly with a few ingredients, but have complex flavors. If you're interested in reading some reviews, there are a few people posting in this thread:

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                            dkennedy Jun 11, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                                                            I would be really excited to cook from a summer themed cookbook this month. I haven't seen radically simple, though it is getting a lot of good press here on Chowhound. What I am hearing reminds me a little of In the Kitchen with Good Appetite, which, btw, is a very good bedside read. Does anyone who has both care to chime in?

                                                                                            I just bought The Big Texas Steakhouse Cookbook from TGC's $10.00 sale. This book has so many great BBQing recipes, it would be worth a look. It would also be a great month to explore a Farmer's Market cookbook, such as the Santa Monica Farmer's Market Cookbook.

                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                              bayoucook Jun 11, 2011 11:00 AM

                                                                                              I have lots of recipes dog-earred in Good Appetite. Just got RadSimple and already dog-earring away, but not nearly finished with it. So happy to see the author here!!

                                                                                          2. r
                                                                                            rasputina Jun 11, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                                            THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER: ADVENTURES IN GREEK COOKING by Susanna Hoffman

                                                                                            1. Jay F Jun 11, 2011 07:16 AM

                                                                                              I nominate RADICALLY SIMPLE. It's a lovely cookbook.

                                                                                              Tonight I'm making scallops with a petit pois puree. I hope it's alright with Rozanne Gold that I post this recipe, which is in the book.

                                                                                              Seared Scallops on Sweet Pea Puree

                                                                                              10 ounces frozen petits pois, thawed
                                                                                              4 tablespoons unsalted butter
                                                                                              20 medium-large sea scallops
                                                                                              3 tablespoons dry vermouth
                                                                                              handful of pea shoots, mache, or microgreens

                                                                                              Put the peas in a saucepan with water to cover. Boil 2 minutes. Drain well and save 6 tablespoons cooking liquid. Put the peas, 2 tablespoons butter, and the cooking liquid in a blender. Puree until very smooth and thick. Add salt and pepper. Return to the saucepan. Keep warm. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Season the scallops and sear over high heat 2 minutes per side until golden and just cooked through. Spread the warm pea puree in the center of 4 large plates. Arrange the scallops on the puree. Add the vermouth and the remaining butter to the skillet. Cook over high heat until syrupy, 30 seconds. Pour over the scallops and top with pea shoots. Serves 4

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Jay F
                                                                                                bayoucook Jun 11, 2011 07:29 AM

                                                                                                I just got my copy of the book yesterday and I'm loving it, too. The mods may zap your recipe if it's an exact rendering of the recipe (copyright laws). Wish we could do a cookbook where the author joined us, like what happened a few months ago Bon Appetit, Y'all.

                                                                                                1. re: bayoucook
                                                                                                  Jay F Jun 11, 2011 07:36 AM

                                                                                                  Well, Rozanne Gold posted yesterday in a thread about Radically Simple, so she may not mind. I hope not.

                                                                                                  It's the kind of book I carry around with me so I can shop from it at a moment's notice.

                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                smtucker Jun 11, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                                                                A list of all previous Cookbook of the Months can be found here:


                                                                                                Show Hidden Posts