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January 2012 Cookbook of the Month Nominations

Suddenly looked at my calendar and realize that maybe it was a good idea to go ahead and put the nomination thread up now, since people tend to get pretty busy in December. So let’s go ahead and start the Chowhound Cookbook of the Month nomination process. COTM is open to anyone who wants to participate, and we’d love to have you join us. For more on how Cookbook of the Month works or to see an archive of books we’ve already cooked from this link can give you lots of information: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

As always, when nominating, please remember to put the title/s in ALL CAPITALS if you want your nomination to be counted. Nominations will be open until midnight (eastern time) Thursday, December 15th. Have fun, and nominate away. It seems like we’re pretty wide open on options this time around. I’m looking forward to it.

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  1. I would really like to do Japanese this month; there are so many dishes suited to the colder weather.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Wow, time for this already. I just cooked my first out of this month's book! But I have had travel and the flu slowing me down. Anyway, I agree on Japanese! I'll jump in and nominate Elizabeth Andoh's WASHOKU and KANSHA. I think these would be great done together. The latter is vegetarian.

      1. re: MelMM

        I'd like to see WASHOKU. I have a copy, but have never cooked anything from it.

      2. re: pikawicca

        I'm on board for a Japanese month too. I have cooked from both Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji and Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh with good results (both are well written), but am open to other suggestions.

      3. ESSENTIAL PEPIN seems a natural to me.

        26 Replies
        1. re: buttertart

          Love it, but too new for many folks.

          1. re: pikawicca

            Yes, it's a new book. But I'll bet it's going to be under the tree for an awful lot of COTMers.

            I haven't seen it yet. A few of the descriptions of it made it sound awfully basic. What is it that you love about it?

            1. re: JoanN

              I don't think it is more basic as for example the Gourmet books which were already COTM.

              1. re: JoanN

                It's kind of a French "Joy of Cooking." There are so many interesting, completely do-able recipes in this book that I think I could cook from it alone for years and not get bored.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  That's great to hear. I wasn't going to bother. You've changed my mind.

            2. re: buttertart

              Essential Pepin is a book I'd like to see nominated. I see that there are 89 people who have this on their bookshelves at EYB.

              1. re: Rella

                Okay. Based on what pika said, I've just ordered it. And Japanese food in January just does not compute in my brain. So I'll second buttertart's nomination for ESSENTIAL PEPIN.

                1. re: JoanN

                  With you on the it does not compute, JoanN. Springtime would be nice for it.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Japan in the Springtime sounds just delightful. I've been dying to cook from one of Chef Pepin's books and ESSENTIAL PEPIN will be merveilleuse.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Sorry, but I am not understanding why January is an inappropriate time of year for Japanese food. Probably being obtuse, but I just don't see the logic.

                      1. re: qianning

                        I agree with you completely. It's difficult to think of a more satisfying winter dining experience than sitting around a table with friends and family while nabemono or donburi bubbles away in it's pot on the portable gas burner set in the middle of the table.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          So we need to not only get the books, if we don't have them, but we need to get a portable gas burner to put in the middle of the table? It's certainly not happening in this house, I can assure you! We borrowed a gas burner when we had our kitchen renovation, and without proper ventilation, my husband took it out to the porch to cook there. We simply don't cook without the exhaust on.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            All dishes traditionally cooked at the table can, of course, be cooked on the stove. (There was something wrong with the burner you borrowed.)

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              No, the burner was fine, the problem is the food smells in the house. My husband will not tolerate that, so no cooking will happen at the table. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

                          2. re: pikawicca

                            Sounds very romantic, Pika:) My knowledge of Japanese cuisine is very shallow - one of the reasons I am interested in cooking from a Japanese cookbook. I do not know what nabemono or donburi is but imagine a steaming bowl of udon, fragrant tempura or even shiny slices of sashimi - yummo!

                            1. re: herby

                              Nabemono and donburi are one-pot dishes that contain small pieces of meat or seafood, and a wide variety of vegetables, usually cooked in a seaweed/dried bonito flake infused stock (dashi). Can be flavored with any of a multitude of Japanese herbs and other seasonings. With some of these dishes, you drop in par-cooked rice when the meat and veggies are gone, and cooked some more. The result is an extremely flavorful risotto-like dish.

                              1. re: pikawicca

                                Sounds delicious - I have to try it. Recently bought all ingredients for making dashi but have not done it yet.

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  oden is another one pot dish that is lovely. Donburi are delicious, but not what I would consider a one pot dish. It is a rice bowl with a topping (oyakodon- chicken and egg, gyudon-meat and onion, etc).

                                  1. re: BigSal

                                    You're right about the donburi -- I think of them as one-pots because they get served in those lovely bowls. (Which I collect, and have bought some gorgeous ones online.)

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        Me three on the bowls! And other Japanese tableware... and also on not understanding why folks wouldn't think Japanese cooking is suitable for January. It gets cold in Japan too! Flipping through Washoku, the words "simmered" and "stewed" appear again and again. A Japanese take on winter cooking would be such a nice change after all the Thanksgiving and Christmas traditional stuff.

                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                    At the risk of seeming ignorant and naive, I cannot get really excited over any Japanese dish. I just do not appreciate the nuances of flavor. The 'spouse' thinks just the opposite..

                          3. re: JoanN

                            Ditto, ESSENTIAL PEPIN

                            I also dont want to acquire another Japanese book at this time. I have Tsuji and some others, dont need to augment that part of my shelf.

                        2. re: buttertart

                          I'm on board with the Pepin. Japanese is not a cuisine that I particularly seek out, though it's fine when I do have it. I like the breadth of Pepin, and I agree that it probably will be under a lot of Christmas trees this year.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Another vote here for ESSENTIAL PÉPIN.
                            I've only had this book for a couple months, but used it for a few recipes including my first Thanksgiving turkey--with great success. I plan to make his "Roast Duck with Orange Sauce" for Christmas. The instructional DVD that comes with the book is fantastic; I feel like I'm sitting in Jacques' kitchen while he gives me a class on cooking techniques.

                          2. January is such a cold month, I'd like to suggest any book that might have a lot of foods that wouldn't necessarily be cooked during summer months. I think lots of recipes that could be done in the oven, or long slow cooking, although not particularly a theme of this technique of cooking.

                            I don't know what cookbook this could be, but others might have an idea. Warming and comforting foods. Warming the room and heart. Oops, I meant hearth :-))

                            1. January is great month for braising - BRAISE by Daniel Boulud

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: honkman

                                Braise, hmmmm? You have my attention. I don't have this book, yet, but I own two other Daniel Boulud cookbooks and would love to hear about your experience with this book. The reviews on Amazon are mixed.

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  If there is an interested in braises for January, how about FALLING OFF THE BONE BY JEAN ANDERSON? Here is a para from the book description on Amazon:

                                  From trusted cookbook author and food writer Jean Anderson comes Falling Off the Bone, a collection of recipes for simple, delicious meat dishes just like grandma used to make, but updated for contemporary kitchens and tastes. With beautiful color photographs throughout, this cookbook shows just how mouthwateringly delicious simple home cooking can be.

                                  I have the book and read through some of it but have not made anything yet - lots of appealling recipes.

                                  1. re: herby

                                    I have also Falling of the bone and have only tried one recipe - overall not bad but some recipes seemed to be dumped down and simple - and I don't like books which suggest to buy precut vegetables to save time.

                                  2. re: dkennedy

                                    I like All About Braising but often think that the recipes are quite rustic and not overly unusual (which is not automatically a bad thing sometimes). Braise from Boulud is for me the next step with some more refined, creative recipes. I have tried so far 3-4 recipes and liked them a lot.

                                2. For those who are interested in Washoku or Kansha cooking, as I am, Elizabeth Andoh has a couple of web sites that compliment each book. Worth a look for explanations, tools, glossary, info...

                                  http://www.washokucooking.com/