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March 2012 Cookbook of the Month Voting

Welcome to the voting thread for the March COTM! Two books had significantly more nominations and now advance to voting. To view the nomination thread, which includes discussion of these books, visit this link:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832974
To view the history of COTM and how it works, please visit this link:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

The two contenders for March are:
MIGHTY SPICE
and
THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

When you cast your vote, please type the cookbook for which you are voting in ALL CAPITALS. Voting will close at 11pm Pacific Time on Friday February 17th (2am February 18th on Eastern time, and 7am February 18th GMT). I will be posting the results by the following morning.

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  1. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

    1. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

      1. Want to make sure and not quite understanding: Does one have the choice to vote for one of the two contenders listed above, or can one vote for another one not listed above.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Rella

          Rella, we must only vote for One of the two books listed Above.

          1. re: Rella

            This is the voting phase, so (as Gio says) you need to vote for one of the books mentioned in the OP. During the previous "nominations" phase, you may mention any book you want. From that, L. NIghtshade has narrowed it down to the two contenders from which you may now chose.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: Rella

              Thanks Gio and TDQ for answering!
              Rella - these two books received by far the most votes in the nomination thread. Since the book for which you cast a nomination didn't make it to the final round, you can bring it back into nominations again in the future. In the meantime, we'll be choosing from one these two books to cook from for March.

              1. re: L.Nightshade

                It just seemed such a short period of time this time, and it seemed there were less nominations than previous, so I was surprised that 'this was it' !! And one is always disappointed re one's own nomination not making it :-))

                Thanks all.

                1. re: Rella

                  The nomination thread was up for five days. Looking back at the others, that seemed to be the usual length of time. But this is my first month doing this. If there is a consensus that five days is too short, let me know and I'll change it for next month!
                  I think this month there was a lot of energy behind two of the books. Doesn't mean the others won't see their month in the future!

                  ETA - I'm not sure there were fewer nominations this time. There were 24 nominations for eight different books, which seems like a pretty good number.

                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    Seems like it was great timing. I think there were pretty much the same number of nominations as normal, just a bit less chatter.

                  2. re: Rella

                    If it's any consolation, I think both of these books will eventually be COTM. Might as well be now, for one of them, anyway. :).

                    ~TDQ

                  1. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

                      1. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

                            1. Glad we have a little more time to vote on this one. Both these books are interesting to me. I
                              finally got mighty space and was all set to vote for that one. But figured I would check out the olive and the caper since I didn't really know anything about that one. Looks like a fun one too! Plus, I feel like with Greece in the news so much these days it might be fun to explore the cuisine and culture a little bit.

                              Alright-- copied the avgolemono soup and the orzo and beans recipes from olive and the caper (thank you google books) and will try to make these tonight or tomorrow. Next month should be fun either way!

                              Still hoping to cook some Japanese food this month. Have definitely enjoyed reading about everyone else's experiences, but have been so busy in the evenings haven't had much time to cook. Somehow, I have it in my mind that everything will require me to make dashi stock first that that has become an insurmountable road block.

                              17 Replies
                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                  jpr54_1, if you want your vote to count, you need to post in all caps.

                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                    jpr54_1 - As Caitlin says, if you are voting (which you probably are) please put your vote in all caps to count in the total. Books written in lower case are considered part of the discussion. Thanks!

                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                      I know ... I'm glad we have more time too. I'm feeling very conflicted. I want to do both those books! But then again, I've done quite a bit of cooking from Mighty Spice already ... big dilemma.

                                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                                        I'm feeling the same way here.....Mighty Spice has such a well-developed thread already that I'm hesitant to vote for it before checking out the Olive and the Caper. I haven't done much greek cooking, so it's intriguing. Hopefully my library brings it in before the voting is over!

                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                          instant (powdered) dashi stock, really useful stuff.

                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                            I feel the same about dashi and being super busy lately + in limbo over dashi, I assembled lots of pantry things along with vegetables and now even the ground chicken but have not cooked one dish yet! All I need now is to get off my tushi and make me some dashi:)

                                            1. re: herby

                                              seriously if it is the dashi that's getting in your way, a jar of instant dashi is a worthwhile investment, maybe not for soups, but for the smaller amounts of dashi called for in many of the recipes, it really gets one over the "i have to make dashi?" hump.

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                Ah, the great is the enemy of the good sometimes. I remember being put off by the step of having to make Dunlop's stock during Dunlop month... But then another 'hound (MMRuth) shared her secret for doctoring ordinary homemade chicken stock by boiling it with some ginger, which worked like a dream. Sometimes there is a way to get beyond these kinds of things if you're willing to sacrifice a small amount of deliciousness. Often you can still achieve very good results. And very good is pretty good!

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I used MMRuth's trick too! Made it so much simpler, and was really very tasty.

                                                2. re: qianning

                                                  I know that it is very silly... I do have instant dashi which I bought awhile back following suggestion of a Japanese woman who said that everyone uses it on worknights. However, I need to overcome this silliness and make dashi - I have a plan to make a few dishes starting tomorrow.

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    Not silly. I mean, one of the pleasures of COTM is to immerse yourself in a cuisine. It makes sense that you want to try to do prepare it from scratch. But, if it's becoming an impediment to participation altogether, then there might be a way for you to get beyond it by taking a small short-cut with only a small sacrifice in flavor. And, when you do eventually get around to making it yourself by scratch, you will be in a better position of knowing how much you actually did end up sacrificing by taking a short-cut.

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      Sometimes we need a permission to take that shortcut - thank you! If come Friday night the making of dashi will continue to be a hump for me, I'll take an instant dashi route:)

                                                      1. re: herby

                                                        Herby, dashi was the very first Japanese stock recipe I ever made. Since that first week in Feb. I've made it twice. Once using the recipe from Washoku and the next time from Charmaine Solomon's book, "The Complete Asian Cookbook". Both recipes were very easy to make. Give yourself time, follow the directions carefully, and you'll be fine.

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          Thank you, Gio! I will do just that:)

                                                    2. re: herby

                                                      herby,

                                                      The nice thing about dashi is that you can make it quickly after work, unlike the chicken stock I make which takes hours. It really is surprisingly simple and quick.

                                                      Another thought is that if dashi is your biggest obstacle now, choose recipes that don't require dashi to start (like san shoku donburi, tonkatsu, onigiri, Kajiki Maguro No Yuan Yaki, tori no yuan yaki, asapara no kuro goma ae, or buri no teriyaki).

                                                      I hope you are able to make a Japanese dish this month. Your interest in Japanese cooking got me going and I've had a lot of fun cooking this month and look forward to seeing what others make while I am away.

                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    I want them both!! Must decide......

                                                  2. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

                                                    I gave in and ordered it today - hope it wins but if not, not a big deal - I wanted it for a long time:)

                                                    1. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER
                                                      I like Mighty Spice a lot, but it's one of those books that I know I'll cook from whether or not it wins. On the other hand, Greek will be a new learning experience for me as its not something I've done often other than the occasional epicurious recipe that caught my eye.

                                                      1. MIGHTY SPICE--I just got it and like the looks of most of those recipes. I have and like the other book, too, but the spiciness factor of MS is calling out to me now.

                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                            delys77 - If you are voting (which I assume you are) please put your vote in all caps to count in the total. Books mentioned in lower case are considered part of the discussion. Thanks!

                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                              delys77, for your vote to be counted, it needs to be in all caps.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                Though at this point I will be happy with either, my vote goes to MIGHTY SPICE!

                                                              1. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

                                                                Own it already, love it.

                                                                1. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER. Sorry about the earlier error with the caps lock.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. This is a really hard decision, as I have both books, and would love to cook from them. Greek food is calling me right now. It seems just the change of pace I'm looking for. But... and this is a big but, it is going to be March. Now, March is starting to get warm here, but summer produce is still a long way off, and having looked through both books, I think I'd prefer to do the Greek book when tomatoes and eggplant are in season.

                                                                    So, MIGHTY SPICE it is. Almost every recipe in this book looks like something I'd like to cook. And very doable on a weeknight.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                      Yeah, for some reason, The O and the C seems more suited to warmer weather to me too.

                                                                    2. Oh man, this is hard. I've been studying both books. I can and will cook from whichever one gains the most votes this month. But the one whose exuberance and possibilities win my heart today is THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER.

                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                        I'm glad others are finding this as difficult a choice as I am. I've been having a blast cooking from Mighty Spice, and know that I will continue to do so. And I've also been having fun the last couple of days going through Olive & Caper looking at recipes, and there are so many that entice me. My nomination post was for both these books. Ach ... I will continue to have a mental boxing match and come back later. It seems as if maybe there are enough people interested in Olive & Caper that it will get another chance; then again, there is already a nice long thread devoted to Mighty Spice.

                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                          Mighty Spice has a very vibrant thread that seems to be continuing. I've had the book for a several weeks but have yet to cook from it. My vote was predicated on the fact that if it won for this month I'd be more likely to dive in. However, I voted before I told G this month's choices. He told me that although he wasn't too enthusiastic about the food we cooked when The Glorious Foods of Greece was COTM he'd go along with whatever won. So... I ordered O&C.
                                                                          I guess I'm covered whichever book wins.

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            I think you & G should get the COTM award for good sports. Really I am so impressed by how you try everything!

                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                              Thank you, qianning. That's very nice of you to say. I'm not doing too well this month, though. This is the first time I've been intimidated by a cuisine. For some reason I can't bring myself to substitute any ingredient. Totally not like my usual self.

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                I know exactly how you feel about the unwillingness to substitute items. This month in particular is extremely foreign to me, and I really like to try it the 'right' way the first few times, at least to get what it's all about before experimenting and adding a personal flair to the recipes. The first week, it took me forever to get dinner on the table, as I'd have to check the index or the glossary, forgetting what each item was, how it was to be prepared, etc. It's starting to become much easier now. I don't need to look up what an otoshi-buta or katsuo-bushi is anymore, and I've made dashi enough times that I can just eyeball it. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll really have a feel for what Japanese cuisine is about and have become comfortable enough with it to try new additions or substitutions.

                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                  I asked this in another thread a few days ago without response -- this looks lke a good place to ask again--
                                                                                  I have some good Thai fish sauce (aged, made from anchovies). I use it for Pad Thai. Could a drop or two or three of this be a sub for bonito flakes in dashi?

                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                    Most of us are too new to this cuisine to know the answer to your question, blue room. BigSal is not around for the rest of the month and the only other knowledgeable person is MoGa. I looked at her profile and she does not have a contact info there. Maybe aks the question on one of the thread that she reads?

                                                                                  2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                    Completely different flavor profiles; just make your stock using kombu. (BTW, I have an excellent instant dashi -- freeze-dried granules -- that tastes like it was made from scratch.)

                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                      Tell me more. Brand? where'd you get it? I am in need of a shortcut! I shouldn't be having so much trouble cooking Japanese food given that I grew up with it as part of the mix, spent 10 weeks in Japan in high school, and know my family would like it. But the dashi is proving insurmountable thus far!

                                                                                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                        I got it online a couple of years ago (500g metallic bag, stored in fridge). There's not a single word of English on the package. There is a picture of a red wave and a red/silver fish on the front. I'll try some of my usual sources and see if I can come up with a brand name.

                                                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                          Okay, the brand is Shimaya. I've been unable to find any packaged in a metallic bag, but several sites have it in a box, including Amazon (temporarily out of stock.)

                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                            I see the "Shimaya" brand available the the Asian Food Grocer. http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/ I have bought (other stuff) from them in the past, everything OK with service and product. But I did notice that the dashi packet's first ingredient is -- MSG !
                                                                                            It's only mysterious the 1st time -- homemade dashi soon I hope.

                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                              Shimaya makes one of their dashis without MSG.

                                                                                            2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                              Thanks for the recc, pikawicca. Found a Japanese grocer in my town which I will hope to visit this weekend. I will try to pick up some instant dashi as well. Sounds like a great shortcut-- particularly if it will last in the fridge for a couple years.

                                                                                          2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                            pikawicca, when you say "completely different flavor profiles"-- do you mean my Thai fish sauce and bonito flakes? It isn't clear to me if you're speaking to me or Allegra_K -- ?

                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                              Yes, I meant to be replying to you.

                                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                                      I have both, and I've absolutely loved cooking from Mighty Spice (have another dinner from it coming up on Monday). I know that I don't need the kick in the pants of having it be COTM to use it. And maybe I don't need that for the Olive and Caper either, although I've had it for over a year without even looking through it (until this week). I'm lucky enough to want them both to win, so can't be disappointed. I can tell you that I find this Greek cookbook more appealing than I found The Glorious Foods of Greece, although I can't pinpoint why.

                                                                                      And I'm with qianning - kudos to you and G for being so game no matter what happens each month.

                                                                                2. We've got about 12 hours to go before the nominations close. If you've been on the fence, now is the time to make your decision.
                                                                                  I see a lot of enthusiasm for both books. Looks like it will be a great cooking month no matter which one wins!

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                    Time to get off the fence.

                                                                                    I'll vote for MIGHTY SPICE. This one will be good either way!

                                                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                      OK, I'm going to get off the fence too. I'll be happy either way, and it doesn't look like my vote is going to swing things one way or the other, so I'll just go ahead and vote for THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER.

                                                                                  2. THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER

                                                                                    I just checked my library systems, and can only find one copy of Mighty Spice in the three systems I checked! Plus that copy is out until March 7, and someone else has a hold on it ahead of me, so I probably wouldn't get it before the month is over. So I'm crossing my fingers for Olive & Caper to win. I can add to the Mighty Spice thread whenever I managed to actually get the book.

                                                                                    1. Voting is closed and the winner for March is announced here:
                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834315