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March 2012 Cookbook of the Month: The Olive and the Caper

L.Nightshade Feb 29, 2012 09:15 PM

Welcome to the March 2012 Cookbook of the Month! This month we will be cooking from The Olive and the Caper: Adventures in Greek Cooking, by Susanna Hoffman.

If you haven't ever participated in the Cookbook of the Month discussion, we hope you'll give us a try in March. We have a lot of fun, and we learn from each other's experiences. The basics of COTM, and the archive of past books, can be found here:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_month_archive

If you are curious about the selection process, and the accompanying discussion, the nominating thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832974
and the voting thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833780
Also, there is some discussion to be found in the announcement thread here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834315

I've divided the book into six sections for reporting on recipes. I've tried to keep the divisions in the order they appear in the book, but divided so that they each have a roughly similar number of recipes. (For example, Sauces and Toppings is coupled with Birds, and Wild Game, because none of those three categories had a great number of recipes.) I hope this works out for reporting. The page numbers are for the US 2004 edition.

Here are the links to the reporting threads:

Drinks; Small Dishes; Savory Pies (pages 4 - 113)
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836484

Breads; Soups; Salads (pages 118 -213)
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836483

Eggs; Sustaining Grains; Vegetable Parade (pages 214 - 321)
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836482

Fish and Shellfish; Meat (pages 322 - 405)
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836481

Birds; Wild Game; Sauces and Toppings (pages 406 - 487)
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836480

Fruit as Finale; Sweets (pages 488 - 563)
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836479

In addition to using the above threads to report on specific recipes, please feel free to use this thread for general impressions, menu ideas, ingredient sources, and links to online recipes.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

  1. q
    qianning Mar 26, 2012 09:05 AM

    mizithra cheese....anyone out there familiar with it? or did anyone else try some this month? in a burst of enthusiasm i bought some greek cheeses this month, including some semi-hard mizithra, in my life i've never encountered a saltier cheese. trying to decide what, if anything, to do with it. suggestions welcome!

    11 Replies
    1. re: qianning
      L.Nightshade Mar 26, 2012 09:44 AM

      Ha! I bought some too! It's salty, rubbery, and it doesn't melt! I don't know anything about the quality of what I found, as I have nothing to compare it to, but I wasn't a huge fan. I expected it to be more like firm feta, or ricotta salata, I guess. Disappointing!

      1. re: L.Nightshade
        q
        qianning Mar 26, 2012 12:02 PM

        my sentiments exactly....thanks for letting me know it doesn't melt, i hadn't tried that yet....i really thought it would be more like a ricotta salata too.

      2. re: qianning
        Gio Mar 26, 2012 11:23 AM

        I made a half-hearted attempt at trying to find the "K" cheeses, as someone else called them, but ended up using the very much less salty feta we found at TJ's for everything.

        1. re: qianning
          s
          smtucker Mar 26, 2012 11:31 AM

          Does it grate? Could you use it as a topping on a flatbread, for example? Perhaps the saltiness would compliment a more 'bland' cheese?

          Another thought is using it in a bechamel where the creaminess of the milk could neutralize?

          I have not, for various reasons, been able to get to my Greek market where I was planning to get some of these unknown-to-me cheeses. Wish I could be more helpful.

          1. re: smtucker
            Gio Mar 26, 2012 11:37 AM

            I wonder if it would be possible to "debrine" the mizithra. That is, soak it in fresh water changed every so often...

            1. re: smtucker
              L.Nightshade Mar 26, 2012 11:39 AM

              I don't know about qianning's cheese, but the cheese I got really would not melt, I doubt if it would have worked in a sauce. But I don't know if that is typical. I ended up slicing it thinly and using it in sandwiches with un-salted meats and vegetables. That worked out OK, but I wouldn't buy it again.

              1. re: L.Nightshade
                q
                qianning Mar 26, 2012 12:12 PM

                i tried it grated in a salad today, used only oil & vinegar as dressing, and the salad was still way too salty.

                SMT, don't know which Greek market you had in mind, just so you know, I got this at Sophia's in Belmont.....my first time there (usually I prefer Athena in Brockton, but had absolutely no reason to be on the south shore this month)....anyway, I would assume they would have had the "good" stuff, and and at least for me the semi-dry mizithra has proven a live and learn experience.

                And on a corollary, the manouri wasn't my favorite cheese either, but it was edible. The vlahortiri, on the other hand, we both kinda liked especially as fried cheese w/ that lemon caper dressing.

                1. re: qianning
                  s
                  smtucker Mar 26, 2012 04:35 PM

                  Sophia's was exactly where I meant to head. Guess I will skip the cheese then, but I do have to go there regularly for my taramsalata fix.

                  1. re: smtucker
                    q
                    qianning Mar 27, 2012 04:58 AM

                    Everyone's different, but I would suggest tasting first if possible.

                    I did use a tiny (1/2 oz?) amount of the mizithra grated onto a feta tart/quick flat bread/alevropita last night; cooked at the 500 degrees that this tart required and finely grated it did melt a bit, not sure it added anything, but having left all other salt out of the recipe it did ruin anything either.

            2. re: qianning
              Caitlin McGrath Mar 26, 2012 12:31 PM

              I've not had this, but the use of mizithra that seems always to come up is a simple dish people love from the Old Spaghetti Factory chain of spaghetti with brown butter and mizithra. Ridiculously caloric, of course. Not that one would need a recipe because that, it seems, is literally all there is to it, but: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                jpr54_1 Mar 26, 2012 02:16 PM

                fairway had several Greek cheeses-I tried them all-
                most were too salty for me-I am on low sodium d iet-
                I did buy a small amt. of kasseri

            3. jpr54_1 Mar 25, 2012 02:58 PM

              I am visiting New Jersey from Southeast Florida.
              I went to Fairway in Paramus,International Foods(Rt.#17S)-they both had good Greek ingredients.
              Fairway had great olive oil.

              1. e
                ericaskitchen Mar 10, 2012 12:33 PM

                The moussaka recipe in Olive and Caper is fantastic. I do find all the side bars, and the layout of the book distracting though--just too much on each page. But I do enjoy the stories, and photographs of Greek life. This inspired me to get out the book and look through it again--there's a lot there.

                1. L.Nightshade Mar 10, 2012 09:30 AM

                  The nomination thread for the April COTM is now up and running (yes, already!)
                  It will soon be stickied, but until then, here is the link:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/838164

                  1. s
                    smtucker Mar 4, 2012 04:49 PM

                    I am really enjoying this book. I haven't made that many recipes yet, but it is a fabulous read. I was always a bit of a Greek History buff and reveled in the myths. I am really enjoying the stories and sidebars. I think having the recipes feed from page to page is a bit distracting, but the page layout seems more user friendly once we get into the soup chapter.

                    I bought this on a whim and am glad that I did. I can't remember who first suggested this book, so whoever that is, thank you!

                    24 Replies
                    1. re: smtucker
                      r
                      rasputina Mar 5, 2012 09:19 AM

                      I'm glad someone else loves the book, I suggested it a few months ago. I've had it for years and cooked from it but not recently. At this point I'm almost sorry I recommended it because it's hard to read a bunch of disparaging comments on a cookbook I love. Oh well, it's chow hound I shouldn't be surprised.

                      1. re: rasputina
                        g
                        greeneggsnham Mar 5, 2012 10:21 AM

                        Rasputina. I would hate to think you are regretting reccommending a book. I know I have been a bit skeptical of this book at times, but as I said above, I think this book illustrates the beauty of COTM. This is a book I would never have picked up and bought if left to my own devices, but now I have already made one meal for my family out of it and am looking forward to making more in the coming weeks.

                        I don't think any of the comments have been made in a mean spirit and are not meant to offend.

                        1. re: rasputina
                          jpr54_1 Mar 5, 2012 11:15 AM

                          I am enjoying the book and I have made several of the recipes.
                          I had not previously made any Greek dishes and I am happy I joined this group to experiment and experience them.
                          I also enjoy the authors comments, history and sidebars.

                          1. re: rasputina
                            The Dairy Queen Mar 5, 2012 11:32 AM

                            I think early reports on this book were a little mixed, but it seems (to me anyway) that recent reports have been very favorable and that people are excited to cook from it! Sometimes it just takes a little time to get into the rhythm of particular book or author and a book can grow on you. I think people have learned with this book to feel free to tweak a little here or there to make the recipes fit your tastes. "Italian Easy" and "Italian Two Easy" were like that for me. Early on, I was really frustrated cooking from them because I thought the books were poorly edited (with bad measurement and missing steps and ingredients). Eventually, though, I realized I was still getting delicious results from the books, despite all my frustrations, and I ended up buying one of them. Sometimes you just have to give a book a chance.

                            Furthermore, not every recipe or book or author is for everyone. I don't think you should ever feel bad about recommending a book you love to the group. We always love the hidden gems.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              The Dairy Queen Mar 5, 2012 11:41 AM

                              P.S. Isn't it funny how personal a cookbook can feel though? Sometimes an author can paint such a vivid picture that you're completely drawn in, which can make you feel that you are practically sitting in her kitchen.

                              ~TDQ

                            2. re: rasputina
                              g
                              Goblin Mar 5, 2012 01:30 PM

                              Oh Rasputina, I am very pleased that you recommended this book, because it has inspired such interesting commentary and I for one have learned a lot from people's posts. Plus I've learned so much from the book itself and am looking forward to learning more as the month progresses. (Maybe not marinated lamb's liver, but braised goat for sure!)

                              The fun of cooking from the COTMs is that I find myself introduced to books I might never have have picked off the shelf at the bookstore. And I would have been the poorer for having missed The Olive and the Caper.

                              1. re: rasputina
                                herby Mar 5, 2012 01:58 PM

                                Rasputina, when I first started reading the book I did not like it a bit and very dissapointed to the point of wanting to return it. But instead I continue to read and made a dish which I did not like... I read others reviews and read some more of the book and made another dish, more successful this time. By now I have a list, not too long yet but a list never the less. Going shopping tonight a few things and will make a meal from the book for tomorrow when my Albanian friend is visiting. Albanian food is very influenced by Greece and my friend's mother makes very good Greek dishes (she lives in the southen Albania). All this to say thank you for introducing me to a cuisine that I am not familiar cooking, and a book that I would not have discovered in a million years! I even want to try a goat recipe:)

                                1. re: rasputina
                                  greedygirl Mar 5, 2012 02:09 PM

                                  I too am finding more and more recipes I want to try, and I have had two big successes, including my new go-to tzatziki recipe.

                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                    herby Mar 5, 2012 05:40 PM

                                    GG, did you try smtucker's tzatziki recipe? You ought to if you have not!

                                    1. re: herby
                                      greedygirl Mar 6, 2012 02:18 AM

                                      I just saw the recipe on the tzatziki thread! It's actually quite similar to the O&C one, apart from the olive oil and sour cream. We get excellent Turkish yoghurt here, so I'm not sure the extra fat is necessary, but I will definitely try it some time.

                                      1. re: greedygirl
                                        herby Mar 6, 2012 04:45 AM

                                        I did not put sourcream in mine since smtucker said that she only puts it in when company is coming but oil is essential in tzatziki, imo:) Her recipe also has pepper, sugar and larger quantity of vinegar. I am trying beet tzatziki from O&C tonight.

                                  2. re: rasputina
                                    d
                                    debojay Mar 7, 2012 10:37 PM

                                    Rasputina, I am a new COTM...new chowhounder for that matter (I had viewed it as a quick reference and only recently discovered what a great community it is)...
                                    BUT, this is a book I would never, ever, have discovered on my own. I have not cooked a recipe from it yet, but as an avid cookbook reader for the last 30+ years, this is a great cookbook. It is interesting, different, and accessible! Considering it is a "foreign" cuisine for the most part, what more can one ask?

                                    Debo

                                    1. re: debojay
                                      d
                                      dkennedy Mar 8, 2012 05:42 PM

                                      I am sad to say that my copy of The Olive and The Caper is due back at the library tomorrow (some other CH-er has put a hold on it so I can't renew it) and I have yet to make one thing out of the book. Oh, what to do, what to do!!!!

                                      1. re: dkennedy
                                        herby Mar 8, 2012 08:20 PM

                                        Copy recipes that others were successful with that sound tasty to you if you have a scanned or a printer. If not, we will happily paraphrase and maybe some are on-line.

                                        1. re: herby
                                          oakjoan Mar 8, 2012 08:44 PM

                                          I have probably overlooked it, but I couldn't see any on-line recipe links. Here's one. If I missed the links, plz forgive. I'm a bit rusty, having been out of touch for the past few months.

                                          http://www.cookstr.com/cookbooks/the-...

                                          1. re: herby
                                            d
                                            dkennedy Mar 8, 2012 09:07 PM

                                            Good idea. I will start compiling my list.

                                          2. re: dkennedy
                                            The Dairy Queen Mar 8, 2012 09:00 PM

                                            Some of the pages of the book are available via googlebooks.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: dkennedy
                                              BigSal Mar 9, 2012 04:21 AM

                                              Here are some links for you. Hope you get a chance to cook from this book.

                                              http://oldowls.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/beef-kapama/ rave reviews from Allegra on this one

                                              The chicken version which we enjoyed. http://cookinghabit.blogspot.com/2008/08/chicken-kapama_31.html

                                              Double Lemon Avgolemono Soup [Soupa Avgolemono], page 169
                                              http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_13071909 smtucker highlighted this one for us.

                                              Eggplant Salad City Style http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/eggplant-salad-city-style

                                              Eggplant Salad Country Style http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/eggplant-salad-country-style

                                              Taramasalata with Bread http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/taramasalata-with-bread

                                              Taramasalata with Potato http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/taramasalata-with-potato

                                              Taramasalata with Bread and Potato http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/taramasalata-with-bread-and-potato

                                              Grape Leaves Stuffed with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Golden Raisins http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/grape-leaves-stuffed-with-pine-nuts-currants-and-golden-raisins

                                              Leek and potato pie http://tinyurl.com/6t52798

                                              Warm greens http://tinyurl.com/88gnons

                                              Roasted Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Thyme http://tinyurl.com/7lbh67t

                                              1. re: BigSal
                                                Gio Mar 9, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                Here's the Tzatziki recipe...
                                                http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/tzatzi...

                                                1. re: Gio
                                                  Gio Mar 9, 2012 10:38 AM

                                                  Spinach Pilaf. (Tonight I'm making Hoffman's Shrimp variation)...
                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipes/spinach-pilaf

                                                  Spring Lamb Stew
                                                  http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/spring-lamb-stew-with-artichokes-dill-and-lemon-egg-broth/print

                                                  Manestra
                                                  http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/20...

                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                    d
                                                    dkennedy Mar 9, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      Gio Mar 13, 2012 11:04 AM

                                                      Found another recipe :

                                                      Pork Gyros with Yogurt-Tomato Sauce, Red Onion, and Arugula
                                                      http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/200...

                                                2. re: dkennedy
                                                  mebby Mar 18, 2012 08:17 AM

                                                  dkennedy, very late seeing this post, but I think I'm the other CHer with the hold on the book. I haven't even had time to pick it up from the library yet and my life has gone kind of haywire, so I'm unlikely to get to cooking from it this month.

                                                  I'd be happy to go over and release my hold on it tomorrow so you could get it out again. It's in the Silver Lake branch though, so not sure how long it would take to get back to you.

                                                  1. re: mebby
                                                    d
                                                    dkennedy Mar 18, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                    No worries mebby, I am fine with out it. Thanks for your kind offer.

                                          3. Gio Mar 4, 2012 06:03 AM

                                            My expectations are usually rather high, unfortunately. When I read a recipe I can pretty much determine what the end result might taste like, so when I cook it I'm disappointed when it doesn't come close to what I think it should given the various ingredients I chose it for in the first place. Authenticity is a good thing but sometimes not easily achieved on my part because of the necessity of substituting a few unavailable ingredients. Additionally, I love learning about new cuisines and sampling those flavors that evoke the cultures of different areas of the world to which I could never hope to travel. Lastly, a few really quick and easy recipes in the repertoire makes getting dinner ready on a busy weeknight a pleasure rather than a drudge.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Gio
                                              d
                                              dkennedy Mar 8, 2012 05:40 PM

                                              Boy, everyone is so articulate about their POV as to what makes a good cookbook, I find myself with little to add. If I had to sum it up in one sentence I would say what I look for in a cookbook, or any book, is to be taken on a journey. It could be a journey around the corner or to a far away land, just as long as wherever I go charms or teaches me something.

                                              I know a cookbook is a keeper if I read it cover to cover. It goes without saying for me that the recipes should work, and the info needs to be easily accessible, but beyond that, it needs to transport me someplace wonderful through my senses.

                                            2. jpr54_1 Mar 4, 2012 05:15 AM

                                              Questions:
                                              What do ppl expect from cookbooks?
                                              authenticity? easy to follow recipes?etc.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: jpr54_1
                                                The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2012 05:52 AM

                                                Excellent question. I'm sure it's very individual, but to me clear direction and predictable, consistent, delicious results are essential. In addition, for a cookbook like this, I do think authenticity would be important, although there might be those occasions where an ingredient isn't readily available in the U.S. and she'd want to remark on that, then offer an alternative. And I like it if the book has a little personality or charm, either by offering personal stories, or context for the recipe, etc.

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: jpr54_1
                                                  g
                                                  Goblin Mar 4, 2012 06:05 AM

                                                  Boy, jpr54, that is a fascinating, and huge question! Very interesting to ruminate about one's own preferences. I want clearly-written, logically organized, easy-to-read and above all, interesting recipes! Don't have to be easy necessarily, because a little challenge in cooking can be fun! And if they are from a regional or ethnic cookbook, I want authenticity that can be achieved in my kitchen using (mostly) local resources! In other words, I want IT ALL!

                                                  Do I get it all? Sometimes, and that's what makes for a great COTM, to my mind. There have been some memorable ones, in my admittedly short 1 1/2 years on Chowhound,

                                                  I think this month's "The Olive and the Caper" is provoking some mixed reviews so far because it has flouted the easy-to-read (and follow) typographical rules in its recipes and layout. Some folks have found the seasonings and instructions to be off, as well. But on the authenticity-side, it is a winner, at least to a non-expert in Greek cuisine like me. I love the introductory notes and side-bars about Greek history, culture, and ingredients, and the recipes themselves are introducing me to new ideas and combinations: Beets and Turnips in Sweet Caper Butter, to name just one, not to mention Goat meat! Some of them are probably not going to happen, at least in my kitchen--Thyme-Fed Snails! Marinated Lamb's Liver!--but it's fun to read about them.

                                                  1. re: jpr54_1
                                                    LulusMom Mar 4, 2012 07:00 AM

                                                    This is such a great question, and as you can see, the answers are slightly varied, but pretty consistent. We all want recipes that are interesting and turn out as we hope they will. I think consistency is huge (I loved the Gourmet Today book - I knew that I needed to up the spicing some, but as long as I knew that, the book consistently gave me great meals). I want easy to read and follow instructions (but then here I think of the Italian Easy books, which I loved, but which often needed serious editing). Mostly I want to be able to make delicious food, and I love cooking with other people - eggs me on a bit, and makes it more fun.

                                                    1. re: jpr54_1
                                                      r
                                                      Rella Mar 4, 2012 07:56 AM

                                                      The very least I expect is an index which I can decipher.
                                                      I wonder how many of my owned cookbooks' index (indices) leave me scrolling through the pages just looking for the R's and then the food, then the next and the next tab, and no spaces between. I am totally irrated by this before I even get to reading the recipe.

                                                      1. re: jpr54_1
                                                        g
                                                        greeneggsnham Mar 5, 2012 08:24 AM

                                                        Very good question! I agree with most of the responses already. I would add that I like a "voice" in a cookbook as well. I like to hear the author's point of view and get a feel for why these particular recipes are chosen (authenticity, deliciousness, ease, health etc). Pictures are always nice to get you excited and I agree that a reliable and complete index is important!

                                                        This months selection is interesting. I am happy to start seeing glowing reports on the food. I think the amount of side information in this book is a little distracting, especially as some of it seems unrelated to the recipe to which is is attached. For me, the layout and lack of pictures has made it a little hard for me to get into this book. But I feel like that's the beuty of COTM. Reading about other people's success makes me much more excited to dive in.

                                                      2. greedygirl Mar 3, 2012 02:01 AM

                                                        Nice job on the thread organising, L. Nightshade. Just one teeny thing - would it be possible next time around to preface the threads with COTM as I find it much easier to locate them then. Thanks!

                                                        Am planning to make the beef stifado tonight - will let you know how it goes...

                                                        11 Replies
                                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                                          The Dairy Queen Mar 3, 2012 02:03 AM

                                                          Agree! Brava to L. Nightshade for a very well-organized first month!

                                                          GG, I'm glad you were able to acquire this book!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: greedygirl
                                                            L.Nightshade Mar 3, 2012 11:34 AM

                                                            greedygirl - I will keep that in mind for next month! I used last month as a reference, which didn't have COTM in the titles, but now when I look back, I see that most of the others do. I think last month was just a little different, as it was labeled "Japanese Month." So, my mistake!

                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                              greedygirl Mar 3, 2012 03:16 PM

                                                              I think lots have the month and maybe the year as well, which possibly helps with archive type stuff.

                                                              In other news. I am pleased to report that I had two big hits from the book tonight. Reports to follow in relevant threads...

                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                L.Nightshade Mar 3, 2012 03:26 PM

                                                                Yes, that's what I was trying to say. I used last month as an example, but it was a little different from the others. When now that I've gone back to look at the others, they do have that information. Myself, I usually go to the index thread to find the chapter threads, but I can see it would be helpful to have the heading on each chapter thread, so I will do that next month.

                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                  LulusMom Mar 3, 2012 03:33 PM

                                                                  I am so very sorry about that L Nightshade, totally my fault. Last month was a pretty difficult one to put together (especially without the books in front of me, and having a cold that whole week), and I just totally forgot to put in the whole COTM part of it. So the fault is definitely not yours, but mine.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                    greedygirl Mar 3, 2012 03:37 PM

                                                                    It's really not a big problem, or a criticism - I didn't even realise how useful it was to have the COTM moniker until it wasn't there, ifyswim.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                      L.Nightshade Mar 3, 2012 03:41 PM

                                                                      Oh please LulusMom! I didn't mean to blame you at all! I just didn't look at enough examples! The organization of Japanese Month looked pretty complex. I'm only hoping to live up to your great work.

                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                        LulusMom Mar 3, 2012 04:39 PM

                                                                        That Japanese month was just *crazy* to organize. Don't worry, I didn't in any way take what you said as blame, I was just pointing out that I realized halfway through the month that I'd forgotten to put COTM, and now see that not asking to have it fixed was a mistake.

                                                                        The good news is that all the sudden we're reading some really good reports on recipes from this book. I'm feeling a lot sunnier about it now.

                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                      Caitlin McGrath Mar 3, 2012 07:33 PM

                                                                      I go to the index thread if I'm looking for threads to post reports in, but I like how seeing that COTM designation makes them jump out as I'm scrolling around the board, so it's easy to read along if I come upon them.

                                                                      I also wanted to say that I like the note you added in the threads reminding people how useful it is to keep recipe reports together, and how to do so.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                        greedygirl Mar 4, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                                        I see the nice people at Chowhound have fixed it for us. *applauds*

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                                                          L.Nightshade Mar 4, 2012 12:20 PM

                                                                          I sent them a request to change the titles, I didn't know if they would do it but they did! So everything is in order now, thanks to the CH Team!

                                                              2. jpr54_1 Mar 2, 2012 05:41 AM

                                                                I haven't received my copy of book as yet. I am looking forward to starting-
                                                                I have found a few shops which carry Greek specialty items and a wholesaler own here in Broward County, Florida

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                  The Dairy Queen Mar 2, 2012 05:58 AM

                                                                  I intended to pick up my copy of the book yesterday but ran out of time. I'm hoping for today. In the meantime, there are a number of pages available through Google Books: http://books.google.com/books/about/The_olive_and_the_caper.html?id=z3svtqBuhOwC

                                                                  and there are these online recipes that BigSal posted in the announcement thread:
                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8343...

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                    jpr54_1 Mar 3, 2012 09:18 AM

                                                                    Book arrived early this morning--
                                                                    I will look it over an read preface, etc. and then go shopping Monday/Tuesday

                                                                  2. herby Mar 1, 2012 04:05 PM

                                                                    Thank you for the job well done, L.Nightshade. I thought your approach to the COTM process was a bit different and very effective. I really liked how your narrowed the selection to two books for voting. It was so much easier to choose between the two - than three and more. I also liked that you added page numbers to the sections that you divided the book into. I always find that there are too many reporting sections and maybe next time you'll choose to devote 150 pages to a section and maybe it won't make sense:) Congrats!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                      L.Nightshade Mar 1, 2012 04:48 PM

                                                                      Thanks herby, and everyone else for you kind comments! I really didn't try to do anything differently, just followed the footsteps of my able predecessors. The nominations narrowed naturally to two books, as they each had at least twice as many votes as the next runners up.

                                                                      I know what you mean, herby, by the many reporting sections. Sometimes it feels like we are not cooking together. One month, some time ago, I found myself to be the only person reporting in one of the threads. It was lonely! On the other hand, in an active month, the threads can get long and unwieldy. Oh well, we can strive toward a happy medium.

                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                        LulusMom Mar 2, 2012 03:49 AM

                                                                        Yes, great job L Nightshade!

                                                                    2. The Dairy Queen Mar 1, 2012 07:48 AM

                                                                      Woohoo! I can't believe it's March. I'm hoping to receive my book today. I'm also hoping to get at least a COTM recipe or two under my belt this month. I have very easy access to a greek grocery, so I'm hoping that it will be "easy" for me to participate this month. I'm a little worried about the confusing layout of the recipes everyone has been talking about, though. It seems even the smallest of inconveniences turn into giant barriers for me lately when it comes to COTM participation...

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                        Gio Mar 1, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                        Don't be worried about the page layout, TDQ. It really isn't as bad as it seems at first. Just take care moving from one column or page to the other, making sure you have the right recipe after the move...IYKWIM. That's the only thing I had to be careful of when I started reading the recipes. As for the other writings: stories, history, etc. I read them only if I'm interested at the moment and go back later if I think it's something I need to know about the recipe... I always read the header notes and tips, though.

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                          k
                                                                          Karen_Schaffer Mar 1, 2012 07:23 PM

                                                                          Hey TDQ, would that Greek grocery be Bill's Imported Foods, by any chance? I have very fond memories of Bill's when I lived in that neighborhood.

                                                                          I hope you manage to participate too. I always enjoy your takes on recipes! (Heck, I hope *I* manage to participate as well. Haven't been doing much in recent months.)

                                                                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                            The Dairy Queen Mar 1, 2012 11:08 PM

                                                                            Karen, yes! Bill's Imported Foods! http://www.billsimportedfood.com/ I'm always looking for an excuse to go there...

                                                                            Gosh, I'm not sure if I knew you once lived in Minneapolis. Small world.

                                                                            And, yes, let's hope we both find time to dive in this month.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                              k
                                                                              Karen_Schaffer Mar 2, 2012 09:28 PM

                                                                              Yep, between 34th & 35th on Colfax. That was 15+ years ago, but I'm glad that Bill's is still around. Did you ever go to the butcher on Bryant and, hmm, 35th or 36th? They closed probably 20 years ago, but I still mourn their beef jerky. It was big chunks of real meat, the moistest, most delicious jerky I have ever eaten. A really great butcher shop in every respect. There was a fantastic old-fashioned hardware store next door, the kind of place that had everything needed to repair old houses, because they still had it in stock from when the houses were built. Ah, nostalgia. Now I'm making myself feel really old.

                                                                              Anyhow, I picked up the book at the library today, sat in the parking lot to browse the recipes, then went to Trader Joe's to pick up what I needed. Success!

                                                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                The Dairy Queen Mar 3, 2012 01:39 AM

                                                                                Unfortunately, no, that butcher would have been long closed by the time I moved to MN. I've been here less than a decade (although, surprisingly close to a decade, which boggles my mind because I still feel *new* here. Probably always will). Too bad the place closed, you could have posted about it in this MSP beef jerky thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/835955

                                                                                I have my book now, too, and am planning my strategy. I still have high hopes even though early reports from the book aren't consistently spectacular. I have a convenient TJ's too (which is definitely new since you lived here!), but I'll go to Bill's first. ;-).

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                        2. r
                                                                          Rella Mar 1, 2012 06:42 AM

                                                                          Even though I won't be cooking from the COTM this month, I am still quite interested in each and every posting. (I cooked a little a few years ago from this book.)

                                                                          I am posting just for a simple reason, to thank everyone for making cooking more exciting for me, and wanted specifically to say that I particularly like the page numbers after the sections. For some reason it was confusing to me to sift through the categories - pages identified: I like!

                                                                          Edited to include - further thought:
                                                                          By posting here now, this will bring up further postings into my personal threads - :-)

                                                                          1. Gio Mar 1, 2012 06:24 AM

                                                                            Gosh, I really fell way behind during the Feb. COTM. I hope I don't do as badly this month. There are still quite a few Japanese recipes I want to cook and perhaps I'll be able to slip one in from time to time.

                                                                            OTOH, I have singled out some intriguing recipes from this Greek book. The goat for one plus I see that I can use my clay pot for a few of the lamb recipes. From another cookbook I have, Mediterranean: Food of the Sun by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow, I noted 2 recipes: Kleftiko (lamb) and Afelia (pork) that I hope to find in The Olive and the Caper... or something similar. The recipes in this book seem different than the Kochilas book, The Glorious Foods of Greece.. Thanks to Lulusmom for the tip about seasoning.

                                                                            Thank you, L. Nightshade. for coordinating everything seamlessly...!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                                              g
                                                                              Goblin Mar 1, 2012 03:13 PM

                                                                              Hi Gio,
                                                                              Regarding clay-pot recipes--I found one that isn't listed as such in the index, but the recipe instructions say to cook in a clay pot--so that's what I did. The recipe is Beef with Kalamata Olives and 100 Cloves of Garlic, and I will post my review on the appropriate thread.
                                                                              Yes, L Nightshade, the coordination you provided was really great.

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