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April 2012 Cookbook of the Month Nominations Are Now Open!

Welcome to the nomination thread for the April 2012 Cookbook of the Month!
It's hard for me to believe it's that time already, as I've barely dipped into March's COTM.

If you're new, or if you've been lurking, please join us! It's a friendly group and we have a lot of fun cooking together. To view the basics of the COTM, and to peruse the archive of books that have been covered in the past, please visit this link:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

Please use this thread to discuss the merits of a book, ask questions, and nominate books to advance into the voting round. Feel free to discuss as many books as you like. When you are ready to nominate, please write the title of the book or books in ALL CAPITALS.

The nomination thread will be open until 10am Pacific Time on Thursday March 15 (1pm March 15th Eastern time, and 5pm March 15th GMT). At that time the books with the most nominations will advance to the voting thread.

(I am closing nominations on the morning of the 15th, as I may be unavailable from that afternoon through the 18th. I should still be able to tally the noms and post the voting thread that morning.)

Let's welcome spring with open cookbooks and bounteous tables!

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  1. Thanks so much LN!

    Oh my goodness, where does time go?!! I can't believe it's been almost a year since we were cooking from "Around My French Table".

    Last weekend I spent a fair bit of time re-organizing my bookshelves (yes, with head hanging in shame I admit we had to purchase another one!). Anyway, in doing so I discovered so many books that I'd love to cook from and ones that I bought with anxious anticipation only to have shelved without having a chance to really spend some time with them.

    I made up a list as I went so I'll have to take a look and see if anything there is COTM nomination-worthy. If it turns out to be 16°C as the weather man forecasted who knows, I might even be able to do this tomorrow while sitting on the deck w a cup of tea!!! Who'd have thought such amazing weather in Ontario in March!

    1. PENGUIN GREAT FOODS
      there are 20 small books in this series

      THE WHOLE BEAST; NOSE TO TAIL EATING
      Fergus Henderson

      THE BARBECUE BIBLE!
      or any bbq cookbook
      Steven Raichlen

      THE ELEPHANT WALK COOKBOOK
      Longgteine e Monteiro an Katherine Neustadt

      1. Ok, so as I mentioned above, I did a re-org of my cookbook collection last weekend and made a list of some of the books I'd either forgotten about or, simply never seem to have the time to give the attention I think they deserve. I took a look at that list today and thought I'd throw out some ideas of books or authors whose books I believe would be COTM nomination worthy.

        I'm not nominating anything, just throwing some ideas out to see if there's any interest.

        Looking through Eat Your Books, it seems books by these authors are on a lot of shelves and they have a variety of books to cook from:

        Donna Hay, Nigella Lawson & Giada De Laurentiis

        I also love both these books by Melissa Clark and think they'd make a good COTM duo:

        In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories about the Food You Love by Melissa Clark

        Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make by Melissa Clark

        I never used to be a fan of Bobby Flay but over time he's grown on me and I have to say, I find almost all of his recipes enticing. These books stood out (having tons of stickies!!):

        Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook: Celebrate America's Great Flavors by Bobby Flay and Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson

        Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook: Explosive Flavors From The Southwestern Kitchen by Bobby Flay

        Bobby Flay's Throwdown!: More Than 100 Recipes from Food Network's Ultimate Cooking Challenge by Bobby Flay and Stephanie Banyas and Miriam Garron

        These two books look just amazing. The photographs had me drooling and the recipes sound scrumptious:

        My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh

        Bistro Cooking at Home: More Than 150 Classic and Contemporary Dishes by Gordon Hamersley and Joanne McAllister Smart

        Any thoughts on these?

        7 Replies
        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Melissa Clark and Bobby Flay sound good-

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            My New Orleans sounds interesting. The pictures are almost edible as well as in his new book...My Family Table.

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Would love to have Melissa Clark as COTM - might have to breakdown and buy cook this now if it goes this route.

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                I was just thinking the other day that Melissa Clark's books would make a good COTM. My New Orleans and Bistro Cooking at Home as sound good to me.

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  I just got In The Kitchen With a Good Appetite from the library (it's been on my list to look at for a long time) and I love it! I plan on cooking from it as soon as I'm done with my current meal plans and I think I will probably buy it.

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    I could get excited by the Hamersley book. I have it and have made 2-3 things and loved them all.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      That's good to know. A friend gave me the Hamersley and I haven't tried a thing. I could definitely get behind that when I get back from Guatemala. Bet it would be a good book for Fall, no?

                  2. I'm also not nominating yet, but thought I'd see if anyone else was interested in 660 Curries. I discovered it through CH. It's a bit dense and doesn't have the best layout, but I've had some amazing successes with the book as a whole and the COTM format would likely be good for helping people wade through it.

                    Breadcrumb's suggestion of a Melissa Clark month also interests me.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: TxnInMtl

                      660 CURRIES

                      I think this would be a great COTM. I have it (based on raves from other CHers) but have not cooked from it. There are some master spice pastes and things that once made seem like could be used in multiple recipes and make for pretty quick weeknight meals. I would love to get this one off the shelf and explore more.

                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                        I've made 4 or 5 of the spice mixes and all of them have been great. You are right that there are many recipes that are perfect for a quick meal, particularly if you've made some spice mixes ahead of time. The recipes that have surprised me the most though are the rice ones. He has one with basmati, onions, and some kind of green which has so much more flavor than you would expect from such a simple dish.

                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                          I agree, this would be a great COTM.

                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                            I am interested in cooking from 660 Curries; took it out of the library ones and had hits and misses but definitely willing to try more recipes out of it.

                            I made several good things out of Caudia Roden: The Food of Spain and have a few recipes still marked to try. Would love to cook from it as a COTM.

                            What do you people think about One Big Table? Quite a few have it according to EYB - I have it too since last summer and have not made one thing! Could be an interesting COTM selection.

                            Not nominating yet...

                            1. re: herby

                              I would love to cook from Food of Spain. I also have One Big Table, and it could indeed be interesting. Although I always struggle with the really big, kind of all-purpose books.

                            2. re: greeneggsnham

                              660 CURRIES

                              I'm going to check this book out of the library, whether or not it makes COTM. The idea of having some master spice pastes around is intriguing. I've bought the Patak pastes in jars and used them, so I'm guessing this would be something similar.

                              Truthfully, I probably wouldn't make more than 1 curry a week, so maybe this wouldn't be a great choice for COTM. Although as is, I'm not sure I manage to cook more than once a week out of any COTM!

                            3. re: TxnInMtl

                              It's been nominated quite a few times but as never been chosen. I really like it and would love to have it be COTM because it has so many recipes I'm sure I'm missing some really great ones that other people might bring to my attention.

                            4. Every now and then, more precisely when I think of it, I ask my husband which type of cuisine he'd like to cook and eat next. This time after thinking a minute he said, "Thai". Currently in my kitchen library I have 2 Thai cookbooks: Simply Thai Cooking by Wandee Young and Byron Ayanogly and The Taste of Thailand by Vatcharin Bhumichitr. In the past there has been interest in Thai Food by David Thompson but so far I've resisted buying that since I don't cook from the 2 books I already own. I wonder, though, if there's any interest for Thai cooking.

                              I have the M. Clark book Cook This Now and have been pleasantly surprised by the favorable reports I've read about it because I wasn't that impressed when I read through it. As usual, I have not the slightest idea where to go from here to actually nominating.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: Gio

                                I'd be interested in Thai cooking next month. I 'll look to the group for recommendations on the best book and which ones will be available to the majority.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I received Nancie McDermott's Real Thai for Christmas and have only managed to cook from it once. A Thai month might be just the encouragement I need to do more.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Thai would be of great interest in the smtucker household for sure. I own no Thai cookbooks so I can't offer any suggestions. Certainly the Thompson books have been highly touted by people who should know.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Oh, how I long to do a Thai month. I'd be missing nearly the entire first half of it due to a late-winter trip, but could always make up for lost time by cooking up a storm when upon my return.

                                      David Thompson's books are fantastic; they are glorious to cook out of, and to thumb through the pages. I've learned so much about Thai cuisine from his works. However, last year the COTM had been contemplating cooking out of Thai Food, and there was some concern that his books were too involved and fastidious. I would group his books among the likes of Paula Wolfert and Diana Kennedy. If you enjoy and have the (somewhat excessive) time for that type of authentic cooking, he's the one to go to. The end results are absolutely worth it, just maybe not for too much weeknight cookery.
                                      There is a fairly lengthy thread up already that highlights some of the recipes that have been prepared from Thai Food and Thai Street Food: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/669671 , to get a better idea about his books.
                                      I don't have any other Thai cookbooks, but ones that have cropped up frequently in discussion are Cracking the Coconut by Su-Mei Yu and Nancie McDermott's Real Thai.
                                      Any others care to weigh in?

                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                        The first post by vorpal in that thread says what worried me about the Thompson Thai book. Namely, too advanced for the beginner Thai home cook. Here's the link to his post:
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6696...

                                        IIRC vorpal has been cooking Thai food for a very long time. In fact, I believe he had, or still has, a blog about all the dishes he has made. So in this case, I respect his assessment. The post following his concurs:
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6696...

                                        What I'm really afraid of is that the Thompson book will too complicated for us because of the situation in which we're cooking now. (my mobility challenge and G's end-of-business day need for rather uncomplicated recipes that are not too time consuming to make) I have cooked from the other Thai books I mentioned so I think The Taste of Thailand by Vatcharin Bhumichitr and Simply Thai Cooking by Wandee Young and Byron Ayanoglu would be better suited to our particular predicament.

                                        @ buttertart> we've eaten at The Elephant Walk at their Cambridge location. A truly delicious meal... I'd be agreeable to that cookbook as well.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Didn't someone indicate that the Street Foods book was less "demanding?" Or am I remembering incorrectly?

                                          1. re: smtucker

                                            I think that may be his first book, Classic Thai Cuisine, which I've never cooked out of so can't be entirely sure. Thai Street food seems just as involved as Thai Food. Street Food is just a massive doorstop of a book, it is quite unwieldy to cook with. On top of that, despite the fact that the pages are enormous, the recipes themselves occupy a only a tiny corner of each. The printing is also nearly impossible to see clearly as it is so small. Despite those issues, the recipes (from what I've read; haven't really used it)have received rave reviews.

                                            Here's a comparison of them: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826967

                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                              The last time this came up (several nomination threads ago) I checked out both from the library. They are both gorgeous, delicious books. I think it would make sense to do a combo of both DT books, Street Food and Thai Food, as their are variations of the dishes in each book.

                                              I made the most memorable meal out of these books - candied pork served alongside green papaya salad and sticky rice. My family still raves.

                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                Ooooooooooo...which book is the candied pork out of? I have TSF.

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I would be happy with a COTM involving THAI FOOD or all of the David Thompson oeuvre - the classic thai book is available inexpensively and may be less daunting.

                                                  If folks are still afraid, THAI FOOD could be combined with one of the books perceived to be less challenging. But I would have a hard time getting my arms around a first thai COTM that did not involve a David thompson book.

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    If memory serves I think it is from Street Food. When my copy comes in from the library I'll post the book and page number.

                                            2. re: Gio

                                              Gio & others--has anyone cooked from "Simply Thai Food"? It gets some pretty good reviews on this board as well as on Amazon. Looking at the index and table of contents on Amazon, I'm guessing this is a book that doesn't expect the cook to start from scratch with a new spice paste for every dish, correct?

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                Hi qianning. The only recipes I've cooked so far from Simply Thai Cooking are Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables on page 158, made that several times in fact changing the veggies each time. There are stains on a few of the chicken recipes but I only vaguely recall making the Cashew Nut Chicken on page 112. I did not have to make a paste for the vegetable dish and the chicken simply calls for "chili paste". I have no idea what I used for that, probably a jar of something I picked up at Super 88.

                                                According to the index there are 6 recipes utilizing Green Curry Paste, 2 recipes with Masaman Curry Paste, and 24 recipes with Red Curry Paste. Keep in mind though there are more than 100 recipes in this book. I really like Simply Thai and should be cooking from it more often because it demystifies Thai cooking for me.