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May 2012 Cookbook of the Month Winners: Food of Spain and Moro: The Cookbook!

The Cookbooks of the Month for May 2012 will be:
The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden, and
Moro: The Cookbook by Samuel Clark and Samantha Clark

Our selection process for May has been interesting and wild. We are a passionate bunch when it comes to food!

On May 1st I will be posting the individual threads for reporting your culinary experiences with these two books. In the meantime, you can use this thread for general discussion, and for posting any online links to recipes from these books.

I would also love to hear some discussion about how you would like the threads set up. I've reviewed past COTMs where more than one book was involved. Sometimes, each book had its own thread (Jamie Oliver month, for example), sometimes threads were thematic, with both books being included in each thread for a type of food (Mario Batali month, for example), and sometimes each book had its own set of threads for each subject area (as in Japanese month). In my experience, in some threads for a single book, I felt more like I was cooking with a big group, which was fun. But I'm aware that these threads can get pretty long. On the other hand, if there are too many divisions, you feel like you are cooking alone (I remember one month, I was the only one who posted dishes to one of the threads, it felt lonely!) I would love to hear other opinions on this, please!

Also, there was a lot of interest in The New Spanish Table and other Spanish cookbooks, so it would be a great month to set up an ancillary thread, if someone is interested in doing that! Please post it here if you do.

If you are curious about the selection process, and the accompanying discussion, the nominating thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/843409
And the voting thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844307

If you haven't ever participated in the Cookbook of the Month discussion, we hope you'll give us a try in April. 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_m...

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  1. Wow, I have not stayed plugged into the COTM process (still getting down with cooking out of a particular book in a month, and sharing). But - I read this book in March, borrowed from my local Library, and it is Awesome. I will check it out again, and participate.

    SO MUCH history here, and info on jewish/spanish traditions, and how Moorish traditions have stayed, and left . a great gift to understand the food of Spain, and why NOT be a part of it....:)

    2 Replies
    1. re: gingershelley

      Wonderful gingershelley! I hope you join us. Mr. NS and I are contemplating an overnight to Seattle, closer to the end of this month, just to shop at the Spanish Table. We'll stock up on supplies for May.

      1. re: gingershelley

        Which book are you referring to, Shelly--Moro or Food of Spain?

        ~TDQ

      2. LN, you are the best. About setting up the threads... I personally prefer not too many threads. FOS is a big book, so I don't know about one thread per book, but I think it does help not to divide it up too much. When we did the Grace Young books, we had one thread per book, and it worked great (I thought), but those were not large books. That was the month I felt most like I was cooking in a group. I'm not giving any specific recommendations here, so I'm probably not being too helpful, but you seem to have a talent for taking all our vague comments and reaching a fair conclusion.

        1. You're not going to be disappointed by the Roden, I've only made 2 things from it but they were superb (meatballs with almond sauce and venison tenderloin).

          2 Replies
          1. re: buttertart

            So good to hear this from you buttertart! I've bookmarked the meatballs in almond sauce in EYB (and the venison, in case I ever actually get venison).

            1. I haven't found a way to view the contents of Moro, so I'm not sure how it's divided, but if it's feasible my preference would probably be to have the books combined and the threads divided by category (tapas and starters, vegetables, meat, fish, and so on) so that things don't feel so segregated and there aren't a ton of threads. That approach has worked with past months covering two books with different authors but one general geographic area*, such as Vietnamese month and Southern month (Willis/Foose), and invites comparing and contrasting. The single-book threads can get unwieldy, and also seem as if in this month they'd segregate participants depending on which book they have access to, whereas combining might lead someone to look for a recipe online or ask for a paraphrase if they see an intriguing report.

              *Yes, I'm aware that Moro ranges beyond Spain, but it seems like a close enough fit that it could work.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                L.Nightshade,

                In answer to your question posed above, I prefer fewer, longer threads. Otherwise, I lose track and I end up missing a lot.

                I am really thrilled MORO made the cut off. I am not sure how much time I will have to participate this month...but I am planning on buying the book so even if I only get my entries in later on, I'll still be able to participate. I think this month will be my last chance to participate in COTM until after July. I have a trip to Paris, a Bar Mitzvah to host, and a graduation all coming in the next three months. But I will enjoy reading along. Selfishly, I hope The Homesick Texan doesn't get selected while I am AWOL, but if it does, I'll just have to catch up after the fact.

                Thanks for putting in all the time and effort it must have taken to consider everyones' votes and whether or not they wanted to cook from multiple books. What an undertaking!

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  I agree with Caitlin. Part of the fun of covering a cuisine with two different authors is to compare and contrast recipes/approaches. And who knows, I might get inspired enough to buy the Roden! Stranger things have happened...

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Totally agree with Caitlin (despite my rather insane number of thread during Japanese month, which I couldnt' seem to work my way around).

                    Amazing job, LN. This was a tough one.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Brava L. Nightshade!

                      I agree with Caitlin. I prefer "combined' (for the two books) threads that are organized by course, Tapas, Vegetables, Fish, etc. That way, even if people are cooking from only one book or the other, we are all still cooking "together." If we have separate threads for each book, then some of the community aspect of COTM gets lost.

                      I went looking for my copy of FOS last night and I think, unfortunately, it's in one of the boxes I packed up when I moved out my about a month ago, so I'm going to have to go in search of it. I will be setting up my office in a different part of the house, but I'm probably six months away from that. Funny, I remember wondering if I was going to regret packing that particular book... I should have marked which box it was in.

                      Anyway, since it's Spanish month, is anyone thinking about also cooking from those old Casas COTM threads? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5245...

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        I also agree with Caitlin. I understand the appeal of having one book/one thread a la Grace young month. But, now, when those threads pop up, I want to cry because they are so long (these also also an issue with the Dunlop threads which were broken up into categories.) These long threads take a long time to load and often times my computer will freeze during the upload.

                        1. re: beetlebug

                          I know. Those Dunlop threads were sufficiently broken down into categories I thought, but they are such popular books that the threads just keep growing. I kind of dread looking at new posts in them, but of course, don't want to miss a single one!

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: beetlebug

                            Add another agreement with Caitlin's suggestion. I like the idea of comparing and contrasting the two books, especially since there are no copies of Moro in my local library system, so I'm unlikely to be cooking from it.

                            And yes, Beetlebug, I too cringe at the hugely long threads that developed during the single thread months. Some happy medium of some subdividing but not too much subdividing is what I like best.

                            Thanks, LN!

                        2. Hats off to you, L.Nightshade! I did not see this selection coming and very happy that TFoS is selected. My Library has only Casa Moro and I looked at it today and did not take it out since it did not appeal to me at all.

                          Regarding division of threads, I would love to see separate ones for each book. Rodens book has 14 sub recipe section and I would try to reduce the number to five or so; maybe combining all proteins together; rice, pasta, beans and savory pies; salads, soups and dressings; drinks and desserts; stocks, tapas and eggs; or something like this.

                          1. Nightshade,
                            How very thoughtful of you to ask about how to divide up the threads. I think a single thread would be best. I'll be cooking just from Moro, but may decide to purchase the other book if response to the recipes is favorable. Besides, even if I only have time to cook a few recipes from one book, I love to live vicariously through others who have more time/opportunities to cook :-)
                            It's inspiring.

                            1. Kudos, LN, for managing this. Whatever ends up being best in terms of threads, and how many, will be fine by me, Appreciate yourefforts1

                              1. I'm impressed, LN. Well done. We certainly lead you a merry chase. May should be a Very interesting month. Love the idea of the ancillary thread for The New Spanish Table too... Here's an on-line recipe to start the ball rolling:

                                Extract from Sam and Sam Clark's Moro: The Cookbook
                                Sopa de castañas- chestnut and chorizo soup
                                http://www.countrylife.co.uk/blogs/ar...

                                1. Excellent job LN, many thanks!

                                  As for how to set up the threads, each approach seems to have its own merits. The strong continuity of discussion in the one thread per book, a la Grace Young, can generate a sense of community. Where-as topical threads for two book months make for some wonderful chances to contrast different author's approaches (one of the reasons I love two author months). But then again each book broken down onto separate section threads is always easier to use as a reference/resource after the month is over. So basically as far as I am concerned they are all good!

                                  1. As I was Googling for various and sundry information about both May cookbooks I came across an article about Claudia Roden in The New Yorker magazine on-line called "Spice Routes Claudia Roden’s culinary diaspora" by Jane Kramer, September 3, 2007. The end of the first paragraph points to the connection between Roden and Sam & Sam Clark. So it's fitting that these two books are being paired next month...

                                    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/20...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Wow, fascinating. Her definition of authenticity is very interesting: "
                                      For Roden, the word “authentic” is very simple: it means that “you can’t invent with new ingredients”—unless, like some of the diaspora Jews, new ingredients are all you have."

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        The entire article is fascinating. She's fascinating. I like Claudia Roden's cookbooks immensely and have several: A New Book of Middle Eastern Food, The Food of Italy, The Book of Jewish Food, and now The Food of Spain. Her recipes are clear, well written, and historically correct. The end result is always satisfying. It's going to be a fun month.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I can't wait to cook from this book. I was only lukewarmish on it before I read that article (though generally thrilled about a Spanish month) but that article (all 8 pages of it!) has really given me a new perspective.

                                          I definitely have to figured out which box I packed it in! (kicking self for not setting it aside). What an incredible commitment she has had to finding and documenting these recipes.

                                          ~TDQ

                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          In "Jewish Cooking in America", Joan Nathan (I hope she'll be a COTM author someday) includes a recipe for Spinach-Rhubarb soup. She explains that the Polish immigrants loved the sour tastes from home -- rye bread, pickles, sorrel soup. But in America sorrel was hard to find, so they adapted.

                                      2. I have seen several books titled :Moro
                                        the Moro Cookbook new edition
                                        the moro cookbook
                                        moro::the cookbook

                                        what r the differences betw titles
                                        do they have same recipes? publishers r different? paperback/hardcover?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                          Both the paperback and the hardcover are published by the same company, according to the information on Amazon. I think that's usual, and they would both have the same recipes.
                                          I think the actual name, on the front cover, is
                                          "Moro
                                          the Cookbook".
                                          I see that same book referred to online as The Moro Cookbook. Same book.
                                          ****
                                          However, "Casa Moro" and "Moro East" ARE different books, with different recipes.

                                        2. I'd be happy to post a companion thread come May. Are they any objections to having the thread include any Spanish cookbooks except for Moro, Food of Spain, and the Penelope Casas collection? We would still make reference to the book and page number, etc.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: BigSal

                                            No objections from me, BigSal, thank you for doing that. Note, there were only ("only" haha) four of Casas books that were COTM way back when...so any other Casas books I think would be fair game for the companion thread.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: BigSal

                                              That's great, Sal. When you do post the ancillary thread don't forget to add the link here...

                                              Links To Non COTM Cookbook Report Threads
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842251

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Definitely, thanks for the reminder!

                                                Is anyone else feeling giddy about Spanish month? Can't wait!

                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                  I am! I am! I really loved it when Casas was COTM and I'm so excited to be cooking from FOS. I was originally thinking I might try to track down Moro, but with the giant FOS and the three Casas books I own, I think I probably have more than enough material to work with.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                    Me too... especially after reading the article from The New Yorker I posted up thread... Gives a whole new meaning to authenticity. Yes, I took it personally. LOL

                                                2. re: BigSal

                                                  Sounds like a great idea BigSal. Go for it.

                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                    I would like that -- thank you, Sal.

                                                      1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                        Here is a link to some of the Moro recipes posted in the Guardian:

                                                        http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                          Just fyi, dk, only the first of those recipes is from Moro: The Cookbook. But it looks like a really good one. Here are a few more links to recipes from the first book that I found online:

                                                          aubergines with garlic, mint and chilli
                                                          baba ganoush
                                                          bream baked in salt
                                                          breast of duck with pomegranate molasses
                                                          butterflied mackerel with paprika and garlic
                                                          carrot & cumin salad with coriander
                                                          cauliflower with saffron, pinenuts and raisins
                                                          chestnut and chorizo soup (sopa de castanos)
                                                          falafel
                                                          grilled chicken wings with tahini
                                                          mushroom and almond soup with fino (sopa de setas)
                                                          pea soup with ham and mint (sopa de guisantes)
                                                          sourdough starter
                                                          white gazpacho
                                                          moroccan chicken and lemon soup
                                                          fish stew with peppers, almonds and saffron
                                                          Roasted Pork Belly with Fennel Seeds (Cerdo al Horno)
                                                          Moros y Cristianos (black beans with rice)

                                                          Hummus with minced lamb (including a recipe for flatbread)
                                                          http://gourmettraveller.wordpress.com...

                                                          ETA: Damn! In my word document each of those recipes is a link taking you to the recipe. Wonder why it didn't translate here? Sorry. But all of those recipes are on this site: www.nibblous.com So if you go there and paste the recipe title into the search box you'll find it. Sorry. I thought I was making it easy for all of us.

                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                            Thanks, Joan, that's a great collection to have!

                                                      2. re: BigSal

                                                        Big Sal I love that idea, thank-you! I have 12 Spanish books on my shelf and in addition to the COTM's, I'm definitely interested in giving some other books a test run. I really enjoyed Mario's Spain series so I'm hoping his recipes are as good as his Italian ones. I also have a Jose Andres book and Culinaria Spain that I'd love to dig into. I've just created a "Spain" bookmark in EYB so I can search for dishes amongst all my Spanish books and I'm very excited about the meals we'll enjoy together in May.

                                                        LN, HUGE thanks to you for your stellar handling of the nominations, voting and selection this month. Your thoughtful approach is sincerely appreciated.

                                                      3. Don't have either book so I did a quick search for online recipes from FOOD OF SPAIN. Looks like there's enough there to keep me happy until I decide whether or not I want to buy it.

                                                        Lobster hotpot
                                                        Pies with a tomato, pepper and tuna filling
                                                        Grilled lamb cutlets with potatoes
                                                        Quail with caramelised onions and brandy
                                                        Whole bream baked in coarse salt
                                                        Seafood pasta
                                                        Burnt cream
                                                        Almond cake
                                                        http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                        Chicken stock
                                                        Spanish vinaigrette
                                                        Gazpacho
                                                        Potato omelet
                                                        Coca with roasted peppers and eggplant
                                                        Creamy leek tart
                                                        Eggplants stuffed with ground almonds
                                                        Fish stew with peppers and tomatoes
                                                        Garlic chicken
                                                        Lamb stew with milk “shepherd’s-style”
                                                        Spanish polenta
                                                        Bean and chickpea stew
                                                        Flan
                                                        Pine nut and marzipan sweets
                                                        Flambeed rum and coffee
                                                        (Note that the above recipes are from Amazon’s “Inside the Book” so the type is small and you can’t cut-and-paste them.
                                                        )http://www.amazon.com/The-Food-Spain-...

                                                        Seafood paella
                                                        Eggplant fritters with honey
                                                        http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searc...

                                                        “Wrinkled” potatoes with red and green sauces
                                                        http://www.projectfoodie.com/cookbook...

                                                        Pine nut and marzipan sweets
                                                        http://www.ladlesandjellyspoons.com/2...

                                                        Cold almond soup with garlic and grapes
                                                        Fried goat cheese with honey
                                                        Eggplants stuffed with meat
                                                        http://www.scribd.com/doc/57302418/Ex...

                                                        Meatballs in almond sauce
                                                        http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Very excited, just ordered my own copy of MORO. I read on their website that they have sold over 100,000 copies. Wow!

                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                            I am so not insprired by MORO (Casa Moro is the only one my library has) and love FoS. Can't wait for your reports to come in and maybe change my mind about Moro. Interesting that Clarks were inspired by Roden and used a number of her recipes when they first opened Moro. Did the students surpass the teacher? We shall soon find out:)

                                                            1. re: herby

                                                              I love the tapas at the bar at Moro but have never eaten in the restaurant proper. Maybe May is the time to try it. Taking one for the team and all that...

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                Thank you for your selflessness, gg ; )

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  Agree. A very generous sacrifice on your part.

                                                          2. For the interest of any Canadian hounds, Chapters currently has a great Spanish cookbook on sale:

                                                            Seasonal Spanish Food by Jose Pizarro has been marked down to $12.99. (in store & on-line) I picked it up today and it looks terrific. I read very positive review online and couldn't resist at that price.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                              So excited! My copy of MORO just arrived. I also ordered CASA MORO from the library, so I am hoping to be able to cook out of both this month. Can't wait to put the kids to bed so I can tuck in!

                                                              I am opting to not cook from THE FOOD OF SPAIN simply because I am too busy. I will end up acquiring it sooner or later. At this point, my collection is surprisingly lacking in Spanish entries unless you count Sephardic and one tapas cookbook. Now Moro can be added to the list. Oh May, get here soon.

                                                            2. I bought 2 books-
                                                              THE FOOD OF SPAIN
                                                              and THE NEW SPANISH TABLE
                                                              They both arrived today-I just glanced at the Roden book and it looks very promising.
                                                              I realize the other book is not highlighted but it looked interesting

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                JPR, I believe we'll be able to cook from The New Spanish Table when Big Sal posts the COTM adjunct thread. I'm loving reading the Roden book and have chosen quite a few recipes to cook...

                                                              2. I'd be curious to know what others are planning to try. I live close enough to a store that sells Spanish hams (the price is exorbitant !) as well all kinds of other Spanish ingredients and cookware. I haven't decided yet what to get ... Is anyone else stocking up on these kinds of things - and if so, what are they?

                                                                126 Replies
                                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                  The nice thing about Spanish cooking is that you can make quite a bit with pantry items. I made quite of bit of Spanish food on my college student budget (*many years ago*) with staples like rice, garlic, parsley, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, tuna, potatoes, beans and lentils, fish seafood and eggs. I did not eat meat or poultry then.

                                                                  Today I do stock up on Spanish ingredients and I am so excited to see how availability of those products has increased tremendously. Some of the items I get are jamon iberico (crazy expensive, but crazy delicious), chorizo, morcilla, rice ( Bomba and Calasparra), anchoas and boquerones, garbanzos, lentil, fabes, Spanish tuna, peppers (piquillos, ñoras, dried and pickled guindillas, choricero, piparras), Marcona almonds, saffron, paprika (smoked, unsmoked, sweet, hot and bittersweet)Spanish cheese, membrillo (quince), Spanish olives, Spanish olive oil, salt cod, Spanish wines and cider , squid ink and more. Very excited for this month!!!!

                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                    Do you have a spare room?

                                                                    Currently in my pantry I have: garbanzos, lentils, Spanish tuna, saffron, paprika (smoked, unsmoked, sweet, hot and bittersweet,), Spanish olives, Spanish olive oil.

                                                                    These can be found without traveling too far afield: jamon iberico, chorizo, Bomba rice, fabes, Marcona almonds, Spanish cheese, membrillo, salt cod, Spanish wines and cider.

                                                                    The rest will have to be ordered on-line or substituted. I see that Roden does give alternative ingredients for most of the unavailable items, though.

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      >Do you have a spare room?< This made me laugh.

                                                                      I'm trying to find duck breasts. I really want to make that duck breast with pomegranate molasses in Moro. So far next week will have two fish dishes in it, both from Moro.

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        The answer depends on if you ask me or my husband. :)

                                                                      2. re: BigSal

                                                                        Big Sal, where are you shopping for these items, if you wouldn't mind sharing?

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          I’ve found that I can find most things locally. Here's a list to the best of my recollection. The best one stop shop for me is Surdyk’s. They have a great Spanish cheese selection, chorizo, piquillo peppers, pimenton (paprika), ñoras, olive oil, sherry vinegar, Marcona olives, membrillo, Spanish rice, saffron, canned sardines tuna, tortas de aceite, paella pans, terra cotta cazuelas, and jamón Serrano (but not jamón Ibérico- they used to, but not for a while). And I can find Spanish sherries and wines in the liquor store. France 44 sells jamón Ibérico (they just started this recently- very expensive), chorizo and some Spanish cheeses and olive oil, as well as Spanish wines. Whole Foods- Spanish cheeses, olive oils and Marcona almonds. Byerly’s/Lunds- Spanish cheeses, membrillo, Marcona almonds, jamón Serrano and chorizo. Kowalski’s- Spanish cheeses, chorizo and piquillo peppers. Coastal Seafoods sells chorizo, squid ink, tortas de aceite and boquerones. Kitchen Window – pimenton, rice, chorizo, paella pans, cazuelas, and saffron. I grow pimientos de padron now, but I used to order them from La Tienda. I also purchase mojama, salt cod, anchovies stuffed olives, fideos, big white asparagus and specialty seafood and dried peppers online.

                                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                                            http://www.google.com/search?q=pimien...
                                                                            I see many pics of pimientos de padron here. Do you have a seed retailer you order these from from - does it matter if they are seeds from Spain?

                                                                            1. re: Rella

                                                                              I do not have a seed retailer to recommend. The place I had purchased them previously no longer sells them. This year I purchased them from Reimer. I'm not sure if it matters if the seeds are from Spain. I figure these are the closest I will get for now.

                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                One of Rick Bayless' books had resources listed for ingredients and one of them was the Chilewoman.com. The last time I checked the website, it seems that she had an enormous variety of seeds, dried chiles, etc.
                                                                                Oops - just checked her site. She sells seeds and plants. She does have the pimientos padron but you have to order a minimum of 6 plants ($3.50 each) when you order.

                                                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                  Thanks. I emailed 'her" re these seeds if they are available.

                                                                                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                    Another amazing resource for seeds, chilies and spices is Native Seeds based out of Arizona. I first encountered them on a trip to Tucson and what I especially loved was their passion and commitment to preserving heritage seeds, antique varieties etc. This is a pretty amazing place and to this day I continue to order from them (online now...it's a bit of a drive otherwise!!) Ironically, I just placed an order last night in the hopes I may have my ingredients for my Cinco de Mayo meal. In any event, I'd highly recommend these folks....even if you don't wan to order, their website is chock-full of great information:

                                                                                    http://www.nativeseeds.org/

                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      I have been a patron of Native Seeds for decades and highly recommend them. Never been to Arizona in my life, but order online. Their crafts are also beautiful and I love the beans and chiles, whole and powdered. They are really good people and a good cause and they also offer and enticing selection of cookbooks and other wonderful books.

                                                                                2. re: BigSal

                                                                                  This is terrific, thank you! I'm going to bookmark this for sure.

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                                                      It's a huge help already. I think a trip to Surdyk's is in order since it sounds like I can get a bunch of things all at once. I have to be very economical with my time lately. I'm wondering if St. Paul Cheese Shop will carry, or can get, some of what you've been able to get at France 44, namely the jamón Ibérico?

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        I did some shopping yesterday and Surdyk's had sherry wine vinegar, Bomba rice (not Calasparra), Spanish olive oils, pimenton, anchoas, tuna (the delicous, but expensive ventresca), sardines, piquillo peppers, arbequina olives, Spanish cheese (you can taste the cheese if you are trying something new), guindillas (pickled pepper) and chorizo. They stopped carrying jamon Iberico de bellota and the last I checked (I didn't check yesterday) they were selling jamon Mangalica (also expensive, but I did not enjoy it as much as the bellota). They did not have membrillo or Marcona almonds in stock (that I saw), but I know Whole Foods, Byerly's and Kowalaski's typically keep those items in stock.

                                                                                        As for the St. Paul Cheese Shop, I know they have Spanish olive oil, but I'm not sure if they'll have the jamon . And like GG mentioned below keep an eye on the price. The listed price of the jamon is likely per *half pound or less*- to avoid sticker shock.

                                                                                        And lastly, because you and many of us are health conscious (or trying to be), Iberico is *very* fatty- it glistens with fat at room temperature. Although because of the acorn diet, over half of the fat calories are monounsaturated. http://www.ibergour.co.uk/en/jamon/be...

                                                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                                                          Big Sal,
                                                                                          Does the Spanish Olive Oil taste significantly different than regular EVOO?

                                                                                          1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                            Keep in mind that I am no expert, but I do taste differences between Spanish olive oils and others, not to mention differences between brands depending on what olives were used to make the oil. Spanish olive oil was my first introduction to olive oil and holds many fond memories when I smell and taste it. Generally speaking, it has a lovely golden hue, and a smooth, fruity and nutty taste. That being said, I believe (I’m not a purist) you will still have delicious results cooking with any good olive oil of your liking.

                                                                                          2. re: BigSal

                                                                                            I should just have you call in an order to Surdyk's for me and I'll go pick it up and pay for it. ;-)

                                                                                            Seriously, though, I looked in all of the boxes where I packed my cookbooks and couldn't find FOS. I was sort of freaking out. It turns out, it was just on my bookshelf and I'd simply forgotten what the spine looked like and overlooked it. So, at least I've got the book in hand now! Also, Casas' Foods and Wines of Spain and Tapas... So, I'm good to go for Spanish month. I would really love Moro, but I think I'd better not go overboard here. FOS is plenty large enough!

                                                                                            I'm going to pick out some recipes now... Very exciting!

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                                              So, I swung by the St. Paul Cheese Shop a couple of days ago on a quick errand. Unfortunately, I did not have my shopping list with me, but the jamon, both serrano and iberico de bellota, are both in plain view in the fridge case to the left (the customer's left if you're facing the cash register) of the cash register. They also had just one Spanish olive oil, many Spanish cheeses of course, and bomba. Yes, the iberico was priced by the half pound--that's an important tip, thank you. I think there was at least one other thing that I intended to mention, but I've forgotten it, alas.

                                                                                              Anyway, it's a good stop for St. Paulites. I wish this book weren't so heavy. I keep dragging it around with me hoping to have time to choose a couple of recipes...

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                Thanks for sharing. I'm guessing the one Spanish oil they sell is Núñez de Prado. I am equidistant from the Cheese Shop and France 44, so it's good to know that if I'm in St. Paul, I don't have to go all the way to Edina for those things.

                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                  The cheese gal described the olive oil as "lemony," if that helps...

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                                    Big Sal,
                                                                                    Thanks so much :-) - your compilation of ingredients gives me a great start to my planning. If I don't have some sort of list before I go there - I will overspend for sure.
                                                                                    I have heard that it is difficult to get good quality salt cod here and in Canada, so my next project is to research that. I think I'll splurge on a small portion of authentic Serrano ham just to see what it tastes like, and how it compares to the excellent domestic prosciutto at my local
                                                                                    deli.

                                                                                    1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                      For those looking for salt cod, I found a wonderful salt cod at BJ's here in Virginia, U.S.A. I know there aren't that many BJ's around, but: just a tip.

                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                        Our local Whole Foods often carries salt cod, and when they don't have it, I've found that they're usually able to get it for you if you ask.

                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          Costco is now selling salt cod here in the Boston area. Of course, we can buy salt cod almost anywhere around here so I use my Portuguese fishmonger when I want to buy some.

                                                                                          I admit I consider salt cod to be a nod to a past when cod ran the world and much prefer fresh cod whenever possible.

                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                            I used to buy salt cod in various forms, out-of-package and in barrels, sitting out on tables, etc., but I never found one that I really cared for no matter how I treated it. This last I bought
                                                                                            "Hygrade Ocean Products, Bedford, Mass, cod of Canada" must have done something different, because it is certainly a workable product.

                                                                                  2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                    I'm appreciating the discussion of ingredients here. The first weekend in May we are staying in Seattle with an eye to shopping at "The Spanish Table." I'm attempting to make a list of ingredients to look for. I wish that cookbooks dealing with a specific cuisine would include a list of common ingredients. As it is, I'm just thumbing through Food Of Spain (Moro hasn't arrived yet), and notating ingredients that I wouldn't be able to find where I live.
                                                                                    Now, I'm adding all of BigSal's items to my list! We'll just see what's available, and have a fun shopping trip.

                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                      I found this site recommended on the Ontario board as a great resource for all things Spanish including ingredients. It's a US business and they seem to ship everywhere. The poster on that thread reported good experiences w shipping to Canada so I'll definitely be taking a look around this weekend.

                                                                                      www.tienda.com

                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                        The store we shop at also does mail order. I don't know about Canada, but someone may find this useful:
                                                                                        http://www.spanishtable.com/mm5/merch...

                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                          I find it useful - thanks. (in Virginia, USA).

                                                                                          :-) Looking at the site, I see a dinner bell that I bought in Spain in 1973. Wonder where that dinner bell is now - attic?
                                                                                          http://www.spanishtable.com/mm5/merch...

                                                                                          Memories.

                                                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                                                            Oh, it's cute! You'll have to find it to call people to dinner during Spanish month!

                                                                                      2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        I love the idea of compiling a list of needed pantry items for an upcoming COTM. It has never dawned on me to do this before but now that you brought it up, I will be sure to do it going forward for all future COTMs. It sounds like it will make me much more productive.

                                                                                        I have only just cracked the cover of MORO but already I am thoroughly enjoying it. Next week my daughter will be attending science camp so all meals will be tailored to my son's taste. With that in mind, I am going to make the Grilled Chicken Wings with Tahini (p.39) and serve it alongside the Harira Soup (page 74) which calls for lamb necks, lentils, dhal, and a bunch of spices. Both recipes sound extremely promising. I am also very intrigued by the Sopa de Ajo (p. 64) - a garlic soup served with a coddled egg and a slice of sourdough toast added to at just prior to serving. I think this one may be above my son's pay grade so it will have to wait for another time.

                                                                                      3. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                        It's funny, I don't see Spanish ingredients as being that exotic, but then I live closer to Spain than most of you guys, and we have an excellent Portuguese deli down the road. Next week I am going to a meeting which is very close to the Moro restaurant and deli so I will pop in and report back.

                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                          "we have an excellent Portuguese deli down the road"
                                                                                          You lucky thing. Although I may not consider Spanish food "exotic," anything that is not mainstream can be hard to find here, at least outside of the big cities.

                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                            We actually have access to a surprising number of things BigSal listed. Which makes it all the more frustrating that I am having a hard time (although local CHs are helping) finding fresh duck breasts. Seems like a fairly obvious thing to carry, especially for someplace like Whole Foods.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              LM, you could buy a duck or two and confit the legs reserving breasts for your recipe. Confit legs freeze well and absolutely delicious chared a bit on a BBQ. We have a duck farm within an hour drive. They serve food on Sundays and that's how they prepare duck's legs. Do not actually know what do they do with the breasts - must sell to stores/restaurants since I never ever saw them on the menu.

                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                Unfortunately finding a duck is the problem.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  There is an online place, D'Artagnan, that sells duck. It's a little pricey for some things, but I think I've seen Duck Breast for $12.00. Not sure what they charge for shipping. Sometimes my local butcher has ordered me stuff like that - I just have to give a couple days notice.

                                                                                                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                    there is also www.farmfreshduck.com
                                                                                                    i have purchased from them and they r cheaper than d'artagnan

                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                    LLM, have you checked at Bristol Farms or Whole Foods? I see there is a WFs in Cary and a BFs in Charlotte, but I don't know how far those markets are from where you live. Both of these stores carry duck in their fresh case in my neighborhood, and they would definitely special order it for you if they don't stock it.

                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                      Our WFs (right here in CH) only sells frozen breasts. This is a step up from when they refused to sell duck at all, but still, the frozen ones I've seen are tiny and not very appealing. We do have a gourmet store in town that carries some D'Artagnan stuff, although I don't remember seeing duck breasts from them before (which is sort of silly as I think of D'Artagnan as being all about duck). Maybe I need to go by and check. Thanks to everyone for the help!

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        Ask at WF, the NYC ones carry Bell and Evans ones that are super. And they're always available in Chinatown stores.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          I've asked. The Chapel Hill store has some sort of cruelty-free thing that, for a while, meant they sold no duck at all (I wonder if they sold veal ...). Now they've given in only to the point of selling the frozen breasts. I even asked if they could special order for me (the seafood department is wonderful about doing this) but they said no.

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                            How is duck any different from chicken? i very much doubt ducks have a worse time of it than the chickens they sell.

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              I'm not the one to ask. I'm the annoyed person tapping my foot with my arms crossed in the corner.

                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                trader joes used to sell frozen duck breasts and stopped for cruelty issues. never understood it, as chickens are treated horribly. foie gras I get.

                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                You are right, BT, just about the same if you are talking about commercially raised ducks. Here is a quote from U of Minnesota: "About 22 million ducks are raised annually in the United States. Most are produced under confinement on specialized duck farms in a few commercially important duck production areas." So sad...

                                                                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        I feel your pain LulusMom! We finally found whole frozen duck at a small Asian market, no fresh to be found.
                                                                                                        If you happen to be a member of Costco, you can buy duck breasts and legs from their website. They actually come from D'Artagnan. Shipping is included, but you have to buy several at a time. Not terribly practical.

                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                          You know, I feel like some sort of alien. I've never been in a Costco. I'm not a huge fan of buying in bulk, but so many people love it and the products that maybe I should look into it? (Question mark is a hint that I'd appreciate any deep thoughts any of you might have on this.)

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                            We joined a little while ago because Mr. NS had a major expense that could be gotten for half price at Costco. I've been there exactly once. When we joined. Everything is big. We had good luck with their produce; even a huge container of organic baby greens stayed fresh long enough to use it up. Their meat looked good, but it will have to be portioned and frozen to work for us. Some good looking fish, but the salmon was all farmed, which I wouldn't buy. So I'm not the best person to ask. I know there are a lot of people who swear by it, even food people.

                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                              Yes, it is a shame that their salmon and most other fresh fish they carry is farmed. I'm reduced to frozen, but WILD salmon, ahi-tuna, cod, mahi-mahi and scallops. Between the choice, I'll take the frozen and have had no problems with preparing it to my own taste - perhaps not to others, though. But I would recommend trying one of those frozen wild packages to those who don't have a problem with frozen.

                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                I didn't see frozen wild, I'll look next I go. Sometimes when they freeze the salmon right on the boat, it's actually better than the fresh stuff that is stored and transported.

                                                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                We scoffed at Costco at first. Now we love the place. The latest great buy is 3 lbs of dark roast coffee beans for $20. It's very good coffee, too.

                                                                                                                They also have wonderful packaged pork ribs without bones. They are very meaty and not too fatty.

                                                                                                                I've even gotten CLOTHES there! Don't tell anyone because I say I only shop at Saks 5th Avenue. Snirk, snirk.

                                                                                                              3. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                We are only three, and we are a big Costco family. In general, the produce is excellent, and the turnover is really good, so with careful shopping, whatever you buy lasts a long time. We buy meat there, and my husband portions, seals, and freezes it. We buy nuts, coffee, dish soap (we buy the big Dawn and put it into a smaller container by the sink), paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, beverages, fruit, snacks (particularly useful when you need to bring stuff for kids' teams), orange juice, eggs, milk, bread, cascade, etc, etc., and then the seasonal stuff. We buy books, small appliances, plants, flowers, and we wish that NY allowed costco to sell wine and liquor because we know that my SIL gets great wine in California at her Costco. Do we save money? Who knows, but I do know that when I go to the regular market to fill in, everything seems pretty expensive.

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  wow, you make a very persuasive argument for. Now, can you somehow convince *my* husband to portion, seal and freeze the meat portions? I'm going to see if I can find out more about our local. Surely they'll let me look around before deciding if I want to join, right?

                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    LLM: Lots of the meat is not sold in huge quantities. I mean they're not 50 hams in a package or 10 steaks. Your husband shouldn't be spending hours repackaging stuff. ;+)

                                                                                                                    I'm pretty sure they'll be happy to let you browse before joining.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                      I"m an NC native but I've lived elsewhere for decades and have never tried Costco because you have to drive to get there (Boston girl here) and go out into the "suburbs." But in Chapel Hill, you have to drive anyway....I'd love to hear what you think if you try it. May persuade me to say hey, let's get in the car, go on the highway and try out costco. We do have a freezer in the basement so I could stock up and save,....as the slogan goes. Maybe Costco might have what I'm really lusting for, real frozen butterbeans? Field peas frozen in their prime?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Madrid

                                                                                                                        I found frozen butter beans at our local Persian market here in L.A. They look beautiful.

                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                          I'm intrigued - have only seen butter beans dried or in tins.

                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                            gg, my emails to you are getting bounced.

                                                                                                                            Do you have frozen lima beans there?

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              Nope, no frozen lima beans (we don't call them that).

                                                                                                                              Weird about the emails. I'll send you one and see if that works.

                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                              the fresh butter beans and field peas in the south are beyond amazing, in my opinion, but perhaps because I can't find them where I live (Boston). I was in NC in November and bought some fresh-frozen of both at the Raleigh Farmers Market at the state fair site. Brought them home on the plane and they were so so good!

                                                                                                                            3. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                              I have a question about how to cook the frozen butter beans that I will be using in the Moro salad mentioned above. No directions on the package are given and I don't want to over or undercook them. Thoughts?

                                                                                                                            4. re: Madrid

                                                                                                                              See, I'm a city girl too, didn't have my drivers license until I was 25 years old. So driving more than 15 minutes still seems very wrong to me. People around here think I'm nuts (in their huge SUVs), but they gasp in amazement at my parallel parking skills (yes, that is me patting myself on the back).

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                I grew up in NC and got my license at 16 but I was lousy at parallel parking and still can't. Why? I learned to "park" in parking lots and malls, and to "merge" on highways with about five yards of space to accelerate and "merge." I know it's different now with the merging, but even here in Boston we sure don't need to parallel park at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and the "small box" shopping centers found in the city, but to drive and park near one of our farmers' markets....oh yes.....if you can't parallel park or double or triple parallel park, take the subway, which I do.

                                                                                                                                So I read further down and saw you don't have a Costco near you so you haven't tried it. It was really interesting to me that baby limas or what we call in NC butter beans were so prevalent in Spain (I lived there a while). I have tried some of my favorite Spanish cheeses in traditional southern dishes such as baked cheese straws (Manchego) and a really amazing pimento cheese can be made with part Manchego, part white cheddar using Spanish piquillo peppers marinated in a bit of vinegar and garlic for the pimientos. It's not traditional southern, but it is great!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Madrid

                                                                                                                                  Madrid-- so funny that you mention pimento cheese. I have lived in NC for 13 years now and just recently tried pimento cheese. It is my new favorite snack! They have this upscale small batch pimento cheese that they sell at WFs for a small fortune which is made with really good aged cheddar and roasted peppers and I LOVE it! I am going to try your adaptation of part Manchego and part white cheddar. Sounds right up my alley. Do you have a recipe? I am a transplanted midwesterner and don't have a go-to recipe for pimento cheese proportions!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                    greeneggsnham: go to Ansonmills.com and click on recipes. It's under "wheat" and then "crackers."

                                                                                                                                    http://www.ansonmills.com/recipes-whe...

                                                                                                                                    also read what he says about roasted red peppers.

                                                                                                                                    I basically used this recipe and substituted some manchego and the roasted piquillo peppers from Spain that come in a jar. They are pricey and add some extra but using the regular red peppers you roast yourself are great as well. I also used some really pricey aged cheddar from shelburne farms in vermont.

                                                                                                                                    I was *shocked shocked shocked* to find on chowhound that some reprobates in Georgia put cream cheese in their pimento cheese!!! Shocking!! IMHO the cheddar and whatever consistency like cheddar cheese you use, if top quality, need no further fat embellishment than the least amount of mayo. I add the max amount of "texas pete" and lots of fresh ground black pepper. If I felt the need to add anything remotely like cream cheese, I'd add a little soft white goat cheese, preferably Spanish! Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                      I first tasted pimento cheese (early 1950's) from a relative born in Missouri, lived in Kansas. She always gave it to us as a travel gift when we left. We loved it!

                                                                                                                                      She ground about a pound of Kansas grocery store-bought cheddar, put it in a 'sausage grinder' added a jar of those expensive little jars of pimentos, and mayonnaise to loosen it up to her desired consistency.
                                                                                                                                      That's it!
                                                                                                                                      Those darned little jars of pimento in those days were a delicacy and expensive.

                                                                                                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                            We are a family of TWO. We don't generally buy food stuffs in bulk because bulk generally represents to us food that we don't eat, packaged and heavily processed foods. Here are a few items that we buy that don't require buying large amounts:
                                                                                                                            Many European cheeses, which recently included a find: raw milk French; yogurt greek 2, which we have no trouble eating two before it is outdated and we can find room for; a lb. box of mesclan, or a box of 6 small artisan lettuces; 2# package of pencil-thin green beans used up before they go bad; 2 dozen organic eggs (stacked 1 each on top of each other; 2# package of dates, actually not a big package; organic chicken breasts 3 small packages of 1# each (use one & freeze 2); good selection of all countries' wines AND beer; big bags of chips - only need to buy one big bag; a tub of Kirkland vanilla ice cream - pretty darned good!; great chocolates for Christmas gifts.

                                                                                                                            Then there are items that don't include food storage space, such as outside garden vases - beautiful Vietnam ones; good prices on DVD's/Blue-Ray; gas for our auto; pharmacy items you just can't beat the prices; some warehouse-type clothing with name brands for adults and children; then there are specialty items at costco.com; flowers, saffron, other delivery type items such as LNightshade mentioned. I always buy a huge roll of aluminum foil to set out on my counter and use constantly. Pharmacy-health items that don't necessitate the need for buying two are available.
                                                                                                                            There are plenty of items that don't represent a need for a large storage space IMO. We buy elsewhere, too, but with an exec membership of $100, we almost always are returned about $400-$460 each year.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              I became a Costco member when I was living in NJ taking care of my Mom and although that particular Costco is now a 45 minute drive for me, I still shop there whenever I can. I know you're not a meat eater, so you probably wouldn't be interested in their prime steaks and boned legs and racks of lamb, all of which are nearly always on my list. In fact, that's why I bought a FoodSaver; so I could break down the packages and store individual servings. I also buy their organic chickens and like to have on hand some of their frozen fish steaks and fillets for quick, last-minute meals. And when I find fresh wild salmon, and I do on occasion, I'll bring home the whole side, cut it into fillets, and vacuum pack that as well. It's worth it to me to drive out to NJ especially when I need to restock the liquor cabinet since, as Roxlet says, the NY stores can't sell booze. The NJ store has great prices on gas as well. And even though I'm single and living in a one-bedroom apartment, I still find space to store paper goods, dish and laundry detergent, Splenda. I don't buy that much produce unless I'm expecting company because I can't use most of it up quickly enough. But I'll jump when they have things like Meyer lemons, or a whole bag of limes that might go bad on me toward the end but even then are cheaper than what I'd have to pay in the City for the just the ones I know I'll use.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                I find that there are a few things that are a good deal at Costco; toilet paper, rotisserie chicken ( they're huge, $5, and I just freeze leftover), photo developing, tires, jarred spaghetti sauce, smoked almonds, butter, garbage bags,cakes ( when you need one) and some produce. I learned long ago to check the impulse to buy 2 gallon tubs of mayonnaise or the like..
                                                                                                                                I also avoid going on Saturday mornings when it's crowded.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                  Blythe S: How right you are about staying clear of COSTCO on weekends. Arghhhh!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                    Oakjoan,
                                                                                                                                    Going to Costco on a Saturday morning is enough to spark claustrophobia in the most balanced personality.....

                                                                                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                  I have been a Costco member for ever, since my daughters were children:) Now I am a single household and still buy things at Costco. More so when I am shopping/cooking for my daughters' families in NY. I've noticed over the years a change in Costco towards organic foods - there is now organic ground beef, chicken - whole and parts, milk products, eggs, butter, etc. The Costco that I usually go to in NY has a large Kosher section. Their return policy is amazing and they always carry current books and magazines. On-line selection is very good too and they deliver if you order on line.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                    Hold on, now you're speaking my language. Delivery? Even for the grocery items like meat and produce and dairy? One of the things I've always dreaded about Costco is lugging everything home... But if they deliver... Do you have to be home for the delivery? Are grocery items delivered in insulated containers? What's the cost? Oh this could be very exciting!

                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                    Thank you to everyone for their thoughts on this, and welcome back JoanN. I think what I'm going to have to do is go look at the place myself and see what sorts of things we normally buy I'd be able to get there. I really know nothing about the place. I believe the Costco here (although it might be a Sam's Club - in my mind I never really figured out the difference somehow) is on the way to where I'll have to go daily to pick Lulu up once she moves on to first grade, so it would certainly be convenient. Again, I appreciate the information - it is all food for thought.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                      Well, it turns out that the closest Costco is on the far side of Durham, which is a bit of a trek, and probably not a place I'd end up going very often. I guess the place I was thinking of is a Sam's Club. I really do appreciate everyone's input. If they ever open one nearer me, I'll be checking it out.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                        Don't bother with Sam's Club. Whole nother breed of cat.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            Definitely agree. When we pass by a exit to Sam's, it is not even a consideration to get a day-pass.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            If you have a friend that is a Costco member, they can order stuff online for you. Anyone can go to the website and browse, but the items for sale are not the same as what is in the store. I was tempted to order the D'Artagnan duck breasts (and leg confit), but it's a large amount, so I'd end up freezing some anyway.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                              LLM, we are Costco members and find it very worthwhile. I have to admit, I don't buy a large percentage of out food there, because I don't get there often enough to make it the regular grocery. We joined when we got married in Maui because the Maui Costco was where we bought all the wine and leis for our wedding. Since then, our use has varied. As newlyweds, it was mainly gas and maybe stuff for entertaining. Now that we are a family of 5, we use it a lot. Some food, hanna andersson dresses for the girls, outdoor furniture, lots of stuff mail order...

                                                                                                                                              But... my point was, if you want to split a duck order, I'd be up for it. It is D'Artagnan, but it is frozen

                                                                                                                                              http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product....

                                                                                                                                              You should check Southern Season, and maybe Grand Asia Market? I know they have duck, but not sure if it's fresh. The Meat House I think carries frozen duck breast, but I'm not sure about fresh.

                                                                                                                                              Good luck!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                Noting also for this month's COTM at Costco is D'Artagnan's 'D'Artagnan 18-month Aged Boneless Spanish Serrano Ham."

                                                                                                                                                I''m not sure why the words "Spanish Style Prosciutto" is in the definition. Interesting description and video on the page. (I enjoyed the duck video more, though.

                                                                                                                                                http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product....

                                                                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks so much greeneggs! I have looked at online shopping for southern season, and they don't show duck breasts, but I have a feeling they might have them. I've been told that Meat House either doesn't have them or only has them frozen. Grand Asia Market isn't a bad idea at all, but it is a serious trek from our place. However, there is that new Asian market just off 15/501 business just after it splits. Maybe they'd have it. Let me keep looking for another week - otherwise, I'd definitely take you up on your extremely kind offer! (btw, you should think about joining the local group picnic the first Saturday in June - bring the family.)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                    How is the new Asian Market off 15-501? I haven't been.

                                                                                                                                                    I will look at Grand Asia Market next time I go. It's not far for me at all and I'm always amazed (and slightly intimidated) by the selection of meat and fish they have there. Otherwise, if you still come up empty handed, just let me know and we can split a Costco order :)

                                                                                                                                                    re: local group picnic. I really should look a Southeast board more often. Sounds like fun! Are you and Lulu going?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                      A couple of years ago Lulu and I made a special trip to Grand Asia - it was so fun. I haven't been to the new Asian Market, but it seems like this might be the perfect time to give it a look. And again, thank you for the offer on Costco. I'll be happy to take you up on it if I don't find any over on this side of the Triange. Do you actually need duck breasts yourself?

                                                                                                                                                      We'll absolutely be going to the local picnic. Right now I don't think we have huge numbers, so it will be pretty low-key, but we've reserved a park (with a playground for the kids). Be great to see you there.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                        Need is a strong word. We'd live without duck, and it is not on our current regular menu rotation. But when I made the roast duck from 150 Best recipes the kids LOVED it. My baby was literally sucking on the bones, so I think duck would get eaten without a porblem and I am always looking for things to tempt the kids away from mac and cheese and plain noodles.

                                                                                                                                                        Anyway-- I've been busy at work and this thread is getting bit long and unmanagable. LLM, I'm pretty sure I still have your e-mail somewhere, so I will e-mail you about our potentially duck sharing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                          Good news greeneggsnham. I went by Southern Season today, and while they are currently out of duck breasts (they did have smoked duck breasts and duck bacon), they'll be getting some in next week and are reserving two for us. I was also able to pick up the pomegranate molasses, so I'm good to go. Thanks so much for your extremely kind offer. Oh, and if you're looking for bottarga, for any reason, they've started stocking that too. I was beyond thrilled to see this.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                              Ok. So I made the trek to the East Bay to The Spanish Table in Berkeley. I only had one hour to browse (parking meter) and the choices were overwhelming. I ended up getting a nice little stash of Spanish pantry items. Since I already had smoked paprika ( and have found it to be overpowering in many instances) I bought two small containers of sundried sweet and hot paprika - with no smoke. I also got a small tin of canned bonito, some Noras chilies ( to make Romesco sauce ) and some chorizo and jamon Iberico, some sherry fino, and some jarred Spanish peppers.. The sales people were extremely helpful in answering all my questions. It was a struggle not to buy the relatively inexpensive paella pan and clay casserole dish. Not to mention the dizzying array of tantalizing cookbooks, ceramics, and various and sundry cooking gadgets you've never seen before but must have. I completely forgot to ask about the salt cod till I was almost checked out , but that's ok; I can always drive back next weekend.
                                                                                                                              On the way home I stopped in Oakland at a Jamaican Market to get the burnt sugar essence I need for my Jamaican Black Cake. My GPS was not working all that well, so my detour ( when i got lost for a bit) led me thru a not-so-safe area. When I returned home, the cherry on the cake of my day was to find that my copy of 'Moro, The Cookbook' had arrived ... and it's the European Version all in metric measurements. So I'm trying not to let this ruin an otherwise fun day of shopping for upcoming cooking adventures. But I'm super annoyed.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                Do you have a kitchen scale, Blythe? I find it a super-handy tool in general, and it has made cooking from British cookbooks a breeze.

                                                                                                                                I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do this COTM, and I can get a lot of the basics at places I regularly shop, but all this ingredient talk and your shopping report makes me think I might be hopping over to the Spanish Table at some point just for fun, as I live pretty close by (in Oakland).

                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                  Hi Caitlin,
                                                                                                                                  I do not have a kitchen scale but may soon be acquiring one. :-) I appreciate your kind encouragement. I'm cranky at the moment, but everyone says it's better to cook by weight than volume, so maybe this is the nudge I needed. You should definitely stop by The Spanish Table, if only to browse. I could have stayed much longer if I had not been worried about a parking ticket. Besides, it's just a few doors down from Cafe Fanny, Acme Bread, Tokyo
                                                                                                                                  Fish Market ... And Berkeley Bowl a few blocks away. You're lucky to live so close to
                                                                                                                                  great food resources! For me it's a half hour drive at least.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                    Oh, yes, I'm definitely familiar with the riches in that stretch and I know I'm lucky to be just across town, though because I'm not driving it takes me as long to get there. Worth the trip every so often, for sure. You forgot Kermit Lynch for wine, though I'm afraid Cafe Fanny just closed a few weeks ago. The original Berkeley Bowl location is actually the closest grocery store to my house, so it's where I do my regular shopping.

                                                                                                                                    ETA: An inexpensive digital scale from Bed Bath & Beyond or somewhere really is so handy to have, I've found, whether I'm using "foreign" recipes or not, but it makes them easily possible.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                      Caitlin, bed bath and beyond is my destination tomorrow - thanks a ton. I'm so disappointed Cafe Fanny is closing - that was a favorite place to go on weekends for the best coffee I've ever had anywhere :-(
                                                                                                                                      And Kermit Lynch is a great place for wine - I did forget.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                        I resisted a kitchen scale for years, but bought one when I was doing weight weighters. I cannot believe how much I love my kitchen scale. Mine's just a little digital one. Nothing fancy. Super easy! Once you have one, you'll use it for all sorts of things!

                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                          I have a Pelouze scale I formerly used to weigh rug yarn and wool in my studio. It's small enough to leave on the counter without taking up much room, has a tare feature, weighs in both ounce and gram increments, and is perfect for the kitchen. I'd rather weigh ingredients than use a bunch of measuring cups, etc.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                        I bought a cheap digital scale a while back (I think I wanted it for no-knead bread, but I've still never made the bread). It weighs in grams, kiligrams, ounces and pounds. I think in one gram increments, which I have found sufficient for my needs. I use it constantly, mostly for little things like measuring out the perfect amount of coffee beans for one cup of coffee or splitting larger packages of things into equal smaller portions. I no longer have trouble with recipes containing metric measurements. In fact it's fun to just pour stuff into a bowl based on weight rather than getting out all the different spoons and cups. The scale gets way more use than many of my other kitchen gadgets, and I wouldn't want to be without it.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                          I bought mine, too, years ago for making bread. It was worth the money just for that.

                                                                                                                                          But for the last few years, it has been used mostly for weighing cream for espresso. I want my cream to milk ratio just perfect 35 g of each. And DH brews it to the exact temperature, too. But you gotta get an instant thermometer for that :-))

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                            I totally agree-- buy a digital scale! I love mine and am now annoyed when recipes are in cups and spoons rather than weights! So much easier to pour into a bowl and tare. I now write weight measurements in my cookbooks as I go for future reference.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                        Happy to read your report. I'm having a hard time trimming my shopping list for our trip to The Spanish Table in Seattle next weekend. How do the nora chiles come? Are they dried? Canned? I will also be trying to resist the urge to buy paella pans and ceramics.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                          The Noras chiles were dried in bags. Two sizes. I bought the smaller bag ( at a modest price) and was assured it was just the right amount to make a Romesco sauce. By the way, if you're a gardener, they do also sell seeds for pimientos de Padron, when they are season ( mid - June). Be sure to ask if these peppers would grow well in your area ( they need sun). You may want to instruct your husband to prohibit you from wandering into the cookbook section... It's deadly. Ditto for ceramics etc. I saw this really cute ceramic pig with bars across its 'back' area. Apparently, you fill the cavity with sherry, and lay strips of pork sausage across the bars and then light the alcohol with a match. The pieces of sausage are grilled before your eyes. They use these a lot in Spanish bars - and it was so cute! And
                                                                                                                                          they even had a book section for teachers ( I teach Kindergarten). So it was a miracle I
                                                                                                                                          walked out of there for $60. Total.
                                                                                                                                          Next week I just might get the 10 dollar paella pan or the clay casserole dish...
                                                                                                                                          Of course, being in Berkeley, I had to stop at three other places . It might behoove me to find a hobby more merciful to my waistline and my budget, but for now, I'm hooked.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                          Addendum: I asked a lot of questions about the cured hams. I ended up buying a vacuum packed 4oz. Package of Jamon Iberico, for about $9.50. It keeps, but becomes dry rather quickly after opening. Jamon Serrano, is ( according to the sales person) a gigantic leap in flavor quality, and is NEVER cooked. Jamon Serrano is to Jamon Iberico as Filet mignon is to sirloin... But I won't really know for myself if this is true until I have the budget to try it for myself :-). He told me that neither can be compared to Prosciutto, but I'm reserving judgment till I taste it for myself. Jamon Serrano is AOC and can only be made from special pigs who are fed only acorns.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                            It sounds llike you had a successfu shopping trip. At over $100/lb, jamon iberico de bellota is indeed a luxury that we indulge in every now and again. It's rich with a sweet and nutty flavor that melts in your mouth and is less salty than jamon serrano. Now that I know what the Iberico tastes like, it's hard to go back to serrano (unless I am cooking with it).

                                                                                                                                            I found this interesting post on jamon iberico. Here moh, eloquent as ever, likens it to an illicit drug. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5665...

                                                                                                                                            P.S. I found green garlic (ajetes) while shopping and plan to use this spring treat in some Spanish recipes. Fava beans, asparagus and peas should be available to me soon too- perfect for Spanish month.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                              Big Sal,
                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the correction. I got a little confused with all the different names. I ended up buying the Jamon Iberico ( the lower grade, not acorn fed). The acorn- fed stuff is prohibitively expensive - and then the salesman was also showing me something that looks like a ham hock.. And I had just sorted out the five or six paprikas ... By the end of this month I should have it straight :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                That's what I love about COTM, we all learn together, especially when we tackle a specific country's cuisine. I look forward to reading your post about romesco sauce- that's on my list too for this month.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                  I have a rather strange question re The Moro Cookbook. I just received my copy of Moro from Amazon. I bought the paperback version. The cover is a plain cream color with a series of black stars repeated over the front and back. The stars are 6 sided, like a Jewish star would be. But the book has no other Jewish connection that I know of. Does any one know if there is any significance to this design?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                    At a guess , Moro = Moorish = Moorish star.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                      GG, I don't think these are Moorish stars. There is one large Moorish star in the center and it is very detailed, but all the rest of the stars are 6 point black stars. Does any body else have a copy of this edition of MORO? If you do, what are your thoughts? I tried to cut and paste a copy of the cover but I was unsuccessful.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/imag...

                                                                                                                                                        Pic of this 8 pointed icon with the other stars on the book cover

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                      dkennedy: I think it is actually the star of David, as Muslims believe David was a prophet.
                                                                                                                                                      Per Wikipedia:

                                                                                                                                                      The symbol is known in Arabic as نجمة داوود, Najmat Dāwūd (Star of David) or خاتم سليمان Khātem Sulaymān (Seal of Solomon), but "Seal of Solomon" may also refer to a pentagram or a species of plant.

                                                                                                                                                      In various places in the Qur'an, it is written that David and King Solomon (Arabic, Suliman or Sulayman) were prophets and kings and therefore they are revered figures by Muslims. The Medieval pre-Ottoman Anatolian beyliks of the Karamanids and Jandarids used the star on their flag. The symbol also used on Hayreddin Barbarossa flag. Even today, the star can be found in mosques and on other Arabic and Islamic artifacts.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                        Wow, thank you L.Nightshade for clearing that up for me. I tried to do an internet search to get more information about the stars but I obviously didn't look hard or far enough. Fascinated to learn that the Muslim and Jewish religions share such an important symbol.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                          It's amazing what things we can learn here in our cookbook group, isn't it? Especially when we are delving into a specific culture.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                  I still remember having jamon iberico de bellota at a friend's house many years ago for the first time. He'd actually bought it from the Moro shop in Borough Market and had misunderstood the price, which was per 100g rather than per kilo. It was unbelievably expensive (and he was too embarrassed to say he didn't want it once they'd cut it to order) but also unbelievably delicious.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                Hi Blythe, I'm in the rare group of people on this board who doesn't care for metric, so I feel your pain. There are some great tools on the web for converting. Here is one: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/conve...

                                                                                                                                                I made something from Moro last night and it was wonderful, and the only metric measure in it was the water, which was easy enough in my pyrex measuring cup (one side is measured in cups, the other in metric measures). So don't get too upset, even if you end up hating your scale (which I do - not sure what my problem is, but I just do not like using it). You'll likely still be fine with this book.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                  Lulu's Mom,
                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the link, and the kind words :-)
                                                                                                                                                  I have not heard back from the seller yet , and the more I think about it, the less inclined I am to deal with the hassle of returning a book. I hope the two versions of the book are similar enough that it'll be like cooking from the same book as everyone else.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                    The book I got, from a library in North Carolina, also has metric measurements - at least some of the measurements (I really need to check and see if all are). But there are so many things that look tasty that I'm willing to deal with what is, to me, a hassle.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                      The book I got from Amazon is metric. Perhaps that is the only way it is published?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                        My copy has a picture of a man holding two baskets. It is a paperback which was published in England in 2003 ( according to the inside cover). I just went back on Amazon to see if there is an American version - I just assumed there was - but have not yet found mention anywhere. Perhaps there is only one version after all.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                          An earlier metric book opened my eyes to how easy it is to work with a scale, so even if you like metric (and I dont) I appreciate the impetus that book gave me to learning to do it. really very easy.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                            I have a scale, but just can't get into the rhythm of using it. I'm a complete Luddite.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                              LLM, I agree. And it's not a philosophical issue, but rather, a practical one. My job requires long hours. Seriously, I read my mail at red lights. By dinner time, the thought of measuring butter by weight - for a recipe - is too much.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                On the other hand, for something like butter I just remember that a 1/4-lb stick weighs just a bit over 100g, so I don't need to use the scale; if a recipe wants 30g, I know that's 2 T, more or less, and it all works out.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. And for many things it's actually easier to use a scale. You can measure right into your prep bowl (sitting on the scale), and not have all the measuring containers to scrape or clean. My bread (machine-made) has improved a lot since I've been measuring by weights.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                    Caitlin, thanks for the info. I just wrote your equivalents down and posted them on the fridge :-)

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                      As I was in the area running other errands this afternoon, I stopped in the Spanish Table in Berkeley specifically to buy some noras for making romesco sauce, which will probably happen next week. Blythe spirit, if you find yourself back there, I highly recommend getting yourself a little treat in the form of something called Choco Higo, a soft dried fig soaked in orange brandy and covered in dark chocolate (there's also a plain-brandy version called Rabito). They're 99 cents and on the table with all the chocolates to the left of the register.

                                                                                                                                                      I, uh, may have also left with a beautiful Tunisian serving plate...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                        Hi Caitlin,
                                                                                                                                                        I'm planning to go back there on Monday - as I have the day off. I didn't see those treats last time I was in there - they sound delicious! Will definitely have to give them a try.
                                                                                                                                                        Last time I was there I bought some cute little Christmas ornaments which I could not resist- that place is dangerous :-)

                                                                                                                                                  2. Crazy question, can anybody describe the flavor of the noras chilies?

                                                                                                                                                    I haven't tracked any down yet, but that didn't stop me from starting on some Moro recipes this weekend (so far so wonderful); for the noras that a recipe called for I subbed re-hydrated Kashmiri chilies, which have a sweet, slightly smokey and vaguely pimento-y flavor and a deep deep red color, does that sound close?

                                                                                                                                                    The Kashmiris tasted great and blended very well with the other flavors, so I'm wondering if how essential finding noras is going to be.....and more to the point how much cabinet space i am willing to give them.....

                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                      Hi Qianning,
                                                                                                                                                      I took a little nibble from one of the ones I bought yesterday. They're deep red-brown, definitely sweet and mild, paprika-like with a hard to describe 'richness' . I don't read enough Spanish to tell anything from the package, but I did not detect any smoke flavor. It sounds like your substitute chili
                                                                                                                                                      would work to me, but I'm not very experienced with chilis.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                        thanks! i'll have to track down noras sometime this month, but until then the kashmiris will have to do.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                        Roden describes noras as "small, round, a dark burgundy color, mild, and sweet, with a delicate flavor." Always used dried. Used to make pimenton dulce.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, I seem to have missed Roden's description in my first quick romp through FOS. Noras will probably make it into the pantry sometime soon, but considering how much cabinet, spice rack & fridge space is already given over to chilies in one form or another it is one ingredient which I am always loathe to search out and buy.

                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, I do have some good sweet Spanish paprika. and based on what you posted below a bit of that plus the kashimiris for texture may well work just fine, it certainly did in the one dish I tried over the weekend.

                                                                                                                                                      3. I'd like to create a Spanish playlist in iTunes and wondered whether anyone had recommendations for compilation albums or tracks that I should add to an easy listening, dinner-party playlist?

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                          There may be some discussion as to whether it be Spanish, South American, or just plain ole latin, but I believe it has a wonderful Spanish guitar accompaniment.

                                                                                                                                                          Andrea Bocelli singing Besame Mucho brings out his voice that I like much better than in his operatic songs.

                                                                                                                                                          SOOOO GOOD!
                                                                                                                                                          http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                            I definitely second this recommendation. Absolutely Love Bocelli's rendition of Besame Mucho.
                                                                                                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPRESl...

                                                                                                                                                            (Also, on the same CD I believe) Can't Help Falling with You...
                                                                                                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR1AbA...

                                                                                                                                                            ETA: here you will find an easy listening Spanish music playlist you can sample and choose from..
                                                                                                                                                            http://www.fiql.com/playlists/easy_li...
                                                                                                                                                            (I don't love all of them, but there is a mix.)

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                            I plan to bring all of my flamenco recordings into a playlist. I prefer traditional flamenco, and usually solo guitar (no cante) for dinner, but contemporary rumba (like the Gipsy Kings) is fun and lively for cooking.

                                                                                                                                                          3. I don't know if this is of any use to others, but this is a link to my theoretical shopping list for Spanish month. I don't plan to get everything on the list! But it gives me some things to search for when I visit the big city next weekend. This is a live document, so when I run across another ingredient I will add to it.
                                                                                                                                                            https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o...

                                                                                                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, it helps and quite a list. Thanks. So far, I have one category: garbanzos/lentils -- Just kidding - well, almost.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                I'm not sure you can get it in the States, but the Forum brand of cabernet sauvignon vinegar is from Catalonia, and the best I've tasted.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    Gosh - I wasn't expecting it to be that expensive. I bought my last bottle in Spain - it was pricey, but not that pricey!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                    Lovely greedygirl, I've added that to the list, just in case the Spanish Market sells it. Thanks.
                                                                                                                                                                    Everyone, please feel free to send me additions, or make comments using the button in the upper right hand corner.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                    That's some list LN! I have been lurking here for a couple days, but clearly not chiming in yet. Had to get on the act now...

                                                                                                                                                                    I can't wait to shop with you Saturday - your going to buy out the store at Spanish Table! I can shop vicariously thru u, thankfully, for some things, so hopefully won't bust my budget!

                                                                                                                                                                    My list is shorter, as have a number of those items 'in the house', but ALOT of things on mine as well.

                                                                                                                                                                    Picking up my copy (again) of The Food of Spain from the library tomorrow, and will specifically notate for recipes to make. I promise to finally, actually, use a cookbook this next month, and join in COTM. Least I owe you after this next weekend's jaunt.

                                                                                                                                                                    Excited to meet up!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm really looking forward to our Spanish shopping trip also, gingershelley! But I don't plan on buying everything on the list! I do have a few of the items already, and plan to browse and price some others. It will be great fun!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                      Moro Pantry:

                                                                                                                                                                      I am feeling pretty proud of myself, (thanks to all of your motivating me), I am pretty well set to cook this month.

                                                                                                                                                                      After compiling my shopping list of what I will need to cook out of the Moro Cookbook this month, I was able to find 75% of what I'll need at the local Persian market. Many of the Spanish staples were already in my pantry, what I needed were the Moorish components. Among the most interesting things in my cart were rose petal jam, rose water, and dried rose petals for Grilled quail with rose petals on page 124; frozen broad beans for the Hot chorizo with butter bean and tomato salad on page 113; dried chickpeas, green lentils, and lamb necks for the Harira (a Moroccan soup) on page 75.

                                                                                                                                                                      Speaking of fava beans (which I love, btw) I learned a terrifying thing about fava beans today. Here's the gist:

                                                                                                                                                                      some people lacking a particular enzyme develop a condition known as favism (not Fauvism) after ingesting this bean, raw or cooked. Dr. Hort quotes from the American Medical Association Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants:

                                                                                                                                                                      "Toxic Part: Seeds, raw or cooked and pollen when inhaled.

                                                                                                                                                                      Toxin: An antimetabolite, 2,6-diaminopurine; a glycoside, vicine.

                                                                                                                                                                      Symptoms: In susceptible humans, within a few minutes of inhaling pollen or several hours after eating the beans, an allergic reaction occurs with dizziness, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and sheer prostration. Blood appears in the urine, which turns reddish-brown to black. Anemia develops within a few hours or a day. Male children are the most frequently affected and apparently all fatalities have been children."

                                                                                                                                                                      So that's the worst-case scenario. But to put this in perspective, please read on.

                                                                                                                                                                      "Favism, the severe hemolytic anemia, occurs only in susceptible individuals who have inherited a deficiency of an enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. This genetic trait occurs among people of the Mediterranean region and among black Africans. Most individuals have this enzyme and are not affected."

                                                                                                                                                                      The woman at the store who alerted me to this condition is a carrier for the gene trait. Scary.

                                                                                                                                                                      Though I have what is needed to make the three recipes cited above, I still have to do my high end Spanish shopping tomorrow at Bay Cities. I need Chorizo, caraway seeds, sherry vinegar, feta, yogurt, Fino sherry, Manzanilla sherry, Manchego cheese, and Iberico ham. This is going to be an expensive month!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                        I am actually thankful to read your info about fava beans. I've always heard that they were lethal, or at least dangerous, to some people, but I didn't know it was as rare as it is. I thought some larger portion of us were taking our chances eating favas!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                          That is good information to have. I try never to serve nuts to people I don't know well. Will have to add Fava beans to that list. On a bit of a tangent, I found dried Favas at my local Italian market today and was shocked at the price - $7.99 for a relatively small bag! For beans of all things...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                            If you have a Persian market nearby, the price will be considerably less.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                            We have a great Persian shop too but it's a couple of miles away so I don't visit it that often. You do know that butter beans aren't the same as favas (broad beans) though?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                              Just what, I've wondered, are the "butter beans in a can." I've never got a definitive answer. There must be large amounts of those beans grown somewhere for the omnipresent cans of butter beans to have been in grocery stores for should I say a half-century?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                I do know that butter beans are something different, but the recipe I am using calls for butter beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                  Now I'm really confused! The recipe on p113 definitely calls for dried butter beans, not broad beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                  I wondered about this too, so I just checked epicurious' dictionary. They claim that "in the south, dried limas are frequently referred to as butter beans ." How this works with canned, cooked butter beans is a mystery to me. They don't have the same color as any lima bean I've ever seen, and they're obviously not dried.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Rella,
                                                                                                                                                                                    My understanding is that there are two kinds of Lima beans. There is a smaller variety ( sometimes called 'baby limas' and a larger variety, with a slightly stronger taste and higher fat content. These are Fordhooks, but they are called Butter Beans in the Southern US and in Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've cooked these Fordhooks beans from the dried state only.

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://safeguardseeds.com/lima-bean-f...

                                                                                                                                                                                      Years ago I was trying to duplicate the taste and consistency of the butter bean in a can, but never was able to duplicate it. I tried several dried lima beans, but never any fresh that I recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll bet the butter bean in a can is canned from 'fresh' Fordhooks. But, of course, I don't know that. What gets me is the COLOR of the canned beans. Have you seen these Fordhooks beans fresh?

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the info.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi Rella,
                                                                                                                                                                                        You can sometimes find fresh Lima beans in summer or early Fall when they are in season ( farmer's market, whole foods would be good places to look ). Next best would be frozen, which many markets carry. I have only ever used dried - so I don't know much about the color of the canned beans or how that is achieved.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Best of luck in your quest :-)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I would like topics broken down into meat, fish, veg. fruit, dessert, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I have been working on the individual threads. There seems to be a thrust toward combining books in subject threads, and some desire to have fewer threads, so we feel like we are all cooking together. I'm currently trialing four threads which include, more or less:
                                                                                                                                                                                Miscellany- things like sauces, dressings, bread, drinks, desserts
                                                                                                                                                                                Tapas and small plates, savory pies
                                                                                                                                                                                Salads, vegetables, soups, beans, pasta, rice
                                                                                                                                                                                Main dishes
                                                                                                                                                                                The subjects are not in the same order or the same chapters in each book, and there is some overlap, so I will include page numbers for each book.
                                                                                                                                                                                I think this will make us fee like we are cooking together more often than not, and enable us to compare dishes across the two books.
                                                                                                                                                                                I have a long workday today, I'm striving to get the threads up by tomorrow, but please forgive me if I am a tad tardy!

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds great! You are such a peach to do this, and for goodness sake please don't worry about the timing.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. So I have a question about paprika. I'm thinking of stocking up on some to prep for this months recipes and for Spanish paprikas I have the option of hot, sweet, and bittersweet in both regular and smoked versions for each. This is not a spice I normally use a lot of (when I need it, I just buy small amounts of the "paprika" I find in the bulk section of my natural foods store). I'm really excited about experimenting with smoked paprika, which I've never used, but am unsure whether to get hot or sweet (or bittersweet?) and am also generally unsure of which kinds are most useful for Spanish cooking. Is the kind I can buy in bulk from the natural foods store good for anything? It's a lot cheaper. I'm hoping someone who cooks Spanish food regularly or who has been able to examine either of this month's selections can give me some guidance. I have both of this months' books coming from the library but haven't been able to actually pick them up yet. Thanks in advance!

                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                    Not totally responding to your post; however, a place to find paprika in small tins of different 'types' of paprika is in a TJMaxx. They always seem to have at least 3 different tins whenever I stop in one of their stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Another find in TJMaxx is great Spanish olives, and they do carry olive oils, including Spanish.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                      When you get your copy of Food of Spain, look on page 239. Briefly, here is what Roden says:
                                                                                                                                                                                      Three varieties of pimenton (paprika), all of which can be smoked or not:
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sweet and mild (dulce) - the most widely used. Made with noras in Murcia.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Bittersweet (agriculce) - no specific use mentioned.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Hot (pimenton picante or pimienta cayena) - similar to cayenne or chile powder, not greatly appreciated except in a few areas. Made with dried guindilla peppers.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                        Westminstress, and to LN, and all COTM; I humbly offer this. Having made Spanish food for years, and much more Moroccan - and taught Moroccan food (which shares much of the Moorish/Muslim heritage that influenced both)....

                                                                                                                                                                                        For many recipes, I have found the most used - and appreciated are sweet(Dolce), in both smoked and not. The smoked adds truly important notes to many recipes that nothing else can replicate.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If I had room for a third, I would purchase smoked Bittersweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My reasoning being that cayenne can be used to replace smoked hot; many recipes call for a combo of at least 2 peppers (spanish and moroccan recipes), and the heat of cayenne can replace the smoked hot when combined with mild smoked. Also, if you use some fresh peppers or whole dried, this can be a place to bring in heat without needed another container of hot smoked paprika on your shelf.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The bittersweet has a specific note, an undercurrent if you will, of bitterness that really is different. In dishes that call for it, I have not found another pepper to replace that note.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Again, IMHO....

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for that, gingershelley, it makes much sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have both types of smoked paprika - partly because I love the cute tins they come in! (Shallow, moi?) i use the sweet one more. Not overly expensive either.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                            Hi Westminstress,
                                                                                                                                                                                            I had a chance to 'griil' the salesperson at The Spanish Table about this self - same topic. And I'll make a long story, short. He advised against the bittersweet altogether. Now the sweet paprika is a must. And you should have one hot paprika- not smoked. Then go ahead and get one pimenton which is smoked - I think 'sweet' is a good choice. And be cognisant of the fact that smoked paprika is very similar to smoked cheese; in that it imparts a sometimes overwhelming 'smoke' flavor which can dominate a dish - so use with caution. :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                            The preceding is just my personal opinion, based on a fairly limited experience with said ingredients. So you might want to go to a place like Whole Foods ( where they often allow you to buy minuscule amounts of spices) and see for yourself if these paprikas agree with your tastes.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I personally dislike a strong smoke flavor ( from chilies or cheese) In most instances. But tour tastes may differ, so try some samples of these ingredients if you get a chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                              Mind you, I made my reply based on info from a salesperson... And not personal experience. I had not yet read Gingershelley's response and she may know better, as it sounds like she has more experience than I do, cooking Spanish cuisine. Good Luck :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks everyone for the responses! My copy of Moro did come in last night (yay!) and I noticed that the recipes mostly call for sweet smoked paprika. I think I will buy sweet smoked, and I can use a bit of cayenne if I want some additional heat. I may invest in a regular sweet paprika also, on the theory that the genuine Spanish stuff is better than what I would find in my local bulk bin. The "bittersweet" sounds interesting but I had the feeling it is only used rarely, so I will pass on that for now, fascinating as it sounds!

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. For what it's worth, now that I have thrown my 'lot' in with you all for May COTM, I thought I might recommend a fun book I have been reading currently.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I read a fair number of food memoirs, or food writer-travel books; currently, I am mid-way through 'Everything But the Squeal" by John Barlow.

                                                                                                                                                                                              It is about his quest to eat ALL parts of the pig over the course of a year, while living in Galicia. This is a lesser-known part of Spain to many, including myself until reading this.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Great stories, many of which end up NOT being about the pig, but about visits to various villages in this region. Barlow's wife is Galician, and they live and have roots through her family in the area.

                                                                                                                                                                                              So far, a fun and informative read. I like to dive into a culture and learn more, not just the recipes when I am getting to know a cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Claudia's book has wonderful essays and history that expand on all things that go into Spanish culture and cuisine (I have not gotten ahold of the Moro book yet), but this is a nice adjunct I am finding.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Has anyone seen the Chow video on peeling fava beans? You take the beans out of the pods, freeze them for 30 minutes, defrost for 10 minutes and then squeeze them out of their skins. They made it look easy. Has anyone tried this method? I plan on making some Spanish (and non-Spanish) dishes with favas and would love an easy way to peel/skin them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have not seen this video but it sounds like a great tip. I can't wait to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another interesting tidbit:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Acording to legend, tapas was invented when King Alfonso XII, who reigned from 1875 to 1885, ordered a glass of sherry in Cádiz, a seaside city just south of Jerez. To protect the sherry from sand and wind, a piece of cured ham was placed on top of the glass. After drinking the wine and eating the ham, the King ordered another sherry with the same tapa, which means cover in Spanish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow, you've got specifics on that! I've always heard something vague about the ham or something else keeping the bugs out of the drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The overview/index thread for May has been posted here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/846991

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks to everyone for all of your support and kind words of appreciation. What a great group!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I tried to check out the Spanish deli that used to be next to the Moro restaurant today - only to find it has become a sister tapas restaurant to Moro, called Morito! But no matter, in the Italian deli down the road from Moro I got a decent manchego, and in my local Portuguese-owned deli I purchased serrano, boquerones, caperberries, mild pickled green chillies and fresh bay leaves. I got some fino from Marks and Spencers, so I'm all set for our first Spanish meal tonight. Can't wait!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I completed my pantry shopping today at Bay Cities. After getting the bill I now realize why I don't usually pantry shop all at once...sticker shock. $139.00 and I still don't have everything I need for tomorrow's dinner. Having said that, I am well set to participate all month long so I'm not complaining. Bought Fino and Oloroso Sherries, a sherry vinegar, Campo de Montalban cheese (the guy behind the cheese counter raved about it being the next step above Manchego so I am giving it a try), smoked paprika (to keep my sweet, bittersweet, and milk paprikas company), two different kinds of chorizo, and tins of sardines in cazuela sauce, squid pieces in ink sauce and tuna fillets with oregano in olive oil. Didn't spring for the Iberica today, maybe later in the month.