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May 15, 2012 04:20 PM

Cookbook - limited ingredients available

Hi, I am living outside of the US somewhere that the more exotic ingredients are rare or very expensive. I'm not limited to total basics, but I have had a hard time finding things ranging from Sorrel, shitake mushrooms to non string cheese mozzerella, and have a very hard time finding affordable meat or non farmed fish.

I have found myself repeating meals a lot here, and I have with me a few all purpose books (Joy of cooking! Nyt cookbook!) they are sometimes not totally inspiring. I want to buy myself a cookbook - restaurant or cuisine based whose ingredient lists that wont leave me sighing. I already have indian cookbooks and it is not really possible to find the ingredients for east/south east asian cooking here. I was thinking greek? Spanish? Or a great restaurant cookbook that doesn't have a lot of red meat/ unusual ingredients? Thanks

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  1. But, you have the Internet.

    1. It would be helpful to know where you are living - some of us might've lived there too and could share tips and resources - i.e. I could have been the only Western person in New Delhi who knew where to buy sourcream:)

      A cookbook of a local cuisine will probably be the best as its recipes would use locally available ingredients.

      9 Replies
      1. re: herby

        Israel, not in tel aviv. I eat local cuisine a lot, and kind of want to branch out. Cucumber and tomato salad gets old after a few hundred days. I thought of greece and spain because i assumed the ingredients are similar.

        1. re: supergoldie

          have fun being more authentic than everyone else. try moroccan cuisine.

          1. re: Chowrin

            any specific books? looks amazing but possibly a bit challenging ingredientwise. Although 'authentic' is a westion construct used to other the exotic east. I learned that in undergrad.

            1. re: supergoldie

              I picked up a copy of Mourad's book (received last night) after a visit to his restaurant.
              Its really a chef's book, emphatically not a home cooking resource, and not a Moroccan book - and the level of exotica, ingredient wise is extreme. There are good books on Moroccan cuisine out there by several authors but Paula Wolfert is queen.

              Ottolenghi's cookbooks (recommended downthread)on the other hand are inspirational and workable in the home. While they work in London, the authors are from Israel, so there would be a good connection to your local supplies.

          2. re: supergoldie

            also, any opinions about ancient grains for modern meals? More delicious or more nutritious?

            1. re: supergoldie

              I love farro and quinoa - delicious and nutrious too:)

            2. re: supergoldie

              Are you familiar with Yotam Ottolenghi book? He is an Israeli living and cooking in London. I have his vegetarian (he is not) book - Plenty - and it has many amazing recipes that could work for you. He is coming out with a new one - Jerusalem - which could work for you well.

              Moroccan food suggestion below is a good one. There are many recipes on the web. I do not have Mourad but saw the book. It has beautiful pictures and my understanding that his recipes are modern as oppose to traditional ones like Paula Wolfret's are. Definitely Greek recipes will work well and those of south Italy.

              1. re: herby

                i will check out plenty... ancient grains for moderm meals is a cookbook that looks really good... the author is greek/ german

                plenty looks insanely good. perfect - thank you!

                1. re: supergoldie

                  Ottolenghi's books were COTM a year or so ago. Check out what people made and thought about his recipes here:

                  Enjoy! and add to the COTM threads if you make anything.

          3. How about Claudia Roden? Her books are middle-east-centric.