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July 2012 Cookbook of the Month: Fish Without a Doubt (Revisit)

Welcome to the July 2012 Cookbook of the Month! This month we will be cooking from Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore. This is a revisit of the March 2009 COTM, and we will be returning to those threads to add our latest experiences.

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

If you are curious about the selection process for this month's COTM, and the accompanying discussion, the voting thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854221
and the nomination thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/853254
Also, there is always interesting discussion on the announcement thread, which you can find here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854831

Below are the original threads we will be using to report (and below that, some tips on using these threads to report):

Poaching, Steaming, & Boiling:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600168

Broiling, Grilling, & Smoking:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600169

Baking & Roasting, Searing & Sautéing, Frying
:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600170

Shellfish Appetizers & First Courses and Chowders, Soups, Stews:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600174

Salads, Ceviches, & Gravlax:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600175

Fish Cakes & Burgers and Pasta and Rice
:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600176

Salsas & Relishes and Sauces, Vinaigrettes, Spice Mixes:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600179

Essential Sides:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600180

When you report on a recipe, please look to see if anyone else has reported on the same recipe. If someone has written about it, please hit the reply box within the initial report. This way, all of the reports on a dish will be grouped together. If no one has yet reported on a recipe, then hit the reply box in the original post at the top of the page, or the "Reply to original post" at the bottom of the page. You will then be starting a new a new recipe to which others can reply.

If the thread is very long, and it seems like a chore to see if someone has reported on a recipe, you can do a keyword search. On a mac you hit command F, on a PC you hit control F. Start typing what it is you are searching for, either by ingredient, title, or page number, and the entries will be highlighted.

Happy fish of July everyone!

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  1. In addition to the above information and links, here is the original announcement thread:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600185

    And the link to the earilier non-COTM FWAD thread:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/584841

    Here is a permalink to some recipes available online:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5955...
    The post is from 2009, so some of the links are no longer active, but many are still available.

    23 Replies
    1. re: L.Nightshade

      Ah, shucks, - even though it's a revisit, it's still a COTM, and I thought all COTM's were on the Homecooking Sticky Topics Page.

      It makes it more difficult to locate/find the last post of each of the individual url's - Just my opinion.

      I was looking for it at the top, then had to .... well, you know the drill.

      Thanks, LN.

      ETA: LN, I went back to the page, and saw a "Save to Profile," which I've never used. I think that will work for me. I've never used the "Save to Profile" before.

      1. re: Rella

        No, the "Save to Profile" doesn't save it to my profile so that it comes up as a sticky topic when I open my profile. Maybe someone can help me/tell me how to get the COTM to come up as a sticky topic in my profile ,,,

        Just trying to make it easier ...

        1. re: Rella

          Rella, a saved topic won't reveal as a sticky unless you don't save any other threads during the month. Then it will always remain at the top of your "following saved topic board".... I think.

          1. re: Rella

            I suspect the mods haven't had a chance to make this a sticky topic yet.

            1. re: beetlebug

              I hope this is the answer.
              As I not always contribute to a certain thread, I will have a hard time wading through other's Home Cooking posts to find a certain ...
              oh, never mind, ... it'll happen.
              Thanks for your optimism.

              1. re: Rella

                Oops. I meant this master thread. Traditionally, it's only the master thread that is stickied. Sometimes it takes the mods a few hours especially since we are in different time zones.

          2. re: Rella

            Individual urls have never been stickied to the top of the Home Cooking page, only the master thread posting.

            The best way to follow the individual threads is to contribute to them. Then, assuming you have set your preference to sort by recent activity, all new posts to that thread will show up immediately on your Profile page.

            1. re: JoanN

              And therein lies the rub:
              "The best way to follow the individual threads is to contribute to them."

              1. re: Rella

                You could always bookmark the individual thread urls and put them in their own named folder. In a desktop Word Document (or in Evernote or any number of other places) you can keep a file with all the urls of the threads for a particular title. Sure, it's a couple of more clicks to get there, but that's exactly what I do with my online Spanish flashcards and as long as I've organized and labeled them properly, I can find exactly what I'm looking for very quickly.

                1. re: JoanN

                  So, each time I want to find out if anyone has posted on the threads, I will go to my Folder of urls to see if anyone has posted to chowhound for those particular chapters/subjects. Yes, I had already done that. I'll put that folder on my desktop for now for following the July COTM, so there won't be so many clicks.

                  Then I'll continue to using the rest of chowhound as I usually do, by clicking onto chowhound, "My Recent Threads."

                  1. re: Rella

                    Or you could just check the Home cooking board each day and see what the latest posts are.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Thanks. I've done that, too. OK, I'm getting into the hang of this month's postings, now. For some reason, it seems more complicated than usual.

                      Must be the weather :-))

                      BTW, our Costco here in Winchester, VA was closed for one day for power outage. DC and area was hit with hundreds of thousands of power outages from last Friday night.

                      1. re: Rella

                        Eeek, sorry to hear about the storms. This weather is unbelievable, isn't it? Lulu and I are dressed to go to the pool, but right now it looks like we might be getting a morning thunderstorm.

                        Hope you didn't make the trip to the Costco only to find it closed. That sort of thing drives me nuts. Husband is up in DC this morning and I just heard from him that it is a gorgeous day there so far.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Yes, we drove there for frozen Hake for us, and frozen Mane blueberries for father-in-law - closed! It was closed for one day, I understand, on a Saturday!

                          Two of the farmers markets were closed after the GPS sent us an extra 5-7 miles out of the way! I just cannot get any local produce in this breadbasket of a Valley.

                          All was not lost. We drove to pick up the milk at the farm, where we found honey for sale grown on the farm. I have not been buying honey for a looong time because of all the controversey. . I was ecstatic and called the bee keeper to have another 4# for me ready my next trip to the farm.

                        2. re: Rella

                          Rella - The only thing that I see that is different from the way I usually do it, is that the page numbers are not posted in the index thread. This is because I just used the index from the 2009 posting. Do you find something else that is making this month more complicated? I only have one month to go as coordinator, but if you have a specific concern, it could still have an impact on next month's postings. Let me know!

                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                            Thanks for your concern - I'm into it now. I think you took care of my concerns over two things that had me stifled. It was just me -- I can tell! :-)))

                            But you were fast to help, along with others who took the opportunity to help me - I really appreciate everyone's concern to help.
                            This is one heckava site this month. It is probably my first revisit COTM.

              2. re: Rella

                I don't understand the problem, the COTM index thread is always a sticky, as it is now. Are you asking about the individual threads? They are never stickied.

                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  My computer, you, or je nais se quoi must've done some magic. It is there as a sticky topic NOW; it just wasn't prevoiusly.

                  Yes, I did know that the individual threads are never stickied.

                  I'll get off my crying-jag now. :-)) Whew! Thanks.

                  1. re: Rella

                    I hadn't looked for it much earlier, so it may have just been done. I requested it last night, but it was late at night and on the weekend, when things don't necessarily happen instantaneously, if at all! So I was pleased to find the team had stickied it by this morning.

                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                      I'm a nervous nellie today, I guess 'cause I'm going to try my hand at the paella recipe. I purchased a new "Spanish" paella pan, larger, but I think the smaller one is going to have to be the one. The recipe says 12", and I'm always curious as to whether 12" at the top or bottom, as a paella pan slopes about 2". The fact that it says 'serves 4' leads me to believe that I will be using the 10-3/4" pan bottom, vs. the 12" pan bottom one.
                      I'll add this information when I post later.
                      Thanks, LN.

                      1. re: Rella

                        Rella I'm almost (*almost*!) sure that when a pan's measurement is given it refers to the top opening diameter.
                        Have fun with the paella, I'll hungrily read about it later.

                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                    Sorry, but I have another burning question. As you will see at

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6001...

                    Lulu'sMom's posting of Paella. If I post my reply to her original post, it looks like her postings will be broken up.

                    Or, will I 'reply' to 'oakjoan's reply to Lulu'sMom further down, and enter it posting there? I don't think that is the way, tho.

                    1. re: Rella

                      Reply to LulusMom's post, unless you are asking a specific question of one of the following posters. Always reply to the original post of a recipe when you are reporting on a recipe. Your post will show up down the line, after reports from other posters, but they will all be grouped together.
                      Good luck with your Paella, can't wait to hear about it!

              3. Looking forward to cooking from this book, as much as my schedule allows. I was pretty sure I had a copy, but when I got back in town a couple nights ago, I couldn't find it. Went onto Amazon and I didn't get the "You purchased this item..." notice, so I figured I must be wrong about having it, and ordered a copy. Today, sure enough, I found a copy here in the house. Turns out I got it at Borders when they were going out of business, which is why Amazon didn't warn me I owned it. Haven't cooked from it at all, but I know it was very popular as a COTM before, which is why I picked it up. I obviously have too many cookbooks. It's not the first time I've ordered a book I already own. Fortunately I was able to cancel this order.

                4 Replies
                1. re: MelMM

                  I am finding it difficult to follow responses-
                  maybe it is bcz I am a senior citizen

                  1. re: jpr54_1

                    I'm sure we can get you on track! What do you mean about difficulty following responses? Are you talking about recipes in the reporting thread?

                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                      i thinki got the hang of it -after a couple of tries-
                      thanx

                  2. re: MelMM

                    I have done that more times than I care to admit to my spouse. I'm glad that you were able to cancel your order.

                  3. Thanks very much LN! I'm very excited about the month ahead as I adore fish. My Dad used to as well. Whenever my Mom would prepare it he'd say "Fish, fish, Dad's favourite dish!!"

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      Funny how we remember these sayings. I recall, 'beans, beans, good for the heart."

                      I grew up eating no fish whatsoever except a nasty little trout caught now and then by someone (accidently, it must have been :-))).

                    2. I have spent the past three weeks in the wilds of Northern New Hampshire taking care of my Mother who now has a broken leg after a fall down the stairs. Since I can only leave her for short periods of time, I am reduced to shopping at a Walmart. A Walmart that has put every other grocery store out of business and doesn't have to compete for grocery dollars.

                      How do people do COTM with this type of store? The selections are abysmal. The produce looks like it has been picked over by rabbits before being put on the shelves. The only fresh fish is tilapia, though I did find some frozen wild Alaskan salmon.

                      For those of you who shop at these kind of stores, I bow down before you. What an effort it must be to find cornichons or decent mustard. I am humbled.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: smtucker

                        There are a few other grocery stores that are 'almost' as bad as Wal-mart. And, they are STILL in business - I just don't get it!

                        Years ago I was in a town in Arizona for a week, and a close relative of mine was quite embarrased by me when I asked the produce person where he got the produce. I kid you not, I'd say 95% of it was totally inedible.

                        I'm really sorry to hear that your mother has a broken leg. This is a fear of many elderly, too. My spouse's father is at the stage in life, where he is glued to his walker. But I still see many people at Costco and another grocery store in those little rascals and scooters and people with wheelchairs. I applaud and admire all those who care for their parents.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          My sympathy to your mother & you. A broken leg is a miserable experience. I hope she heals well.

                          As one who's done multi-year stints in the Upper Valley (not so bad) and the Eastern Slopes (dreadful) areas of northern NH, thirty miles one way to a grocery store is all too familiar. you've probably already thought of all of the following, but just in case, here are some ideas:

                          for pantry items:
                          1) I assume your out of Market Basket and/or Hannaford range, but if not Hannaford's still better than Walmart.

                          2) Mail order.

                          for fish:
                          1) There used be some fish trucks that would appear every so often with fish/shellfish form Portland. I'd ask at the local gas station/convenience store/coffee counter/gossip central if any such happens in the area.

                          2) Small Inns & upscale restaurants. I used to order fish through some neighbors who had a B&B that also served dinner in the summer.

                          3) Some of the farmer's markets these days also have fish vendors, but not all.

                          for produce:
                          1) NH Dept of Ag & others have some pretty good lists of farmer stands and farmers markets, http://agriculture.nh.gov/publication... http://www.pickyourown.org/NH.htm http://www.nhoutdoors.com/farms.htm

                          2) Ask at gossip central if anyone around sells extra veggies/fruit/eggs. By asking around I found a couple of places/families quite close to me that sold veggies, would never have known they were there, cause they were on roads I didn't drive. Kind of a quaint system, self serve including making ones own change.

                          Good luck!

                          1. re: qianning

                            I won't bore you with all the details, but we are far north of the Market Basket/Hannaford's service area. There are a couple of nice farm stands, but it is far too early for any real produce. The fish guys, there used to be three, are gone. Two gave up and one died.

                            This is an area that I have been living/visiting for my whole life. I doubt there is anything that I, or my Mother a journalist, haven't found. Now that the paper mills are basically closed, the economy is worse than I have ever seen. There simply aren't enough people around to keep any quality options open.

                            This next trip, I will go through Littleton which still has a coop and a Shaws, both of which are infinitely better than the Walmart option. The last trip I stopped at Wilson farms to stock up and then carried everything north in a cooler.

                            I will have to load up on fish on the days that I am home, using my stove and oven which has ALL four burners lit.

                            Thanks for the suggestions. I do want some grilled fish.

                            1. re: smtucker

                              Poor you. Anything north of Berlin is hopeless.

                        2. I didn't know where to place this question---

                          I am following a low salt/low fat diet
                          many of the recipes ask for butter-can I substitute evol?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jpr54_1

                            I switch out butter for olive oil in a lot of recipes; I don't see a problem with it. The flavor will be different, but it will work. You aren't really making the dish any lower in fat, just using a monounsaturated fat instead of a saturated one.
                            Of course, you probably can't do the compound butter recipes...

                            1. re: jpr54_1

                              Here is another idea - when it calls for butter, substitute one-half of it by using evoo, and the other half using unsalted butter. I really like this combination for myself.

                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                It depends on the recipe. As L.Nightshade said, the compound butters are out as are the butter sauces and the butter poaching technique

                                But having made probably more than half the recipes in the book, it doesn't seem to me as though many recipes at all, other than those I just mentioned, call for butter. I would think it quite easy to find lots of terrific recipes that you could make as written.

                              2. FYI, the nomination thread for August is now up here:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857970

                                1. My library copy of Fish Without a Doubt is going back tomorrow. We finally got our copy in the mail. Got it from Goodwill books for a pittance, it was described as in "good" condition. Not only is it absolutely pristine, but it is signed by Rick Moonen. Rather a nice surprise!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. Well, Ive only been able to try a couple of recipes but have a very mixed reaction to this book.
                                    Some very good techniques (putting my cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up ahead of oven roasting for my porgies) and a very nice swordfish crusted with peppercorn and coriander over a good fennel/onion orange salad.
                                    On the other hand, it did not work with my shopping method - to go to the farmers market and buy what looks good from the fishermen. A couple of the fish I bought (ex monkfish) Moonen refused to cover because of overfishing or some such. Second, the guidance on cooking times etc is very spotty. I had to guess with my swordfish tonight (it was a specified sub in a tuna recipe and my fish wound up a little undercooked in consequence) Dont know why he didnt have better advice here.

                                    1. I really need your help with the book! I am cooking for my family this summer (mostly) and they have perculiar food preferrences that I won't go into; just to say that no one is into fish aside from my four-year-old grandboy who loves salmon grilled on cedar plank. I have three fishes in the freezer - 1/2lb of halibut, about a pound each tuna and wild salmon. I looked through FWAD and have too many doubts:) Can't decide what to make and what to serve it with. Considering what I have on hand, would you kindly chime in with suggestions of what you made and loved, what did you serve it with and if anything was child/picky-fish-eater friendly.

                                      Many thanks!!!

                                      1. I just watched Rick Moonan on an episode of Chef's A Field on CREATE. The premise was fishing for Striped Bass on the Cape, and then heading back to his kitchen at RM to cook. Of course, it was wonderful to watch him use some of the techniques we all explored during our FISH months. But the best part was watching him create a butter sauce with the immersion blender. Haven't we all cleaned the walls after making one of these sauces?

                                        So, his pan was NOT particularly tall. He tipped the pot away from him, and then put the immersion blender on the bottom of the pan at the farthest point from his body. And then, he did NOT move it at all. I might be willing to try this again after watching his demonstration.

                                        Looks like CREATE is showing this again later today if you want to catch it. The episode was called Chef's A Field: New York, New York. Couldn't find it on their website so it must be from an earlier season.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: smtucker

                                          That's a great tip smtucker, thanks for sharing it! Lower sided pans and a small amt of ingredients usually make for the perfect storm (literally!) when I'm using my immersion blender. I can't wait to give this a try.

                                          My worst immersion blender error was making a cream of corn chowder. There was corn everywhere, even on my cat!! I'm sure to this day whoever is living in that apartment is probably still finding corn in places you'd just never expect!!

                                          1. re: smtucker

                                            Oh man, my walls still show the results of one of those butters. I don't know if I have it in me to try again. I'm incredibly impressed that he was able to do it and not splatter everything in sight.