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August 2012 Cookbooks of the Month: Planet Barbecue and Raising the Salad Bar!

The Cookbooks of the Month for August 2012 will be:

Planet Barbecue by Steven Raichlen,
with the companion book,
Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers.

The race for the companion book was very close. Only a couple of votes today kept us from going into a runoff race.

On August 1st, I will be posting the individual threads for reporting your experiences cooking from Planet Barbecue and Raising the Salad Bar. In the meantime, you can use this announcement thread for general discussion about the books.

If you are curious about the selection process, and the accompanying discussion, the voting thread is here:
and the nomination thread is here:

If you've never participated in the Cookbook of the Month discussion, we hope you'll give us a try in August. 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:

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  1. Wow-hoo! So pleased Raising the Salad Bar was chosen. And it's light enough that I can take it to England with me for the time I'll be at my parents house and can cook. Planet Barbecue will have to wait until I am back mid-August - and England isn't having BBQ weather anyway, is it greedygirl?

    1 Reply
    1. re: JaneEYB

      I am pleased to report that summer is on its way, Jane, according to today's weather report! Unfortunately I've been on holiday this week, which has been somewhat indifferent here in northern France.

    2. I was going to be happy no matter how this turned out. I have been rooting for Planet Barbecue! for some time now, and I'm glad to see it paired with a more veg-centric book, because I realize that grilling will not be practical for everyone. I voted for Vegetable Love, even though I don't own it, but I do own Raising the Salad Bar, so this result is actually very fortunate for me and my wallet.

      1. Like MelMM, I would have been happy however things turned out with any of the three vegetable-cookbook options, but I'm glad that Raising the Salad Bar will be our new COTM because I just feel like salads in the summertime!

        1. I'm looking forward to trying the Planet Barbecue! recipes -- outdoor grilling at my house is rare, but I'll jam all the ingredients and flavors into my oven (and broiler) and make 'em work.
          Hope to come across some unique salads too.
          Thank you, L.Nightshade -- believe me, now more than ever I appreciate how well you navigate these negotiations!

          2 Replies
          1. re: blue room

            Blue Room, we don't grill outdoors at my house either, but I do want to try some Planet Barbecue recipes, so I will be very interested in reading about your oven/broiler modifications of recipes!

            1. re: Goblin

              I am going to also do most of the recipes in oven/broiler

          2. WhoooHooo... This is going to be great. Any of the books would have been fine with me but I think both the area formerly known as my waistline as well as my wallet will benefit from these COTMs. Below I've referenced a grilling book thread with a lively discussion not only of methods and other grilling books but several Planet BBQ! recipe reports too...


            Many thanks for everything, LN... Quoth Mr Grace, "you've done very well."

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gio

              I'm with you on the waistline. This will be perfect for me post-holiday. 1 week in France = 1 month of salads.

            2. Thanks LN. You've been a phenomenal moderator.

              1. Yes, many thanks for your smooth and deft moderating, LN. You make it look easy when we know it can get tricky.
                And welcome to blue room!

                1. I was on vacation during the discussion & voting, but I'm delighted with the choices. My garden is already overflowing with cukes & beans, with more to come. Anticipating even more barbecue and salads in the future.

                  1. August is going to be a fun month! Somehow, the title "Raising the Salad Bar" didn't pique my interest much, but once I looked at the descriptions and reviews of the book on Amazon, I suddenly became more interested. In fact, this is exactly what I'm in search of right now: "Beyond Leafy Greens--Inventive Salads with Beans, Whole Grains, Pasta, Chicken, and More."

                    Planet BBQ sounds appealing, too. We love to grill this time of year!


                    1. Very excited about cooking from Planet BBQ. I don't own the Salad Bar but I'm keen to hear how you all make out with it....sometimes books just seem to find their way onto my shelf!! ; - )

                      I do intend to supplement our grilled dishes w some of my other produce/farm market cookbooks and will continue to update the "Cooking From The Farmer's Market" thread here:


                      1. The Dairy Queen says the title "Raising the Salad Bar" didn't appeal to her at first. I have a book with the title "Lettuce In Your Kitchen". Turns out it has very decent reviews. Gee, I should open it.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: blue room

                          To remind myself, I am cutting and pasting my wish list from the old Grilling Thread here:

                          Here is my wish list of recipes to try from Planet Barbecue:

                          1. Piri Piri Chicken Wings in the Style of Nando's - South Africa - p. 20
                          2. Iranian Saffron Lemon Chicken Wings - Iran and Azerbaijan - p. 26
                          3. Tokyo-Style Grilled Chicken Dumplings - Japan - p 30
                          4. Grilled Pork Jerky - Singapore - p 48
                          5. Korean Grilled Pork Belly - Seoul, South Korea - p 53
                          6. Grilled Eggplant Salad with Jerusalem Flavors - p 71
                          7. Armenian Stick Bread - p 96
                          8. Indian Puff Pastry - p 98
                          9. Naan Crusted with Pumpkin, Poppy, and Nigella Seeds p 100
                          10. Arepas Grilled Corn Cakes with Salsa - Columbia - p 109
                          11. Grilling Steaks p 141
                          12. Grilled T Bone Steak with Grape Tomato Salad - Italy - p 150
                          13. Buenos Aires Heart Stopper - Argentina - p 157
                          14. Spruce Grilled Steak - Quebec - - p 162
                          15. Filets Mignons with Whisky Mushroom Sauce - Uruguay - p 165
                          16. Butterfiied Sesame Grilled Beef Short Ribs - Korea - p 171
                          17. Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet and Sour Onions - Italy - p 180
                          18. Puerto Rican Pork Shoulder - p 197
                          19. Shepherd's Tacos - Mexico - p 212
                          20. Mustard Plum BBQ Sauce - Uruguay - p 222 (great with any meat)
                          21. Puerto Rican Grilled Pork Chops - p 224
                          22. Mayan Pork Chops - Mexico - p 225
                          23. Caribbean Pineapple Baby Back Ribs with Pineapple BBQ Sauce - Trinidad and Tobago - p 234
                          24. Nuri's Ribs - Bali - p 239
                          25. Balinese Salad - p 264
                          26. Spit Roasted Lamb/Goat with Garlic and Mint - Kenya - p 267
                          27. Lucknowi Lamb Chops - Utar Pradesh, India - p 291
                          28. Mauritius Grilled Lamb Chops - Island of Mauritius - p 293
                          29. The Perfect Burger - p 309
                          30. 6 Tips for Ground Meat Kebabs - p 329
                          31. Lemongrass Rotisserie Chicken - Philippines - 353
                          32. Grilled Chicken with Yellow Chiles and Roasted Garlic - Peru - p 368
                          33. Jordanian Grilled Chicken - p 378
                          34. Thai Grilled Chicken - Thailand - p 380
                          35. Pancetta Orange Chicken Kebabs - Argentina - p 395
                          36. Chicken Liver Yakitori with a Balsamic Soy Glaze - Japan - p 402
                          37. Salmon Glazed with Belgian Cherry Beer - Belgium - 429
                          38. Salmon Shashlik - Russia - p 431
                          39. Tandoori Grilled Kingfish - India p 432
                          40. Grilled Turbot With Holy Water - Basque Region - p 440
                          41. Grilled Snook with Apricot Glaze - S. Africa - p 455 (or halibut, striped bass, bluefish, mackerel)
                          42. Mexican Grilled Fish Tacos - Mexico - p 458
                          43. Turmeric Grilled Prawns - Malaysia - p 486
                          44. Grilled Shrimp Sprayed with Olive Oil and Wine - Basque - p 488
                          45. Mauritius Shrimp or Squid Kebabs with Ginger Turmeric Glaze - Island of Mauritus - p 495
                          46. Thai Grilled Clams with Chiles and Limes - Thailand - p 510
                          47. Mussels Grilled on Pine Needles - France - p 513
                          48. Grilled Bananas - Colombia - p 529
                          49. Bacon Grilled Eggplant - Armenia - p 535
                          50. Grilled Shishito Peppers with Sesame Oil and Salt - Japan - p 544
                          51. Tandoori Potatoes in the Style of Baked Stuffed Potatoes - India - p 550
                          52. Laotian Sticky Rice Pops with Dipping Sauces - Laos - p 565
                          53. Grilled Sweet Plantains or Bananas with Guava and Salty Cheese - Colombia - p 571
                          54. Muscat Grilled Pineapple with Sea Salt - Australia - p 577

                          1. re: dkennedy

                            Thank you for posting your list, DK!

                            Would anyone how made any of these dishes,please, chime in with your experience? Much appreciated!

                            1. re: dkennedy

                              Wow, DK! That's a great list. Some of those are on my list as well, so I can't wait to hear your experience.

                              1. re: dkennedy

                                We've made the Tokyo-style grilled dumplings (aka tsukune) and we liked them quite a bit. The recipe calls for adding chicken fat to chicken thighs which make for very moist, succulent grilled dumplings.

                            2. Yay! I am very excited about Planet BBQ. Somehow, I just couldn't get into Fish Without a Doubt this month. But I just got Plant BBQ and the book id already getting filled with stickies! My husband even took an interest in it and has started flagging things. We're planning on a couple of PB dishes tonight assuming we can avoid a thunderstorrn!

                              I am interested in hearing what people think about RSB too. I have to admit to a seriously decreased salad intake at our house in the past few years. Maybe I need some fresh ideas. I haven't bought the book yet, but would be in the market if people are loving the recipes...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                i've just made my third recipe from Raising the Salad Bar - a Thai quinoa salad. Very tasty and healthy. I am liking the book so far, and it's helping reduce the size of my cheese'n'wine belly!

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  Thai Quinoa Salad sounds great... Glad to hear you are liking it. I just bought it on Amazon, so looking forward to joining in.

                                  Made 3 recipes from Planet BBQ last night. 2 hits and 1 parital miss. I also ordered some flat metal skewers on amazon, as I see much Kofta in our future.

                              2. My books are on their way. Raising the Salad Bar was not available in the library system, but since the paperback version was quite reasonably priced, so I chose to buy it. I have no question that Planet BBQ! would be loved and again, the paperback was well-priced.

                                Looking forward to reviewing both books.

                                1. Opinions Please! Regarding setting up the reporting threads...
                                  Planet Barbecue is quite a whopping book, so I thought I'd suss out how you all feel about threads. Raising the Salad Bar does not have overlapping content (like we had in Spanish month), so it will have its own threads. What is your preference in general: Fewer threads so we are playing together more? Or more threads so they don't get so long? Please weigh in if you have a preference!

                                  9 Replies
                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                            fewer threads here as well, but I admit, I haven't seen the book yet.

                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                              Fewer threads, please. Thanks for asking!

                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                I'd say fewer threads as long as like categories are grouped with like. But, you've done such a sterling job so far, LN, that I'd defer to your sense of organized listing.

                                                1. Raising the Salad Bar could just have one thread IMHO.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    I was thinking of maybe two, but it would certainly be easy to have it as one if people are agreeable to that.

                                                  2. My copy of Planet Barbecue arrived today. It looks like a great read as well as some unusual recipes. I hadn't realized it had so much history, biographies, travelogues - this is going to be an interesting book.

                                                    1. I can't believe I'm such a total wimp. Got Raising the Salad Bar from the library, marked a few recipes to scan, decided it was definitely not a book I needed to own. Since I can't grill, I didn't even bother to order Planet BBQ from the library. And then, today, my erranding took me within a block of The Strand. You know the ending to THAT story. I am now the proud owner not only of both Raising the Salad Bar and Planet Barbecue, but Union Square Cafe Cookbook as well. I've got the self control of a hyena.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        Hahaha! Hooray for cookbook wimps!
                                                        I think you can do some of Planet Barbecue in the broiler or grill pan, right?

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Joan, I can't grill at home either, only at my daughter's house where I am spending a lot of time this summer, but it is 400 miles away.... I bought Planet BBQ because I think that many recipes could be addapted to a broiler. I am also thinking about Korean Grill - does anyone remember it? Was a hit back in 90s and I have not seen it since.

                                                          I am waiting for Raising the Salad Bar from the library and have a feeling that I will end up buying it since my daughter loves salads and I do too, particular protein and grain based, but do not have enough go-to recipes. I've been thinking forever about buying Union Square Cafe book - do you love it?

                                                          1. re: herby

                                                            Just now had a chance to page through the Union Square book and there's a lot in there that looks very appealing. The book has been nominated for COTM a number of times and is always mentioned as among people's favorite restaurant cookbooks. Now I see why. I'm eager to delve into it and find out if the recipes taste as good as they sound.

                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                            Joan you gave me a good chuckle with your post! I'm still feeling very self-righteous at the moment as I've resisted the temptation to purchase RTSB thus far. Ok, so I've been away on business for most of the time since it was nominated but still.....

                                                            we'll see how long it takes before I join the proud ranks of the cookbook "shame club for wimps"!!

                                                            1. re: JoanN


                                                              I'm just one click on Amazon away from owning both, too. I'm actually looking forward to cooking from salad bar. Planet BBQ seems a little overwhelming at the moment.


                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                I ::hanging head:: have the double skewers sitting in my amazon cart.

                                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                                Joan, You totally make me smile! This is a hard habit. I need more bookshelves!

                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  Hilarious, Joan. Great laugh for the morning. If I know you you'll probably make the most ambitious salad in the book and broil the most delectable meats...

                                                                2. More bookshelves, a bigger house, backyard storage shed, rent a self-storage unit across town, drain the pool, ha -- whatever. My feelings alternate about the overflowing googles of cookbooks I own. Lots of them crappy! :(
                                                                  Somedays shame, somedays show-off!
                                                                  I have Planet Barbecue!, won't be buying Raising the Salad Bar. (Already own "Lettuce in Your Kitchen")

                                                                  1. succumbed to buying "Raising the Salad Bar"
                                                                    and "Vegetable Love"

                                                                    I had already purchased and received "Planet BBQ"

                                                                    1. I received Raising the Salad Bar from the library tonight, had a good look thought it and find it underwhelming for me. Nothing screamed "wow, make me now" kind of thing. Good, solid recipes but not exiting for me. Definitely not buying the book and will be keeping my eyes peeled for your reports in August. I have two recipe marked....

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                        I know what you mean. RTSB seems practical rather than exciting. Practical is totally my speed right now (swamped at work, trying to lose weight, etc), but yeah, nothing really jumped out at me as a must try or as very unique.


                                                                      2. I received my copies of rtsb and Planet Grilling today. Along with How to Grill by same author. The salad bar book looks really great. How to talk dh into the idea that a salad is dinner is separate issue. Looking forward to taking charge of some of the grilling. We have a gas grill that I really want to work with...especially as our East Tx summer is really heating up again.

                                                                        1. As I gave been reading through the recipes for Planet Barbecue, I am thinking that I should have gotten this book since there are many that sound intriguing,

                                                                          For those of you who did this COTM, I am curious about your feelings towards this book now that the month is over. Is it worth owning?

                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            A resounding yes from me. In fact, I do own it now. Not convinced about Raising the Salad Bar, though I do like some of her dressings.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                              I've done, I think, 13 recipes from this book now, and plan to continue whenever we are in the mood to grill. I've been extremely impressed with the variety of recipes, and the intensity of flavors. The weakest dish was one where we grilled over a wood fire and didn't get the timing/temperature right (due to the variable heat, and the absence of a thermometer, and totally our fault). Everything else has been great, and there are several dishes that I can't wait to do again.

                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                Well, I had been plugging this book for a while, and reporting on the grilling thread, so my mind was made up about it long before it became COTM. So naturally I'm going to say yes, it is worth owning, if you have any interest at all in grilling. The variety of dishes is outstanding and the recipes have been highly reliable. I think it is safe to say this is my favorite and most-used grilling book.

                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  We grill a lot and I have only a few books on outdooor cooking, so I thought I'd really get into this book, but initially I didn't. Part of the issue is that my husband does most of the grilling and (unlike yours), he's not much interested in cooking, so we've been locked into pretty straighforward and simple preps for things on the grill--steaks, burgers, shrimp, fish. As usual, though, reading others' reports on their experiences reignited my interest in the book, and right as the end of the month approached, I tried three recipes--all simple and delicious--and wish I'd gotten started earlier. So, yes, now I'm glad I got it and hope to get a good bit of use out of it.

                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                    I was able to get a new hardcover for $11 including shipping from a seller on Amazon, so I bought it and will put it away for my husband's birthday in November. I think he'll like it, but if he doesn't, I think I will!

                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                      Nomad, kick the man off the grill, and take over.

                                                                                      Seriously, if you are a better cook than he is, you will be a far better griller than he is. Cooking is cooking, no matter what your heat source. Grilling, if anything, takes a better feel for how hot the fire should be, how to tell when the meat is done. I really, really, don't get why so many women let their husbands do this, if the guy is really not a good cook. The person who can cook best on a stove, will cook best on the grill. A few days a week, I have to smell the man next door incinerating meat on his gas grill. Whatever he's cooking over there, I can guarantee it's inedible. I was astonished to learn recently that his wife is into cooking and collects cookbooks. I have to wonder how she can eat what comes off that grill. I know I couldn't. Even if your husband is pretty good, if you are into cooking and have a modicum of talent, I'm willing to bet you'd be better. Grilling is not a "guy thing", it's a cooking thing. All cooking was done over fire until very recent history, and women did it in the vast majority of cultures. The grill is ours, not theirs.

                                                                                      OK, sorry for sermon. You can see I'm pretty passionate about this!

                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                        I do know what you're saying, MelMM. Believe me, my husband would gladly hand over the tongs. This is almost the only thing he does, cooking-wise, so I encourage it. Since I'm inside getting the rest of the meal ready, I can't be outside (wo)manning the grill too. But it does mean, usually, simple tasks. And I almost always am the one who checks for doneness. When we do anything adventurous on the grill, I am supervising, believe me! And I am going to get more into Planet Barbecue.

                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                          Since Mr. MM is a pretty incompetent cook all around, I manage to woman the grill and see to all the sides. That sometimes means grilling everything, or making use of a hands-off device like a rice cooker, or cooking something low and slow on the stove or oven, so I can devote my attention to the fire. The only thing Mr. MM has stepped up to in the kitchen is, oddly enough, cooking pancakes (6-8 at a time) on an electric griddle. I still have to mix the batter, and sometimes tweak the heat on the griddle. But this is something pretty predictable that he has been able to learn and do, so I'll take what I can get.

                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                      yes. i've only "caved" 3 times on COTM books that i didn't previously own, this is one of them.

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