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The “A Cookbook a Week” Challenge….Will you join me? [old]

Like many of you here, I LOVE cookbooks and I suffer from a seemingly incurable ailment that prevents me from saying “NO” to books that appeal to me.

Trouble is (or at least one of the problems this creates!), often a book arrives at my door and despite my excitement and, very best intentions to have a good look through it, the book gets placed onto a bookcase before I’ve ever really had an opportunity to read and enjoy it, let alone cook from it.

So here’s my idea. I’m here to commit to pulling one book off the shelf each week. I’m going to take a good look through it and, report back here as to my impressions, recipes that appealed (or didn’t), what I liked, what I didn’t etc. I also hope to bookmark the recipes that appeal in EYB and if I later have the opportunity to make them, I’ll report back here (or link to the review if it appears elsewhere in Chowhound).

My hope is that I’ll discover some treasures in my collection and, cull the duds.

I figure if I put this out there, truly commit to it, it might actually happen.

What do you think? Will you join me by adding your impressions of cookbooks here? Even if you can’t do it weekly, I’d love to have some company and I'm imagining this would be a really useful resource for those of us who just might, maybe perhaps, possibly be thinking of adding yet another cookbook to our collections!!

I’ll be back before the weekend is back with a report on my first book.

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  1. I like the idea, and like you, I have a collection that is out of hand and still growing, but with the amount of travel I've had to do lately, plus other cooking commitments, judging a book in a week seems overly optimistic. I'm having a hard enough time doing COTM. In fact, this is the reason I do COTM. Hoping it will help me cook from a book enough to decide if I still want it or not. But then, when it comes time to vote, what do I do? I vote for the book I already know I like. Well, if you do this, I'll follow along, and maybe I'll do some books, but perhaps at a slower pace.

    4 Replies
    1. re: MelMM

      Mel I'd love to have you join me, no matter what your pace. I know what you mean about travel. Unexpected business travel in August totally undermined my ability to cook from Planet BBQ.

      I've decided to start w The New Boston Globe Cookbook. I think I bought this (secondhand) last summer but I haven't even cracked it open. I pulled it off the shelf tonight and realized what a gem it seems to be. It's making me hungry and, inspired this idea. Thanks for your support!!

      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        Besides my own travel, Mr. MM is also working out of the state, so even when I'm at home, he's usually not. We have two weekends/month together, one at home, and one at his location. When we're both at home, I cook up a storm, since there are two of us to eat it. When I'm at his place, I might cook, but it has to be seat of the pants cooking, based on what i can get and the limited facilities available. When I'm travelling on my own, I haven't had facilities to cook at all. When I'm home on my own, I cook a lot, but the problem is that I can't eat it all, and the leftovers pile up. So I then have to stop cooking to I can eat up what I've already made. It's frustrating, because I'm motivated to cook, but I simply can't eat enough by myself to justify the amount of cooking I'd like to do. And then I head out of town again, and don't want to leave leftovers to spoil.

        1. re: MelMM

          Wow I don't envy that busy travel schedule Mel and it's especially tough w two of you travelling. I'm fortunate that mr bc doesn't travel and he loves to take a hot lunch so leftovers tend to get used up pretty quickly here (unless they're vegetables...not mr bc's favourite!!) ; - )

      2. re: MelMM

        Totally agree with MelMM. I am trying *very* hard not to buy more cookbooks (I'm doing so-so in this regard), and trying hard to keep up with COTM even halfway as well as I used to. I'd love to join the project, but there is no way I can get through a cookbook a week, even just reading it. With a young child and a husband who travels a lot (Norway and Switzerland next month) and as result gives my daughter and I carte blanche to dine out on hs dime while he is away, there hasn't been as much cooking as there could/should be. And when he isn't traveling I sometimes take the opportunity to do so myself. But basically ... can I join less often?? I love the idea.

      3. I have a growing collection. I pulled out Cook's Country Cookbook for another post. As there are quite a few comfort foods or traditional family recipes in it and it is going into Fall, I will join you on your challenge and use the book and report back on it. Now I have to look at recipes and make sure I purchase each ingredient. Time to make a list.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Ruthie789

          Oh I have that book too Ruthie and I'm excited to have you join me!! I'm looking forward to reading whatever you have time to share.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Well tomorrow I am hoping to make the Chicken Marengo in. I have been wanting to make it for awhile and was looking for a recipe! Who knew it was in my book.

            1. re: Ruthie789

              Sounds great Ruthie...can't wait to hear about it!

            2. re: Breadcrumbs

              Today I decided to make the Chicken Marengo from Cook's Country Cookbook and over the next week I will take a stab at another 3 or 4 recipes. I purchased this cookbook as it has a number of classic traditional family recipes all resourced into one and as well the recipes have since been tested and fine-tuned by America`s Test Kitchen. I also chose the Chicken Marengo as I have had more success with roasted chicken than I have with stewed or braised chicken and was hoping to up my game. ATK gives the history of the recipe and much explanation on the technique and ingredients. Well we absolutely loved the results and as well it was a simple recipe to construct, basically a bit of chopping and a one pot dish from start to finish. In the spirit of the test kitchen I did my best to follow the recipe to a T, but did use chicken thighs and chicken breasts although the recipe just called for chicken breasts. I found the recipe light and refreshing. I particularily liked the kalamata olives and brandy in the recipe and there was enough sauce to accompany some egg noodles that I cooked to go along with the meal. I would definitely make this one again and best of all leftovers for my Monday night dinner! Breadcrumbs thanks for the push, my book has been on the shelf for quite awhile so it was time to get it out and give it a try.

              1. re: Ruthie789

                Ruthie thank-you for your wonderful review and I'm delighted the recipe worked well for you. I've made a note of this dish in my book and I'll also place a private note w a link to your review in my EYB book notes. Thank-you!

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  I have looked at the various categories in this book. It starts with appetizers and progresses to salads and mains. Some of the interesting categories to me are as follows: lunch counter specials, morning and tea time treats,hearty breakfasts, casseroles and pot luck, spoon desserts. The book covers a total of 17 categories and the sequencing of them is quite logical. Also what I do like is that the recipes are first historical, then methodical and instructions are clear and concise and when necessary a small black and white picture may be found with the recipe. I also like that there are some coloured pictures in three sections of the book, a total of 24 pictures. For some reason I don't like a cookbook plastered with pictures, I find it distracting, but do like the sections that are designated for pictures only. As I have made the Boston Baked Beans before and have really liked them they are on my agenda for tomorrow, and as well a side dish for supper, broccoli and cheese casserole. More to follow! The cover of the book indicates that it is rediscovering American Home Cooking with 500 Classic, Regional and Heirloom recipes.

                  1. re: Ruthie789

                    Today I made the corn muffins from the Cooks Country Cookbook. I always measure my corn muffins to the best I have had at the defunct Eaton's le Dix in Montreal. They were always light and soft. The recipe was easy, fast and the sourcream in the recipe made them tangy. They were a little heavier than what I like but the best results that I have had from a homemade recipe.

                    1. re: Ruthie789

                      I assume it is the same or similar to the corm muffin recipe from The Best Recipe, which I always make. It is also uses sour cream, and is very good.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        It was good but am looking for a recipe with a fine crumb, light texture and this was not the case. I keep comparing to a muffin that Eaton's used to sell in their restaurants and in their food court. I will make them again, I bought firm sour cream and I think this might have affected the texture.

                2. re: Ruthie789

                  Does this book have a recipe for homemade tacos using chicken breast meat that gets shredded? I saw this made n TV, and I bought the Cooks best Mexican recipe magazine assuming it would be in there, but it wasn't. If its in your book, would you mind paraphrasing? It's a perfect weeknight meal for us since it's something my son adores.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    I did not see it in the book but may have the link for you. The tacos themselves are not homemade however:
                    http://www.cookscountry.com/videos/Ea...

                    1. re: Ruthie789

                      Yes, I think that's it! Thanks, Ruthie. It was the method for the filling I was interested in.

                  2. re: Ruthie789

                    I prepped for broccoli cheese casserole for my cookbook last night. It was a simple recipe but with America`s Test Kitchen sometimes you are really better off not to stray from the instructions. The recipe called for whole milk and I used 1% so I realized as I was heating that my 1% milk had potential for separating, thankfully it did not. I also did not get why it was made into casserole form as basically it is a broccoli with cheese sauce but after reheating I thought this was a great way to have a hot side with a main meal and it would also be great for a buffet table. I would make it again but reduce the milk a little as I found it too liquid. I am going to make one more recipe from this book, Red Velvet Cake, I hope to do so later on in the week.

                    1. re: Ruthie789

                      This sounds like a winner Ruthie and greatnidea to prep the components ahead.

                      1. re: Ruthie789

                        Well Breadcrumbs I have finished this weekly challenge and will be on to my next soon enough. I decided to make the Red Velvet Cake as my last post on the Cooks Country Cookbook. I have to tell you that I have not made two layered cake in over 15 years, it's not that I don't know how.. I never have the time, and usually make a quick bread or pound cake or often bread of some sort. The cake was really easy and it also smelt good in the raw state. I have now assembled it and was so pleased icing it as it was not full of crumbs which causes me extreme stress as I strive for cake perfection, maybe that's why I don't make cakes.. It looks lovely and will taste tomorrow as task was finished at 7 pm. I will say that this book is an good one for beginners and for all cooks. It has an excellent selection of American classics and would say that it might have an elusive solution to a family recipe that has been lost as so many of the recipes are common to our North American table. Thank you for making this post and your encouraging comments.

                        1. re: Ruthie789

                          Ruthie thank-you for your enthusiasm and thoroughly engaging posts! I love Red Velvet cake and wish I could pop by for a slice today!! I'm so glad it worked out well and your thoughts on baking really resonated with me. Like you I tend to default to making quick breads and cookies vs more time-consuming recipes. Thank-you for the inspiration....perhaps there's a dessert book in my future for this challenge!!

                3. Wow Breadcrumbs, are you a mind-reader, or what? I've had the exact same idea bouncing around in my head for the last little while, though I thought a cookbook a day, haha. Now I see how silly that would be; as MelMM stated, it's hard enough to do a cookbook a month sometimes. But I'm glad that you put this idea out in the open. Sometimes it's more fun to feel that others are cooking along. On the other hand, this is a potentially dangerous thread, in that I will discover so many new cookbooks that I absolutely "need".
                  I'd like to join you when I can as well. Where to start? Hmmm...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Allegra_K

                    That's funny we were thinking the same thing Allegra!! A cookbook a day would be really ambitious!! I think this will be fun and I'm so glad to have you join it!!!

                    1. re: Allegra_K

                      I've decided to begin with Mrs. Chiang's Szechuan Cookbook. I picked it up for free through a curbside giveaway weekend a couple of years back, and though it was intriguing, I discovered Land of Plenty shortly afterwards and this book was all but forgotten. I plucked it off the shelf today, and while thumbing through it I happily discovered that there are many delectable recipes I'd like to try out of it. In fact, the list was rather long. I'm on a bit of a Chinese kick these days so this is a perfect selection.

                      1. re: Allegra_K

                        Oh, I'm excited about your selection Allegra....can't wait to read all about it!

                        1. re: Allegra_K

                          Very interested in this, as well.

                          1. re: Allegra_K

                            Allegra and emily, just a quick note to let you know Mrs Chiangs has now been indexed in EYB so it's much easier to use now. I'm going to see if I can combine something from this book w a COTM dish for a meal next week. If I do, I'll report back here.

                        2. My collection is probably 10% of yours, BC, and even so there are many books on my shelves that have been hardly opened and not cooked from. I like your idea of exploring our books, one at a time, but one week time slot is too short for me. I might do a bit of exploring and cooking next week but can't commit because I am not at home yet and won't be until later in the month. Right at this moment I have four books sitting on my table that I have not made a single recipe from yet: The Book of Kale, I Love Meatballs!, Salsas That Cook and The Farm. I got the first too very recently but had the other two for awhile, so there are no excuses:)

                          Maybe the book-buying rule should be: during the first month of getting a book devote "X" hours to reading through and marking recipes to make and then make "Y" recipes. Until this is accomplished, no new purchases are allowed. What do you think? I just might start to implement it and apply a similar rule to other books' purchases:)
                          I've looked for a long time at Japanese Farm and Asian Tofu books and very much want to have them. Maybe I'll start with these two books since my family loves tofu and my SIL thinks it would be great to have a tofu book.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: herby

                            I need to adopt your rule, herby.....

                            1. re: Allegra_K

                              Let's! Maybe we'll be able to help each other to slow the growth of our book collections to ensure that only the "gems" - and this is highly subjective and should be that way - stay on our shelves. What do you say?

                            2. re: herby

                              I think your rule would be great herby but I'm pretty sure I don't have the self-discipline to stick to it. What I decided to do though after reading your post is if I'm ordering a book I will record the reason I purchased it, who recommended it, recipes that were mentioned and basically anything that enticed me to purchase it in the first place. I'm going to put this info on a sticky note and when the book comes, I'll put the note inside to help me remember why I got it in the first place.

                              I've also created a CAWC (Cookbook A Week Challenge) bookmark in EYB so I can bookmark the cookbooks I've reviewed here and then when I'm looking to make something, I can search target those books....I do this w a COTM - Historical bookmark as well and it helps remind me which books have been past COTMs and I then know to look here for reviews and, add my own if I do make a dish.

                              I don't expect that I'll be able to cook a dish per week from my CAWC but even if I can tab/bookmarks some dishes to make later and get to know the book better by reviewing it here, I think it will be helpful. And of course, the more folks posting here the better as we'll learn about those books too.

                              I'm so glad you'll join in too herby. I know we have a number of books in common and I'm keen to learn about all the books you've mentioned above!

                            3. Out of the last 10 cookbooks I purchased, I've only cooked out of two--about 20 recipes out of Every Grain of Rice and one recipe out of Molto Mario (tonight!). I do intend to cook soon out of the following:

                              Bouchon
                              Provence: The Beautiful
                              Practical Japanese Cooking
                              The Brazilian Table

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: CheeseEnvy

                                Oh please share your experiences here if you have time CheeseEnvy! I haven't cooked from EGOR yet but Molto Mario is a favourite here. I love MB's books and tend to have great success w his recipes. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Oh that's fabulous Gio, thanks! : )

                                1. re: CheeseEnvy

                                  CheeseEnvy,

                                  If you do cook from Practical Japanese Cooking, please share your reviews in this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8312.... It's a beautiful book and I've only made 2 dishes from it, but the ganmodoki recipe is a long-time favorite.

                                2. I like this idea Breadcrumbs. I'm sure you know I also have an excess of cookbooks, and like you I feel some don't get enough attention. If I don't feel engaged by the COTM that months, this would be a good way for me to delve into other books. I do own The New Boston Globe Cookbook but after a couple of not great recipes I stashed it away. I now cannot remember what they were (pre Notes days). Looking through the book again now the recipes all seem pretty standard and nothing leapt out at me yelling "Cook me! Eat me!". But I would be willing to give it a go, and always willing to read more of Breadcrumbs' excellent reviews.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JaneEYB

                                    Thanks so much Jane and likewise, I look forward to reading your reviews too. I'll paste what I write here into EYB or vice versa as I'd like to build up my book Notes...I have lots of recipe notes but haven't written many notes about the books themselves in EYB.

                                    I've decided to make a Turkey Chili from the NBG cookbook. I like the one in the Clinton St Baking book so it will be good to see how this compares. It's an incredibly dreary, rainy day here so it seems like perfect chili weather!!

                                    Glad you'll be joining us on this thread Jane!!

                                  2. I attempted this at the start of summer. I don't have many cookbooks (15 or so) but I wanted the kick in the butt to try some new stuff.

                                    I'd be happy to start over again.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                      Wonderful Njchicaa, it will be great to read your reviews.

                                    2. If I'm not mistaken this is what Harters and his Madam Harters do; cook from one cookbook each week. I do the same thing to a certain extent but I try not to let it overtake or diminish the effectiveness of COTM. I have a footstool near my den chair where, at any given time, there are stacked not only the current COTM but, as it is this month, 5 other cookbooks plus Raising the Salad Bar from last month's COTM. After searching EYB for the day this helps me plan dinner each night... Yup, TMTOMH. And, I have yet to make a danged meatball.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I agree Gio, I love the COTM and that's my go-to search in EYB when I'm planning meals and then I move on to search my COTM - Historical bookmark if I come up empty-handed.

                                        I plan to make 2 meatball dishes this weekend. If all goes well I'll be making Jerk Chicken Balls from The Meatball Shop Cookbook today and a Sunday Gravy recipe from the On Top Of Spaghetti cookbook tomorrow.

                                        As I mentioned up-thread, my main goal with the CAWC is to at least pull a book off the shelf, take a good look through it. Record my impressions here, tab some recipes I'd like to make and even if I don't have time to make them that week, I can still come back here and add the reviews later when/if I do.

                                        If you do have a chance it would be great to have you join us here Gio.

                                      2. So, the idea is we don't have to commit to actually cooking from one new book per week(although, I'm certain that's not prohibited!), but just dusting them off and having a look at them and reporting back? I can totally do that!

                                        ~TDQ

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          That's right DQ, baby steps!! No pressure to cook something but I'm hoping I'll be able to make some recipes along the way....so many recipes, so little time though!!

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Heck, even I can do that. Maybe I'm in after all.

                                            1. re: MelMM

                                              That would be great Mel!! When I said I'd report on recipes that appealed in the OP, I simply meant I'd report on the recipes that "looked" appealing. I'd love to be able to cook something but I know that's likely not going to happen, especially every week!! That said, if we do make something at a later date from a book we've reviewed here, at least we'll have a place to post our thoughts on the recipe(s) and all the info will be in once place.

                                              Of course if the book was a past COTM or, one where there's a "Cooking From "X" book" thread we can add our recipe reviews there but for the rest...those unsung hero or dud books, we'll also have a place to put things so they don't get forgotten.

                                              I'm just hoping to get to know my collection better, discover some hidden gems and, fingers crossed, cull a few along the way!!

                                          2. I like this idea. I'm going to try to join in. My energies have been elsewhere and my time cooking has decreased to the point where I'm kind of blah about the whole thing. This might be a good nudge to re-inspire me!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              Must be in the air down here. I had the cooking blahs all of last month. Sort of kind of getting my mojo back...

                                            2. I'm in Breadcrumbs

                                              This cookbook collecting business is a sickness you know ;-). Mine was out of control for a lot of years. About 4 years ago we did a much needed whole house remodel and I had to pack up every book in the library. Obviously in order to pack them I had to touch each and every one of the several hundred (500+) cookbooks I had at the time. It didn't take long to realize I needed a game plan for what to keep and what to donate. The good thing about that was that it forced me to figure out my priorities for keeping a cookbook. The criteria I finally eneded up using were:

                                              1) If it was part of my Mexican collection I kept it
                                              2) If it was a baking book I kept it
                                              3) If it was a cookbook I used regularly I kept it
                                              4) If it was a gift or had other sentimental value I kept it

                                              After that, everything else was fair game. It took me about 2 1/2 days to go through every bookcase and towards the end I finally had to adopt a slash and burn approach in order to meet our contractors deadline. Ultimately, it came down to asking myself "will I EVER cook out of this book" and if, after looking through it, there was even a hint of reservation it went into the donation bags. I can't say it wasn't nice to get all the deadwood out of my cookbook collection, and there were more than a few "what was I thinking when I bought that" books :-).

                                              In the ensuing 4 years I've tried to rein in and limit my additions with varying degrees of success. Some seasons are better than others ;-). I can say that cleaning out the dudes has made it easier to cook from what I did keep, which has been a pleasurable experience

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                That's excellent news DD and a great post as well. Very inspirational!! I like your criteria and have been thinking a lot about what mine would be. One thing for sure, the more folks we have here reviewing books, cooking when they can, the easier it will be to make informed decisions. I'm excited!!

                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                  "cleaning out the dudes"

                                                  This made me chuckle.

                                                  I don't have as many cookbooks as all of you seem to, although my mother might! Maybe I'll go thru her collection along with my little one (which my husband thinks is big. Pft. Under 50 is not big!). I often just get cookbooks from the library as our house is rather limited in space. Could I review those as well?

                                                  1. re: Jen76

                                                    Welcome Jen and yes, please do. Your reviews of any cookbooks would be most welcome. And I agree w you btw, 50 is not big...and who's counting any way!! ; - ) Thanks for joining in!!

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      Yay! I've always wanted to participate in COTM (I love reading them) but can never seem to get it together enough to do it. Maybe this will help. Are you going to start a new thread or use this one?

                                                      1. re: Jen76

                                                        That's great Jen and yes, I think it makes sense to use this thread. Looking forward to reading your reviews!!

                                                2. For those who have not bookmarked the Master Thread for Cooking from Non-COTMs here it is... with links to the reporting threads:

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842251

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    I know this is a dumb question, but are you referrring to simple bookmarking on one's own computer--or is there a way to bookmark within the CH site?

                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                      You can "follow" that thread by clicking on the Save To Profile button on the top/right of the page and it will appear on your Profile page, but I simply bookmarked it on my computer.

                                                      NDQ. (No Dumb Questions)

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        TY--I feel really dumb for not seeing that STF button!

                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                          I have not found a handy way to quickly search the threads in my "Save to Profile" file. I tend to use my computers bookmark in addition. I mark it both ways after a prior computer imploded and I lost so, so many bookmarks.

                                                  2. What a great idea: I have six on the way and a busy couple of months ahead, but this will be a a critical step on the path from inspiration to execution--a great way to organize all these resources and plan ahead, to have at hand some ready answers to the question "what shall I cook tonight?"

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                      I am totally in as we are moving in a few months and I must reduce my cookbook collection. Can we do any book we want or only the one others are doing? Also, are we all going to report on the same day? Looking forward to reducing my collection.

                                                      1. re: Bethcooks

                                                        Welcome Beth & I'm excited that you're joining us. Any book you want, any time you can. The only thing I'd suggest is that we all search the thread first (Ctl F - pc, Command F - mac) to see if someone else has also reviewed the book as well and if so, we'd "reply" to their post to keep all the reviews for a particular book together.

                                                        Can't wait to read your reviews Beth!!

                                                    2. Please count me in-I have enough cookbooks for at 52 weeks weeks

                                                      1. I'm in! Since I don't have to actually commit to cooking from a book a week, I sure can pull one out of the stack and review it at least. After all - I LOVE reading cookbooks just for fun - I usually learn something, even if I don't make a thing:)

                                                        Great idea Breadcrumbs!

                                                        1. Fabulous idea, Breadcrumbs, I'm in.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: GretchenS

                                                            jpr, gingershelley & gretchen so glad you'll be joining in. I'm really excited about this project. I'll be posting my first review (for The New Boston Globe Cookbook) here tomorrow.

                                                          2. Count me in. My goal has been to cook at least one new meal to us once a week and one dessert. I am falling behind on the desserts only because DH and I have gained 5 lbs.

                                                            1. I will try....

                                                              This week I made a Sauce Duxelle from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. One starts by making the brown sauce. I modified the recipe since I don't have homemade beef stock in the freezer, and instead used some Pepin Chicken Stock from their Cooking at Home book. Since I didn't have any celery, I kept the amount of aromatics the same but divided between the onion and carrots.

                                                              Once that is made, you start the sauce. I didn't cut the mushrooms into itty bitty pieces. Instead I made mushroom chunks since that is what I prefer.

                                                              Served with a Costco T-Bone steak. Mr. SMT was having a caveman night. Not that anyone is throwing out their Mastering book, but this is an example of those odd moments when this was the only mushroom sauce in EYB for which I had all the ingredients and didn't call for cream.

                                                              It was so rich, I saved half and served the sauce with mushrooms over polenta the next day with the leftover steak sliced cold.

                                                              1. I think this is a great idea. I have a lot of books also and just put over half in boxes to go into storage as we are going to put our house on the market. I thought the wall of cookbooks would be a bit much in my office and wanted to have less stuff around. My goal is always to try and focus on four to fives books at a time including COTM, I go thru and list what I want to try but most of the time make the same old things. For me trying to focus on one type of cuisine at a time would get boring, as I like more variety.

                                                                I am sure some of the stuff I put onto storage are probably duds, but didn't want packing to be the reason I got rid of anything. I look forward to reading what everyone thinks of different books and will try to join in when I can, and stop just lurking.

                                                                Jules

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: JulesLP

                                                                  Jules, I am in the same boat as you. We are getting our house ready to put on the market and I have cookbooks all over, including a beautiful wall of books in our dining room. In addition to some pieces of furniture, I am boxing up books to put into storage to make the house look more open. I have already culled probably a couple of hundred and may cull a few more as I am packing them up. Good luck with your home sale and move! nadia

                                                                2. Bc - so do you want us to give a weekly review of a book on our bookshelves? A summary of recipes we like the look of, what we've cooked, whether they work or not?

                                                                  I decided to go for The Boston Globe Cookbook since that's what you have chosen - I'm going to try to stick to the same book you are doing (we have a lot of books in common) since that way I'll pick up some tips from you - and no doubt end up buying more books as well.

                                                                  Not having had much success with this book in the past, two recipes that were duds (I cannot now remember what they were) I decided to give it another go and it wasn't third time lucky. Tonight I made Chicken Cacciatore on p.235 - it had far too much sauce for 6 people. It contained 2 cups chicken stock, 1.75 cups port, 28 oz crushed tomatoes and it should have been 0.75 cups balsamic vinegar which I reduced to 0.25 cups given how strong (and expensive) baIsamic vinegar is. The sauce was incredibly sweet from the port and I'm sure would have been worse with the full amount of balsamic. This is not a recipe I will be repeating.

                                                                  I'm not sure that I'm going to risk a fourth attempt but I'll wait to see Bc's review to see if she had more luck.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                    Hi Jane, I'll post my review later and you'll get a sense of what I'm thinking but really, any info folks can share on their experience w a book will be terrific. Since many of us love reading the books reviews will be helpful whether or not folks have cooked from the books. Of course if we have cooked from the book then info about the recipes would be great too.

                                                                    As I review my books I'll be tabbing/bookmarking in EYB dishes I want to make. If/when I do make them (even if its weeks or months later) I'll come back here to add my notes to my existing review.

                                                                    As for the NBG, sorry your dish didn't work. I'd hoped to make my chilli yesterday but time got away from me so I'll be starting it momentarily.

                                                                  2. Breadcrumbs, I'd like to join, but we are leaving town for two weeks ...oooh in 11 short days. When we return home...[OTOH, I have printed interwebz copies of several of my book recipes to cook while on vacation. hmmm.] . Does the age of the book matter?

                                                                    And I'm a little confused, it's ok to report here if it's been a COTM?

                                                                    If reporting and cooking/reporting is OK, well, I read cookbooks like novels - as do most of you - and I bet I can report a lot. :)

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                      nikki so great to have you on board! The age of the book doesn't matter at all. I think many of us have older books in our collection (or may just be enticed to add one....yes, hanging head in shame!!) and would love to read about any books you review.

                                                                      As for past COTM's, I think it's best if we continue to add recipe reviews to those threads but our thoughts on the book could go here and we could add a link to the COTM threads so folks know where to go for even more info. How does that sound?

                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        Sounds good. want to concentrate on Hesser's NYT book when we get home, along with a couple of Southern-style books. Gracias!

                                                                        1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                          Oh, I love Southern cooking and have a few Southern books that need dusting off too nikki...can't wait 'til you're back!! Safe travels!!

                                                                    2. It was on my agenda for the weekend to make Baked Beans and I used the recipe from The Cook's Country Cookbook. The recipe is found in the Slow Cooker Favorite section. I think the keys to success for this recipe are the recommendations of soaking the beans overnight, boiling them for 15 minutes with a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and once in the crock pot an aluminum foil paper is put over the top of the mixture all with the goal to cook the beans tender. As with all ATK recipes history, method and for this recipe an American history lesson on the The Great Boston Molasses Flood. Beans will be ready later this afternoon. I usually double this recipe and freeze extras. As well linked provided from the internet site, the ingredients are all the same with the exception of water, which for crock pot was 2 cups and for whatever reason the internet version does not mention the crockpot.

                                                                      http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/Q...
                                                                      So now I have done two recipes from this book which has not been used in quite awhile. I buy them, look at them but definitely do not use to full capacity!

                                                                      1. WS's EAT WELL

                                                                        OK, I hope I'm doing this right. I've made 3 recipes from WS's Eat Well.

                                                                        Pan Steamed Asian greens sounded like a nice, simple, healthy side. You trim the ends of the greens (they give you a variety of asian greens to choose from) and cut crosswise. Heat a small amount of sesame oil in a pan, add garlic and cook until fragrant, then the greens and a bit of water. Cover and cook, shaking pan as necessary. Remove from heat and add soy sauce. This was not really very interesting.

                                                                        Black bean and avocado salad with shrimp. This one was a huge winner, and very easy. Canned beans, red onion, lime juice, olive oil, jalapeno, oregano, cumin and a little salt all combined. Just before serving cut avocado into bite size pieces and add. Also add cooked shrimp and chopped cilantro. Great.

                                                                        Roasted Sweet Potato salad with pecans and green onions. Perfectly fine but not really something I'd bother with again. Roast your sweet pots, make a dressing of lime juice, maple syrup, leftover oil (what wasn't used to roast the pots), add the potatoes and toasted pecans, green beans and chopped cilantro.

                                                                        [edited to add] Recipes I'm still interested in trying (to many to add all, but some of the ones I'd most like):
                                                                        Chopped cucumber salad with pomegranate, feta and mint
                                                                        spice rubbed snapper with lime and cilantro
                                                                        smoked salmon frittata with goat cheese and chives
                                                                        fish and shelfish stew Greek style
                                                                        grilled tofu kebabs with spicy marinade
                                                                        buckwheat crepes with corn and roasted poblano chiles
                                                                        chocolate banana bonbons with toasted almonds

                                                                        There are still things I'm interested in making in this book. Did I do this the way you were envisioning breadcrumbs?

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                          That's great Llm, and especially helpful because you've tried the recipes. I really like my Williams Sonoma cookbooks but they don't get the use they deserve so it's nice to see a review of one here...a great reminder!

                                                                          Sometimes I'll just be adding my impressions of the book without having cooked from it but I'll include a list of recipes I've tabbed so I can come back and add reviews later if I make the dishes.

                                                                          The only thing I'd recommend is that we start our posts w the title of the book we're reviewing (like we do w the recipe names in the COTM threads) so they stand out and other folks can easily find them to add to our posts as they share feedback on the book or the recipes.

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            Bet I'm soon enough that I can edit. And I'll add the names of some of the other dishes on my "to try" list! Thanks for the feedback.

                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                              That's great Llm and those recipes you've added made me hungry - I wish I had some of those buckwheat crepes right now!! Thanks so much.

                                                                        2. THE NEW BOSTON GLOBE COOKBOOK (“NBG”) – edited by Sheryl Julian

                                                                          About the book: Evidently the “old” Boston Globe cookbook was published in 1948 and in this publication recipes have been updated for current tastes and preferences. New recipes were added including those from guest chefs and restaurateurs that contribute to the food pages of the newspaper.

                                                                          I really enjoyed the introduction of the book that described what I came to think of as a pre-Internet Home Cooking Board. The newspaper had a “Confidential Chat” column where home cooks could write in and exchange recipes and tips (by snail mail of course). One week someone might have requested a recipe or idea for an upcoming party or special meal and three weeks later, reader submissions would be published! It made me consider how impatient I’ve become in this age with instant access to information and I get frustrated when my Google searches get hung up for a few seconds!!

                                                                          I love the size and layout of this book. One recipe per page. Ingredients listed on the left-hand side in a column w ingredients listed in order of use. All recipes seem to have a head note and some tips are provided. Many of the recipes are photographed (though not all).

                                                                          The Recipes: Because this book is a compilation of recipes submitted by folks w varying degrees of expertise in the kitchen, recipes run from the very simple and straightforward to the more complex dishes. Where the older recipes are mostly what I’d describe as New England/American dishes with British/European influences more recent additions are reflective of globalization and the influence it’s had on our dining and cooking preferences. Would I recommend this book to someone looking to add a “New England Cookbook” to their shelves…probably not since not all traditional dishes are covered and some that are, are not covered in a traditional way. The recipes in this book that appeal to me in this book are in one of two categories. Nostalgic recipes that I grew up w in the Toronto area (close enough to Boston that we seemed to have similar meals on our tables) such as: Baked Beans, Sloppy Joes, Red Flannel Hash, Pot Roast, Meatloaf w Rolled Oats, Boston Brown Bread, Molasses Sugar Cookies, Lemon Curd etc. The other category would be Comfort Food and I might even say quick & easy Comfort Food since many of these dishes seemed weeknight appropriate where shortcuts were provided. An example would be “Unstuffed Cabbage” where the author describes a cook who wanted to make her Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage recipe but didn’t want all the work so instead she simmered chopped cabbage in one pot and made a ground beef sauce w tomatoes and seasonings in the other then just put them together w rice and kept on simmering them. Along the same lines, a “Lazy Mans Lasagna” looked like it might be fun to try if time were tight.

                                                                          Other recipes I’ve tabbed include: Corn Chowder, Red Lentil Soup, Long-Cooked Short Rib Ragu for Pasta (quick to pull together and then just let it simmer for hours), Farm Stand Pasta, Roast Garlicky Romano Beans, Brussels Sprouts w Potatoes and Cauliflower (roasted), Russian Beet & Potato Salad, Fish in a Dish (potatoes, fish, garlic, peppers and tomatoes etc layered and baked), Oven-fried Fish, Turkey w Apples & a Biscuit Crust, Pork Chops w Apple Cider and a Turkey Chili which I’m making now and will post my review beneath this one later today.

                                                                          Overall Impression of Book: My impressions of this book were positive. I enjoyed reading through it. I liken it to books in my collection like One Big Table or some of the Junior League, church, women’s auxiliary and fund-raising cookbooks. We’ll see how the recipes turn out. I’ll be back later w my first recipe review from this book.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            NEW BOSTON GLOBE COOKBOOK - Turkey Chili – p. 215

                                                                            We all know that chili one of those dishes where everyone has an opinion. Some folks say beans are blasphemy; others don’t want any meat at all. Some like it hot, others not so much. One thing I’ve come to expect from chili is a highly seasoned, flavourful dish. This recipe is no exception though the seasoning did need a nudge to suit our tastes. Prep for this dish is quick and easy. Onion, bell peppers, a poblano and garlic are chopped then sautéed before adding in the turkey. At that point oregano, tomatoes, stock, water and beans are incorporated, brought to a boil then simmered, covered for 30 mins. The book has you taste for seasonings then serve. At this point the chili was too loose for me with lots of liquid. While the fresh flavours of the vegetables, and especially the peppers shone through, I felt the dish was missing something and what it was missing, in my view, was chili powder. To be honest, this is the first chili I’ve made that didn’t call for chili powder and a quick EYB search told me that 90% of the turkey chili recipes on my bookshelf all called for chili powder. I have a medium hot version from The Spice House and after adding a heaping tbsp I felt all was right in the chili world and the flavours were balanced. I simmered the open pot for an hour before serving. This produced a hearty, flavourful dish that we really enjoyed. We served it as suggested w scallions atop. When we have the leftovers, I’ll add some grated cheese as well. I’d make this again w the changes noted. To its credit, this is a pretty healthy dish as well. First and second photos show before and after further reduction.

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                Thanks very much Ruthie. We served it again 2 days later and liked it even more. This time I topped w some grated cheddar and sliced scallions. mr bc was a big fan of this dish which was good news since he tends to prefer heartier beef chilli.

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  Those big pot dishes are so great for reheating and making Mr. BC happy is the ultimate confirmation that a dish is yummy!

                                                                          2. THE FRANTIC WOMAN'S GUIDE TO FEEDING FAMILY AND FRIENDS by Mary Jo Rulnick

                                                                            I ran across this book during an Amazon search and thought it might help me out with my current quest to do a better job of weeknight menu planning (as recommended to me by many in this "Cooking Strategies for Working Parents of Young Children" thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/863756 )

                                                                            The premise of the book is she gives you 2 two-week meal plans per season (as well as several other specialized weekly meal plans, such as for "PMS"/Bad Day at the Office week, vacation week, a week when guests might be staying, and holiday weeks such as "ham" week, and "turkey" week.) The meal plan gives you a grocery list (organized by grocery store dept., e.g. produce, dairy, canned goods, etc.) for one main shopping trip for two weeks of dinners, each of which can be prepared in about a half hour.

                                                                            She does have you do one quick "pit stop" shopping trip for milk and other perishables at the end of the first week. She also has an "unloading the load" section for each grocery list that tells you how to unpack and label your groceries when you get home, i.e., which things should go in the freezer. One thing I really like about her shopping lists is that each item on the list is labeled for which day it will be cooked, e.g. "Day 6". That way, if you decide you don't like her Day 6 recipe and substitute one of your own recipes, you know which items to cross off the shopping list.

                                                                            On to the recipes themselves... She breaks all her recipes down into general themes, for instance "sandwich board" (always on the day that you grocery shop), "soup's on", "I can with a can" (at least one of the key ingredients comes from a can), Kids' Meal (when you might be entertaining all your childrens' friends), breakfast for dinner, and, "Company's Coming", and so on.

                                                                            For each recipe she also offers additional notes on how to "jazz it up" (usually by adding an extra ingredient at the table), dress it down (eliminate a step or ingredient to make it even simpler), "change it up" (substitute an ingredient), match with a side dish, "double it up" (set aside a portion for an upcoming meal, for instance half the pot roast from day 2 might be set aside in the freezer for enchiladas on day 8). Also, every day she has a "look ahead" feature that tells you what you should pull out of the freezer tonight for tomorrow's dinner.

                                                                            Overall, I love, love, love her comprehensive approach. This is exactly the kind of thing I could use right now. Unfortunately, I find most of the recipes pretty uninspiring, though I will say I was impressed by how many recipes were vegetarian.

                                                                            Here's a sample fall two-week menu (her recipes all have cute names; I'll attempt to just cut to the chase):

                                                                            Egg and Ham Sandwiches
                                                                            Fettucine Alfredo
                                                                            Mushroom Steak
                                                                            Fried Chicken (actually, oven baked, not fried)
                                                                            Scarecrow Stew
                                                                            Pizza Rounds
                                                                            Tuna Spud Melts (stuffed baked potatoes)
                                                                            Crab-A-Dilly (this sounds wretched to me: 8 flour tortillas, canned crabmeat, cream cheese with strawberries)
                                                                            Scrambled Potatoes
                                                                            Hot Dog Wraps (this is a halloween meal)
                                                                            Cranberry Pork Roast
                                                                            Some kind of canned chicken glop
                                                                            Leftover pork saute with frozen veggies and canned tomatoes
                                                                            Chicken Scampi

                                                                            Of these above recipes, there are about 3 I would immediately cross off (basically, I would almost always ditch the "I can with a can" dishes.) There's absolutely no way I'd ever cook the canned chicken glop from the above menu. (ETA: Actually--I misread the recipe thinking it called for both canned chicken and canned cream of chicken soup--actually, it calls for only the latter.) I might do the hot dog "mummy" wraps if it were actually Halloween and I had kids over but basically otherwise never. I'm going to try the "Crab A Dilly" simply because I'm dying of curiosity. There are another 3 or 4 dishes that I find boring, but inoffensive. And then the rest sound like they might not be bad. About one recipe per menu jumps out at me as appealing.

                                                                            For the most part, the meals are what my grandmother would call "survival food." You just have to get something on the table.

                                                                            I probably will actually try one of her two fall menus, just to see if her system really works and if the recipes are any good. I might cherry pick one or two recipes to "trial run" before I take the plunge, though. I honestly can't cook for 14 days straight anyway, so it's actually no problem for me to cross off a few of her recipes each week. My hope is that I can sub out some of the icky recipes, sub in some of my favs and maybe doctor a few of hers to make it workable.

                                                                            Detachable shopping lists would make this whole thing easier. I don't know if she expects you to copy the pages, take the book with you, or copy it down somehow. I think it's really odd that the serving sizes vary from recipe to recipe, but I think she scales the recipes for easy shopping. No difficult-to-find (read: no specialty) ingredients, no weird sizes (ie., no "half cans" of anything)...

                                                                            Anyway, that's it for now. If I ever cook from it, I'll let you all know. Baby's up from nap. Gotta go.

                                                                            ETA: actually, I've tagged a number of recipes(ginger roast; chicken triangles; beef pot pie --from ginger roast leftovers, baked ziti; glazed chicken,apples & onions, sweet with a touch of sour chicken...). Some of them are just super basic, some sound like they could be not too bad. Ottolenghi she's not, but I'm hoping it might be a starting point for me. I will say her seasons are off (unless she's an Aussie?). Tons of apples in the spring recipes, for instance, and asparagus in at least one winter recipe...

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                            25 Replies
                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              Sounds like a book that is almost like a Super-Agenda for food planning. There is a Canadian meal planning website called SOS cuisine, and it is free and the recipes and meal plans have been done by a nutrionist, thought this might be of interest to you. Survival cooking is a good description for your book.

                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                That SOS website is pretty good. I see you can adjust their menu to include or exclude certain meals, which I assume also adjusts the shopping list. Do you happen to know if it also customizes the "action plan"?

                                                                                http://www1.soscuisine.com/?sos_l=en

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  Not sure, TDQ. I have been a member for a number of years but do not use it to the maximum benefit. I like the recipes on it. I always have the best intentions about meal planning but sometimes life gets in the way... I have seen a great progression on this website with new features that do charge a small fee for some services but most of what is available is free and the creator of the site is a dietician with certification.

                                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                    Ah, okay, here is the answer re: the action plan: Currently, the Action Plan is derived from the initial menu that is loaded into your Profile every week. For the moment, it cannot be updated if you make changes to your Menu or Grocery List.

                                                                                    In other words, no, the action plan doesn't update if you change the menu. Still, it's very interesting!

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                I guess I just haven't been that frantic! Sorry, but those recipes just don't excite me even a little bit. But, my mind is whirring.... what a great app this would be! In my mind, this app would have your OWN recipes, and do the organizing for you, somehow.

                                                                                Just can't figure out the data population issues. It would probably require more upfront work than a frantic mother would find time to do.

                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                  You know, I actually almost am that frantic. I thought it might be a starting point for general meun planning and how to re-purpose leftovers. But, I've been attempting to do something similar on my own using EYB, which is very possible now that they allow you to add and index your own "personal" recipes. Basically, I choose my recipes, either from books indexed on EYB or from elsewhere. If elsewhere, I add them to EYB as a personal recipe. Then, I set up an EYB bookmark for each "menu"--"Week 1", "Week 2" etc. From there I can create a Week 1 shopping list that I cut and paste into a Word document that I can edit for quantities and so on.

                                                                                  Over the course of a few months I hope to have 8-10 weekly menus I can rotate through when I'm too overwhelmed to do on the fly menu planning...

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    DQ-- maybe I can play with how to get your menu's out of EYB, and have each ingredient assigned to an aisle in your grocery store. The printed grocery lists by aisle would be a great start to reduce frantic levels.

                                                                                    p.s. Spoke too soon. Only way I see to get the data out is XML, and that is far too fussy. I guess the shopping list is your best bet. Rats!

                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                      So far, I"ve just cut and pasted it and dropped it into Word as text only then from there into Excel, which is also where I put my week's menu. It works well enough for now... I envision these as standing menus that I create once and use over and over when I'm super busy so these don't have to be highly flexible. Although, it would certainly be great if they could be.

                                                                                      I think improvements to their shopping lists is on EYB's list of enhancements...

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      My niece TDQ has two small children and she works fulltime. She plans all of her meals, they eat fresh homecooked meals each day, but she spends much time planning and preparing. She is a real planner and I can see that it has had such a positive impact on her life. Another book that might be of interest to you is The Big Cook which is also done by a nutritionist and coauthored by two others. The premise of this book is prepare all meals on a large scale in advance and reap the benefits. It is also about cooking with others in advance and splitting the meals, the book gives you portions for 1, 4, 6 or 8 meals. I encourage you to keep going with it, not only is it important to eat well but to sit together for a meal each day.

                                                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                        Interesting! I'll have a look, thank you.

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    If you make Crab-a-dilly you absolutely have to update us. I think this is one of the most unappetizing combinations I've come across in a very, very long time.

                                                                                    On the other hand, some of her strategies sound helpful, especially adapting to a baby. With your level of cooking ability you'll be able to adapt the ideas and fine tune them.

                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                      Totally agree on the crab-a-dilly. What an awful sounding meal. It almost has to be better than it sounds.

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        OK, now I have to tell the story she tells about Crab A Dilly which is that she was testing the recipe by offering samples at a book signing and a man liked the Crab A Dilly so much that he bought a copy of the book on the spot even though he had no idea who he was going to give the book to. Apparently it's that good. I agree that it must be inexplicably better than it sounds. I mean, how does a dish like that even get developed?

                                                                                        Anyway, I wish I could find a book with this level of organization with more chowish recipes but I have the feeling I'm just going to have to cobble together my own menu plan. I'm normally a planner type, but I just seem to find menu planning completely overwhelming. It literally takes me hours, and I usually end up abandoning my plan halfway through the week.

                                                                                        meatn3, thank you for your vote of confidence!

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          That crab dish reminds me of something that seemed to be a "give-away" item at local Chinese restaurants here a few years ago. They called it Crab Rangoon and it was wonton skins stuffed w canned or even faux crabmeat & cream cheese. IMHO it was pretty nasty but I know a lot of people really loved it. All that said, not sure about those strawberries!!

                                                                                          DQ is it possible you're being too hard on yourself and expecting too much in terms of what's possible during the week? You're such a great cook w great instincts. Instead of spending so much time inputting/recording and having to orchestrate, what if you just prepped a lot of great fundamental ingredients...chopped a bunch of veggies, made a stock, broth, large batch of stir-fry sauce that could be portioned down and frozen, bought a bunch of meat and chopped or sliced it raw then put it in "dinner-sized" ziplocks in the freezer. I'd bet you could pull together a great soup or stir-fry without much thought if you had the fundamentals on hand. With the cooler weather ahead soups, stews and breakfast for dinner are all great options and flexible too.

                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            Yes, I love the idea of that idea of just getting some fundamentals ready. I'll think about that more!

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              It is an easy way to prepare meals, you build the meal around prechopped, prepped ingredients.

                                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            Your comment - "Anyway, I wish I could find a book with this level of organization with more chowish recipes" makes me think you might like to try "A Dinner A Day" cookbook. Shopping list for the week of menus, full meals daily take about 1 hour of active prep/cook time.

                                                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                              Pretty interesting book, thank you for the recommendation. Quite a bit of it is available for preview on Google books. http://books.google.com/books?id=-2hN...

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        When I first entered the "real" work force after college and getting married I had a very hard learning curb. I knew how to make plenty of dishes - just not many quick ones!

                                                                                        The book which really helped me adjust and adapt was 20 Minute Menus by Marian Burros. She offers strategies and hints in the introduction. Recipes are organized by protein with a great many seafood options. Each menu is a main and a starch, sometimes a veg too. She uses real food, not processed stuff. The basic premise is building depth of flavor coupled with quick cooking ingredients. The menu, presented in just two pages, spells out your game plan, breaks ingredients into pantry list and shopping list to simplify planning. Her writing style is quite clear, helpful for those times when your brain as wandered off to Cancun without you. The book came out in the late '80's but the majority of the recipes still have appeal. Try to track this one down, I think it could work well for you.

                                                                                        Martha Stewart's Quick Cook came out a few years prior. I did find a number of the recipes helpful, but I seldom made an entire menu. The menu's just seemed more involved than my energy at that time would allow. This book is fussier than Marion Burros and feels more dated. But I still make her Tian of Potatoes, Zucchini, Eggplant and Whole Garlic several times each winter. It's so good that people usually ignore their main until they have inhaled their portion of the tian!

                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                          Thank you very much. I have another Marian Burros book (Keep it Simple, I think?) but will see if I can't get my hands on that 20 Minute Menus. It sounds like it could be just the ticket!

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                                            I just bought the Martha Quick Cook at our church yard sale last Saturday and only browsed quickly. Agree it is too fussy and of course a bit dated in 2012 (!) but I will definitely try the Tian! Many thanks.

                                                                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                              I greatly increase the garlic to several heads. I haven't really looked closely at the original recipe in years, but I am pretty sure I have decreased the amount of oil used.

                                                                                              When you have a chance to look closer there will probably be a few others which still hold up. IMO her earlier recipes were better tested than some of the later ones. I have encountered glaring errors on the Martha Stewart website recipes.

                                                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                I still use several of the recipes from MS's QK, one of the first 10 or so cookbooks I ever owned, and I'd say they hold up pretty well. But, yes, I used to marvel at the idea of whipping up some of these meals "quickly," after getting home from work. (I also love--ans still use--MS's (original) Pies and Tarts.

                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                  I'm sure while whipping up those quick meals all in quick time you must have been thinking its a good thing! Love MS, miss her show, the Hallmark network is not available here. I would say her recipes inspire hospitality!

                                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            Thanks for the report Dairy Queen. Impressed with the organizational and planning aspects of the book as your excellent review laid them out; perhaps that is the main high point of this book - to teach new tricks for organizing meal planning/shopping.

                                                                                            As you are a great Chowhound, albeit hampered by your busy life with little ones, I am sure it is disappointing to find a great POV in the book, and boring, basic recipes.

                                                                                            Great review, and I hope there are some high points for you that come out of having this book to help in your - admired - tough stage of family life. Keep up the great work DQ!

                                                                                          3. Just a suggestion, Breadcrumbs, but this thread could get pretty unwieldy pretty quickly. You might want to keep this for the general thread, and make a new thread each week for your project...

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                              Agreed, and some guidelines for how to post. If we have people posting a full COTM style description of every recipe, that will get really bulky. I'm thinking a report on a book should be a single post, title of book on top, short writeup on recipes cooked following. Not like COTM, where you summarize the recipe, but just name of recipe and opinion of recipe. Then followed by any other recipes that drew one's attention and comments on the book in general. Not trying to dictate here, that's just a proposal. We need to figure out a way to keep these posts manageable, so let's discuss.

                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                I thought though, that part of this idea of Breadcrumbs was to also be able to review a BOOK per se - not just recipes cooked?

                                                                                                For instance, I am just about finished perusing Mozza, and have many thoughts to share on the book. tho have yet to cook a dish. Idea following some comments on here that some of us 'read cookbooks like novels'....

                                                                                                Part of the charm of this thread is being able to do that, IMO. Of course, this could be done on a per-week post thread, rather than a long connected one. I like the idea of the 'each week' posting. But, allowing for the idea of not just recipe reviews, but cookbook reviews in toto.

                                                                                                Cheers!

                                                                                            2. THE GREYSTON BAKERY COOKBOOK by Sara Kate Gillingham Ryan
                                                                                              In a small storefront cafe in 1982, the GREYSTON Bakery was born. The Zen Buddhist founders dreamed of a baking business that could feed and nurture the body, spirit and soul while contributing to the local community.
                                                                                              Today, the GREYSTON Bakery is a thriving business that employs local community members, whose employment options are limited due to their struggles with addiction, poverty, crime and incarceration.
                                                                                              I was first introduced to this cookbook through the blog lisa is cooking. One of her favorites were Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies, which were superb.
                                                                                              Then again, the cookbook came to the forefront for me from the post.

                                                                                              http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-freef...
                                                                                              This tart is so simple and different with the almond extract and the almonds and surprisingly no cinnamon. I used Granny Smith apples and used 2T each of white and brown sugar. It made me open this book again to the delightful recipes.
                                                                                              Here are more I want to try.
                                                                                              Lemon Mousse Cake
                                                                                              Flourless Citrus Cake
                                                                                              Anise Seed Cake with Orange Icing
                                                                                              Chocolate Obsession Cake by Rozanne Gold
                                                                                              Burnt Almond Torte
                                                                                              Toasted Caramel Almond Tart
                                                                                              The Great Blondie
                                                                                              Macaroon Brownir Bars
                                                                                              Lime Bars with White Chocolate
                                                                                              This book is not complicated, but has unique and great recipes while being unassuming and down to earth.
                                                                                              I hope I have done what you wanted done, Breadcrumbs.
                                                                                              Mary

                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                Thanks for the review! I found this book at a thrift store a few months a go and promptly forgot about it. You have inspired me to take a closer look soon.

                                                                                                1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                  Thanks for that great review angelsmom...the bad news is that I don't own this book and now I want it!! Thank you, I'm so thrilled that you'll be reviewing here!

                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                    You,are most welcome, I do no believe I have a book that you do not have!!!!!!!

                                                                                                  2. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                    Very nice post Angelsmom; like that you shared your history with how you found the book, how you saw the book to be, what excited you in recipes (thanks for the list!), and a short review of something you made and tweaked.

                                                                                                    Perhaps Angelsmom's review of this book could be a great template for how we proceed here?

                                                                                                    1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                      Thanks for the review angelsmom. This is on my wishlist of books I look out for at used book stores - you were lucky to find yours meatn3. If you don't know, the author Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan is the founder of The Kitchn, which has great recipes. http://www.thekitchn.com/

                                                                                                      1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                        Update....I made the steamed lemon cakelets. They are similar to many lemon cake puddings, where it makes two layers. One is pudding and te other cake. I dusted with powdered sugar, added a few pieces of TJs toasted sugar coconut pieces and a few pieces of lavender......Truly Delicious!

                                                                                                        1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                          Oh don't those sound wonderful angelsmom...I love your addition of coconut and lavender. So clever.

                                                                                                      2. Breadcrumbs, I need some guidance based on some of the postings here. Is the premise of the thread to post a general summary of the intended cookbook and then an individual thread for each recipe cooked as that is what I have been doing. Or do we at the end of a one week period do a brief posting on the recipes that we have made. What would you like done as this is your board? I am enjoying the challenge and pondering what the next cookbook should be!

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                          Ruthie, please keep on reviewing, I love your posts!! I've posted my thoughts on how I saw this working below. Thanks so much for contributing!

                                                                                                        2. how do we know what week of cookbooks r we on?

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                            Maybe we should have separate sub-threads for the weeks - week 1 Sep 10-16; week 2 Sep 17-23, etc.? And a new thread for reporting where these sub-threads will be in OP?

                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                              If so, can someone post the link to the new thread please?

                                                                                                          2. Hi Everyone,

                                                                                                            I see a few posts looking for direction on how I saw this working or with suggestions on how it should be set up and I thank everyone for their suggestions and enthusiasm. I'm so excited that others are interested in this idea. I'll share my thoughts below:

                                                                                                            I would really like to keep this a simple as possible. Time is the enemy, the more complicated this is, the less likely I am to keep up with it and I suspect this is the case for others as well. Here’s what I’d imagined the thread would be:

                                                                                                            Goal for Thread: Get to know our cookbooks better. Keep the good ones, toss a few duds along the way.

                                                                                                            How I imagined it would work:

                                                                                                            • Pull a book off the shelf (each week in my case and I figured if I posted a thread and put my commitment out there, I would be more likely to stick to it). I think folks should just pull a book whenever they have time. I didn’t expect anyone to stick to my schedule. On the contrary, I think this will work best if people commit to whatever schedule works for them.

                                                                                                            • Any cookbook will do. Old, new, big, small….whatever book you want. In fact the greater the variety of books reviewed, the more we’ll learn. We can all review different books, it doesn’t matter.

                                                                                                            • Have a look in the book and record your impressions/review. What do you like about the book, what don’t you like. Have you made anything? If so, what was it and did it work. If you’ve tabbed recipes to make later, what are they? Will you keep the book now you know it better?

                                                                                                            • Post review here.

                                                                                                            • If you make a dish at a later date, come back and post your review beneath your original post. Review the dish as you see fit. Some folks will have lots to say, others won’t. This isn’t at COTM so it doesn’t have to be detailed but if someone wanted to do that, great.

                                                                                                            • If others have the book and/or have cooked from it they can add their reviews beneath the first post about that book.

                                                                                                            • Before posting about a book do a search of the thread (“Ctl F” w a pc, “Command F” on a mac) to see if someone else has posted about it. If so, add your post beneath theirs. If not, hit “Reply to original post” and post to the OP.

                                                                                                            I imagined this thread operating much like the “What cookbooks have you bought lately” and the “What’s for Dinner” thread. Once it got too long, we could start a new one. In this case, I’d list the books that have been reviewed already in the OP with a link to the past thread so we kept a record of all books that we’d reviewed and keep adding to those posts.

                                                                                                            IMHO, the advantage of having a long thread is you don’t lose folks along the way. If something new is posted, everyone who checks their own posts will see there’s been a new post to a thread they’re interested in. We also keep all the reviews in a limited number of places.

                                                                                                            I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s figure out how best to do this. Clearly this is an idea that resonated with folks and I’m really excited about it.

                                                                                                            In the meantime, let’s keep those reviews coming, big thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the reviews and conversation so far!!

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                              BC, this is a great idea. Not sure if I will chime in every week, but I definitely have tons of cookbooks that I have not read as much as I'd like.. learning a lot from this!!

                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                BC, Thank you very much for the clarification! I will approach this thread differently. I like your outline very much.

                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                  Great clear outline BC, thanks for helping us all to keep a common plan on the thread.

                                                                                                                  Brilliant idea for us to get more out of our cookbook shelves. Thanks for taking this on!

                                                                                                                  Shall we perhaps keep the thread to the idea of 300 posts before heading for a new one?

                                                                                                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                    Thanks rstuart, smtucker and gingershelley. I'm excited about this thread and I'm really enjoying reading all the posts here.

                                                                                                                2. ~Mrs Chiang's Szechuan Cookbook~

                                                                                                                  Red Cooked Fish

                                                                                                                  I'm not sure what makes this dish one of the classic 'red cooked' recipes. The soy sauce? There are no spices added to give it that heady aroma of star anise or five-spice that I associate with the soy-braised dish. It is a saucy dish--there was plenty of pleasant gravy to stir into rice. The recipe yielded a large amount of mild flavoured fish. I used basa, which held its shape rather nicely. I would imagine some pickeral cheeks would be perfect for this. After tasting for balance, I added a generous splash of chinkiang vinegar, which helped give a better flavour. This was okay, just not my favourite recipe ever. 3 out of 5. I'll continue looking for a better version.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                    Your question about the "red cooked" intrigued me Allegra. I ended up pulling a few books from my shelf and it seems the "red" is meant to describe the mahogany colour that's imparted by the soy so your suspicions were correct! Great review, thanks!

                                                                                                                  2. I keep intending on pulling a cookbook off the shelf, but so far I have't actually done it. It's the whole reading glasses for the book but not for the tv thing that keeps me from doing it. But I'm going to do it soon.

                                                                                                                    1. Well, I'm in. I have WAY too many cookbooks and need to review what I have and purge the dogs. (Sadly, probably just another way to make room for new additions...) I find myself cooking from the same cookbooks a lot and not making use of my complete library. It's definitely time to pull something new off the shelf and widen my horizons a bit. Don't know if I can do one a week, but I'll do what I can.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                        Disneyfreak & shercooks...looking forward to reading your reviews. Thanks for joining in!

                                                                                                                      2. I just pulled a book from my small library-

                                                                                                                        CULINARY TEA
                                                                                                                        by
                                                                                                                        Cynthia Gold
                                                                                                                        Lise Stern

                                                                                                                        More than 150 recipes steeped in tradition from around the world
                                                                                                                        I purchased this book in 2010 and have never used it-
                                                                                                                        I enjoy drinking tea especially lightly fermented oolongs and baozhong
                                                                                                                        I will leave my comments later this evening or early morning

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                          I don't own that book jpr but it sounds very interesting. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

                                                                                                                        2. This is a good idea. I've bought far too many cookbooks that sit untouched. EYB certainly helps but I also need to make a more concerted effort to just get to know the books I have. I'm not sure I'll do one a week and I can't start right away but I'm going to try to participate.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: bg90027

                                                                                                                            Wonderful bg90027, looking forward to hearing from you.

                                                                                                                          2. Link to the original post from my own cookbook challenge completed not too long ago:
                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/850397

                                                                                                                            Reposting contents:

                                                                                                                            Hi,

                                                                                                                            Like many people on this board, I've developed a bit of a cookbook buying addition. Despite my habit, I was always an improvisational cook, preferring to grab a bit of this and that.

                                                                                                                            One day I found myself reaching for the same set of spices, trying to coax a new creative way to experiment with mace. I felt uninspired, grabbed a cookbook, and decided that I wanted to refine my technique by cooking at least one dish from every book I owned.

                                                                                                                            I imposed a soft deadline and set out on a many month challenge that concluded with a spectacular lobster bouillabaisse from the Morimoto Cookbook. Along the way, I tortured my wife, as it was all I talked about - strategy, what I was making that weekend, and how she was going to have to suck it up when I finally cooked from the two Rachel Ray cookbooks that were given to me as a gift.

                                                                                                                            The vast majority of the dishes were solid, a bunch exceptional and a few almost warranted a call to the local pizza place. The real fun was in discovering unexpected gems, such as the Morton's Cookbook black bean soup (an incredible version of my favorite soup,) which I picked up at a restaurant opening function, as well as scratching a bunch of dishes of my bucket list, like the above-mentioned bouillabaisse.

                                                                                                                            I am not expecting anyone to read the entire list, but I listed all the recipe titles and thoughts on the individual books (but not actual recipes given Chow rules.) I'm happy to share privately if anyone wants info a specific dish!

                                                                                                                            Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking - Lobster Bouillabaisse (my favorite dish of the bunch, which led me to a new obsession for Gochujang, a fiery Korean chili paste.

                                                                                                                            )

                                                                                                                            Barbara Lynch: Stir - Ham and cheese puff pastry bites with honey mustard; Slow roasted clams with spicy tomato sauce; Butcher Shop Bolognese; Linguini with spicy clam sauce; Torn pasta fagioli with shrimp polpettini; Rigatoni with spicy shrimp and cannellini beans; Spicy clam stew; Pan fried cod with chorizo and clam ragout; Saffron steamed mussels with crème freche; Pork chops with caramelized apples, celery and spiced walnuts (My favorite cookbook, with the shrimp polpettini, rigatoni and pork chops standing out.)

                                                                                                                            Jody Adams: In The Hands Of A Chef – Monkish and Clam Bourride (soulful dish and my first homemade tapenade, inspired by my pain-in-the-*** brother-in-law, who upon a suggestion of a meal of rack of lamb, stated by lamb, if I meant local fish and clams, brilliant!)

                                                                                                                            Patricia Green: Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood – Quinoa Bean salad (I’m all about healthy grains for lunch and love this filling and flavorful protein-packed salad.)

                                                                                                                            Jacques Pepin: Essential Pepin - Zucchini and tomato gratin (glorious side dish from Jacques.)

                                                                                                                            Grace Young: Stir Frying To The Sky's Edge – Hong Kong style mango ginger chicken, Cashew chicken (both flavorful dishes.)

                                                                                                                            Tyler Florence: Tyler’s Ultimate – Hunter Minestrone, Peach barbecue chicken (the soup is a classic in my house, and the peach BBQ sauce is a go to as well.)

                                                                                                                            Mario Batali: Molto Mario – Mussels in a spicy saffron broth

                                                                                                                            Donald Link: Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana – Old school chicken and sausage jambalaya; spicy sausage stuffed chicken thighs, Post-K Meatloaf, Lake Charles Dirty Rice (amazing book, with the jambalaya and meatloaf among my new favorite dishes. I need to visit Link's restaurants.)

                                                                                                                            Thomas Keller: Ad Hoc At Home - Crispy braised chicken thighs with olive, lemon and fennel; Pomegranate glazed quail; Meatballs with pappardelle; Herb crusted rack of lamb with honey mustard glaze; Lentil and sweet potato soup (Love everything save the quail. Chicken thighs are so moist and tender, and the rack of lamb is decadent.)

                                                                                                                            Marissa Guggiana: Primal Cuts: Cooking with America's Best Butchers -Armenian lamb shish kabob; Braised chicken thighs in rosemary jus (nifty book with a number of interesting dishes from top butchers and chefs. Loved both dishes.)

                                                                                                                            Clara Silverstein: The Boston Chefs Table (compendium of recipes from Boston chefs) - Coffee marinated rack of lamb with corn salad and espresso vinaigrette (the lamb was ok but the corn salad was a real knockout.)

                                                                                                                            Ming Tsai: Simply Ming - Scallion crusted cod with mango salsa (now in regular rotation and finally got my wife to embrace cod. The salsa packs a nice punch!)

                                                                                                                            Jay Harlow: Williams Sonoma Seafood - Salmon in parchment - (Not sure if I'd make this again, but cooking fish en papillote was a new technique for me.)

                                                                                                                            Stéphane Reynaud: Pork and sons -Grandma Babke's roast pork (didn't love the pork, but looking forward to diving into this book come winter.)

                                                                                                                            Klaus Fritsch: Morton's The Cookbook - Black bean soup (I'm obsessed with soup, and black bean is one of my favorites. I love the depth and smoky flavors in this version.)

                                                                                                                            David Chang: Momofuku - Ginger scallion noodles (These noodles are mildly addictive. The first few bites, you wonder what the hype is all about and then you look down and realize that nearly all the noodles are gone.)

                                                                                                                            Bobby Cooks American - New Mexico style soft tacos with hacked chicken and salsa verde (great easy weeknight dish. Love the heat from the fresh chilis.)

                                                                                                                            Nigella Lawson: Feast - Pasta primavera (why did I buy this book?)

                                                                                                                            Anna Sortun: Spice - Beet tzatziki (OK, I cheated by not cooking a main dish, but the tzatziki was remarkable, just like her two restaurants.)

                                                                                                                            Claudia Roden: Arabesque - Bulgar and chickpea salad (I need to explore this book in greater detail. I eat this for lunch several times a month.)

                                                                                                                            Jacques Pepin: Complete Techniques - poached egg (Yes, I made a poached egg, but I never had done so before, and it's my challenge.) Are you really still reading?!?

                                                                                                                            Fergus Henderson: The Whole Beast - Mussels grilled on barbecue. (Nice dish, not loving the cookbook.)

                                                                                                                            Ferran Adria: The Family Meal: Home cooking with Ferran Adria - Caramelized pears – (thought the book was a bit too simple for my tastes - my one dessert of the bunch.)

                                                                                                                            Tess Mallos: North African Cooking - Grille Moroccan spiced chicken (remarkable whole chicken with so much flavor! My 2 year old gobbles this up and calls it Daddy Chicken.)

                                                                                                                            The Essential Cookbook - Cuban black beans and rice (my wife had this book. We are now giving it away.) Next.

                                                                                                                            Rachel Ray: 2,4,6,8 - Veggie chickpea and couscous salad with yogurt dressing (next.)

                                                                                                                            Rachel Ray: 30 Minute Meals - ginger soy chicken (yummo, uh, no. Next.)

                                                                                                                            Cook's Illustrated: The Best New Recipes - Hoisin Ginger shrimp with sticky rice (surprisingly good and simple weeknight meal - includes several possible iterations of each dish.)

                                                                                                                            Ming Tsai: Blue Ginger - Teriyaki salmon with mirin cucumber salad (Liked the salad, but a bit of a dated dish.)

                                                                                                                            Teresa Barrenechea: The Basque table - Pureed mixed vegetable soup (simple and light, but surprisingly addictive, just doesn't freeze well.)

                                                                                                                            Cook's Illustrated: The Best Light Recipes - Soy glazed salmon and rice bake with mushrooms and bok choy (nice, clean weeknight dish.)

                                                                                                                            Charleston Cooks: Taste Of the Low Country - Shrimp and cheddar grits with homemade shrimp stock (intensely flavorful version from this beautiful kitchen shop owned by the Maverick Restaurant Group in Charleston.)

                                                                                                                            Biba Caggiano: Biba's Italy - Pan fried sausage and broccoli rabe with orecchiette (free book, largely uninspiring. Solid dish but not likely to repeat.)

                                                                                                                            Sondra Bernstein: The Girl and The Fig Cookbook - Asparagus and English pea soup with pistachio butter, Carrot Ginger Soup (the asparagus is light and perfect for spring....)

                                                                                                                            Donald Barickman: Magnolias: Authentic Southern Cuisine - Mac and cheese. (My arteries hated me and I might have grabbed fat kid sweatpants after eating this, but wow this was good.)

                                                                                                                            Rick Bayless: Mexican Everyday: Chipotle shrimp and meatballs; Mushroom Crema soup, tomatillo enchiladas, classic enchiladas, red chili chicken, luxurious guacamole and multiple salsas. (I have a man crush on Bayless. Everything was great save the soup. The tomatillo enchiladas made me buy another Bayless cookbook and the guacamole is insanely good.)

                                                                                                                            Rick Bayless: One Plate At A Time – Grilled Salmon Vera Cruz with Lemon and Thyme scented salsa (exceptional dish with a flavor profile that was unlike any other Mexican dish I’ve had to date. The flavors were distinctly Mediterranean but fiery from the pickled jalapenos. Man crush confirmed.)

                                                                                                                            Keith McNally: The Balthazar Cookbook -Potage St. Germaine; mushroom soup; striped bass with tomato and saffron; glazed pork belly; mustard crusted salmon with lentils and sweet garlic jus. (Wonderful cookbook from the once beloved and now touristy restaurant. Everything is worth cooking again, especially the lentils.)

                                                                                                                            Adam Perry Lang: Serious BBQ - Asian Pork Meatball Skewers (labor intensive dish with sauce and glaze, but seriously flavorful. I can’t wait to make his paella on the grill!)

                                                                                                                            Stephanie Izard - Girl & The Goat Cookbook: Truffled white asparagus soup; manila clam and sausage linguini with horseradish crème freche; apple pork ragu with pappardelle (all wonderful, with the ragu exemplifying Izard’s ability to meld numerous delicate flavors.)

                                                                                                                            Giada: Giada's Family Dinners - Italian wedding soup; broccoli florets with Meyer lemon olive; penne with sausage, artichokes and sun dried tomatoes. (Simple but solid weeknight food.)

                                                                                                                            Giada: Everyday Italian - Farfalle with turkey sausage, peas and mushrooms (see above.)

                                                                                                                            Tom Colicchio: Think Like a Chef - Clam ragout with pancetta; roasted tomatoes and mustard greens; polenta gratin with mushroom bolognese (the clam dish was way too salty but loved the polenta gratin.)

                                                                                                                            Daniel Holzman: The Meatball Shop Cookbook – Lamb Meatballs, Mediterranean Style (One of my friends ate 10+ of these in one sitting. OK, that was me. Can’t wait to dig deeper into this book.)

                                                                                                                            Marcella Kazan: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking - The Bolognese (best version I’ve made, courtesy the Julia Child of Italian cooking.)

                                                                                                                            Jean-Georges: Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges: Roast chicken with chunky miso and grapefruit (remarkable dish with incredible complexity from such diverse ingredients.)

                                                                                                                            Bobby Flay - Mesa Grill Cookbook : red chili honey glazed salmon with black bean sauce and jalapeño crema (exceptional dish, with the black beans being the real star.)

                                                                                                                            Bobby Flay: Boy Meets Grill - Red chili citrus marinated chicken breasts with grilled tortillas and avocado tomatillo sauce; Jerked chicken with mango cilantro relish (both a bit flat)

                                                                                                                            Various: The 150 Best American recipes - Roasted mushroom-leek soup with crispy pancetta (hated it.)

                                                                                                                            Jonathan Waxman: A Great American Cook: warm sweet onion tart, asparagus with oranges and hazelnuts, corn soup with saffron (tart was very rich and wonderful.)

                                                                                                                            Penelope Casas - Tapas : Gambas al ajillo, Tortilla de Espanola (great versions of Spanish classics.)

                                                                                                                            Dean & Deluca - Classic minestrone (phenomenal, chunky version of my favorite soup.)

                                                                                                                            New Basics Cookbook - Nutty quinoa salad (meh)

                                                                                                                            Ellie Krieger : The Food You Crave - Lemon chicken soup with orzo; Penne with roasted tomatoes, garlic and white beans; Balsamic chicken with baby spinach and couscous; Sesame teriyaki chicken thighs; Maple mustard chicken thighs; Jerk chicken with cool pineapple salsa; Roasted salmon with shallot grapefruit sauce; Baked shrimp with tomatoes and feta; Scallops with succotash (Wonderful healthy weeknight cookbook. Simple but flavorful dishes, most repeated multiple times.)

                                                                                                                            Ellie Krieger: So Easy - Chicken mushroom quesadillas; garlic basil shrimp; salmon with chickpea Ragu; roasted tomato and black bean soup with avocado mango salad (simple but clean dishes, all repeated save the salmon.)

                                                                                                                            Ina Garten: Barefoot Contessa Cookbook - Gazpacho; lentil vegetable soup, Rosemary white bean soup (My go to gazpacho and lentil recipes.)

                                                                                                                            Ina Garten: Barefoot Contessa Parties - butternut squash and apple soup (love her version.)

                                                                                                                            This has been a wonderful experience in that I tried and learned how to cook so many new dishes. I'm already pondering new ways to push myself in the kitchen! Thanks for reading.

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                              Williams Sonoma Soup of the Day. I found about three recipes that I really want to try: Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Puree. Chickpea and Roasted Tomato Soup with Fried Rosemary, and Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Goat Cheese and Harissa. I made the Red Pepper Soup today and it was very good although a bit too spicy for my husband so will reduce the harissa next time. I am going to copy those recipes and give the book away as I have to reduce my cookbooks before we move. Moving it to the "just about out of the house pile" till I look at my other soup books.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                                I absolutely love this post and love that you made this challenge for yourself. It was fun reading about it, and inspiring. The only thing I think I've made that you've made is that Balthazar salmon with lentils. We love it - need to make it again soon with fall coming in.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                                  Great idea and ambitious too! I had Stir out from the library and was about to return it, but copied some of the ones you had mentioned that I already had not copied. Many thanks.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                                                    Stir is such a wonderful book. If it hasn't been cookbook of the month, certainly worth exploring!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                                      Mr BIgglesworth, what a wonderful post and challenge you created for yourself. I own many of the books you've cooked from. I'll add a link to your post in my OP going forward so folks can take a look.

                                                                                                                                      Like others here have said, Stir is such a fabulous book and even though I have an extensive collection of Italian cookbooks, this book fast became one of my favourites. A new classic.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                                    Thank you SO much for writing up this detailed report of SO many great books Mr. Bigglesworth - BTW, love your screen name:)

                                                                                                                                    Already copied a few titles from your comments and ordered library holds, and will comment on my impressions when they arrive and I can peruse at will and cook a few dishes.

                                                                                                                                    I saved your comments to my profile, it was that valuable. Love this thread!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                      Great! I've already cooked through a bunch more since then and would love hear any thoughts you have as well

                                                                                                                                  3. We've been doing this for some months. It's helped to cull some of the dross on the shelves (and the charity chop in the village has been grateful for the donations). And it's been quite fun - not least with books we use regularly but perhaps only for a couple of recipes - it's forced us to look at the book for other items.

                                                                                                                                    I regularly contribute to the "What's for dinner" thread and mention when a meal is from our "cooking the books" exercise so, apologies, but I'm not going to duplicate the mention here, but will enjoy reading other contributions.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                      It would be great to hear of your experience with this Harters and I'll keep my eye on the WFD thread for your posts. I hope you enjoy reading through this thread! If you have a moment, I'd love to hear what books have stood out as favourites from this exercise.

                                                                                                                                    2. Wow, this thread is less than a week old and it is already unmanageably long! I think you have stumbled on gold BC! I'm in.

                                                                                                                                      I have two new cookbooks en route on the tail of three others that were just delivered plus two others I picked up at my temple sale so I am in one of those situations where one, or more of these, are going to get the short end of the stick. I'm going to pick one of them for my first challenge and report back. If my attention holds I will be able to cover all 7 before I spend again!

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                        I'm excited about the buzz dk and feel more committed than ever to this challenge! I'm going to pick my next book today!

                                                                                                                                      2. I have a suggestion. Since the thread is getting so long, would it make sense to start a new thread on the Sunday or Monday of each new week? As this is a weekly or bi-weekly project for most it might make it a bit easier to break things up. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                          Sounds like a good idea to me also
                                                                                                                                          labeling each Week 1- etc.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                            I think one reason this thread is getting so long (even though I don't think a thread of 140 posts as that long--I kind of find around 300 to be unwieldy) is that there are a lot of posts about the mechanics of how this will work (being a new concept and all) and people "signing on." I think once we get rolling and people are talking about cookbooks rather than how to play along, the thread won't seem so long. Personally, I think a new thread a week would be too much and we'll lose people along the way. I like the idea of a new thread every 300 posts or so, or maybe a new thread each month.

                                                                                                                                            I haven't decided which book I want to "review" this week. I think "Hungry Monkey" perhaps.

                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                              DQ I was thinking along the same lines as well. I think a new thread at the 300 mark in keeping w the WFD thread will work best.

                                                                                                                                              sher & jpr thanks so much for your ideas. FYI, there was some similar discussion up-thread and I shared my ideas on this thread here:

                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8673...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                I agree that you will need to start a new thread as you get to 300 posts. Since you want posts for a cookbook to be together, which makes sense, you will need your OP for each new thread to reference which books are already reviewed and on which thread. This does make for more work on your side BC but it will make finding cookbook reviews much easier. I think you referenced doing something like this already but I wanted to check this was still the plan.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                                                                  That's right Jane...it's in that post I've linked to.

                                                                                                                                          2. The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook

                                                                                                                                            I spent Labor Day weekend in Washington, DC and ate lunch one day at the Mitsitam Cafe in theNational Museum of the American Indian. We split a bowl of sweet potato soup, an entreé braised buffalo with a quinoa salad. I could have eaten an entire tureen of this soup. What does a chowhound do under these circumstances? Why buy the book, of course!

                                                                                                                                            This recipes can easily be divided into two categories: pre and post contact. [A new term for me.] The recipes also concentrate on the nations that were not obliterated, for obvious reasons, so many of the foods that I grew up eating are not included in this book. The Northeast is under-represented for obvious reasons.

                                                                                                                                            The number of recipes from Mexico, Bolivia and Peru is a surprise but are also amongst the most interesting. Diana Kennedy is a major contributor to this book. A name familiar to us all.

                                                                                                                                            The Plains nations are also well-represented. I am very attracted to the salad and soup chapters, plus all the ceviche options. Sadly, the sweet potato soup is not in this book, but there is a butternut squash version that I think will be very similar.

                                                                                                                                            This book will stay in the active pile.

                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                              Great post smtucker! It's funny, as I was reading through it I kept thinking "I hope she says she'll start w the Sweet Potato Soup"....I felt exactly as you said, "sad" when you said it wasn't in there!!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                That sounds like a fascinating book! Would you be willing to list some of the recipes, especially pre-contact ones?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                  +1, this sounds fascinating, SMtucker. What an interesting book! Would like to hear more about the concept and contents.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                  This book sounds really interesting SMT. It is in the EYB database but not yet indexed. Here's the Amazon page...
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Mitsitam-Cafe-C...

                                                                                                                                                  For years and years Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs has been on one of my shelves but I don't think I've ever cooked from it. It has been indexed at EYB however I don't recall ever seeing a recipe called up by a search. It would be, with your book, a timely November COTM, I think. T he chapters are divided by Tribes and region. There are several worthwhile recipes from the New England area. I better have another look, as I am writing I'm becoming more excited by it...
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/5...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, that book has the Mohegan Succotash! Now I have to get this book from the library.

                                                                                                                                                    I also bought Food of the Americas [https://nmaistore.si.edu/shop/product...] which I have not yet read cover to cover.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                      It's a beautiful book to look at too. Native designs, full color photographs of finished dishes. I think you'll like it.

                                                                                                                                                3. THE PAPRIKAS WEISS HUNGARIAN COOKBOOK

                                                                                                                                                  Ok, here goes. My mom gave me this little hardcover cookbook from 1979. Somehow she ended up with 2 copies, so one came to me. This book was written by the owner of what used to be a shop in NYC called Paprikas Weiss. I Googled and it apparently closed many years ago in the mid-90s. The New York Times called it the "Hungarian Zabars" so I'm a little disappointed I'll never be able to see it. Sounds like it was a fascinating little shop.

                                                                                                                                                  The recipes all seem fairly simple and remind me a lot of my MIL's Romanian home cooking. The seasonings are mostly salt, pepper, parsley, paprika, and dill (or dill pickles). There is liberal use of bacon and butter. Onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, parsley root, potatoes, cabbage, kraut are all common ingredients. Sour cream is added to many recipes at the end. And lots of saucier dishes are thickened with a flour/water paste (I'd probably prefer a roux, but maybe that's not authentic to Hungarian cooking).

                                                                                                                                                  The fish recipes are most appealing to me. I love fish and they seem to rely a little less on bell peppers (which I'm not fond of and aren't fond of me). In particular, the "Baked Stuffed Red Snapper" recipe is intriguing to me, since I've never really heard of stuffing a fish with ground veal before (or any meat, really).

                                                                                                                                                  He does say,"Since Hungary is far from the sea, lobsters, shrimp, and saltwater fish are seldom if ever found on the menu. This may be the only Hungarian cookbook you'll ever find that has recipes for fried, baked, and broiled fresh herring! Fish from the rivers and lakes would have been used in these recipes as well as in stews and casseroles. Though the recipes are Hungarian, we used the fish we preferred, and suggest that you do the same; any firm-fleshed fish can be substituted in these recipes." Since I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I love fresh water fish and river fish, and plan to try some of these with trout instead of the cod or red snapper called for.

                                                                                                                                                  The "Bacon Scrap Biscuits" sound like quite the indulgence as the bacon is incorporated into the dough. I may have to make them once just out of pure curiosity. I bet they are awesome, and I will die from a coronary from wonderful carb/bacon/chicken fat richness! ;)

                                                                                                                                                  I found the "Spicy Red Cabbage with Carraway Seeds" recipe almost humorous since there is nothing in that ingredient list that would make the dish "spicy" in any way. Not even hot paprika or black pepper! Sounds more like a sweet/sour red cabbage.

                                                                                                                                                  All in all, it's a cute little cookbook and has some interesting ideas that maybe I can do a riff on once in awhile, or things I can make when I just feel like old-fashioned home cooking. They are somewhat heavier types of dishes so they'll probably be reserved for the cooler winter months here in Phoenix.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                    Jen what a great read...I loved your post and I agree that its a shame the shop isn't around anymore...you kind of feel invested in it after reading through the book I'm sure. This sounds like a charming book.

                                                                                                                                                  2. My cookbook selection for this week will be A TWIST OF THE WRIST by Nancy Silverton. I picked up a copy of this book at the library bookstore for $3.00. I remember when it came out I wanted it but never bought it. So when I saw it for such a good price I couldn't pass it up. This was a few months back and I haven't looked at it since.

                                                                                                                                                    I've mentioned before that I am a huge fan of Nancy Silverton and this will be my fourth book written by her. I have read, cooked from, and fully endorse Mozza and The Sandwich Book, both are must haves as far as I am concerned. I also have her Cookie book which she wrote quite early in her career. It is a treasure not as much for the recipes as for her voice and witnessing how she has evolved. That and I am not much of a baker.

                                                                                                                                                    A Twist of the Wrist is written for the home cook, with lots of shortcuts and quick options built into the recipes. As I recall, she got a lot of heat for including canned beans and the like in her ingredient list. I like this aspect of the book, because sometimes you don't have time to do everything from scratch but you still want a yummy meal. This is the book for those nights. The prep time is listed for each recipe which I find very helpful.

                                                                                                                                                    The first recipe I flipped open to appeals to me so I'll start with it: Spinach Salad with Lentils and Crispy Warm Goat Cheese on p. 23. She takes canned lentil soup, drains and rinses the lentils (at first I was put off by this but as I read on I changed my mind) and then doctors them up by sautéing them with garlic and fresh herbs. She breads goat cheese in panko and fries till nicely browned on all sides. Bagged, pre-cleaned spinach tops the lentils and serves as a base for the cheese. Olive oil is drizzled over the dish and s and p added to taste. This dish would take all of 5 minutes to make. I'm intrigued. This is going on the shopping list for next week....

                                                                                                                                                    P. 26 offers Garbage Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. I think this is meant for nights when you fridge is bare except for some leftovers and pantry items. It sounds pretty good. 4 hard boiled eggs, shredded rotisserie chicken, fresh tomatoes, hard salami, provolone, canned beans of your choice, black olives, and parm. tossed and served over greens. Basically a chopped salad. She has an amazing chopped salad in her MOZZA book which is infinitely more involved and I have tabbed it but never gotten around to making it for this exact reason. This is for a weeknight after taking the kids to tutoring and before tucking them in bed. Again, I think it is going on my shopping list.

                                                                                                                                                    It took me a few more tossing of the pages before I came up with another recipe I'd be willing to try. This time it is for a quick version of Chasen's Chili, contributed by Suzanne Goin set out on p. 139. I have the original Chasen's Chili recipe in another cookbook so I was interested to see how it matched up. The original recipe called for pork shoulder and dried pinto beans. This recipe uses ground meat and canned beans.

                                                                                                                                                    I am not sure how 2 lentil based dishes in one week are going to go over with my family but I am putting this one on the list too. p. 176 Chicken with Potato Lentil Curry, Green Masala Yogurt and fresh Cilantro. Again, drained and rinsed lentils doctored up, rotisserie chicken and green masala paste is the base for the sauce. The only iffy part for me is the Patak's Spicy Bombay Potato Curry. I may have to make my own version of this instead of using the packaged.

                                                                                                                                                    Dessert one night this week will be Strawberries and Ladyfingers with Sour cream Sugar and Saba p. 221. Simple but scrumptious!

                                                                                                                                                    Bravo BC for putting together this thread. I hope I can keep up my momentum!

                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                      I've been curious about this book, too, even since seeing it on someone's EYB list. I'd be curious to hear (em, read) how these recipes work for you and, also, how long they take you to make. Are they really pretty quick?

                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                        dk thanks for posting about this book, what a great concept...though it took me a bit to catch on what "a twist of the wrist" meant, I blame a lack of caffeine at the time! The dishes you've selected sound great and I'm such a fan of Mozza, I'm really interested to hear how you make out with the dishes from this book. Great idea and I smiled when I saw DQ's post because as I read about this book, DQ immediately came to mind...might be a great book to have in a busy Mom's arsenal.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                          Great book choice, DK, and an excellent review of contents and your observations and intentions with what you found appealing. Look forward to hearing how the dishes go for you (and your family's reaction to the lentil invasion!). I personally LOVE lentils, but I find many find them off-putting - perhaps as they have not had well-made versions.

                                                                                                                                                          So interesting that Nancy used so much packaged food in this book. Have never given it a read (am deep in Mozza right now, which is a very smartly thought out, well-written and edited book), so from your review, my admiration and interest for her writing grows.

                                                                                                                                                          What savvy great home cook, or professional one doesn't figure out great shortcuts with purchased ingredients - if they have a busy career and family, there is only so much time to cook for loved ones on a daily basis, but a desire for wonderful soulful food. I will be curious to check this one out myself, and also read your impressions.

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for sharing this selection!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                            Chicken with Potato Lentil Curry, Green Masala Yogurt and fresh Cilantro from A TWIST OF THE WRIST by Nancy Silverton at page 176

                                                                                                                                                            Day Three of cooking out of this book. Day One spent reading and forming a plan. Day Two, went grocery shopping and got the necessary ingredients for the five dishes I am making this week. I was able to find most everything I needed at TJs and WFM. Was not able to find the green masala paste so I had to go to an Indian Grocery Store on day three. Day Three, making the dish. Definitely not labor intensive but still required a lot (lot) of dishes for heating the various elements. Clean up shouldn't be too bad.

                                                                                                                                                            Here is what it took to throw this meal together. Took the rotisserie chicken out of fridge and shredded the meat. Took the Greek yogurt out of the package and strained it, then added the green masala paste to it (had to buy the paste at an Indian restaurant as could not find the paste in any store, Indian or otherwise). Took the precooked lentils out of the package and rinsed them. Added them to a saute pan with some olive oil, garlic, and seasoned with salt. Another pan needed for the premade Potato Curry (mild). I bought a second version of the Potato Curry (hot) at my Indian Grocery store, this one fresh and much, much hotter. Also bought 2 samosas and an order or pakoras to serve as appetizers. Chopped up some cilantro and parsley for finishing the dishes. All the various pans just need to go on the stove or in the oven for 10 minutes or so to heat through, then dinner will be on the table.

                                                                                                                                                            Assembly will consist of layering the lentils, potatoes, chicken on top of one another. The green masala yogurt is spooned on top and then sprinkled with the herbs.

                                                                                                                                                            Will report back with the family's reactions.

                                                                                                                                                            ETA: Got back in time to add this to the post rather than starting a new one. My family LOVED this dish! Well, my youngest protested about the potato curry, but managed to eat everything else and that is high praise coming from her. My son told me this is the best thing I have made in a long time and my husband gobbled up seconds and then thirds. I'm encouraged.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                              Sounds interesting, anyway. I hope everyone loves it.

                                                                                                                                                              The Greek yogurt required even more straining? Isn't it strained to begin with?

                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                  The book calls for 1/2 c. strained whole milk Greek yogurt. I strained it and it still released a fair amount of water.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                    Strawberries and Ladyfingers with Sourcream Sugar and Saba p. 221
                                                                                                                                                                    from A TWIST OF THE WRIST by Nancy Silverton

                                                                                                                                                                    Day 4: I went to the Farmer's Market today with a few dollars in my pocket and good intentions. It was my plan to make an entire meal out of this book tonight. I picked up some dragon fruit, some grapes, and some dates. I was on my way back to my car when I came across a butchering demo being put on by my local butcher shop, Lindy and Grundy. They were doing a demo of boning and cutting up an entire leg of grass fed beef. I came home, pockets empty, with a beautiful "velvet cut of beef" - don't ask me what that is, all I know is it a butcher's cut as there is only one per leg and very flavorful. So, recipes put aside for tonight, except for dessert, which was simple and very, very good.

                                                                                                                                                                    Strawberries are quartered and then mascerated in Saba. They are served with a sauce made from brown sugar and sour cream (takes me back to my childhood, my mom used to serve strawberries this way, san the Saba). You are suppose to serve it with a ladyfinger cookie but I didn't have any so I served mine with a crisp ginger cookie. Smiles all around.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                      dkennedy, I love those kinds of outings, where you discover something new (and, most assuredly, delicious).

                                                                                                                                                                      RE: a twist of the wrist. Does this book call for a lot of exotic and/or specialty ingredients? I have no idea, for instance, where to buy Saba...

                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn't say a lot of exotic ingredients, but some. Saba is akin to vinegar, but more like a reduced sweet balsamic. I think it is made from raisins. I live in L.A. so there are lots of places to get Saba. I would try William Sonoma or Sur la Table in a less suburban area. You might find it in a well stocked Whole Foods. If Saba couldn't be found, I am sure a balsamic reduction could be substituted.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                          Chopped Sirloin on Toast Topped with a Fried Egg and Green Peppercorn Sauce, p. 140 recipe courtesy of Suzanne Tracht of Jar - TWIST OF THE WRIST by Nancy Silverton

                                                                                                                                                                          Day 5: This was by far the most labor intensive dish I have made thus far from this book. The peppercorn sauce requires creating a roux, then reducing then straining the sauce. The burger itself is more of a meatball made with egg but no breadcrumbs. They came out nice and fluffy. Prepare eggs sunny side up.

                                                                                                                                                                          The assembly: toast up baugette slices, plop on the burger, top with the sauce and then the runny, sunny side up egg. That's it.

                                                                                                                                                                          Verdict: My family all ate it up but we decided we wouldn't make it again. This was basically a burger, but with several extra bowls, pans and cutting boards to clean up.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                        How was the 'velvet cut of beef", and how did you prepare this?

                                                                                                                                                                        Want to ask my local well-connected butcher - Rain Shadow Meats about it, but curious how it all went down, DK.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                          The Velvet cut was prepared very simply, per the butcher's instructions. She said to get a cast iron screaming hot, season the meat with s and p, and cook it 2 minutes per side. Drizzle it with a good quality balsamic at serving. I did this but it was still way too red in the middle. Probably could have done with being placed in a hot oven for 5 or so minutes after that. Other than being a tough cut of meat, I couldn't argue with the flavor. I cut the slices sliver thin and everyone enjoyed it. Still, I don't think it compares with the Wagu rib eyes my husband and I have become accustomed to.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                    Wow! I am impressed with this recipe - referring to the lentils, potato curry, etc. dish. (and your paraphrase of getting it all done), and the reception to the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                    I now have this book on order from the library to cook from before I buy it.

                                                                                                                                                                    Love, love love that she gives sensible shortcuts to make complex dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                    But, it still shows from your review how much effort and time you had to go to to source an ingredient. Thanks DK for taking the time to do it right - that was a pretty big effort, though it does sound like the final dish comes together pretty easily.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                      GS, yes this recipe was definitely worth the effort.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                        TWIST OF THE WRIST, p. 26, Garbage Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

                                                                                                                                                                        This was your typical chop salad. Hard boiled eggs, shredded chicken, provolone, parmesan, hard salami, garbanzos, olives, and tomatoes top this salad. The dressing is a balsamic-lemon olive oil concoction. Not much to add except to say this is your typical chop salad. I omitted the chicken and the eggs (mine came out too runny in the middle) and added cucumber slices.

                                                                                                                                                                        Day 6 will conclude my week of cooking out of TWIST OF THE WRIST. Even though I have one more day until my week is officially over, I have completed the list of recipes I selected for myself and while I enjoyed my week with this book, I think I am ready to move on. The book is a keeper, but probably one I will turn to for weeknight fare.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I LOVE MEATBALLS by Rick Rodgers

                                                                                                                                                                I bought this adorable book because someone praised it highly on these boards...

                                                                                                                                                                To the book. It has lots of general info on the indredients and the techniques that are great for a starting-out cook and also for an experienced one since we do not know it all, do we?:)

                                                                                                                                                                I marked 13 recipes to make which will not happen and I will weed it down to a manageable 2-3 recipes but the 13 attracted my attention!

                                                                                                                                                                Love that there are meatballs from all over the globe; if the recipes are good, it would be great to have the lot of them in one handy place.

                                                                                                                                                                Hard to judge a book without making a few dishes out of it. I will post once I make something.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                  Wow herby, this sounds like a winner in terms of including enticing recipes...13 appealing recipes from a small book sounds very encouraging. Can't wait to read more...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                    I LOVE MEATBALLS : Lemongrass-Chicken Meatballs on Rice Vermicelli p. 106

                                                                                                                                                                    I made the meatballs as instructed mixing together lemon grass, ground chicken, shallots, fish sauce, cornstartch, chile, garlic, brown sugar and salt. The recipe suggests to refrigerate for upto 4 hours but life interfered and my mixture sat in the fridge for about three days. Roll the balls and BBQ for 4 min per side turning once. Since I do not have access to BBQ, I broiled the meatballs for 5 min per side to let them brown all over. They were delicious but a bit salty and I could hardly taste the lemongrass. In the furure (and this will definitely be repeated!) I will ommit the salt and double the lemongrass. In addition to the meatballs, the recipe instructs you to make vermicelli but I used the wrong kind - bean curd instead of rice - and did not like it. There is also a dipping sauce that resembles vietnamese dipping sauce - simple syrup, rice vinegar, fish sauce, garlic, carrot and chile. Simple and tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. AMERICAN BRASSERIE by Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand

                                                                                                                                                                    I’ve decided on this book as my week 2 selection. As I scanned my shelves and came across this title it was a stranger to me. Pristine condition, no hint of where it may have come from, no post-it tabs or magazine inserts sticking out from its pages beckoning me to try the recipes. I don’t even know if I’ve opened it to be honest. It seemed like a perfect fit for my challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                    ABOUT THE BOOK: I have to say that humility does not appear to be a strong suit for Rick Tramonto and while I recognize his culinary accomplishments, I found his boastful writing style in the introductory pages to be off-putting. Once I moved beyond the “all about me” pages, I did find the info about Brasseries to be interesting and informative…though to be honest I’d have been just as happy with a one or two page summary. There’s also an ingredient guide up front which makes this book more accessible for less experienced cooks since it takes out the guess work. Also, since the book is co-written by Gale Gand, the info on the baking ingredients is necessary and useful.

                                                                                                                                                                    ABOUT THE RECIPES: As you might suspect, recipes tend to be rustic and, on the heartier side. Desserts have a bigger focus than one might expect in a typical cookbook. Many recipes come with a wine and/or beer recommendation and many have head notes. There are a few photographs in the book. Recipes are well laid out, and though some ingredient lists appear long, there are helpful, clear instructions woven in and, the recipe directions are succinct. Most of these dishes seem perfectly suited to autumn and winter menus so if I find I like the recipes, this book could be a great source of inspiration as the weather turns colder. I’ve decided to start with the Rigatoni with Olive-Lamb Ragu and will keep you posted!

                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs, did any desserts catch your eye? Gale Gand is such a terrific pastry chef.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                                                                                                                        They did nikki. I'll be sure to list recipes I've tabbed when I post about the ragu I made.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you BC for the informative, clear report on impressions of this book.

                                                                                                                                                                        LOVE this thread, and thank you for managing it!

                                                                                                                                                                        I am already learning so much, and inspired to get into 'my stacks':)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                          AMERICAN BRASSERIE – RIGATONI W OLIVE LAMB RAGU – p. 104

                                                                                                                                                                          What attracted me to this dish in particular was the surprisingly short cooking time, especially for a ragu. Prep of the long list of ingredients was made much easier by using the Cuisinart to dice all the veggies. I was especially surprised how thick the sauce was almost immediately after adding the tomatoes. (1st photo). The heady aromas of the Middle-Eastern style spices was intoxicating as the sauce simmered away. We served this atop pasta and absolutely loved it. Thankfully there was plenty of sauce leftover and I plan to serve it layered in a casserole w some roasted, sliced eggplant. If this recipe is indicative of the quality and flavours of other dishes in the book, this will definitely be a keeper!

                                                                                                                                                                          Here are some of the other recipes I’ve tabbed:

                                                                                                                                                                          Steamed Mussels w Fennel, Cream and Pernod
                                                                                                                                                                          Curried Pumpkin Soup w Apple & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
                                                                                                                                                                          Italian Lentil Soup w Smoked Bacon & Spinach
                                                                                                                                                                          Orecchiette w Zucchini, Chickpeas & Red Chile
                                                                                                                                                                          Tramonto’s Escarole, Sausage & White Bean Stew
                                                                                                                                                                          Roasted Vegetable White Bean Chili
                                                                                                                                                                          Sicilian Tuna w Braised Fennel, Tomato, Capers
                                                                                                                                                                          Brown-butter Scallops w Braised Leeks
                                                                                                                                                                          Chicken Pot Pie
                                                                                                                                                                          Individual Veal Meat Loaves w Tomato-Basil Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                          Saucisson w Green Lentils & Potato-Onion Ragout
                                                                                                                                                                          Tomato-Fennel-Olive Ragout
                                                                                                                                                                          Ratatouille
                                                                                                                                                                          Blue Cheese Double-baked Potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                          Garlicky Potato Gratin

                                                                                                                                                                          Individual Caramelized Apple Tarts
                                                                                                                                                                          Plum Crostata
                                                                                                                                                                          The Best Banana Cream Pie (we’ll see…!!)
                                                                                                                                                                          Tangerine Angel Food Cake w Tangerine Glaze
                                                                                                                                                                          Aunt Jimmy’s Streusel Apple Crisp

                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                            Looks very yummy...I like the list of recipes, very Bistro.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Ruthie, the book seems to hold lots of promise. I'll be back to post other recipes I try them!!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                              Ooops! Somehow I forgot to mention some of the wonderful cookie recipes I flagged in this book including:

                                                                                                                                                                              Big Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
                                                                                                                                                                              Elsie's Poppyseed Shortbread
                                                                                                                                                                              Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies
                                                                                                                                                                              Myrna's Hungarian Pecan Cookies
                                                                                                                                                                              Cranberry Coconut Bars

                                                                                                                                                                              Can someone pour me a glass of milk!!! ; - )

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                OK, this whole thread is going to kill me more than the pictures of your cookbooks shelves, 'what cookbook have you bought lately threads, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                This book - and your recipe description list of interesting recipes to make, and the pictures included have me drooling!

                                                                                                                                                                                I am officially going to have to open a seperate 'cookbooks to buy' tab on my monthly budget spreadsheet. Thanks BC, you have sent me finally, to the pit of the damned who spend too much money on pulp between covers. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                This dish looks amazing, and the re-purpose of the sauce is exactly what would seem great to me as well.....

                                                                                                                                                                            3. I'm in. And I am so glad to know that I am not the only one with this terrible affliction! I can't seem to help myself when it comes to cookbooks - really, to any books! I'm sure I will find some 'duds' to donate, but I have a feeling the reviews from the rest of you will actually compel me to buy those books. This could be a little counterproductive, but oh well! Guess my Christmas wish list will be easy...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. DONNA HAY'S MODERN CLASSICS BOOK 2 (cookies, biscuits, slices, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                After years of hearing good things about Donna Hay, I caved and bought this. I chose this book of all hers in particular because during our time in Australian and NZ last year we fell in love with a lot of desserts I'd never seen here in the U.S. I was hoping I'd find recipes for some, and sure enough, most are here. The book is very simply laid out - very little text aside from the recipes, and a photo (lovely ones) for each recipe. I have yet to cook from it, but here are some of the recipes I'm looking forward to trying:

                                                                                                                                                                                Chocolate caramel slice
                                                                                                                                                                                melting moments
                                                                                                                                                                                vanilla slice
                                                                                                                                                                                lemon slice (can you tell I fell in love with the slice while there? basically a bar)
                                                                                                                                                                                mango cakes
                                                                                                                                                                                lamingtons
                                                                                                                                                                                caramel layer cake
                                                                                                                                                                                raspberry fool

                                                                                                                                                                                There are many more recipes, and from reading them they do look fairly clear and easy to follow. Proof will be in the pudding (arf arf!), but overall I'm very happy that I bought this, and plan to cook from it soon. I'm guessing the chocolate caramel slice will be first, but vanilla slice looks awfully good too.

                                                                                                                                                                                24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't wait to hear about this one.. they do love their slices in Australia, and I want to try to make lamingtons... I have some Donna Hay magazines and love the photos/look.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                    The lamingtons look fairly simple. And yes, the slices are a big deal in Australia (with good reason!) Will post here when I make them and let you know. The photos in the book are just beautiful.

                                                                                                                                                                                    So having cooked from the magazines, have you been mostly successful?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                      See I don't think that I have cooked from them! Oh the shame. That's why I really should be participating in this thread. I'd have to check the recipes..
                                                                                                                                                                                      Lamingtons look like a bit of a fuss to me, with the dipping in chocolate etc. That wouldn't stop me from trying though!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                    DONNA HAY'S MODERN CLASSICS BOOK 2

                                                                                                                                                                                    Little Apricot (Peach) Tea Cakes - my first foray into the book, even though it wasn't on my original "must make" list. It was easy, it looked and sounded good, and Lulu was excited about it. I'm very impressed. Again, very easy cakes - only dirtied the mixer, no extra bowls. Baked in cupcake wrappers, so very little clean up there, and ... the cakes are wonderful. Lulu just said "I think this cake part is the best cake I've ever had." Mine took about 15 minutes longer to bake than she suggested, so that might be something I need to watch out for, but other than that I'm raring to go on some of the other recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                      Just an outsider (sort of) review of these cakes. The babysitter was here tonight, and she normally doesn't say much about anything homemade we offer her. But I told her to help herself to one of these and packed one up for her to take home for breakfast. When I got back after our date she raved to me "That is the best dessert I've ever had." Now, I think that is pushing it, but it really is a very nice little cake, and for someone who tends to hold back to say so made me think I wasn't just patting my own back (which I'm doing now).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am not big on baking but your post LLM is making me think that maybe, just maybe I "need" a Donna Hay's book:)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                          Give me a week or two and I'll review more (Lulu and I like baking together to give her something special for snack time at school). If they're all this good, then I'd say go for it. But always good to have more than one under the belt before buying. I'm thinking the Oaty ANZAC cookies will be next.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                            I tried to google for the peach/apricot recipes. All I can find are apple & cinnamon and spiced chai. Also, I thought golden syrup isn't very available in the US/Canada? You'll definitely need it for anzac biscuits. It's basically oats and golden syrup. Unless ofc corn syrup tastes very similar. (You must have a north american version of the book because I've never heard them refered to as anzac cookies)!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                              I have definitely found golden syrup in the local gourmet shop - it isn't in most regular grocery stores, but not that hard to find. And yes, you're right - I americanized it by calling them cookies. These ones also have some coconut in them.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The tea cakes are very simple cake batter and then you put the fruit on top and dust with icing sugar. Simple but so good. My email is in my profile if you need me to summarize the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                      DONNA HAY'S MODERN CLASSICS BOOK 2

                                                                                                                                                                                      Oaty Anzac biscuits. These have been out of the oven for about 15 minutes and the 3 of us have already eaten 6 of them. A very simple cookie (oops, biscuit): melted butter with golden syrup is added to oats, flour, sugar, coconut and a bit of baking soda (or powder, always have to relook) mixed with water. Stir together, then form cookies and bake. Took all of about 10 minutes to put together, and they baked for the same amount of time (or slightly longer since my oven is always iffy). These are not the greatest cookie ever, but they're very good. We'll make them again, and that is 2 out of 2 for this book so far. It will be fun to figure out what to make next.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                        reading this is inspiring me to break open the magazines and actually cook from them!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you do, I'd love to know how things turn out. I'm especially interested now in how her savory dishes work.

                                                                                                                                                                                          One more cookie bit the dust since I wrote two hours ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                            I must admit, all of the magazines that I have are for sweets or baking.. since that is what I really like! I will let you know!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                        DONNA HAY'S MODERN CLASSICS BOOK 2

                                                                                                                                                                                        Butter Cake, Orange variation. Another very simple but very tasty cake. If you like citrusy cakes, which Lulu and I very much do, then this is a really nice version. Grease an 8" cake pan, line with parchment (not really sure how necessary this was after the buttering, but i did it); then put into your standing mixer butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and soda, milk, and grated orange rind if using. Mix, pour into cake pan and cook. I chose to go with the basic icing to top it - powdered sugar mixed with the juice of the orange I'd just gotten the rind from.

                                                                                                                                                                                        By the way, those Oaty ANZAC biscuits really grew on me. I'm not normally one who wants more sweets (despite what this thread may lead you to believe) but I found that when I gave one to Lulu and/or LulusDad, I wanted one too.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Verdict: 3 recipes, all good. Simple, clear instructions that work. I'm getting another Donna Hay book.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mmmm, this sounds lovely LLM, I'll have to give it a try. I'm such a "Lulu-fan" from your posts LLM, she sounds like such a Chowhound in her own (albeit young) right!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, thank you so much BC. I'm a very proud mother, and yes, my daughter has some very strong opinions on food (but not like most 6 year olds - she's eaten a lot of food that most kids her age haven't and likes most of it) and isn't afraid to express them. A local CHer recently asked when she'd have her own food blog. Anyway, I do highly recommend the Donna Hay classics 2 book. LulusDad just finished off the butter cake and was raving about it (he was away when it was made). I'll look forward to hearing any reports on this book you have.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have attempted her Melting Moments recipe twice now and have failed. The batter is stiffer than cookie dough and I broke one pastry bag from squeezing so hard. When I finally have the pretty cookies pipped out they did not hold their shape through the cooking process. I am thinking I might need to stick them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes beforehand to have them hold their shape. Any advice?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DebHo

                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't tried the melting moments yet. I'm surprised though, that there is a problem, because I've found all the recipes to be so incredibly clear and simple to make. But I definitely believe you. I'll give the recipe a look once I'm not overwhelmed.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree, the rest of the recipes are simple and delicious which is why I am wondering if I am doing something wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DebHo

                                                                                                                                                                                                I wish I was a more experienced baker (I bake, but there is a lot I don't know) so that I could help more. Sorry!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: DebHo

                                                                                                                                                                                              DebHo, I found a lot of comments on this blog about a similar problem & the suggestion seems to be to use a canvas rather than nylon piping bag. Hope this helps.

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://timetocookonline.com/2011/09/0...

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, I have actually been cooking through another one of her books, Instant Entertaining, and have been recording my attempts on my blog. I will send you the link if you are interested.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DebHo

                                                                                                                                                                                                Absolutely - my email address is in my profile. Might not be able to respond for a few days (away from my computer) but I'd love to see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DebHo

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Deb I suspect others may be interested as well. Did you know you can add a link to your blog in your profile?

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I decided that this "challenge" would make for a nice Sunday afternoon. Pull a cookbook from the shelf, turn on the Chiefs game, and pour myself a beer. Spoiler alert: only one of the three did not disappoint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The Beer: Let's start with the highlight. I'm a born and raised Kansas City girl. There are a lot of great things about this city. One is the beer. We have a local brewery called Boulevard. It's named for the street on which it is located and there is almost always some in our fridge. Today, I enjoyed a Tank 7. Lovely. If you can get this beer wherever you live...do it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                The Game: Chiefs vs Bills. Shortly before half-time, we're down 21 to zip. Ugh. Not looking good, folks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The Book: "Gourmet By the Bay" - I picked this up at a garage sale a few years ago. In retrospect - I have no idea why. Apparently, I have little discretion in these matters. This is one of those books put together to raise money for a good cause, which I applaud. It was published in 1989 and the recipes feel more dated than that. I assume they were contributed from various members of the group selling the book. I don't think I've ever cooked from this book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipes rely too heavily on convenience items. I'm not completely opposed to using a boxed cake mix as the base for a dessert, but I don't need a book full of this. And - canned asparagus? Really? I just can't. There is very little use of fresh herbs or vegetables and too much use of mayonnaise. Now, I've been cooking from My Calabria lately, so Gourmet By the Bay had a lot to live up to. I found myself trying too hard to flag recipes that I might try and realized I wasn't excited or intrigued by any of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Week 1, done. Neither the book nor the game are making it past half-time. The book is going on the donate pile, the TV is going on mute (have to keep it on....just in case.) Time to pour another beer and start thinking about my COTM selection for today. Mmmmmmmm...

                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bkieras

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great post! Sorry about the Chiefs, but glad the beer pleased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bkieras

                                                                                                                                                                                                    WOOhoo! It's always good to cull the herd once in awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Herby, it's the imaginary button we all have in our heads. I visualized hitting it, you know:)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. " Apparently, I have little discretion in these matters."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think we need a tee-shirt with this on it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Realizing the book is of no use to you is terrific. How many of them do we all have? We simply haven't made the time to take a good, hard look at the book and make a decision. I think this will be one of the great aspects of this project.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Between this thread and the one about photographing your cookbooks I spent hours over the last week revamping my bookshelves. I had moved last winter and things were unpacked without thinking their placement through. I think I have about another hours work and then it should be done!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then i just have to figure out how to get the photos into the computer and post them!
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the nudge everyone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oops - meant this to be a response to bkieras!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You make the T-shirts, and I am sure many of us cookbook addicts would order them... perhaps featuring a drawing of a cookbook, or one of the 'best of' pics from the "Pictures of Your Cookbook Shelves" thread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brilliant, meatn3!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. My next selection for this thread is going to be on The Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book first published in 1966 which is based on recipes prepared by the Canadian Home Economics Association. I chose this book as I am into vintage and I also like savory comfort food and sweets. Over the years my Mom collected recipes in a little tin box and this little box held our treasured family recipes but some of the precious cards were not ledgible, they had been so used, had stains or were just worn away. On a whim I picked up the cookbook at my favorite secondhand store and once I commenced reading it, realized that all those little recipes on cards were in the cookbook. My Mom's recipe titled on her card as Brownie's deluxe was actually on page 129 and was called Butter Mallow Brownies. So as we are into fall (almost) and I am into vintage and easy recipes I am going to try some savory and sweets and report back. Link below:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/L...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah, the little box of recipes. I have my grandmother's. I don't know that I'd make too many of those recipes, but I sure love having this to remind me of her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The first recipe I have tried in the Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book is called the Queen's muffins. Apparently on her Royal Visit to Canada, Queen Elizabeth made a few pit stops at military installations across the country for tea and these muffins were standardized and made for each stop she made, so I was intrigued by this recipe. Way back when, a lot of butter was used, so this muffin recipe started with butter instead of the usual oil and the rest was standard with the exception of wheat germ. They are now just out of the oven and they look quite nice, I wonder if the Queen bless her soul, still eats them? I have tried one and must say the are hearty without being heavy and the wheat germ gives some real flavour, they are very good indeed! Similar recipe below actually it is the same recipe except my book only called for raisins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/the-queens...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. How timely to see this, BC, I've been doing this on a casual basis for the last few weeks. I'm in!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hello bayoucook. I was thinking about you as our garden starts to yield the first of the season produce (thinking of your tomatoes!). It's been a while since we've heard from you and I hope all is well. Not sure if you've been lurking but would love to hear what's been on your plates these days!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. THE FEED ZONE COOKBOOK, by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The premise: The authors of this book were responsible for feeding a pro cycling team. The book is aimed at athletes, and has recipes for meals, snacks, recovery foods, and foods to be consumed while racing or training.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why I own this book: I race in a kayak, not on a bike, but the same needs are there. I bought the book primarily for the "portables" chapter, which are small items that can be carried and eaten on the go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The book has the following chapters:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Introduction - all about their philosophy of fueling, foods included or omitted and why, basic ingredients, stocking the pantry, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Breakfast - a pleasant surprise, this section has 26 recipes and is broken down into three subsections: bowls, handhelds, and big plates. Each chapter has it's own table of contents, and each recipe has a symbol by it if it is vegetarian or gluten-free. The majority of the recipes are gluten-free or can be easily made so. This chapter has some interesting breakfast ideas, such as Pasta and Eggs, which contains, besides the obvious pasta and eggs, mixed vegetables, and chick peas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Portables - the reason I bought the book. Small bites of food that can be wrapped up and consumed on the go. Designed to fuel the body without upsetting the stomach. Most of the items are rice-based and include rice cakes, muffins, and a waffle sandwich. Interesting that none of the muffins, pancakes or waffles in this book contain any leavening at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Après - recovery food meant to be consumed within 30 minutes post-workout. Divided into quick recovery, small plates, handhelds (tacos, wraps), big plates, and one pots (these latter intended for the slow cooker).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dinner - divided into bowls, small plates, handhelds (empanadas, pizzas, tacos, burgers), and big plates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have made three recipes from the portables secion:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Allen's Rice Cakes - a mix of sticky rice, eggs, bacon, soy sauce and brown sugar. Mixed while hot, patted into a pan to cool, cut into squares and individually wrapped. Not bad at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bacon Muffins - made of cooked rice, eggs, milk, and just enough bacon for some flavor. No leavening. Came out surprisingly moist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Waffle Ride Sandwich - a waffle made of rice and banana, made into a sandwich with a filling of cream cheese and jam. This is the first waffle to stick to my non-stick waffle iron. While a failure as a waffle, the batter made a wonderful pancake, so I made pancake sandwiches instead, and they were a success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipes I've tried have pretty much done what they were advertised to do. They were consumed pre-workout or pre-race, and sat well in my stomach and provided plenty of energy. This is actually a pretty tall order, so I'm pleased. While so far I've only tried recipes from the Portables chapter, there are some breakfast ideas that look promising, and I might try some of the slow cooker dishes. The other recipes for meals might be a bit basic for me. The book is intended for competing athletes, so portions are generous and this is not diet food. For me, the book is a keeper, and I would recommend it to other athletes looking to get away from heavily processed bars and gels. It probably wouldn't be of much interested to the average chowhound just looking for a tasty dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Terrific review! I'm not an athlete but this seems like a book I could learn a lot from. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. 660 CURRIES by Raghavan Iyer (my week 1)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I bought this book some time ago, seduced by a wonderful post by sushigirlie that began “660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer has changed my life.” (Link here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7736... ) sushigirlie provides a long list of recipes she likes in that link, which you should definitely check out if you are interested in this cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The author explains quite a bit about regional variations in ingredients and cooking styles, and explains which ingredients each region uses to achieve flavors such as bitter, sweet, astringent and so on. He has quite an engaging tone to my ears. (I have not heard him on TV, I understand he can be a bit much in that medium.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made the Shahi Kofta Curry (lamb-almond meatballs in tomato cream sauce) last week and posted on them in the meatball thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8661...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have wondered why I haven’t ever gotten fully engaged by this book, and yesterday I realized that (a) I am a spice wimp (half the called-for cayenne in the meatball recipe pushed me right to the edge), (b) I rarely if ever find myself craving Indian food and when I do I have some tried and true recipes* so I am not all that motivated to cook from this huge book, and (c) because of my lack of familiarity with the cuisine I am not capable of reading a recipe and readily evaluating whether I will like it. So I think I may try one more recipe and if that does not get me more emotionally invested in this book I will move it along. It does take up a lot of space.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  *from my beloved Ismail Merchant’s Indian Cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. SO EASY: LUSCIOUS, HEALTHY RECIPES FOR EVERY MEAL OF THE WEEK by Ellie Krieger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So, I was going to do a write-up of Hungry Monkey, but then I realized I'd already given that book a fairly thorough once-over, even though I hadn't written about it on CH anywhere. I realize that I'd get more benefit from doing a book I hadn't spent much time with...hence SO EASY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't really remember if bought this book from The Good Cook on purpose (ie., as part of a bundle purchase) or "by accident" because they automatically sent it to me and I was too lazy to return it. I have her earlier book (The Food You Crave, I think?) and have cooked a couple of recipes from it with success. Not wild success, just pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This book basically has 8 sections, two sections (one fast or "on the go" and one more leisurely) for each meal of the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and for dessert. The idea is the recipes in the "fast" section should take you less than 30 minutes. The more leisurely section is for when you have more time. And I guess that's my first complaint about this book is that she doesn't specify the overall prep time for the "leisurely" recipes. It seems to me that people who buy a book called "So Easy" want to know how long even the leisurely recipes are going to take.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My second complaint about the book is that for a book on "healthy" cooking, she sure uses a lot of white rice and white potatoes... I was hoping for some more complex carbs. She does show nutritional info for each of the recipes, which I appreciate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for the recipes themselves, almost nothing in here is earth-shattering. Smoothies and breakfast wraps, for instance. And you get the impression every single on of them is posted on the Food Network Site or something...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But, it is nice to have someone take a regular recipe and tweak it to be a little healthier, instead of doing it yourself and wondering if it will still turn out okay. And the nutritional info is nice to have, as I said before. Coming into fall in Minnesota, the comfort food recipes seem to appeal to me the most:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Broccoli-cheddar breakfast bake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Blueberry almond french toast bake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Honey harvest quinoa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Spaghetti frittata
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Garlic basil shrimp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sesame shrimp fried rice with cabbage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Asian noodle bowl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shrimp fra diavlo with spinach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    fig and ginger truffles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    peanut butter crispy rice treat (weird, I know, but this seems like a healthy version and I have a toddler...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are a handful more that had nuts in them that I skipped over because baby can't have nuts yet, so I avoid them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll probably hang onto this book even though it doesn't inspire me. I am going to try to make one or two of the first four recipes on the list.If those aren't good, I'll dump the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    61 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is off the topic, but did you have a good look at Gold's Radically Simple, TDQ? I cooked a few dishes from it when it was COTM and remember them as quick to make, healthy and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You know, I have that book and haven't really spent any time with it. Maybe that should be my book for next week, even though it already has its own thread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do not think that it matters if a book has its own thread; as I understand it, the goal of this thread is to take a look at books you own but have not used to their full capacity; have a good look at these books and either love them and cook from them or pass them onto others who will love them and cook from them:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thought about Radically Simple for you because you want to have an amazing dinner on the table for your family and expose your son to different tastes while he is still young and impressionable while not spending hours (that you do not have) in the kitchen - do I understand your needs correctly? Since Gold was a personal chef, some of these were her goals too - time in the kitchen for sure and exposure to various flavours seem to be another one. Give it a go and let us know what you think of it from a busy mom perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would very much appreciate your feedback, TDQ, since my daughter's friend is having a baby soon and wants to feed her family healthy and tasty food; and I would love to give her a book that will help:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Assuming I can find this book, I'll put this on my list for next week. :) Congrats to your daughter's friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One thing I remembered about Radically Simple that I wanted to point out is that because there's such an emphasis on exceptional, simple ingredients, one thing that might be problematic for a new mom is ingredient sourcing and storage of perishables. This isn't true for all of her recipes, but some of them require specialized ingredients (pink peppercorns, smoked sablefish, kimchee, frisee, herring in wine sauce, etc.) that might be hard to find or require you to go to a specialty shop. Also, I notice a lot of fresh seafood, scallops and such. I think part of the challenge of getting a meal on the table for new parents is not only the ease of cooking and clean-up, but the ease of shopping. And, also, the flexibility to push a meal off to another day if it's just not going to work out for the day you planned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe I'm just imagining this though, but it might also depend on where your daughter's friend lives and if she has ready access to specialty markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You know, there are a couple of books on my shelf that I need to look at that y ou might be interested in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One (still shrinkwrapped, *hanging my head in shame*, I have been remiss) is John Besh's "My Family Table". He starts with some "base" recipes such as Risotto Almost Anything, Creamy Any Vegetable Soup, Simple Meat Ragout for Any Pasta, The Perfect Frittata, Curried Anything, and then has sections for Sunday Suppers, Slow Cooking and School Nights and so on. You can see a good chunk of this book on Amazon. If you're interested, let me know and I'll see if I can accelerate spending some more time with this book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another one I have is Nigella Kitchen, Recipes from the Heart of the Home, which is really about cooking for families. She has a whole section on how to feed hungry teens, for instance. Also sort of an "express" section for quick 30 minute kiinds of recipes as well as "pantry dinner" types of recipes. And then she's got a section on comfort foods that take more time... You can't see this book on Amazon (not Amazon US--maybe check on AMazon UK?) , but if you are interested, I can have a peek and give you the download on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, Nigella's book "How to Eat" (which I don't own--I took it out of the library awhile back) actually has a nice, common sense section on "How to Feed Babies and Young Children." It's more of her philosophy than a super rigorous cookbook, though it does have recipes. I remember it was a nice read when I was just starting my little prince on solids and was kind trying to figure out how to approach the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you so much, TDQ, very thoughtful of you! I looked at John Besh's book when it first came out and decided that it was not for me but definitely is a possibility for Christie. It would be great if you would share your thoughts - it could be your "book of the week" review:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I tried to like Nigella but just can't warm up to her. I saw her TV show and did not like it. Do not have any of her books - looked at a few at a bookstore but nothing appealed to me. Made her cheesecake once that people raved about and hated it. What can I say? Can't give a book if I won't have it, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am also thinking about An Evalasting Meal by Tamar Adler. I read it, like it, followed some of her suggestions but have not made any recipes yet. Maybe I should do this today - just returned home last night and need to grocery shop and cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't like Nigella's show much either. Someone on Chowhound wrote that she's become a characature of herself, and I think that's kind of true. But, this book did appeal to me, though, I haven't spend enough time with it to really say whether it delivers. There are a bazillion other great cookbook authors out there. If Nigella's not for you, don't waste another minute on her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I wondered if you'd thought about Everlasting Meal!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I will move Mr. Besh's book to the top of my list. Actually, now that I've remembered that I have this book, I really, really want to look at it more! I'm thinking it might be the answer to some of my woes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll wait to hear your thoughts on My Family Table and in the mean time I'll have a closer look on Amazon and check with my library.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the besh book sounds interesting. Another one to look at is dinner a love story. This is a blog about family meals, but the author published a book recently. I made two of her recipes for the freezer before my daughter was born, turkey chili and turkey bolognese (though made both with beef) and they were easy and tasty relative to the amount of effort. As advertised, they froze and defrosted well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What a wonderful blog! Many thanks for pointing me to it, Westminstress!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whoops! I just bought another cookbook (Dinner, a Love Story). :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TDQ, please post your comments once you review the book. The blog is great and I am wondering if I should get the book or just point Christie to the web.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stopped by the library and took out Besh's book. Didn't realize it is one of those heavy and oversized format books that I do not like very much. Looks interesting though - will have to go over it quickly since the baby shower is next Saturday. I know she does not need baby things since both my daughters gave her at least three car-loads of stuff and people will gift for sure. I will bring a gift of well chosen books:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Herby, I had "Dinner..." from the library a few weeks ago. I would definitely recommend this for Christie. She can, however, find many of the recipes at the blog if you decide not to purchase it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a well written book, funny with good, easy food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, Nikkihwood! I would love to buy it but have to look at it first to make sure that it is a book that I would like to give. My library has 30 holds on 5 copies... I put a hold on the e-version - hope it will come soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MY FAMILY TABLE by JOHN BESH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, I spent the last couple of hours with My Family Table and came to the same conclusion as before - I do not need this book because there is not enough of knowledge in it that I do not already have in my head or on my bookshelves. And I won't give it to the new mom because the recipes are great for families with kids 4+ (imho) and not as useful for a new mom. I also did not like the size of the recipes - most are for 8 servings - which works for Besh's large family but not a typical one. And the book is large in size and heavy...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What I liked. Visually beautiful book - great phots of food and Besh's family; good, solid, easy recipes - casual, flexible, common ingredients; excellent pantry suggestions to buy and to make to supplement; great attitude towards bought ingredients - he would rather you make the soup using store bought stock than not at all while encouraging the reader to use organic, free-range, chemical-free, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Great book for a parent (or not) just venturing into cooking!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The recipes that appeal:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Cauliflower Mac and Cheese p. 83

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Dry-rubbed Smoked Chichen p. 160

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Fall Fruit Compote p. 212

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I might copy these and try at some point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Herby,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am a little late to the game but I have a few suggestions for your new mother friend. I have a book on my shelf that I love called Kitchen Playdates. It is a beautiful book and should be available used for pennies. It is broken down into chapters by themed playdates. All the menus are kid friendly, and all can involve kids in the process of preparing them. While it will be a few years before your friend can involve her child in the process, I think this will jump start her creative ideas. Another family friendly cookbook is How to Pick a Peach. Very wholesome ideas but some are a bit more involved than in the first book. Oh, and the food in both are delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Many thanks for the suggestions, DK! I might get these books for my grandboys who are 6 to 4, love to help in the kitchen and have playdates. Put the books into my Amazon cart as to not to forget:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I looked at the dinner a love story book but decided I didn't need it myself. It was a bit too basic for me. But I think it would be great for someone lookIng for basics to feed a family. Herby, I just requested a book from the library called at the farmers market with kids. I'm really excited about this one since my son and I go the farmers market every week. It's a collection of recipes to cook with your kids after a trip to the farmers market. It's arranged seasonally and each recipe comes with suggested tasks that kids can do according to their skill level. Recipes seem kid friendly yet creative (e.g. Chocolate beet cupcakes). I'm going to try a couple with my son and if it works for us I'm sure I'll buy it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Please post your comments, Westminstress! I find it difficult to cook with the kids from a cookbook but would love to learn about others' experiences and suggestions to adjust my approach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for your report on this book herby. I'm sorry it's not going to work out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Honestly, though, I'm personally not put off by the serving sizes. If the dishes can be frozen, I love the idea of 8 servings. For our family, that's three meals (let me tell you, the toddler can sometimes eat as much in a meal as his dad... I don't know where he puts it all, but it obviously fuels his very-determined and frenetic racing around the house). So, maybe dinner one night and two lunches. Or two dinners one lunch. Or, one dinner, one lunch, one for the freezer... Well, you get the idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is the one problem I have with so-called "quick" recipes (including Nigel Slater's...). One reason they are so quick is that they often serve only two. And of course they are quicker because there's less of everything, less chopping, less cooking time because there's just less mass to heat, less clean-up perhaps, AND NO packing up of leftovers. But, at our house, planned leftovers is an important part of our meal strategy. So I often find myself doubling those kinds of recipes...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I, too, wish this Besh book were less large and heavy. I don't need the glam shots of Besh and his kids, lovely as they are...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When you say you're looking for a book for a new mom, what did you have in mind, purees and fingers foods and such? I have a ton of those kinds of books (including that have recipes that feed the whole family as in, cook this for the whole family then puree it for baby...) I can look at for you (including River Cottage's Baby and Toddler book, plus "Toddler Cafe" and "Start Fresh" by Tyler Florence which a friend of mine swore by for her baby) but, to be honest, I found all of those books a complete waste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our guy doesn't want his own food. He wants what's on our plates. (his current obsession is apples. And the extra challenge is that he doesn't want it pureed, sliced or chopped. He wants to eat it as a whole fruit, just as we do...) As long as you keep track of at which age you can introduce which foods (early on as purees and then eventually as finger foods), you don't need special recipes. (Every kid is different of course.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One book/blog that I'm considering that someone recommended in my "Meal Strategies" thread was "Naptime Chef". But, it's not indexed on EYB, so I'm holding off... is that more what you had in mind?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another (recent addition) book I like but haven't cooked from (yet) or posted about is "Hungry Monkey." This is a memoir by a freelance food writer of feeding his daughter in the early years. He feeds her stuff like pad thai, duck hash, enchiladas, ants on a tree, etc. There are only (per EYB) 55 recipes, but they are all about "How can I feed more adventurous foods to my child"... It's a fun read for a new, chowhoundly parent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another book that's great for new parents is something by Ellyn Satter, either Child of Mine (more of a conceptual/theory book about feeding kids) or the more "practical" book with actual recipes and meal plans "Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook". Nothing exotic, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh! Here's a book that was recommended to me a hundred years ago by (I think) LulusMom: Hands-Off Cooking: Low-Supervision, High-Flavor Meals For Busy People. This is all real food with the idea that the meal might not be quick to cook, necessary, but that it can be assembly quickly then simmer stove top for an hour without stirring. Or baked in the oven without basting. That sort of thing. Just a wisp of a book, no photos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yarron's Super Baby Food is the least readable, highly repetitive, poorly edited, weirdly dogmatic book about feeding infants that every new parent needs... I found it a useful guide for which foods to introduce when, how much to feed baby, and what texture to feed baby, but I took everything else with a grain of salt, that is, I ignored it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for the wealth of information, TDQ! Like you, I find all the baby food books a waste. Both my daughters bought a few when they had their first babies and to my knowledge these books has been hardly used if at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am looking for a couple of books that will help Christie to make simple, healthy meals for her and her partner, and for the baby as she grows beyond baby food. So, An Evalasting Meal is one. Maybe Mighty Spice and/or The 150 Best American Recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love your suggestion of Hands-off Cooking and have it in my Amazon cart to take a closer look later today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, a couple more ideas for you. How about tried and true former COTM "All About Braising?" (she also has "All About Roasting," which I own but haven't cooked from yet). I often give AAB plus a dutch oven as a wedding gift...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, I've been meaning to check out "Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners"--you can check it out on Amazon as well as peruse the listing of recipes on EYB... River Cottage has a "Family" Cookbook that's probably worth looking at but I'm guessing it's in metric which may not be that appealing to someone who isn't used to cooking metric...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks TDQ! Sara Moulton's book could be a contestant:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think an everlasting meal is a great choice. And what about cook this now? I bought the book after it was cotm and I really think its a great book and not too demanding in terms of ingredients and techniques. It is family friendly also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I bought "Cook This Now" because it was a COTM and everyone loved it did not like it at all... Would love to find a loving home for it but can't give a book I do not love to Chistie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I sound like a pain even to myself:) But on the other hand it is good to know what you like and dislike, no?:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I bought it on my Kindle. I didn't like it either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is, but if your goal is to give a book you truly love, you should maybe stick to the universe of books you already love and have cooked from such as Radically Simple and Mighty Spice and figuring out which best meets her needs as a new mom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Neither of those books appealed to me as a new mom for various reasons, one having to do with ease of acquiring the necessary ingredients, which sometimes meant sending my husband to the grocery store, and not necessarily even the fancy grocery store, but the one that was on his way to or from another errand he was already running.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another is that I found I wanted food that reheated well as leftovers or could be cooked as a double batch then frozen and reheated. Also, food where the ingredients themselves could keep for a day or two in the fridge. Cookbooks that rely on highly perishable ingredients (namely fresh seafood) just didn't work for me because I seldom had the time or energy to do my grocery shopping and cooking on the same day. One day would be my grocery shopping trip and then the next , or maybe the next after that if we had a particularly bad/sleepless night and I was too wiped out to cook, would be my cooking day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now to be fair, I've not cooked from either MS or RS, but I took the former out of the library and own the latter (because I was very excited by the advance buzz I'd heard about it before baby was born). It just seemed every recipe was going to require a trip to this specialty market (including the fishmonger) or that one, and/or wasn't going to keep or reheat well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think both books might work well for a mom with young kids, but not for a mom of a newborn. I remember my time as a new mom of a newborn as a haze of days where I was getting only 6 hours of sleep a day, in one to two hour increments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What I wanted was a batch of pasta sauce or a roast chicken and some roast veggies in my fridge. Or a quiche and some salad greens. Or a hearty stew and a loaf of crusty bread. Also, I suppose it depends on the season. I was a working, new mom in the midst of a bitter cold, dark Minnesota winter...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe this is why I think of a book on braising or roasting and why Besh's book appealed to me (not having cooked from it yet, mind you) where you cook big batches of something hearty you can reheat. Looking ahead to this winter as a mom of a toddler, I'm suddenly craving soups (which toddler can't really eat adeptly) and stews, which he can probably eat. I'm thinking about dragging Molly Stevens down from the shelf and maybe picking up Lynn Alley's book of crock pot soups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe bring her one of those cookbooks because you love them and/or a box of Penzey's spices and/or and a frozen lasagna or two for her freezer to get her through the early months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually I had great success with mighty spice with a new mum. I didn't find the need to go to any specialist grocery store. Spices aren't perishable so they keep for a long time. But maybe the spices the book asked for are more common in the UK. My local supermarket has all the indian spices, just pricier than the indian grocer. I do a weekly shop only because like you I just don't have the time to shop everyday. I tend to stick with the chicken recipes but I'm ok with frozen fish in a curry. I think the spice somehow mask the fishiness of frozen seafood? Also you can batch cook some of the spice paste. For example I have done it for the spinach curry in the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think ultimately it's what food she likes to eat and also what sort of ingredients are easy to get.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey, that's great to know. Maybe I should take another look at this book, especially now that I'm beyond newborn phase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I scan down the list of recipes in the MS thread I see a ton of recipes that call for chiles (which seemed problematic to me if I was going to puree whatever we were eating for the baby starting at 4 months); lemongrass and tamarind (neither available at my regular market); peanuts/walnuts/cashews (a no-no for infants according to my pediatrician). But, you're right, there doesn't seem to be lot of the highly perishable, super delicate seafood, like scallops and such, that Radically Simple seems laden with. A lot of lamb recipes jump out at me, too. We don't eat lamb at our house for environmental reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Did you find the chilies problematic? Did you just pick them out for the baby? Or do two dishes one without?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As I said above, maybe a copy of the book plus an assortment of Penzey's spices so she doesn't have to hunt those down might make a good gift?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TDQ,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tamarind can be purchased in paste form and kept frozen (that is, if you can find it nearby). I always have some in my freezer. I subbed out a mild chili in all the recipes as my daughter is spice adverse, and the recipes still came out seemingly perfect. I would make two batches if I was adding any nuts. As for lemongrass, I don't know of any substitute if you can't find it fresh. I grow it in my yard but I don't think that would be an option in Minnesota. If you can find it nearby, you can freeze the whole stalks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny, I just popped in to say lemongrass stalk freeze nicely. It might seem funny to give a gift of lemongrass packed ready for the freezer, but it would work! Also, I'm not totally sure, but I think Whole Foods has lemongrass in a tube in their fresh herbs section. Might be a decent substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the tips on handling chiles and nuts...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It used to be that lemongrass was fairly uncommon at our supermarket so I'd buy a bunch at a time from a Chinatown market then chop it, dump it into a ziploc along w a little olive oil, squish the bag flat to evenly distribute the lemongrass then freeze it. I could then just break a piece off as needed. I still do this if I have extra...just as I do w ginger and garlic. Actually I just did this w a dozen heads of garlic last weekend. In the winter months we typically can only get Chinese garlic and I find it bitter so for the last 2 years I've been stocking up on local stuff in the fall then doing this so I can use through the winter. (and it speeds up prep too!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ETA: I meant to mention that our grocery store now sells chopped lemongrass in a jar in the same area they have pre-packed salads and refrigerated dressings. I haven't tried them but its a similar concept to what I've been doing and may be an option for you DQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TDQ, the advice hear re weaning is that nuts are ok from 6 months unless you have a family history of food allergies. However my little one also has problems with chillies. I have to de-seed it very carefully, or use half or quarter the amount of chilli powder asked for in recipes. We add more chillies at the table for our portions. Both tamarind and lemongrass are available in my local supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We were told nuts were okay at a year, I think (it's all foggy now), but the real issue in toddlerhood is that nuts are considered a choking hazard regardless of history of allergies. So we do peanut and other nut butters and such, but no whole or even chopped nuts. The little guy doesn't have any molars to chew them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Probably I'd do what you do, which is add them tableside or, more accurately, in the kitchen before I bring the food out to the dining table. If he saw me putting something on my plate that he didn't have, he would be shouting, "Mommy, some!" "Mommy, some!" Or "Mommy Peas," which is how he says please. No way am I ambitious enough to cook two dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some of my markets have tamerind and lemongrass, but not all of them. You have to know which one to go to. (and I do, of course. :) ).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah I was thinking about ground nuts. I don't give my little one chopped or whole nuts because of the choking issue either. I add them to our portions after hers is taken out. Tbh mine isn't an adventurous eater at all. She is fine with mine and the nursery's cooking. But totally struggle when eating out. I wish she eats as broad a range of cuisine as yours!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gold's book for some reason does not strike me as a right one for a brand new mom but I have not cooked from it enough to know why. Just flipped through it now after reading your post and the recipes seem to be very simple and ingredients are not trully unusual. The meat section has a lot of beef recipes in addition to veal, pork and lamb. Veg section has 10-20 min recipes and some slow cooked ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Mighty Spice is really an easy book to cook from. His idea of creating great flavours by using no more than 5 spices is a good one for a busy mom and creates great tasting dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        RE: RS, it's not that the ingredients are so unusual (though some certainly are are...just looking at the recipes listed on the first page when you look at the book on EYB and completely ignoring the first half dozen recipes for cocktails: sablefish, kimchee, smoked trout, frisee, herring in wine sauce, challah bread), but they aren't pantry ingredients or ingredients you'd want to send your husband to a normal grocery for. They seem to me to be the kind of ingredients where you have to go to a high end grocery (and for the seafood, the fishmonger) for and fussily pick out for yourself and use them at the absolute peak of freshness and where substituting could be a problem. I mean, yeah, it's "simple" but somehow, it seems really fussy and precise and delicate to me, if that makes any sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, you asked what I thought, and that's how it seemed to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        However, based on the discussion in this thread, my interest in MIghty Spice is renewed. Honestly, upon having another look at the MS thread earlier today, my concern was less about specialized ingredients and more about the incredible amount of chiles and nuts and other things you don't want to feed an infant. Our little guy is an adventurous eater--we've fed him him to Vietnamese and Thai and Mexican and Carribean and Chinese food, but we were super careful about how we introduced things to him early on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was going to drop you an email but I don't your address is in your profile. Mine is in my profile if you want to drop me a note and I'll explain a little more about my personal situation that may make my perspective a little different than others...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But, I agree with you, you should give a gift of a book you love. You are an experienced mom and grandmother and you know Christie and her circumstances. Go with your gut. Honestly, I think a gift of MS with a basket full of Penzey's spices for spices that are often used in the book would be a lovely gift for the right mama.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have to agree with herby about RS maybe not being a book for someone trying to save time. I love the book, and have cooked some great stuff (and some of it quick and easy) from it, but overall it is a little more time consuming than you'd think (especially if you add in the wash up time that all the pots she calls for adds). I really like the book, but it isn't quick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do love Mighty Spice, but yes, if you worry about nuts and chilies, it isn't the right book for now. I didn't give Lulu any nuts until she was 3. Everyone else was partying down on the PB&Js but her doctor had said we should wait, given her father's allergies. So I feel your pain. Once the dairy prince is ready to eat nuts and chilies, then maybe use this book. I absolutely love it. Just back from a trip and had something I'd made in large quantity and frozen as dinner last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hmm, I'm sorry cook this now didn't work out for you. I assume Christie is having her first child? She probably won't want to cook at all for a while. After that shell need to make things that are really easy - just a few ingredients, not too much chopping of vegetables, etc. it will be best if they are either really fast or really forgiving - the kind of things that you can prepare in stages or leave for a while if the baby wakes up unexpectedly. One thing you could try is a classic book like Marcella's essentials. Then you could tab the desert island recipes for her - sauce with butter and onion, roast chicken with lemon, etc. I Iove that butter and onion sauce bc it involves almost no prep and no tending while it cooks - perfect for a new mom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "She probably won't want to cook at all for a while."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is how I felt as a first-time mom of a newborn, but I think a lot of this comes down to Christie's personal circumstances. How easy the delivery is, how healthy the child is, and if there are any other extenuating circumstances (as there were in my situation.) It's a long story, but it probably took me a good 6 months to really get back into the swing of things where I was ready to do some cooking. Up until then, my husband did most of the cooking. He's a good sport and actually a good cook (probably better than I am, to be honest) but his repertoire is very limited to what I'd call Midwestern comfort food. It's all healthful and delicious, but after 6 months of eating like that, I really, really craved something with a little kick and spice to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love the Hazan idea. Suddenly, I want to rush back to my copy of the book and tag all of the desert island recipes! HA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Great suggestion - thank you! Especilly the idea of tabbing recipes - will definitely do this whichever books I choose:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just got pointed over to this post in another discussion. Interested to hear your thoughts on this book. Probably just saved me some money and shelf space. I may look and see if there are any recipes from it online, but it sounds like it isn't something that I need. (this is in response to herby's post about the Besh Family cookbook.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, there are many recipes online. Have you already gone in search of them? I've loaded several into my pepperplate account and can share if you are interested. Naturally, I haven't cooked any of them yet, but I've almost cooked two!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you don't own the book, honestly, you might hold off. Do you have pepperplate? If so, I think you can load them right into your account if give you links from mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Heat and Serve Chili
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4519561...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Hearty Baked Pasta
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://kansamuse.wordpress.com/2012/0...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      JOHN BESH's VIETNAMESE NOODLE SOUP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://www.edibleaustin.com/content/e...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Pork and Sausage Jambalaya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4634309...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Not Fried, Fried Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4634309...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Simple Meat Ragout For Any Pasta
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://hautepinkbham.com/Food/my-fami...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Anything Sloppy Joe's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4519561...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Curried Anything (Chicken)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://www.chron.com/life/food/articl...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John Besh's Asian Chicken Salad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedreci...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (original source: http://www.chron.com/life/food/articl...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Let me know how these pepperplate links work for you. I'm hoping you can just click to import them into your own pepperplate account, ZING! but I haven't tried it before, so am not entirely sure if it works smoothly or not. There were a few more recipes floating out there that didn't interest me, but this should be a good start anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are The Dairy Goddess. Seriously - that is wonderful, thank you so much. I'll try loading them into my pp later. Time to make breakfast and get Lulu up. Once she's off to school I'll give this a shot. I really appreciate all the work you put into this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          TDQ, and any other pepperplate users - this works really well and very easily. If you click on the pepperplate link it takes you to pepperplate, and you can immediately download it to your account. This is useful to know and could help us all a lot in the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh that is so great to know!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was able to get a "shareable" link out of pepperplate by emailing the receipt to myself (each recipe has "share" options off to the right), clicking on the link that arrived with the email, and cutting and pasting that link into my post on Chowhound. I see pepperplate produces "shareable" links for twitter (tinyurl links, which can expire, so I eschew those), and facebook, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know if there's a more direct way to derive a shareable link or not...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Can't you simply copy the Pepperplate URL and send/post it... Like this:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.pepperplate.com/recipes/vi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ETA: I just clicked on the link above an of course got my own account and the recipe... so if anyone else clicks on the link what does the person get?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't have a PP a/c so when I click your link I'm taken to a "Login/Sign Up For Free" page Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OK thanks Breadcrumbs. Gotta have an account then... Gosh, that's better than Facebook, LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gio, I just got a link to my own pepperplate list of recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks LLM. I was just testing. The Goddess was right after all...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gio when I click on that link, I get my own pepperplate recipe list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks TDQ... I just Had to test it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wish there were a more direct way to get a shareable pepperplate link, but something is better than nothing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Herby and TDC, I have this book too - and have never really looked into it. Perhaps one of you will get to it before me, as I have a couple pulled and waiting for review so far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think this discussion get's to the heart of what we are doing here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which book are you referring to, Ginger? We have been talking about too many books to keep it straight:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have had great success with her muffin recipes DQ.. they are filling and taste good.. and not like sawdust, like many "healthy" muffins!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Week 1!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I tend to read cookbooks for inspiration and to learn new tips and techniques. If I end up with one really great dish I am quite pleased. Last year during the feeding frenzy that was Borders going out of business sale I picked up this book. When I mentioned it on one of the “what's on your bookshelf” threads and another CH gave it very high praise. With that in mind I selected it for my first weeks review:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Savory Baking by Mary Cech

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                First I need to say that this is one of the few cookbooks I've seen where I want to make everything – right now! Each recipe sounds better than the next. There are some photo's, but not for every dish. It's the ingredients and flavor combinations in Cech's creations which sound totally delectable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not a baker and was not familiar with the author. She has some pretty good credentials – former pastry chef for Charlie Trotter and pastry instructor/program developer at the CIA, Greystone. Not too shabby! She has a 16 page clearly worded section on ingredients, techniques, equipment and definitions of different dough types with tips on working with them. Recipe chapters are Quick Breads, Flaky Pastries, Rustic, Pastries with Puff, Cookies and The Side Show. The book is a square firm covered paperback. Both covers have the folded part which you can use as a place holder. The cover is slick enough to wipe away most kitchen debris.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Recipes tend to be 1 – 2 pages in length. Ingredients and steps are arranged so they are easily read and understood. There are two ink colors used - a lighter ink is used for quantities and a darker shade for ingredients. If the lighter ink was any lighter I would quibble but as it is I think that the information will be easier for me to work with in the kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipes are well chosen. Each season has several items which highlight the best of the fresh produce available. Many dishes would be perfect for entertaining. There are enough recipes which keep or freeze to make a relative hermit like me happy. Most recipes have notes addressing making ahead, keeping details and substitutions. A few could be easily modified for individual portions, such as the Fingerling Potato and Crispy Bacon Pizzas which uses frozen Phyllo dough. I'm always keeping an eye out for holiday dishes which can be served at room temperature. The Sweet Potato, Golden Raisin and Cranberry Strudel sounds like a great item to add to a Thanksgiving menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Recipes which I'll make for just me are :
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Sour Cream & Dill Muffins (keeps a week, she suggests serving for breakfast with cream cheese, smoked salmon and tomato)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Buttermilk Tarragon Loaf (quick bread suitable for sandwiches)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Chili-Grilled Eggplant & Sweet Roasted Pepper Tartlets in Poppy Seed Shells (dough can freeze 1 month)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Mustard-Rubbed Mini Lamb Sandwiches on Mint Shortcakes (serves 6, but I think I could eat it for days on end!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *Blacked-Rimmed Pistachio Wafers (dough can be frozen and cookies cooked later as needed)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next Summer for guests I want to make Caprese Salad-Filled Profiteroles. Other recipes calling me are Apricot Cheese Straws, Sour Cream Fig Spirals, Sesame Eclairs with Honey-Soy Asparagus and the Onion, Fennel and Orange Upside -Down Shortcake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I could go on and on but I'll close by stating that I don't think I've ever been interested in so many recipes from a single cookbook!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Based on your review, I want to go out and buy it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What a great concept for a book meatn3 - no wonder you were drawn to it. I like to bake, but am not a big sweets person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This all sounds very good, and I want to buy this one too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Savory baked goods are a very, very great way to roll; I like a savory cookie with just a touch of sweet with say, cheese and port after dinner. This book goes right to the heart of my proclivities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Another one for the 'want' pile. Look forward to your observations!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. As I am slightly OCD I decided to make a spreadsheet to fill out for each cookbook I review. I figure I can list the recipes I want to make and then rate/review after they're made. The sheet will go inside the front cover for future use and reference. Photo of what I came up with below. If anyone wants a copy (excel file) just e-mail me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm tracking all of this through Eat Your Books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do the same thing with an excel spreadsheet. I find it pretty useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            shercooks - What a nice offer! You'll need to put an e-mail in your profile...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Would love to, but I don't see where I can add it. Went to profile and account settings and don't see it. Open to suggestions/instructions...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There doesn't seem to be a specific field in our profiles for an email address, but I think you can just put your email address in any field and most people will figure it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Your excel list kind of reminds me of how Gio once described she tracks her recipes for any given cookbook. I wonder if she still does that now that she's a member of Eat Your Books?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can enter it in the spot for a blog address - just note that it is an e-mail! Most of us who give an e-mail have a separate one for stuff like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shercooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    People usually put their emails into "blog" section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I used to have the same problem (I had over 200 cookbooks at one time), but I bought a program for my computer called 'Living Cookbook', & slowly I went through each cookbook, transferring the recipes I wanted to keep into the program, & I now have less than 20 cookbooks, 5 of which are keepers for one reason or another :) the program really encouraged me to get through the books though, because of how customizable the organization is (I swear this isn't a sales pitch! *LOL*). I can add tags, sort into cookbooks, search by ingredients, & if I put in the nutritional information for each ingredient, it'll calculate the nutritional information per serving of each recipe. It's really convenient for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I still have to get through the last few, but I keep getting distracted by webpages full of recipes *laughs*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ThePunkHippie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  200 cookbooks is nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seriously, I've done Mastercook, Living Cookbook, Big Oven, and MacGourmet. But no way, no how, am I going to enter recipes from over 1000 cookbooks into software. EYB helps a lot. But recipe software, for me, is only for after a recipe is tried and true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A thousand books! Wow, that is something to aspire to...where do you find space for them all? I think if I get