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Cookbook of the Month for November 2012: The Union Square Cafe Cookbooks

blue room Oct 20, 2012 06:25 PM

We've got two books this month, "The Union Square Cafe Cookbook" and its sequel, "Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe" both by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano.
I have the first one, looks like classy New York fare to me! And soup lovers please note the eight soups in the book -- I'd say every one is unique.

On November 1st I'll put up threads for your thoughts on the recipes.

For anyone who'd like to know more about Cookbook of the Month (COTM) look here:

And the voting thread for November is here:

  1. s
    SocksManly Nov 5, 2012 03:10 PM

    I can't find the December 2012 COTM threads? Would like to nominate/vote this time around.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SocksManly
      herby Nov 5, 2012 03:12 PM

      It is too early for December threads. Give it a week or so and you will see them on the top stickied.

      1. re: SocksManly
        The Dairy Queen Nov 14, 2012 12:54 AM

        Hi Socks: Here's a link to the December nomination thread. I think the nominations end TOMORROW Nov 15, so, hurry!



      2. blue room Nov 1, 2012 12:21 AM

        The reporting threads for these books are now up here:

        And I wanted to say that though some people were not amused by the photo stories, I loved the dog!

        1. jpr54_1 Oct 27, 2012 11:47 AM

          my copy of second helpings arrived this afternoon

          i am preparing to make this evening tuna recipe from Union Square tonite

          7 Replies
          1. re: jpr54_1
            blue room Oct 27, 2012 11:56 AM

            Still waiting for my Second Helpings...

            That tuna salad seems to have a lot of interest.

            1. re: blue room
              jpr54_1 Oct 27, 2012 03:28 PM

              the recipe is fairly simple-and many like tuna
              i have the tuna marinating in meyer lemon juice,mint,lemon basil, and minced garlic/onion
              this is my adaption to the recipe.

              1. re: jpr54_1
                jpr54_1 Oct 28, 2012 10:23 AM

                the tuna fish salad sandwich was delicious-
                i will definitely make this again-

                for methe hardest part was making the aoili

            2. re: jpr54_1
              geekmom Oct 27, 2012 03:34 PM

              Oh! Is the tuna sandwich recipe in "Second Helpings"? I didn't order that one. Darn...

              1. re: geekmom
                JoanN Oct 27, 2012 03:45 PM

                Don't know whether it's in the second book or not, but it was originally published in the first book so if you've got that one, you've got the recipe.

                1. re: JoanN
                  geekmom Oct 27, 2012 03:52 PM

                  Thank you JoanN. I'm still waiting for my copy of the first book to arrive, and I look forward to trying this famous sandwich recipe. :-)

                  1. re: geekmom
                    jpr54_1 Oct 27, 2012 03:55 PM

                    page 126
                    tuna club sandwich
                    The Union Square Cafe Cookbook

            3. Njchicaa Oct 26, 2012 03:17 PM

              My copy of Union Square Cafe Cookbook arrived today. I paid 58 cents for a "used" copy on Amazon plus $3.99 shipping. Thanks to whoever it was that gave me the heads up on that one on Sunday.

              I opened up the package today to find a totally brand-new copy that was autographed by both Danny Meyer and Michael Romano which I thought was very cool. I haven't finished looking through it yet (just starting the salads section) but so far I'm really liking what I'm seeing and looking forward to participating in my first COTM.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Njchicaa
                roxlet Oct 26, 2012 06:40 PM

                You lucky duck! What a score. I look forward to hearing what you make from it!

                1. re: roxlet
                  Berheenia Oct 27, 2012 08:21 AM


              2. Rubee Oct 24, 2012 11:30 PM

                So busy that I've been MIA from the COTM lately, but excited to jump into this one. Bought Second Helpings when it first came out, have marked recipes, but have never tried one. This will be fun.

                1. Tom P Oct 23, 2012 04:30 PM

                  The tuna salad sandwich, btw, is mind blowing :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Tom P
                    dkennedy Oct 23, 2012 06:20 PM

                    That is going to be the first recipe I try.

                    1. re: dkennedy
                      geekmom Oct 24, 2012 06:25 AM

                      I think it will be for me too. I am so intrigued by people raving here about something as humble-sounding as a tuna sandwich.

                  2. herby Oct 23, 2012 03:30 PM

                    I bought the first book when it was a condender last time. It does not inspire me for some reason and wasn't temped to cook anything out of it. I will sit with book this weekend and mark a few recipes to make. Looking forward to the reporting threads and hope to be inspired by your reports :)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: herby
                      Berheenia Oct 24, 2012 06:26 AM

                      I have bookmarked the zuke papparadelle, herbed potato salad with bacon and scallions and the ratatouille soup ( plus the vegetable stock looks like a good opportunity to buy some harvest veg and have stock hand for other recipes at TG). Hope I make at least one of these next weekend.

                      1. re: herby
                        pavlova Oct 29, 2012 07:10 PM

                        I got the first one from the library yesterday and I am uninspired as well. Hopefully something in the second one will catch my eye. I'll be out of town for most of November anyway, but it would have been nice to make at least one thing.

                      2. jen kalb Oct 23, 2012 10:07 AM

                        I pulled both of them out of the library last night. tentatively, second helpings looked more interesting on a first pass.

                        1. CindyJ Oct 23, 2012 07:59 AM

                          I'm looking forward to the recipe threads. I've owned this book for years and can't recall ever cooking from it.

                          1. geekmom Oct 22, 2012 08:41 AM

                            For those of you who have these books already -- if I were to only acquire one, which one should it be?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: geekmom
                              Allegra_K Oct 22, 2012 08:47 AM

                              I don't have the answer to this as I haven't had a chance to look at the books yet, but I was looking for used versions and found that biblio.com has quite a few copies of both USC books for under $5 a piece. There is one seller that I really like through that website, betterworldbooks, as they ship to Canada for a $2 flat rate. Plus, biblio has a promotion right now for 10% off orders.....though, I'm sure, like the rest of us, you have enough cookbooks and really don't need anyone egging you on for additional purchases!

                              1. re: Allegra_K
                                geekmom Oct 22, 2012 08:51 AM

                                Oooh thanks for the tip about the cheap shipping to Canada, Allegra_K!! I will go there. And my husband would probably agree that I don't need anyone egging me on as I have acquired a really ludicrous number of cookbooks in the past 6 mos & have several on order at the cookbook store...

                              2. re: geekmom
                                jpr54_1 Oct 22, 2012 03:05 PM

                                my copy of second helpings has not arrived-

                                both were not expensive

                                1. re: geekmom
                                  Berheenia Oct 23, 2012 07:08 AM

                                  Just got both from the Library and both were familiar- probably took them out when they were new. I remember finding the black and white picture essays in Second Helpings as odd at the time and now I find them annoying- they are page turning exercises of little vignettes about the customers that were taken by a friend of the authors. They are distracting IMHO and getting dated rapidly. I would much rather look at pictures of the recipes so I would buy the first book.

                                  1. re: Berheenia
                                    geekmom Oct 23, 2012 07:12 AM

                                    Thanks, this is helpful. I decided to order the first book & hold off on getting the second one, for now...

                                2. L.Nightshade Oct 21, 2012 08:01 PM

                                  I acquired Second Helpings fairly recently, and had hardly had time to look at it, let alone cook from it. But during my perusal, I was checking off so many recipes that I want to try, I decided to order the first one also. I got it from Better World Books for $4.48 with free shipping.

                                  I can only hope I have more time to cook next month. I've been so overwhelmed with work, my cooking and reporting have greatly suffered for a while now. November is sure to be better!

                                  1. o
                                    omnomnompizza Oct 21, 2012 06:49 PM

                                    Just got a copy of USC for $1 plus shipping on abebooks - seems like Second Helpings is about the same price there but I'll wait to see if I like the first one.

                                    This is exciting! It's so much easier to be motivated to try new recipes from a book with other people involved in the same.

                                    1. d
                                      dkennedy Oct 21, 2012 03:15 PM

                                      Just bought a copy of Second Helpings for .01 cents plus shipping.

                                      1. The Dairy Queen Oct 21, 2012 12:21 PM

                                        Both of these books have about 100 pages available on Google books and are indexed by EYB. I scrolled through all of the recipes on EYB and did a google search for all of the recipes that appealed to me. I was able to find many of them online and import them into Pepperplate. Food and Wine has a ton of the recipes, as well as a bunch of USC recipes not in the book--I imported all of the ones that said "fast" whlie I was at it. Once they were all in pepperplate, I bookmarked them all cotm and "union square cafe" so I can find them. Ironically, many of the recipes I've tagged are soup recipes! I guess I was inspired by all of the soup talking during the noms and voting.

                                        We'll see how it goes. Sounds like it's a going to be (another) delicious month. Lots of these recipes seem very Thanksgiving'ish, too.


                                        1. LulusMom Oct 21, 2012 06:26 AM

                                          So much for my resolve; just bought both! One used, the second one new. Getting the first one on kindle wouldn't really have saved me much over the hardback (it would, however, have saved me some increasingly valuable shelf space).

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                            blue room Oct 21, 2012 06:43 AM

                                            That's not resolve, it's dissolve. I have oceans of that too.

                                            1. re: blue room
                                              LulusMom Oct 21, 2012 06:55 AM

                                              And the crazy thing is, I'll probably not have as much time to cook next month as normal (which was the same situation this month ... and last!) because of travel, etc. But I just know these books will end up being worth having.

                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                blue room Oct 21, 2012 07:01 AM

                                                I know, I have this background feeling that a book begins and ends with the COTM month -- which is of course silly.

                                          2. blue room Oct 21, 2012 05:48 AM

                                            There are some Union Square recipes are online, from various sources. Here (scroll down) are a few for soup,

                                            and nuts.


                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: blue room
                                              Gio Oct 21, 2012 07:23 AM

                                              Here are more links to Union Square Cafe recipes:

                                              YELLOWFIN TUNA BURGERS WITH GINGER-MUSTARD GLAZE

                                              Pumpkin Bread Pudding

                                              Marinated Filet Mignon of Tuna

                                              Tuna Club Sandwich

                                              Lamb Chops Scotta Dita

                                              Creamy Polenta with Mascarpone

                                              The following recipes are Danny Meyers' ...
                                              Wine-Braised Veal Shanks
                                              Butternut Squash, Swiss Chard and Apple Risotto
                                              Chestnut and Armagnac-Poached Prune Tarts
                                              Arugula and Chanterelle Salad with Vacherin Croutons

                                              1. re: Gio
                                                LulusMom Oct 21, 2012 09:12 AM

                                                I've had the tuna burger there, and it is so good.

                                                1. re: Gio
                                                  blue room Oct 21, 2012 09:50 AM

                                                  Thank you, Gio!
                                                  And thanks for the Monterey Bay information, it's important.

                                              2. Tom P Oct 21, 2012 03:54 AM

                                                I, for one, am excited. This is my favorite restaurant on the planet and I own both books, yet I don't always pull them down. It will be fun to see what everyone thinks. Re the question above, I don't have a favorite between the two.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Tom P
                                                  dkennedy Oct 21, 2012 03:24 PM

                                                  FYI, there are several recipes on EYB with notations for USC, only 1 so far for 2nd helpings.

                                                2. d
                                                  dkennedy Oct 20, 2012 09:12 PM

                                                  Can those of you who own these books and have recommendations of favorite recipes post your recommendations here.

                                                  25 Replies
                                                  1. re: dkennedy
                                                    LulusMom Oct 21, 2012 02:21 AM

                                                    I second this request. Also, if you own both, which do you prefer and why?

                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                      greeneggsnham Oct 21, 2012 04:34 AM

                                                      me too, would love to hear people's favorites. I just ordered the original from amazon for $0.24 (+3.99 shipping) so looking forward to participating.

                                                      1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                        Westminstress Oct 21, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                        I did the same, I think mine cost .34 + shipping!

                                                        1. re: Westminstress
                                                          jpr54_1 Oct 21, 2012 11:44 AM

                                                          $3.98 Union Square
                                                          $4.27 Second helpings

                                                          including shipping on www.abebooks.com
                                                          my copy of union square was also signed by the authors

                                                    2. re: dkennedy
                                                      Gio Oct 21, 2012 07:02 AM

                                                      The Union Square Cookbook arrived at casa Gio in August and subsequently three recipes have been cooked:
                                                      1) Herb-Roasted Chicken, page 170
                                                      2) Herbed Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions, page 264
                                                      3) Peach and Fig Chutney, page 261

                                                      1) A variety of vegetables are strewn around the chicken in the roasting pan - onions, celery, carrots (I included a few Yukon Golds as well) - and herbs such as tarragon, thyme and parsley are roasted with the veggies.
                                                      2) A tasty rendition of the ubiquitous potato salad with a vinaigrette dressing instead of mayo. I omitted the bacon and the salad was still delicious.
                                                      3) Nectarines were subbed for the peaches in this tangy chutney and in retrospect I think any seasonal fruit can be used. It was very easy to make and produced a not-too-sweet, not-too spicy condiment suitable for a wide variety of applications.

                                                      I'm looking forward to cooking more enticing recipes such as:
                                                      Braised escarole and white beans with tomatoes, mushrooms, and Pecorino,
                                                      Carrot-red lentil soup with Asian spices,
                                                      Crab-meat frittata with tomatoes and herbs,
                                                      Seared curried whitefish with raïta,
                                                      Roast lemon-pepper duck with red wine vinegar sauce (which may become my Thanksgiving bird this year),
                                                      Pumpkin bread pudding...

                                                      1. re: dkennedy
                                                        JoanN Oct 21, 2012 07:19 AM

                                                        Bought the first book only recently so all I've made from it so far are the famous Bar Nuts. They were quickly consumed with cocktails by everyone except one dear friend who can't stand anything even the least bit spicy. And believe me; these were only the least bit spicy. But one of the reasons I bought the book was for their equally famous Tuna Salad, which I've had at the restaurant many times and am very eager to try at home.

                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                          The Dairy Queen Oct 21, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                          Well, dang, now I have to have that tuna salad! I see Gio's provided a link below. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/874419#7660396 Sounds delicious!

                                                          And here seems to be the bar nuts recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

                                                          ETA: Oh! I see blueroom already linked to the nuts recipe. Easy to import to pepperplate I might add!


                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                            dkennedy Oct 21, 2012 08:52 AM

                                                            Now that you mention it, I did hear that the tuna sandwich was suppose to be fantastic.

                                                            BTW, we have Mix, Shake, Stir, the cocktail book put out by Danny Meyer's of Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park and Tabla. I plan on making cocktails out of it to accompany my US endeavors and will report back about how they turn out. So far, we have tried 3 recipes from this book and really like them.

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                              Gio Oct 21, 2012 09:06 AM

                                                              Make sure you go to the Food.com site for the full recipes... aioli, poached tuna, and tuna salad:

                                                              Also, if anyone is interested, the Monterey Bay Seawatch advises yellowfin from the Pacific or Atlantic are the best choice. Not yellowfin caught worldwide.

                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                The Dairy Queen Oct 21, 2012 09:17 AM

                                                                Here's a link for the aioli, poached tuna and tuna salad from food.com that will import directly into pepperplate (for some reason it won't work via yummly). http://www.food.com/recipe/union-square-cafes-tuna-club-sandwich-85552

                                                                Also, from Epicurious:

                                                                Chili and sage rubbed salmon (from second helpings)

                                                                And Food and Wine:

                                                                Seared Salmon with Sweet Corn, shiitakes and spinach

                                                                Sautéed shrimp Goan style (second helpings)

                                                                marble fudge brownies


                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                  L.Nightshade Nov 13, 2012 05:12 PM

                                                                  We're on vacation and I don't have the cookbooks with me. I'm making the Seared Salmon with Sweet Corn to which TDQ so kindly post the link. If anyone can tell me which book and which page this recipe is on, I will post my results.

                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                    BigSal Nov 13, 2012 05:45 PM

                                                                    This is in the Union Square Cookbook p. 140.

                                                                    1. re: BigSal
                                                                      L.Nightshade Nov 13, 2012 08:07 PM

                                                                      Thanks so much BigSal! I just posted my results.

                                                            2. re: JoanN
                                                              blue room Oct 21, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                              I was looking at the Chicken Salad "Deluxe" too -- and the Biscotti.

                                                              It make me crazy that ahem some of you can have dinner @ Union Square Cafe any ol' time!

                                                              1. re: blue room
                                                                JoanN Oct 21, 2012 03:29 PM

                                                                You know, I've been to USC many times, but I don't think I've ever once been for dinner. It was something of a publishing lunch hangout for quite a few years. May well still be. I realized as I was going through the cookbook that most of what I had eaten at the restaurant was lunch, not dinner, food.

                                                            3. re: dkennedy
                                                              roxlet Oct 22, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                              We have the first Union Square cookbook and after eating the Filet Mignon of Tuna at the restaurant, that recipe became one of our favorites. After marinating the tuna, and cooking rare as specified, the tuna becomes as rich and delicious as the finest cut of beef. The difficult part is getting a piece of tuna cut into the cube that is recommended, but it's worth finding a fish monger who will do that.

                                                              1. re: roxlet
                                                                The Dairy Queen Oct 22, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                                I don't know why I passed over that recipe before, but I'm sold. This one's going into pepperplate. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/un...


                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                  LulusMom Oct 22, 2012 01:58 PM

                                                                  Thanks for that link TDQ. Even though I've bought the books, I want this one and it's ingredients list on my phone!

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                    gingershelley Oct 29, 2012 07:09 PM

                                                                    I want to eat this; love that the USC x2 has so much tuna focus. Love rare, delish tuna....

                                                              2. re: dkennedy
                                                                MplsM ary Oct 27, 2012 10:58 PM

                                                                And, I have a crazy request but can you tell me what colors are on the binding, or share a picture of the binding? I'm pretty sure I have this cookbook but I can't seem to find it. Yes, there are just that many cookbooks to look through!

                                                                1. re: MplsM ary
                                                                  The Dairy Queen Oct 28, 2012 12:52 AM

                                                                  Which book, the orig or second helpings?

                                                                  The orig looks green with a little of the cover art showing in this pic: http://www.newyorkfirst.com/gifts/the-union-square-cafe-cookbook-362/

                                                                  Another pic of the spine, also a pic second helpings which is hard to see--white with 2 red stripes perhaps? http://www.unionsquarecafe.com/imgs/f...


                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                    MplsM ary Oct 28, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                    Thanks, TDQ. I *knew* I had this, and I DO! Whoopee! 10 years ago I had to cull the many thousands of cookbooks of my mother's to fit into a condo, but I was sure I kept this.

                                                                    When I opened the book just now, it flipped straight to Grilled Marinated Filet Mignon of Tuna. Sometimes the little things really make me miss my mom.

                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary
                                                                      blue room Oct 28, 2012 10:00 AM

                                                                      I've more than once wished I had a picture of a book's spine, rather than front cover -- that color is the quickest route to the book.

                                                                      1. re: blue room
                                                                        gingershelley Oct 29, 2012 07:10 PM


                                                                      2. re: MplsM ary
                                                                        LulusMom Oct 28, 2012 10:24 AM

                                                                        Maybe making stuff from the book can be sort of a tribute to your mom. I hope so.

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