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Oct 20, 2012 06:25 PM

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

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:

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

    25 Replies
    1. re: dkennedy

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

      1. re: LulusMom

        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

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

          1. re: Westminstress

            $3.98 Union Square
            $4.27 Second helpings

            including shipping on
            my copy of union square was also signed by the authors

      2. re: dkennedy

        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

          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

            Well, dang, now I have to have that tuna salad! I see Gio's provided a link below. Sounds delicious!

            And here seems to be the bar nuts recipe

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


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              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

                Make sure you go to the 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

                  Here's a link for the aioli, poached tuna and tuna salad from that will import directly into pepperplate (for some reason it won't work via yummly).

                  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

                    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

                      This is in the Union Square Cookbook p. 140.

                      1. re: BigSal

                        Thanks so much BigSal! I just posted my results.

              2. re: JoanN

                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

                  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

                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

                  I don't know why I passed over that recipe before, but I'm sold. This one's going into pepperplate.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    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

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

                2. re: dkennedy

                  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

                    Which book, the orig or second helpings?

                    The orig looks green with a little of the cover art showing in this pic:

                    Another pic of the spine, also a pic second helpings which is hard to see--white with 2 red stripes perhaps?


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      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

                        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: MplsM ary

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

                  2. 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

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

                    2. 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

                        Here are more links to Union Square Cafe recipes:


                        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

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

                          1. re: Gio

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

                        2. 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

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

                            1. re: blue room

                              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

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

                          2. 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.