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Jun 16, 2013 10:13 AM

Cookbook of the Month July 2013: BIG SMALL PLATES by Cindy Pawlcyn

It was a close run thing but we chose BIG SMALL PLATES for July. The reporting threads will be posted on 1 July, but in the meantime we can start our discussion here.

Here are the reporting threads:

Chapters 1&2

Chapters 3&4

Chapters 5&6

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  1. Hopefully, one month TGI will win and I will see you then!!! Thanks for all your hard work.

    1. Just dipping my toe in here to stay in touch with the action. Though I voted for TGI, I do own this book and recall tabbing many recipes when it arrived. Time permitting (I'm travelling a lot these days) I'll be cooking along and look forward to reading about any favourites BSP fans can recommend here.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        I pulled my book off the shelf last night and it was January when I tabbed recipes so I don't have the same level of excitement about those recipes now as I will in the fall and winter. I didn't have a lot of time but I was looking for some weeknight friendly meals and didn't see anything with a quick pass. If anyone who has cooked from the book has some recommendations, they'd be much appreciated.

        There were more recipes w a nod to Mexican cuisine than I remembered. I wish mr bc shared my love of Mexican cuisine.

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          She definitely slants in the direction of Latin flavors. If I recall, her Supper Club menu is almost always Mexican themed.

          Re weeknights, I don't have the book in front of me right now but the lamb burgers were pretty weeknight friendly, as long as you had everything in the house. Just need to do some chopping, form the burgers, and make a vinaigrette. The black beans used for two tostada recipes in the book are excellent and would make a delicious vegetarian meal if you omitted the rabbit. If you were forward thinking, you could use them a second time on the weekend when you had the time to make the rabbit. The chicken wings are also good for week nights.

      2. The Rabbit Tostados are incredible. Not a weeknight meal, but worth the effort when you have the time.

        I no longer eat meat, but in the past I've cooked and enjoyed many of the meat dishes in this book.

        This time around, I'm going to focus on the non-meat offerings.

        5 Replies
        1. re: pikawicca

          Non-meat offerings look to be few and far between in this book, unless by "meat" you mean red meat, or meat and chicken, because there are a lot of seafood recipes.

          I'm somewhat disappointed that there are really very, very few recipes that will use summer produce. Most of the vegetables are more of the fall/winter/spring variety. This would have been a great book to cook from during the winter holidays and football season.

          That said, I have the thing on my iPad, so I'll be participating next month. I'll just have come up with complimentary dishes to use up all my zucchini.

          1. re: MelMM

            I have this book in front of me and I completely disagree that it offers little for vegetarians. There are a ton of non-meat based dishes, though I would say there aren't a lot of strictly vegan options. The beauty of this book is that though the recipes are for small plates, each one has a big punch of flavor. So anyone of the dishes could be made into a stand alone entry if only you were to increase the portion size.

            Re veggie options, several of the dishes feature mushrooms as the main components. The stuffed Piquillo peppers look amazing, as do the fried green tomatoes. Corn, corn soup, corn custard, corn fritters. All the salads sound amazing, and then there are veggie based dishes like the roasted artichokes, asparagus spring rolls or the asparagus with baked brie, roasted cauliflower, stuffed squash blossoms, cucumber salad, jicama slaw. Some strictly veggie dishes are meant to be components of other dishes but trust me, there flavors are so big they can stand alone. For example, the salad that is served atop the rabbit tostadas is delicious and I often eat these tostadas vegetarian (using only the bean recipe) when the rabbit runs out! And several of the dishes that include meat or seafood could be made with tofu because of the bold sauces and seasoning.

            Don't overlook the nuts, olives, grain based dishes such as grits, aranchini, plantains, and potatoes, and desserts. And as you already mentioned, the seafood options in this book are amazing.

            I think for those of us who have the book or are willing to make the investment, we will be well rewarded this month. It looks like the really cheap copies have already been snatched up by savvy buyers, but there are still copies available for $11.00, inclusive of shipping.

            1. re: dkennedy

              Quick and hopefully not too foolish question. You mention that although these recipes are for small plates one could up the size and serve as a meal. Not having the book I am wondering if most of the dishes would work as main courses. I really am not up to cooking 3 special things on a summer day with both Lulu and her dad underfoot.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Yes, LLM I would say most of the recipes would size up nicely. Whenever I cook out of this book, I serve it as a main course, not tapas style. I agree, making 3 or more elaborate dishes is too much for me, even if it is not a weekday.

                1. re: dkennedy

                  Thanks DK, that helps. I am hoping there will be some interesting links posted.

        2. Darn it. No copies at my library :(

          1 Reply
          1. re: girlwonder88

            GW, have a look at EYB listing of recipes here: I'll happily paraphrase the ones you are interested in.

            Also look in Googlebooks - there are a few recipes there.

            I bought used copy very cheaply last year on Amazon; there might be good deals to be had.

          2. So excited for next month's selection!