HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Cookbook of the Month August 2013: The Voting Thread

Morning all. We had a lively discussion this month, but there were surprisingly few actual, honest-to goodness nominations! Two front-runners though, both of which I think have made it to the run-offs before. They are:

MEDITERRANEAN HARVEST by Martha Rose Shulman
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1605294284

and

RADICALLY SIMPLE by Rozanne Gold
http://www.amazon.com/Radically-Simpl...

There's already a lengthy "Cooking from" thread about Radically Simple.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786040

As in previous months, please vote by checking the "recommend" box underneath your chosen title. Voting will close at 0800 on Sunday, 21st July.

I can't wait to see which of these books finally gets its moment in the sun!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
      1. re: jpr54_1

        I just got a good deal as well on Amazon (even tho I haven't voted yet...). They still have used copies of MH in the $0.50-10.00 range.

      2. re: greedygirl

        Hoping to be cooking in my newly remodeled kitchen by mid-August. Sadly, I only own this book on Kindle. It's getting my vote anyways!

        1. re: greedygirl

          Love this book! Every recipe is a keeper~Love what she does to salmon!

          1. re: foleyscale

            Maybe you should vote for it? (Not that I have an agenda here!)

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              How do I vote for it? I have been trying to figure that out. Please advise is there another page than this one?

              1. re: foleyscale

                Click on the "recommend" button in greedygirl's post, 3 posts above yours.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Thank you!! This is my first time doing this.

                  1. re: foleyscale

                    You're welcome, and welcome to the fun!

        2. I don't own either of these books though I did order Med. Harvest from Abes (and Smoke and Pickles from Amazon...yes I lack willpower!) based on the discussion in the nomination thread.

          No vote as yet, I'm just securing my seat on the couch so I can see the excitement unfold. LlM, I put a couple of bottles of prosecco in the fridge and left a bottle of Aperol on the counter...it must be 12 o'clock somewhere!!!

          8 Replies
          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            BC, I decided to share an amazing martini this month since I mooched off of all of you last time. On a recent trip to Paso Robles, I stopped into a wine tasting shop and the owner shared this recipe: Macerate raspberries and blackberries in port for 1/2 hour. Uncork a bottle of sparking wine (preferably almond scented). Dip the rim of the glass in dark chocolate. Pour 2 to 1 ratio of wine to port. Enjoy. Now I don't feel so bad taking up room on the couch.

            1. re: dkennedy

              Hah... That's not a cocktail. That's dessert... LOL

              1. re: dkennedy

                Oooh that does sound decadent dk!! I'll have one of those as soon as I'm finished this drink!!

                1. re: greedygirl

                  Is that what it's called gg? Good to know, now I can order it out as well!!

                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                  I missed joining you all on the couch last time, not going to miss it again! Thanks for the prosecco, Bc!

                  I am REALLY hoping that Radically Simple wins -- amazing book, foolproof recipes.

                3. Another month another vote. I think I just wheel in here beside the couch in front of the air-con and watch the fun... Is it too early for a Bellini?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Never too early, ladies. Lovely fresh peaches here ... let me get started.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Settling down on the couch. A bellini would be wonderful, LLM, have you made enough for everyone?

                      1. re: MelMM

                        There is never a problem with things like that when I am in charge. Enjoy!

                    2. re: Gio

                      Moving from iced tea to the "adult" couch. This is quite the month! Watching the votes add up.

                    3. Just dipping my toe in...

                      1. It seems that just yesterday we were all crowded on the couch waiting for July book to be selected and here we go again!

                        I am making Limoncello but it is not ready yet. So instead I'll pour a glass of Prosecco thoughtfully provided by BC and perch on the arm of this comfy couch. It is 12pm in Western Africa - let the show begin :)

                        1. Sticking with some homemade iced tea with mint from the garden.

                          1. Past 2pm here - and I'm off to the pub! Laterz, laydees.

                            1. Jeeves just brought in the tray of bruschetta with deviled eggs I ordered. We'll need fortification for the long haul.

                              1. fortified with morning coffee here.

                                1. I'm a little bummed one of the grilling books didn't make it, mainly because I own a couple of the nominated ones. The budget is tight tight tight this month and next, so no new books (or voting) for me :( Radically Simple sounds right up my alley though, so I'll be happy to read the threads should it win!

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                    No new books or voting here either. That's 3 months in a row I'm out of COTM

                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                      Me too :( In the end it's probably alright. I noticed my grocery spending in the months where I was doing the COTM was higher than the months I wasn't :)

                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                        That is always true for me. Participating in COTM almost always means filling my pantry with spices or other condiments I don't have on hand, add to that the heritage meats and or fresh fishes needed and the farm fresh produce, and cookbooks, well, you better have a big food budget! Of course, there are ways to cut corners, I just choose not to. But COTM brings me so much pleasure I would have a hard time denying myself this one vice. If it means we have less for other things, so be it!

                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                          Yeah my issue right now is, I have less for other things already, so there's no budget room to allocate more to food.

                                          I've been cooking out of other books I own, sort of my own "COTM" :)

                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                            I've been doing the same thing. Last month it was Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's cookbooks. This month I'm working on Pati's Mexican Table. I think August will be Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction

                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                              As I read this, I am eating at Border Grill - Mary Sue and Saisan's restaurant. It is fine LA week...

                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                Enjoy! I was at the Las Vegas location a few times in March and loved it. The brunch was to-die-for!

                                      2. re: Njchicaa

                                        I haven't had any of the books since March! I am seriously beginning to consider some jerrymandering. ;-)

                                      3. re: juliejulez

                                        We'll try again next month for a BBQ book, jj!

                                      4. I'm going to be away from home in August and unable to participate, so I won't be voting; however, I really hope Radically Simple wins (or if not, that it wins in a future runoff). It looks like a very interesting cookbook and one that I would be interested in adding to my collection!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                          Buy it! And if it doesn't win this way, just join the thread devoted to it. It is really a very fun book.

                                        2. Gadzooks -- a dead heat! I would happily cook from both next month.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            ...and we still have 5 days to go! I have both books so whatever happens I'll be OK.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              I have both too, so I'm OK, although MH gives me a lot more options for my CSA produce, which is driving my cooking right now just due to the sheer quantity of it.

                                              I love watching a close race in COTM voting. Just waiting for people to start lobbying and making deals. We may need to move off the couch and into a smokey room.

                                              Off subject, but made some pickles from Smoke & Pickles last night, using cukes from said CSA box. These were a quick pickle in vinegar (I've already got a couple quarts of fermented pickles going). Just tasted one and they are delish. I think the pickling section of this book might be what makes it a gem, and not just for summer, as there are recipes for all seasons.

                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                I was at our local bookstore just briefly yesterday. Had just enough time to take a cursory look through Smoke and Pickles. Uh-oh! What a beautiful and inventive book. I can't wait until it makes COTM so I have no choice but to own it.

                                                I like the idea of moving into a smokey room, except I don't smoke. But the back room deals sound intriguing. What do you think I could get for my vote? Perhaps a new cookbook or two? I've been thinking of adding The Bread Bakers Apprentice to my shelves, or The Ploughman's Lunch. Interested parties please send any bribes to my private email.

                                                As for the two books currently at odds, I have MH on hold at the library and my copy of Radically Simple just arrived in the mail (purchased after returning my library copy) so I am also set either way, though I am leaning in the opposite direction than you.

                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                  Although I won't enter the smoky back room I will, OTOH, gladly enter the room where the air is redolent with fumes of beer and whisky...

                                                  The Ploughman's Lunch? Now that sounds like it needs a little more investigation before I commit to bribery.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    I don't smoke either, so I'm good with replacing the classic smoke-filled room with a whisky-filled room!

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      In Re: "Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast: Authentic Pub Food, Restaurant Fare, and Home Cooking from Small Towns, Big Cities, and Country Villages Across the British Isles" by Brian Yarvin. Yum! But that's probably a discussion left to the cookbook addiction thread...

                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Ploughmans-Lunc...

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          Just so happens I have that book Gio. We've enjoyed many a wonderful Ploughman's lunch in our day. I had my first in Yorkshire when I was 5 and it's one of my earliest food memories. British antipasti really!

                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                        Mine arrived two days ago, but I've only flipped through the pages and read a bit of the introduction. But it sure looks lovely. Can't wait to really sit down with it.

                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                          Let us know what you think when you have had a chance to really sit with it.

                                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                                    As would I if I could get my hands on MH without buying it. But it isn't available at my library. They have a few of her other books but not that one. Irritating.

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Thank you Gio. Both look like very useful sites.

                                                  3. Not voting because I have been horrible about participating. But watching! Looks like another close vote is underway.

                                                    I have Mediterranean Harvest but don't think I've cooked from it yet.

                                                    1. MeIMM, I am ready to start lobbying:

                                                      Last night we used two Rozanne Gold recipes for our dinner, along with a couple of others. It was the last day my 12 year old daughter had us all to herself (my son was at a foreign language immersion program) so she wanted to make dinner. We settled on the following menu:

                                                      Salade Normande (RS @ p.50 based on Lulusmom recommendation)
                                                      Meatloaf (Tyler Florence's book - very good)
                                                      Mashed Potatoes (Zuni Cafe - my go-to recipe)
                                                      Chocolate Pot de Creme (Cooking 1-2-3, @ p. 257 also by Rozanne Gold)

                                                      The entire menu came out perfectly and, other than being fattening, could not have made for a more enjoyable evening.

                                                      Thank you LLM for bringing the salad recipe to my attention. It is as you described, more than the sum of its parts. We added thinly sliced persian cucumbers and radishes and grape tomatoes which added color. The radishes paired perfectly with the lemony creamy dressing.

                                                      I hope I can return the favor by pointing you in the direction of the pots de creme. They are dead easy and very, very good.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                        I'd *love* to try the pots de creme - do you have a link for the recipe? And I'm so very glad that you loved that salad(e) like we do. That is still Lulu's favorite, and I'll be making it next week for visiting (and somewhat picky) relatives.

                                                        I've made so many great recipes from RS, and will continue to cook from it whether or not it is chosen to be next month's COTM. But gosh it would be nice to have the extra incentive.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Totally agree about the extra incentive. It is such a weekday friendly book, I think that is what I love the most about it. But at the same time, the recipes are exciting, I don't know how she managed that!

                                                          I don't have a link to the pots de creme, but they are very easy:

                                                          Warm 16 oz heavy cream on the stovetop, mix in 6 oz. milk chocolate, stir constantly until dissolved (note that it must be milk chocolate). Take off heat to bring down the temperature. Meanwhile, whip 4 large egg yolks until creamy, around 3 minutes. Slowly incorporate the chocolate mixture into the eggs. Pour into 4 (she says 6) ramekins and put the ramekins in a water bath. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until set but still jiggly. Allow to come to room temp b4 serving. Enjoy!

                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                            Thank you kindly! I'm cutting and pasting that one.

                                                      2. I have a probably dumb question. Why does this thread not show up on Home Cooking even when someone has just made a comment? And how do you all know when it is active? Sorry for not knowing how it works....

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: GretchenS

                                                          ooops, sorry, now I feel really dumb, but it was not showing up for me before when I posted my earlier comment.

                                                        2. Here's a question: with the two books running neck and neck, what will we do in case of a tie. In the past, with three or four books up for voting, if two tied, we'd have a run-off. But a run-off doesn't make much sense in this case, as there is no reason to think the result would be any different.

                                                          Perhaps we should just cook from them both?

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                            Doesn't Greedygirl have "The Power" to break a tie?

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              You are correct, as she has not voted yet. I guess she will cast a vote in the case of a tie.

                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                Then we'll really be biting our nails, or should that be Bating our breath and whispering humbleness?

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      ...though I suspect the shots might put me at a significant disadvantage.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Power at last!

                                                                  Of course, I'm incorruptible...

                                                              2. I don't know if there's any way to tell, or if anything can be done about it, but I think that the last four votes for Radically Simple might be bogus. All four of the voters have no profile and have never posted anything on Chowhound.

                                                                Interestingly, back in June of 2011 when Radically Simple was in the running, the exact same thing happened and it was reported to the mods. As I recall, the votes were removed.

                                                                Anyway, this goes against my interests, as I'd like it to win. But I'd like it to win fair and square.

                                                                19 Replies
                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  That's really upsetting, isn't it? I've just reported it to the mods in case you hadn't. They'll know if all four votes came from the same computer. How interesting that it's happened before for the same book. With this new voting system, it's not as easy to spot as when we had to type out the title in all caps as a separate post. Good catch.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    I find that to be very upsetting as well. I also find it unethical. I have no issue if RG asked her followers to vote for it as long as they intended to participate in the COTM in the spirit of the thread. That said, to simply tell folks to vote for it to secure a win thus gaining additional publicity and the bragging rights of being selected on a leading food site where members make the decision on a winner....that's not appropriate and unethical in my books.

                                                                    Good thing I'm on the drinking couch...LlM, can you pour me another one!!

                                                                    What a month.

                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                      Very well said, Breadcrumbs. Is there room on that drinking couch for one more?

                                                                      I feel like I've started a little storm here, but I hate to see this process fall prey to someone's self-promotion. It's such a great group.

                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                        Our couch is of infinite length. And the booze never runs out.

                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        Honey, there is *always* room on my drinking couch. Sit awhile and enjoy.

                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                        This could explain it...
                                                                        I just googled Rozanne Gold and found she's posted a link to this thread on her facebook page, and asked people to vote for it.

                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                            p.s. Unless they actually join us, which would be fun and great!

                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                              Absolutely! If they all cook with us, no matter which book wins, it would be wonderful. But it shouldn't just be a popularity contest.

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                God help us if anyone every nominates a Paula Deen book -- we'd be inundated!

                                                                            2. re: smtucker

                                                                              I agree, and I'm not at all happy about it. It gives an unfair advantage to one book over another. Even if the author's fans do participate, it's still stuffing the ballot box. Ms. Gold wouldn't be allowed to promote herself in this way on this site and I don't think she should be doing it through the back door.

                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                Actually makes me glad I don't own the book.

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  I was planning on buying if it won. Now I'm not so sure. I'm surprisingly upset about this.

                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                I don't think I can articulate why, but that bugs me a bit. It shouldn't, I recognize, but it does.

                                                                              3. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                I am shocked to hear that someone would try to rig the vote. That is a very serious allegation, and I hope the moderators will do a thorough investigation to look into it, but just the mention of it really makes this feel vey unfriendly. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to feel intimidated about participating just because they are new. I don't think I filled out my profile until I had been a member for a while. I think at that time I was worried about giving out my private info. In any case, I think we should give people the benefit of the doubt until we know otherwise.

                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                  A couple of those votes have been removed. I don't know whether or not they were removed by the mods. I posted on RG's facebook post, where she requested that her FB followers come here and vote for RS. I wrote that it was not just a popularity contest, that we would all be cooking together from the winning book. So it's also possible the voters removed their own votes.

                                                                              4. This is the first time I have followed your thread. I have lots of recipes posted to my profile. I have not really had time to explore this site before this. Do you have something against newbies? Everyone has to start someplace. Radically Simple is one of my favorite new cookbooks so i was attracted to the Cook book of the month contest. Does the fact that maybe I was not interested in the others thus far, disqualify my vote??

                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                1. re: foleyscale

                                                                                  NO, NO! I don't even see your vote, and I absolutely welcome you to the thread! I just think it is suspicious that there were four votes, right in a row, none of the voters having any history. None of them are your vote. And I wouldn't even think twice if it was just one vote from a newbie. But four in a row? And the same thing happening when the book was up before? Suspicious.

                                                                                  I don't think you have voted. Your name should be in the drop down menu if you clicked "recommend."

                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                    BTW, how does one see the names on the drop down menu? All I can see are about 4, and when I move my cursor to look at who they are, the drop down menu disappears. I can't figure it out for the life of me.

                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      I find it a little finicky actually. I have to carefully maneuver my cursor to the little black scroll bar on the right of the drop-down. If you move it a fraction too far, the box disappears.

                                                                                      And, note to foleyscale, once you've voted, the little box with the number in it will turn red. You can tell you've voted if the box has changed from white to red.

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        Thanks LN! That really helped - just being a little more tender with my cursor helped a lot.

                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                          I hit the recommend square in Greedygirl's post but that does not change the number in the little square on my posts. What am I doing wrong?

                                                                                          1. re: foleyscale

                                                                                            Don't hit the square, hit the word "recommend."

                                                                                            1. re: foleyscale

                                                                                              Oh, and in case this isn't completely clear, hit the word recommend in the post naming the cookbook for which you want to vote, in this case, in this post:
                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9093...

                                                                                              I see you did "recommend" on the original post, not the voting post. It's confusing the first time around! You'll get the hang of it.

                                                                                              (ETA, wrong link posted initially, it now links to the voting post for Radically Simple.)

                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                And if you Hit recommend a second time, it removes your vote, freeing you to vote for another nominee.

                                                                                      2. re: foleyscale

                                                                                        We really are very welcoming to newbies, I promise.

                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          Agreed! It's really the most supportive group, and we were all newbies at some point. I've learned SO much from COTM, greatly expanded my culinary horizons, and had a wonderful time.

                                                                                        2. re: foleyscale

                                                                                          foleyscale, we LOVE having new people join!! Welcome!

                                                                                          1. re: foleyscale

                                                                                            Welcome foleyscale...we love new members!! Glad to have a new hound on board!! I'm new-ish myself and I'm happy to say this is the most welcoming group of folks I could have found on the www. I've learned so much from these COTMs and the amazing cooks/hounds who cook and bake in our virtual kitchen each month.

                                                                                          2. just ordered both books

                                                                                            1. Gosh. I've been out all day and all hell has broken loose on this thread. Have the offending votes been removed? What do we do now?

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                I think you proceed as usual. The mods have been notified. Some of the votes have been removed. There are posts on RG's facebook page explaining that we cook together, that it's not a popularity contest. What else can you do? If it wins, so be it. I have to say I love the book, and I'd love to cook from it for a month. But I don't like the attitude, and I've subtracted my vote.

                                                                                                And I am so sorry if anyone who was new to this thread thought that these comments might be directed at them. I cannot overemphasize how sincerely we welcome new participants. This is a very unusual voting thread, and not representative of how much fun we have, and how every sincere poster is welcome.

                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                  I haven't subtracted my vote, because out of the two books, I would much prefer to cook out of RS. But I am 100% with you that I think asking people to vote for you book crosses a line. I think if it wins now those who are in the other camp will feel the results are tainted. What a shame. Very unfortunate situation.

                                                                                              2. Voting is now over, and after another close contest, the winner is MEDITERRANEAN HARVEST. Thread to follow.

                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                  What a contest!

                                                                                                  I spent some time with my library copy of MH last night, and I have already found a few recipes I will incorporate into my menu (eg. the stuffed lipstick peppers).

                                                                                                  According to EYB, I see quite a lot of us own a copy of this one, yet there are very few comments listed at this point. If any of you own this book and have had positive experiences with the recipes, it would be very helpful if you could post a note on EYB or make a recommendation here.

                                                                                                  As always, looking forward to seeing what treasures are in store for us next month.

                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                    And any links to recipes in the book would be greatly appreciated too!

                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                      Gio posted a list of some of the recipes she had made in the nomination thread and even then she had a list of more that she was going to try in the coming week. Perhaps she could update that post here.

                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9085...

                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                        Gio was wonderful and posted a couple of links, but I'm looking for specific recipes if possible. Will check the link you've just given. Thanks.

                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                          Bit of confusion here since you and I posted at the same time, LLM. I was responding to DK's request for comments from those who had had positive experiences with some of the recipes. I haven't looked for online links because I bought the book for pennies based on Gio's recommendation. (And, yes, my cookbooks are now being piled up on all available pieces of furniture. Time to start throwing out fiction on a wholesale basis. Such a shame my local library no longer takes donations.)

                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            Sorry - confusion reigns around here right now. What I found was a link to the eat your books Med Harvest thing. And Gio had posted a link to the author's page and a newspaper article (please forgive me if I've gotten this wrong). I just wish the heck my library had the book.

                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                              Oy. Is it too early in the day to retreat to the cocktail couch?

                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                LLM, I di a quick search and also looked for EYB on-line recipe links and couldn't find any. Not a good sign :(

                                                                                                                Would you consider buying the book - it is basically $4 with shipping on Amazon - and then donating it to a friend or culinary college or even library if they are interested in "older" books?

                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                  That is a very thoughtful idea, but no, I really don't even want the temptation of having it be "mine" for a month and in the house. Until I get rid of some other books, nothing new is coming in.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    Once the threads are up and people start cooking I am happy to paraphrase recipes for you - just ask! Or prior to if you see the once you like on EYB.

                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                      Thanks Herby. I'm having good luck with the link Gio gave. I've already found 3 things I'd really like to make. Now, they may not be in this particular book, but I'm not going to get too stressed about that.

                                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                              Martha Rose Shulman's RECIPES LINK:

                                                                                                              I'm such a scatter brain these days I can't remember what I posted when but here's MRS's Recipe for Health column in the NYTimes for today. Many of the recipes are in the book. There's an archive too with more than 1,026 recipes in the series. It's a good one to bookmark for future reference:

                                                                                                              http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/he...

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                Yes, that was one of the links. OK, knowing that the many recipes are in the book I'll just use that.

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  Thanks for posting that. I've had a look at the recipe list on EYB and the recipes in the NY Times and they are right up my alley. My local library doesn't have this book but thanks to your link I'll still be able to join in and cook along with you!

                                                                                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                            Just made my first recipe out of Mediterranean Harvest - lentil soup. I will report on it fully once the links are up, but just wanted to say, it was a success.

                                                                                                          3. Good Grief. What a surprise to wake up to ballot stuffing for the COTM voting. I would not have imagined anyone interfering like that, especially someone with her own already well established reputation. This really diminishes her credibility for me. At first I wanted to give the ballots I noticed the benefit of the doubt not knowing that it had happened in the past. Now I'm just shaking my head.

                                                                                                            I hope people new to COTM won't be put off by what has happened. Each month we see a few new folks who want to join in and they are certainly welcomed with open arms. The more the merrier actually.

                                                                                                            95 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              I'm going to give Ms. Gold the benefit of the doubt here, and assume that she simply didn't understand how COTM works. In these days of social media, it is so common to see on Facebook or Twitter someone up for some award, posting "vote for me!"

                                                                                                              We have a sort of unwritten rule here, or at least an expectation, that when one votes for a book for COTM, one will make an attempt to cook from it and participate in the reporting threads. But it isn't really spelled out anywhere, so people unfamiliar with our group might not get this. Perhaps in the future, it should be stated in the voting thread that we do have that expectation.

                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                Well, yes, your point is very well taken, Mel. I suppose it's best to think RG was unfamiliar with our not-written-in-stone procedures.

                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                  I'm feeling less generous that you MelMM. Since the same thing happened before when RS was in the running, and the votes were removed. In addition several of her posts were removed from the RS thread for being purely self-promoting. I gave her the benefit of the doubt last time, and I was initially pleased that she came onto the thread. But as I recall, she continued to post in the same fashion, and her posts continued to be removed.

                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                    Oh, that is not good. I read MelMM's post and thought, "Yeah. That actually makes a lot of sense." This post just negated that thought. I won't be buying this book even if it wins the COTM vote some month in the future.

                                                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                      The sad thing is that it really is a good book.

                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                        It's sad. I do think it's a wonderful cookbook, and would make a good COTM. I think, too, that we would have had a lot of participation. She packs such interesting flavor into quick and easy dishes. Too bad she had to handle it the way she did.

                                                                                                                      2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                        All of us would've felt better about this issue if Ms. Gold offered an apology right here on this thread, don't you agree?

                                                                                                                        I have the book and made good dishes (and some not too stellar) following her recipes but nothing blew me away as Ottolenghi, for example, did. Was going to give it another go if it won but very happy to cook from Mediterranean Harvest which I also own. I must say if I am to pick a food region to eat from for the rest of my life it would be Mediterranean/Middle Eastern :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                          Dropping in from the lurkers' lounge (I don't think we get cocktails there) to say that I can't believe the craziness that I missed over the last few days.

                                                                                                                          I took a look at Rozanne Gold's FB page to try and see what she originally said so I could judge for myself and it looks like the post has been deleted; just the replies from CHers remain (fun to see you guys there though).

                                                                                                                          I think the key distinction is that this is a voluntary, organic social community, not a contest/award. As such, it's always important to get to know the community a bit to see if it's one you want to participate in. I don't think Ms. Gold sees/saw it that way, for whatever reason. I also did not find her apology very authentic ("sorry it was interpreted that way" or close to that) and, even though I have been a huge proponent of her book being COTM, this has diminished my enthusiasm.

                                                                                                                          This community has always, always been welcoming to newcomers and I know it always will be, regardless of skill level or knowledge and that's why I continue to follow along even when not in a situation to join in. I have learned so much from you all.

                                                                                                                          Back to the lurkers' lounge now...cheers.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                            No drinks in the lurker's lounge, that just won't do! Please take a pitcher back with you, or stay and visit with us.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                              I will personally bring you whatever you'd like to drink, mebby. But we do miss you up here on the couch.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                Thanks, LLM and DK, hoping to join in the couch -- and kitchen -- soon (as soon as my crazy personal and professional life settles down). However, I know there are many of us hanging silently in the lurkers' lounge who are still inspired by all of you every day, so feel free to slide a pitcher on down the bar!

                                                                                                                                BTW, LLM, I love seeing Lulu grow up via your avatar :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                  Just wanted to add I learn so much from the lurker's lounge. And I'm inspired to try out new things which I'd never do if I'm cooking on my own.

                                                                                                                                  Last attempt on something new was a grilled pizza (DOTM). It was such a disaster though that I didn't post! My dough wasn't cooked through properly. And none of the toppings melted. It was so bad Mr Lilham requested me not to ever try cooking a pizza on the barbecue again.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                    I appreciate how lurkers feel, but I'd just like to encourage more people to come out and play. There is a lot of room in this sandbox, and honestly, the more reviews of a particular recipe, or thoughts on a book that we've used, the better.

                                                                                                                                    I know that I have learned so much from doing the COTM, and I really appreciate the companionship, friendship, and commiseration that I've felt being part of this group. It has helped me be brave, and it has made me trust myself more. And I love when people start posting and become one of the gang, like you lilham.

                                                                                                                                    As for the dinner disaster, I'm one of those (and I know not everyone is) who thinks if something turns out horribly you should let others know. If you think it was your fault instead of the recipe's fault, by all means say so. But if it keeps one other person from a lousy meal then you've done a great service. Just my (martini laden) 2 cents.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                      Yes.

                                                                                                                                      COTM is not supposed to be a "look what a great dinner I made" happy happy happy club. It's our real experiences cooking from a book, the good and the bad, the successes and the failures. It isn't meant to glorify the book or to slam it, but to reflect how it works for our very real, sometimes complicated, lives.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                        I had an experience of realizing just how much CH and COTM have given me just a couple weeks ago. I am not as accomplished a cook as many of you and not a confident entertainer at all, but I was cooking my dad's "last supper" for all four of his kids from multiple marriages as well as some other family members and in his kitchen on an electric stove, which I have no experience with. He had a craving for seared scallops (you kinda gotta love a man with end-stage cancer who still craves scallops, don't you?), which you all know are simple and also simple to screw up and I had only made once, years ago. Requested sides were likewise simple and relatively unadorned and therefore had to be great. Bottom line was that this site -- and the COTM forum -- had given me so much background knowledge, even about dishes I had never made, that everything turned out great. He was a happy man. So, thanks, CHers. And, yes, lurkers it's good to get out of the lounge and join in on the fun.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                          Oh Mebby, what a touching story. I'm really glad that you felt it went well, that you gave your dad just what he wanted and felt good about how it went. And yes, you gotta love a man who wants scallops at that stage. That meal will be floating around the universe.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                            That's a great testament to the power of Chowhound and what we all learn from our fellow hounds, mebby - and what a wonderful gift you were able to share with your dad and his family. (And I'm very sorry that he's at that stage, but very glad he was able to share and enjoy that memorable meal with you.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                              That must have been a difficult story to share, mebby. How very kind and gracious of you to have done so. And now we'll all love him and many of us will be thinking of him next time we make scallops.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                Wow. What a wonderful, and heartbreaking, story mebby. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes we have milestones that show us surprising things about ourselves. Welcome to un-lurk mode, at least for a moment. May your father have no pain.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                  Dear mebby,

                                                                                                                                                  I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and all your family.

                                                                                                                                                  What a beautiful, touching account of your Dad's meal. You really moved me. Thank-you for sharing and, most importantly, for "your" contributions to this community.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                    Thank you all for being so kind and thoughtful. He passed away yesterday, peacefully, so it was an honor to share this story, as it truly meant so much to him, and to me. I didn't grow up with him, so this is what I could offer him...a last great experience with family all around and the food he wanted. His contented moans as he ate the scallops were pretty great, as was his pleasure at having the first-ever picture of him with all four of his kids. Everyone at dinner was fighting over the last scallops and raving about how they turned out and asking for details on how I'd done it. And, truly, CH was behind every mouthful! Pretty satisfying sendout. RIP, Dad. And thanks, CHers one and all.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                      Wow, just wow. You racked up a lot of good karma here, mebby.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                        Mebby, it is so nice to hear about your wonderful family meal.

                                                                                                                                                        As we grow older, we all experience significant losses, but having a treasured memory like the one you shared with us today will provide you much needed comfort as time goes by.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                          Mebby, thank you for sharing that touching story. I'm sorry for your loss -- but how wonderful for your father that at that stage he was able to enjoy a family meal. He was truly blessed.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                            Mebby, you brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of the last serious meal that I made for my friend who passed away 19 months ago. In my case it was 5-hour duck (her favourite meat) that I've never made before. Just as you, I felt the support of fellow CHers and this gave me confidence to produce "the best duck ever!" according to my friend. She donated her body to medical research so I can't even say RIP or visit...

                                                                                                                                                            What you've done for your family will be remembered fondly by all for the rest of their lives.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                              I remember that post, Herby. We can still remember, no matter where their bodies lie...and celebrate with favorite meals. I know that scallops will never be the same for me again...in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                              mebby, delurking from COTM to add my condolences. I'm sorry for your loss, but am so happy COTM gave you the confidence to cook such a special meal for your father, may he rest in peace.

                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                            mebby, what an amazing (and sad but uplifting) story. this is truly a community and I am glad it was here for you.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                              You guys are all so sweet, but if this wasn't such an amazing community I wouldn't feel so safe posting here. Love you all. Truly thank you for everything.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                Bless you Mebby, and bless your father and all his children. He had the best gift anyone could receive. The gift of love from one of his children but encompassing all of them as well. The support of the home cooks in this vibrant community we have forged here shows us the best the internet can be. We cook from the heart, we share from the heart, and we love without measure.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you. You all had a seat at the table, truly. And we raised a glass to my amazing fishmonger who was willing to open early to make my dad's meal with the freshest product possible :) (I had to drive scallops from LA to Las Vegas in 118 degree heat.)

                                                                                                                                                                  Cheers, my friends. Thank you for being so kind. And I'ill be bumping you over for some room on the couch next month!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for sharing such a powerful and inspiring story. Looking forward to your return to COTM.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                      I've just read these posts, Mebby, and I'm truly moved by the story of your wonderful tribute to your dad. What a gift you gave him, but also yourself and everyone at the table, who will ever treasure this food memory.
                                                                                                                                                                      You've illustrated so vividly what drives our collective passion--the understanding that cooking is an act of love.
                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                  Truly touching, what a wonderful thing you were able to do for your family! My thoughts are with you and your loved ones.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                    Gosh mebby, that's really an amazing thing you did. I'm so sorry for your loss. Take care. x

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                        I do find it interesting that some books get a ton of votes but then not many people participate. I'd count the current COTM in that camp.

                                                                                                                                                        Btw, any volunteers to take on the co-ordinators role?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                          It may be time to stress that if you vote, you are expected to at least TRY to cook/review from the book. I am seeing a number of names voting who I can't recall ever reviewing a recipe. Yea, this is a "rule" change, so would need to be vetted by the group, but I have felt for the past few months that there has been a trend towards vicarious cooking, i.e. people voting for the book because they want someone else to find the gems so they can sit back to benefit.

                                                                                                                                                          Too many slow months, and this wonderful group could loose a bit of its excitement. [It is also possible that Gio should get three votes! Gio cooks from every book regardless of whether she wanted that book or not!]

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                            It's a slippery slope though. I don't think it would be amiss to have some kind of statement about hoping that people who vote will cook along. But we never know why a person doesn't cook from a certain book, or during a certain month. I've skipped a couple months over the last two years, one when I was out of the country, and one when I had absolutely no interest in any of the recipes in the book. (On the other had I didn't vote during those selection periods either, once because I knew I'd be away, once because I was the coordinator.) I may be skipping this next month too, as I don't have, or have access to, the winning book, and the recipes don't appeal to me for summer cooking (some of the baked recipes do appeal, but I'm trying to avoid the oven in August.) Of course, once I subtracted my vote from RS, I guess I didn't really participate in voting this month anyway!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                              This is the reason I end up voting less often than not, and why I chose not to this time, though I have one of the books and can easily get the other from the library (just requested the winner, in fact). I don't want to vote if I'm not sure I'll be able to participate. At the same time, I've cooked and posted many months when I didn't vote.

                                                                                                                                                              It does seem like there are lulls in COTM every so often, and whether that's down to books chosen or wishy-washy voters, it's hard to say. (And of course, among regulars, I know there are those occasions when life intervenes and intentions are overwhelmed by everyday reality, something we've all experienced.)

                                                                                                                                                              P.S. greedygirl, I recommend including another note about needing a successor in your OP when you post the new thread, so it'll catch more eyes.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                Agree with Caitlin - when I know I'm not going to be able to cook much (like May and June) I don't vote. But there have been times I have voted and then things came up and I was only able to cook one or two things. Or I ended up getting a book and found that there just wasn't much I was interested in.

                                                                                                                                                                Also agree Gio should get 3 vote!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                    Or ... and I cannot believe I am having to type this yet again ... one's Viking could go on the fritz again. Seriously, again. Last time it took 3-4 months before they were able to fix it. I'm going to need a drink RIGHT NOW. Anyway, this could have me out of commission for a short or long time, and I wouldn't consider voting on a book until the oven/stove is fixed.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                      Ugh, I'm so sorry LLM. You aren't the first person I've known with Viking horror stories. What a royal PITA! I hope for your (and your family's sake) it's a short time. I'll send my prayers to the stove gods on your behalf...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you Caitlin. I know you've heard me complain before, and gosh I wish that wasn't the case. I am happy to say that my husband suggested that I immediately make myself a martini, and Lulu read to me for a few minutes and so I've calmed down a bit. Maybe your prayers to the stove gods (I LOVE this concept) will help. But the idea of having no stove or oven for as long as it was before is sort of twisting my melon. Luckily tonight's dinner is happy to be grilled (those wonderful SE Asian Turkey burgers from Gourmet Today). Now for the next month or so ...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh LLM, I'm so sorry to read this is happening again. What a bloody nuisance! Perhaps This Time the fix will be quick and easy especially with the stove gods in charge. I hope the weather cooperates and grilling will continue to be an acceptable alternative till then.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you Gio. We're lucky to have a grill. And I'd welcome any microwave meal suggestions that are actually good (keeping in mind we don't eat red meat).

                                                                                                                                                                            The soonest the repair guy can be here is August 5th. Remember JFK's comment about southern efficiency?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                              OOOH NOOO! I too will supplicate the stove gods on your behalf, but I think a martini may be more immediately effective. WHAT a horrible thing to happen!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you so very much GretchenS. The martini gods have been very kind to me - weeeee! Lets hope they remain kind in the morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                Just going to repeat my hard learned mantra: please don't buy a Viking.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                  You know, that last line made my professional marketing/PR self think, wow, corporate would hate to hear that! Have you ever tried contacting their CEO with a diplomatic but pointed letter casually mentioning your active involvement in prominent online food forums? Just a thought and don't mean to take the conversation off the food solutions...love all the suggestions everyone has.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, I can relate, as my oven has been on the fritz for a couple months...it's a vintage O'Keefe and Merritt, so I have to get a specialist and was delaying until summer is over and I can bear to turn the oven on again.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                ACK... 11 days? Can you hear me screaming?

                                                                                                                                                                                See if you can find "Mastering Microwave Cooking" by Marcia Cone at the library. (selling at Amazon for $0.01.) I've had the book for 27 years. There's a pretty reliable salmon recipe I made early on.
                                                                                                                                                                                Here's a sample recipe:
                                                                                                                                                                                Microwave Steamed Clams or Mussels
                                                                                                                                                                                http://homecooking.about.com/od/seafo...

                                                                                                                                                                                Another book I have is "Microwave Gourmet" by Barbara Kafka.
                                                                                                                                                                                Sample recipe:
                                                                                                                                                                                Microwave Shrimp Risotto
                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.thecitycook.com/cooking/re...

                                                                                                                                                                                Then there's always Google...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also worth checking out, Moghul Microwave, by Julie Sahni

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you so very much. I just was telling my husband (as he ran out to put the burgers on the grill) that I'd sent out an SOS and here you all are, helping so quickly. I can't tell you how much calmer this makes me feel, to have these ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                            I am so sorry to hear of your woes LLM. It is lucky that it is coinciding with grill weather....but, even so, you can't do everything outside. Do you have a toaster oven, crockpot, or portable burner? Those three items can virtually replace your oven/burner, at least temporarily. Hope your repair goes smoothly!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                              We have a grill (a great one - again, grilling suggestions from former COTM books for non-red meat items would be gratefully accepted) and a microwave. This may be the time when my husband talks me into an electric kettle.

                                                                                                                                                                              And thank you dk, for your kind thoughts. Sorry to be such a sad puppy about this. But some who have been around for a while will remember that this isn't the first time I've gone through this. Not best pleased.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                Serious bummer about your stove. Maybe now is the time to get an outdoor wok set up and this way you can stir fry outside with some serious btus.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                  beetlebug, please tell me more about an outdoor wok. Can I just use my regular wok over the flame of the gas grill?? This would be a revelation and *such* a blessing. Please advise.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                    Really sorry to hear about your Viking. These things are just so temperamental. During the summer months, I use my grill baskets a lot of create meals with lots of vegetables. I think middle-eastern foods are particularly good for a combination of raw and grilled items.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't have an outdoor wok set up. But I read about it on the cookware board.

                                                                                                                                                                                      As for using your wok on the flame of the gas grill, I have no clue. But it seems like it should be fine as long as you have a carbon steel or iron wok. I mean, why wouldn't be ok? And, aren't there wok like things you can buy for the grill?

                                                                                                                                                                                      But the experts on the cookware board should be able to answer your questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think what you read about is the Viking wok burner, which I have in my house, but some people with kick ass backyards have in their outdoor kitchen. It is quite an investments. The less expensive choice would be to buy a side burner for your bbq and use a flat bottomed wok on it, or just use a camping burner, which is what we have for our emergency kit (earthquake country, also prone to black outs).

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have, from time to time, used my bbq as an oven, and put my le cruset dutch oven on the grill then closed the lid. Not the ideal but it does work.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                          When I tried to make a fritters recipe outdoors, I googled about using normal cookware on the gas barbecue. The consensus seems to be it is perfectly fine as long as you are careful with the handles. I tested it with my griddle pan but I can't see why anything else would have a problem. Aren't they design to go over quite high heat anyway? Besides on a gas barbecue it is easy to adjust the heat if it is too hot.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                            LLM, are you without both burners and oven? I've had to do without for an extended time in the past, and I'll give you my list of reasons why I can live without a stove. It's a shopping list. Do you have birthday coming up? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wok Burner: Everyone needs an outdoor propane burner. I use the Big Kahuna burner. It is very flexible as it has adjustable leg height. Set it tall for a wok, set it low for a crawfish pot. The grate flips over to fit a wok or a flat-bottomed pot like a crawfish pot or a fish-fry pot. There is a set that comes with a 22" wok and utensils but don't get that. The wok is larger than is practical, as are the utensils. I use my 18" wok on this burner with great results.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Gas grill: I'll assume this is what you have already.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Big Green Egg or similar: does everything the grill does, but also smokes low and slow, and can act as an oven. Extremely versatile cooking device. You can make pizza, bake bread, roast chicken... just about anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Breville SmartOven (convection toaster oven): I roast chickens in this thing, bake cakes, make pizza. I use it more than my wall oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Iwatani butane burner: a gas burner you can use indoors. You can use this with a wok successfully, or turn it way down low for a hotpot. While you're at it, buy the blow torch that uses the same cannisters.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Induction burner: this is the one thing I don't have, but I'm waiting for an excuse. Between this and an Iwatani burner, you wouldn't miss your stovetop.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Mel's list ROCKS, and to Mel's last point and Caitlin's, I got a single induction burner when my stove crapped out earlier this year and I will never live without one again. I got the Max Burton because Caroline1 recommended it and it has been great. I loaned it to a stoveless friend and he loved it too. It did seem worth it to purchase the $6-ish extended warranty, they do seem to be temperamental, but no problems at all with mine so far.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to recommend an equipment purchase that will be totally worth the cost, provided the majority of your cookware isn't cast aluminum: a portable induction burner. It's only one burner, but the one I have really saved me when I was deprived of a stovetop for a while. Think of it as a hotplate on steroids, as powerful as a regular stove burner, and something that will come in handy in many future situations.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The one caveat is that you must use ferrous (i.e., magnetic) cookware with it, such as bare and enameled cast iron, and some stainless tri-ply (basically, if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, you're good to go). A basic 1800-watt burner can be had inexpensively. This isn't the one I have, but here's an example (and there are many more available on Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/1800-Watt-Porta...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, you people have really really come through in my crisis, and I cannot thank you enough. All of you. Tomorrow, once sober again : ) I will reread this batch of emails, take notes and start looking into buying some of this stuff. I'm thinking that I will use my wok on the gas grill, so that will make life easier, and also look into the green egg and the induction burner. I really appreciate your thoughts/help so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I can tell you that the SE Asian turkey burgers were amazing and made us think if we just made those 1 time each week we'd at least know there was something wonderful for dinner coming up. And it suddenly occurred to me that entree salads are an option. Not one my family is used to, but this would be a chance to force the issue. Silver lining. Again - thanks to everyone very very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                              LLM, Composed Salads are one of the popular nominations for DOTM for August. Could be a fun foray into another "OTM" for you, should it win.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                                                Composed salads are one of summer's greatest gifts!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                What an absolute pain LLM. Some great suggestions here. I especially like mebby's idea of harnessing the power of Chowhound with an email to Viking's PR dept. Is a new oven out of the question?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The oven isn't even 10 years old yet, so I don't really feel that we should need to buy a new one. But I do think a letter to Viking is in order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And seriously - these tips are great. Will get on them ASAP, and plan to wok Saturday's meal on the grill (and take advantage of our pool's dinner party tonight).

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                Caitlin, my husband is excited by the idea of the induction burner. Will it cook pasta? (I think this is the item he's having the hardest time imagining living without - second is scrambled eggs). Was there a reason you linked to that specific one on amazon? He's going to be looking into this to make the decision. And thanks again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Re: scrambled eggs. If you successfully stir fry with your wok via the grill, try scrambled eggs in the wok/grill. I use my wok for scrambled eggs on my stove top. Just try and have the grill on a lower heat/setting and take the wok off the grill when the eggs are 2/3 the way cooked. The heat from the wok will finish them off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bacon is also great to cook in the wok. Plus, it seasons the wok nicely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not Caitlin but I can confirm that induction is terrific for brining huge pots of water to boil for pasta. I also do corn on the cob outdoors on mine in the summer. Keeps the house cool and allows us to boil corn to order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                      LLM, I don't have any personal experience with the induction burner I linked, I chose it as an example because it has pretty good reviews and so you could see how affordable they can be. (The one I have is a Sunpentown model I got 6 years ago at Target that doesn't appear to be available now.) As Breadcrumbs indicated, a basic 1800-watt unit should be fine for cooking pasta, as well as keeping steady low heat for things like simmering or cooking eggs. Just read the reviews to see if people have complaints about certain uses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also wanted to share a couple of threads about using your grill in other ways than grilling food on the grates (including as an oven):

                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/427504
                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/904050

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks Caitlin. We were going over all the amazon reviews and trying to figure out which one to buy (there were some fairly reasonable complaints for each one). We ordered the one that is maybe 1 step up from the one you suggested. Should be here Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the links threads. I'm a little nervous about wokking on mine (especially because of the wonky/loose handle) but may well try it if the induction burner doesn't seem strong enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          LLM, a cast iron skillet is good on a grill. I use our Weber all the time as an oven - to roast turkey, chicken, vegetables, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Gio. Unfortunately I don't have a cast iron skillet. I have a few pieces of le creuset, which I'm figuring will go well on the burner. How do you think the wok will do? Aside from that blasted wonky handle ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                              To be perfectly honest but hope not too pushy, I say get a new wok... if the wonky handle cannot be fixed/repaired. If it were me I would not want to chance spilling hot oil or food on myself when stir-frying whether cooking inside or out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Was just about to say exactly the same thing. They're inexpensive enough, for the most part. It will just be a bit of a pain to have to season it again. And you might even consider getting a wok that would work on an outdoor butane burner just in case you decide at some point to go that route.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, the thing is, there aren't really any good places to get woks around here - I'd have to mail order again, and (fingers crossed) by the time it got here I'd be over the whole cooking outside part of it. But point taken - that handle is a dangerous nuisance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If I may be so bold as to go one step further with this: The wonky handle is still going to be wonky when you'd "be over the whole cooking outside part of it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I suggest an on-line purchase from The Wok Shop. It's a perfect resource for everything having to do with wok cooking and other Asian implements. Grace Young recommends this shop highly. Just a suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.wokshop.com/store/search.p...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Laughing - good point about the handle! The wok shop is where I got the wok I have now, and I do love it. Just that daggone handle caused me a big problem when I tried to drain oil once. Your point is well taken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                      LlM,

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here are some a few grilling ideas from previous COTM. They are all chicken, but the flavors are all very different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Batali’s Italian grill -il galletto al mattone (Chicken Under a Brick)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Italian Easy- Italian Easy
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Essential NYT- Bademiya's Justly Famous Bombay Chile and Cilantro Chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Complete Asian- Kai yang Garlic Chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hoping Aug 5 comes quickly and they can fix your Viking that day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks so much BigSal! I'm taking every tip I can get right now, but feeling decidedly better and calmer today. My husband is excited about the idea of an induction burner, and I've found a few things that I think should work well on the grill for the coming week (including a dinner salad with grilled turkey sausages). We have little faith that 8/5 will actually be the day they fix it (based on past experiences) but we will make it through, and not in small part because of all the help you all are giving us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm so sorry to hear of your Viking woes but I think you'll love the versatility of having a portable burner LlM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I originally purchased an induction burner to test out the technology when we started planning our kitchen reno and I was considering an induction cooktop. It truly was "love at first use" and even though we did install our Meile induction cooktop last year, I also invested in another portable burner when our first one bit the bullet. Thankfully prices have dropped considerably in the past few years so the portable units are no longer a costly proposition. If you happen to be a Costco member, you'll likely find a good quality reasonable priced unit there. We purchased one for about $50 for a friend of ours last fall. My new one is an All Clad and I adore it. I especially love taking it outside to cook tableside. They're especially good at maintaining a constant temperature so they're ideal for frying. I always prepare my Fiori di zucca fritti outside on my induction burner since they are optimal when served straight from the pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          After the horrible multi-day power blackout on the east coast a few years ago we also invested in a butane burner. You often see Jamie Oliver cooking outdoors on these and I figured it would be great to have on hand for power outages. Since then we've even taken it on road trips...perfect to have on hand for an outdoor picnic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second the recommendation for a butane burner. Essential for power outages and great next to the grill, assuming you don't have a power outlet next to your bbq.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Great information! Induction burners were so darn expensive the last time I looked, I had just moved on. Clearly, I need to take another look at them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Chinese/Asia stores (Kam Man, Mings, Super 88 type) often have Japanese/Taiwanese portable induction burners for very good prices--got mine about 7-8 years ago and it is still doing just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm willing to give it a go. My work schedule is a bit hectic, so I may not have the flair of others, but will get the essentials done. Also, I do have a question or two for you gg.

                                                                                                                                                                                              ETA I thought I was responding to gg to volunteer to take on the role of COTM coordinator.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                                                BigSal, If you volunteer to take the coordinator position for the next 6 months, I could be your "backup" in case work interferes. Does that help you commit?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                  smtucker, I'm hoping not to have to call on you, but I really appreciate the help/ support.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ooh, lovely! My email address is in my profile. I'm no expert but will endeavour to answer any questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Same with others, when I don't feel like I have the time to participate, I don't vote. I think it's a good idea to make it clearer on the voting thread that you should only vote if you think you'll be cooking along. We can't police it, but at least it's spelt out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've seen the NYT link for Mediterranean Harvest and I think I will go through it and bookmark a few recipes. However, I've done that for Burma with good intentions to participate! So lets see if I can join along for the next month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PS. I didn't vote for Burma or August.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I found some very tasty sounding things on that NYT website Lilham. I hope you'll have equally good luck. I'm going to try the stir fry with thai basil, eggplant and chicken next week, I think. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/hea...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, though if you look at the voting history, a lot has to do with the fact that there were three books to choose from last month instead of just two. Though the current COTM got more votes than the other books, it did not get more than 50% of all of the votes. To put it another way, more people voted against the current COTM than for it. This is just something that's likely to happen when there are more than 2 options for voting. Not that I think voting should always be between only the top 2 contenders, but it is something for the coordinator to think about.