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Aug 12, 2013 10:03 AM

HELLO COOKBOOKS - About that to-die-for, definitive recipe for ___ , and the book I found it in.

Here's the antithesis to the Good-bye Cookbooks thread. There are some we have to keep because we found the most perfect version of a certain dish that we ever had.

Use this thread to post up about the truly great recipes from your cookbook collection... whether you make them just for special occasions or once a week. And please tell us a bit about the recipe and what makes it special, and about the book it comes from. Those of us who have been clearing out our shelves might have room for a new acquisition!

As with all recipe threads, feel free to summarize recipes but do not post verbatim, per Chowhound policy.

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  1. "Thrill of the Grill" , Schlesinger and Willoughby, :
    Cold Orzo Salad,

    Nothing radical : chopped eggs, tomatoes, red onion, garlic capers parsley. Oilive oil, balsamic. then, just before serving, fresh lemon juice and pecorino ( though the original recipe calls for a half a pound! Waaay too much)

    ALWAYS gets eaten, great side, no mayo or potatoes to go bad on a hot day, bet i have made this 50 times.

    Also, in the same book the East Coast Grill Cornbread recipe is always a hit. Honestly it has too much sugar for me ( and southerners will be horrified "why am I eating CAKE??") but it gets universal love at bbq's and whatnot.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hyde

      If this looks like the recipe, Hyde, it's something we'd like to make. Thanks for the pecorino warning!

      1. re: Gio

        I would not be happy if i was Chris as this recipe is a direct copy.

        It will keep for days if you dont add the pecorino but once you do it gets a little sour in about 24 hours

        1. re: hyde

          Thank you for the advise about the cheese!

          I looked every where for a credit and was surprised not to see anything. That's not acceptable at all. Many bloggers do copy with out reference, but I find most do.

          1. re: Gio

            At the bottom of the recipe in a box she does say where she got the recipe.

            1. re: Gio

              Yes, You're correct, even so the recipe was copied w/o permission or that would have been stated. But you're right, at least she acknowledged the source.

      2. Falafel, from Jerusalem

        I mentioned this recipe in the "good-bye" thread as one that I would consider definitive and worth keeping the book just for the one recipe. The best version I've made and as good, or more likely better, than any I've eaten. You can read all the reports, including mine, on the COTM thread for this book:

        2 Replies
        1. re: MelMM

          I agree that the falafel recipe from Jerusalem is the definitive version. As soon as I made it, my desire to try others recipes disappeared.

          1. I've mentioned this before on other threads, but it bears repeating: the roast chicken with lemon from Italian Easy is my very favorite, and so simple. Three ingredients: chicken, a lemon, and thyme (and salt). I've never had it turn out anything but perfect.

            The fennel salad with fennel salt in The Flexitarian Table is my favorite fennel salad. I wouldnt even bother trying another at this point. Thinly sliced fennel is dressed with lemon and olive oil, and then sprinkled with a fennel seeds, salt and pepper that have been ground together in a mortar and pestle. I often make it with the above mentioned roast chicken and a side of polenta. This is one of my crave meals when I'm away from home.

            7 Replies
            1. re: LulusMom

              Speaking of Flexitarian Table, the Tofu with lemon, soy, white wine, and butter sauce is one of my all-time favorites.

              Funny that LLM mentioned the roast chicken from Italian Easy. I was going to mention "My favorite simple roast chicken" from Keller's Bouchon. Love this recipe. So foolproof, so delicious. (I didn't keep the book, though!)

              Unless it's a super-involved, multi-step, multi-page recipe, I'm not sure I'd keep a cookbook for only one recipe. But, I think I'd put Lahey's "basic no-knead bread recipe" is in that category. Even though the recipe appeared all over the internet (thanks to Bittman) before Lahey published his book, the way this recipe is presented in his book is so helpful.



              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Totally agree that the Flexitarian Table's tofu with soy, lemon, etc. is a killer tofu recipe. It was the first one that made my husband say "hey, maybe this stuff actually can be good!"

                The SE Asian turkey burgers from Gourmet Today are made very often around here, just as written (that book will never leave my bookshelf while I'm still around). And the Indonesian grilled chicken with hot spices from The Complete Asian Cookbook is one of our favorites. Don't let that "hot spices" business throw you off. It has great flavor but really isn't what anyone in our family would call hot.

                I think as we keep thinking on this the list will get longer and longer.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  That Indonesian grilled chicken is one of our all-time favorites here too and has been loved by everyone I've served it to (I heat the leftover marinade cut with some water to use as a dipping sauce for adults who want a little more oomph, even though the chicken as written is absolutely delicious as well).

                  I've been meaning to try that Flex Table tofu for ages based on all the rave reviews.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I'd love a paraphrase of that tofu recipe. Is it baked, fried, etc?

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          The recipe paraphrased, courtesy of Bettlebug:

                          1 lb firm tofu, sliced into 6 1/2 inch thick slabs
                          1/4 cup dry white wine
                          2 T soy sauce
                          2 T lemon juice
                          2 t honey (although I've forgotten to add this and it's been fine)
                          3 T unsalted butter, cubed (I cube into 12 pieces)
                          2 T finely diced shallots (I use more)
                          1 slice fresh ginger about 1/2 thick - peeled and finely chopped (I use more)
                          1/2 t kosher salt
                          pinch of red pepper flakes
                          3-4 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary (not sure if this adds anything but I usually have some on hand)

                          Preheat oven to 400 degrees and have the oven rack on the upper third of the oven.

                          In a small/medium skillet where the tofu will be able to lay in a single layer, mix the wine, soy sauce, lemon juice and honey. Stir it up. Place the tofu in the skillet and then flip them (this way both sides are juiced (alternatively,lay the tofu in a single layer in an ovenproof skillet, mix the ingredients in a bowl and then pour over the tofu).

                          Scatter the butter, shallots and ginger over the tofu, season with salt and red pepper flakes and place herbs on top.

                          Bring to boil over high heat and then bake for 10 minutes. After baking, place the pan over high heat again to bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce (about 3-5 minutes). Discard the herbs and serve.

                          The sauce tastes great with rice.

                2. Wow. Just saw this thread. MelMM, you described the basic criterion I use for keeping cookbooks.

                  25 years ago (when the cookbook collection was more manageable), I might have given you a complete list, but now it's impractical. Here are a few I would have included 25 yrs ago and still cook today. All are cookbooks that were influential -- had either mainstream or major cult followings in the US, and ALL are readily available on the used market.

                  Morrison Wood, "With a Jug of Wine" (1949, Farrar, Straus, Giroux; reprinted repeatedly for 20 years)
                  -- for clever appetizers and some international main courses; way ahead of its time

                  The Gourmet Cookbook (1950 -- the real one, the original)
                  -- for Herb-Stuffed Broilers, English Herb Cheese, several other favorites

                  Marcella Hazan, "The Classic Italian Cookbook" (1973 -- the real one, not the later reissue that combines the sequel but omits all the little stories and comments that make this book so distinctive)
                  -- for too many dishes and techniques to count, but especially fresh pasta methods

                  Chiang, Schrecker, and Schrecker, "Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook" (Harper & Row 1976; reissued 1987)
                  -- for Ma Po Tofu, Red-Cooked Beef with Noodles, and (along with Delfs's book) teaching the US all about Sichuan cuisine, decades before Fuchsia Dunlop did

                  Waters, Curtan, and Labro, "Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza & Calzone" (Random House, 1984, ISBN 0-394-53094-2 )
                  -- again for too many useful recipes to list, but start with Wild Mushroom & Green Pasta Gratin. This was the original cookbook from the casual café that opened over the restaurant in 1980, and one of the most useful I've seen from the Panisse group.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: eatzalot

                    I love Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook! First mention I've seen in a long time, but the recipes are perfect and perfectly delicious.

                    1. re: eatzalot

                      One of my favorites from Mrs. Chiang is the Anise Chicken. I especially love that it can be prepared ahead of time, keeps several days in the fridge, and is best at room temperature.

                    2. I was reminded this weekend how good Beatty's Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten's "At Home" cookbook is. The accompanying frosting is just OK (I'm not a huge buttercream fan), but the cake? Perfectly moist and delicious. Divine.