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Feb 5, 2014 06:28 PM

Nominations for March 2014 Cookbook of the Month

We are taking nominations for the March 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM). Please use this thread to discuss the books you would like to cook from in March. Indicate you are nominating a book by writing the title of the book in ALL CAPITALS. * We are starting the nomination process a few days early as I have a long weekend planned next week and wanted to make sure we had ample time for nominations.*

This thread will be open until 7 pm Central Time on Wednesday, February 12th. At that time the books with the most nominations will advance to the voting thread.

To view the basics of the COTM, and to review all of the previous winners, please visit this link:

What will March bring? A reprieve of Hakka? Perhaps Balaboosta will be a contender? Will we overcome our fear of Thai food? Anything could happen. Let the nominations begin!

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  1. Oh gosh, I would love to do the Hakka Cookbook, but I'm guessing two Asian months right next to each other isn't going to fly.

    8 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      Well, I'd sign on for HAKKA. But then, everybody already knows the direction of my cooking proclivities!

        1. re: emily

          Will also throw out STIR - have enjoyed what I've made so far and would like to explore more.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Yeah, I'd be pretty happy with the Hakka Cookbook, too. But I think you are right... we might have a COTM riot on our hands.

          2. And if more Asian food in March is too much of a good thing, any interest in some sort of a bistro-y type book?

            No particular book in mind, but this old fashioned winter that we've been having has me doing a fair amount of that sort of cooking, and in NH at least, March is definitely still winter. Usually the grimmest part, in fact.

            1. For the past month we've been cooking from two books by Andrea Chesman: Recipes from the Root Cellar, and Serving Up the Harvest - about 15 recipes from Root Cellar with 2 more tonight: a chicken lo mein, and stir-fried bok choy. We're just starting on Harvest and have cooked 2 recipes so far.

              Everything has been outstanding. Her Asian ingredients are spot on with very easy, logical directions. We started out in the soup chapter of Root Cellar during that wicked frigid weather we in the North East had recently, moved on to main dish meats that incorporate typical root cellar vegetables, then to her other vegetable chapters augmenting our own roasts. I loved Root Cellar so much I bought the Harvest book. That one is broken up into seasonal recipes with just as many flavor-packed recipes as the first one.




              2 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                I've just put the Root Cellar book on hold at my library - you've been raving and it has finally sunk in (takes me a while I guess!). It sounds like a book I'll enjoy, and I'm thrilled that my library has it.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I think you will enjoy it, LLM. Although there is a chapter on meat main meals, the book is laden with healthy, smart vegetable centric recipes. There hasn't been a disappointment yet.

              2. We just had an absolutely wonderful, traditional french pot roast out of Plenty by Diana Henry. Just an excellent, delicious dish. Would anybody have interest in cooking from Henry's books? I think a Diana Henry month would be just fabulous. And she incorporates flavors from all over the world, so there is plenty of variety for everyone. I would recommend doing Plenty/Food from Plenty and Pure Simple Cooking/Cook Simple.

                I would also be interested in Mighty Spice and Mighty Spice Express. I acquired MSE recently but so far have only been able to try one recipe. Have many marked to try. For me, when it starts getting into February and March, it's really hard to find the motivation to cook. Root veggies really starting to lose their allure. I especially like SE Asian and Mexican flavors during this time of year .... if I can't eat something fresh and green at least I can wake up my palate with cilantro, chile and lime. A shot of fish sauce doesn't hurt either.

                I could support the Chesman too. I got the Root Cellar book from the library on Gio's recommendation. I haven't cooked from it yet but I'm enjoying reading it during my commute (I got the ebook edition so it's on my phone) and it's certainly filled with many things that I would cook. Goodness knows I have mountains of potatoes, cabbage, kale and turnips to get through before spring.

                As for Hakka, I'm divided. I've been really interested in this book for a long time. And it won't really be back to back Asian for me because I'm not going to be participating in COTM much this month (no time for dumplings). But I'm concerned that Hakka would be another lower participation month like those we've had recently -- it is a more specialized book, it is rather expensive to buy, there are not a lot of online recipes out there nor is there good library availability. I would rather try to pick something that would have a wider appeal. It's always fun to have more cooks in the kitchen.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Westminstress

                  Westminstress, there are 2 on-going threads for two of the books you mentioned:
                  Plenty + others/Diana Henry

                  Mighty Spice + Mighty Spice Express

                  1. re: Gio

                    I don't think the fact that there are ongoing threads should prevent a book from being COTM. COTM is a chance to cook more intensively from a book and for lots of people to focus on the same book at the same time. Though the ongoing threads are great too, it's not really the same thing. Also, I think the fact that there are ongoing threads shows that there is a wider positive audience for a book which leads to greater participation.

                  2. re: Westminstress

                    I could get behind *all* of these ideas. One thing: might it make more sense to do a Diana Henry month once her new book comes out here (I think June)? Then we could include it. But I'd definitely be up for all these suggestions.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I thought about that with the new Henry coming out (which I am quite excited about by the way). But I think a COTM with the new book and all the older ones would be too diffuse anyway.

                      1. re: Westminstress

                        Sold. DIANA HENRY month or HAKKA (having started the Mighty Spice thread I feel a little weird about nominating it, but I'd have no problem voting for it if it garnered enough nominations).

                    2. re: Westminstress

                      I just bought Mighty Spice Express so I'd be down for that. I'll go ahead and nominate it.


                      1. re: Westminstress

                        I'd love to do Diana Henry month, but I'm away for most of March (escaping the dreary weather at last - yay). Her new book is also out in March and I'll definitely be getting it as soon as I get back from my holiday.

                      2. BALABOOSTA. As discussed. It's a small easy to handle book with an eclectic set of recipes. Although many are middle eastern (and as a rare treat Yemenite) there are all types of recipes as the author based the book on what SHE eats and feeds her family. I also love the set up - kids section, light section, hurry section, romantic section, etc

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Siegal

                          I am really disappointed to hear all the bad press re Balaboosta. For those of you who have it and love it, I'd love to hear your side of the story.

                          1. re: dkennedy

                            Me too, really. I have the book, so if someone has tried something they love, I want to know about it.

                            1. re: MelMM

                              I made the shakshuka (used less salt - otherwise followed recipe), Turkish coffee brownies, the cheese bureka. All came out very good. Especially the brownies
                              Also made the hamin - did not come out good bc too much salt but seemed like it had potential. So I will make it again but use my common sense for salt.

                              1. re: Siegal

                                Re the salt issue: I think that is a Food Network issue. I often find that the recipes I pull from their site are way off re the measurements of ingredients and so I have gotten in the habit of editing any printed recipes against the actual show I watched. I believe Balaboosta was written after she participated on that network (am I wrong?) so if so, probably the recipes are sound, but the measurements will be consistently problematic. Regardless, I can see why the group would be against it. I still am looking forward to getting from the library to make up my own mind.

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  I haven't made very much, but what I have made, too much salt was not the issue. In one case, it was not enough salt. It was just proportions off across the board.

                                  1. re: MelMM

                                    Also, from T. Susan Chang's review of the book below, it seemed like it wasn't only issues of proportion but of timing.