HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


March 2014 Cookbook of the Month- Stir: Mixing it Up in the Italian Tradition by Barbara Lynch

Stir: Mixing it Up in the Italian Tradition by Barbara Lynch won the voting round handily, earning its spot as March’s Cookbook of the Month.

On March 1st delys77 will post individual threads for reporting your experiences from this book. In the meantime, you can use this announcement thread for general discussion about the book.

The voting thread that got us here:

The nomination thread is here:

A general explanation of Cookbook of the Month, and a list of past books:

For those that don’t have the book, join in on the fun by trying some of the online recipes available.

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies and Pistachios http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/or...

Spicy Tomato Soup http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/2077...

Poulet au pan http://www.today.com/id/34043133#.Uvw...

Roasted winter squash with maple syrup and sage cream http://www.today.com/id/34043133#.Uvw...

Lamb with gorgonzola fondue http://bostonchefs.com/recipe/lamb-go...

Simple tomato sauce http://darbyoshea.wordpress.com/2010/...

Slow roasted beef tenderloin with thyme http://jetsettimes.com/2012/12/10/bar...

Red wine sauce http://jetsettimes.com/2012/12/10/bar...

Roasted fennel and green beans http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html...

Butcher shop Bolognese http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html...

Creamy vanilla bread pudding http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html...

Spiced walnuts http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2010/11/23...

Fresh fig sauce http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2010/11/23...

Creamy caramel sauce http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2010/11/23...

Chantilly cream http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2010/11/23...

Pearl onions au gratin http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2010/11/23...

Pommes puree http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2010/11/23...

Truffled gnocchi with peas and mushrooms http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...
Gnocchi http://candidsbyjo.com/2013/01/04/bar...

Ricotta Gnudi http://thehungrycrafter.com/2011/03/1...

Odd fellow marinara sauce

Trenette with pesto and haricots verts http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/tr...

Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples, Celery & Spiced Walnuts http://www.dartagnan.com/Pork-Chops-w...

Prune-Stuffed Gnocchi with Foie Gras Butter Sauce

Lemon aioli lobster rolls http://www.athoughtforfood.net/recipe...

Chicken Meatball Lasagnettes http://www.thepeche.com/home/2010/5/4...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Great job with the links and everything else as always BigSal! I actually figured this would win so I ordered this off Amazon for under $5 including the shipping... 88 cents for the actual book, 3.99 for shipping. I'm excited to participate again... it's been awhile for me!

    1. Thank you Big Sal and delys77.

      1. Thank you for facilitating BigSal, fabulous job as usual. I'll do my best to follow in your footsteps.

        2 Replies
        1. Raising a glass to you, Big Sal for a job Very Well done. Delys has his work cut out for him but he'll be fine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Cheers! Thank you (and the whole COTM gang) for making this such a welcoming, sharing and learning experience.

            1. re: BigSal

              You really did a great job, Big Sal. And we COTMers never make it easy.

              I'm sure Delys will do well also. Raising a glass to you both!

          2. Although I voted for the Hakka cookbook I'm very pleased to be cooking from "Stir" in March. Barbara Lynch's life story is fascinating, almost a Rags To Riches story. I live quite close to Boston but have never eaten at one of her world renowned restaurants. This multiple award winning chef came along just when it became impossible for me to go anywhere because of my condition and the wheelchair. I'm glad to be able to taste some of her famous dishes now.

            Here's a wonderful and enlightening interview Chef Lynch gave to Inc. magazine in November 2008. "How I Did It":


            11 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              Unfortunately yet another cookbook that my library doesn't have. I'll have to party along with my imagination.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Awww...come on. Big Sal listed some on-line recipes in the OP. Surely you'll find one or two that may appeal to you. At least I hope so.

                1. re: Gio

                  Weirdly, none of them especially did when I read through them this morning. Maybe my appetite will perk up when I start reading reviews. Obviously something is off with me today!

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    It will. The book is a little different than your typical Italian Cookbooks, in my opinion. I think of it more like a cookbook by someone who likes Italian food but who only decided to include some of her favorite recipes. So she might have a ragu here and an Italian dessert there, but left other recipes which might be expected to be included in any Italian book out. In place of those recipes, she tucked in some very decidedly unItalian recipes (seared duck breast with spiced cherries). The way I have come to look at it is this: if the recipe is in here, it's for a reason. So it may not sound so appealing, but once made it will probably surprise you.

                    1. re: dkennedy

                      Good info and good advice. I think maybe I'm just a little exhausted after sick husband/snow days/the nonstopness of things lately. I will say that I just spent a little time (husband, now well, is away and I let Lulu eat in front of the tv - horrible mom!) looking at Isabel's Cantina and getting *very* excited about that, so at least something is working correctly.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Sorry to hear about sick hubby and snow day all in one. Hope the sun peaks through and you can have some respite.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          I swear I could have written this post. My child has been sick (ie., send him to preschool seemingly fine, then get the "come and get your sick kid" call from school) 3 times in the last month; I've been sick twice; husband has been sick only "once", but it has lasted an eternity.

                          And now we have a foot of wet, heavy snow on our doorstep. :(

                          And we all know you are not a horrible mom! Sometimes you need a break and they need to mix it up!

                          I have so many Italian books--do I really need this one? dkennedy's post is very helpful.


                        2. re: dkennedy

                          This is super helpful, dk, thank you. Actually, yours and others comments in EYB are also pretty persuasive. Whoops! I just bought a cookbook, "very good" used copy for 3.23+$4 shipping. I just hope the recipes aren't exhaustingly complicated or time consuming (the chicken meatball lasagnettes recipe sounds appealing but seems to have way too many steps http://www.thepeche.com/home/2010/5/4...).

                          EYB comments: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/1...

                          Here is the listing of recipes from EYB:


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Love this "whoops! I just bought a cookbook" - I could have made that post myself. Yes, dk's post was definitely helpful and persuasive. And thanks for understanding the dinner in front of the tv thing. We made up for it by cozing up in bed and watching a movie, and then sleeping together (a special treat when dadster is away).
                            Not sure whether I should read the EYB comments or not, if you know what I mean.

                          2. re: dkennedy

                            I jumped the gun last night by making a pork chop recipe from Stir, page 249. The recipe actually has 5 separate but simple components. We only cooked the chops and the celery and parsley salad, more like a gremolata. The other 3/5 are caramelized apples, spiced walnuts, and pureed turnip. The chops start out on the stove top then are moved into the oven to finish. For the celery and parsley only 2 small stalks thinly sliced with a few leaves as well, and chopped parsley dressed with S & P & EVOO w lemon juice. Absolutely delicious! So if this one recipe is any indication I think it's going to be a really tasty month of March.

                    2. re: Gio

                      Thanks for the link, Gio; I received my book yesterday and really enjoyed reading about Barbara's life in the introduction...the article is very entertaining and does a great job "filling in the blanks".

                    3. I purchased Stir right as it was released a few years back and honestly enjoy it more than her restaurants. I happen to work a block from Sportello, Menton and Drink, and have dined numerous times at B&G, The Butcher Shop and Number Nine Park (Sportello's my favorite of the bunch.)

                      That said, I adore the book and have given it as a gift to numerous people. The shrimp polpettini and the pork chops are so wonderful, but there were a number of other dishes that really stood out as well.

                      Of the dishes I've made so far, the only ones that weren't repeats were the ham and cheese puff pastry bites and the Orecchiette with Cauliflower.

                      What I've cooked to date:

                      Ham and cheese puff pastry bites with honey mustard -

                      Slow roasted clams with spicy tomato sauce

                      Butcher Shop Bolognese

                      Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies and Pistachios

                      Linguini with spicy clam sauce

                      Torn pasta fagioli with shrimp polpettini

                      Rigatoni with spicy shrimp and cannellini beans

                      Spicy clam stew

                      Pan fried cod with chorizo and clam ragout

                      Saffron steamed mussels with crème freche

                      Pork chops with caramelized apples, celery and spiced walnuts

                      Hope other people enjoy as much as I have!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                        Good to know. Especially appreciate your putting the book in comparison to her restaurants. Have been to a few of them and they aren't among my favorites in Boston. But perhaps the book will change my mind about BL.

                        1. re: qianning

                          Sportello's the only one I really enjoy.

                        2. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                          I love her ricotta gnocchi recipe. Have been wanting to try the Chicken Soup with Caraway Gnocchi.

                          I think that Lynch is a master of duck breast cookery. I always get it at Menton and No. 9 Park. Would like to see how the recipe in Stir turns out.

                        3. My copy arrived today! Has no dust jacket and is a little rough on the outside, but I can't complain for 88 cents. Looking forward to leafing through it tonight... It's pretty cold and flurrying (is that a word?) outside so I can't wait to lose myself in the book :)

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: juliejulez

                            I love those moments. Have fun with it (and geesh, 88 cents - what a bargain!).

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              What a chump I am! I paid $3 for mine. :)


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Haha I wonder if the 88 cent ones (there was a few) were all bought up by CHers! That happened with Bistro Cooking at Home last year... when voting started there were copies available for under $5. By the time it won and I went to go buy it, I ended up having to pay like $10. This time, I learned, and bought it before voting ended since it seemed to be the clear winner.

                                  To be fair, shipping was $3.99... so it was actually $4.87 :)

                                  I just really like when books like these are COTM. I'm on a super duper strict budget these days (trying to get debt paid off!) so $5 is pretty much my limit for "fun but totally not necessary" items like cookbooks. No library nearby either.

                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                    Actually, I nearly always hold out for a copy that is listed as very good or "like new". I've decided it's worth the extra couple of dollars.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      yeah this one is in pretty rough shape, I now wish I had paid "more" (like a whole dollar!) to get one with a dust jacket at least. Oh well, the inside pages are still in great shape, the outside is just a little sad.

                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                        As long as the inside is good. I just bought a used cookbook and some of the pages are missing! The cover looked great though ...

                                        1. re: stockholm28

                                          complain to company-
                                          depending on book seller they usually will refund money.

                                    2. re: juliejulez

                                      Totally agree it can be worth it to buy a book for $5. But I've been so surprised lately at how many cookbooks are available from the library as Ebooks! This is awesome because you can download them instantly over the internet, and even if you don't have a kindle (I don't) you can read them on your computer, phone or tablet. Then when they are due they just disappear from your device on their own. No late fees! And you don't have to physically go to the library either.

                              1. My daughter gave her husband and me a signed copies of [i]Stir[/i] for Christmas last year after we had a wonderful chef's choice dinner at Menton. I've not made anything from it yet, but he made Christmas dinner from it last year.

                                1. I am pulling down my copy of STIR so I can give it the attention it deserves and hopefully, motivate myself to cook out of it all month long!

                                  1. Hello all I'm going to be posting the new threads a bit later today but I'm not sure if I have to do anything to get the moderators to sticky the main post to the Home Cooking Board, or will they do it automatically. I am going out tonight with friends so will likely be posting around 9pm eastern.

                                    Thanks in advance for any advice.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: delys77

                                      As I recall, after you create the MASTER, you click the REPORT link, and ask the moderators to make it a sticky.

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        The link is called Flag now, rather than Report, but yep. That'll do it.

                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                          Thanks very much all, that was very helpful.

                                    2. I ordered an inexpensive copy of the book-
                                      hoping it will arrive during the week

                                      1. I'm super-excited about this month and as luck would have it my latest trip has been postponed until the end of the month! I learned this yesterday so I schlepped Stir to work w me today so I could flag recipes during my commute. I have so many post-it flags in the book it would have been easier just to flag the recipes I didn't want to make!!

                                        Now to choose from the many and find one or two I can make this weekend. I'm hungry just thinking about it!!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          That's exciting. Be careful schlepping that book though. I've had mind for 4 days and the binding has split already. I'm sure it was just my luck, but just in case there is a defect thought I would share.

                                          Luckily Amazon agreed to extend the exchange policy to April so I can get a new one after COTM.

                                          1. re: delys77

                                            That's a shame about the binding delys...I'm glad you'll get a replacement though. Funny you should post b/c mr bc had chosen the Lemony Chicken Cutlets as something he'd like for Sunday dinner and I was just reading your review on EYBl That method of saucing the breaded cutlets is what I've learned seems to be the traditional method for Chicken, Veal or Eggplant Parmesan as well. Over time I've grown accustomed to it w Eggplant but I still prefer my chx or veal cutlets crispy w sauce spread and cheese melted atop under the broiler.

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              My husband was also keen on trying them. I think they were still quite tasty, just different than I'm used to. So glad you get to participate this month.

                                        2. Hello all
                                          I'm a bit early as I am rushing off to a dinner party and I didn't want to be posting under the influence later.

                                          The COTM thread for March 2014 is up here

                                          1. So it is the 7th day of the month and I am determined to cook out of the COTM for a change. I am at the hair dresser's right now and so I am making use of my time under the dryer by tabbing recipes and making a grocery list. Here are the recipes I've earmarked:

                                            Duck confit over black kale
                                            Pasta with white beans and sausage
                                            White bean soup
                                            Eggplant appetizer
                                            Short ribs
                                            Chocolate cookies

                                            ETA: forgot the Shrimp salad with the curry dressing. Just finished my first Evernote entry which will be my shopping list for the week too!