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Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month July 2014

Hello all

We are just into our fabulous selection for June (My Paris Kitchen), but it is already getting to be the time for nominations again. Please feel free to nominate a selection for next month's COTM. In order for your nomination to count please ensure you write in all in CAPS.

Nominations will remain open till Friday June 13th at 4 pm pacific time.

Also, I wanted to remind everyone that my 6 months is up as of September 1st and I was hoping we could start discussing the next facilitator.

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  1. Can it really be that time again?

    I don't have a nomination to put out there, but looking over the July COTMs, and thinking about my July coming up, I'd like to see something CSA centric.

    In the past, when Farmer's Market cookbooks have been mentioned, they have been poo pooed as being too regional to be of COTM appeal. I am not sure I buy into that logic, but I do see the point.

    Some of my veggie centric books I'll be turning to for summertime inspiration include:

    The Santa Monica Farmer's Market Cookbook
    The Summertime, Anytime, Cookbook
    How to Pick a Peach
    The Cook and the Gardener
    The Cheesmonger's Seasons (and Kitchen book)
    Chris Cosintino's Beginnings
    A Girl and Her Pig (a fair amount of veggie recipe and just good solid recipes in general)

    On another note, I'd love to see a companion cocktail book or at least a cocktail accompaniment for this time of year. Thoughts?

    3 Replies
    1. re: dkennedy

      I love the idea of a cocktail companion book - two of my favorites are PDT and Speakeasy. Also just bought Potions of the Carribean that looks like it has some good recipes.

      1. re: emily

        I don't have any of these but have several others. I'm going on to Amazon next to check them out.

      2. re: dkennedy

        Love the idea of the cocktail companion book!!

        1. re: Njchicaa

          I would love to do SMITTEN KITCHEN COOKBOOK.

        2. Two books that I would love to get deep into are:

          PATI'S MEXICAN TABLE
          JAPANESE FARM FOOD

          I think both have enough CSA appropriate dishes and would be great to cook from in July.

          12 Replies
          1. re: herby

            I will be 100% on board with Pati's Mexican Table. It is an excellent book.

              1. re: herby

                I could go for PATI''S MEXICAN TABLE as I get an abundance of peppers and tomatoes in July. A plus is the kindle version is only $3.49.

                1. re: herby

                  I'd join for Pati's Mexican Table, I have it and could use a good excuse to actually cook from it. We could also add the recipes from her PBS cooking show, their might be some not in the cookbook?

                  1. re: rasputina

                    Always welcome an adjunct thread, that is for sure.

                    1. re: rasputina

                      I just ordered it in case it makes the cut.

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        As I mentioned last night, I bought a copy of Pati's Mexican Table. I started reading through it, and it seems like the recipes are on the simple side. Went online to EYB and read what people had posted about the book and the recipes. It seems like a lot of people are getting so-so results. For those of you have the book and have cooked from it, can you elaborate about what you liked and didn't like. Do the recipes work?

                        I am all for adding more books that focus on simple meals to my collection provided they yield solid results. But I really didn't care for the last Everyday book we focused on (Rick Bayless) and the last thing any of us wants is to waste our time and resources on a book that doesn't come through for us.

                        1. re: dkennedy

                          I've made the following recipes from Pati's Mexican Table:
                          --Mexican Chicken Broth
                          --Chicken Tinga
                          --Aztec Chicken Casserole
                          --Shredded Pork in Ancho-Orange Sauce
                          --Ancho Chile Burgers with Lime Aoili
                          --Picadillo Empanadas
                          --Crazy Street Corn
                          --Blissful Corn Torte
                          --Creamy Poblano Rajas
                          --Simple Beans from the Pot
                          --Refried Beans
                          --Charro Beans

                          The only thing I didn't love was the corn torte. It wasn't bad but I wasn't crazy about it. The instructions are clear and everything was easy enough to make.

                          1. re: dkennedy

                            True, this book is not complicated, DK, and I love it for it. From time to time I like to make elaborate, time-consuming meals and on the daily basis I prefer simple but flavourful dishes. I do not like Rick Bayless books with exception of Salsas That Cook for its simplicity. However, Pati's is my now go-to book for Mexican dishes. I have not made a lot and this is the reason I nominated it - it would be great to cook from it as a group. I made Refried Beans and they were the best refritos I ever made. Green Rice was delicious and full of flavour. Mexican Frittata was surprisingly good too.

                            There is a section on vegetarian dishes in addition to sides, seafood and chicken chapters are substantial, and there is "drinks" section with recipes for sangrita, lime-mint water, etc. that would be great for the summer.

                            1. re: herby

                              Glad to hear you have both had success with this book. I own it now, so of course I will participate if it is selected. I could definitely use some more easy, go to type recipes.

                              1. re: dkennedy

                                Happy to hear these positive reviews of the recipes.

                                I downloaded “Pati’s Mexican Table” while I was living in Guatemala hoping to be inspired to go in a different direction with the wonderful produce available to me in the mercado. I flipped through it quickly at the time, but nothing read “make me NOW” and I put it aside. I just tapped through it again, and am no more inspired. Why do I have a feeling she’s talking down to me? Perhaps because her “Mexican Cook’s Tricks” are invariably something I, and I’m sure all of us, already know, but also because the introductory text for the recipes presumes you know absolutely nothing at all about Mexican food or ingredients. The feeling that she was talking to an audience that had never encountered a tomatillo before began to annoy me. As for the recipes, a surprising number of her savory dishes have a sweet element to them, something I don’t usually care for. And I kept thinking I had better versions of these dishes in other cookbooks.

                                I’m sure that if the book is selected I’ll find something to try, but not with any great enthusiasm.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  All I thought looked good in the book were the sauces/salsas

                    2. FRIED AND TRUE just out last month. It is totally about fried chicken from all over the world. I think I am going to cook my way through it.

                      45 Replies
                      1. re: Candy

                        My library system has only had time to order this book; looks like 9 on order. Not one received copy yet. Seems way too soon to have as a COTM.

                        Though, now I am curious. How many people make fried chicken at home more than once a month?

                            1. re: smtucker

                              I think the last time I made SFC was 1972. The children were very young and I lost my head. LOL

                                1. re: Gio

                                  So pleased that your head made its return!

                                  I actually make fried chicken about once every two months. Married a southerner and the stuff just makes him happy. This is a fairly recent addition to the menu. Alton Brown's biscuit recipe was the missing piece. Serve with green beans, or maybe a cole slaw, a garden fresh sliced tomato in season, and a glass of homemade iced tea. If he is really lucky, there is homemade peach ice cream for dessert. Better than his Mama could ever make.

                                  1. re: smtucker

                                    You make the meal sound very appealing, SMT. The best fried chicken I ever had was in a little cottage by the side of the road somewhere in either Georgia or South Carolina. This was before the zippy interstate highways of today. I was driving my mother back to Boston from Palm Beach and we stopped for lunch. As soon as we walked in we were struck by the silence, and the aroma coming from the kitchen. Bright and airy, spotless, white linens on the tables, red & white cafe curtains.

                                    It was packed with people at 4 tops eating fried chicken, biscuits, slaw, beans, greens. Slowly, deliberately, obviously enjoying everything. We were greeted, seated, and quickly presented with a huge platter of the chicken and bowls of sides. OMG I'll never forget how delicious everything was. And that was a Very Long Time Ago. Never had anything like it since.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      What a lovely memory. Those spots are disappearing, if there are even any left.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Hi Gio,

                                        I think you may be thinking of:

                                        Martha Lou's Kitchen
                                        1068 Morrison Dr
                                        Charleston, SC
                                        (843) 577-9583

                                        Good news if you are: it's still there.

                                        degustateur

                                        1. re: degustateur

                                          Thank you, degustateur, but I don't think so. The place I remember was a plain natural wood cabin, unpainted, with a screen door. White china silverware not plastic. I know I'll never get to see it again but it is a very nice memory.

                                  2. re: smtucker

                                    I do. The book offers more recipes than SFC. Recipes are from all over the world and there is even a vegetarian version. I think I'll pass on that one, it uses Seitan which I really don't care for. Almost every culture fries chicken in one way or another.

                                    1. re: Candy

                                      Don't take our comments the wrong way. I love fried chicken and will check out this book, but making fried chicken from scratch for me is a rare occasion. Frying, in general, for me is a rare thing, unless we are referring to latkes and I am hosting a Jewish holiday at my home.

                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                        I'm afraid of frying. One time a couple of years ago I tried to suck it up and overcome my fear of frying and set the pan of oil on fire. Never again for me!

                                        Not that this should influence how anyone else votes or nominates. I'm just sharing. No, I'll buy a copy of the book, read it, and follow along in the threads and reminisce about the days I had my act together enough to participate. Or could have time to consult some recipes and make a grocery list before I found myself with an empty fridge and had to do my grocery shopping from memory because I was driving by the grocery store anyway on my way home from work and that would be my best opportunity to shop. I have a Jamie Oliver Swedish meatball recipe in mind from 15 Minute Meals. It has taken me 3 visits to the grocery store to get all of the ingredients, and even so I ended up with fennel seeds, instead of caraway (no worries, turns out I had caraway seeds at home already) and heavy cream instead of half and half (no worries, I can adapt).

                                        Funnily enough in the very Scandinavian Minnesota, it's not so easy to find cranberry sauce or jelly, which is what JO seems to be substituting for lingonberries. No problem finding lingonberry jam at all! Don't even have to go to a specialty market for that!

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          I can see why that would put you off of frying. Most fry recipes can be modified to be pan sautéed or even oven crisped with good results.

                                          I rarely fry mainly because it is so unhealthy to eat fried foods. But just like dessert, every now and then it is a real treat.

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            Maybe that's what I need: a whole month to learn how to adapt fried recipes to oven crisped! That would be a skill I would absolute wish to have. For the safety (no frying while I have an active toddler running around my house), but also for the health aspect of it.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              There is a recipe we like a lot on epicurious for chipotle oven-fried chicken (not fried at all!). http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                Consider it imported to pepperplate!

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  I agree the chipotle oven-fried chicken is tasty and no greasy mess to clean up.

                                                  For fans of Japanese food, I discovered this baked tonktasu recipe (http://www.justonecookbook.com/recipe...). It's beeen a nice substitute for the classic fried tonkatsu. for those times I am watching calories or too lazy to deep fry (LLM, you can substitute chicken for the pork). Toasting the panko in olive oil before breading the pork keeps the texture crispy.

                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                    Thanks Big Sal, that picture is deliciously crunchy looking. I have a feeling Lulu (and I!) would be all over that.

                                              2. re: dkennedy

                                                Actually fried foods are not unhealthy when fried properly very little of the fat/oil is absorbed. I have had and copied Fried Chicken Skins at Husk in Charleston SC/Nashville Tn. Absolutely delicious and not a drop of fat on the plate. I am going to make a big batch for an annual 4th party. There is a recipe for them in the book, I just winged it when I made them and was pleased with my attempt.

                                                There are also many good recipes for sides too.

                                                1. re: Candy

                                                  I've heard that.

                                                  But, how can you have no fat associated with fried chicken skin which is (deliciously) exceedingly fatty even when not fried? Does the fat melt off the skin during frying? (While it may sound stupid, this is actually a sincere question!)

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Have you ever removed the skin on chicken parts? If you have you should have noticed all of the yellow fat on the meat and not much on the skin if any at all.

                                                    A word about fat, fats that are soft at room temperature have very little saturated fat. So compare the hard fat in beef to the soft fat in pork for instance. If you are concerned about saturated fat in your diet you go for the pork. I use real butter which is much healthier than those nasty spreads. You will find rendered lard in my kitchen too. Do a little research on your own and you may find what you have believed to be true just isn't true. One research paper was extolling the health benefits of fat, especially pork fat...lard. It is much healthier than you think. Google it up.

                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                      That's not really my experience in removing the skin on, say, chicken thighs or a chicken breast. In my experience the fat layer goes with the skin rather than staying with the meat.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                  2. re: Candy

                                                    It's not the eating of fat that I object to, it is the frying in the vegetable or peanut oil, both of which are not ideal oils to be consuming.

                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                      You could use coconut oil. There is also lard.

                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                        True. As I said, I think the book is a great idea. I just was commenting about someone's comment above about making fried chix as infrequently as 1 x a month. To me, that is very frequent, as I make it far less than that.

                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  In the back of the book there are guide lines about frying. It is quite thorough and tells you how each recipe should be fried, size and type of pan. Also temperatures and suggests sides. They have done that for every recipe in the book.

                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                    Sounds very instructive. And (so far) delicious! I will have to have a look this book for sure.

                                                    ~TDQ

                                              3. re: Candy

                                                Yummy link for one of the recipes from this book. I will be making this sometime in the next month. Thanks for bringing this book to our attention!

                                                http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/...

                                                ETA: another link:

                                                http://www.finecooking.com/item/58926...

                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                  Those sound really good! Here's EYB's listing of online recipes (caution--there are a few from other books that crept in there... ) http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                  If you scan the entire list of recipes on EYB there are a bunch of delicious and unusual sounding recipes in there!

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                    I'm going to have to get this book!

                                                2. re: smtucker

                                                  I ordered a copy from Amazon and got it with in 2 days.

                                                  How many people make SFC regularly? We do. I may do every other week. I sometimes pick up fried chicken from Kroger. It is good fried chicken and use what we do not eat for Fried Chicken Salad. The recipe came from Bon Appetite in the 70's, The recipe was controversial
                                                  then because the band wagon was against anything fried. It has been recognized as invalid research now. My poor F-I-L, after by-pass surgery was slathering vegs with margarine. My M-I-L was trying to make pie pastry with oil. My F-I-L was happy with just having the filling. So sad since it has become bad nutrition research. Like my M-I-L I am a Home Ec Ed
                                                  major. (I did my student teaching and decided that teens were crazy and I was sooooo not going into teaching).

                                                3. re: Candy

                                                  I have to be totally honest, my first thought was my family would be thrilled if I cooked from this book.

                                                  Then I checked it out on Amazon. In the intro the author admits that prior to the book he had cooked fried chicken once and it consisted of opening a package and dropping the pieces in the oil and letting it cook for 12 minutes while working at a hospital. His other research was traveling to Atlanta, Nashville and NOLA to eat fried chicken.

                                                  In the end it seems to be all about restaurant food. I don't know, I grew up with a Southern mama and grandma cooking for me. This authors claim to fame is founding the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival and another one in NYC.

                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                    I don't have an issue with that. The book is good and the recipes seem to be quite sound. I like exploring all the different ways to fry chicken.

                                                  2. re: Candy

                                                    Cookbook review from the today's Boston Globe. And, the recipe for the Keralon fried chicken (looks fab).

                                                    http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/...

                                                    http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/...

                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      This probably won't make COTM but that review (and the Keralon chicken) are driving me straight to Costco for the book.

                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                        He must think that Keralon recipe is going to sell his book (and, apparently, it is as it looks really good) because it's the same one he gave Splendid Table as noted by dkennedy above. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9781...

                                                        Splendid Table's photo is a close-up, which is even MORE tantalizing.

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                      2. re: Candy

                                                        I see that EYB has links to a bunch of online recipes from Fried and True, for the curious: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          That's a lot of fried chicken! (All looking delicious of course).

                                                          I've never looked at EYB results tiled that way before. Only list view, so I learned something about EYB, too, thank you!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            I've never looked at them tiled before either. Now, I'm going to do that all the time!

                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                              But, I don't understand the tiling.... I do a search in my recipes for radishes. In list view, there are 293 results. If I then view by tile/gallery, I only have 10. Is it filtering out any recipes without a photo?

                                                              p.s. AH! You only get the recipes that are online. Yea, not so very useful for everyday recipe-finding.

                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                Oh, thanks for investigating that. That makes a big difference!

                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                  It makes sense, though (20-20 hindsight), if you think about it. The "gallery view" would only work if you have photos of the recipes, which they have for the online recipes but none of the others...

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                      3. I do feel a bit like a broken record, but I'd love to do Vegetable Literacy or the New Persian Kitchen or a Diana Henry book/books. NPK in particular has lots of recipes for the grill making it a great book for the summer. And you will find lots of uses for summer produce in vegetable literacy. DH is just an amazing recipe writer with a seasonal slant. I know there's a cooking from thread for her books, but I'm sure we'd all be eating very well during Diana Henry month.

                                                        26 Replies
                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                          Is there a particular Diana Henry book that you think would be good for summer? I'd love to try one of her books based on what I have read on the Cooking from thread

                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                            I feel like the new Diana Henry book is probably too new at this point - I pre-ordered mine and it just came this past Tuesdsay (less than a week ago). I don't think many libraries will have it yet.

                                                            But I'm pretty sold on Vegetable Literacy.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              Boy, we're all over the map this time around, aren't we? I am going to go ahead right now and make one of my nominations for VEGETABLE LITERACY.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Tell us more about Vegetable Literacy. There's so much buzz about it but I'm so gun-shy since VCFE...

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  I don't have a copy, and I was gun-shy myself about this book at first. But from what I've read it is significantly better edited and written (setting the bar low there). I like the idea this sort of book in the summer when there is a lot more choice of produce, and frankly, it is the only book mentioned so far that seems really feasible (time and money-wise) and interesting to me. I'd love to hear more about it from someone who owns a copy.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    I've only read good things about it and the preview on Amazon sure seems appealing. EYB lists a dozen online recipes (I'm sure there are many more available...) and I already want to make several of them! http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      That is definitely a helpful number of online recipes. There are some for New Persian Kitchen too.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Wow! Lots of appealing online recipes for New Persian Kitchen, too! http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          Those lamb kebabs are totally calling my name. (And I think my vegetarian dad would love the tempeh variation too)

                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                          This is a good book-- I ordered it and have made a few dishes-- but I still think of it as less summer food for those of you that have Hot summers-- im in San Francisco-- and the fog is in at this time of the year.

                                                                          1. re: Sfspicegirl

                                                                            We're already edging into the 90s here in Chapel Hill. Way more vegetables available at the farmers market these days (and way more to come).

                                                              2. re: Westminstress

                                                                I've had my eyes on A Change of Appetite for a while - it would make a great COTM (imho) but as LLM pointed out, it is too new - maybe in a few months?

                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                  Yes, please don't get me wrong Westminstress, I'm all for the new DH book. But I just think we'll have better luck pushing for it if it is more readily available in libraries and more people have had a chance to buy it.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    I agree the new Diana Henry is too new, and it's probably not the best time for a DH COTM. That said, both Plenty and Pure Simple Cooking have ample great recipes for summer. Many of the dishes in pure simple cooking probably have recipe reports by now. But plenty remains largely unexplored and it's such a great book.

                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                      Plenty has been a COTM twice, right?

                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                        I think they're referring to the book of the same title by Diana Henry, not the one by Ottolenghi.

                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                          Oh dear. So confusing to have two beloved books with similar names. Thanks for the correction.

                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                            Shame they retitled it for the US, as the DH book is called Food from Plenty in the UK, and therefore easier to distinguish!

                                                                2. re: Westminstress

                                                                  I can get behind THE NEW PERSIAN KITCHEN

                                                                  1. re: Siegal

                                                                    Can we do the book and the blog???

                                                                    1. re: Siegal

                                                                      I just checked out some of the recipes for NEW PERSIAN KITCHEN and I think it would work for me this month.

                                                                    2. re: Westminstress

                                                                      I do a lot of Persian home cooking but don't find The New Persian Kitchen very exciting. If the season were different, I'd suggest NEW FOOD OF LIFE: ANCIENT PERSIAN AND MODERN IRANIAN COOKING. That said, I'd definitely participate if NPK wins.

                                                                      1. re: pistachio peas

                                                                        I have this book! Love it. Second NEW FOOD OF LIFE: ANCIENT PERSIAN AND MODERN IRANIAN COOKING

                                                                        1. re: pistachio peas

                                                                          NEW PERSIAN KITCHEN would interest me; I'd also love it if it was coupled with or if there was adjunct thread for "Food of Life" or any of N. Batmanglij's books. It would be interesting to compare the "traditional" with the "modern".

                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                            You should put New Food of Life in caps if you want to nominate it!

                                                                          2. re: pistachio peas

                                                                            NPK is good-- This is one of the rice dishes with saffron, pistachios and barberries