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July 2014 COTM Voting Thread

Wow what a busy round of nominations! Over 20 separate books were nominated, some garnering just 1 or two votes, while several others peeked the interest of several nominators. In the end however two books led the pack. Making yet another return is The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia, and a returning contender from some time ago, Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease: 325 Inspiring Recipes from Award Winning Chef Rozanne Gold.

Our friends at Amazon summarize the two works as:

The New Persian Kitchen
"In The New Persian Kitchen, acclaimed chef Louisa Shafia explores her Iranian heritage by reimagining classic Persian recipes from a fresh, vegetable-focused perspective. These vibrant recipes demystify Persian ingredients like rose petals, dried limes, tamarind, and sumac, while offering surprising preparations for familiar foods such as beets, carrots, mint, and yogurt for the busy, health-conscious cook. The nearly eighty recipes—such as Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime, Pomegranate Soup, and ice cream sandwiches made with Saffron Frozen Yogurt and Cardamom Pizzelles—range from starters to stews to sweets, and employ streamlined kitchen techniques and smart preparation tips. A luscious, contemporary take on a time-honored cuisine, The New Persian Kitchen makes the exotic and beautiful tradition of seasonal Persian cooking both accessible and inspiring."

Radically Simple
"Throughout her culinary career, chef Rozanne Gold has given much thought to the notions of simplicity and sophistication in cooking. Now, after years of experimentation, she has come to this conclusion: Simplicity is the art of combining a few essential ingredients with a minimum of effort in order to create food that neither looks or tastes like a shortcut; food that is authentic enough to serve with pride and savor with pleasure.
In Radically Simple, Gold demonstrates this art to its fullest, manipulating the interplay of time, technique, and number of ingredients to create bold, sophisticated dishes bursting with global flavors. She offers an entire chapter of elegant 10-minute salads; delectable soups that take less than 5 minutes to prepare and others with such depth of flavor they taste like they’ve been simmering all day. Her opinionated take on roast chicken yields a peerlessly moist and tender bird without so much as a sprinkling of salt and pepper, while her recipe for pineapple flan transforms sugar, eggs, and bottled juice into a creamy and decadent taste of the tropics. From a 1-minute mustard sauce for her last-minute gravlax to a “Peking” pork shoulder that slow-roasts under a savory blanket of hoisin and scallions, these dishes are truly stunning in their ease of preparation, yet never sacrifice on flavor or presentation. Even Gold’s procedures are revolutionary: All are conveyed in 140 words or less."

Please click on the recommend button next to the relevant posting below to vote.

Edited by the Chowhound Team: Voting will be open till Friday the 20th at 4 pm pacific time. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9790...

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      1. Here's hoping that the third time's the charm for Radically Simple and COTM (meaning that Rozanne Gold's friends and followers now know better what it's all about) so that July 2014 sees a fair contest with nothing but sincere votes cast, whether by old hands or posters just joining in on the fun, whatever the outcome.

        For my part, I'm holding off on voting.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          I have Radically Simple and cooked from it now and then - all dishes turn out well; it would be great to find some gems that are there for sure and to read about everyone's experiences with the book. Not my favourite book but I would like a chance to live with it for a month and it very well may change my mind :)

          I actually bought The Persian Kitchen after all the hype when it first came out. For me, it was underwhelming and not as much Persian as Mediterranean; I did not try many recipes but everything I tried, there was a better recipe in my collection for the same/similar dish. So, I returned the book.

          1. re: herby

            I've had mostly very good experiences with Radically Simple, and haven't used it much lately. For those who are curious, here is its cooking-from thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786040

            I took a pretty thorough spin through New Persian Kitchen in a bookstore last month and wasn't terribly impressed with it as a Persian resource, though if it wins I'll definitely try to get it from the library and cook the dishes that are appealing.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              My Canadian library does not have The New Persian Kitchen - wonder if there is an ebook at my US library; would definitely borrow and cook from if it wins; not excited though :(

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                I have quite a few Persian cookbooks and am Iranian, and the New Persian Kitchen is definitely not a Persian resource. However, I think it is very contemporary cookbook inspired by Persian cuisine. It's not the place to begin.

                My thoughts on the two choices echo what others have said. I am not thrilled about either but as a newcomer to COTM, I will participate no matter who wins. I'm voting for NPK because I think COTM will force me to make stuff out of it and other book is not at all exciting to me.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  My experiences with both books pretty much mirrors yours Caitlin. I have gotten good use out of Radically Simple, but haven't picked it up in probably a year. And while I was awfully excited about New Persian Kitchen, after taking it from the library I found a few but not tons of things that I wanted to make. I'm sure I'd find stuff that I'd love if I cooked from it - could have just been my mood at the time.

              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                To be honest I'm voting for it because my library has a copy. I've been waiting for the current COTM since it was nominated May 9 and it doesn't look like I'll be getting it anytime soon. The Libraries in the system only ordered one copy and are just getting it distributed.

              3. Oh, hey, delys77, I just noticed that your OP is missing an end date for voting.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Ha ha, guess I was too fast for my own good. Voting will be open till Friday the 20th at 4 pm pacific time.

                2. Have The New Persian Kitchen, and don't think it's the best of its genre. RADICALLY SIMPLE, is, however, one of the best cookbooks of hundreds that I own. Regardless of tasteless attempts to stuff the ballot box in the past, it deserves to be COTM.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pikawicca

                    You have a good perspective. I've had nothing but great luck with this book, but I feel so annoyed with the prior attempt at self-promotion, I'm not certain I can endorse it. I will cook from it if it wins, though.

                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                      I think if after the incident Ms. Gold came to our thread and apologised we would all feel very different. The book is good and I will cook from it if it wins; however, if I didn't own it already, I would not be buying the book but would've cooked from on-line recipes or borrowed from the library.

                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                        Totally agree. Lulu had a playdate here this afternoon, and it gave me about an hour to go through the book (Radically Simple) again. I only made it to the start of the chicken dishes and was shocked how many really great sounding things I haven't made, and reminded of how many great things there are that I have made. I'm very excited to cook from it again, despite the ugly business.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          I am 100% onboard for cooking from this book. It's a perfect choice for summer, with so many easy options. Hopefully that will translate into good participation.