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What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

COTM from the beginning was very active. The ones preceding Edna Lewis included All About Braising, Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Zuni, Lucques, a Bayless and others. Even the first book, Marcella's Classics had a lot of participation. Almost all were extremely active because they were single books. With the entire oeuvre of Lewis, participation became diffused and the dwindled. The critical mass of cooking together just didn't happen and people got discouraged. I don't remember how successful Leite's was (also before Lewis) since I don't do well cooking from websites.

Feb 25, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

I think the low participation is that the COTM was too broad. It encompassed all of her cookbooks as opposed to choosing one or two to focus on. The Julia Child month had the same effect.

Feb 25, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

Cooking from and Commentary on the 2015 Piglet Contestants

Thanks. I thought it was a COTM but hadn't had time to look it up. Turns out that I did make something (dessert) when it was COTM. The funny thing is that when I flipped through the book, I eyeballed the same dessert (salted butter chocolate mousse) and thought, oooh, I want to make that.

Feb 25, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

Cooking from and Commentary on the 2015 Piglet Contestants

I loved the format of this head to head challenge. So clever and fun.

Cooking from and Commentary on the 2015 Piglet Contestants

I had the same feeling, I really wanted to look at My Paris Kitchen. A fortuitous trip to the library since I found it on the shelf. I looked at it when it first came out but it didn't really appeal. Too many stories for me. But, this time, I sat there and really looked at the recipes (v. just flipping through the pages) and there were so many intriguing recipes from the appetizer alone. The first thing that really leapt out were these salted olive crackers. You first bake it in a bread pan, slice and then re bake to crisp them up. Anyway, the cookbook came home for a short visit.

Feb 24, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

I'm really enjoying these piglet posts, especially the one from day 2 (?) because of the unusual format of the review.

I wonder if there is any way that the powers that be can split all these piglet posts onto a master piglet post. This way, it can be organized like dishes for COTM. A post for each day with comments about the cookbooks under them.

PS. After I post, I'm going to flag each piglet post for the mod with high hopes.

Feb 24, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

Yes, very close to you (Madrid), about 2 miles away in sunny Cambridge.

I'm going to have to request Boulud's Braise from the library again. I love the sound of that beef coconut curry. I have a dim memory of a similar recipe in one of Melissa Clark's books. I'll have to look it up. Oddly enough, I haven't been braising but have made soups and noodle dishes.

Just re-ordered Chef Interrupted as a treat.

Feb 24, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

It's Stockholm Syndrome. When it was 22 degrees the other day, I thought it was warm. I didn't even know what to do with the 37 degrees yesterday. Today's 28 (and dropping) felt normal. That's just wrong.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

Ditto to your (Madrid's thoughts) on Braise. I've looked at Braise off and on over the years. Library book, book sales etc. I've never bought it, but also have never made anything from the library copy either. I haven't broken away from Molly Steven's All About Braising since those results have always been a sure thing.

Feb 23, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

Just received a cancellation notice from abe books. Hope this isn't a sign. :-(

Feb 23, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

Yes. $8.33 (including shipping) for a very good copy.

Feb 22, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

I succumbed to peer pressure. I just bought one as well. Library hold be damned (plus side for the librarian since I won't be pestering her to up my hold list).

Feb 22, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

Two of her books were previous COTMs. I've had great success cooking out of them.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/841845

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Valentine's Day 2015 edition! [OLD]

And, Melissa Clark is such an excellent cookbook writer. I love the accuracy as well as the delicious food it produces. I'm putting this on my mental wish list as well as my library wish list. Actually, I'm maxed out on my holds so I have to wait until next week to ask the librarian in person for the request. Can't wait.

APRIL 2011 AMFT/ Greenspan: Vegetables and Grains; Desserts; Fundamentals and Flourishes

Top Secret Chocolate Mousse, pg 421

Aaargh. I wish I read this earlier. I decided to make this to bring to a dinner party tonight. My chocolate also seized when I added the egg yolks. I attributed it to my cold kitchen (it was -4 degrees outside this am and the water going to my fridge also froze). But, it's good to know it's not just the temperature.

Anyway, like QN, I added a bit of the egg white to see if it could loosen up. And, it did and it smoothed out as well. So, I added/folded the rest of the egg whites in. Big clump again. By the time the egg whites were incorporated, the chocolate was still lumpy and all the air bubbles had left the building.

I called it quits and gave it to my husband to eat. He said it had a nice flavor but it was very rich. I'm just annoyed.

Feb 16, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

February 2015 COTM "MIGHTY SPICE COOKBOOK" Reporting thread for Chapters 5, 6 & 7

Szechuan Noodles with Lamb and Peanuts, page 190

This turned into an excellent blizzard meal. I made a few changes to the recipe. I wanted more protein to balance the amount of noodles (kept at 9 oz). I didn't have peanuts and didn't feel like subbing in my usual cashews. I also marinated the 1 lb lamb with dark and light soy as well as shao xing wine. I slightly changed the cooking method and order.

Here's what I did:

Cook the noodles, drain and oil (I forgot to oil but meant to).

Stir fry the lamb (Dump the lamb into the wok and let it sit for a minute. then add the leeks stir it up for a few seconds).

Add garlic, ginger, chili flakes, and ground roasted sichuan peppercorns. I added salted chiles instead of chili flakes.

Mix in noodles, oyster sauce and soy sauce. I didn't measure, just eye balled it.

Lastly, I had first stir fried cabbage with sichuan peppercorn and vinegar. I added this to the mix along with the noodles. After serving into bowls, I topped it with more cabbage to make this a well rounded dish (protein, veg and noodles).

The whole thing was just delicious and satisfying. We gobbled the whole dish leaving no leftovers.

February 2015 COTM "MIGHTY SPICE COOKBOOK" Reporting thread for Chapters 5, 6 & 7

Thanks for this. It will be the perfect blizzard meal for tomorrow night.

Your favorite recipe using a ham bone?

I've made this twice this winter. I've found that the butternut squash tastes better then the pumpkin for this soup.

http://www.tastespotting.com/features...

Feb 12, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

From NYC: Itinerary for Napa + SF

I just came back from a SF/Napa/Sonoma trip (three separate reports on this board). I ate all three of your Sunday dinner choices. They were all good. But, in order of preference: Farmstead (by a long shot), Girl and the Fig, Kitchen Door.

FYI, we first tried to get a reservation for Girl and the Fig on a Wednesday night. They only had reservations for 530 pm and much later. And, this was in their "slow" season at the end of January.

Also, I loved everything about Farmstead. We went for lunch but the food and service were all excellent. The grounds were lovely and we really enjoyed strolling and looking at all the growing things, including the pomegranates, lemons and all the vegetables. They also had a divine smelling jasmine bush. It was a last minute, out of the way stop for us and it was well worth it. Next time, I would also do their wine and olive oil tour/tastings.

February 2015 COTM "MIGHTY SPICE COOKBOOK" Reporting thread for Chapters 5, 6 & 7

Red Lentil Dal, p. 174

I liked this and nothing really to add except that this makes a ton of dal. A half portion is enough as an accompaniment to any dish. Also, I added more ginger and forgot to add the cilantro. Still tasty though.

Feb 11, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking

February 2015 COTM "MIGHTY SPICE COOKBOOK" Reporting thread for Chapters 1 & 2

Kerala Korma (pg. 68)

Another winner out of this book. I made this right before COTM and then promptly forgot to post about it. An easy recipe (although you do have to blend) and quick as well.

Blend coconut cream, cashew nuts, ginger, green chili, cumin and salt until smooth (I used an immersion blender and it became sort of smooth. Still teeny chunks of cashew). Heat oil and sauté the onions until they become golden. Pour in the coconut sauce, stirring for a minute and add curry leaves. Lastly, add chicken and lime juice and bring it to a boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minute until the chicken is cooked through.

I served this with rice and the recommended red lentil dal (pg. 174).

The coconut cream really added a lot of flavor to this dish. It was so balanced with the nuttiness of the cashews and the subtle hint of lime juice.

Feb 11, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

February 2015 COTM "MIGHTY SPICE COOKBOOK" Reporting thread for Chapters 1 & 2

Vietnamese Star Anise and Lemongrass Chicken Claypot (pg. 61)

Made this during the 85 hours of snow and it was the perfect wintry dinner. Big plus that it was pantry ready (minus a few ingredients). It was fast, easy and soul warming (admittedly, the soul was slightly crushed after numerous bouts of shoveling).

Heat oil in a saucepan and add star anise, sliced onions until the onions soften. Add garlic, cubed chicken thighs, crushed lemongrass, fish sauce, red chili (used salted chiles), sugar, lime juice (didn't have so I omitted) and hot chicken broth. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Then raise the heat and boil to reduce the liquid.

This is definitely soupy. John G-S recommends to serve this with rice. He also says that this would go well with the Char Kueh Toew (pg. 193, fried rice noodles with prawns and eggs). I disagree with that. It was perfect with the rice. I added rice to the bottom of my bowl and spooned the chicken and broth on top. I topped it with stir fried shanghai bok choy. It was a vietnamese version of the american chicken soup with rice. But heartier.

This fed and satisfied two of us.

ETA: I also think rice noodles or other noodles would be great additions to this soup as well.

Feb 11, 2015
beetlebug in Home Cooking
1

PDX report - February 2015

I forgot to add that I ogled the food carts on Adler. The first was after a big lunch at Lardo so there was no way I could have another bite. The thai chicken place intrigued me and I became a bit obsessed with trying the chicken. The next day (Tuesday) we went back so I could get the chicken. After walking around the block, twice, I realized that the thai chicken place was closed. I was quite bummed.

But, I love how all the pods stay in one place so you don't have to hunt them down, like you would with food trucks.

Feb 08, 2015
beetlebug in Metro Portland

San Francisco HELP

I just returned after a much shorter trip to SF. Below is my report since we have some crossover food interests.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1003070

PDX report - February 2015

I just had 2.5 days of fab eating in PDX. We were fortunate to be with friends who like to eat as much as us. We also had some great luck in squeezing in before some major lines.

Podnah's Pit - brunch. Had the Hangtown Hash and it was great. Perfectly cooked fried oysters and delicious eggs to go with it. I'm not a huge fan of breakfast potatoes so I ate the biscuit instead.

Pok Pok - this met all expectations. Highlights included the duck larb and the special of the night, whole fried fish with papaya salad.

Lardo - split three sandwiches. My favorite was the korean pork shoulder (great kimchi), then cubano and lastly meatball banh mi. I was disappointed in the banh mi and was pleasantly surprised by the cubano. The dirty fries were awesome and it was a huge portion.

Cacao - tried some sipping chocolates. Two of us shared the sample flight - plain, cinnamon and spicy. My first sip of the cinnamon was disappointing but as it slightly cooled, the flavor improved significantly. By the end, I couldn't decide which of the three was my favorite. Great selection of chocolates in the store as well.

Blue Star Donuts - Tried the matcha, cinnamon sugar, blackberry filled with peanut powder on top and a fourth which I forgot. The jelly filled was the best, the peanut powder totally made the donut. It was kind of like a better version of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The cinnamon sugar needed more cinnamon, it lacked the needed balance.

Salt and Straw Ice cream - Great coffee and bourbon ice cream. I was so distracted by that flavor, I didn't even see the middle column of chocolate flavors. perfect ending after Pok Pok.

Tasty n Alder - what a great breakfast place. Two of us split the korean fried chicken and the Bim Bop bacon and eggs. I couldn't decide which I liked better. Both had similar textural components but opposite. Either crispy rice or crispy meat. Everything just worked. Bloody Mary was an excellent accompaniment.

Toro Bravo - this may have been my favorite meal (or Pok Pok, can't decide). The squid ink pasta with hazelnuts, the chicken liver mousse and the grilled octopus were highlights. Just as strong were the veg dishes of cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Not a weak dish in the many dishes we ordered.

Feb 06, 2015
beetlebug in Metro Portland

Sonoma report - January 2015

Yes. Darn autocorrect.

Kunde Family Estate.

Yi Yuan Sichuan Restaurant, Millbrae report - January 2015

We had a really pleasant last California meal. After a week in San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma, we spent a night in Millbrae for airport ease in the am. We essentially wanted a delicous meal without leftovers and were able to do so. It was hard to choose what dishes since it has been about 5 days since any Asian food.

Pork and corn dumplings - these were really good with home made skins.

Beef ramen - really, it's beef with handpulled noodles. These were also very good. I would have liked some vegetables in it and the broth was slightly under seasoned but it was easily fixable. Noodles were toothsome and the broth was comforting.

Pea pod stems - these were fantastic. Really tender and not overcooked.

Seafood and tofu soup - also very good. We added some vinegar and white pepper to bring out the flavor.

Pumpkin and red bean pancakes for dessert - delicous and a really generous serving.

Lastly the hot sauce was really good. There were some sichuan peppercorns with it bringing a surprising ma flavor to it.

Napa report: January 2015

The other really cool tree/plant was the pomegranate mini tree. I couldnt believe I saw baby pomegranates.

Napa report: January 2015

I'm going to keep this in mind. I really loved the whole Farmstead experience and would love to explore more.

Sonoma report - January 2015

After eventful eats and drinks in San Francisco and Napa, we headed over to Sonoma. We had some lovely meals and some excellent wines as well. I loved the vibe in sonoma and the air felt so fresh and clean. I do think the food in Napa was a hair better and the service was more polished, but keep in mind, this is a very limited sample.

Food:

Harvest Moon - we enjoyed our meal here but thinking back, it wasn't overly memorable since I can't remember what we ate.

La salette this was fine as well. The tapas combo plate for three felt a bit stingy for the price. I didn't like the prep or the sauce of the baby octopi but the Serrano ham was delicious. We also ordered their version of the paella and mussels. Both were tasty. The big hits were the veg sides - grilled corn and sautéed collards.

Girl and the Fig - this was the standout meal. The two salad appetizers (seasonal salad of kohlrabi and radishes, signature salad of arugula and figs) as well as the radish appetizer with anchovy butter were all memorable. So were the two main dishes of braised short ribs and Local chicken thighs. My first bite of the short ribs made me regret the chicken dish. But once I had that chicken, that all I could think about. Crispy seasoned skin and tender meat. My one minor quibble was the butternut squash spaetzle. It was a bit too sweet for my taste. Desserts were good as well although the lemon cake with huckleberry sauce was really tart but the caramel chocolate trifle was nice and creamy.

El Brinquieto, Agua Caliente - I passed by this place about 5 times, watching the hunks of chicken being grilled outside. I convinced my parents that we had to stop and try it. This chicken was so delicious and a bargain. I think the half chicken plate with rice and beans was $10 and we also got a few tamales to supplement. My dad, the chicken hater, really enjoyed it as well. Bot tamales (chicken and Rajas with queso) were also well prepared and balanced with the stuffing to masa harina ratio. This place is well worth stop to or from the wineries.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-brinquito-...

Drink:

Ledson - this is an in law favorite and it was a beautiful setting. We enjoyed walking around the mansion before tasting the wines.

Kunde family estate - this was a standout. We did the mountain tour and we treated to stunning scenery on a clear and sunny day. The wines were really great and well priced. So well priced that we signed up for the wine club. The Chardonnay and dessert wine were unexpectedly to my taste and I really loved both Cabernet sauvignons.