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Announcement Thread: December 2014 COTM "THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK"

I voted for the other book simply because I own it, and I never bought ENYT. Last time it was COTM, I checked it out of the library. I think it is likely that my participation will be very limited in December - I'll be traveling on two week-long trips, and might be out of my house for an additional 10 days while some repairs get done.

I might consider buying ENYT for my iPad, but it is more expensive than usual for an ebook. Has anyone used the iPad edition, and if so, can you comment on how usable/navigable it is?

about 3 hours ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

NYT Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States

Well, I do agree (and it was in my first sentence) that the oyster dressing might not be the best choice for Alabama, but as you have also recognized, that could be said for most of the choices in the list. They seem to be taking recipes from chefs, cookbook authors, and bloggers, not necessarily natives to the states in question, and not necessarily giving traditional recipes. I really just wanted to make clear that oyster dressing is very traditional through much of the South, particularly the Gulf Coast.

about 4 hours ago
MelMM in Food Media & News

Nominate Your Favorite Cookbooks for "Best of 2014"

In defense of the new Samuelsson book, we cannot say because the one that is the current COTM, which is several years old, is problematic, that the new one is the same way. The new one has a different publisher, and perhaps more important, a different co-author. Surely we all know by now that the recipes are really written by the "ghostwriter", credited or not. Soul of a New Cuisine, the current COTM, gives a co-author credit to Heidi Sacko Walters. The new book, Marcus Off Duty, gives co-author credit to Roy Finamore. Roy Finamore was also the co-author on one of the most popular COTM's, Fish Without a Doubt. Plus, he has a book, Tasty, that he wrote in his own right, and I can tell you from experience with that book that it is excellent and completely reliable.

I have the new Samuelsson book, but have not had a chance to cook from it yet. From just reading it, which I have done, it is very appealing. Knowing that Finamore is behind it makes me quite confident that the recipes will not have the issues that his past books may have had.

about 4 hours ago
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

Nominate Your Favorite Cookbooks for "Best of 2014"

The responses are just because you pointed to buzz instead of relating your own opinion and experience. Thank you for clarifying.

about 4 hours ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominate Your Favorite Cookbooks for "Best of 2014"

Just curious if you have actually cooked from the books you nominated? Or at least read them? Pointing to "buzz" doesn't mean much to me, except that the author or, more likely, publisher has a good publicity department.

about 6 hours ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

NYT Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States

Perhaps not the best choice to pair with Alabama, but oyster dressing does exist and it most certainly is a Southern thing, found all along the Gulf Coast. It certainly appears in southern Mississippi (where I have roots going back to before it was even a state) and Louisiana. So just because some of your family has never heard of it, and doesn't like the idea, doesn't mean that other Southerners haven't been making it since before your mother was ever born. "Oyster Stuffing for Turkey" appears in "La Cuisine Creole" published in 1885, and the author didn't invent it. It also appears in many other old cookbooks in my collection, from Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Also an "Oyster Sauce for Turkey" appears in most of these, and also in Mary Randolph's "Virginia Housewife" (1824). So many Southerners have thought that pairing oysters with turkey (in or out of the dressing), was a good idea.

about 7 hours ago
MelMM in Food Media & News

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition, part 2!

Tipsy Baker. I do not think Gabrielle Hamilton has a blog. I think the "my fabulous life in France" blog GG refers to is Mimi Thorisson's

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

Cooking from Isabel's Cantina

I have tried them, but they were not to my taste. Too sweet for me. I've been GF for 13 years, so I've had plenty of time to try most everything.

The best gluten-free beers, to me, have been those from Omission, which are arguably not gluten-free (they cannot be labeled as such). I have tried them, but no longer drink them because I need to err on the side of caution. What I really enjoy now is a dry hopped cider, like the ones made by Rogue, Doc's, and also a local orchard.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition, part 2!

It is my favorite blog, precisely for the reasons you mention. So many blogs are so self-congratulatory... look at my beautiful life, look what great food I am having (and if you can't get locally grown, heirloom X, don't bother making this). Aspirational blogging, but not much practical information. Tipsy Baker is just the opposite - in many ways a much bolder and more accomplished home cook, but fully aware of the practicalities of life.

Cooking from Isabel's Cantina

Thankfully I have not had to give up nachos, as long as I make them at home out of uncontaminated chips! I do make pizza at home quite often, and I can do a better job than any of the pizza places that serve GF crusts, or the crusts in stores, but back in the day, I used to make a really good pizza crust, and I haven't had any GF version that compares. There is little that I really miss, but a great pizza is one thing.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

Cooking from Isabel's Cantina

Being that I have never been much of a dessert person, nope, not worth the bother. Desserts just don't tempt me. IF I were going to cheat, which I am not, it would be on beer, or a really good pizza. There are GF versions of those out there, but let's face it, they do not really compare.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

Cooking from Isabel's Cantina

I can't cheat - I have celiac disease. And my kitchen is completely GF. I do not allow wheat products in at all - makes a big difference in my health.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

Cooking from Isabel's Cantina

Wish I could, but my GF requirement precludes it.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition, part 2!

I have the iPad version, and it's pretty usable. As for the tripe and octopus, well it isn't all that, but there are a lot of recipes that call for such ingredients. All the recipes are very doable at home, and pretty simple, really. But if you are squeamish about certain meats, it might not be the book for you. I don't eat much meat, but when I do, I eat all kinds. I'm eager to try a rabbit recipe with salsa verde that's in there. Still, I'm equally excited about some of the vegetables in the book. I've made the fennel baked in cream, and while it is insanely rich, it's also incredibly delicious. This blog post reviews some recipes - same blog that was pretty negative previously about the tone of the book.
http://www.tipsybaker.com/2014/11/and...

Cooking from Isabel's Cantina

We have to thank DK for introducing us to this little gem. Such simple recipes, but really nice flavors. It's a book that I never would have purchased if DK hadn't been so emphatic in her praise, but I am so glad I got it.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

Cooking from Isabel's Cantina

Mahimahi with Jalapeño Ponzu Sauce - p. 84

I decided last night that it had been too long since I made something from this book. A big shame, because the food is so aligned with the way I like to eat.

I used snapper filets instead of mahimahi. The recipe has you season with salt and pepper, sear for two minutes on each side, then finish in the oven. I sprinkled my filets with a little of Marcus Sameulsson's berbere, and did them completley in the pan. The crux of the recipe, to me, is really the jalapeño ponzu sauce. Roasted and skinned jalapeños are blended up with sake, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, and some sugar. It makes a pretty tart, but very tasty, thin sauce.

The plating is the fish filets, topped with the ponzu sauce and sliced avocado. I added some diced tomato as well. Served with green rice, and roasted broccolini with chile flakes. It made a delicious dinner - another winner from this book, which has been full of winners. Leftover ponzu sauce (there was a lot extra), was nice spooned over a fried egg for breakfast.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

Why Chinese cuisines/dishes do not include raw vegetables...

Tapeworms are acquired by mouth, not stomping around barefoot. So to get a tapeworm, a human eats meat infected with a tapeworm cysts that is raw or undercooked. Or, to get the kind your dog might have, you can eat a flea. What you are talking about sounds more like hookworms, which can enter through the skin, and tend to occur when someone walks barefoot through feces, or garden soil that has been fertilized with feces.

Nov 19, 2014
MelMM in General Topics

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Fish; Poultry; and Meat

I don't get it either, but I'd hazard a guess that it is because that particular author buys pre-ground cumin, or assumes the reader will. I don't buy ground cumin, but I don't let it bother me when a recipe calls for it, I just grind some in my mortar. I think what is odd is the assumption that we will have pre-ground cumin, but whole coriander. But there might be an assumption about quality there. As much as freshly ground cumin is better than pre-ground, that is 20X more true in the case of coriander.

Nov 18, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition, part 2!

Looks good. I just ordered the UK edition. Don't want to wait until April!

Nov 18, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

The Doro Wett is worth doing, but take a lesson from your less-than-stellar experiences and go with your instincts instead of following the recipe verbatim. The first couple recipes I tried from this book were very frustrating, but as soon as I accepted that the editing was poor and relied upon my own capabilities as a cook, the results got a lot better. Read my report on the Doro Wett before you make it to get an idea what worked for me. I must say, the berbere spice mix has been very useful around the house, and I have used it in all sorts of things. That might be the biggest keeper from the book, but even there, I made some changes.

When is mayonnaise not mayonnaise...?

The ingredient list reminded me very much of Vegenaise, except that Just Mayo is using peas instead of soybeans. I'm not sure what the comparative sales are - Vegenaise is pretty widely available (in every grocery store around here), so I would think it sells just as much, but then, it doesn't say "mayonnaise" or "mayo" in the name, and it is not sold in the same area of the store. The other two products you mention, with "mayo" in the name, seem to be a similar case as "Just Mayo", so one would wonder why they are not being targeted as well.

Nov 14, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News

Famous food in names- add to the list

Ima Hogg

Nov 14, 2014
MelMM in Not About Food

When is mayonnaise not mayonnaise...?

This reminds of me of a few years back (maybe quite a few), when there was a suit against a few manufacturers of non-dairy "milks" for using terms like "soy milk" or "rice milk" on their labels. Apparently we consumers are too stupid to realize that something labeled "soy milk" is not cows' milk, or so said the plaintiff. That argument didn't fly in court. A California judge is quoted as saying it "stretches the bounds of credulity."

People will buy this product if they like it. I bet the average consumer doesn't care in the least if there are eggs in the "mayo", but only if it tastes good.

Nov 14, 2014
MelMM in Food Media & News
1

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

Spicy Tilapia Stew - p. 127

Caitlin's post inspired my dinner last night, because reading it, I realized that I had all the ingredients on hand to make the dish. Or at least, close enough. Like Caitlin, I did not use tilapia. In my case I subbed Pacific cod fillets, and used some homemade fish stock that I had in the freezer (the stock was made from snapper heads and bones).

I also used all whole seeds, but I ground them a bit in my mortar - I ground the cumin fairly well, then added the coriander and peppercorns and ground coarsely. I left the mustard seeds whole. Samuelsson doesn't specify which type of mustard seeds to use, so I used brown, because that's what I have the most of at the moment. I also increased the amount of coriander by quite a bit.

I had a regular green cabbage, as opposed to Napa cabbage, so that's what I used. In the future when making that substitution, I would sauté the cabbage with the onions, rice, and spices until it is tender, because by just adding it to the liquid, it took a while to cook to the point I waned it.

I used the rice (basmati), and as Caitlin predicted, this resulted in a very thick soup. I even ended up adding two extra cups of water, to get it to a porridge consistency. Part of that issue was the longer cooking time I used to get the cabbage done, but even without that this soup would be very thick. Eating leftovers for breakfast, it's at more of a risotto consistency. Still tasty.

We enjoyed this dish quite a bit. I ended up adding quite a bit more salt than called for (typical for this book). I think I actually liked the soup a bit better before the lime juice was added - I would recommend tasting before adding to see if you really want the extra acidity. This was a very practical dish for me to make, which made use of a lot of odds and ends I had lying about - a fish fillet, a partial head of cabbage, an opened and partially used jar of home-canned tomatoes. I would make it again if I had the ingredients lying around, but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to make it.

Nov 13, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

Lentil Stew - p. 123

This lentil stew is not the same recipe as the one from Saveur that haiku reported on above, but it's surprisingly close. Samuelson does not call for red lentils, just "lentils". In a US cookbook I would assume that to mean brown. However, I decided to use red, because I happen to have accidentally bought too many, so I have a glut of them in my pantry. The lentils are supposed to be soaked for two hours. I don't normally soak lentils (or any beans), but I soaked the red lentils for about 30 minutes. Red lentils cook to mush so quickly, I really didn't think this was necessary, but it didn't hurt.

Samuelson has you cook the lentils in some water until tender, about 20 minutes. With red lentils, tender equates to cooked into almost a puree, and that is what happened here. I also added some salt to the lentils at the beginning of cooking.

In a separate pot, you are to heat olive oil, and sauté diced red onion and garlic. I guess because I read the Saveur recipe that haiku linked to, I had the spiced butter on my brain. But I had already used up the supply I made last week. So I used regular butter, with some freshly ground cardamom in it, to sauté the onion and garlic.

The cooked lentils are added to the sautéed onions and garlic, along with some chopped tomato (I used home-canned instead of fresh), fava beans (I omitted them), lemon juice, and berbere. I upped the amount of berbere a bit, and I also added it to the onion before the other ingredients, letting the spices bloom a bit in the butter. Parsley is supposed to go in as well. I used cilantro instead, added just before serving. I ignored the quantity of salt given and just salted to taste.

This was a delicious lentil soup. Perhaps not exactly what the author intended, but to my taste, it was just right. An excellent use for the excess berbere I have on hand, quick enough for a weeknight, and very satisfying.

Nov 12, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month December 2014

I'd be happy to do a Donna Hay book or books, but doing all at once has the same problem as doing all of Wolfert at once - there are just too darn many. We need to narrow it down a bit, I think.

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month December 2014

I like the idea of doing another Wolfert book, but I do think we will need to settle on one or two books to make it work. Her complete oeuvre would be a bit much to cover in a month - I'm afraid it would spread our little group too thin.

Nov 11, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month: "The Soul of a New Cuisine" by Marcus Samuelsson

Depending upon what recipe you use it in, regular butter might be OK. But it will brown at higher temps, and that will change the flavor of the dish. If you don't want to clarify butter, I would buy the ghee at your Indian market. Also, most natural foods stores (Whole Foods and its ilk) sell ghee in jars (look near cooking oils). I used a store-bought ghee for making the spiced butter. If you do that, you can skip all those foaming and skimming steps.

Nov 11, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

Red lentils cook faster than brown, so that might be why yours were still firm at the end of the cooking time. Red lentils will cook to mush pretty quickly.

Nov 11, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month December 2014

Needs to be in all caps if you are nominating it. Funny thing is, given that there hadn't been much action on this thread, I decided to look at my shelves and see if anything jumped out at me. Guess what did?

DOWN SOUTH by Donald Link.

Nov 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking