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What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

We are guilty as charged.

Ruhlman's Foray Into Fiction

Thanks for that info about Epicure's Lament. I will check it out and give Ms. Christensen a chance. I'll skip the memoir.

1 day ago
MelMM in Food Media & News

Ruhlman's Foray Into Fiction

It could indeed be good. But dang... that blurb by Kate Christensen is the most nonsensical thing I've ever read. "...a propulsively well-written trio of novellas linked by a sense of loss and an inquiry into the impossible past." Really? "Propulsively well-written"??? What does that mean exactly? And "the impossible past"? The past exists, therefore must have been possible. I might read Ruhlman's fiction, but now I know I sure won't read Ms. Christensen's.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

I also got this book a couple days ago. Hmm. It's not traditionally Southern, and it sure isn't vegetarian. There are a lot of recipes that call for meat, fish, the ubiquitous (and I'm ready for this trend to die) poached egg. The recipes are more creative than those in "Root to Leaf", more international, more trendy. I am not enamored at the moment, but when I get a chance (which will be awhile, as I'm about to have to travel for the next few weeks) I'll reassess.

2 days ago
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Hmmm... how much does he like to cook/care about food/want nice meals? If he does like to cook or care about eating well (not necessarily healthy), than it might be a good book to get him "caught up" on some good recipes. But it isn't intended to be a primer or "beginner" book, or a quick-and-easy book, or a book for meals on the cheap. It's really a good book for a younger cook who is really interested in food who may not have a truly extensive collection (when I say extensive, I've got over 2,000 and counting), but I'm not really sure it's the kind of book you send your kid to college with, unless you already know the kid likes to cook.

2 days ago
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

I pre-ordered Genius Recipes, then forgot I'd pre-ordered it. When a preview was available, I realized I didn't want it, but I had forgotten about the pre-order so it showed up. I really regret that I didn't cancel the pre-order.

This might be a good cookbook for someone with a limited collection, or a younger cook who doesn't have a lot of the "classics". But for me? A complete waste of money. I already have at least 70% of the recipes in their original books. I mean, really, Marcella Hazan's tomato/butter sauce? Been there, done that. And that's the case for almost everything in the book.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

It's ironic, as I much prefer to eat vegetarian meals, but Plenty was hit or miss for me. I've made only one recipe from Plenty More, and it was just so-so. Jerusalem, on the other hand, has been a fantastic book for me, even though it is not vegetarian. To me, Jerusalem is by far the best of Ottolenghi's books.

May 28, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #4 - Will you join me?

I think the problem is that you probably copied and pasted the links for #1 and #2 from the intro to #3. The links show up truncated, and when you copy and paste, they will paste truncated and won't work. So what you need to do in the future (assuming you do us the favor of continuing these threads, which I very much hope you do) is before you copy and paste, click on the links from the previous threads and copy them from the URL at the top of your browser. Then replace the links with the complete version that you copy. Hmmm. I'm wondering if that makes any sense.

May 26, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #4 - Will you join me?

Oh, cool. I was looking for the recipe online because someone on Facebook wanted it, but I didn't find it.

May 26, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #4 - Will you join me?

It could go faster if one planned further in advance. I picked the recipes the night before, shopped the same day I cooked. So there was nothing done in advance. A lot of these dishes could be made ahead, with just some final prep done at the end. If one were organized.... which I was most definitely not!

May 26, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #4 - Will you join me?

I didn't start cooking until about 4pm or later, and served dinner around 7 or so. I might be faster than most in the kitchen, but I was also drinking copious amounts of wine while I cooked! Also keep in mind the dosa was from pre-made batter, so I just had to cook it in a crepe pan. The roti were made the next day, when I had more time (not that they really took that much time). The dishes are really not difficult at all, and they tend to have a fair amount of inactive time, so you can multi-task.

May 26, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Phaidon has a long history of producing cookbooks that are poorly edited, not just the Mexican one. This one is from the University of Chicago Press - I find university press books tend to be pretty well done.

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #4 - Will you join me?

VEGAN RICHA'S INDIAN KITCHEN

I found it amusing to look up this thread and see that the last post was me reviewing an Indian vegetarian book. And then, upthread, I reviewed an old classic, also an Indian vegetarian book!

My interest in cooking Indian food dates back to the mid-eighties, when I went vegan and turned to Indian cooking for its highly developed vegetarian cuisine. I have a huge number of Indian books, but none of them are better (or as good, for that matter) as the first two I bought, Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking, and Yamuna Devi's Lord Krishna's Cuisine (the latter is an absolute must-have book for anyone interested in Indian vegetarian cooking). Next to those two tomes, this paperback is unassuming. But it has some points of interest. First off, it is vegan. And second, the author addresses issues around gluten - like whether asafoetida is gluten-free - and offers some gluten-free versions of recipes that are usually made with wheat. Everything in the photos looked great, so I took the next step, and made a meal.

MASHED POTATO FRITTERS (ALOO BONDA), p.39
Potatoes are boiled and diced. A seasoning mixture is made by heating oil, adding mustard seeds, then ginger, green chile, and red onion. Finally turmeric and salt go in. This mixture is mashed into the potatoes. Once the potato mixture is cool, you form it into balls (mine were more like footballs). A batter is made of chickpea flour, rice flour, asafetida (optional), baking soda, cayenne, carom (ajwain) or cumin seeds, salt, and water. The recipe in the book has you coat the balls and then bake them. The traditional thing (listed as a variation here) is to fry them, and fry them is what I did. Delicious!

MOM'S OKRA AND ONION STIR-FRY, p.64
I love okra. This preparation is really simple, but good. You start by cooking green chile in oil, then adding red onion. Once the onion is translucent, you add okra and turmeric, turn the heat down, and cook for a long time (35-45 minutes, she says, but I didn't time it). The long cooking dries out the okra and reduces the slime factor. The dish is finished with salt and cayenne.

YELLOW LENTILS WITH CUMIN (SINDHI MUNG DAL), p. 113
Split mung dal are cooked in water with ginger, green chiles, salt, and turmeric. After the lentils are tender, some tomato puree, cilantro, and lemon juice go in. These get mixed into the lentils, either by mashing with a spoon or spatular, or giving them a quick blend with an immersion blender (I chose the latter). To finish, you heat oil in a skillet and fry up some cumin, asafetida, and chopped curry leaves. This gets poured over the dal. Garnish with cilantro and more lemon juice. Excellent.

BUTTER SEITAN (TOFU) CURRY (SEITAN/TOFU MAKHANI), p. 152
This is a veganized version of the famous butter chicken from Punjab, and example of where this book has some vegan versions of meat dishes that a more traditional book on Indian vegetarian cooking would not include. The recipe in the book calls for seitan, which I cannot eat because it is made from wheat gluten. But in a photo of a thali platter early in the book, she lists one of the dishes as tofu makhani, so I seized upon that idea and made the dish with tofu. I'm not going to list all the ingredients, because there are many, but a long list does not mean the dish was complicated or difficult in any way. And it was a wonderful tofu dish. It would probably be great with tempeh as well.

MINT CILANTRO CHILE CHUTNEY, p. 244
This is a pretty standard chutney - mint, cilantro, salt, sugar, lemon juice, cider vinegar, garlic, water, chaat masala. All blended up. Is it good? Of course it's good. I used this as a dipper for the aloo bonda.

The above dishes were all made for one dinner, and for the bread, I just made dosas from pre-made dosa batter from my Indian market. The next day, since I had plenty of leftovers and didn't need to cook anything else, I made this wonder:

GLUTEN-FREE CHIA FLATBREADS (PHULKAS OR ROTI), p. 198
So much Indian food is naturally gluten-free, but there is always the lingering matter of those breads, the naan, the paratha, the roti. An exciting aspect of this book is that while it is not a gluten-free book, it does address the issue and gives some gluten-free bread recipes. For this recipe, you grind chia seeds and psyllium husk into a powder. To that, you add warm water and mix. Let sit and the mixture gels up. In another bowl, you mix amaranth flour (or sorghum flour), tapioca starch (or corn starch), salt, baking powder, and a little garam masala. This mixture is needed into the thickened chia mixture, along with a small amount of oil. Yep, this is actually a kneadable dough - almost unheard of in gluten-free baking, at least in recipes that work. Let the dough rest for a bit, then form into balls. Roll out, coating the work surface and dough balls with GF flour as needed, into thin circles. These get cooked in a skillet just like a tortilla (I actually used my comal to cook them). The headnote to the recipe says "this flatbread is insanely soft and stays soft over time." Yeah, right, I thought. But they were insanely soft, and they did stay insanely soft. I had one for breakfast right out of the fridge, and it was still insanely soft. Hot damn! This is unheard of in gluten-free breads, where heating and toasting is part of making them edible. These flatbreads may look a little ugly (judge for yourself in the picture below), but they were delicious. This recipe should translate, with some adjustment in the flours and different seasoning, to tortillas and other thin flatbreads. You can bet I'm going to springboarding off of this recipe and going in all different directions.

So that's a number of recipes and there was not a dog in the bunch. Everything solid, some of it terrific. Note that I did salt to taste, and may have used more than called for here and there. Other spices were used in the amounts specified. The seasoning was pretty mild across the board in terms of chile heat - you could serve these recipes to anyone. But unlike the recipes in the new Madhur Jaffrey book, they were not bland or underseasoned. You could always spike them up with more chiles.

Picture up top starts with the okra and onion stir-fry at the very top, then progressing clockwise we have the mung dal, tofu makhani, dosa (not from the book), mint/cilantro chutney, and the aloo bonda in the center. The picture below shows the GF roti.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Two recent arrivals in my house:

Gluten-free Flour Power by Aki Kamozawa and Alexander Talbot. This looks to be an interesting mix of revamped classics and more contempory, trendy stuff (like individual microwave sponge cakes). Should be fun, although like most GF books, it's heavy on sweet stuff, and I don't make sweet dishes very often.

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen. I hardly needed another Indian cookbook, but I got this one and have been very pleased so far. I'm going to write this up on the CAWC thread in just a moment.

May 26, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Bundtlust, do you have recommendations for Japanese vegetarian or vegan books?

I have the following:

Japanese Cooking, Contemporary and Traditional, by Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner

Japanese Vegetarian Cooking, by Patricia Richfield

The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan, by Mari Fujii

And Kansha, by Elizabeth Andoh.

If you have others to suggest, I'd love to hear about them.

May 26, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

June 2015 COTM and Cocktail Companion Announcement: VERDURA and DEATH & CO

I have a lot of travel in June too. But I figure I'll have at least a couple weeks when I can cook from Verdura. Plus, we can always post later in the summer. I'm glad to have a vegetable-oriented book to help me use up my CSA produce.

I haven't been able to find Ms. La Place online either. Looks like she hasn't published anything new in a number of years.

May 25, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

June 2015 COTM: Voting Thread

May 25, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

June 2015 Cocktail Companion Cookbook of the Month Voting

May 25, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

June 2015 COTM and Cocktail Companion Announcement: VERDURA and DEATH & CO

Vegetables are definitely where our minds are for June! Our Cookbook of the Month will be VERDURA: VEGETABLES ITALIAN STYLE, by Viana La Place.

From our friends at Amazon:
"Named to Cooking Light magazine's list of the Top 100 Cookbooks of the Last 25 Years. Since its first publication in 1991, Viana La Place's Verdura has become a much loved classic. And with good reason: Its 300 irresistible recipes represent the best of the Italian approach to vegetable preparation, an earthy yet spirited technique that celebrates fresh ingredients simply treated. ...La Place presents recipes for antipastos, salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta, risottos, pizzas, and much more. The vegetables she explores run from the familiar - artichokes, aubergines, radicchio - to the more exotic, such as chayote, cardoons, and brocciflower. (La Place saute's this cauliflower-broccoli hybrid in garlic and oil, then tops it with pungent provolone.) Other recipes, such as Soup of Dried Fava Beans with Fresh Fennel, Fettucine with Peas, Green Onions, and Mint, Grilled Bread with Mushrooms and Herbs, and Baked Red Pepper Fritatta, give further evidence of La Place's original yet thoughtful way with the earth's bounty.Desserts are also included, among them Watermelon with Bittersweet Chocolate Shavings, Grilled Figs with Honey and Walnuts, and Lemon Granita and Brioche. With a vegetable and herb guide and an ingredient glossary, Verdura provides comprehensive information while exciting the palate."

Lots of used copies available for next to nothing.

And as an added bonus to celebrate the coming of summer, we will have a COTM Cocktail Companion: DEATH & CO.: MODERN CLASSIC COCKTAILS, WITH MORE THAN 500 RECIPES, by David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald:

"The definitive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement, from one of the highest-profile, most critically lauded, and influential bars in the world. ... Destined to become a definitive reference on craft cocktails, Death & Co features more than 500 of the bar’s most innovative and sought-after cocktails. But more than just a collection of recipes, Death & Co is also a complete cocktail education, with information on the theory and philosophy of drink making, a complete guide to buying and using spirits, and step-by-step instructions for mastering key bartending techniques. Filled with beautiful, evocative photography; illustrative charts and infographics; and colorful essays about the characters who fill the bar each night; Death & Co—like its namesake bar—is bold, elegant, and setting the pace for mixologists around the world."

Use this thread for general discussion about the books until the first of the month. On June 1, reporting threads for both books will be posted.

To see how we got here, you may visit the COTM nomination thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1013034

COTM voting thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1014131

Cocktail Companion nomination thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1013776

Cocktail Companion voting thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1014297

And the COTM archive including a list of all past books:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

June 2015 Cocktail Companion Cookbook of the Month Voting

Voting is now CLOSED. The announcement will be up shortly. Look for it in the COTM announcement thread.

May 25, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

June 2015 COTM: Voting Thread

Voting is now CLOSED. Announcement thread will be up shortly.

May 25, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

June 2015 COTM: Voting Thread

Some tablets. iPads run off of Apple's iOS, a completely different platform.

May 24, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

June 2015 COTM: Voting Thread

I agree - the iBooks tend to be better. But sometimes they cost a dollar or so more, and it seems more books get released for Kindle. But that doesn't help if the book is not navigable.

May 24, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

June 2015 Cocktail Companion Cookbook of the Month Voting

That IS a bummer. But by being sober, you will be able to laugh that much harder at our drunk posts.

Fresh soft shell crabs and best preparation?

Probably from the Chesapeake Bay, which is where the crabbers are best at extending the season. Also, you can get them imported from Asia.

May 21, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

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

I suspect that what you've heard of is tamarind pulp, sold out of the pod, but still with seeds and strings in it, and compressed into blocks. I rarely buy this, because the tamarind keeps better in the pod, but it is sold in Asian markets in plastic bags. You would still need to soak in hot water, and remove the seeds and strings. There is also a tamarind powder, usually sold in Indian markets, which I find useless and flavorless.

May 21, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

Fresh soft shell crabs and best preparation?

They do, but when that season is depends upon where you are. On the SC coast, it starts in mid-April and runs into early May. Just a few weeks. If you are further north, it will be later. Also, there are crabbers who know how to keep crabs and force a molt on certain crabs, which can extend the season in some places.

May 21, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

Got a link to that review?

May 21, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

Home Cooking Dish of the Month (June 2015) Nominations!

Why don't you just join us on the COTM cocktail companion book, whatever it turns out to be? Voting thread here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1014297

May 21, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition!

To answer my own question, it looks like a whole new book! Hot damn! I got a lot of use out of her last book, so if this is similar...

May 21, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking