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Vote for May Cookbook of the Month

Thanks, Delys, for another good round of nominations and an excellent write up of the nominees. An embarrassment of riches is right. What a choice! I'd be happy cooking from any of these.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

I did not use them for any of the recipes in the book. There is a rolled formation in the book, where I think they would need to be very fresh. I've used them for Grace Young's Beef Chow Fun, from Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge, and I think that is my favorite use for them so far. Have repeated a few times. I also used them for the Phat Si Ew from Pok Pok, where the noodles performed just fine, although it wasn't my favorite recipe. I think I may have used them in something else, but I can't think of it right now.

2 days ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

This recipe has become a go-to for me. I've made them several times, including for the phat si ew from Pok Pok. For a noodle dish for two of us, I'll make a triple batch. If I'm going to stir-fry them, I like to make them a day in advance. Stacked between parchment, they will keep 3 or 4 days in the fridge before they get too stiff to use as-is. One batch that did get too stiff, I used Andy Ricker's suggested method of microwaving briefly and they softened right up. This has been a very versatile and forgiving recipe.

Apr 15, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: The One Plate Meal pg. 182-239, Foreign Foods pg. 240-251

I strongly recommend this one being made as written. More than anything else in the book, this one plate meal hit a perfect balance of flavors. It's all really pretty easy to make, and it goes together so well. I have played with other dishes in the book, so it's not that I am opposed to improvisation, but this one really shines just as AR wrote it.

Allegra_K, beautiful plating and photo!

Apr 14, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Rice 29-33, Papaya Salad and Family pg. 34-37, Thai "Salads" pg. 48-71

I wouldn't reduce the sugar in the rice. That rice is perfection, and goes perfectly with the pork. I would be more inclined to reduce the sugar in the salad. The papaya salad is quite tart, and is the perfect foil to the pork (quite sweet) and the rice (mildly sweet).

Apr 14, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

Just to start, there is the new Diana Henry book, "A Change of Appetite".

Apr 12, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

Nominations for May 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM)

I've had this book sitting around for a few years, and I've heard many good things about it. I could definitely get into cooking from it.

MY BOMBAY KITCHEN

Apr 12, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

For Peruvian, well, they are very expensive, the recipes look cheffy (although when you cook them, they aren't really that complicated): The Art of Peruvian Cuisine, and The Art of Peruvian Cuisine Vol. II, by Tony Custer. I coveted the first book for a long time, but kept thinking the prices on Amazon were inflated, sellers taking advantage of an out-of-print book. Eventually, I realized it wasn't so. The book is expensive because it is, first of all, a huge and beautifully produced book, and second, is published to benefit a charity. When I finally bought it, I had no regrets, and when volume II came out, I bought it right away. For something more accessible, I also have "The Everything Peruvian Cookbook" by Morena Cuadra and Morena Escardó. It's more home-cooking oriented and I've had good results from it.

For more general South American, I think "The South American Table" by Maria Baez Kijac is worth owning. "La Gran Cocina Latina" - it should have been a great book, but I found it problematic, the recipes being hit or miss.

Apr 11, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations for May 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM)

You have my full attention on the Peruvian book. What can you tell me about it?

Apr 11, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
3

April 2014 Cookbook of the Month - Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker, JJ Goode, and David Thompson

I use Dragonfly.

Apr 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations for May 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM)

I have the Batmanglij book, "New Food of Life". It is an excellent book, definitely worth owning. It's all traditional Persian food. Another I like, perhaps even more, is Nesta Rmazani's "Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights". The latter, however, is a paperback with no pictures. I've cooked from both books with great success. They both have pretty much the same repertoire of recipes, so I usually look at both books, compare the recipes, then choose the one that sounds best to me or make a hybrid. I guess if you were only going to have one book, The New Food of Life would be the one to choose, since it's good to have some pictures when starting to cook an unfamiliar cuisine.

The New Persian Kitchen is a different animal. It presents a more modern, global, version of Persian cooking. Plus more creative recipes using American ingredients. I haven't cooked from it yet, but it's one of those books where I want to make almost everything in it. If you want a bible of traditional Persian cuisine, this is not your book. But if you want creative, fresh, fun recipes with a Persian flair, this looks to be quite a nice book.

Apr 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Rice 29-33, Papaya Salad and Family pg. 34-37, Thai "Salads" pg. 48-71

Het Paa Naam Tok (Isaan-Style Forest Mushroom Salad)

I made this for dinner last night. I increased the recipe a bit, and I used king oyster, oyster, and shitake mushrooms. Instead of grilling them, as directed, I cooked them outdoors in my wok, with the heat really high to ensure they got a char on them. I omitted the toasted sticky rice powder, just because I had forgotten to make it in advance. Served with sticky rice, made by the method described at shesimmers.com, which worked perfectly.

Mr. MM and I both love mushrooms, so this salad was right up our alley. It will be appearing again often.

Apr 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations for May 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM)

I'm going to throw out THE NEW PERSIAN KITCHEN. It's been out for a while, it won the Piglet... a lot of us have it, I think, but haven't cooked from it. I'd like to get motivated to explore this book.

Apr 08, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations for May 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM)

Way too new for COTM. Plus, it wasn't too long ago we did her first book.

Apr 08, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

Ooh, lucky you! Please let me know what you think, when you've had a chance to look it over.

Apr 08, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

If you get an iPad, you can get the Kindle app on it, and still have access to all your Kindle books.

Apr 08, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

A book I pre-ordered for the iPad was available for download today: Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry. I've only taken a cursory look through it, but that first glance was very promising. I wanted to make pretty much everything!

Apr 08, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

To be clear, there are two "Treme" cookbooks that have come out recently. I have them both, but haven't cooked from either so far. I'll give you a brief overview of each.

"Taste of Tremé" is not affiliated with the show in any way. The author is a Louisiana native who has written several books on Cajun, Creole, and Louisiana foods. There are some references to characters in the book, and in other fictional works, and to their real-life counterparts. The recipes are for traditional New Orleans foods. Not restaurant fare. Not creative. Just really typical home-style New Orleans cooking.

"Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans" is the "official" cookbook of the show (and note the difference in spelling - the version with the accent is correct). This book is divided up by character, with each section being written in that character's voice. As one might expect, the character of Janette Desautel gets far more space than the other characters, about 1/3 of the book. A lot of the recipes in her section, and in some other sections, are chef's recipes - restaurant food, developed by various chef's both in and out of New Orleans. Because the Janette character spends some time in NYC, there are also some recipes from the NYC restaurants that were featured. Overall, this book is not about traditional New Orleans cooking, but about the characters in the show, adding to their backstory. The food is more creative, and less traditional, on the whole. Which is not meant to disparage the book, just to say what it is. There are actually many recipes in here that I would make.

Apr 08, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Grilled Foods pg. 122-145, Curries and Soups pg. 146-171

Kaeng Khiaw Waan Luuk Chin Plaa (Green Curry with Fish Balls and Eggplant

I made this before on my earlier thread, post here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9666...

That time, I subbed regular eggplant, cut into cubes, for the Thai eggplant, and shrimp for the fish balls. It was great. I decided to remake the recipe, this time using the Thai eggplant and fish balls. I don't need to go into the prep again, you can read all about it on the other post.

The verdict was, we loved the Thai eggplant, cut into quarters (lengthwise, though the author did not specify). I would seek it out again. The fish balls were fine, and the dish was delicious, as it was before, but like the Vietnamese pork roll in the glass noodle salad, I won't go out of my way to get the fish balls again, when I know that shrimp work so well. This time, I used even less coconut milk than before, so the curry paste was more concentrated. I love the flavors.

This curry will be a regular here, because I really like it. I'm going to feel free to play with the seafood and vegetables as I see fit, but the Thai eggplant is definitely a winner.

Apr 07, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

Let's see, it's been a while since I've posted here, so there are several new acquisitions.

Taste of Tremé
Heirloom Cooking
Southern Pies
Candle 79
Modern Pioneering
The Mind of a Chef with Sean Brock and April Bloomfield
Make it Vegan, with Isa Chandra Moskowitz

A bit about those last two, for those of you with an iPad or Kindle. Breville, the same company that makes the toaster oven, blender, etc, has a number of free books for iPad and Kindle. Search for "Breville" and you will find them. These are just two of maybe 10 or so. Might be a nice thing to try for those of you who have the devices, but haven't tried cookbooks yet, since there is no investment. There are some Breville ads interspersed with the content, but what do you expect for free? There is also video content included. Each book contains a bit of background text on the chef and about a dozen recipes. Worth a try, considering the price!

Apr 07, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

Hope you decide to join us there!

Apr 07, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Fish pg. 72-87, Stir Fries pg. 88-103, Thai Minced Meat Salads pg. 104-121

I have a big aluminum steamer like Ricker describes in the book.

If you don't have a steamer, you can improvise in a large sauté pan with a lid. You'll need some kind of rack to hold the plate with the fish - a cake cooling rack will work. Also, I've done some steaming in an electric skillet, because the shape and size are good. Just put some water in the bottom (it doesn't need to be as much as AR says in the book - 1/2" will do it), and put your rack in there, and then the plate or whatever dish you have that will hold the fish and still fit.

Apr 07, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Fish pg. 72-87, Stir Fries pg. 88-103, Thai Minced Meat Salads pg. 104-121

Plaa Neung Manao (Steamed Whole Fish with Lime and Chiles)

AR writes a very convincing essay about steamed fish before this recipe. Convincing enough that I knew I needed to try one of the steamed fish recipes in the book. I got a whole snapper of appropriate size from my market, and had it scaled and gutted but otherwise left intact. I prepped as specified in the recipe, which amounts to slashing the sides of the fish. You put it on a deep plate, and pour over a sauce made of chiles, garlic, cilantro root (stems in my case), fish sauce, lime juice, pork stock (I used shrimp stock here), sugar, and white pepper. The fish is steamed for 12 -18 minutes (exactly 15 minutes in my case), and then you can transfer to a serving platter, pour the remaining sauce over, and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

One fish served the two of us with leftovers to spare. It was extremely good. I have a bias toward grilling whole fish, but the author has converted me to the steamed team with this one. Served with jasmine rice and stir-fried mixed vegetables. Another great meal from Pok Pok.

Apr 06, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Fish pg. 72-87, Stir Fries pg. 88-103, Thai Minced Meat Salads pg. 104-121

Phat Phak Ruam Mit (Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables)

I made this to go along with my steamed fish, as it was one of the dishes suggested by AR. I didn't like the look of the gai lan at my market, so I omitted it, and put in more of everything else. Being an ornery type, I ignored the instructions to blanch the vegetables, and I just stir-fried them all in my outdoor wok, adding them in the order I felt they would cook best. I used king oyster mushrooms. Like others, I could not find the frozen baby corn, so out of a can they were. It wasn't the end of the world.

Well, done on my outdoor wok, on very high heat, this came out beautifully. It is mild, but has that salty-sweet thing going on, and was a nice accompaniment to the spicy fish. I would do this, or some variation of it, again.

Apr 06, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: The One Plate Meal pg. 182-239, Foreign Foods pg. 240-251

Heck, in Houston, I'd think you could find cilantro roots easily. But I've been out of state for going on 12 years, so I'm sorry I can't point you to anything specific. It makes me wonder if perhaps cilantro roots have become harder to find in recent years, and my geographical move is not the real reason I can't find them now.

Apr 06, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: The One Plate Meal pg. 182-239, Foreign Foods pg. 240-251

I can't recall! It was almost12 years ago. Where in TX are you? I was in Austin. It was perhaps a farmers' market, or perhaps an Asian grocer, or perhaps just a regular grocery store. No idea. I wouldn't find them all the time, but when I did, I'd buy the cilantro (which I use in large quantities), and freeze the roots. I always had a stash of cilantro root in the freezer. Then I moved to Charlotte, and I have never seen them here. I do grow some cilantro, so I can get them that way, but I don't want to sacrifice my plants.

Sorry I can't be more help, I've been gone from TX for too long.

Apr 06, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: The One Plate Meal pg. 182-239, Foreign Foods pg. 240-251

Cilantro roots are a problem here too. For now, I'm subbing cilantro stems. Later, I will pull some cilantro up from the garden. When I lived in TX, I never had trouble finding them, but here, I haven't seen them once in 10 years of looking.

Apr 06, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: The One Plate Meal pg. 182-239, Foreign Foods pg. 240-251

I wonder if you are confusing Big Sal's comments with mine?

Apr 04, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Rice 29-33, Papaya Salad and Family pg. 34-37, Thai "Salads" pg. 48-71

Yam Tuna (p ???)

Here's a link to my report from the "cooking from thread".
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9666...

I've made this several times now, the most recent being today's lunch. I've taken to playing with the ingredients a bit - based on what I have on hand, I might add or subtract something, but it's still in the spirit of the original. The salad holds well in the fridge, so it makes a great lunch-box item. I don't think I will ever make a Western-style tuna salad again. OK, that's probably not true, but this has become my go-to way with canned tuna.

Apr 03, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: The One Plate Meal pg. 182-239, Foreign Foods pg. 240-251

Looks pretty enough to me! This has been on my list for a while. Enjoyed your write-up.

Apr 03, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking