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The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

As someone with celiac disease who has to follow a REAL gluten-free diet, I have to say that kind of person really, really scares me. How will restaurants take my needs seriously where people like are floating around?

about 9 hours ago
MelMM in Food Media & News

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

Heavysnaxx, I wouldn't call tofu a "very processed food". That's a common perception, but it just isn't so. But maybe we have different definitions. Tofu is something I can easily make at home from three ingredients (one of which is water), and it's easier to make and less "processed" than cheese (which I also make at home, so I do know what I'm talking about ). It's about at the same level as a simple, unaged cheese like queso fresco or cottage cheese. Something like a cheddar is far more "processed" than tofu.

about 11 hours ago
MelMM in Food Media & News

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month October 2014

So many good options this month! Here are my nominations, all at once:

TADASHI ONO/HARRIS SALAT MONTH (would include Japanese Soul Cooking, The Japanese Grill, and Japanese Hot Pots)

THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD, Claudia Roden

SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE (Marcus Samuelsson)

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month October 2014

And Tadashi Ono also did Japanese Hot Pots. All three are fairly small books, so you could do a COTM with all three books.

1 day ago
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

That Joyce Goldstein book is a gem, IMHO.

Sep 03, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

SNAPPER TARTARE WITH OLIVES, LEMON AND FENNEL - p. 209

This was one of those recipes that I saw, and immediately had to make. Well, after a trip to the fish market, that is.

A pretty simple preparation, really. Red snapper fillets are cut into a small dice (he doesn't mention skin, but they should be skinned, which most snapper fillets are not). I actually started with a whole snapper, filleted it, skinned the fillets, and cut them up. The head and rack of the fish went into the stockpot, so I have some nice fish stock now for a later use.

The snapper is mixed with chopped green olives, preserved lemons, and lemon oil. I didn't have any lemon oil, so I just used olive oil, plus some lemon zest. Salt and pepper are added to taste.

The salmon tartare is shaped on the plate in a ring mold, then topped with thinly sliced fennel and some fresh mint. Lemon juice is squeezed over top, and that's your dish.

There is a recipe for lemon confit (a.k.a. preserved lemons) given, which is supposed to cure for 1 month before use. Fortunately I already had preserved lemon in the fridge (from a Diana Henry recipe, I think), so I just used that, making this a pretty simple recipe.

This was an excellent and easy dish, but I would make a few tweaks next time. I went heavy on both the preserved lemon and the olives, but I still wanted more of their flavor, so next time, I would go even heavier (as in at least triple the amount called for). Also, while the fish called for salt and pepper, the fennel topping did not, and I felt the need to add a bit of salt at the table. I also would not have minded a bit of oil on the fennel. I think in the future I would toss the fennel with the lemon, some olive oil, and salt & pepper (or at least salt) and get it seasoned to taste before topping the fish with it.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

Yup, Gio is responsible for me succumbing to the Banh Mi Handbook. One I thought I was sure to resist, as I can't eat wheat. But oh, no. A few posts from Gio, and there I am, downloading it to my iPad. At least it doesn't take up room on the shelves.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

My used copy of Avec Eric arrived yesterday. Haven't had much time to look through it yet, but from what I saw, I was pleasantly surprised. I was travelling during the nomination and voting for September COTM, so I didn't see the results until it was a done deal. I was not optimistic about this book, but from what I've seen, I think I will find things to make from it. I'm keeping an open mind for now, we'll see how it goes!

Aug 28, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

It's pretty, that's for sure. I'm not sure it is Phaidon-style in it's editing. Sure, there are errata, but the book has a bit more detail around the recipes than the typical Phaidon tome. I originally said I had not made anything from the book, but that was not true. I have made one recipe - a variation on patatas bravas, made in a single serving dish with ham and egg. It was good. I haven't made anything since - to me, the dishes in the book are not quite interesting enough, and don't quite match the way I eat (I like more vegetables and less meat). But if the food looks good to you and is the kind of stuff you'd make, I wouldn't shy away from it.

Aug 28, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

100 Best Restaurants in the South

So do I. I'll arm wrestle you for it.

Aug 27, 2014
MelMM in Southeast
1

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

I have also had the same feelings about their books (even though I own several), but Burma was her first book without Alford, and it seemed different to me. Less travelogue and more straight-out cookbook.

Aug 26, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

I didn't find Ms. Duguid's comments that offensive. It wasn't that she was upset about people not buying the book - she even said she would be happy if people got if from the library. Her concern is that when people look at individual recipes online, rather than the book as a whole, the recipes lack context. I think that's a valid concern, especially for a cuisine that is not very well-known in the US. Context is really important, and it is unfortunate that most Web sites that publish recipes from books do not include all the relevant information that the book might contain to explain the recipe. Sub-recipes, ingredient descriptions and sources, further explanations about cooking techniques and equipment, information about how meals are structured and creating menus...

I think there are some books where the recipes lend them themselves more easily to having individual recipes plucked out and published as stand-alones, but not her Burma book. I also cannot imagine trying to cook from "Pok Pok" and having success without looking at the whole book.

The ideal solution would have been for her to hang out on our cooking threads and provide the context where it was missing. Something Grace Young and Andrea Nguyen did very well.

Aug 26, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
3

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

Thanks for that link! I've gone through and made notes in my book of the corrections. While it would be nice if cookbooks didn't have errors, most of them do, so I'm glad the publisher has listed the errata.

Aug 26, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

January 2011 Cookbook of the Month: STIR-FRYING TO THE SKY'S EDGE

Spicy Dry-Fried Beef, p. 70

This is a recipe that, when I browse through the book, I am convinced I have already made. But I guess that is just because I have made other versions from other books. I really do lose track of what I have made, and what I have not.

The recipe has already been described. I'll just say that I used skirt steak instead of flank (although this particular skirt was not as good as what I am accustomed to), and I added more chiles than called for to up the spice. It was a solid version, as is usual for this book.

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

Yep, that's the size I meant. And other movers/box sources have similar sizes. Bigger boxes get heavy and awkward fast when books are involved!

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

The small-sized boxes from U-haul or most movers are the maximum size to use for books. Even smaller is better.

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I've moved 17 times in the last 28 years, but that has not been sufficient to keep the collection from growing. There have been some major culls, but of all the things I own, the cookbooks are more likely than other things to make the cut and get packed. And most of those moves, I've done the physical labor of hauling the boxes myself, so I seem to really be attached to those books!

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Turkish Spoon Salad with Haydari, p. 101

I failed to read this recipe thoroughly before starting to make it, and that caused my results to be less beautiful than the picture in the book, but we still liked it just fine. The oversight on my part is that you are asked to drain the Greek yogurt for the haydari for 24 hours, so it becomes very thick like cream cheese. Oops. By the time I noticed this, I'd already mixed the ingredients together, so I just plowed on. We would have to make do with a thinner yogurt.

The haydari is Greek yogurt (which is already strained and thick) drained for 24 hours, then mixed with dill, garlic, green chile (I used serrano), and salt. Mine was thinner because I didn't drain it, but still good. I found 1/4 tsp of salt as called for in the recipe not to be nearly enough. I used more than that, and wasn't even using the full amount of yogurt.

For the salad, well, this is an intense use of summer veg. Diced tomatoes, cucumber, romano peppers (I used red bell here), shallot, parsley, mint - all tossed in a dressing of pomegranite molasses, harissa, white wine vinegar, and a hefty dose of olive oil. What's not to like?

I would certainly like to make this again with the thicker, drained yogurt. But we enjoyed it quite well as we made it. The recipe calls for serving with flatbread, so I made a gluten-free flatbread topped with za'atar to accompany it, and to make a vegetarian meal, I also marinated some tofu in pomegranite molasses, harissa, and soy sauce, and cooked it on a griddle.

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I was at Green Apple books in San Francisco last week, and found a remaindered copy a "A Day at El Bulli" for $25, still in shrink-wrap. That made for a heavy suitcase coming home from the West coast!

Also, I picked up a used copy of "The Art of Russian Cuisine" by Anne Volokh, a nice thick paperback.

I received as a gift a copy of "The Mediterranean Table" by Joyce Goldstein, always a reliable author in my experience.

And from Amazon, I got a copy of "Healthy Venezuelan Cooking" by "The Nomad Cook", and "Mi Cocina (30th Anniversary revised ed.) by Armando Scannone (another Venezuelan book, this one in Spanish).

And some electronic goodies:
"Classic Venezuelan Recipes" by Jose de Silva (sense a theme here?)
"Salad Samurai" by Terry Hope Romero (I'm not a big salad person, but these look really good).
"Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen" by Martin Morales
"The Great Ceviche Book, revised", but Douglas Rodriquez
"The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook" by Justin Fox Burks & Amy Lawrence (I heard about this one here on CH - maybe this very thread or last month's - and it looks great)
"Mr. Wilkinson's Spring and Summer Vegetables", by Matt Wilkinson (this was a Blue Plate Special from Workman Press)

Enough damage for now!

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I would never cull a book that I have really used, but I have so many that I have had for years and never used at all! And I am out of space. What's more, we are planning on moving in the next couple years, and it might entail downsizing. I will always have a very large collection, but it needs to be a more carefully curated collection! Electronic books + EYB are going to be my salvation.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I have the book, but have never made anything from it. I have to admit I bought it more for the photos than the recipes. Just taking a look through, nothing is jumping out at me to make. Maybe I should make a COTW challenge out of it? If any other CH'ers have cooked from it, I'd like to hear recommendations.

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

Oh, my. I've been waiting for Gabrielle Hamilton to put out a cookbook for a few years now, and it is finally happening. I will definitely be buying this one!

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I started with Ricki Carroll's "Home Cheese Making", which came with one of the kits from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. This book is probably the most accessible for starting out, and a really good place to start. I am less enthusiastic about the kits. It was a flimsy plastic mold from the kit that led to my cracked cooktop disaster, the first time I tried to make a hard cheese that required pressing.

The next book that I've gotten a lot of use out of is "Artisan Cheese Making at Home" by Mary Karlin. This is where I've been taking my recipes for feta, haloumi, cotija, and more. This book is a bit more advanced than Carroll's, but still very user-friendly. I think if I were to recommend just one, this might be it.

Another book I've been using and exploring is "Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking" by Gianaclis Caldwell. I really like this book. It is quite a bit more advanced than the other two, and very well-written and thorough. It would probably be a bit overwhelming, though, to start with. The recipes, for example, give you a number of options for your starter cultures, and you need to cross-reference to make sure you understand how they work and how your choices will influence your results.

Well, that's three books. I think I have a couple more lying about, but these are the ones getting the use around here. Keep in mind, I'm still a novice at this. It's pretty easy and it's fun and rewarding.

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I passed a thousand many years ago. I've probably gotten rid of a thousand over the years, and still have... well, the last I counted, it was about 1,500, but I have not counted in a few years. Plus, the ones I get for the iPad "don't count". I think I have about 300 or so on there. Uh, last I counted, which I haven't for a while.

I definitely need to cull them, but I have a hard time doing it, because I have a lot of really great books, and I love them. Even if I don't use them, I love having them, and I love being able to look up multiple versions of almost any recipe imaginable. I've started buying more books for my iPad, and fewer hard copy books, so that helps with the space. EYB has helped me use them more effectively, but many of the books I have are not indexed or even in the database.

Aug 25, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

Oh, and you should also leave out the part where before buying the behemoth cheese press, I tried to improvise one, and it collapsed and the weight I was using hit my glass cooktop and cracked it. The hundred bucks plus shipping for the cheese press is chicken feed compared to the cost of the replacement glass for the cooktop.

Aug 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

LlM, tell your husband that you pal Mel from chowhound also read the book and got excited about making cheese, but her husband didn't laugh. Now he's eating homemade mozzarella, feta, haloumi, cheddar, and more. Last night we cut into a wheel of caraway gouda that I've been aging for the past few months.

You might want to leave out the part where this necessitated me buying four books on cheesemaking, plus about $200 worth of equipment, including a huge cheese press which now lives on the counter. And the part where an average of $21 per week for local raw milk is now a part of our food bill.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I have that book, and I think I have read it cover-to-cover four times. I can't recall if I have actually made any of the recipes in the book, but it did inspire me to start making cheese, curing meats, and other projects.

Aug 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I want that book, but ouch, it is pricey. I may have to ask for it for Christmas.

Aug 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

8 Years! I haven't been participating all that time (4 or 5 years, I think), but I heartily agree it's been a great time. Thanks to all the participants and our volunteer coordinators who do such a wonderful job.

Aug 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

I could get behind THE NEW MIDDLE EASTERN VEGETARIAN (aka VEGGIESTAN).

I have the UK hardbound edition called Veggiestan. I've been wanting to cook from it for quite a while and haven't gotten around to it.

Aug 10, 2014
MelMM in Home Cooking