LTH Home

Feed my cookbook jones...

Feed my cookbook jones...
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 4
  • Feed my cookbook jones...

    Post #1 - November 1st, 2006, 12:00 pm
    Post #1 - November 1st, 2006, 12:00 pm Post #1 - November 1st, 2006, 12:00 pm
    So, a few months back I started to notice that much of my indoor cooking had become quite stale. I think most of my effort had gone into outdoor cooking projects, either on the smoker or one of the grills, and indoor cooking took a back seat. Sure I still cooked a lot in the kitchen, but it was generally more of a cooking to eat, not cooking to create and enjoy. There were of course sparks of change that brought in some great new recipes, but after a while everything ends up being part of the repetoire.

    So one day I thought "Hey, I should grab a cookbook or two to get ideas from". I think I have plenty of cookbooks that I go to, to look up a good way to make something I want to make (ATK's "Best New Recipe and Bittman's "How To Cook Everything" fill this role well), but I have been looking for some books that TELL me what I want to make.

    Recent additions have been:

    Charcuterie
    All About Braising
    Best Recipes In the World
    Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
    Daily Soup Cookbook
    Bones

    Anything else that anyone here can't live without? I am mainly hoping to find books that have recipes that can be made fairly often, rather than "special meal" types (or at least a fair mix of the two). Basically looking for the Bourdain's over the Keller's.

    Also, if anyone is interested, I have found the Amazon Marketplace to be a great place to buy these books to save a good bit of money. Don't think I spent much more than $15 for any of the books listed above (including shipping), many for much less than that.

    Thanks-
    Jamie
  • Post #2 - November 1st, 2006, 12:13 pm
    Post #2 - November 1st, 2006, 12:13 pm Post #2 - November 1st, 2006, 12:13 pm
    eatchicago, among others, turned me on to Jacque Pepin's Fast Food My Way and I am very grateful for it.
  • Post #3 - November 1st, 2006, 12:18 pm
    Post #3 - November 1st, 2006, 12:18 pm Post #3 - November 1st, 2006, 12:18 pm
    I'm not big on restaurant cookbooks as practical books to cook from, but I really like Balthazar and cook from it fairly frequently. I would say it's about as close to Bourdain's Les Halles book as you can get, both restaurants are aiming to be good quality, classic-style bistros rather than haute cuisine temples, and the food is eminently achievable.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #4 - November 1st, 2006, 12:21 pm
    Post #4 - November 1st, 2006, 12:21 pm Post #4 - November 1st, 2006, 12:21 pm
    Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but I have been mesmerized by the food I have been making for past few months from The Cooking of Southwest France : Recipes from France's Magnificent Rustic Cuisine, by Paula Wolfert. This is the version she completely updated last year from her 1983 edition.

    Simple dishes, great stews and braises for winter, all full of flavor and greatly satisfying.

    Yesterday I made Chicken in a Pot in which a bird is stuffed with an easy stuffing made in the food processor, sewed shut, and simmered for several hours in a rich chicken stock. Served with steamed vegetables (potatoes, cabbage, carrots, etc.) with a simple green sauce made in the food processor. The most complicated part was making the stock, but once made, you can freeze it and reuse it for making the same dish in the future. The stock only gets better.

    Another example I made over the weekend was a roast shoulder of lamb, but it was studded with anchovies rather than garlic. Served with garlic studded roasted eggplant.

    Maybe it's just a phase I'm going through, but I could eat from this book every day.
    Last edited by Bill/SFNM on November 1st, 2006, 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #5 - November 1st, 2006, 12:24 pm
    Post #5 - November 1st, 2006, 12:24 pm Post #5 - November 1st, 2006, 12:24 pm
    Aaron Deacon wrote:eatchicago, among others, turned me on to Jacque Pepin's Fast Food My Way and I am very grateful for it.


    That is a fantastic and extraordinarily useful book. Pepin is my hero.

    It looks like you need something Asian. How about "The China Moon Cookbook" or Thompson's "Thai Food"?

    Also, if you need a baking book, I've found Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook to be one of the best I've seen.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #6 - November 1st, 2006, 12:30 pm
    Post #6 - November 1st, 2006, 12:30 pm Post #6 - November 1st, 2006, 12:30 pm
    Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Her tone in the book is quite opinionated; certainly in telling you the right way (in her opinion) to do something.

    Along the same lines, so does Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook.

    And, for baking, I like the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.

    And also The New Spanish Table.
    Last edited by aschie30 on November 1st, 2006, 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #7 - November 1st, 2006, 12:31 pm
    Post #7 - November 1st, 2006, 12:31 pm Post #7 - November 1st, 2006, 12:31 pm
    I have two Asian books I have been considering grabbing:
    The Breath of a Wok
    Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

    Any thoughts on these?

    And thanks for all the advice so far!

    Jamie
  • Post #8 - November 1st, 2006, 12:54 pm
    Post #8 - November 1st, 2006, 12:54 pm Post #8 - November 1st, 2006, 12:54 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:I have two Asian books I have been considering grabbing:
    The Breath of a Wok
    Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

    Any thoughts on these?
    And thanks for all the advice so far!


    Jamie,

    Fuchsia Dunlop really knows her stuff; I'm sure you would not be disappointed with the Sichuan book. She also has one on the cooking of Hunan.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #9 - November 1st, 2006, 12:55 pm
    Post #9 - November 1st, 2006, 12:55 pm Post #9 - November 1st, 2006, 12:55 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:I have two Asian books I have been considering grabbing:
    The Breath of a Wok
    Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

    Any thoughts on these?

    And thanks for all the advice so far!

    Jamie


    The Breath of a Wok is a great book, but I would recommend it only if you are able to get a wok VERY hot. Makes a big difference.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #10 - November 1st, 2006, 1:00 pm
    Post #10 - November 1st, 2006, 1:00 pm Post #10 - November 1st, 2006, 1:00 pm
    I've gotten more pleasure from the Fuscia Dunlop than any other Chinese cookery book on my shelves. Most recent find:

    The Gift of Southern Cooking-Edna Lewis/Scott Peacock

    ---deceptively simple recipes, great results, beautiful book
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #11 - November 1st, 2006, 1:19 pm
    Post #11 - November 1st, 2006, 1:19 pm Post #11 - November 1st, 2006, 1:19 pm
    aschie30 wrote:Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Her tone in the book is quite opinionated; certainly in telling you the right way (in her opinion) to do something.

    And, for baking, I like the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.


    I happily second both of these recommendations.

    Bill/SFNM,

    How do you know if you can get your wok hot enough to get Breath of a Wok? I recently procured a wok and have been considering this book as my tutorial. The stove in our new home has a 15,000 BTU burner, which seems pretty hot to me, but I'm not quite sure what the means in the work scheme of things.
  • Post #12 - November 1st, 2006, 1:21 pm
    Post #12 - November 1st, 2006, 1:21 pm Post #12 - November 1st, 2006, 1:21 pm
    Bill/SFNM wrote:
    The Breath of a Wok is a great book, but I would recommend it only if you are able to get a wok VERY hot. Makes a big difference.

    Bill/SFNM


    I kinda figured this is the case for most home-cooking of asian food, no? Anything that sets this book different than any other as far as needing high heat?
    And what would you say is necessary to get a wok VERY hot? I have a gas range with a 14,000 BTU burner, but don't want to fire up a turkey fryer base or anything.

    Just ordered The New Spanish Table, hard to pass up a new copy for $6.44 shipped :)

    Jamie
  • Post #13 - November 1st, 2006, 1:28 pm
    Post #13 - November 1st, 2006, 1:28 pm Post #13 - November 1st, 2006, 1:28 pm
    Well hey, all you New Spanish Table owners, how about posting the next thing you make in this thread?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #14 - November 1st, 2006, 1:35 pm
    Post #14 - November 1st, 2006, 1:35 pm Post #14 - November 1st, 2006, 1:35 pm
    I think that Bill's recommendation of Paula Wolfert's book is a great one. Also, along the same lines of Mike G's comments on restaurant cookbooks about not usually being a fan, I concur--but have found a few notable exceptions, like the Zuni Cafe Cookbook which reads like a novel, and really speaks to the techniques behind her spot on recipes.

    Thomas Keller's books, The French Laundry and Bouchon also have excellent recipes. And by excellent, I mean well written, logical, thorough, and apparently diligently tested recipes. Everything I've made from both books, though labor intensive, has been very good.
  • Post #15 - November 1st, 2006, 1:35 pm
    Post #15 - November 1st, 2006, 1:35 pm Post #15 - November 1st, 2006, 1:35 pm
    Mike G wrote:Well hey, all you New Spanish Table owners, how about posting the next thing you make in this thread?


    It's a deal.
  • Post #16 - November 1st, 2006, 1:36 pm
    Post #16 - November 1st, 2006, 1:36 pm Post #16 - November 1st, 2006, 1:36 pm
    Mike G wrote:Well hey, all you New Spanish Table owners, how about posting the next thing you make in this thread?


    Wow, had not seen that thread, or else I would have ordered that book a long time ago!
    Jamie
  • Post #17 - November 1st, 2006, 1:40 pm
    Post #17 - November 1st, 2006, 1:40 pm Post #17 - November 1st, 2006, 1:40 pm
    Trixie-pea, I like reading The French Laundry Cookbook, a great view into the workings of a place like that and Keller is a thoughtful guy, but I just cannot make anything from that book that succeeds. Labor intensive, superior ingredient dependent, is my take on that book.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #18 - November 1st, 2006, 1:47 pm
    Post #18 - November 1st, 2006, 1:47 pm Post #18 - November 1st, 2006, 1:47 pm
    Aaron Deacon wrote:Bill/SFNM,
    How do you know if you can get your wok hot enough to get Breath of a Wok? I recently procured a wok and have been considering this book as my tutorial. The stove in our new home has a 15,000 BTU burner, which seems pretty hot to me, but I'm not quite sure what the means in the work scheme of things.


    The "breath" in the title of the book refers to the incredible aroma emitted from a stir fry dish that has been cooked over extremely high heat, like the kind used in Asian restaurants. Dishes cooked from the book on a conventional home burner can be very tasty, but unlikely to have the "breath". I use an outdoor 60,000 BTU burner that gets my wok red hot. Often when I add the oil and food, I can barely see what is happening in the wok because of the all the steam of smoke rising up from it. A little unnerving, but much fun and great eating.

    This is the wok burner I use: Big Kahuna

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #19 - November 1st, 2006, 1:56 pm
    Post #19 - November 1st, 2006, 1:56 pm Post #19 - November 1st, 2006, 1:56 pm
    Mike G wrote:Trixie-pea, I like reading The French Laundry Cookbook, a great view into the workings of a place like that and Keller is a thoughtful guy, but I just cannot make anything from that book that succeeds. Labor intensive, superior ingredient dependent, is my take on that book.


    What have you tried making?
  • Post #20 - November 1st, 2006, 1:58 pm
    Post #20 - November 1st, 2006, 1:58 pm Post #20 - November 1st, 2006, 1:58 pm
    This NYTimes article talks about some hard-to-find classic cookbooks, and some websites that focus on cookbooks.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/01/dinin ... ref=dining

    Love the quote about someone burying a cookbook with their mom.
  • Post #21 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Post #21 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm Post #21 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Mike G wrote:Trixie-pea, I like reading The French Laundry Cookbook, a great view into the workings of a place like that and Keller is a thoughtful guy, but I just cannot make anything from that book that succeeds. Labor intensive, superior ingredient dependent, is my take on that book.


    And this is what I meant when I said I was looking for the Bourdain's not the Keller's. Although I do have Bouchon and French Laundry on my wishlist, I don't expect to use them very often. I am hoping to add cookbooks that can get used fairly often, rather than "special ocassions".
    I can't see coming home from work on a Wednesday and whipping up something from French Laundry; but perhaps I am wrong. I just think of those more as "food porn" than "approachable".

    Just bought Jacque Pepin's Fast Food My Way as well as Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty.

    Jamie
  • Post #22 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Post #22 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm Post #22 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Bill/SFNM wrote:Dishes cooked from the book on a conventional home burner can be very tasty, but unlikely to have the "breath". I use an outdoor 60,000 BTU burner that gets my wok red hot.


    Thanks, I remembered another thread where you mentioned that, and was hoping you weren't going to tell me I had to get it, much as I would like to. :wink: :cry:

    What caught my attention here is your advice that "I would recommend [the book] only if you are able to get a wok VERY hot." Not having the 60,000 BTU outdoor burner, is Breath of a Wok still going to be a useful cookbook, or will it just be frustrating because the things the recipe describes just won't be happening on my indoor stove?
  • Post #23 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Post #23 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm Post #23 - November 1st, 2006, 2:09 pm
    Trix-p, I'd have to go back and look. The one I remember is that I could not get the damn parmesan cups to form into a shape and hold it. I concluded that unless one had the perfect-age just-grated parmesan, it wasn't going to happen.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #24 - November 1st, 2006, 2:20 pm
    Post #24 - November 1st, 2006, 2:20 pm Post #24 - November 1st, 2006, 2:20 pm
    Aaron Deacon wrote:..is Breath of a Wok still going to be a useful cookbook, or will it just be frustrating because the things the recipe describes just won't be happening on my indoor stove?


    I have never cooked any recipes from the book on an indoor burner, so I couldn't tell you how they would come out. Here is my favorite recipe from the book.

    chicken with sichuan peppercorns

    You could try it out in your kitchen and see how it comes out. Somewhere on this forum there is a thread where GWiv made this on his indoor burner.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #25 - November 1st, 2006, 6:49 pm
    Post #25 - November 1st, 2006, 6:49 pm Post #25 - November 1st, 2006, 6:49 pm
    Great thread!
    Here are some of my favorite and most used:
    Thai: Kasma Loha-Unchit's - It Rains Fishes and Dancing Shrimp. You need these for fish and seafood (even if you have Thompson's Thai Food which is also super).. Kasma Loha-Unchit also has a website that includes some of the recipes from her books – try the Squid Sauted with Garlic and Lime. If I had to pick one of the two, I'd go with Dancing Shrimp* (as I now have Thomson's), which has among other dishes, my favorite way of cooking salmon
    *ISBN: 0684862727 (amazon link)

    Bugialli's Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking and the Romagnolis' The Romagnolis' Table really turned me onto Italian (pre-LTH :) - there good resources here)

    Martin Yan's A wok for all seasons - somewhat quasiChinese but great for some quick meals and amenable to further improvisation.

    Rene Verdon's French Cooking for the American Table – (though Pepin's fast food is on my to buy list) - is a great resource, excellent cookbook and good reading.

    Elizabeth Andoh's At Home with Japanese Cooking – simple and deeply satisfying.
    Another – Shizou Tsuji's Japanese Cooking – a simple art is a great reference but I have cooked less from that.

    Mexican: Zarela Martinez's – Food from my Heart. I've never bought the Bayless ones. Another great Mexican cookbook I often use is Cocina de la Familia (a collection of recipes from Mexican-American households) edited by Marilyn Tausend. I especially like the home cooking aspect of it (it mentions whom each recipe is by and where in the US the family is).

    Sichuan: one of my favorite cuisines - I borrowed and returned the Dunlop book (it's on my tobuy list but no hurry), since one of my most treasured cookbooks (and I feel with tad better written recipes though much smaller than Dunlop's) is The Good Food of Szechwan: Down-to-earth Chinese Cooking by Robert A. Delfs, Kodansha International/USA Ltd. (NY), 1974. ISBN: 0-87011-231-7. We have many simple but great meals thanks to this book.
    Tropp mentions visiting Delfs in her book which is a good book too - except that most are projects (nothing wrong with that) more than recipes - I've only made the Chili Oil (Wiviottized) and something else)

    Bill/SFNM wrote:chicken with sichuan peppercorns

    You could try it out in your kitchen and see how it comes out. Somewhere on this forum there is a thread where GWiv made this on his indoor burner.


    It's this thread though Bill could you fix the pics there of your, um, big kahuna? (or were those indoor pics?)
    Last edited by sazerac on November 5th, 2006, 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #26 - November 1st, 2006, 7:22 pm
    Post #26 - November 1st, 2006, 7:22 pm Post #26 - November 1st, 2006, 7:22 pm
    Mike G wrote:I'm not big on restaurant cookbooks as practical books to cook from, but I really like Balthazar and cook from it fairly frequently. I would say it's about as close to Bourdain's Les Halles book as you can get, both restaurants are aiming to be good quality, classic-style bistros rather than haute cuisine temples, and the food is eminently achievable.


    I heartily second MikeG's recommendation of both of these books. Both of them have some very excellent recipes of bistro classics, which I really enjoy especially this time of year.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #27 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:09 am
    Post #27 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:09 am Post #27 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:09 am
    sazerac wrote:It's this thread though Bill could you fix the pics there of your, um, big kahuna? (or were those indoor pics?)


    Old links to photos repaired.
  • Post #28 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:16 am
    Post #28 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:16 am Post #28 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:16 am
    Most recent find: The Gift of Southern Cooking-Edna Lewis/Scott Peacock


    I heard him on the radio, looked forward to buying the book, looked at it at a store... and went ennh. Don't exactly remember why now but it didn't enthuse me when I looked at some of the dishes. What have you made that you liked?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #29 - November 2nd, 2006, 6:07 am
    Post #29 - November 2nd, 2006, 6:07 am Post #29 - November 2nd, 2006, 6:07 am
    A longtime favorite for me has always been Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking. Virtually all the recipes are things that can easily be made after a hard day's work and still have the ability to elevate the usual midweek dining experience.

    These are French recipes from Wells' favorite bistros throughout France.
  • Post #30 - November 2nd, 2006, 9:09 am
    Post #30 - November 2nd, 2006, 9:09 am Post #30 - November 2nd, 2006, 9:09 am
    I'll second recommendations for:

    Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

    King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion

    Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking

    All favorites on my shelf, especially "Bistro Cooking".

    A book that I have give mulitple copies of as presents, a book that I would like to see get a lot more love, is Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. And allow me to rush to tell you that it is far from just a book for vegetarians [altho, really, isn't a meat-free meal nice every so often? Ok, GWiv, maybe not for you.... :wink: ] I love this book because it has some great pasta ideas, and a dessert section that has a variety of fruit dessert ideas [like fairly easy to make free-form fruit tarts]. Many of these veggie dishes could be used as company for a roast chicken or side dish to a meat-heavy stew. And the number one reason that I like this cookbook is that it will have a variety of answers to the question "I just bought this vegetable I know nothing about at the farmer's market, what the heck do I do with it?" I used to get a box from Angelic Organics, and this book was a huge help in managing that bounty. [Altho I never did find a way to make kolhrabi tasty.] This book will fill a variety of uses on your shelf.

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more