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  1. Hello: A friend of mine grows giant pumpkins for a contest and has a pumpkin around 300 lbs and one in the 200 lb range this year. He was wondering if there are any good recipes specifically for giant pumpkin. From what I understand (as I have never tried cooking with a giant pumpkin), giant pumpkins do not have a lot of flavor probably due to the large amount of water they are fed to grow to ridiculous sizes. Would a pumpkin soup work for this massive fruit? Any recipes or ideas to help my friend eat through 500 lbs of orange squash? Thanks!
  2. I will confess right up front I have been a huge fan of Diana Kennedy since I purhcased "The Cuisines of Mexico" some 25+ years ago. I've read her books like novels and they've inhabited my nightstand off and on for years. I've heard many comments over the years that her recipes are intimidating and not approachable. Funny, for me it was just the opposite, she made the food and Mexico come alive for me. If her cookbooks hooked me, my first class with her back in 1993 set the hook. So even thought I own the Spanish version of Oaxaca al Gusto, and knew it was classic Diana, I was looking forward to the English version as I knew it would be easier for me to manage. I also knew it would be possible to cook from the book and decided to find out just how accessible - or not - it really is. I chose to make 2 easy recipes over the weekend just to get a feel for the how the book and recipes work in practice, not theory. Arroz con Pollo Pag. 11 I had 2 concerns with this recipe, one that it would be bland and two, with 5 cups of liquid to 8 oz of rice, that the rice would be mushy. Turns out neither were a problem. Diana recommends leaving the skin on the chicken when poaching, which I did and just defatted the broth. There aren't a huge amount of seasonings in this dish, just some tomatoes (not even charred), garlic and salt, along with some onion, 2 tomates verde (tomatillos de milpa, i.e. wild tomatillos) 1 allspice berry, 1 clove and a sprig of parsley. This is not an assertive, in-your-face kind of dish, but the flavor profile was surprisingly potent. I cook for my 91 year old mother who constantly surprises me with the subtleties of her palate. She can tell almost instantly when a dish is off. Not a big rice lover, she actually loved this dish, and I have instructions to make it again. The flavors all play well together with no one single flavor dominating another. Diana says the rice should be "moist", I think it walks the fine line between being soft and mushy. My rice turned out pretty well. Each grain was separate and did not clump together. The recipe called for using a whole chicken, which I did. I think when I make this again, I will probably start with 2 whole skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, each whole breast cut into 4 pieces. And because the white meat dries out so much, I'll probably poach them less than called for in the recipe and make up some of the liquid with chicken stock. This won't change the integrity of the dish for me, just the ease of preparation. I am lucky enough to be able to source tomate verde at the Mexican markets here in San Diego. These are tiny tomatillos about the size of a marble. They are quite tart and have lots of seeds. I couldn't see how just two of them were going to impart any flavor. But the beauty of Mexican sauces is that when made correctly they are perfectly balanced and the flavors in this dish were. The little tomatillos contributed just enough tart to counteract the tomatoes in the sauce. If regular tomatillos are all that are available, chose one that is on the small side. This was a lovely dish, not earth shattering, nor particularly challenging, but it was easy to make and tasty to eat. I do have pictures of the dish, but I am having problems uploading them.
  3. I have chicken satay and grilled pork marinating now for dinner. The satay recipe was slightly different than most that I see, but smells great and makes sense. My only beef so far is that several of the recipes I was drawn to based on the photos use ingredients that the author admits can only be found in Thailand. He offers substitutions, but they seem half hearted. And a fish sauce made with rice roaches?!?
  4. A fine one too. He claims they are all possible to bake and assemble in the kitchen. This is a bit more elaborate then C'est du Gateau". CM won the 2005 world pastry cup as well as wrote the hit ( fFrance) pastry cookbook "C'est du Gateau"in '07. You'll also see a glimpse or two of him in the upcoming documentary "Kings of Pastry". Also available from Amazon.fr
  5. Good Meat by Deborah Krasner caught my eye this morning and so I looked thru it. It looks great and has my interest but before I shell out $40, I thought I'd see if anybody has an opinion.
  6. I have run across this title and am interested in many of the topics in the book, Ian be found here Anyone have this title? If so, what are your thoughts & experiences w/ the book.
  7. I thought we could put together a list of cookbooks that are useful resources for sous vide/long time, low temperature cooking. A few are dedicated to SV/LTLT cooking. There's Sous Vide Cuisine by Joan Roca & Salvador Brugues (Amazon link here; eG Forums topic here). There's Under Pressure by Thomas Keller (Amazon link here; eG Forums topic here). There's Society member Douglas Baldwin's Sous Vide for the Home Cook. Soon, we'll have Society member Nathan Myhrvold's epic Modernist Cuisine (eG Forums topic here; Amazon link here). Then there are cookbooks that aren't dedicated to SV/LTLT cooking but use the technique, such as Society member Grant Achatz's Alinea cookbook and Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen. Are there others out there that you turn to when you fire up your Auber, rice cooker, or SV Supreme?
  8. Over in this topic we're discussing this book in general terms. But now that the book has arrived, it's time to start cooking. I had a hard time deciding which recipes to start with, but since the book arrived mid-week I was a little limited in terms of what ingredients I had on hand. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Check. Potatoes? Check. OK then... Chicken Breasts Diable (p. 217) Broth-Braised Potatoes (p. 358) As is typical with Greenspan's books, the text of the recipe is well-written, very clear, and generally feels like you've got Dorie there looking over your shoulder giving you pointers the whole time. The recipe fits well into a book that bills itself as "more than 300 recipes from my home to yours"—I don't think that a dish such as this would be out of place on anyone's weeknight dinner table. We're not breaking new culinary ground here: it's boneless, skinless chicken breasts, served with a white wine pan sauce. The ingredients list is delightfully vague: three tablespoons mustard ("or a bit more"), "about one tablespoon olive oil," etc. This is a dish to make and tweak to your tastes: don't bother getting out the scale. Hell, I didn't bother with measuring spoons. So, it's hard to comment on the end result: my wife and I really liked both the chicken and potatoes. Earth-shattering new flavor combinations? No. But a very good rendition of a classic, tweaked to be just the way I like it. Bon appetit, indeed!
  9. Some context to get us started. We have Society member Nathan Myhrvold's epic Modernist Cuisine, which may well change the terrain of cooking as we know it. It's being self-published and costs more than a flight to Paris. (Mine's on order.) We have Society member Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. The genius behind several baking books reports that she still can't use weight in her recipes, just US volume. Four of the Amazon top ten cookbooks are diet books, one is about something called "cake pops," and Rocco DiSpirito sits in the top spot telling us to Now Eat This -- "this" being "America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories." (The cover features a cheeseburger and some mac & cheese -- at least, I think that "cheese" is the correct term....) What can we make of this and other cookbook publishing phenomena as we head into the end of 2010 and the big buying season? What other data points should we be using? Are you hopeful? Depressed? Jaded?
  10. I have had a copy of Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's book 'The Chinese Kitchen' for many years and have found it to be a very useful book in preparation of Chinese cuisine. When her new book came out, 'Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking', it was an automatic addition to my library. At about the same time Grace Young's book, 'Stir-Frying To The Sky's Edge' came out and I decided to order both after perusing both at my local library. Both are very good cookbooks and useful additions but Eileen's book is much more detailed and on the whole her recipes require one to make a number of ingredients which I like to do and hopefully add to the authenticity of the recipes. I made 'Crisp Beef' and 'Eggplant With Garlic Sauce' and they were two of the finest Chinese preps I have ever made. From Grace Young's book I made 'Hot Pepper Beef' which appears to me to be more Cantonese than anything but very good never the less. Good Cantonese cooking can be very good in its own right. Grace does say that the recipe is for those that have limited access to Asian Ingredients. It appears to me that the books have different styles possibly relating to the differences in background of the two authors. Has anyone else had similar conclusions? I would recommend both to anyone.-Dick
  11. What is the worst cookbook you have ever seen? Bonus points for example recipes... My nomination is the Blendtec Lifestyles Recipe Book: More than 300 delicious recipes made with one incredible machine (it came with the blender). A few example recipes... Please tell me this one is a joke. "Ice Cream" made with flavored non-dairy creamer? This is also an "ice cream" but apparently they didn't think Tang™ would appreciate the product placement. Have you ever read a normal pancakes recipe? You know, the ones that say "mix until just combined. Do not overmix!"? Then, there is this one. "Put it all in a blender an press 'destroy'."
  12. does anyone have the 1978 or the 1986 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook? if so, can you check the book and see if on one of its pages there is a picture of the "go" space from monopoly? i'm trying to find out which cookbook this was, i remember it from my childhood. post if u know what i'm talking about, thanks.
  13. Trolling Amazon.com for new cookbooks that I desperately need I ran across an upcoming release from Dorie Greenspan that sounded like it might be interesting: Around My French Table is set for an October 8, 2010 release. From the publisher's description: Anyone know anything more? Of course I already own Wolfert's definitive "The Cooking of Southwest France" and I'm hoping that this will fit in nicely with that and Mastering the Art. I've had good luck with many of Greenspan's other recipes, but didn't realize she might be an authority on French cuisine. NOTE: Now that our copies have started to arrive, we are posting about the recipes here!
  14. Getting into making pasta, but don't have a good reference. Any suggestions for good recipe/reference books for making pasta from scratch?
  15. I would be gratefull for some advice here.... I have been asked to contribute ten recipes such as chocolates, desserts, confectionery etc to an upcoming book. My name and a profile would also be mentioned and the standard would be so that a keen amateur chef would be able to reproduce it. The fee would be $500, this would be for my time and the preparation and presentation of the recipes for photography. There would be no further fee irresepective of how many books are sold. The IP rights would also go over to the publishers so I could not use those recipes. This doesn't seem like a great deal to me but having no experience in this area, am I being naive and should I take the money and run or should I hold out for a bit more, try to claim back the IP rights etc.? Any input gratefully received. Many thanks to everyone who has the time or inclination to reply.
  16. I'm surprised no-one has started a thread on this as yet, so here goes. There is a very new web site (so new it's still in Beta) that you can enter your cookbooks into to create an on-line bookshelf. This is the slow and tedious part of the process (particularly if you have as many cookbooks as I do). What comes next is the neat part. A lot of books have been indexed, with all the recipes and their respective ingredients. Want to search through your books for a recipe using lobster and vanilla? Enter the ingredients into the advanced search engine and up pops all of the recipes from indexed books in your own library that contain these two ingredients. They also give the rest of the ingredients and allow you to add these to your shopping list, which is categorised by type of produce so you can order your shopping around the store. I'm not sure how many books have been indexed so far and not all of my books were on there but I do know that from today I have indexed 176 cookbooks and can search through 12,022 recipes. No more simply going to old standby cookbooks. I'm sure I'll get more use out of my library as a cooking resource using this website. The web site is called eat your books. At present the site is in beta but is accepting subscriptions (current price is $25 per annum or $50 as a limited offer for lifetime membership). It's an idea that I wish I'd thought of but am really pleased to be able to use.
  17. Hi guys, I read about some bakers (most notably Japanese ones) who don't use additives in their baking. I have heard of cases where baking soda, baking powder, gelatin and artificial flavorings are avoided. Just want to know what you guys think about it and whether it is something which is commonly practiced by other pastry chefs.
  18. I just noticed on amazon.com that Wybauw has a third book coming out in his Fine Chocolates series. Anyone know anything about it? Its subtitle is "How They Last Longer and Taste Stronger" so presumably it will discuss things like water activity, etc. The amazon description says but it doesn't look like just a "new edition" based on the cover.
  19. I'm been interested in Latin American cooking lately. This has been prompted by watching Rick Bayless and enjoying a variety of really good food from the street food scene. I want to pick up several solid cookbooks and maybe some good books about ingredients. I'm more interested in traditional recipes/cooking methods. I'm a pretty good cook but I am new to cooking this type of food at home. I like to have books that include the following: *Cooking meats like al pastor, carne asada, carnitas, etc. *Soups and stews *Different types moles, salsas and other sauces *Empanadas *Pupusas *Tamales - love to learn the different types *Alfajores Thanks!
  20. For several years, I've been using vinegar to boost acidity in many dishes. A little red-wine vinegar in a batch of lentil soup, or a little cider vinegar in chili, is like turning up a setting on the flavor equalizer that is normally left too low. Yet, when I tell people I've added vinegar to something, they're almost always surprised. We've touched on this issue here and there, but now I want to put it out there: people generally cook with too little acidity, and vinegar is the easiest way to increase acidity in most cooking
  21. My chef posted on CIA's allumni site to see if anyone had an extra copy, but I will try here as well. It should look like a spiral-bound stack of papers, but I am looking for a copy of this. After several discussions of knife shapening techniques and philosophies I am intrigued to read this. If anyone can help, thank you in advance.
  22. Sorry if this has been covered in another thread, I did a quick search and nothing relevant came up. Amazon link is here. Yeah so some of my favorite meals in Japan were in pubs so I thought I'd find a cookbook covering this stuff. I'm a little wary of foreign food cookbooks written by a non-native but this one seems to have good reviews. Has anyone read this? Is it formula-based or technique-based? Is it any good?
  23. I would like to begin Vietnamese cooking- I would like titles of good cookbooks, etc.
  24. (I thought of reviving James MacGuire's thread (which I was delighted to see) but 2004? Seems a bit far back.) While I'm not enough of a baker (barely a baker at all) to judge the technical aspects of Calvel's monumental book, I have every reason to believe that from a technical point of view it is invaluable (this is, after all, the person who taught Julia Child to make French bread). I was also delighted to see that it was one of the rare works to show photographs of the basic French breads (which, verbally, are almost undefinable, so that pictures are all the more necessary). I keep hoping someone in Paris will shoot a baguette next to a flute, a ficelle and a batard and put the result on Wikipedia, but for now Calvel is one of the few to offer these images. My own interest however is in food (largely baking) history. I probably have to trust Calvel's accounts from when he was a working baker (the 30's?) and after (even then I'd love to be able to ask him a few pointed questions). Anything earlier and he makes some really shocking errors. Which probably won't matter to most hands-on bakers, but if the actual history of some of this matters to you, read on. As near as I can make out, Calvel simply accepted the legends of his trade. A natural enough thing to do, but once he became a professor it would be nice if he'd applied the principle of returning to prime sources, which he clearly did not. He says for instance that until the Viennese (that is, August Zang) arrived (around 1839), the French had only used yeast as an aid to sourdough (p 45). But eighteenth century sources (notably the monumental Dr. Malouin) state quite clearly that some breads were to be made only with yeast. On the same page, he repeats (and may have originated) the common assertion that "poolish" is a "Polish" sponge. This goes along with an idea frequently cited by others elsewhere that the poolish was a Polish technique which came to France via Austria. Which would be very strange, given that "poolish" does not mean Polish in any of those countries (it is an old ENGLISH word for "polish" - the English didn't use the method themselves, since they long had a sponge of their own.) In fact, references before 1900 to the technique (including two by an Austrian, Emil Braun) spell the word "pouliche", that is, the French word for "foal" (and a homonym for "poolish".) One can more readily imagine French bakers referring to a "young" mix of yeast allowed to grow strong before being used as a young horse than imagine that Polish, Austrian or French bakers used an archaic English word for a Polish technique. But speculation applies in either case. Later (116) he says that "Baron Zang" (Zang was a commoner) made Vienna bread without milk (numerous contemporary sources say it was made WITH milk) and using a poolish (no contemporary source mentions Zang using a poolish, which at any rate is not mentioned until the late 19th century, years after Zang left in 1848.) The Austrians certainly used yeast, but a German language text from 1841 describing Austrian techniques says nothing of any technique resembling a poolish (that is, no pre-fermentation). And the one big Austrian contribution to yeast - the invention of the more purified "pressed yeast" - came after Zang had left France. He treats the appearance of the baguette as contemporaneous with other "pains de fantaisie" (fancy breads) (103) and focuses on the fact that these had to be eaten soon after they were made. Which tended to be true. But it was not a defining characteristic of the classification, which existed since at least the 18th century (well before the baguette). A pain de fantaisie was originally so-called for the simple reason that it was out of the ordinary (made to the baker or client's "fantasy" or whim) and with time was sometimes defined as a bread not subject to a regulated price. When made with yeast (which was not always the case), it did indeed need to be eaten within the day, but that was incidental to the meaning of the term. The baguette, at any rate, was a very late entrant to the category. All this might seem to be nit-picking in the extreme, but beyond the fact that, hey, some people care about this stuff, several of Calvel's assertions seem to have made their way into the general literature (Calvel was after all a bone fide expert) and so one finds, for instance, frequent mentions of "Baron Zang". I don't know if Calvel is responsible for the myths around the poolish (which is referred to as a "Polisch" in one early 20th century text), but those are pretty widespread too. None of this is meant to question the book's fundamental importance. I've recommended it more than once. But if it has an Achilles' heel, it is on the history side.
  25. If you enjoyed SmokeHouse Ham, Spoon Bread, and Scuppernong Wine then you will definitely like The Food, Folklore, and Art of LowCountry Cooking. As the title suggests this does the same for the area fr/ middle SoCar to north Fla as SmokeHouse did in the Appalachian region. It is a similar format w/ a lot of inter-views and discussions w/ not only chefs, cooks, and those in the food business but also writers, historians, &c who know the region and help explain about the food and why the food is. The book is also chock full of receipts that are typical of the area. The list of contributors reads like a "who's who" of low-country cuisine--the Lee Brothers, Louis Osteen, Marvin Woods, Robert Carter, Joe Randall, et al--but also includes people like Dan Carter, Ben Moise, Franklin Small who are not as well known but are a part of the food and culture of the region. Joe will be at the Margaret Mitchell House for a discussion, Q&A, book signing on 30th June. Fuss & I plan to be there so look for us.
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