Books for Cooks discussion

Do you have a favorite Cookbook?

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message 1: by Endre (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments It would be very difficult for me to choose ONE favorite cookbook. (I have many, but honestly, I do use them all.) Worth mentioning, tho, is Simple to Spectacular by Jean-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman - I use this cookbook when I want to "show off"....and don't all of who love to cook love to "show off" once in a while?

message 2: by Ximena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Ximena | 17 comments Mod
Oh, after dusting off so many books to add to the list, I am really rethinking that question!!

message 3: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Rachel | 2 comments This is a toughie!! I like all cookbooks, but one of my most used is Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" which Ximena clued me into. I also read Bittman's column in the New York Times and he just has the smartest, simplest recipes. In addition to cookbooks, some of my favorite reads are memoirs such as Ruth Reichl's "Comfort Me with Apples" and Jacques Pepin's "The Apprentice" that include recipes!

message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 15, 2007 11:36AM) (new)

It's a toughie for me too, but I'd have to narrow it down to...

Best Recipe - Cook's Illustrated
Bittman's - From Simple to Spectacular (I have a 23 month old son who probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the Steak Au Poivre w/mustard sauce recipe)
Donna Hay - Off the Shelf or..New Food Fast (they're both so good!)

& don't expect me to give up my Barefoot in Paris either!

message 5: by Endre (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments Hey Steve - although Bittman's didn't produce a child for me, the Curried Butternut Squash Soup (page 20) had a roomful of lawyers eating out of my hand....definitely not as much fun as producing a child! (hopefully you are not a lawyer, or if you are, maybe you'll understand the humor even more!)

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

That's beautiful! Right now I'm doing Claims Administration for a court appointed receiver
, I'll have to let you know how the soup works for victims of collapsed ponzi schemes!

I noticed you have an awful lot of Japanese cookbooks in your profile, have you tried Washoku?

message 7: by Ximena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Ximena | 17 comments Mod
Can you post the recipe? I love butternut squash! And I am a big soup maker too. My favorite is my mushroom soup, very simple but always a croud pleaser. Diane said you keep pasta water for soup? If so I gotta give it a try

message 8: by Endre (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:02PM) (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments Steve - I'm sure the victims will at least well. Since you asked about Washoku, I'll strive towards it, but the 5 principles are sometimes too challenging. All we like are to eat sashimi and sushi, hence the Japanese cookbooks.

message 9: by Endre (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:02PM) (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments Hey Steve - so what is the missing word...the victims will at least ____ well. Yup, you guessed it "EAT well" which is what all of us in this group do. Cheers!

message 10: by Endre (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:02PM) (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments Ximena - Thank goodness Diane doesn't do the cooking. I cook pasta in chicken or vegetable stock in order to add flavor into the pasta. The juices that come from that is what I save and use for soup flavor building in the soup.

message 11: by Endre (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:02PM) (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments Here is the Curried Butternut Squash Soup w/Shrimp as told by Mark Bittman:
4 tbs. butter
2 tsp. thai yellow curry paste or curry powder
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
3 cups chicken stock
1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbs. nam pla (thai fish sauce)
juice of 1 lime
12 medium to large shrimp peeled
minced cilantro for garnish
lime wedges

Place 3 of the 4 tbs. butter in medium saucepan & turn the heat to med-high; when it melts, add the curry paste (or powder) and cook, stirring for 1 min. Add squash and cook for 5 minutes, stirring just until it begins to brown.

Add stock and cover; cook until squash is just about tender, 15 mins. or so. stir in coconut milk and cook for 5 mins., until the squash is very tender. Carefully puree the squash in blender with enough stock so machine can work. the mixture should be very smooth. combine with stock remaining in saucepan and whisk until smooth. season with nam pla and lime juice. keep warm.

place remaining 1 tbs. butter in 10 inch skillet and turn heat to medium high. once melted, cook shrimp for 2 mins. per side (until pink)

put 3 shrimp in each of 4 bowls. Cover each with a portion of the soup, then garnish with minced cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

message 12: by Ximena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Ximena | 17 comments Mod
OMG, thats so funny!!

message 13: by Ximena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Ximena | 17 comments Mod
This looks amazing! I have to try this one out once the weather gets a bit better cooler. I love thai style food.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Endre, you are the first person I've met who knew enough about Japanese cuisine to be confused by the reference. I meant...

Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen (Hardcover)
by Elizabeth Andoh


If I remember correctly from looking at your profile, you're pretty close to the Nijiya's on Sawtelle. Or is there another place you suggest for ingredients?

message 15: by Ximena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:08PM) (new)

Ximena | 17 comments Mod
Hi ther is a Japanese market on Olympic, over by Ktown and in Torrance there is a huge Japanese community.

message 16: by Endre (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:09PM) (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments Hi Steve - When time permits, I shop at Yohan (sp?) Plaza downtown LA at Mitsuawa. More convenient for me is the satellite Mitsuawa, smaller but same high quality, located on Centinella and Venice.

message 17: by Amani (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:10PM) (new)

Amani A | 1 comments One of my favorite cookbooks was: Mediterranean, the beautiful cookbook : authentic recipes from the Mediterranean lands / recipes and food text by Joyce Goldstein. I was disappointed by one thing they didn't have any food from Palestine.
But if you love Mediterranean food I recommend this book.

message 18: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:11PM) (new)

Tara Fleming | 1 comments I own a few hundred cookbooks and if I had to choose my favorite it would have to be "The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook" by Berolzheimer. It came out in 1948 and I love the pictures.

message 19: by Evan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:13PM) (new)

Evan | 1 comments There are many great cookbooks out there, but to me the best ones are those that make you really want to cook more. Bittman's quite good at this, as is Nigella Lawson. But my favourite cookbook has to be The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. It not only has great recipes and oozes the smell of yeast, but its instructions and descriptions give you a visceral need to make the bread, feel it in your fingers and teeth. He also gives weight measurements alongside the traditional volumetric ones, which tempts you into being really serious about baking.

Much fun!

message 20: by Ximena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Ximena | 17 comments Mod
This ounds like a great book, I bake but have not tried to do ANYTHING with yeast. I am afraid of the yeast, it can be such a science sometimes, but I will need to give it shot soon.

message 21: by Ambica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Ambica Rajagopal | 1 comments i absolutely love The Silver Spoon, the classic italian cookbook..unbelievable range, so much veggie stuff, always find somethign i can cook out of wjatever is in the fridge...
being indian, i have to add camellia panjabi's 100 greatest indian curries, very nice with lots of regional stuff to try out..
and for the sheer pleasure of reading it, anthony bourdain's les halles cookbook...

message 22: by Jordan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Jordan (jordieheartsbooks) I love Terry Blonder Golson's "1,000 Low Fat Recipes" because it has a little bit of everything but has lower fat content overall. I use "Baking with Julia" for all my breads and pizza doughs (we don't buy any except in a pinch, I make it all fresh). Those are the 2 I refer to the most. I like to go on the Food Network website and get Emeril's recipes when I'm in a mood for something a little wild. Rachel Ray's stuff is fun and easy to make with my 6-year-old stepdaughter.

message 23: by Tracy O (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Tracy O | 9 comments For me it's The Cafe Beaujolais cookbook. The soups are killer (Zucchini-Curry and Tomato Bisque - but not the Spinach Soup Hysterique) and the breads (cheese and wine bread) are wonderful. Also, some of the baked things like Congo Bars and Cornmeal Ginger Cookies are great. This is my stand-by (I manipulate a lot, but 99% of it is already there). I also, love The Savory Way (which is a vegetarian cookbook, but it's the most original and inventive cookbook I've seen) and (I'm sorry to say) The Cake Doctor (I'm all for originality if it makes a difference, but if you can make people swoon without then piggy-back off of what's out there).

message 24: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 1 comments I'm with Lisa in loving Donna Hay's books, especially Off the Shelf. I'm also with her on The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukens, which I've reached for about a zillion times over the last 20 or so years. I like their Silver Palate Cookbooks as well.

message 25: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:42PM) (new)

Jessica I'm a huge fan of cookbooks that take a "cooking from the well-stocked pantry" approach. Some of my favorites in that vein are Donna Hay (Off the Shelf is a perfect example of this kind of cooking), Nigella Lawson, The New Basics and Mark Bittman, especially The Minimalist Cooks at Home . Eric Gower's The Breakaway Cook puts a nice global twist on this.

I enjoy reading high-end restauranteur cookbooks, but just for reading. I've finally accepted that I am never going to cook like that. They're good for inspiration.

message 26: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Jessica | 1 comments I am a Southerner and I love Southern Low Country Cuisine; however, I don't like to cook the typical fried everything southern meals. I love Delilah's Everyday Soul by Delilah Winder. The book has fabulous recipes that are a more sophisticated southern cuisine. I have served many of these meals at my dinner club and everything is a hit. I highly recommend the Sweet Potato Cheesecake. This is a fabulous Thanksgiving recipe. I actually made the cheesecakes and gave them as gifts last Christmas. The cornbread and strawberry butter is also outstanding.

message 27: by sandy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:40PM) (new)

sandy (circusavatar) | 1 comments it is fun!! yeast is easy... kneading is hard ;p

message 28: by Tarah (new)

Tarah (kabittarah) | 1 comments Get Saucy: Make Dinner a New Way Every Day is my favorite! Making food isn't hard, but knowing how to make the sauces to go with it is hard info to find!

My #1 essential book!

message 29: by Meridee (new)

Meridee | 1 comments The 1000 Recipe Chinese Cookbook and the original Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls.

message 30: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 1 comments Hi Endre--

I have 2 favorite cookbooks, but you won't find them on Goodreads. They are church cookbooks from the 1960s put together from all the old standby recipes of soups, stews, casseroles, oven dinners and baked goodies popular at the time. My copies are held together by Scotch Tape and food stains, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. For anyone who loves comfort food I suggest the Gooseberry Patch cookbook series. They are not only chock full of great recipes but also feature cooking and crafting tips, family stories and ideas to make life more interesting and fun.

message 31: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 5 comments I'm no longer a vegetarian but Deborah Madison's Everyday Vegetarian Cookbook is an amazing cookbook with fantastic recipes all around. I haven't cooked anything from them yet (still waiting for Land of Plenty on reserve at lapl but have Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook on hand) but Fuschia Dunlop's chinese cookbooks are looking good. Both "authentic" and creative...

message 32: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 5 comments Nancy Silverton's Twist of the Wrist looks like a winner in this category...

message 33: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 5 comments okay, trying to figure out this posting thing..."this category" refers to comment above re. cooking from well-stocked pantry--thought the comment would post below that but see now that it doesn't.

message 34: by Jessica (new)

Jessica That sounds like a good one to have around, but it looks like it relies more on prepared items than the other books I mentioned.

PS -- yeah, these conversations don't do the kind of threading you were looking for.

message 35: by Betty (new)

Betty | 3 comments I think that all of my Rick Bayless books are keepers..... both to read and to cook from. Another one that I have really enjoyed cooking from is "The 150 Best American Recipes" edited by Fran McCullough & Molly Stevens.

For folks who love bread but not the kneading, I suggest checking out "Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

message 36: by Brad (new)

Brad (emptyniche) | 2 comments I like Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

message 37: by William (new)

William Graney | 21 comments I second The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger gets a lot of use as well.
If you ever happen to be at The Fishwife restaurant in the Monterey area I suggest picking up the cookbook they sell. It's called The Turtle Bay Cookbook and you can also pick it up online. In addition to a lot of great recipes the book is nice to look at and ventures into the realm of environmental protection.

message 38: by Brett (new)

Brett | 6 comments The new basic cookbook rocks. If some one is just starting out this is a great place to start. Kind of like the joy of cooking for the next generation. great pick.

message 39: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 2 comments Besides my Anthony Bourdain Les Halles cookbook, (which I haven't actually made anything out of yet, but just reading it is fun) I have a betty crocker cookbook from the early fifties that's just amazing. How did people not die of an over abundance of lard and bacon grease? It actually has a recipe for bacon muffins. I'm all for salty pork products, but in a muffin?

message 40: by William (new)

William Graney | 21 comments I was contemplating the Les Halles cookbook after eating there on a trip to NYC recently. I really enjoyed the meal there and I like Bourdain a lot but I wasn't sure if I would be inclined to try the recipes. Since your suggesting that it's a good read anyway, maybe I'll buy it.

message 41: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 2 comments It's not a cook book for the person staying close to a low fat diet, but I like the book for it's classical recipes, not to mention in one recipe it calls for the cook to be wearing a Ramones T-shirt for the optimal experience.

message 42: by William (new)

William Graney | 21 comments I generally only eat that type of food when I go out but I guess trying a few of the recipes would take me out of my cooking comfort zone. The reviews on Amazon are almost all very positive.
I'm not a fan of The Ramones so I don't have a t-shirt but I'm sure I can come up with an acceptable substitute.
Regarding another cookbook: Does anyone else have Morimoto's latest? The book is beautiful and seems like it could actually be useful in the kitchen but due to the background it's practically impossible to read the text.

message 43: by Jane (new)

Jane | 2 comments I really love *150 Vegan Favorites* even though I am not vegan. They have a lot of quick, simple, and tasty recipes. I also love *Three Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery.* These recipes, although a bit more complicated, are completely delicious!

message 44: by Jane (new)

Jane | 2 comments And for Lebanese food, it doesn't get any better than *Alice's Kitchen.* My favorite is the string beans and rice.

message 45: by Craig (last edited Oct 15, 2008 06:56AM) (new)

Craig (kravmagajourney) Hard to name just one! I think my all-time "desert isle" favorite is John Thorne's Outlaw Cook. You can't go wrong with any of his great titles but this particular one is a shade above the rest. Thorne is such a fantastic writer and has a contagious sense of wonder about the food and the whole cooking process. He cooks from the gut and is never above starting over.

Note, "Outlaw Cook" is very hard to find but you could try ABE or some other used book search engine to keep an eye out for a copy. Your patience will be rewarded if you wait for the right one as its rarity tends to jack up its price considerably.

message 46: by Endre (new)

Endre Barath | 33 comments Hey Craig, I collect cook books and love to cook. Never heard of him, hence I went on my favoret place Google. You will be pleasantly suprised:

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message 47: by Craig (last edited Oct 15, 2008 07:19AM) (new)

Craig (kravmagajourney) Hi Endre,

If I'm reading your snippet correctly it appears like you found "Simple Cooking" by the same author, not Outlaw Cook. I haven't gotten around to reading that one yet though I assume it's as good as his other books Serious Pig: An American Cook in Search of His Roots and Pot on the Fire: Further Confessions of a Renegade Cook (both of which are readily available at Amazon and your local bookstore). I can't wait to dig into Mouth Wide Open: A Cook and His Appetite which was released late last year (too many books, too little time!).

I didn't have luck with Amazon so I had an ABE watch on "Outlaw Cook" for many months before it finally came up with a used copy for $20. In the end it was worth the wait. We make the recipe for his "Beef and Carrots" every Christmas. Hope you enjoy the book!


message 48: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 5 comments I just took out The Zuni Cafe Cookbook from the library. I've made two recipes so far, and I thought the results were fabulous. It seems pretty complicated, though. I don't know that I would use the book on a regular basis. I like Judi Rogers' method of salting proteins for a lengthy period of time before cooking.

message 49: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (nancybartellsbcglobalnet) Since I have more friends over for drinks and hors d'oeuvres I love Martha Stewart's "Hors D'oeuvres Handbook". There are lovely photos of the finished products, the recipes are easy to follow and it's very comprehensive. Everything I've ever tried was quite good and unusual.

message 50: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 5 comments Nancy wrote: "Since I have more friends over for drinks and hors d'oeuvres I love Martha Stewart's "Hors D'oeuvres Handbook". There are lovely photos of the finished products, the recipes are easy to follow and..."

I have that book but have never used it. Now I will have to try!

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