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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:41 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
I keep looking for the ultimate Cuban / Carribean cookbook and not finding it. No luck with The Cuban Table either. It's a serviceable enough Cuban cookbook, and I suspect a strong Miami influence because the dishes are quite spicy compared to other Cuban cookbooks I've borrowed from the library. It's got nice photography, and large, clearly-written recipes covering pretty much entirely non-fancy, working class Cuban cuisine. I could see getting it for someone who likes Cuban and -- importantly -- lives near a well-stocked Latin grocery. The vast majority of the recipes require ingredients not available from Costco, including platanos, culantro, cubanelle peppers, Florida avocados, or malanga.

The big winner from this cookbook was the "panquecitos", little pound cakes made in muffin cups. That recipe was worth copying out, and the little cakes are both very tasty and hold up well in storage and travel.

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
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Location: Chico, CA
I love the Panquecitos de Jamaica. It was a special treat to be taken to the place they made them when I was a child.
Josh, my local Safeway and a couple of the other supermarkets have malanga and platanos, both maduros and green. We had a huge crop of Cubanelles last year, they are one of my favorite peppers. I'll let you know when we have more if you want some. Malanga is worth finding, frituritas de malanga are wonderful as are boyitos de carita (black eyed pea fritters).

I agree that is is not as traditional as some of the older ones such as Memories of a Cuban Kitchen and a Taste of Old Cuba. The best of course is Cocina al Minuto by Nitza Villapol. It was published in English and I was able to get a copy for my daughter but have not found it in English since.

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:41 pm 
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Alina,

Looks like an English version of Cocina Al Minuto is available from Amazon. I wonder if the SFPL has it? Will check.

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:53 pm 
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Alina,

Also, I was interested to see blackeyed pea fritters; these are also a traditional Brazillian dish. Same origin, I expect.

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:57 pm 
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Thanks Josh, but I could not find an English version. I did see several Spanish versions. I have 2 in Spanish, a paperback one I bought here and the original hardcover my mom brought from Cuba.

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:01 pm 
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Alina,

Feh, you're right. I thought one of those was an English edition, but it's not.

They do have Cocina Criolla bilingual, but it's a Rare Book, selling for $150 or more. No thanks ...

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:47 pm 
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So, switching cuisines:

The latest from Greek food diva Diane Kochilas is Ikaria, after the island. The idea behind this book is to seize on the reputation Ikarians for longevity, and promote Ikarian cuisine as health food. Accordingly, the book is sprinkled with callouts and vignettes about healthy living and eating. However, this is Kochilas, so the book is full of recipes, many of which distinguish Ikarian food from the rest of Greek cuisine.

As befits a cookbook with a healthful theme, there are a lot of vegetarian recipes in this one, although fewer seafood recipes than I'd like. Potentially a bigger issue is that as many as 1/3 of the savory recipes in the cookbook use fennel, so fennel-haters should stay away from this one. A sizeable minority of the recipes also call for hard-to-source ingredients like carob flour, raw goat milk or lupini beans.

Overall, this is not Kochilas' strongest cookbook. It's really mostly suitable for someone who is obsessive about Greek cuisine and wants it as their 5th Greek cookbook, or for someone who is into the "Mediterranean diet". Otherwise, I'd pick up a copy of Glorious Foods of Greece, which has a chapter on the Agean islands.

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:05 pm 
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Ironically, the baking book Perfect Finish is anything but. My sweetie was reading it, but never made anything from it; after she found three major errors in the recipes -- such as one which has you melt a cup of chocolate and then never incorporates it into the batter -- she shied off and returned it to the library.

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:13 pm 
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This week's cookbook is Quick & Easy Korean Cooking by Cecilia Hae Jin Lee. Lives up to its name, really: it's pretty much entirely "Korean working person weeknight cooking". Most recipes are simple, requiring 10 or fewer ingredients, and no complicated techniques. While most recipes do require a specific non-Supermarket Asian ingredient, it's usually only one, and many of those are non-perishable. If it didn't have so much meat in it (Korean food, after all), I might buy a copy. It does have more vegetable recipes than I expected.

The only real fault with the cookbook is that the instructions are a bit too spartan. The author often omits cooking times, doneness tests, and/or consistencies from the recipes. So it's a better cookbook for someone who is an experienced cook, but just doesn't know Korean.

Strongly recommended. More here: http://fuzzychef.org/accidental-vegan-monday/

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 Post subject: Re: Random cookbook of the week
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 11:59 pm 
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So, I've got another one for the baking fiends in this group: Della Fattoria Bread.

Della Fattoria is a top Bay Area bakery; in my opinion they make the single best loaf of bread in the SF Bay Area (their semolina sesame loaf). So we borrowed this from the library.

This is not a baking book for everybody. It is a baking book for someone who is obsessed with baking. To make use of most of the recipes in this book, you need to (a) have a mixer with a dough hook which works, and (b) be prepared for absurdly long, multi-stage dough. The recipe I made had an overnight starter plus four rising stages covering a five hour period, for example. If you have the time to spend, it'll teach you everything about natural rise bread you wanted to know, and the recipes are exacting, with multiple references and pictoral guides in the book.

I'm not OCD enough for this book, so back to the library it goes. But I know that some people here are, so check it out.

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