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Calling all cooks
Old 12-03-2013, 09:22 AM   #1
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Calling all cooks

My oldest son has an "interesting cookbook" on his Christmas list. Anyone have any ideas? He'd probably like bbq, comfort food, Italian, Mexican, etc. Not anything too out there.

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Old 12-03-2013, 09:27 AM   #2
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This is my favorite...

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen: Paul Prudhomme: 9780688028473: Books

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen

Here for the first time the famous food of Louisiana is presented in a cookbook written by a great creative chef who is himself world-famous. The extraordinary Cajun and Creole cooking of South Louisiana has roots going back over two hundred years, and today it is the one really vital, growing regional cuisine in America. No one is more responsible than Paul Prudhomme for preserving and expanding the Louisiana tradition, which he inherited from his own Cajun background.
Chef Prudhomme's incredibly good food has brought people from all over America and the world to his restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, in New Orleans. To set down his recipes for home cooks, however, he did not work in the restaurant. In a small test kitchen, equipped with a home-size stove and utensils normal for a home kitchen, he retested every recipe two and three times to get exactly the results he wanted. Logical though this is, it was an unprecedented way for a chef to write a cookbook. But Paul Prudhomme started cooking in his mother's kitchen when he was a youngster. To him, the difference between home and restaurant procedures is obvious and had to be taken into account.
So here, in explicit detail, are recipes for the great traditional dishes--gumbos and jambalayas, Shrimp Creole, Turtle Soup, Cajun "Popcorn," Crawfish Etouffee, Pecan Pie, and dozens more--each refined by the skill and genius of Chef Prudhomme so that they are at once authentic and modern in their methods.
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen is also full of surprises, for he is unique in the way he has enlarged the repertoire of Cajun and Creole food, creating new dishes and variations within the old traditions. Seafood Stuffed Zucchini with Seafood Cream Sauce, Panted Chicken and Fettucini, Veal and Oyster Crepes, Artichoke Prudhomme--these and many others are newly conceived recipes, but they could have been created only by a Louisiana cook. The most famous of Paul Prudhomme's original recipes is Blackened Redfish, a daringly simple dish of fiery Cajun flavor that is often singled out by food writers as an example of the best of new American regional cooking.
For Louisianians and for cooks everywhere in the country, this is the most exciting cookbook to be published in many years.

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Old 12-03-2013, 09:30 AM   #3
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I enjoy cooking and I wish I could help, but that's still a very broad set of criteria. Can you narrow it down any, and is he looking for beginner-intermediate-advanced? I assume you've already tried Google, there are endless lists.

We like Giada de Laurentis recipes (Italian) and Rick Bayless (Mexican) - they all seem to work very well, TV personas aside. I don't tackle BBQ at home and comfort food is subject to lots of interpretation.

We still have quite a few cookbooks, but we threw out all but the classics and don't buy them anymore since you can get unlimited recipes online now.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:42 AM   #4
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There's also an ER Forum cookbook under Other Topics/Stickies. It appears TromboneAl stepped up to assemble it (thanks!). Good cooks here, but I am not one (yet).

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Old 12-03-2013, 11:32 AM   #5
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Does it have to be a traditional book?

I like the app for iPad. Whatever ingredient or cuisine or dish you want can be searched and all recipes have reviews and ratings.

Allrecipes - Recipes and cooking confidence for home cooks everywhere

Or you could buy him an online cooking course, like one of these.

Rouxbe Cooking School

Welcome to The Epicurious Cooking School
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:01 PM   #6
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If he is interested in "authentic" Italian, I recommend

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking: Marcella Hazan, Karin Kretschmann: 9780394584041: Books

She was an American who lived in Italy for many years - she just died this year. I got the book last year and have really enjoyed it.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:40 PM   #7
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One of my favorites is Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything; Simple Recipes for Great Food"

I am looking at my copy and the Washington Post describes it on the cover as "a more hip Joy of Cooking". It has won a Julia Child cookbook award and also the James Beard Foundation cookbook award.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:50 PM   #8
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Seconding Midpack's recommendation for Giada cook books. Her recipes are tested and easy to follow. And my Sicilian in-laws haven't criticized the results. (And they can be critical if the recipe is a miss.)

I find having 1 or 2 traditional cookbooks (Joy of Cooking, Betty Crocker) supplemented with specialty cookbooks and the internet works for me. I double check more theoretical things in Joy of Cooking (how long per pound to cook cuts of meat...) It acts as a sanity check. Over time I've gotten better at judging whether a recipe makes sense or not. As I modify and/or develop recipes to our family's taste, I take notes and print it out in a 3 ring binder.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
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A few BBQ books listed here:

Top 10 Books on Grilling
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:53 PM   #10
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LOVE this book more than any "recipe" book I've ever had for everyday cooking. "How to Cook without a Book" by Pam Anderson.

Here is the synopsis:
After a long day, who has the energy to look up a recipe and search for the right ingredients before ever starting to cook? To make dinner night after night, Anderson believes the first two steps--looking for a recipe, then scrambling for the exact ingredients--must be eliminated.

Understanding that most recipes are simply "variations on a theme," she innovatively teaches technique, ultimately eliminating the need for recipes. Once the technique or formula is mastered, Anderson encourages inexperienced as well as veteran cooks to spread their culinary wings. For example, after learning to sear a steak, it's understood that the same method works for scallops, tuna, hamburger, swordfish, salmon, pork tenderloin, and more. You never need to look at a recipe again. Vary the look and flavor of these dishes with interchangeable pan sauces, salsas, relishes, and butters.

Best of all, these recipes rise above the mundane Monday-through-Friday fare. Imagine homemade ravioli and lasagna for weeknight supper, or from-scratch tomato sauce before the pasta water has even boiled. Last-minute guests? Dress up simple tomato sauce with capers and olives or shrimp and red pepper flakes. Drizzle sauteed chicken breasts with a balsamic vinegar pan sauce.

Anderson teaches you how to do it--without a recipe. Don't buy exotic ingredients and follow tedious instructions for making hors d'oeuvres. Forage through the pantry and refrigerator for quick appetizers. The ingredients are all there; the method is in your head. Master four simple potato dishes--a bake, a cake, a mash, and a roast--compatible with many meals. Learn how to make the five-minute dinner salad, easily changing its look and flavor depending on the season and occasion. Tuck a few dessert techniques in your back pocket and effortlessly turn any meal into a special occasion.

There's real rhyme and reason to Pam's method at the beginning of every chapter: To dress greens, "Drizzle salad with oil, salt, and pepper, then toss until just slick. Sprinkle in some vinegar to give it a little kick." To make a frittata, "Cook eggs without stirring until set around the edges. Bake until puffy, then cut it into wedges." Each chapter also contains a helpful at-a-glance chart that highlights the key points of every technique, and a master recipe with enough variations to keep you going until you've learned how to cook without a book.
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:35 PM   #11
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The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: Anniversary: Marion Cunningham, Fannie Farmer Cookbook Corporation, Archibald Candy Corporation, Lauren Jarrett: 9780679450818: Books

The basic from which all others follow.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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The Best Slow & Easy Recipes from Cook's Illustrated. It has some great recipes and educates you as to why they work.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
The Best Slow & Easy Recipes from Cook's Illustrated. It has some great recipes and educates you as to why they work.

Hmm. I might have to get this for myself as it is right up my alley. I don't own a crockpot, but I do lots of simmered-on-the-stovetop and slow-baked in the oven recipes at least once a week that I then eat for several days. I don't mind eating repetitively for dinner if it is something I like.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:25 PM   #14
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Thanks for all your replies. I knew someone here would have great suggestions. Now off to Amazon for further research.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:28 PM   #15
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Diana Kennedy's books on Mexican cooking are superb. The Essential Cuisines of Mexico and the older The Cuisines of Mexico are both excellent. Oaxaca al Gusto is more of a coffee table book and not a practical cookbook. I like Rick Bayless, too, but Kennedy is my #1 choice for Mexican cooking. Lidia Bastianich's Italian cookbooks are excellent. I find myself using her books more often than Marcella Hazan's, but Hazan knew her stuff.

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