This month, we chose five cookbooks written by African-American chefs and food writers. Our exploration of two centuries of traditional dishes, many updated for today's tastes, was informative and quite satisfying.
We had originally planned to feature Jacques Pepin's cookbooks last March; but we cancelled our in-person gatherings due to the Covid-19 quarantine. Our plans became a "virtual" reality as we shared our experiences with these delicious recipes online, with Zoom.
June brought our first "official" virtual gathering with recipes from the prolific British chef Jamie Oliver. Although we didn't get to sample others' recipes, we enjoyed our time catching up with each other and discussing our chosen recipes.
This month we tasted our way through two cookbooks (and a couple of online recipes) by Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based cook and Millennial icon, writer and cookbook author Alison Roman. Her use of tangy, salty and spicy flavors and diverse texture combinations made for an exciting gathering. We loved it all!
Starting out Year Five with a classic by Marcella Hazan. Her meticulous instructions resulted in wonderful dishes - from two-ingredient dishes (chicken+lemons; pork+milk) to the more complex and challenging recipes, all were winners!
Famed chefs and cookbook authors David Tanis and David Lebovitz were the inspiration for our latest gathering. We chose our savory selections from Tanis' books and NY Times City Kitchen column; Ready for Dessert by Mr. Lebovitz provided some sweet options to wrap up the festivities.
Our intrepid cooks trekked to the American South by cooking Vivian Howard's unique and tasty recipes. The cookbook is organized by ingredient, featuring those native to her home region of coastal Carolina. From Turnip Root and Green Gratin to Peanut Ice Cream (and everything in between), we agreed that the recipes are winners.
What a grand time we had digging into a blast from San Diego's past: Piret's restaurant, with its cooking school, the Perfect Pan, served up a blend of California Cuisine and French bistro fare, reaching its peak in the 1980s.. Many say they were ahead of their time, and were responsible for a culinary renaissance in our area. Though sadly long gone, the memories and recipes remain through their cookbook.
This month's culinary excursion takes us to Cuba, where we explore the flavors of this fascinating island. Although the cuisine is mostly meat-centric, we sampled a variety of delicious seafood and vegetarian dishes from three different cookbooks as well. Our host's lovely deck gave us a breezy, sunny location to enjoy the afternoon's delights.
Many of our members identify Brunch as their favorite meal, so we thought it would be fun to showcase this theme. We chose recipes from three books, ranging from Vegetarian (Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café), Restaurant-Chef (Big Bad Breakfast by John Currance), to Instructional (Culinary Institute of America's Breakfasts & Brunches). We enjoyed great food with sparkling conversation (and mimosas!).
"Most cookbooks and food shows are about control, precision, and fear of doing something incorrectly, In NIgellaworld, the kitchen is not a science lab with rigid rules and formulas to follow, it's a place to play, sometimes with your friends..." (Joe Dolce, Gourmet)
And play we did! A most lovely and tasty afternoon ~
A fiesta muy delicioso as we explored the recipes of Diana Kennedy, an authority on Mexican cuisine. Her recipes are meticulously researched and documented ~ and as she has said, "laborious" ~ but well worth the work!
An utterly delicious exploration of Persian recipes from Naz Deravian's new cookbook. The title refers to the Persian word "Tahdig" - which literally translates to "bottom of the pot" and is the crunchy layer of buttery, saffron-perfumed basmati rice, a Persian specialty. Our version matched the book cover!
Our annual post-holiday mixer was a salute to the "Queen of Entertaining" - Martha Stewart! Members and our spouses/partners enjoyed party food, beverages and spectacular views on the deck at Anna's lovely home.
Members new and not-so-new got our fourth year rolling by enjoying a wide variety of dishes from the New York Times (recipes dating from the 1870s through the 2000s). We resolve to cook more from Amanda Hesser's fantastic resource!
Instagram sensation Tieghan Gerard has a beautiful blog with lots of recipes (with unusually long titles!) and gorgeous food photos. But do her recipes work? We tested lots of them, and had some fun trying to make our dishes Instagram-worthy... did we nail it?
For March, we cooked from two highly acclaimed cookbooks published this past year - Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden highlights mostly savory dishes, so we also chose a dessert cookbook, Stella Parks’ BraveTart by as a complement.
Starting 2018 with a post-holiday mixer at Shelley's -- we enjoyed a fun evening with finger foods and our favorite beverages. Our spouses/partners were welcomed (and promised to be on their best behavior so they would be invited again)... great times, great friends (new and old), and we'll plan to do this again for sure!
Celebrating our third year with a book that proves if you can cook just five things, you can cook 200! We explored some tasty, yet not overly complicated recipes and discussed the takeaway, or "small victory" related to each dish. A great book for newbies and seasoned cooks - and everyone in between.
Our theme this month was Thanksgiving ~ we took it as an opportunity to test out some recipes for our Thanksgiving tables. We enjoyed quite a variety of side dishes and desserts - literally from soup to nuts -- but not a drumstick or apple pie in sight. A fabulous feast!
With a name almost as recognizable as Cher, this celebrity chef has made her fame and fortune with the food of her homeland. Her recipes, almost all online as well as in her best-selling cookbooks, bring the flavors of Italy to American home cooks. We delved into her recipes (and dived into the food head-first!). A fun and delicious afternoon...
Exploring the latest cookbook by Heidi Swanson of the popular blog 101 Cookbooks... we enjoyed a lovely vegetarian feast, exploring flavors from home and away, including recipes inspired by California, and travels to Morocco, France, Japan, Italy and India.