A delicious healthy cookbook, a group of woman and a few bottles of wine, now that's my idea of a party. From Left to Write and This Week for Dinner, a book and food blog, got together, NOT virtually but in real life, and threw a helluva shindig. We each made a dish to share, at ate drank and were merry. The only thing that might have made this better was if we'd all cooked the dishes together. I love cooking and what makes it even better is cooking with friends, which I got to do the other night. A friend showed up with her mom and her BFF visiting from LA and found me rushing around, sweaty and most likely covered in soy sauce. Her mom asked (in Chinese, my friend had to translate) why I was doing this, after a full day of work why make myself so busy.
My honest answer, I needed guests more appreciative than my kids, who have learned not to complain too loudly when I present them with a new dish, but don't actually eat it either. Next thing I knew we were sipping wine, blending mango lassis and stirring shitake mushooms and bok choi with plenty of suggestions from mom. All the recipes were from the new cookbook, by the way (pictured above) including the lassis, aka mango smoothies. Heaven.
Not that strawberry pie
I just love those events, and really miss them from my Boston days. I had a number of friends who loved to cook, and my boyfriend/husband/now ex-husband was one of them. I remember a day when a bunch of us went strawberry picking and arrived to a small apartment with oodles and oodles of berries. We cooked up some cornstarch and made strawberry pie, macerated some in triple sec and some in grand marnier for crepes to nibble on, cooked up delicious strawberry jam and sliced and sugared the rest for freezing. A substantial hot pot rounded out the evening, followed by the pie for dessert.
Micky Mouse Pancake
Now this is not the kind of day that's for adults only, minus the liquor perhaps, but to get my kids excited about cooking, not to mention my husband, and somehow find another family that's free and open to a day of picking, cooking and eating, just seems daunting. My younger son seems to have inherited my fondness for cookbooks, and has started a collection from grandma, but it's nowhere near my fascination level. We've made duckie cupcakes, dinosaur cookies and pumpkin tarts and lots and lots of pancakes, and I just love to hear him read the ingredients and directions. You might notice a trend there, although we did make fish sticks once. It's hard to keep a 6 year old interested for very long, though, especially when his dad and brother are out playing soccer.
That's why I'm so excited about this new endeavor, a cookbook club. I just love cookbooks and trying new recipes, and this was what I hope is a series of evenings where we try new things. I've told my kids they could pick anything out of my dozens of cookbooks and I'll make it. So far they have not take me up on this offer, but I'm extending it here and now to anyone who wants to come on over. Just give me a few days notice to shop, clean, cook and get some matching linens.
The full disclosure is I got this book free as part of the From Left to Write Book Club. I was under no obligation to write, or even cook, I don't think :) I ended up making a whole slew of recipes from the book and every one of them turned out delicious, from the whole wheat pancakes to the Thai Salad. I even tried my hand at the Cauliflower risotto, but since I'm unable to actually follow a recipe, I used orange cauliflower and skipped the carrots. It was very tasty.