March 11, 2015, posted by Gina
Does a cookbook club sound fun to you? I belong to one and we are currently trying out recipes from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks.
We have 12 members, as we determined that’s how many people most of us can seat comfortably in our homes, we meet once a month and we take turns being the hostess. The hostess plans the menu, prepares the main course, sets the theme, if there is one, and sends the menu out via email. The members sign up for the dish they would like to prepare and the big rule is they must prepare the recipe exactly as it is written in the cookbook.
Once we are finished with our meal, we make notes in our cookbooks as each person talks about their recipe. They may suggest any changes they would make to it and whether or not they would make it again.
All recipes can be found in Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks; Family Style, Parties and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. You can also find the recipes online (google “Ina Garten’s Parmesan Chicken”, for example).
The Menu for an Early Spring Lunch
YUMMY DRINK – Herbal Iced Tea*
APPETIZER – Smoked Salmon Dip
SALADS – Tabbouleh and Tuna Tartare
MAIN COURSE – Parmesan Chicken, Provençal Tomatoes and Chive Biscuits
DESSERT – Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake and Coconut Cupcakes
The Verdict: Surprisingly, everyone liked ALL of the items which rarely happens. My favorite was the orange chocolate chunk cake. I make the Parmesan Chicken on a regular basis for my family and the tomatoes were fabulous even though it’s not peak tomato season. Many thought the coconut cupcakes would be great for Easter, maybe put a few jelly beans on top. Both salads were delicious and the tabbouleh in particular tasted very fresh.
*A note regarding the herbal iced tea, we all agreed that it was a little tart. The original recipe it calls for pure apple juice which, in addition to being much more expensive than regular apple juice, was not very sweet. We decided that this tea would taste better if it was slighter sweeter and used regular apple juice to obtain that sweetness. Maybe it’s the Southern predilection for sweet tea, who knows? Honestly, it was a little tart, 12 people can’t all be wrong, right?