On the Table
by Tracey T., June 30, 2015 5:39 PM
Let's not beat around the bush. The Powell's new book buyers like to eat. We have a special appreciation for brand-new cookbooks and for being among the first to try out the recipes. For our biannual potluck this summer, we were pleased to have fellow book-slinger visitors from Seattle: Pam and Anna from the University of Washington Bookstore. Authors of The Picnic, Jen Stevenson and Marnie Hanel, dropped by the week before with a picnic basket filled with treats from their book. This got us off to a fine start as we prepared for our culinary event. Anticipating a special meal has an enticement all its own.
As trite as this quote might be: a picture is worth a thousand words. Since we have some fabulous photos of our potluck, this blog post will be more of a photo essay. For those with a sweet tooth, head to the bottom of the piece for a sampling of recent dessert releases.
Mary Jo made Honey Roasted Radishes from A Modern Way to Eat:
"Easy to prepare, equally delicious hot or cold, honey-roasted radishes are sure to be a hit with vegetable lovers everywhere."
Mark made Jicama Beet Salad from More Mexican Everyday:
"What immediately appealed to me about this recipe was the combination of its ingredients. The rich flavor of beets and their color complemented the hue and piquancy of radicchio, setting off the crisp sweet whiteness of jicama and the splashes of lime, agave, and peanut oil. The final flourish of roasted peanuts made for a vibrant and robust salad."
Jen C. made Cucumber Salad from Well Fed, Flat Broke:
"This take on cucumber salad uses a yogurt base instead of the traditional vinegar — making it cool, creamy, and perfect for summer. It was very easy to assemble, and I would definitely make it again!"
Rhianna made Stewed Pole Beans with Fatback from The Broad Fork:
"Hugh Acheson's The Broad Fork
is Southern cooking by way of the farmer's market. Short chapters are devoted to one fresh ingredient, like broad beans, prepared in several simple, elegant ways. These humble broad beans with tomatoes and fatback were a huge hit at our potluck and would be a worthy summer accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken, or (my favorite) ladled generously over a bowl of olive-oil smashed potatoes."
Tom and Dev made Gentle Brown Rice Pilaf from A Modern Way to Eat:
"We've been trying to find more healthy things to eat lately and really liked a lot of things about A Modern Way to Eat
. Then I came across the recipe for A Gentle Brown Rice Pilaf with Toasted Nuts and Seeds. It starts with brown rice and then adds a combination of spices and herbs that I wouldn't have thought of for the dish. Add some nuts and seeds for protein and it becomes an amazing treat that can be either a side dish or a main dish. It's also very versatile and can be modified any number of ways to suit your tastes or any special occasion. Try this once and it will become a staple in your repertoire."
Tracey made Savory Split Pea Rice Cakes from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen:
"I love when a cookbook introduces me to something I've never heard of before, in this case: handvo. From the Indian state of Gujarat, handvo is savory lentil, rice, and veggie muffin cakes just busting out with flavor. Topped with a little chutney, these little protein packages are a delight."
Gigi made Savory Toasts from Better on Toast:
"What's not to love about yummy stuff on toast? I was excited to have chosen Better on Toast
as my potluck recipe cookbook because of the sheer variety of delicious and exotic ingredient combinations. It was fun to try more than one recipe and bring it in for tasting, but it also spurred on some successful experimentation. For instance, a dollop of burrata (page 116) goes great on the Mushroom Hunks (page 141) and the Chipotle Eggplant (page 150)."
Aubrey made Salad on a Stick: Caprese from The Picnic
is like a hidden secret, full of wonderful summer food preparations and easy but innovative, already-familiar recipe ideas. For example, the salad on a stick is pure genius, and can be made and enjoyed anywhere — I put together the caprese variation at work in our kitchen, only moments before it was served!"
Corie made Salmon Tartare from The Picnic:
"It's hard making potluck fare in a work environment without a proper kitchen, so for our summer potluck I decided I wanted something super speedy and easy. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we were shocked and awed by how utterly delicious (and addictive!) these unassuming cucumber rounds were. These are an absolute requirement for your next picnic, trust me."
Shawn made Arroz con Pollo from The Everyday Rice Cooker:
"I've been using a rice cooker for years and had no idea it was possible to use its one-button technology to make soups, salads, and even full meals. The Everyday Rice Cooker will introduce you to dozens of wonderful easy-to-make recipes, including my personal favorite, Arroz con Pollo."
Kim T. made Ratatouille from Food52 Genius Recipes:
"It was so hard to choose a recipe from this wonderful cookbook knowing that each one comes from the best of the best. During the summer months, who better to advise on combining fresh veggies from the garden and the best way to cook them than Alice Waters. Her easy and heavenly version of ratatouille combines just the right amount of garlic and basil along with summer's bounty."
Kathi also made Beet Hummus from The Picnic:
is full of wonderful ideas and recipes to create perfect picnics. In the movie Funny Face
, Kay Thompson's character instructs one to "think pink," so I must have been doing just that when I thought beet hummus and raspberry lemonade would be great together. These recipes were easy to assemble, delicious, and with a bouquet of peonies, oh so pink!"
Mary Jo made Saffron Roasted Cauliflower from A Modern Way to Eat:
"A fantastic excuse to buy saffron, this dish has delightful texture and flavor and is a sight to behold. I recommend drizzling with a good olive oil before serving."
Richard made Salted Caramel Crack Brownies also from A Modern Way to Eat:
"This wonderful cookbook offered a great alternative to the usual brownies with easy-to-follow instructions and many alternative ingredients. The results were rich and delicious."
Jen H. made Strawberry Buttermilk Cake from Honey and Jam:
"It never would have occurred to me to roast strawberries for a cake, but it was easy and delicious. Now I want to roast strawberries and put them on all of my desserts."
Time to eat! The potluckers gather for a quick photo before digging in.
Jen, Marnie, and Andrea Slonecker of The Picnic at a Powell's and Pastaworks cosponsored event.
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So many dessert books have come out during the last few months. A tiny bit akin to visiting an ice cream shop, here are some samples.
The Sweet Side of Ancient Grains
"Healthy," delicious, over-the-top desserts. I made the Einkorn Bourbon Peach Pecan Crisp. (I didn't have enough peaches, so I added raspberries, thus the red in the crisp. Tons of yum.
Big Gay Ice Cream
A super fun and fabulous cookbook and a must have for ice cream lovers and lovers of lives well-lived.
Turns cookies up to 11. Author Segal is a self-proclaimed "cookie nerd" and puts her own delightful spin on America's favorite snack.
Turtle, Truffle, Bark
Author Baker demystifies candy making, presenting recipes for both gourmet and beginning cooks.
Do you like cake? Do you like ice cream? Do you have a refrigerator? If you answered "yes" to these questions, then Icebox Cakes is to drool for.
Baking with Less Sugar
Don't be scared by the "less sugar," these are all sweet, sweet desserts, just with the sweet taken down a notch.
Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love
These Southerners certainly know their way around a bakery kitchen. I've made the Double Chocolate Mint Chess Pie — so moist, with a chocolate crust for extra richness. My desk neighbor took one glance at the recipe for Shaker Meyer Lemon Pie Bars and asked to borrow the book. Fingers crossed that there will be leftovers for me, but I doubt it.