Hurrah! It’s one of our favorite times of the year! It’s the holiday potluck where we get to celebrate some of the recently released cookbooks by cooking and sharing with coworkers. Whatever your political view, the last few weeks have been hard, and for some of us, very disheartening. So we found it especially comforting to join together at the table, to take a moment to relax, chat about food, gossip, and just talk about simple nothings. Dining together is a good way to find common ground amongst differing factions, and a welcome respite for all during challenging times.
We had some bang-up main dishes, such as a sweet potato curry from Oh She Glows Every Day
, and a colorful vegetable succotash dish from local chef (and TV chef personality) Naomi Pomeroy’s cookbook, Taste and Technique
. Some of the best food comes in small bites; I love an appetizer! And of course, it’s a scientific fact that we get a free pass on eating sweets for the next three months (yeah, I include January in the holiday timing). We chowed down on our more-than-fair-share of sweets and appetizers. I’m not too proud to admit I ate three brownies (Fudgy Mocha Bars, Ginger Brownies, Cookie Dough Bites) plus some Chocolate Pound Cake. However, I am a little embarrassed about the brownie leftovers that I hid at my desk for later snacking. Happy holidays, everyone. In the immortal words of TV’s Sergeant Esterhaus of the '80s Hill Street Blues
, let's be careful out there.
Knives and Ink
by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton
Kathi made Smoked Gouda and Hot Pepper Spread
Kathi’s Smoked Gouda and Hot Pepper Spread was the first dish I tucked into. I’m new to the good ol’ Southern pimento cheese, and now I can’t get enough. The hot pepper and salsa gave it a delightful kick in the pants. (Knives and Ink
: a tattoo book with recipes! Or is it a recipe book with tats? Anyway, it is all about chefs, their tattoos, and their recipes.)
Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables!
by Peter Meehan
Rhianna made Oranged Endive Bread With Cheese and Nut Mixture
In my opinion, this was the belle of the ball at our potluck. The endive made for little boats of flavor. The vinegars and orange gave them an extra powerful scent flavor. Rhianna cut the anchovies in half in case there were delicate eaters, but I think I’d love it just as well with the full measure of fish.
Oh She Glows Every Day
by Angela Liddon
Shawn made Sweet Potato Chickpea Spinach Coconut Curry
Insider tip from Shawn:
“There’s a lot to love about this wonderful curry: it’s easy to make, it's super flavorful, and it can be ready in less than an hour with less than $10 in ingredients. I’m definitely going to add this to my list of regular dinner staples.”
by Allison Day
Aubrey made Silky Pumpkin Ginger Soup With Clementine and Vanilla
Insider tip from Aubrey:
“Dedicating an entire cookbook to pumpkin reveals just how versatile this squash is in a wide variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. The soup I made was lickety-split easy, and I poured all the puréed ingredients into a slow cooker rather than a saucepan, to keep it simmering overnight and ready to eat at a moment’s notice!”
Scandinavian Comfort Food
by Trine Hahnemann
Mary Jo made Burning Love With Swede and Carrot Mash
Mary Jo’s dish was a lovely combo of green vegetables with orange mash. In case you don’t know, as I didn’t, a swede is a rutabaga. Why is this dish called "Burning Love"? After a little research, I can tell you that no one seems to know — other than that it should be served piping hot. Burning Love is a traditional Danish dish over 200 years old, so I guess a little background may have been lost along the way.
by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick
Mark I. made Spoon Salad
Insider tip from Mark:
“In making this salad, I was introduced to the 'dilemma' of how to efficiently extricate the seeds from the pomegranate, but after watching a video or two on the subject, I was relieved to see that cutting it in segments, then turning the segments over a bowl and simply whacking them on the skin with a wooden spoon, was so easy to release the tasty morsels.”
Taste and Technique
by Naomi Pomeroy
Kim T. made Fresh Corn and Summer Vegetable Succotash
Insider tip from Kim:
“Taste and Technique
has such a wonderful variety of recipes for our crowd that it was hard to settle on just one. The Fresh Corn and Summer Vegetable Succotash was easy, versatile for any potluck, and both vegetarian and gluten-free for our group. I roasted the red pepper on my gas stove rather than in the broiler so I could keep a better eye on it and because I made it at 6 a.m. before work. Who knew that delicious summer vegetable succotash makes such a great breakfast? Oh, and I left some for the actual potluck too.”
The Red Rooster Cookbook
by Marcus Samuelsson
Dev and Tom made Corn Bread with Sage Honey Butter
I love cornbread and honey butter, so I was happy to see Dev and Tom choose this recipe from Red Rooster
. The cornbread was moist with a touch of heat from the Aleppo pepper, and the gentle touch of sage honey butter made for a fancier presentation. It’s no surprise that I was the first one to cut into the cornbread!
Sweets and Appetizers
All-Time Best Appetizers
by Cook's Illustrated
JC made Curry Deviled Eggs
Every potluck requires deviled eggs. They're so easy to make, if you overlook what a pain the eggs can be to peel. JC picked a recipe where the eggs are steamed instead of boiled — she reports that it actually worked! And you can use fresh eggs instead of having to hoard eggs for days/weeks when using the boiling method. These had a tasty curry flavor. I was lucky enough to be nearby when she was plating her food, and so was in place to “help” her out when there were too many eggs to fit on the dish. Yum.
by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever
Doug C. made Grill Bitch's Bar Nuts
Insider tip from Doug:
"'Grill Bitch’s Bar Nuts' — what a name! What a snack! It's dee-liciously sweet and savory at the same time, with a great little aftertaste of cayenne heat! It’s so easy to make this dish; it’s the Chex Mix of classy party snacks. No insider tip needed.”
by Dorie Greenspan
Jen H. made Fudgy Mocha Bars
We try not to double up on recipes from one cookbook, but come on! Dories Cookies
is destined to be a classic cookie book. Jen made a bar that’s part cookie, part brownie, and part nutty coffee, and it was truly a decadent delight.
Richard C. made Ginger Brownies
Insider tip from Richard: “This was an easy-to-follow recipe that offered a number of interesting alternatives to the basic brownie recipe. I would definitely go with the bittersweet and not semisweet chocolate — it makes for richer brownies. Also, do not turn over you brownies onto a cooling rack because they may fall apart. I feel there is no real need to do this.”
The Dude Diet
by Serena Wolf
Gigi made Chocolate Almond Cookie Dough Bites
Insider tip from Gigi: The Dude Diet
’s Chocolate Almond Cookie Dough Bites are a perfect combination of healthy and decadent. The soft, chewy texture and sweetness feel out-and-out cookie-dough indulgent, and the chia seeds add a fun crunch. As a big plus, this recipe was super easy to make. If you want it to be even more decadent, try it with cashew butter.
by America's Test Kitchen
Aubrey made Chocolate Pound Cake
Insider tip from Aubrey:
“There’s an introductory chapter on the science behind ‘why’ and ‘how’ substituting different sweeteners affects what you’re baking, which went right over my head. Yet it didn’t prevent the recipe from doing its job, resulting in a marvelous cake which has been added into my permanent repertoire of go-to desserts. America’s Test Kitchen always has such reliable recipes. This cookbook is especially useful if you ought to be baking with less sugar, but it is also the right choice for someone who appreciates their sweets a little more on the subtle side without fearing they’re compromising great flavor.”
Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook
by Kiera and Cole Stipovich
Corie KB made Wild Mushroom Pâté
This recipe is perfect for when you want a lighter, yet full-bodied, pâté. The tawny port gave it just the right balance of sweetness with the earthy mushrooms. Corie followed the cookbook's lead and presented the pâté in a jar, which was a nice homemade touch, one that I am stealing for picnics once the warm weather returns, months and months and months from now.
by Ronni Lundy
Patrick D. made Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie
Insider tip from Patrick:
The Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie beautifully encapsulated what drew me to this book — something familiar, but with a regional twist. This decidedly down-to-earth pie made with simple ingredients was a knockout! Think pecan pie, but without the pecans, and with a subtle tang from the buttermilk. I do believe I’ve found a new Thanksgiving staple! You may not be able to find buttermilk or want to commit to buying a whole container for one recipe. Thin out sour cream with milk or water for a substitute, or add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Voila!