Parties That Cook’s February Cookbook Club: Momofuku and Momofuku Milk Bar

For February’s Cookbook Club, Bibby excitedly picked TWO Momofuku cookbooks. The books are written by different chefs, and each covers different recipes of the New York-based Momofuku restaurant group empire. The first, simply titled Momofuku (by David Chang), focuses primarily on savory recipes. The second, Momofuku Milk Bar (by Christina Tosi), is the sweets cookbook known for desserts like Crack Pie and Compost Cookies. To give one sentence of background, the word Momofuku means “Lucky Peach”– what I felt like after getting to enjoy the dishes below.

Cherry Tomato Salad – Kelle saw the need for a vegetable on the menu, and jumped in to fill the void. She made a simple cherry tomato salad, and reported that the most time-consuming part of the process was hand-peeling the dozens of cherry tomatoes she used. Simply delicious!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts – Gina and Christina decided to team up on this recipe, and they did a fabulous job collaborating. Gina roasted the sprouts while Christina took care of the sauce. I could eat these little guys with every meal! Breakfast, too? Sure, why not! Sadly, no leftovers made it to the next day.

Buns with Caramelized Onions, Scalloped Potatoes, and Gruyere – Rosie opted to make these bad boys for the lunch, and found they could easily feed an army. The dense (yet delicious) loaves were huge, despite Rosie having reduced the size from what the recipe recommended. With all the other menu items fighting for space on our plates and in our stomachs, we could really only eat ¼ – ½ of a bun each!

Chicken Wings – Oh. Man. Beth was not the most optimistic as she selected this complex recipe for cookbook club. Luckily, her efforts did not go unrewarded. The chicken wings were the talk of the table, spurring some to ask for the recipe, and others to hoard wings in their purses. (Am I kidding??)

Pork Buns – Rebecca selected this rather intimidating recipe despite having NEVER purchased or roasted pork belly herself. You go girl! We couldn’t host a Momofuku cookbook club without their signature dish, right?? These pork belly buns with hoisin sauce were a hit. With all her packing duties, Carolyn was unable to make a recipe, but conveniently available for the quick pickling of cucumbers the morning of our lunch! The simple meat rub (salt and sugar) provided ample flavoring for the meat. In the introduction to the recipe, Chang says to feel no shame for purchasing pre-made or frozen bun. Trust me, no shame felt! I’m told that the story of Rebecca’s trip to the Asian market is deserving of its own blog post. Keep a look out for it!

Ginger Scallion Noodles – Crissy eagerly took on this monstrous dish. Not that this recipe was difficult for her, but she did end up with a mountain of noodles. The most difficult part for her was probably sourcing the ingredients. When all was said and done, Crissy’s dish complemented the other boldly flavored dishes wonderfully.

Marinated Hanger Steak with Scallion Sauce and Roasted Onions – Michelene signed on to contribute a meaty entrée. After spending the morning heating her steak on multiple tabletop burners (like a pro), her dish was complete! Boy, was it delicious. She also brought in two home-made condiments (scallion sauce and roasted onion), which really pushed her steak over the top. She made sure to stick to the recipe, though she said she’d definitely take some tried-and-true shortcuts next time.

Chevre Frozen Yogurt with Pistachio Crunch and Beet-Lime Ganache – After almost choosing to make the strawberry sorbet, Erin decided on this chevre frozen yogurt recipe. Her substitution of roasted pistachios for the pistachio crunch was no disappointment. While there may have been a bit of blunder in using corn syrup when the recipe called for glucose, and then doubling it, nobody seemed to mind as we inhaled this dessert. Not only was the presentation beautiful, but the light, fruity flavors came together perfectly!

Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Crust – YUM. Bibby made the executive decision (supported by all) to exclude the food coloring that would have turned the pie into a neon yellow treat (literally radiating banana deliciousness). Aside from a couple recipe mishaps that undoubtedly affected the final consistency of the dessert, she stayed true to the flavors this pie was meant to have. This dessert, also from the Milk Bar book, was a complete success.

Overall, this cookbook club was a huge success. Going into the lunch, everyone had their doubts. As Beth so cleverly put it, “Chang gives Keller a run for his money.” Each dish, on average, comes complete with three recipes. Once you actually get started, however, it’s not nearly as difficult as you anticipate. I would definitely purchase either of these cookbooks. And while I cannot say the same for the rest of the PTC office staff (forgot to ask), I can say that they would happily eat anything created from the books!

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