Tag food52

Parties That Cook Brings It Home for January Cookbook Club: The Food52 Cookbook

It’s time for another PTC Cookbook Club! You’ll want to come to work for this one… We’re talking 140 winning recipes from a variety of home cooks. This much anticipated cookbook is basically impossible to find in stores! Feel special.

A couple of weeks ago, the Parties That Cook office party crew met for the January Cookbook Club! It was Rebecca’s very first time selecting a book for cookbook club, and after discovering the Food52 blog a number of months ago, she was determined to get her hands on The Food52 Cookbook. She made calls to almost every book store in San Francisco before giving in to ordering the book online. Her verdict: Definitely worth the wait!

Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules, a number of our heavy-hitters were out of commission for cooking. Not to fear, we somehow managed to feed everyone AND have enough leftovers for round 2 the next day. Let the cravings begin! The Menu:

Creamy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms — We all knew SOMEbody had to bring these in, so when Gina selected this dangerously delicious dish, we were all relieved. As it turns out, Crissy had made this very recipe on New Years Eve! Of course, Crissy had off-roaded, so she was very interested to see how the actual recipe turned out. Gina opted to try the recipe with two different kinds of sausage — YUM! Both versions were winners, and I’m sure we’re all excited to make these on our own.

Sweet Potatoes Anna with Prunes — Michelene had settled on this tasty recipe before her weekend got away from her. She ended up stopping into Whole Foods for salad fixings the morning of cookbook club. She even opted to add in nuts, despite being allergic herself. Her impromptu salad was very yummy, and was a much-needed break from our starch-heavy menu!

Savory Bread Pudding — Having never been disappointed by a bread pudding in past cookbook club lunches, I was very excited to hear that Christina signed on to tackle this recipe. She used a larger pan than specified by the recipe, so part-way through the cooking process, she saw her liquid levels dwindling. Lucky for all us non-chefs, we have an entire damage control team waiting for us at the office. Carolyn advised her to add more liquid to the dish when re-heating before lunch, and it worked! By the time we sat down, the bread pudding was completely rejuvenated with both moist sections and crispy tips. Everyone loved the prosciutto and mushroom flavors, and commented that they actually enjoyed the complex texture of Christina’s version! I don’t think any part of this dish remained for leftover lunch the next day.

Fregola Sarda with Carmelized Squash and Charmoula — Rosie selected this dish, noting that it looks like Israeli cous cous with squash. Very unassuming. The 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper sneaks up on you, but only packs a small punch, even for those of us (me) who can’t handle much heat. For those of us (Beth) who always want to actually turn up the heat, feel free to add more. Let me just add that this was probably the most off-roaded dish we’ve ever had at cookbook club. You could say it was inspired by the original recipe…

One-Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf — Yum! With such a busy weekend ahead of her, Carolyn wasn’t sure she’d have enough time to pull this dish together. Come Monday, she had all her ingredients, her big pot, and a burner upstairs in the office. It was Go Time. This dish was great! The kale was very well integrated into the quinoa, and the table was buzzing with all the variations you could make (You’d think it was an Off-roaders Anonymous meeting).

Chicken with Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce — This month, Crissy took on the task of the main dish. Oh man. The sauce was to. die. for. (I don’t think I’ve ever written or said that phrase before). The flavor was so inspirational that we spent a good amount of time brainstorming the different items we could add the sauce to. The verdict: the remaining sauce, alone, is a great reason to make this dish!

Faulknerian Family Spice Cake with Caramel Icing — Wow. Beth brought in this beast of a cake, and everyone oohed with intrigue. The height alone was impressive. Though we couldn’t figure out why it was a “Faulknerian” cake, we quickly got over it so we could dig in! Just as the book describes, the spices are “pervasive” and the icing is “concentrated and sweet,” providing a great contrast to the flavor of the cake. Beth was definitely WINNING! (Sorry, I had to…)

Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart — Rebecca had a hard time deciding on a recipe. After much back-and-forth between this recipe and the tempting Zucchini Pancakes (on the cover), she finally decided on a deliciously simply lemon tart. Any author with the word “lazy” in her name is OK in our book! There’s nothing easier than throwing everything into a blender to “whir like crazy.” The toughest part of this recipe was making a crust, a recipe for which is not provided in the book. Had she looked online earlier, Rebecca would have found countless notes, suggestions, and even a recipe for a crust on the Food52 site!

This book is organized by season, so these recipes are primarily found in the Fall and Winter sections. We love that this book will be relevant year-round, and are excited to try the many remaining seasonal dishes. There are rumors that the next cookbook club will feature the Momofuku cookbook, or maybe even Parties That Cook’s upcoming menu. If you have a recommendation for us, let us know! Keep your eyes peeled for a guest post by a member of our fabulous Chicago team — coming soon!

Parties That Cook’s Top 10 Favorite Food Blogs of 2011

Nowadays, there are so many food blogs calling for your attention that it is hard to know where to start! There is even a blog for food blogs. To make it easier for you, we are superwoman-ing in and narrowing down all of the scrumptious options at your fingertips. Back in 2009, we wrote this post detailing some of our favorite blogs. Today, we bring you an updated Top 10!

Number one on our list is What’s Gaby Cooking Simple Sassy Gourmet. Gabby Dalkin is a twenty four year old blogger who attended culinary school in 2009 and pastry school in 2010. She is a personal chef, professional recipe developer and food photographer.  She is also a sucker for a good margarita and absolutely obsessed with cheese. To top it all off, she has a mean recipe for Pizza Monkey Bread– it seriously may change your life!

Coming in at number two: Smitten Kitchen. You can definitely let your eyes feast on this blog; it boasts absolutely stunning photography! Deb and her husband Alex seem very down to earth. They stay away from fussy ingredients like Himalayan pink salt, and stick to what is accessible. Fantastic cooking doesn’t have to leave a hole in your pocket at the end of the meal! Best of all, Smitten Kitchen recently received one of Time Magazine’s 25 Best Blogs of 2011 awards!

Kiss My Spatula is up next… Recently featured in Gourmet Magazine for its incredible food photography and unforgettable recipes, a visit to this blog will definitely stir up hunger pangs. Be sure to check out the Homemade Pantry tab that offers recipes for necessities such as peanut butter, ketchup, hummus, and even homemade organic butter.  If you are in need of a refreshing Fourth of July beverage, try the Lychee Mojito. You can even mix up some thirst quenching Raspberry Lemonade for the under 21 crowd.

Another staff favorite, Savory Sweet Life, provides easy everyday recipes for the everyday home cook. Alice is a cook, a baker, a writer, and a photographer.  She started her blog as a creative outlet — she wanted to share her joys in life with others. We love her blog because she keeps it simple; the recipes are approachable, yet impressive. Check this out: prior to having kids, she worked in 3D animation, which led her to start her own wedding cake business! I bet her kids would kill to have one of those triple layer birthday cakes!

With a Best of 2010 Special Interest Blog award, we can’t leave La Tartine Gourmande off of our list. Béa is a French expatriate who lives in Boston. She feels privileged to be able to share her food discoveries, experiments, stories, and creativity with her readers. She is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe Food Section and she has even done work for Trader Joe’s. She makes incredible gazpacho and amazing spiced pumpkin pots de creme with sautéed apples and pistachios. Be sure to check out her Gluten Free tab as well!

Cooking everything but the kitchen sink is Kristin, the author of the Kitchen Sink Recipes blog. Kristin lives in Chicago and is a pro at keeping things seasonal! She also has some fantastic pre-made menus including a Summer BBQ Menu, a Picnic Menu, and a Fiesta Menu. Her blog has been featured on The Pioneer Woman’s delicious food site and in the Chicago Sun Times as well.

Still with us? We sure hope so, because you don’t want to miss Sprouted Kitchen. Though you won’t find a lot of meat and potatoes on this blog, you will find recipes that use healthy, local, and organic ingredients. This blog is all about eating seasonally! This mushroom and poblano tart in a cornmeal crust sure looks perfect for a Sunday brunch!

In 2006, Helene Dujardin started writing Tartelette… on the sweet side of life… She is also the author of Plate to Pixel, a book about digital food photography and styling that came out this April. We love this blog because of the way it celebrates life! Helene takes amazing photos and likes to add a French twist (she used to be a pastry chef at a French restaurant.) Fun side note: though she does not have Celiac’s disease, she has chosen to be 100% gluten free. She says that this change has made her laugh more and feel better every single day.

Orangette is up next. Molly Wizenberg lives in Seattle and has been writing her food blog since July of 2004.  Guess what? She met her husband through her site! She wrote this book, which is a food memoir (with 50 recipes) and opened this restaurant in Seattle. We love her photos, the simplicity of her site, and her Napa cabbage kimchi!

And finally… (drum roll please!!!)…

Rounding out our Top 10: food52, which features not one or two bloggers, but a whole team of foodies. The cool thing about this blog is that it is super engaging! There are videos and even contests– for instance, each Friday they solicit recipes for different themes (whether it be “best summer cocktail” or “best shrimp recipe”). Then, they test a bunch of the entries, and whittle it down to two finalists.  A week later, the winning recipes are posted on their blog! Then readers choose their favorite recipe, and that recipe is added to the food52 cookbook.  You never know, you could be the next finalist!

So there you have it! Parties that Cook’s Top 10 food blogs of 2011! Are you up for a challenge? See if you can make one meal from each of these 10 blogs this summer. Be sure to let us know your favorites!