Tag spring menu

San Francisco Team’s March Cookbook Club Recap: Spring Menus

Last week brought our much anticipated March Cookbook Club. This month we elected to select our recipes from Parties That Cook’s very own Spring Menus. There’s no better way to test recipes and sneak a peek at the next season’s appetizers, side dishes and entrees! Let’s dive on in, shall we?

Fava Bean and Sweet Pea Puree – Roxanne started us off with a tasty dip and beautiful tray of fresh veggies. She substituted Shelled Edamame, and it worked beautifully! I loved this healthy start to our feast.

Dino Kale Caesar Salad with Marinated Avocado and Asiago Tostado – Rebecca continued our healthy kick with a Mexican twist on a classic salad. Everyone loved the fresh dressing with garlic, lime juice and olive oil. Rebecca loved how easy it was to make. Shredded Asiago crisps were the star of this dish – melting and toasting beautifully (and quickly!) in the oven. Pro tip: Kale can be pretty dense if packed into a bowl, so make sure to fully toss the greens in the dressing before adding more. Nobody likes a soggy salad!

Apricot and Pine Nut Dolmas – Laura staked her claim on this recipe early on. I don’t even know how to describe just how refreshing these are. Upon first bite, I’m transported to a rocking chair on a shady porch somewhere in the South (the only place with truly scorching days, right?). Yep, that about sums it up. In true dolma fashion, the grape leaves made the perfect vessel for the rice, pine nuts and bits of apricot.

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Jicama and Grapefruit Slaw – Kelle brought in gorgeous spring rolls packed with flavor. *Photo does not do justice! Even though Kelle held back on the citrus, the slaw was borderline addictive. We had a great time figuring out how to maximize the extra juices: Dip vs. drizzle vs. waterfall. Verdict: To each her own, just pass me another spring roll.

Spicy Minced Thai Chicken with Basil – Of course it would be Beth who chose the dish with “spicy” in the title. She is the queen of heat, among other things. Thankfully, Beth held back on the spice for the weaklings in the group (*cough* ME *cough*). I thought they were still pretty spicy, despite Beth’s inability to detect any heat. Pro tip: The thick purple cabbage holds up incredibly well against the weight of the minced chicken – not to mention makes for a beautifully colorful dish.

Indian Spiced Chicken Sliders with Cucumber and Mint Raita – Crissy opted for this surprisingly easy dish. Slider patties are quickly seared before being popped in the oven to cook. Whala! Pro tip: Don’t skip the searing, as it really helps the patties hold their form when finished. Despite using the cutest mini buns for this recipe, the bread was still a bit overwhelming. Luckily, a quick brainstorming session allowed us to find the perfect solution (smaller buns, obvs.). I’m predicting these guys will be extra popular this spring.

Bonus Dish! Tanya made Sweet Pea Cannelloni for us, even though the recipe is still under construction. We all loved the flavor, but found the dish a bit on the hearty side. Tanya scribbled a few notes, and it was back to the test kitchen for this cheesy side dish. (Mmmm, cheese.) Until we meet again, my pretty.

March’s Multitasking Cookbook Club: Parties That Cook’s Spring Menus

A few short weeks ago we had our most important cookbook club meeting in months. In an attempt at ultimate productivity, we decided to host a lunch featuring none other than Parties That Cook’s Spring Menus. The finalized list of recipes for all Spring cooking parties, corporate team building events, and classes hadn’t yet been released (Top Secret!). I must admit, I felt a bit special.

This season, you can expect to see a lot of familiar recipes. Call them what you will — classics, favorites, “mine” — we love these recipes, and we’re sure you will, too. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Creamy Artichoke Soup with Basil Pistou – Crissy elected to make this dish after a few days of indecision, and we were not disappointed! The soup had a delightful flavor, and was not heavy enough to overpower our appetites. Refrigerated, the soup lasted for a few days beyond this lunch!

Sweet Pea Galetes with Prosciutto and Sour Cream – Christina signed on to make this dish. Having tried a few of the other galete varieties we’ve had on our menus over the years, I had high expectations. One bite was all it took to know we had another winner on our hands. Whole peas add a nice texture and a little surprise in the galetes, and you really can’t go wrong with a prosciutto and sour cream combo!

Greek Salad with Grilled Halloumi Cheese, Kalamata Olives and Smoked Olive Oil Dressing – Rebecca swooped on the opportunity to try this recipe. (“You had me at ‘halloumi’.“) What could have been another plain salad turned out to be a delicious dish worthy of center-plate. The ingredients really come together to provide the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and tangy flavors. Word to the wise: Do make sure you use a ridged grill pan when grilling halloumi. You really want those beautiful grill marks!

Crispy Pancetta Wrapped Marble Potatoes with Caperberry Remoulade – Kelle called dibs on this recipe rather early in the game. Unfortunately, she came down with the worst cold the office has seen in a while, and was unable to bring anything in this cookbook club.

Spinach and Feta Cigars with Tzatziki Sauce – Bibby immediately staked her claim on these fun little “cigars”. To the best of my knowledge, she stuck to the recipe. A couple of ladies at the table expressed an initial concern about this dish, but all were silenced with the first deliciously crunchy bite. I, for one, am intrigued to learn just how many dipping sauces (and which sauces) would pair well with the cigars.

Philly Cheese Steak Bites with Peppadew Peppers and Melted Gruyere Cheese Sauce – Rosie opted to make TWO dishes this cookbook club (she’s quite the over-achiever). This appetizer was so delicious (and colorful!), I continuously piled a few more on my plate throughout lunch. Sadly, a staff meeting later that afternoon wiped out any I had refrained from eating myself…

Open Face Rock Shrimp Sliders with Lotus Root Pickles and Rainbow Micro Greens – Tanya, our very own Executive Chef and mastermind behind most recipes you find at events, wanted to take on this recipe. And she sure did it justice. With maybe a couple of tweaks here and there, she got this recipe ready for the lime-light (Recipe of the Month, anyone??). The final product was almost too pretty to eat, (Almost.) and definitely too good not too eat. (Definitely.)

Baby Polenta Cakes with Raspberry Coulis and Amaretto Cream – Erin went back to her preferred course: Dessert. Let me just say: YUM. Though I can’t speak for everyone, I really enjoyed the grainy texture the polenta provided. There were absolutely no complaints about flavor, and the next day, I could find absolutely no trace of left-overs. (‘Twas a sad day for me..)

Strawberry and Rhubarb Empanadas – Rosie, the over-achiever, brought in these monstrous desserts for her second dish. They weren’t actually that big, but after eating so many other dishes, I knew I could/should/would not attempt an entire empanada on my own. These were so delicious! The crust was not too thick, and as a whole, the dessert was not overly sweet. Ya gotta try these!

Overall, the lunch was great! I walked back to my desk feeling satisfied, if not a bit too full, and excited for all the positive feedback we can only imagine trickling in this season. Get ready for some awesome recipe blogs to come!