Cookbook Club – December 2008

December 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm (Cookbook Club, Good Eats & Drinks, Napa Valley) (, , )

This time we decided to do something different.  This time something a little more festive.  So the girls decided let’s get inspired by cocktails…can’t go wrong with that this time of year…right?

artisinal-cocktailsThe chosen book was “Artisinal Cocktails:  Drinks Inspired by the Seasons”written by famed St. Helena boy Scott Bade about his concoctions behind the bar at Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg.  (Side note:  Cyrus is probably the BEST restaurant I have ever had the experience of eating!)

The theme for the party was pair up with someone and pick a cocktail, and then make your “go-to” holiday appetizer.  Britt and I made the Autumn Apple cocktail which had apple rum, cinnamon, and dried apples for garnish.  Super yummy and perfect for a fall evening.  For my appie I threw together “Wickedly Good Potato Bites”.  A super simple finger food that is perfect for cocktail parties.

What you’ll need:  baby potatoes, chives, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, goat cheese, and toasted Pine Nuts.

Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.  Roast the potatoes at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  While potatoes roast, combine the chopped chives, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, goat cheese, and pine nuts in a bowl.  Season to taste.  When potatoes are done, let them cool a little so they can be handles.  Then cut them in half, and out of each half scoop out some potato to make a little boat.  Fill the boat with the olive mixture.  Sprinkle with more chives and serve.

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Cookbook Club – The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey

November 14, 2008 at 1:31 pm (Cookbook Club, Napa Valley) (, , )

Since bocce is over, the Cookbook Club is now my favorite form of entertainment.  The girls gathering, sharing food and wine, and discussing what worked with their recipes – or not!

israeli-food-book1Of course I was extra excited when our chosen cookbook for November was The New Book of Israeli Food.  I love me some Israeli food! 

This cookbook is not only rich in historical information about the foods and region, it also contains amazing photography of the food and day to day lives of such an ancient place.  Even if you are not a huge fan of food, this book is still interesting for the historical context it gives on the food and how the Israeli table is a conglomeration of many ancient cultures in the Middle East.

It was very hard for me to choose what to make because everything in this book looked delicious!  I finally decided on the “Everything Salad” because I definitely wanted to have something refreshing with all the more rich food.  The salad included many of my favorite ingredients…tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and feta cheese all with a creamy herb dressing…yummy!  Below I have listed all of the things that were made for the dinner:

Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese Mousse – a fluffy dip that was great with pita
Baked Lamb Patties in Tahini Sauce – Tahini has numerable uses in Middle Eastern cuisine.  A base for hummus, and in this case serves as a sauce for the lamb.
Complete Hummus – Hummus made from scratch in incomparable to anything pre-packaged in a store.  This one was served with a special sauce made from hot pickled peppers.
Tabuleh – An Arab salad using bulgar and surprise…pomegranate seeds!
Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad – A nice and spicy side.  Reminded some of us of the pickled carrots served at taco trucks.
Celery and Kashkaval Cheese Salad – A Middle Eastern version of the Cesar. 
Lentil and Vegetable Soup – Simple and fulfilling. We served in mini-coffee cups.
Diana Lamb Baharat – Grilled Lamb Kebabs…you can’t go wrong!
Apple, Cinnamon and Walnut Cake – Perfect for any fall meal!
Flour less Chocolate and Pistachio Cake – something delicious, without the flour.

I can’t wait to try many more things from this book!  Yummy!

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