Posts from the “Cooking for the Book Club” Category

December’s Book Club was all about Sharing

The Menu

Mustard Roasted Broccoli with Leeks and Lemon
Curried Tomato Chickpeas Stew
Wild and Brown Rice Ghee and Lemon
Tossed Salad
Christmas Surprise Cake
White Wine

December’s Book Selection

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


Everyone contributed to December’s book club meeting both by bringing food or wine and sharing their thoughts about the charming book we read. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was the prefect book to read in December. With everyone’s hectic schedule we needed an easy read that was on the lighter side. And, this fit the bill. While light and breezy to read it was charming and sweet without being saccharin. The same can be said for our dinner. Read more

Book Club’s Thanksgiving Dinner

The Menu

Orange Farro Beets Salad
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grape with Pomegranate Glaze
Indian Spiced Roasted Cauliflower
Cranberry Apple Pie and Ice Cream (not included in the cost per person)
White Wine
$10 per person based on 6 people

November’s Book Selection

The Hare with Amber Eyes, a Hidden Inheritance by Edmund De Waal


Unlike the rest of the United States, Thanksgiving came a week early for the book club. My biggest challenge was preparation. I had to go into the office for about 5 hours before having everyone come to my home at 7. Fortunately, the festive meal while labor intensive had components that could be done the day before, leaving only some slicing, dicing, and roasting the day of the meeting. In a relaxed three hours before everyone arrived, I chopped the cauliflower, toasted the walnuts, peeled the navel oranges, roasted the vegetables, made the glaze, tossed the farro and beet salad and set the table. Read more

Fall Feast for October Book Club Dinner

The Menu

Delicata Squash stuffed with Coconut Curry Swiss Chard and Chickpeas
Lime Forbidden Rice
Apple and Carrot Casserole
Dandelion, Arugula and Radish Salad
Pumpkin Spice Cake (not included in the cost per person)
White Wine
$10 per person based on 6 people

October’s Book Selection

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese


Most of the ingredients for the meal I had on hand, so when my plans to purchase the produce at the Fall Festival in western mass were foiled it was easy to do my shopping back in New York City on monday before preparing Tuesday’s meal.

Since switching to coconut or grape seed oil when cooking at high temperature instead of olive oil, I’ve wanted to also focus on using coconut milk and planned to incorporate it into my meal for the book club. While in Massachusetts I experimented with making the coconut curry stuffed delicata squash and liking the results decided to prepare it for the discriminating foodies at book club. Read more

September Book Club

The Menu

Cucumber and Apple Condiment
Apple Strudel

September’s Book Selection

In the Garden of the Beast: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Eric Larson


Of the five of us at the dinner 2 of the women (both writers) wanted to give it 4 1/2 stars while I felt  3 stars was generous. Although, extremely well written and researched, I found it tedious to read.

Coming back from Western Mass. on Sunday night didn’t leave me enough time to prepare the apartment, plan a menu, shop and cook dinner for Tuesday evening’s book club meeting so I asked if everyone wouldn’t mind ordering in for dinner. In keeping with the German theme of the book I looked into the menu of a German restaurant not more than 4 or 5 blocks from my home, but the cuisine wasn’t vegetarian friendly. Looking at the menu we probably could have ordered a couple appetizer but the sausage and heavy meat entrees were impossible. Of the restaurants suggested, everyone decided Indian food was the best option and the easiest to share. There are only a few Indian restaurants in my hood, meaning several blocks from my home, and they are mostly on Tenth Avenue where the cabbies stop to get their meals. They are good but don’t offer the variety that Basera Indian Bistro on Ninth does. We ordered several vegetarian dishes: Baigan Bharta, roasted eggplant with onions and tomatoes; Aloo Gabha, cauliflower and potatoes; Saag, spinach with chickpeas, and some Nan. The Aloo Gabha was particularly good.

I wanted to contribute in someway to the dinner and decided to make an appetizer so we could nibble while waiting for dinner to arrive. Read more

Eggplant, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Lentils Meatballs featured at August’s Book Club Dinner

The Menu

Blistered Shishito Peppers
Heirloom Tomatoes, Peaches and Blueberries Salad
Charred Eggplant with Tahini, Pomegranate and Cucumber
Lentil Meatballs with Lemon Pesto
Blueberry Crumbcake

August’s Book Selection

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett


This year’s CSA has seen more than its share of eggplants. Hardly any summer squash but two sometimes three eggplants each week for the past four weeks. So having two beautiful white eggplants in the produce drawer, I knew I had to include them in this months menu.

August also means tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, and basil to me so these personal favorites had to be on the menu too!

Researching recipes, I turned to two recent acquisitions, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and The Sprouted Kitchen Read more

Hearty Summer Salads for July Book Club Dinner

The Menu

Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts and Cumin Seeds
Summer Squash and Quinoa Salad and Walnuts
Kitchen Sink tossed Salad
Wild Blueberry Pie (Erin’s contribution and not included in price per person)
Beer and Wine
$11 per person

July’s book selection

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce


Away for the weekend and tuesday’s book club fast approaching, I planned to pick-up produce at a Farmer’s Market near where I was staying. I thought I’d plan the menu around the produce available. Unfortunately, the selection was limited. Several veggies looked appealing including the fava beans, russian kale and romaine lettuce but since my time was limited on tuesday — I had to work till mid-afternoon on tuesday — the fava beans although very tempting would be too time consuming. And I served Kale last month so I settled on a huge head of Romaine Lettuce as the base of my salad. Read more