Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Club Eats

Last night it was my turn to host book club. I'm always excited when it's at chez moi. It had been a while since we all got together due to our respective summer schedules, and last night seemed to be just what we all needed; no kids, no partners, yes chocolate and yes wine.
One of my favorite things to do when hosting a party or event is to put together the menu. I haul out my cookbooks and foodie mags and go through them in bed while listening to my ipod trying to get ideas. This is my way to rewind and relax-everyone's got their something-right?
I wanted the menu for this gathering of wonderful yet slightly stressed-out women to be, of course, delicious but also a little decadent and luxurious. Kind of like a back-to-school celebration.
In last month's Bon Appetit I came across two recipes that I knew would be great as hors d'oeuvres along with the ubiquitous cheese platter. A slow roasted tomato creation called Pomodori al Forno and Wild Mushroom Crostini. The Pomodori was outstanding and worth the slow-roastin' effort. The recipe called for ripe plum tomatoes, but I used ripe tomatoes on the vine instead, with soft goat cheese it was flavor exuberance. The mushrooms were also delicious but subtle, more like a supporting actor to the star, which was a Meyerberg goat's milk cheese with garlic and chive used as a base. I made a vinaigrette that I mixed into the mushrooms for additional flavor. I don't know if I'll include the vinaigrette next time- maybe let the mushooms sing alone.
The pasta Aglio Ollio was appreciated along with a simple mixed leaf salad dressed in a simple herb vinaigrette (that I also used for the mushrooms). But dessert was when the healing began. Inspired by of our family trip to Vermont I baked a Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze (Bon Appetit 10/07) and served my treasure trove of Vermont chocolate. We discussed the book (The Divide by Nicholas Evans), our lives, ate, drank, and were very merry - pretty good for a school night.

Pomodori Al Forno

Heat oven to 250F. Pour 1/2 c. olive oil into a glass baking dish. Slice up 2 lbs. of ripe tomatoes (4-5) that are halved lengthwise and seeded. Arrange tomato slices in dish. Drizzle with another 1/2 c. olive oil. Sprinkle with approx 1 tsp. dried oregano and 1 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bake for 1 hr. Turn tomatoes over and bake for another hour. Layer tomatoes in a bowl scattering 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 tsp. minced Italian parsley over. Pour reserved oil from baking dish over tomatoes. Let stand at room temp. until ready to serve.

Wild Mushroom Topping

Melt 3 tbsp butter in large skillet. Add 12oz. sliced wild mushrooms (I used oyster and shiitake) and 2 tsp. fresh thyme. Saute until browned. Serve at room temp.


Alexa said...

Wow, you make being part of a bookclub so much fun. I am a total bookworm but I haven't done the bookclub thing. The recipes that you tried from Bon Appetit sound fantastic. By the way, I do the same when I want to relax... Recipe books make great bedtime reading. :-)

Apples and Butter said...

Sound slike a great evening and great eats! I'm sure your book club loves it when you're the host!