Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Celebrating Community and a Cookbook
A year ago, I joined an amazing food community, Food52. I had never been part of an online community and it felt foreign to me to think of making friends online, rather than in person. What I discovered, though, is an incredible group of people scattered around the world, people who are kind, generous and supportive (much like the food blogging community). I have learned so much from these talented, creative cooks and feel connected in ways I didn’t expect. What a gift to find a place to grow, increase my knowledge and skills, be entertained and above all develop friendships.
Last month, a group of us in the Pacific Northwest met in person and spent an afternoon talking, eating and getting to know each other better. This past week, some of us met again at a dessert potluck I hosted to celebrate The Food52 Cookbook (using recipes from Food52). This is what the website is all about – community, sharing and good food. Well, we had all that at our party!
I made two desserts for this get together. The first one, Crème Vermont, happens to be the first recipe I ever made from Food52. I have a weakness for custard, and when you add maple syrup to it, well – I’m in heaven. These custards are silky smooth, made with cream steeped in fresh ginger, cinnamon and cloves and poured over maple syrup before being baked. They can be served warm or chilled and are high on my list of favorite fall/winter desserts.
The other dessert I made was Buckwheat Brownies with Walnuts and Toffee. I didn’t have toffee on hand and I substituted cocoa nibs – so good (I also sprinkled some sea salt on top before baking). The brownies are moist and chocolaty, made with almond meal and buckwheat flour so they are also gluten-free.
Some other desserts that guest brought were Gingerbread Bars with Hard Sauce Glaze, Spiced Parsnip Cake, Brown Sugar Cookies and Cappuccino Cheesecake. I can highly recommend all of them!
Another recipe I prepared was Cocoa Nib Brittle. I packaged it in little gift bags for guests to take home. I’ll be making this again quite soon – it’s a crunchy brittle with salted caramel and chocolate flavor ... perfect to give as a gift over the holidays or for house guests to nibble on.
The Food52 festivities continued the next evening at Delancey, where Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (the creators of Food52) joined a local group of us at a potluck to chat, drink wine and eat delicious dishes we each prepared from the website. What a marvelous celebration!
I am just delighted to be meeting such interesting, fun cooks who share my love of food and fun. I look forward to more such gatherings in person and to more online communicating. A toast to friends and food!