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!


  1. Wow!! Your son has the most amazing mom. That custard looks and sounds so good; I'm inspired. Thank you for sharing. I wish I was there.....salivating...

  2. Yum! Your jars of custard look delicious. I just attended the Food52 gathering down here and it was fabulous as well. What a wonderful group of people, glad to be a part of it!

  3. This sounded so cool when you first posted and now seeing the dessert potluck - WOW! What a fun time. The Creme Vermont looks devine! I can just imagine how smooth it is. I'm responsible for a dessert this weekend. If I have time to try something new, I think I just found the thing!

  4. @ChefMoji
    Aw, thank you, ChefMoji! I highly recommend the custard - I'll be making it again soon since we all love it. Have a great weekend!

    Thank you, Karen! So happy you had a Food52 gathering, as well. Hopefully our paths will cross sometime! Enjoy your weekend!

  6. @Mikaela Cowles
    Thank you, Mikaela! The custard would be perfect to take for dessert. You can easily make it ahead of time, and if you use 1/2 pint Mason jars you can pop the lids on for transporting. Have a fun weekend!

  7. I left a comment about this party on another of your posts and thought I'd leave a note here too. So glad you had a great Food52 party too, and had a chance to meet Amanda and Merrill. Ours here in the Bay Area was so nice. Oh - and HLA (Sara) from Food52 HIGHLY recommended the cocoa nib brittle to me since I'm allergic to nuts. I'm definitely making this!!! Thanks for the reminder. Have a great week.

    I'm so happy you had a Food52 gathering, too! Hopefully we'll meet at one someday. Sara was right to recommend the cocoa nib brittle - it's marvelous and I'm about to make another batch to take with us next week for Thanksgiving. Hope you enjoy it, too!

  9. Oh my, I would like one of those custards right now, they sound amazing. And it is so much fun meeting other food bloggers...we just had our first conference in NZ last week, such an amazing day.

  10. @Mairi
    Congratulations, Mairi, on the NZ food bloggers conference! That is very exciting, and indeed wonderful to meet each other in person.

  11. Your Food52 experiences sound so great that I was inspired to sign up! Now I'm just finding my way around the site...

    Yay, welcome to Food52! It's a marvelous cooking community to be a part of and I hope you enjoy it. I'm still navigating my way around the new site, too.


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