“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – The Pollan Family Table Cookbook
For our April 2015 meeting of the cookbook club, we focused our cooking on The Pollan Family Table cookbook by Corky, Lori, Dana and Tracy Pollan.
After years of calling each other to ask about family recipes, Corky, who writes for the Cooking Channel blog and is also former style director at Gourmet magazine and former Best Bets editor at New York Magazine, and her three daughters collected three generations of the family’s recipes. They have shared more than 100 of their best in this cookbook. In addition to the recipes and beautiful corresponding photographs, the cookbook is organized so that each recipe has a pantry and market list of ingredients, making it easy to shop and plan dinners. I thought that feature was really clever.
Susan hosted our evening and had snapdragon flowers on the table to signify spring – that finally arrived here in Connecticut! We began the evening with two appetizers made by Pat. While the cookbook doesn’t have a specific section labeled as appetizers, we purposed a few items as our “starters.”
The spicy chunky guacamole is perfect with chips. The recipe allows you to customize it to be as mild or spicy as you like it. Pat opted for the mild side. The guacamole was creamy and cool tasting. In following one of the recipe’s helpful tips, Pat kept the avocado pit in the center to help prevent the guacamole from turning brown – and it worked!
Our second appetizer, also made by Pat, was the crispy parmesan-zucchini chips. The recipe is a healthy version of fried zucchini but it’s baked in the oven and still has all the flavors. We loved the zucchini chips and left the platter empty!
The centerpiece for our meal was chicken marsala with mushrooms and sage made by Susan.
The combination of sage, mushrooms and marsala wine made a wonderful, rich sauce. The chicken was very tender. I could see myself making this recipe for a weekday dinner or for weekend entertaining.
Accompanying the chicken were several sides. Val made the rich and creamy polenta and it held true to the recipe’s name.
We enjoyed using the polenta as the base for the chicken marsala. The richness of the polenta and the mushroom and sage sauce was an amazing combination.
For our second side, I made the creamy spinach pasta alfredo with crispy pancetta. I will admit that I substituted turkey bacon for pancetta, as I have not had good luck cooking with pancetta.
This dish begins as your typical pasta with alfredo sauce. However, with the addition of the spinach and pancetta/ turkey bacon it rises to new heights. It’s a perfect “all-in-one” meal because you have many of the food groups represented in one dish.
I also made the crispy garlic bread.
It was a very simple recipe to make and can be a nice compliment to many entrees.
The meal wouldn’t have been complete without the cookbook’s hallmark dish – the Pollan signature salad. I was very excited that Sharon signed up to make it!
The salad is a delicious combination of lettuce, caramelized walnuts, pears and shaved Parmesan cheese. If those ingredients didn’t already have you salivating, the dressing that topped it was light and bursting with flavor.
To cap off a beautiful meal, Terri made Hallie’s Mixed Berry pie.
The pie is filled with blueberries and raspberries coupled with a hint of lemon from the fresh lemon juice and zest. It was delicious and definitely worth a diet cheat.
When my husband saw this pie was the dessert, he told me to make sure I brought a piece home!
For our “take home treats,” Susan made Esme’s S’mores cookies and Mack and Cam’s mini pecan tarts. I love that the cookbook gives credit to the extended family members (in this case the grandchildren) who developed these recipes. Esme, Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan’s daughter, developed the cookie recipe. She sold them as part of a cookie business she started with all the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Both sweet treats were delicious. I always enjoy having something to indulge on after our dinner. It’s a great way to extend the fun!
In total, ten dishes were made from the Pollan Family Table cookbook.
I know there are several other recipes in the cookbook that I am anxious to try very soon!
Our next gathering will be in June. We will be cooking from the “Skinnytaste” and “CSA” cookbooks.
I can’t wait to see – and taste – all the delicious recipes we’ll be sampling then.
Does your family have special recipes handed down to generations? If so, what’s your favorite?
Does your family gather together for dinners?
Disclaimer: While the cookbook book club was provided with copies of The Pollan Family Table cookbook, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the event