“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – Brunch at Bobby’s Cookbook

“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – Brunch at Bobby’s Cookbook

For the cookbook club’s first meeting of 2016, we cooked from Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook by Bobby Flay. Cookbook club is no stranger to Bobby Flay’s recipes – in fact, we cooked from his Boy Meets Grill cookbook in 2014.

Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook by Bobby Flay

Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook by Bobby Flay

As the title indicates, this cookbook features 140 recipes for Bobby’s favorite meal of the week – brunch. I find brunch to be a treat as well. It’s an easy meal to be laid back, enjoy a cocktail and splurge on indulgent entrees and other treats not normally eaten during the week’s meals.

Terri hosted this cookbook club dinner. To kick off the New Year, we invited our husbands to join us for this gathering – and some helped with onsite cooking, typical with certain brunch items that need to be made fresh.

This cookbook gets the brunch party started with simple and exciting drinks – both spiked and virgin, iced and hot coffees and teas. So we felt it appropriate for our brunch meal to begin in the same fashion. Sharon made an Earl Grey Spritzer. It was delicious simple syrup saturated with the tea and poured over crisp champagne.

Earl Grey Spritzer

Earl Grey Spritzer

Val made Sangria Sunrise. It consisted of a blend of fruits – pineapple, orange, and blackberries – with the fruity red wine bleeding down into the orange base.

Sangria Sunrise

Sangria Sunrise

The drinks were appealing both visually and to the taste!

Terri chose to divide the brunch meal into three sections – starters, entrees and sides and a sweet ending. To kick off the starters, Val made tropical fruit salad with ginger syrup. It was a refreshing combination of tropical fruits – a far cry from your typical fruit salad.

Tropical fruit salad with ginger syrup

Tropical fruit salad with ginger syrup

Sharon made pumpkin-cranberry scones. The combination of pumpkin and ginger, peppered with the dried cranberries made for the moistest scones I may have ever eaten. They were a treat that I treasured the next morning as well.

Pumpkin-cranberry scones

Pumpkin-cranberry scones

Sharon also made our savory starter dish – Fig jam, ham and cheese Panini. The blend of sweet (from the jam), salty (from the prosciutto), peppery (from the arugula) and creamy (from the cheese) is an amazing combination for the grilled sandwich and one that I’ll need to make again!

Fig jam, ham and cheese Panini

Fig jam, ham and cheese Panini

The main course featured a decadent take on the brunch classic eggs benedict and ratcheted it up several notches. Terri made crab cakes benedict with Old Bay hollandaise on Johnnycakes. It’s a rather involved recipe because it consists of four elements that come together to create this multi-layered dish.

Crab cakes benedict with Old Bay hollandaise on Johnnycakes

Crab cakes benedict with Old Bay hollandaise on Johnnycakes

And Terri cooked the dish to each person’s likings to accommodate for any seafood and egg allergies.

The dish was cooked to each person’s likings.

The dish was cooked to each person’s likings.

 

Accompanying the benedict were three sides. Terri made rosemary home fries with pancetta, Parmesan and parsley. The potatoes were wonderfully crispy and flavored with a salty (from the pancetta) and peppery (from the red pepper flakes) combination.

Rosemary home fries with pancetta, Parmesan and parsley

Rosemary home fries with pancetta, Parmesan and parsley

Pat made the other two dishes to complete our entrée portion. For our breakfast meat, she made the maple-mustard-glazed Canadian bacon. Another wonderful blend of flavors that elevates the dish.

Maple-mustard-glazed Canadian bacon

Maple-mustard-glazed Canadian bacon

Pat also made the tomato strata. While this recipe is listed under the “savory side dishes” section of the cookbook, it could serve as a side or as a brunch entrée. The baked dish is bursting with tomato flavor. It would be a great dish to make when the local tomatoes are available.

Tomato strata

Tomato strata

 

Concluding our cookbook club’s brunch was a sweet ending. I stepped aside in cooking for this meal and my husband took over the chef’s apron. Mike made double chocolate pancakes with salted caramel sauce. He spotted the recipe right after the cookbook arrived and was dying to try it.

Double chocolate pancakes with salted caramel sauce

Double chocolate pancakes with salted caramel sauce

For anyone who thinks chocolate-chip pancakes are a decadent treat, this raises breakfast pancakes to a whole other level. Surprisingly the pancakes were not overly sweet or heavy. The addition of the caramel sauce, raspberries and dusting of confectioner’s sugar put this dish into the dessert category in my opinion.

In total, ten dishes were made from the Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook. Everyone in the group had a difficult time deciding what to make because there are so many delicious recipes packed into this cookbook. I will definitely be trying out several more – maybe even for those Easter and Mother’s Day brunch celebrations forthcoming!

 

Have you ever hosted a brunch gathering?

What’s your favorite brunch recipe/ dish?

 

Disclaimer:  While the cookbook book club was provided with copies of Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

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Cookbook book club – Bobby Flay’s “Boy Meets Grill” cookbook

“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – Bobby Flay’s “Boy Meets Grill” cookbook

We had our second meeting of the “Food for Thought” cookbook book club.  This gathering focused on Bobby Flay’s “Boy Meets Grill” cookbook and show recipes.

While I’ve heard Bobby speak twice – and I think his story is quite inspiring – and seen his television cooking shows many times, I don’t own any of his cookbooks or think I’ve made many, if any of his recipes.  But this is the purpose of the cookbook club – to get all of us to try new recipes and broaden our cooking skills and experiences.

Pat hosted this gathering.  We began our evening with a glass – or two, three – of Bobby’s Peach Sangria that Susan made.

Peach Sangria

Peach Sangria

It looked beautiful and tasted refreshing.  We all thought it would be perfect for any upcoming summer party.  Susan described the process of assembling the drink and quantified it as “easy” to make.

To accompany our cocktail, Terri made Hot Blue Cheese sauce for dipping potato chips.  I read online that this is a favorite appetizer found at Bobby’s “Bar Americain” restaurant.

Hot Blue Cheese sauce for dipping potato chips

Hot Blue Cheese sauce for dipping potato chips

The sauce was amazing.  The blue cheese did not overpower it.  It became very addicting and personally I couldn’t stop eating it.  Terri quantified the recipe as “easy” to make and said it made a good portion – plenty for a party appetizer.

Pat began grilling the main entrée for our dinner:  pork chops marinated in orange, ginger and toasted paprika.

Pork chops marinated in orange, ginger and toasted paprika

Pork chops marinated in orange, ginger and toasted paprika

The pork was juicy and extremely flavorful!  In typical Bobby fashion, the marinade, which is made ahead of time and the chops were soaked in overnight, includes onion, garlic, paprika, orange juice and ginger root that come together in an amazing combination.  Pat quantified the recipe as “easy” to make and commented that she would make it again.  We also thought the marinade would be great on pork tenderloin.

Accompanying the pork were three sides.  I made a Greek orzo and grilled shrimp salad with mustard dill vinaigrette.  Fresh dill is a must for this recipe – dried will not do.

Greek orzo and grilled shrimp salad with mustard dill vinaigrette

Greek orzo and grilled shrimp salad with mustard dill vinaigrette

Because we have a few who are seafood sensitive, I served the shrimp on the side of the orzo salad.

Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp

To be honest, the salad is so wonderful on its own you could make it with or without the shrimp.  Another tip:  if making it ahead of serving, reserve some of the vinaigrette or make extra to moisten before serving.  This recipe was very easy to make.  It makes plenty and I would definitely make it again!

Sharon made whipped potatoes with cilantro pesto.  The recipe commented that it’s a great side for pork – and it was!

Whipped potatoes with cilantro pesto

Whipped potatoes with cilantro pesto

The whipped potato dish was smooth and creamy with wonderful flavor coming from the cilantro pesto.  Sharon quantified the recipe as easy to make.  She also noted that it was important to fold not mix in the pesto so that you create the marbled ribbon effect with the pesto.

To cap off our main meal, our final side was a tomato-avocado salad with lime toasted cumin cilantro vinaigrette that Terri made.

Tomato-avocado salad with lime toasted cumin cilantro vinaigrette

Tomato-avocado salad with lime toasted cumin cilantro vinaigrette

The salad was very fresh tasting with wonderful flavor from the dressing.  It’s a perfect salad for summer, especially when local tomatoes are in season.  She said the recipe was very easy to make and also commented that it would be on her table this summer.

With all that wonderful food it’s amazing any of us had room for dessert, but we did!  I had peaked at Val’s dessert beforehand, so I was sure to leave room – and I’m glad I did!

Val made a gingerbread and lemon curd trifle with blackberry sauce that was not only moist and delicious, but also beautiful!

 

Gingerbread and lemon curd trifle with blackberry sauce

Gingerbread and lemon curd trifle with blackberry sauce

The trifle dessert was very tasty.  The combination of rich gingerbread with the lemon curd, whipped cream and blackberry sauce was awesome.  Everyone commented that this would be a wonderful dessert for the winter holidays.  Val quantified the dessert of intermediate difficulty.

For our “take-home treat,” I made Bobby’s blondies.

Blondies

Blondies

They were featured in an episode of his “Throw-down” challenge television show.  His recipe competed against Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweets from Columbus, OH.  While his recipe didn’t win on the television show competition, I thought it was a winner – easy to make, delicious tasting and would make them again.  I packaged them up for everyone to share with their families – or not and eat them themselves.

"Throw-down" Blondies - our take-home treat!

“Throw-down” Blondies – our take-home treat!

In total, eight dishes were made from Bobby Flay’s recipe collection.  Every dish was delicious and an amazing collection of flavors.  It was a beautiful meal and another fun gathering.

Eight dishes were made from Bobby Flay’s recipe collection

Eight dishes were made from Bobby Flay’s recipe collection

Our next meeting is scheduled for mid June.  Susan is hosting.  We’ve selected Ree Drummond – The Pioneer Woman for our next celebrity chef focus.  We all look forward to the delicious dishes everyone creates!

 

Have you made any of these recipes? – or will you in the future?

What’s your favorite Bobby Flay recipe?