A Book Club for Cookbooks?

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Is there really such a thing as a book club for people who love to cook?    Yes!

Really?   Really!

Being new to the bay area, I have been looking for a place to ‘plug-in.’ So far, I have found a free running club, an inexpensive bike club (we’ve yet to try out) and now a book club.  But not just any book club, one that focuses its selections entirely on cookbooks. *Big smiles*

As you might imagine, this is not your typical book club. It more closely resembles a book tour stop as the authors are in attendance! Normally, I would have taken a ton of pictures, but last night was so engaging that I forgot! I know, I know…sorry. Here are the details.

The Cook’s Book Club is a collaboration of Books Inc., The Pasta Shop (a gourmet market), and Café Rouge (an organic Mediterranean restaurant) in Berkeley, California. Held at 6 pm on the 4th Tuesday of every month, the location rotates between Books Inc. and The Pasta Shop. This month was held at Books Inc. where they had a healthy supply of the selected book, The Fearless Baker.

As you arrived, the authors and representatives from the three local sponsors were there to greet you and direct you towards a table of goodies. The Pasta Shop brought cocoa nibs, Guittard and TCHO chocolate pastilles and three different vanillas in pastry crème to taste.  Wow! Café Rouge provided a huge plate of pecan sandies and mocha brownies made from recipes in this month’s book. The brownies were amazing!

After quick introductions, the moderator from the San Jose Mercury News Food & Wine Section began the discussion. Both of the authors, Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss were very candid and offered some great advice. First – measure, measure, measure! Apparently, the key to baking is to accurately measure the ingredients. I’m more of the cook by “sight and smell” kind of person. Perhaps that’s why my cakes often fall…  Anyway, it’s also good to know that even the professional’s burn nuts, cookies and cakes. If that happens, here are the tips straight from the pros: If you burn the nuts, throw them away. If you over bake cookies; crumble them over ice cream. And lastly, if you over bake a cake; make a trifle. Also, parchment paper is a baker’s best friend. It can replace cooling racks and even save the cake that was left in the pan too long, another one of my pitfalls.

After the discussion came the best part, meeting the authors. They signed books, answered any last minute questions and even chatted with me about Red, White and Blueberries. If this event is any indication, I think many new cookbooks are in my future!

So my short list of recipes to try:

Mocha-Cream Cheese Brownies – I’ve tried them, they’re amazing!

Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Frosting – Chocolate cake is tough for me and I’m always looking for the ‘perfect’ frosting recipe

Berry Trifle – I received a beautiful trifle dish and have yet to use it…

Brown Butter Crepes – Saturday mornings we go to Los Gatos for breakfast crepes. Maybe not anymore…

Lemon Crème Brûlée – I just love this flamed custard!

 

Stay tuned for upcoming posts as I try out these recipes and share my experiences.

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