Book Club Dinner 2010

Once a year I host Book Club on my rooftop. I wait until the weather is nice out and put together a delicious menu for my Book Club buddies, because we all know Book Club is just as much about the food, wine, and gossip, as it is about the book (by the way, this month we read One Day. It was just so-so.)

The white bean dip has become a standard in my repertoire this summer. It is super easy to make and delicious. The chicken bites are amazing. I am so happy I found this new recipe (and sauce, which can easily be used for different dishes). The chicken bites were crisp and moist on the inside. I will be cooking breaded chicken in this manner from here on out. The tart was also a nice addition, and I didn’t have a problem using store bought puff pastry (so much easier than making your own…unless you are on Top Chef).

We finished off the meal with these delightful ice cream bonbons. The coconut ones tasted like a frozen Almond Joy. The raspberry/chocolate combination was equally as mouth-watering. If you’ve never ladled chocolate, it is a must-try cooking method—lots of fun!

Overall this was a successful dinner party. I will certainly be making each of these recipes again.

Roasted Garlic White Bean Dip

1 head of garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 can (19-ounce) cannellini beans drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Coarse salt and ground pepper

1.    Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cut top ¼ inch off head of garlic to expose cloves.
2.    Place garlic in a small baking dish. Add oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Turn garlic cut side up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until garlic skins are golden brown and cloves are tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic coves from skins and set aside.
3.    In a food processor, combine cannellini beans, olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and roasted garlic. Season with salt and ground pepper. Puree until smooth.
4.    Place puree in a serving bowl and lightly sprinkle with chili power over the top. Serve dip with carrots and pita chips.
Note: Can be made the day ahead and kept in the fridge in a Tupperware container.

Panko-Crusted Chicken Bites with Apricot-Dijon Dipping Sauce

Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds) cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup apricot jam or preserves
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves


1.    Preheat over to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fir with a wire rack. Spray with cooking spray; set aside.
2.    Place flour in a large bowl and season very generously with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in another large bowl with 2 tablespoons water until well combined. Place the breadcrumbs in a third bowl and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat. Stir in cheese and cayenne and mix well.
3.    Place chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and toss to coat. Working in 3 batches, shake off any excess flour from chicken pieces and transfer to egg mixture; stir to combine. Transfer coated chicken pieces with a slotted spoon to the breadcrumb mixture and toss until completely coated. Place the breaded chicken pieces on a rack-lined baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Repeat process until all the chicken is breaded. Bake until golden brown and chicken is cooked through 18-20 minutes.
4.    In a small bowl, stir the apricot jam, mustard, and thyme together until combined. Allow chicken to cool 10 minutes before serving with apricot mustard mixture.

Serves 12
Source: The Martha Stewart Show

Spinach, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Tart

Flour for rolling out puff pastry
1 (from a 17.3 ounce package) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper
2 packages (10 ounces each) cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 package (10 ounces) fresh baby spinach
2 ounces soft goat cheese crumbled

1.    Preheat oven to 400˚F.  On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place the pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score dough to form a 1-inch border. Using a fork, prick dough inside the border every ½ inch. Bake until golden, rotating pan once, about 15 minutes or until tender.
2.    Meanwhile, in a small saucepan with a tight-fitted lid, toss onion with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt. Cover and cook over medium heat until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir. Continue cooking with cover on for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Set aside.
3.    In a large saucepan with a tight-fitted lid, heat remaining oil. Add mushrooms; cover and cook until lender and all liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Fold in spinach season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, until wilted, about 5 minutes more. Drain any liquid.
4.    Top dough with mushroom-spinach mixture. Scatter onion and goat cheese on top. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cut into smaller pieces and serve.

Serves 6
Source: Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food


Coconut Ice Cream Bonbons

12 chocolate wafer cookies
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 pints coconut sorbet
12 whole almonds
26 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

1.    Set a wire rack over a baking pan. Arrange the wafers, top sides down, on rack, spaced evenly apart. Place 2 teaspoons shredded coconut in the center of each wafer. Using a 2-inch ice-cream scoop, scoop a ball of coconut sorbet onto each wafer. Place an almond on top of each scoop of sorbet. Transfer pan to freezer for 20 minutes.
2.    In a double boiler, or a heat-proof bowl, set over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from heat. Let cool slightly.
3.    Remove baking pan from freezer. Generously ladle melted chocolate over the bonbons, covering entirely. Return the baking pan to the freezer for 30 minutes more or overnight. Serve.

Note: I ended up making half with coconut sorbet and the other half with raspberry sorbet. The raspberry was equally delicious. Just omit the almonds and coconut. If you want to use 2 different flavors of sorbet you will only need 1 pint each. Also if you can’t find chocolate wafers (I couldn’t find them in any of the Dupont-area grocery stores) you can buy Oreo cookies. Use just the cookie parts; the cream filling will come off easily with a flat knife.

Serves 12
Source: Martha Stewart Living

2 responses to “Book Club Dinner 2010

  1. sounds yummy. our book club has an annual tea at a restaurant in Annapolis and annual happy hour in a bar looking over the Chesapeake Bay! maybe we should get our clubs together, we are so close to each other. Happy Reading! oh, and happy eating!

  2. This spread looks delish! I’m going to try the white bean dip tonight. (Reya loves cannellini beans)

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