Nothing’s better on a winter evening than curling up with a good book. Except, that is, congregating with book-club friends over homemade delicacies to discuss your latest fiction finds.
My Boulder, Colorado, book club is an eclectic bunch—and our literary tastes are as “potluck” as the food. Our founder, Janet Cerretani, discarded the notion that a group of independent-minded women should all read the same book. Instead, we each read whatever books we want during the month, then report on them and swap titles. Some of our favorites have made the rounds: The Secret Life of Bees, Kite Runner, Lost and Found, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Life of Pi.
And, oh yes, we eat. We whip up organic vegetarian dishes—most are gluten free—with whatever flavors fit the season. In winter we favor comfort food, and we believe that delicious flavors—like great books—are meant to be shared.
Winter Greens with Apples, Pecans and Stilton Cheese
With its crunchy pecans and crispy apple slices, this salad has become our book club’s legendary pass-along recipe. Escarole is hard to find in Colorado, so we substitute whatever organic greens are fresh.
Tuscan White Bean Soup
This savory, Italian-inspired soup is from my favorite vegetarian restaurant—Rebar, in Victoria, British Columbia.
Brie & Parmesan Polenta
Book club member Nancy Kiehl garnishes this satisfying comfort food with rosemary or roasted red peppers.
Beekeeper and filmmaker (“Sister Bee”) Laura Tyler adapted this recipe from The Great Vegetarian Cookbook by Kathleen DeVanna Fish (Bon Vivant, 1994). She makes it with her own honey.
Flourless Chocolate Ganache Tart
We love it when Melissa Rubin makes this decadent (and gluten-free) ultra-chocolately dessert for our final chapter.