Late To {Virtual} Dinner


I hate being tardy. Ask anyone who’s been with me when there’s even a chance of me being late — I get seriously flustered. I tap my foot wildly, talk about what would happen should we arrive 1 millisecond late, and text everyone involved to let them know. So you can imagine my utter horror when I realized I was late — and to a dinner party no less!

Luckily, it’s a virtual dinner party and it’s going on all week, so this time I figure it’s better late than never — particularly since it’s one tasty party. You see, my fellow food writer, Lucy Lean, just released her first cookbook, Made In America. To celebrate, Lucy invited a group of us to a virtual dinner party where we’re sharing our favorite comfort food recipes. If you’ve been keeping tabs on me at all this last month then you know I’ve been a busy bee. That said I’ve been keeping things simple and, with the onset of the colder weather, very, very comfortable. I’m talking the broken-in, oversized sweater kind of comfort. Know what I mean?

Well, Made In America is filled with recipes with that comfort factor. Lucy crisscrossed the nation to interview some of the brightest stars behind America’s best kitchens to find out which foods comfort them. Chefs that I highly admire are featured, including the likes of Jose Andres, Lidia Bastianich, Jose Garces, Barbara Lynch, Suzanne Goin, and Craig Stoll, to name a few. To take it a step further, she asked each chef to reinvent turn-of-the-century (20th century, that is) recipes with a modern and personalized flair. Some of the recipes hit square on the comfort-food nail — like Douglas Keane’s Double-Baked Potatoes and Mario Batali’s Pappardelle Bolognese — while others bring a refinement and luxuriousness such as Ludo Lefebvre’s Duck Fat-Fried Chicken and Daniel Humm’s The Humm Dog. A few I have my cooking sights set on are Evan Kleinman’s Apple Chess Pie and Marc Vetri’s Reuben Sandwich.

But for now, it’s back to our virtual dinner party, where I’m bringing my favorite of all comfort foods, cheese. To paraphrase Whitney Houston, “they can’t take away my ka-sseri” (that’s how it went, right?). But seriously, I take major solace in cheese and my contribution to the virtual dinner party is this Herb Baked Cheese (an update on classic baked Brie) that I’ve been making for quick weeknight meals. After baking the cheese until it’s bubbly, I plate it up and serve it as fondue or toss it with short pasta for an absurdly cheesy pasta that, truth be told, is much more cheese than pasta.

After a few bites of that, I’m hoping to grab a bite of Georgia’s purslane salad, Susan’s Traditional Lasagna, Carrie’s crawfish ettouffe, and the other fabulous dishes on our virtual dinner table. For more information on the Made In America virtual dinner, check out Lucy’s blog, Ladles and Jellyspoons. To see a few more recipes from Made In America and see what other virtual diners are cooking up, check out what some of my fellow dining companions are bringing to the table:

Amanda at I Am Baker

Amanda at Kevin and Amanda

Brooke at Food Woolf

Carrie at Deliciously Organic

Esi at Dishing Up Delights

Gaby at What’s Gaby Cooking

Georgia at Georgia Pellegrini

Greg at Sippity Sup

Jaden at Steamy Kitchen

Kristina at Better Recipes

Maggy at Three Many Cooks

Marla at Family Fresh Cooking

Michael at Food For The Thoughtless

Molly at Organic Spark

Nancy at A Communal Table

Nicole at Pinch My Salt

Rachael at La Fuji Mama

Susan at The Urban Baker

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