Cookbook club inspires friends to cook, gather every month

Diem Korsgaard (@wanderingepicure) is a local photographer whose Instagram feed always inspires me. She’ll make a chicken pot pie in a cast-iron skillet or curried coconut lentils, and before I know it, I’m grabbing those ingredients from the store to make them myself.

I was happy to see some recent posts from a cookbook club that she and her friends enjoy. Each month, they pick a different book to explore through a potluck featuring dishes from the book. This month, it was “The Cuban Table,” a 2014 book from Ana Sofia Pelaez. Korsgaard made the Creole fried chicken while her friends tried out nearly a dozen other recipes, including plantains with lime vinaigrette, flan and black beans.

This chicken pot pie, baked in a cast-iron skillet, is one of the recent dishes from Diem Korsgaard, the photographer behind @wanderingepicure. Contributed by @wanderingepicure

This chicken pot pie, baked in a cast-iron skillet, is one of the recent dishes from Diem Korsgaard, the photographer behind @wanderingepicure. Contributed by @wanderingepicure

“I had a cookbook club when I was single, and it was so much fun. We would cook different cuisines every time and rotate hostessing responsibilities,” she says. “But life got in the way. I got married and had kids but knew I wanted to one day start another cooking club.”

By spring of 2015, she was ready to start another cookbook club, so she gathered some food-loving friends and got to work. “I love the idea of gathering and sharing food with other like-minded women,” she says. “I absolutely love trying new recipes, and it’s a great way to get out of my comfort zone. One of our more challenging books was ‘Nopi’ by Yotam Ottolenghi. It was the first time I cooked with sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes.”

Diem Korsgaard’s cookbook club meets once a month to cook from a book as a way to challenge members to try new dishes. Contributed by @wanderingepicure

Diem Korsgaard’s cookbook club meets once a month to cook from a book as a way to challenge members to try new dishes. Contributed by @wanderingepicure

In recent weeks, Korsgaard also made these blueberry muffins from Deb Perelman, who has been redeveloping and reshooting some of the most popular recipes from her site, Smitten Kitchen. These muffins were one of the many dishes that got a recent revamp. In her post on Instagram, Korsgaard explained that she had to use parchment paper cut into squares instead of muffin liners, a small change that can dress up your muffins.

Blueberry Muffins

These blueberry muffins from Diem Korsgaard (@wanderingepicure) were based on a recipe from SmittenKitchen.com. Contributed by @wanderingepicure

These blueberry muffins from Diem Korsgaard (@wanderingepicure) were based on a recipe from SmittenKitchen.com. Contributed by @wanderingepicure

Deb Perelman, author of the popular blog Smitten Kitchen, says that these muffins are best on the first day, but you can slice them in half, place a pat of salted butter on top and heat them under a broiler for a treat later in the week.

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
Finely grated zest from 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (no need to defrost)
3 Tbsp. turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 375. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or parchment paper. Whisk together butter, sugar, zest, yogurt and egg in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt until fully combined, then fold in flour and blueberries. The batter will be thick. Divide between prepared muffin cups and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar. (Smitten Kitchen author Deb Perelman says she knows this sounds like a lot, but the extra sugar makes the tops crunchy when they come out of the oven.) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden. Let rest in muffin tin for 10 minutes and then remove so the muffins can cool on a rack.

— Adapted from a recipe by Smitten Kitchen


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