Food for Friday

Now that the rush is over, I’m discovering new publications that I missed in the store – including seven gorgeous cookbooks under the main title “The Gathering of Friends,” with volume subtitles including “A Year of Holidays at Home,” “Return to the Table,” “Celebrating With Simplicity,” and four others.  From the creators and publishers:

The Gathering of Friends cookbooks were created to introduce “food as a love language,” enhancing traditions, fortifying relationships and celebrating life!

Gathering of Friends book

Paraphrasing Brian Wansink, we eat first with our eyes – and these volumes demonstrate that presentation is just as important to the enjoyment of a meal as food preparation.  Chapters feature recipes illustrated with beautiful photographs of each dish, along with a bit of inspiration, serving and tablescape ideas, and decorating suggestions.  Also included is a complete shopping list for the chapter menu!  Though hard-backed, the pages are spiral bound, so the books will lay open in a stand or on a tabletop for easy viewing.

010715 Gathering Friends

Naturally, the one which first caught my eye, “A Year of Holidays at Home,” features a Christmas dinner table, though it includes menus and ideas for July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, a Winter Celebration, Valentine’s, and Easter!  Curated (my choice of words!) by Michelle Huxtable and Abby Jane Green, it’s “an inspiring collection of delicious recipes and memorable menus.”  There is a comprehensive index of all recipes, so you can easily pull together your own menu, too.

Here’s an easy little Christmas recipe that just might work for Valentine’s, too, especially in color.

Cranberry Coconut Squares

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t coconut extract
  • 1-1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut, divided
  • 1-1/2 C white chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 C dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl.  Fold in butter, sugar, flour, and coconut extract.  Gently stir with a fork until just combined.

Fold in 1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut and 1/2 C white chocolate chips.  Pour batter into the baking dish, and sprinkle with dried cranberries and remaining white chocolate chips and coconut.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Fully cool before cutting into squares.

Serve up these lovely, sweet, red-and-white squares on cut-paper doilies as a treat, any time of day!

(C = Cup, t = Teaspoon)

I’m making room on my shelf for a few of these delicious cookbooks!  What’s your favorite Christmas – or any holiday – recipe?  We’d love to expand our culinary horizons with a few of your suggestions.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  The volume pictured is available to buy; call the store at 1-800-445-3396 and ask Guest Services to arrange shipment of item 766005.  We have all seven volumes, numbered from 766000 to 766006!

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