About food, of course.
I just happened to stop by First Foodie Friday at Longfellow Books downtown tonight. I MAY have casually showed up to get my signed copies of two new, local cookbooks and nosh on their amazing edibles.
OK - fine.
So I was there early attempting not to hover anxiously over the table as the folks from Standard Baking Co. piled chunks of herbed focaccia and towers of sesame cheddar shortbread on the table in front of an enticing plate layered with dark, rich chocolate sables (WHOLE cookies, not stingy morsels!). And I was the first person in line to get my copy of their cookbook, Pastries, signed by head pastry chef Tara Smith and one of the owners, Alison Pray. Alison couldn't have been more sincere and engaging. She wanted to know about my experience and connection with the bakery and was very supportive of my home baking adventures. She spoke passionately about the joy of making people happy with delicious food and took the time to wish me good luck with Molly's Wild Roots.
I shall now double my purchases at Standard Baking!
Actually, I can't wait to crack open the cookbook and get into my own kitchen. My favorite gingerbread with lemon icing and granola bars are in the book as well as their amazing almond croissants. There are sections on breakfast pastries, tarts, cakes, cookies, sweet & savory snacks, and basic recipes (dough, caramel sauce, fillings, frangipane, etc...) in the book. I am hoping this one will sell like hot cakes so they come out with a second volume all about bread. I am dying to have the recipe for their fig anise sourdough.
As I sucked down the treats on the table, they were quickly supplemented with *local goat cheese, pesto and Lutenica sauce (made with red peppers, eggplant and chillies) that were added to the table by the creators of the second cookbook on hand, Extraordinary Recipes From Portland, Maine Chef's Table. A husband and wife team (photographer and writer, respectively) took on the arduous task of visiting 47 Portland restaurants to sample food and chat with chefs (hello, do they need a volunteer for the next volume?). Margaret Hathaway provides the narrative around a sampling of recipes from each restaurant while Karl (our local Slow Food president), pairs the articles with beautiful photographs of chefs, their homes away from home and, of course, the food. I'm pretty psyched about making the fried brussel sprouts from Green Elephant, Artemisia Cafe's Sunny Tartine and Swabian Spaetzle with Caramelized Onions & Emmenthal Cheese from Schulte & Herr. Not to mention the baked goods like Grace's Beetroot Cupcakes with Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Frosting and the Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing from Aurora Provisions! Chris has already put in an order for Otto's famous Mashed Potato, Bacon & Scallion Pizza.
*NOTE: I had a very cool realization as I was writing this post that the goat cheese was quite local indeed, since I expect that it came from the Margaret & Karl's farm, Ten Apple Farm. Margaret is the author of both The Year of the Goat and Living With Goats. I have excellent skills of deductive reasoning.