Potluck Parties: Magazine Club March—The ESP Phenomenon

EVENT: Mag Club March
VENUE: Cara’s Apartment, Park Slope
SIZE: Seven
MENU: Colorful Southwestern Salad (C); Corn and Barley with Chive-Mint Vinaigrette (P); Leora’s Baked Tofu, Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts, and Caramelized Caprese; Sarah’s Summery Angel Hair; Kate’s Peanut Butter Hummus; Michelle’s Tzatziki Two Ways; Jordana’s Cheese (and Love)

As promised in yesterday’s introduction to the Magazine Club Potluck’s copious and perhaps karmically connected offerings, we, the QLCs, bring you Sarah and Leora’s mouth-watering contributions.

In a further instance of magazine-club telepathy, not only did S. and L.’s dishes round out the meal with a combo of veggies, carbs, and protein, but they also found shared inspiration in Ina Garten’s expertise: Sarah’s excellent pasta and Leora’s broccoli, and Leora’s caprese salad were adapted lovingly from Ina’s Barefoot Contessa series of cookbooks. What the dishes didn’t share, even remotely, was a connection to a March magazine of choice, as per the club’s slightly sarcastic mission. Regardless, we decided that the savory pasta and the salty, nutty broccoli had a place at the mag club table, beating out witty magazine-oriented comments any day.

From Leora and Sarah’s Contessa-connected kitchens, to yours,



Leora’s Dishes

Never one for understatement, Leora brought not one, not two, but three metal trays full of potluck goodies. We’ve come to expect this when she’s the host, but apparently a trek to Brooklyn won’t deter her from stuffing the bellies of the Mag Clubbers. And all this from-scratch cooking by a girl who grew up with the best-stocked pantry I’ve ever seen—the kind of place where the sheer variety of granola bars and goldfish flavors would deter even the most eager soul from cooking.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli
Serves 6

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (2008)

4-5 pounds broccoli
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons basil, shredded

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the brocoli florets from the stems. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 1/4 cup of olive oil, tossing to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 25 minutes until crisp but tender, and brown.

Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice, basil, and pine nuts. Serve hot or warm.Caramelized Caprese
Serves 6Adapted from Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (2008)Ingredients12 plum tomatoes, seeded and cored (you can skip this step; Leora reported it was laborious, and hey, I like the seeds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt
16 ounces fresh mozzarellaPreheat oven to 275°F. Arrange tomatoes on a baking sheet cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper. Roast for 2 hours, until tomatoes have caramelized.

Remove from the oven and lay a piece of mozzeralla on top of each basil. Add a basil leaf, drizzle with more olive oil if you like, and serve warm or room temperature.

Baked Tofu
Serves 4

This tofu is similar to some of the roasted tofu slices Cara has been making, but it has far fewer ingredients. It’s become something of a Leora Mag-Club staple as well.

1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices. Blot with towels, then cut into 1/2 inch squares.
Combine the honey, oil, and soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Add the tofu and mix gently. Bake in a foil-lined pan, tossing occasionally, 30-40 minutes until browned.Sarah’s DishAt some point during the last year, Sarah went from the designated wine-bearer at potlucks to one of their most stalwart contributors. First there were the black-and-white cookies, then the thick-crusted goat cheese pizza. After an interlude of gooey blondies, brownies, and pecan bars, she had planned to make a veggie torte or spinach pie, but feeling kind of under the weather on Sunday, the thought of spending time with her oven was daunting. It made her kind of queasy. The result? This summery pasta dish inspired by the first day of spring that took almost no prep time and was great at room temp.

the pasta (right), next to Phoebe’s barley on the potluck table

Summer Garden Pasta
Serves 6

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

For the pasta, Sarah used fresh angel hair, and it was really, really good.

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
basil leaves, torn
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound angel hair pasta
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine the tomatoes with the olive oil, basil, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 4 hours.

Just before serving, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt adn the pasta. Cook al dente according to pacakage direction (if fresh, this happens really, really quickly–in about two minutes–so stay by the pot). Drain, add to the bowl of tomatoes. Toss with the cheese and extra basil leaves and serve.

Posted in: Musings
  • SteamyKitchen

    oh love the baked tofu idea!

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