On Cherry Bombe’s new cookbook and their International Supper Club from this past weekend.

The Sinsear Cocktail

I was doing so well in getting back to the blogging habit, and then my weekends got busy there in October between visits home and visitors here and a trip up to New York for work, so I’ve been a little distracted from this space. I’m always eager to get back to cooking after a few days on the road, and that combined with the acquisition of five new cookbooks since my self-imposed buying embargo lifted meant that I took to both weekend meal planning and figuring out what I’m making this week while Michael is away with gusto.

One of those books was the Cherry Bombe cookbook, which was one I was not expecting to get so soon, but a few weeks ago I was scrolling through Instagram and saw that the authors (and founders of the magazine) were coming to Baltimore as part of their cookbook tour, and they were having a really cool event up at Trohv in the Hampden neighborhood. It was billed as a party featuring some local food people and promised delicious snacks and YesWayRose’s Summer Water, so I ended up getting two tickets for Michael and myself and we took an Uber up on an otherwise unassuming Monday evening after work.

Skirt (not hanger) steak salad with tomatoes

The food was as delicious as promised, and it was awesome to meet Claudia Wu and Kerry Diamond in person–I’ve been a fan of the magazine from the beginning, and in today’s times it feels even more important to be supporting women-led publications that feature women in the food industry. That we could also show some love to local women making great things was the icing on the proverbial cake.

Naturally, when the magazine announced that they were holding a virtual supper club event this past Saturday encouraging people to cook from the cookbook, there was no question of whether or not I would participate, and happily while flipping through the book I managed to find not only recipes for the event itself, but also some delicious-looking recipes to make every night Michael is away. (One involves combining ricotta and pureed beets to make a spaghetti sauce, and I’m curious to see if this will be the combination that finally gets me firmly on the beets train.)

For the supper club, I went with some familiar-looking recipes (gougeres and yam pancakes) as well as a pretty fantastic-sounding hanger steak and tomato salad. Each recipe in the book comes from a different woman in the food industry, so it was a great way to try recipes from chefs and other professionals I’ve admired from afar.

Of all of the recipes, the one I was honestly the most concerned about was the gougères, as whenever I make them I usually have a 50-50 chance of either succeeding or completely fucking up the pate a choux dough. Sometimes when I make it, the dough comes together beautifully and turns into fluffy puffs, while other times it will turn completely soupy for reasons I pretend I don’t really know but in actuality is likely due to trying to multi-task while making them. During our first New Year’s Eve party here in Baltimore that exact scenario happened, but then I redid it and managed to make a successful batch after I was able to get out of my head.

Gougères with sweet potato pancakes with crème fraîche and chives (instead of caviar)

The other thing I have learned is that there’s nothing wrong with adding a little extra flour as you go along, especially after you add the eggs to the party. The trickiest thing with making any pastry is dealing with the humidity levels that are never predictable, and so you have to be a little flexible and have the flour canister handy if necessary.

The other trick is to make sure you have lots of black pepper and nutmeg at the ready, because they both play so well with good Gruyere and add some complexity to the puffs. The recipe in the Cherry Bombe cookbook is extremely straightforward, and truthfully yielded the best gougères I’ve made to date. The only change to what I made on Saturday is to make the opening of the Ziploc bag a little smaller, as the recipe is supposed to yield about 20 gougères and I managed to squeeze out eleven.

The recipe for the gougères can be found as part of the sampling of five they offered for the supper club here, and honestly, you should give these a try. Having them as an option for your holiday parties is wise, because it’s really hard to turn down anything cheesy and carb-loaded.

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