I wanted to keep the menu for Bookclub simple – I had hosted several events that resulted in a lot of leftovers, and I didn’t want the sole responsibility of finishing the book club remains as well. So for that reason, I only made a few eats and treats, and set out nuts, cheeses and wines in addition to the welcoming cocktail.
ROASTED BABY PEARS WITH HERBED GOAT CHEESE
1/2 pound goat cheese
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 baby pears
12 slices of proscuitto, cut in half longwise
2 tablespoons honey
Heat oven to 375F.
In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, herbs and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Halve the pears and scoop out the seeds and cores. Stuff each pear half with about a tablespoon of the cheese. Wrap each stuffed pear with a slice of proscuitto and place it on a baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over the pears and season them with salt and pepper. Bake until pears are tender and the proscuitto is crisp, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Recipe adapted from The Food Network
AMARO AMARETTI COOKIES
7 ounces almond paste, broken up
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons Amaro digestif
2 egg whites
pearl sugar for decorating
Heat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, process the almond paste, sugar and salt until very finely chopped. Add the Amaro digestif and egg whites and process until smooth. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe 1-inch mounds of batter onto baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle generously with pearl sugar.
Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until risen and lightly cracked. Let the cookies cool completely on the paper. Carefully peel the paper off the backs of the cookies.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, December 2011