Tasting Table’s Cooking with Friends updates the classic menu cookbook for a new generation of heroic hosts and dinner party emcees.
No need to wake up at dawn and martyr yourself in the kitchen all day: These menus are designed to be made with a few gracious friends who arrive early enough to be your sous chefs. Sure, you still have to manage the invitations, order groceries, and hide that hamper in a closet, but crowdsourced cooking (and clean up, if you’re lucky) makes entertaining easier so you can do it more often.
In Tasting Table’s Cooking with Friends, readers will find recipes that cater to the busy people of today. This is a menu-based cookbook, but everything can also be cooked by itself. For example, there’s a Friendsgiving menu with a killer One-Pan Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese and a crazy delicious Hoisin BBQ glazed Turkey Breast. There’s also a backyard shrimp boil menu, a Strawberry Pie, a vegetarian dinner for omnivores, and a meal of heavy apps before a big night out. No matter the occasion, Tasting Table has you covered.
This book of recipes and lists and instructions is also a freewheeling source of general inspiration. It will encourage readers to gather more often for unplanned antics with old friends and new prospects alike and to make countless memories of delicious meals enjoyed together.
You’re supposed to “shingle” the strawberries carefully around the pie, as Martha would do. But you’re not Martha and those Spiked Palmers are strong, so don’t hesitate to just spoon the berries into a creatively chaotic mound if you’re not feeling meticulous today.
Serves 6 to 8
Skill level 4
For the crust:
1 sleeve saltines
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
¼ cup granulated sugar
- Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the saltines into a food processor and pulse until pulverized. Combine the cracker crumbs, butter, and granulated sugar in a bowl and knead into a dough with your fingers. Press into a 9-inch pie plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Chill for 15 minutes.
- Make the filling: In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- Toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the salt and sugar to draw juices from the berries.
- Drain the strawberries, reserving the liquid. Cook the liquid in a small pot over medium heat until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Add the strawberries to the cooled syrup.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust and smooth the top. Top with strawberries and their syrup. Chill until serving.
Reprinted from TASTING TABLE COOKING WITH FRIENDS with permission from Flatiron Books. Copyright ©2019 by Geoff Bartakovics. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. For information, address Flatiron Books, 120 Broadway, 26th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10271.