Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together
By: Guest author Bobbie Kitto
Edited by Linda Kissam
Recipes included: Loaded Guacamole Dip and Waldorf Salad with Radicchio & Buttermilk Dressing
There are over 120 good reasons (recipes) for purchasing Tara Teaspoon’s latest cookbook DELICIOUS GATHERINGS. This book follows in the footsteps of her first book LIVE LIFE DELICIOUSLY. Working as a Food editor for Martha Stewart Living and Food director for ladies’ Home Journal Tara Teaspoon has earned her place as one who knows how to entertain.
Tara divided her book into four main sections. Before each chapter Tara gives you tips on how to get the most out of section you are reading.
The first chapter is titled Gather-Around Dinners. Here she lets you pick a menu from several suggestions like Fiesta Mexicana, Sunday Supper, Grill party, Mezze dinner, or Holiday dinner. Tara gives you all the recipes to make it a success. You may need to flip through a few sections to get all of them since they can be intermixed with other menus, but all the recipes are in the book.
Next chapter is titled Serious Sides. She covers everything from BBQ Baked Beans (pg. 86) to Creamy Garlic-and-Herb Mac and Cheese (pg. 118). Sprinkled in between those sides you will find a recipe for Golden Sweet Cornbread (pg. 88). Not into cornbread? Try her Easy French Bread (pg.111).
Next up is the Main Events chapter. Tara explains that the main dish doesn’t have to be a big complicated entrée. It could be as simple as a grilled chicken sandwich (pg. 134), comforting bowl of hot soup, or a fun pasta.
The Breakfast and Brunch section will help you set great expectations for future breakfasts and brunches at your home. After they taste your New York Chocolate Babka (pg. 173) or the Family Breakfast Turnover (183) the only reservations for dinning out will be at your house. Seriously.
Baking and Sweets is included in the Breakfast and Brunch sections. Here you will find some really good tips on making the most memorable desserts and sweets. I have my eye on the Chocolate Peanut Butter Puddle Cookies (pg. 241) and the Coconut Bundt Cake looks right up my alley.
To get the full value of this book I suggest you go to the YouTube presentation Melissa’s Produce has aired called Delicious Gatherings Link to Presentation Here you will see Tara demonstrate her updated version of Loaded Guacamole dip (pg. 100) that can serve as a dip as well a centerpiece for your appetizer table. This recipe has a few new surprise ingredients. Another recipe she demonstrates is her updated version of a Waldorf Salad with Radicchio and Buttermilk Dressing. (pg. 67)
Having a 5 star rating in my world, this is one book that should be on your cookbook shelf for when you need inspiration for planning that next get together.
Try out these recipes to see just how delicious this book is.
Loaded Guacamole Dip
TURN THAT FAMOUS seven-layer dip on its head! You know the one; I’ve got a gorgeous
version on my blog. Here, I’ve loaded a tasty layer of guacamole with so much
good stuff (and some new additions). I wanted a dip that could serve as a centerpiece, so
I’ve composed the platter to look impressive. It’s a showstopper that’s perfect for dipping
your chips into, scooping onto enchiladas, or dolloping on a taco salad. Your taste buds
will know what to expect—amazingness!
I suggest making your own simple guacamole with my quick-cheat tomatillo salsa
recipe provided here. But in a pinch, you can buy the guac. I won’t tell.
1 ¼ cups sour cream 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
5 ripe avocados
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup green tomatillo salsa
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¾ cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeño
1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups finely diced tomatoes,
seeds removed and drained of juice
1 to 1 ¼ cups crumbled cotija cheese
Half a can (15-ounce) black beans,
drained and rinsed
¾ cup roasted corn kernels
Chips for serving
- For the taco crema: In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream and taco seasoning.
Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the remaining elements.
- For the guacamole: In a large bowl, smash all guacamole ingredients until you
achieve a slightly chunky consistency. Cover and set aside.
- For the green salsa: Mix together all green salsa ingredients. Set aside.
- Prepare remaining toppings.
- On a large platter (I used an oval platter 12-by-14- or 12-by-16-inches), spread
guacamole in a .- to .-inch-thick layer. Gently spread taco crema on guacamole
in a single layer, leaving a border of guacamole. Carefully create a ring
of chopped tomatoes near the edge of the sour cream, then do the same with a
smaller ring of cotija cheese. Continue making rings with the green salsa and
the black beans, finishing with the corn in the center. Make sure to create very
skinny rings so there is room for each ingredient.
- Serve immediately with chips, or cover and refrigerate for up to an hour.
TARA’S TIP: In order to create this look, you need enough dip ingredients for a large crowd. For smaller groups, halve the recipe. “Load” your dip however you wish on your platter or layer it in a glass dish. It’s tricky to get perfect rings of toppings on your first try. You can start in the middle with the corn and work outward if that is easier for you!
Waldorf Salad with Radicchio & Buttermilk Dressing
REALLY, THE RESEMBLANCE to classic Waldorf salad is just the combo of apples, celery, and grapes—but I just love that one of my favorite salads heralded from New York City, where I live. I’m paying a little homage to its history! With shaved apple, flavorful radicchio, and a light, savory buttermilk dressing, this updated version of Waldorf salad is elegant and welcoming. I made a tangy buttermilk herb dressing and opted for delicious candied pecans instead of walnuts.
I absolutely loved Waldorf salad when I was little, and here’s why: instead of the classic mayo dressing, my mom covered the entire salad in sweetened whipped cream. I could eat the entire bowl, and who wouldn’t with that kind of dressing?
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¾ cups (3 oz) pecans
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped chives
1 Tbsp chopped parsley, for garnish
1 small head or half a large head of radicchio (10 oz)
1 apple, cored and cut in half
3 ribs celery, sliced on the bias
1 ½ cups red grapes, sliced in half
- For the pecans: Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. In a small skillet over medium heat, bring maple syrup and cayenne to a boil. Boil 1 minute, and then add pecans. Stir to coat and cook another 30 seconds. Turn onto lined baking sheet and separate nuts. Set aside and let cool completely. When cool, coarsely chop.
- For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients and set aside in the refrigerator.
- For the salad: Break or chop radicchio into pieces. Use a mandoline or slicer to thinly slice apple. Arrange radicchio, apple, celery, and grapes in a bowl, then top with chopped pecans. You can toss with the dressing and extra parsley at this point, or you can serve the salad with the dressing and parsley on the side so guests can dress their own salad.
TARA’S TIP: Radicchio is a very strong, sometimes bitter leafy vegetable. I think it’s fantastic with tangy buttermilk and yogurt. But if you want a milder salad, opt for butter lettuce leaves.
by Tara Teaspoon | Sep 6, 2022
4.7 out of 5 stars 51
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Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review. Her opinions are her own.
To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! Bobbie highly recommends products from Melissa’s Produce, available at many markets.