I have had the best time attending Williams-Sonoma’s monthly cookbook club.  October featured the new Bobby Flay cookbook — Brunch @ Bobby’s.  I was specifically interested in this book because I wanted inspiration for new brunch dishes instead of the usual quiche and fruit salad.

The class fee of $75 includes a signed copy of the month’s featured celebrity cookbook and freshly prepared recipes from the book in a small-group setting where you receive culinary techniques and tips while making a meal of what is prepared.

Karen McCann is the culinary specialist at the Fort Worth-University Park Village store where I attend the classes.

When you walk in you get to sit all cozy-like at the counter while she teaches and prepares recipes featured in the book.  You can follow along in your own copy of the cookbook while she leads the class through the steps of the recipe.

For tonight’s class the menu was a vegetable frittata with peppers, onions, and roasted cherry tomato sauce.

Cathy, her helper, kindly goes around serving the food and refilled our glasses with sparking apple cider.  The presentation of serving the frittata on a wooden pizza board offered a  rustic elegance.

 This is the frittata with a roasted tomato sauce.  It was so fresh.

Next up fig jam, ham and cheese panini.

These were really delicious and I think Mr. and Miss Bee would like these (but I probably couldn’t tell her it was made with fig jam).

For dessert, which is always the best part, mini pumpkin churros with chocolate-orange dipping sauce.  These were to-die for.  The chocolate sauce has the perfect essence of orange so it wasn’t too sweet.  The recipe makes a stiff batter as you can see from her using a large wooden spoon.

Then Karen filled the pastry bag with the pumpkin batter fitted with a star-tip. Then carefully squeezed the dough out, snipping with scissors, into the hot oil.

Here are the morsels of heaven being retrieved from their hot oil treatment…

Rolled in cinnamon sugar

While that was happening, she was also preparing the orange-chocolate dipping sauce.  She poured the sauce into cups and filled each cup with 3-4 churros.  Even Bobby approves…

The recipes in his book are easy to follow and don’t call for a large amount of weird ingredients.  This menu was prepared in about 90 minutes, but that included alot of technique sharing.  We all said we wished Karen could prepare our meals for us after a long day of working!  The best part, other than eating chef-prepared food, is you receive a 10% off discount on all your shopping after the class until they close.  It’s perfect for picking up any of the food or cooking items used in the class.

This past Friday night, I prepared Bobby’s recipe for roasted tomatoes

Here’s the recipe:

6 plum tomatoes (I used Campari tomatoes) cut lengthwise
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
5 TBL olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup of fresh bread crumbs (I used Panko)
2 TBL finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400.

Put the tomato halves in a lightly buttered baking dish, cut side up, drizzle with 2 TBL olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 TBL oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the crumbs, stirring constantly, until light golden brown.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and top each with about 1 TBL of the crumbs.  Return to the oven and continue baking until the tomatoes are soft and the crumbs become golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes longer.  Serve hot or room temperature.

I served it with shrimp fettuccine and asparagus with basil pesto sauce.  It was colorful and delicious and the perfect weekend supper.

Call your local Williams-Sonoma for their cookbook club coming up.  It’s a perfect gift or a girls night out.