Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble
Book Club snacks
Make a night of it!
Cheese and crackers.
Any artisan cheese will work—double points if it’s from a local cheese maker! Unprocessed crackers are trickier to find. I love ak-mak sesame crackers, which contain organically grown wheat, honey, cold pressed sesame oil, butter, sesame seeds, yeast, and salt. Instead of crackers, consider serving your cheese with apple or pear slices. You can also add other snacks to a cheese platter like: almonds, dates, figs.
Roasting vegetables caramelizes their sugars, so they become sweet and so full of flavor—much more interesting than your average raw veggie platter, but still basically finger food. Roast whatever you’ve got in your fridge—you can toss almost any vegetable in olive oil, salt, and pepper and it’ll be delicious after half an hour in the oven. Think: zucchini or carrot spears; eggplant rounds; cauliflower florets. You can also make baked sweet potato fries: cut sweet potatoes into thick, fry-sized slices, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake for 45 minutes. Serve with mustard, hummus, or pesto.
I can eat pesto with a spoon, but it’s a nice dip to accompany those roasted veggies. You can make pesto out of any green thing. Pesto is a sauce usually made by mixing basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. But the word pesto means literally anything that’s been pounded. I like making pesto with hardy winter greens, like Swiss chard. Combine sautéed or blanched greens with a few cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, a generous pour of olive oil, a tablespoon or two of nuts, and pulse in food processor for a minute or two. Serve with toasted whole grain bread.
Remember, simple is best!
Buy fresh fruit, whatever is in season, and make a fruit salad.
If it’s summer, roast sweet corn on the cob and rub with chile powder and lime juice. Or serve sliced summertime tomatoes with basil, onions, and fresh mozzarella.
If it’s winter, think about what you can serve with hearty whole grain bread—local cheeses or locally made charcuterie; pickled produce or roasted root vegetables.
Whip up a batch of oatmeal coconut almond butter rounds—I often make these on any old Wednesday night, but with a little extra effort on presentation, they’re a great party snack. In your food processor, mix a cup of oats, half a cup each of shredded coconut, almond butter, honey, plus a spoonful of cacao powder. Pulse until the mass combines and becomes kind of gooey. You might need to add more almond butter or honey. Roll into bite sized pieces, and sprinkle with cacao powder.
Book club isn’t book club without wine. Seek out local wineries in your region or state. Check out the winery passport app in iTunes to find local wineries, or ask at local liquor stories if they carry local wines. If you can’t find a local wine that fits your taste or budget, buy a bottle made from organic grapes—they aren’t always certified organic, but the label should say.
If your book club is more of a beer drinking crew, you’re in luck—there are now micro breweries in every state of the union, according to the Brewers Association.