Saturday, April 23, 2011

big bowl of love

As luck would have it, I recently stumbled upon a warm and welcoming community of like-minded food-lovers, all equally bent on bolstering Seattle’s burgeoning food scene.  Rallying these food troops is an effortlessly chic, passionate and generous woman by the name of Myra Kohn.  No one brings food and its ardent admirers together with more verve, more joie de vivre than the remarkable Myra.  An accomplished food photographer and respected local food authority, Ms. Kohn relishes in connecting chefs and published cookbook authors with local food writers, photographers, bloggers and passionate eaters.

This food-focused crowd was as eager as I to relinquish their Friday evening in the company of one exceedingly lovely and talented model turned cookbook author, Cristina Ferrare.  Among her many credits, Ms. Ferrare has graced the covers of countless fashion magazines, appeared in several television shows and now hosts her own cooking show on the Oprah Network.  Ferrare’s new cookbook, ‘Big Bowl of Love’, is brimming with recipes reflecting her Italian heritage and knack for entertaining. 


Myra, our hostess extraordinaire, graciously introduced Ms. Ferrare, employing equal parts exhilaration and admiration.  With a familial tone and easy manner, Ferrare jumped right in, describing her transition from model to cookbook author, the influence of her food-centric upbringing, the cookbook’s emphasis on foods her Italian grandmother once prepared and the sense of homecoming she’s found in doing something she loves.  “I’m not a chef, said Ferrare, I’m a cook,” a sentiment shared by many in attendance. 


An array of tantalizing recipes from the cookbook were on hand to sample, made more alluring against the backdrop of a sun-dappled kitchen; its countertops adorned with lush spring flowers and twinkling votives. 

After answering questions, Ferrare assembled a big, beautiful Caesar salad tossed with traditional dressing and studded with homemade garlic croutons.  “It’s not a Caesar without anchovies,” she sagely opined.  The salad, touted as ‘light’, was fresh, balanced and full of bright, sunny flavors.  It is more than likely the first recipe I will try at home.

Other items from the cookbook included Mediterranean-inspired lamb meatballs with a refreshing tzatziki sauce, creamy lemon-infused white bean puree and sinful deviled eggs garnished with red radish slivers.

Sharing the same counter space was a swoon-worthy rhubarb pie, nestled primly in its charming basket.  The luscious pie was a gift to Ms. Ferrare, compliments of pie maven Kate McDermott of Art of the Pie


Following the demonstration, Ferrare personally served guests her Caesar salad, mingled easily and signed cookbooks, all the while exuding genuine warmth and a sincere interest in each person she encountered.

In line with title of her book, Cristina Ferrare is full of love and it shows.  Her new cookbook is filled with mouthwatering, unfussy comfort food, big on flavor and best shared with the ones we love.  


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