Monday, January 17, 2011
What a treat I had last week. I was in Tampa for a meeting with the Junior League of Tampa cookbook committee members and we were working on some promotional ideas for their upcoming 50th Anniversary of Gasparilla. Prior to the trip I suggested that since our meeting was starting at 11:00 a.m. we end with lunch. Lisl Unterholzner, who is my primary contact, suggested several spots we could go for lunch, but when she mentioned the Columbia Restaurant I said, "that's the one". As many times as I have been to Tampa I had never had occasion to visit the original Columbia Restaurant.
Four of us drove over and immediately began discussing the menu and the fact that the Columbia Restaurant had generously contributed several recipes to the League's latest cookbook, Capture the Coast. One of the contributed recipes was the "1905 Salad" which they prepare table side in a wooden bowl. WOW! It was terrific. On my way back to the hotel I decided to try it at home over the weekend.
Robin was making the grocery list on Sunday and we made sure to pick up a few of the ingredients we didn't have. I made the salad using similar techniques as I do with a Caesar--hand crushing the garlic and whisking by hand to emulsify the dressing. It turned out as good or better than the salad I had in Tampa.
As we were cleaning up the kitchen the thought passed through my mind that any price I had paid for Capture the Coast was worth it because this recipe will now be made many times a year and will become a tradition in our home. On top of this, we have now selected several other recipes from this book to try and the value proposition grows as we use this book more and more.
If you have a community cookbook don't underestimate the value of getting someone to try a signature dish that you know they will use over and over, as well as motivate them to try other recipes from your book.