Autumn in New York

I just got back from a wonderful time spent in New York City.

It all came about in one of those natural, organic, inspired ways . . . .

I belong to a culinary book club that has been meeting for over 20 years. (We can never quite figure out just how long it has been, it has been that long.) Eight remarkable women gather at someone's house to read and discuss a culinary-themed book: a cookbook, a biography, a memoir, or a novel that has something to do with food and wine. And we all bring a dish.

We always remark on the woman-hours it took to produce such a feast. And then we enjoy every bite!

When it was my turn, I chose the cookbook Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food by Jody Williams, featuring the ambience and dishes she serves at Buvette in the West Village.

I covered my table with black chalkboard paper, wrote the names of the dishes in white chalk, set out votive candles and bottles of wine, and everyone brought a dish.


And then, as great minds tend to do, we all thought "Let's actually go there!"

A few weeks later, we arrived at the West Village apartment we rented and set out to explore the neighborhood.

A West Village townhouse

Hidden Courtyard in the West Village

On Monday and Tuesday, I was fortunate to have meetings with the people responsible for publishing my first novel, The Cake Therapist (Berkley, June 2015).

We met for lunch at Hundred Acres

and then for a meeting at the Penguin Random House office

where I persuaded these three fabulous women to let me take their photo:

Meet Stefanie Lieberman, agent extraordinaire;  Katherine Pelz, publicity director; and Kate Seaver, my amazing editor at Berkley. A DREAM TEAM.

And then, of course, it was time to go to Buvette yet again!

When I came home and had the family for dinner, I doubled the simply wonderful Brussels sprouts salad that has only five ingredients. It's delicious enough to feature on any Thanksgiving table.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts
Adapted from Buvette by Jody Williams
Serves 4

2 dozen Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup raw walnut halves
1/4 cup finely fork-crumbled Pecorino Romano cheese from a wedge
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
A pinch of coarse sea or kosher salt

Trim off the tough outer leaves and trim the bottoms of each Brussels sprout. Chop very finely by hand or in the food processor. Combine the shaved Brussels sprouts with the walnut halves, fork-crumbled cheese (simply take the tines of a fork and twist it into the wedge of Pecorino Romano to get little bits of cheese), olive oil, and salt.