Larter revels with new cookbook

Actress Ali Larter releases a fun cookbook of dinner party foods in “Kitchen Revelry” with photographs by Amy Neunsinger.

Larter writes about her experiences throwing her first dinner party – which she says was a disaster – as her inspiration for writing this cookbook.

She organizes her recipes by menu occasion – each occasion has its own food theme, and there are two menus featured for each month. The featured menu is outlined at the beginning of each section and also says how many it serves. Parties run fro 2 to 4 to parties of 16.

September offers menus for Cooking School and Savoring the Last Bites of Summer. Recipes include Roasted Chicken and Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam and Balsamic Fig Chutney.

October offers a Harvest Party and a Full Moon Party, with recipes like Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Sage and Lagered Turkey Chili and Japaneo Cheddar Cornbread with Maple Syrup Drizzle.

November offers a menu for Out of Town Guests and a Friends Thanksgiving. Recipes include Carrot Ginger Muffins and Skillet Eggs with Smoked Bacon and Spinach and Herb-Buttered Turkey with Clemintine, Rustic Sausage and Fennel Stuffing and Green Bean Casserole with Wild Mushrooms.

December menus include a Tree-Trimming Cocktail Party and a New Year’s Eve Dinner, with recipes like Candy Cane Crunch Cookies and Champagne Lobster Risotto.

January has a Detox menu and a Wanderlust Supper, with offerings like Carrot Ginger Soup and Moroccan Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Couscous.

February menus are Sweethearts Soiree and a Superbowl Party. Recipes include Artisan Pizzas and German Chocolate Cupcakes and Good Girl Gone Bad Cookie Shakes and Chicken Cheesesteaks with Caramelized Onions and Fennel.

March has menus for Movie Night and a Slumber Party, with recipes for Tlapeno Soup and Eggplant Towers with Ground Lamb and Yogurt Sauce, as well as Ultimate Whiskey Bacon Cheeseburgers and Kettle Chip and Creme Fraiche-Baked Onion Rings.

April includes an Alfresco Lunch and Spring Clothing Swap, with recipes for Spring Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Fresh Mint and Mixed Mushrooms on Olive Crostini.

May has an Earth Mother’s Brunch and Bar Was a Bust night, with recipes for Crudites with Arugula Pesto and Lump Crab in Lettuce Cups and Spinach Salad with Pancetta and Roasted Tomato Linguine.

June has a Wine Tasting Evening and El Diablo, with recipes for Salted Caramel Plum Tarte Tatin and Poblano Chorizo Quesadillas and Mahi mahi Tacos with Nectarine Salsa.

July includes an Americana BBQ and Dinner at Dusk with offerings like Chicken with Jersey Peach BBQ Sauce and French Potato Salad and Hailbut with Romesco Sauce.

August ends things with a Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tuesday Night, No Reason with recipes for Fig, Prosciutto and Mascarpone Crostini and Lamb Chop Lollipops and BLTs with Burrata and Pickled Onions.

I made Pancetta Gougeres one evening as a fun appetizer. Well, let me clarify. I attempted to make Pancetta Gougeres. But my local grocery store was uncooperative. The day I was there to shop there was no pancetta to be found. The recipe said you could substitute bacon for the pancetta, so I did, sadly, because I love pancetta. Then, the store was out of Gruyere cheese. I ended up using sharp cheddar cheese, which I thought would go well with the bacon. So after deconstructing and reconstructing the recipe, I ended up with little biscuits that were easy to make and were pretty good. I just wonder what the original would taste like!

I liked the variety of recipes and occassions found in the book, and since we are coming up on the time of year when there’s a lot of socializing, this would be a handy book to have!

“Kitchen Revelry” is publishe by St. Martin’s Press. It is $32.50.