I first saw the Vera Bradley: Cooking with Friends cookbook on vacation in Michigan last year, and recently snapped up a copy at our local Vera Bradley store. I enjoyed it so much that I purchased additional copies as gifts. A collection of recipes from company founders, employees, and family friends, “Cooking With Friends” is a treasure trove of elegant yet fairly simple recipes that are perfect for any occasion. Arranged by season, there are suggestions for themed dining (Easter brunch, Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, bridal luncheon, seaside dinner, tree trimming party, etc.) and beautifully staged photographs that feature Vera Bradley linens and accessories (but not distractingly so).
The wide range of recipes will appeal to all tastes, from comfort food such as chicken enchiladas and divine mac and cheese to elegant appetizers made with caviar and creative (alcoholic) drinks. The recipes themselves are clearly written, and many include insights into the creators or origins. There are delightful twists, such as the guacamole and feta cheese dip (page 21), summer coconut mojito (page 51), salsa-baked goat cheese (page 65), green tea soda with fresh fruit (page 97), Lake Gage chili (page 107), and smoky chipotle hummus with garlic bagel chips (page 166). Most of the ingredients should already be in your pantry or fridge, making it a breeze to throw these delightful gems together for a quick get-together. There’s also a wine selection guide, recipes by category, and a handy substitution guide that includes healthy (lower-fat) substitutions.
Printed in England on heavy, high gloss paper, this will become a treasured addition to your cookbook collection and makes a beautiful gift.