One thing I enjoy doing every month is heading into Philadelphia to work for a day with Counter Culture, a group of food professionals and enthusiasts. We meet at Independents Hall, a co-working space and community for freelance workers.

Since Counter Culture is made up of people whose lives very much revolve around food, we not only enjoy working together, we also enjoy eating together. Out of our enjoyment of eating, cookbook club was born. In this club, the members chose a cookbook, and everyone makes a dish from the book to bring to a designated meeting. This month, our book was Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table.”

There were five us who made it to this month’s cookbook club, and we ended up with an appetizer, a main course and two sides, and one really great dessert. A perfect, healthy lunch.

Alexis (Teaspoons & Petals) made Chestnut-Pear Soup. It was neither overwhelmingly chestnut-y nor pear-y. The two flavors melded wonderfully together for an amazing soup. I probably would have never chosen to make this myself, but will definitely be thinking of next fall.

Jolene (Beauty is Wellness) made Lime and Honey Beet Salad. I seriously would never think of putting those flavors together, but it works. Really well. This cold salad is seasoned with dill for an even more unexpected flavor mix.

Amanda made a Classic Lentil Salad with a Dijon Vinaigrette. Toppings included goat cheese and walnuts (I chose both, thank you very much). It’s one of the options given to Greenspan’s basic lentil recipe, and it was delicious.

Lee (Feed Me Lee) brought the perfect dessert for our feast. Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake is just a little sweet with the perfect amount of rum to have the flavor come through but not make you think you’re eating booze. Equally impressive was that his cake looked just like the one in book, whereas my contribution …

… wasn’t so pretty, but it was delicious. I made Quiche Maraichere. Maraichere is French for market garden, and I chose this dish because my local farmers market opened over the weekend. I knew I’d be able to get wonderful, fresh vegetables for this veggie-heavy tart as well as local cheese and eggs.

I borrowed “Around My French Table” from the library. Now that I know so many of the recipes in the book are this good, I may buy it. One of the advantages of a cookbook club is that you can try several of the recipes from a book before you decide to purchase it. And, you don’t do all the work. Plus, you get to try recipes that you probably wouldn’t have chosen to make yourself. It’s a great concept, isn’t it?

What do you think of the idea of a cookbook club? Have you ever participated in one? What cookbook would you love to have everyone cook from if you could choose one?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Cookbook club: Dorie Greenspan's 'Around my French Table'
Philadelphia freelancers come together to share work ideas as well as dishes cooked from one particular cookbook.