Memorable Recipes with Sur La Table's Renee Behnke

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the book launch for Memorable Recipes. As someone who loves to entertain, this book is right up my alley! Packed with flavorful recipes that are easy to assemble, I'll be reaching for this book over and over again.

If you don't know the name Renee Behnke, let me introduce you. Renee is the owner and current president of Sur La Table. When she purchased a kitchen shop in Seattle's Pike Place market, who knew she'd eventual drive the business to encompass 74 stores across the United States?

With a busy family and a growing business, Renee routinely brought the crowd together over food (is there a better lure?)

Reading Memorable Recipes is like raiding the files of the best cook you know. The book is packed with party-friendly bites. Tested tried and true recipes set you up for enteraining success. And in the back of the book, Renee arms you with the the tools for great party planning: menu planning ideas, checklists, and copious wish-someone-would-have-told-me-that tips.

At the launch party for Memorable Recipes, it was fun to see the book, in action. Taking a cue from Renee, food and wine stations were spread throughout the space (encouraging flow throughout the room). Each station offered wine and a scrumptious bite from her new book.

Clearly, Renee is a woman who treasures her friends, and brings them 'round the table regularly. Armed with Renee's new book, I'll be doing the same!

Sur La Table's flagship store in Kirkland, WA

Book signing with Renee Behnke and writer Cynthia Nims for their book, Memorable Recipes.

Preparing a nosh from the book (Moroccan Meatballs) in the store's demonstration kitchen. A wee bit of nostalgia for me here. This is where I learned how to cook, taking up to three classes a week!

Author Renee Behnke and writer Cynthia Nims

The Spicy Scallop station. Notice the cast iron grill pan, which stays super hot in between batches of scallops? If you're cooking for a crowd, this is the way to go.

Renee and her neighbor, who is featured in the book.

The fruit-dipping station. This guy came along and picked a strawberry the size of my fist! I love the intensity of his focus here.

Swoon alert! I've had savory palmiers but these proscuitto pinwheels are in a league of their own. Excellent hot or at room temperature, we call these perfect party fare!

With a glass of wine in one hand and a room full of kitchenware, surely you can appreciate the dangerous situation here, right?

David Leibovitz in the house! Perfect Scoop is one of my all-time favorite books.

And see what we have here? My pal Cindy's latest book, Art & Soul of Baking, winner of the IACP Baking Book of the Year Award. Love it!

I was lured away from a shopping expidition by these nibbles back in the demo kitchen. Mmmm...I'll be making these soon!

The good life...with fabulous friends. Bon App├ętit!