Tag Archives: cooking club

June Cooking Club: Chilled Grape and Almond Soup

24 Jun

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It’s been a few months since I’ve participated in cooking club with my co-workers.  Last time was actually in March when B and I hosted (still owe you a post about that iteration actually!)  I’ve missed the secret ingredients cherry and flowers respectively.  What have I missed since this thing started?  Earning the trophy for best dish!   This time I was determined to take it home.  The secret ingredient was grape and I decided to make 2 dishes to increase  my odds 🙂  Consequently, I received an email with a very promising sounding recipe for Chilled Grape and Almond Soup

To continue with a theme of starters, I researched Welch’s website.  I arrived at making Tangy Grape BBQ Meatballs for my other dish.  While cooking club participants seemed to enjoy the meatballs, I have to say that I was not a big fan of the recipe.  I feel that meatballs should have a consistency of browned/ slightly crisp on the outside and tasting more meaty than overpowered by any sort of filling to hold them together on the inside.  These meatballs, while cooked through, were too moist for my liking.  B agreed with this.  Thus, I don’t intend to promote that dish all that much with my readers!

The Chilled Grape and Almond Soup is worth encouraging you to try though (recipe below). I’ve heard of other chilled soups not turning out so well. My friend, Megan, from cooking club had one such story to share where her boyfriend attempted a similar sounding chilled grape soup for this event and it tasted awful. 😦 He’ll have to make this one sometime! It is silly easy too- you simply do some food chopping/measuring prep, blend it together in a blender or food processor, and chill. The creativity of recipe and taste were there and then I simply added the presentation factor. I did it right this time, because we won! The other awesome dishes included: a shrimp cup, grape salad, and chicken and grape kebabs. The drink category included old school Snoopy grape snowcones (adult style of course) and drunken purple cows featuring plenty of ice cream, grape juice, and vodka. Stiff competition, but Gleason’s purple cows took the win. See photo slideshow at the end of this post.

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The trophy is pretty freaky, huh? It has been through a lot since its original gold plated gnome existence. The only rule is you must add to it once you win. Due to a tragic car accident, the gnome’s head was lost, but a stuffed animal duck head was gained. The flag, flowers, green bow, and stand are among other fabulous additions. July’s cooking club theme is MUUUUURRRICA: A Backyard Potluck which will feature dishes you bring to a cookout/potluck and plenty of red, white, and blue attire- hopefully of the fantastic tacky persuasion.
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs seedless green grapes, destemmed
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 2 scallions, white & light green parts, chopped
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 dill sprigs, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine grapes, cucumber, almonds, scallions, vinegar, yogurt, cream cheese, olive oil, buttermilk in food processor or blender, and process until mostly smooth – leave some texture.
  2. Stir in salt, pepper, dill, and cayenne. Cover and refrigerate.
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  4. Serve ice cold, garnish with fresh chives, thinly sliced cucumber rounds or grapes and fresh chives and/or some additional dill.

 
Other Grape Cooking Club Photos:

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January Cooking Club: GINGER

12 Feb

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The January edition of my co-worker cooking club/Iron Chef competition centered around the ingredient ginger.  The funny thing is that I threw that ingredient out there jokingly having initially thought, “What the heck can you do with ginger?”  I came to find that it is actually a very versatile ingredient and the dishes at this gathering were a testament to that.  I made Asian-Style Turkey Burger Sliders with a ginger soy sauce that was simply to die for.  They were so good that you would be shocked to know the recipe comes from a Weight Watchers cookbook I borrowed from my Mom.  Other contributions included: homemade ginger ale for Dark and Stormy’s, Moscow Mule (has ginger beer in it), lemon ginger scones, a chicken curry dish, orange ginger beets, and ginger snap breaded fried chicken with apple and onion slaw.  What a treat it all was for the tastebuds! This group continues to amaze me with their culinary know-how.  Besides the fantastic eats, the ambiance was particularly welcoming.  Our host, Scott, had us at his almost finished house which he had spent countless months upgrading into a nothing shy of a masterpiece home.  February’s cooking club appropriately requires the ingredient cocoa.  I wonder if this will be a mostly dessert-focused gathering.  I wouldn’t mind a bit 😉

Ingredients:

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Turkey Burger Sliders (NOTE: I doubled the below recipe as the cooking club crowd was bigger than your dinner for two or family dinner of four crowd):

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped onion
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 1 packages of sliders rolls (usually come in 12 packs so you may have a few left-over rolls)
  • lettuce, tomato, onion (optional)

Sweet Ginger Soy Sauce (Adapted from http://disgustinglygood.com/):

  • 4 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 TBSP sherry cooking wine
  • 5 TBSP turbinado sugar
  • 2 TBSP minced fresh ginger, or 1/2 TBSP ground dry

Directions:

  1. Prepare grill or large cast iron skillet (we used the latter.)
  2. Combine turkey and the next 7 ingredients in a large bowl.  Divide into 8-10 equal portions shaping into 1/2 inch thick patties. 
  3. Place patties on grill or in your skillet with a healthy amount of of cooking spray.  Cook approximately 5-7 minutes on each side or until done.                                                              IMG_20130127_105554_722
  4. For the sauce, simply combine all ingredients with a whisk and cook over a medium heat.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for several minutes.  It will thicken as it cools.
  5. If desired, toast your slider rolls and melt a little butter to brush on top immediately adding sea salt.  Top with lettuce, tomato, and onion if you wish, but definitely spoon some of the ginger soy sauce for a flavor bomb!
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January Cooking Club Spread