DIY Cooking Club

April 7, 2009

Now that you’ve had a chance to hear about Sunday Cooking Club, I thought I’d give you the recipes to make these dishes yourself. The ambience and colorful conversation, well, that’s up to you!

Let me start with a note about saving money by cooking with whole, natural foods. I know you can go to Costco and get a jumbo box of Ritz crackers for $2.99. I know this. So, per square inch of food I’m not sure I can beat that price. But for the density of nutrition in this organic healthful meal, I’m happy to report that the cost breakdown for each person’s plate was $4.74. Can’t beat that at McDonald’s.

I wish I had more photos to share! Next time I will do a better job of assigning a photography helper 🙂 And if you’re in the Boston area and would like to join us next time, please do, you’re more than welcome. Guys, gals, young and old, this is an event for everyone. Everyone eats, right? So everyone should cook!

Our main dish was Chili Con Peanut Butter, a recipe I devised myself back in January. It started as a Texas Chili recipe that I changed, and changed, and changed until it was no longer Texan by any stretch of the imagination! To give you an idea, the photo above shows Melissa prepping the butternut squash. Butternut squash in chili? Oh, yes. Very yes.

As with all of these dishes, the focus of April’s Cooking Club was incorporating sweet vegetables as a tactic against sugar cravings. Eat sweet good-for-you things and you’ll be less likely to crave Oreos later!

Here is Janeen with her jalepenos…we apparently color-coordinated food with aprons:

Chili Con Peanut Butter
Serves 4
1 Tbl. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups leeks, chopped
1/2 Tbl. sea salt
1 cup dark beer
1/2 cup water
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1 15 oz. can butter beans
2 cups winter squash, chopped small
2 Tbl. cumin
1 Tbl. oregano
2 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
2 jalepeños, diced
1 cup napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbl. natural peanut butter

1. (Optional) Rinse, drain and soak beans for a few hours or overnight.
2. In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, until barely brown. Add leeks. Cook until leeks soften considerably.
3. Add beer, water, salt, beans and squash. Raise heat and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until squash
is tender, about 40 minutes. Stir occassionally.
4. Add cumin, oregano, vinegar, jalepenos, cabbage and parsley. Cook another 15 minutes or so.
5. Mix in peanut butter. Blend well and serve.

Next we made oven baked sweet potato fries. These were a piece of cake. Er, piece of potato. Again, using sweet vegetables you can curb your desire for late night Chunky Monkey!

Sweet Potato Chili Fries
Serves 4. This recipe is pretty much in the public domain, or variations thereof.
2 large sweet potatoes
2 Tbl. coconut, canoloa or olive oil
Chili powder, to taste
salt + pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425º
2. Wash sweet potatoes but do not peel. Cut into french fry shaped pieces. Put slices in a large bowl.
3. Add oil and mix with your hands to coat evenly.
4. Spread slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with chili powder, s+p.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.

Lastly we made an extremely yummy kale salad with a cayenne kick, using corn as the sweet vegetable. This is modified from a recipe by Alissa Cohen in Living on Live Food. It sparked a whole conversation about eating raw vegan, so I think I might make an upcoming Cooking Club all raw foods. An Un-Cooking Club, if you will.

Kale Confetti Salad
Serves 4
1 heat Lacinto (aka Dinosaur) Kale
1 head escarole, chard, or other lettuce
1 cup tomato, diced
1 cup avocado, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
3 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. lemon juice
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sea salt

1. Wash kale and lettuce leaves. Slice very thin into ‘confetti.’ Place in a large bowl.
2. Add all other ingredients. Mix with your hands, squeezing as you go to wilt the leaves
and blend the avocado.

Sound good? Sign up for next month’s Sunday Cooking Club on May 3, 2009. Space is limited so get in while the gettin’s good!