Third Rule of Cooking Club

Pull your own weight. We come to cook, not just to eat.

Last night we tried something different. At earlier meetings, members prepared their assigned parts of the meal at home. Once we gathered at the host’s house we sat right down to eat.

Ditalini and I hosted this meeting, and we decided we’d have everyone come empty-handed, then prepare a meal together with ingredients we’d purchased ahead of time, with members chipping in later to cover the cost.

Our community project was paella. We assigned roles: one member prepped and cleaned the seafood, another prepped the veggies, another cut up the chicken, sausage, and pork, another browned the meat, another made the sofrito to mix with the rice, and so on. It took us an hour, plus the 25 minutes the paella baked in the oven. The kitchen was a madhouse. We had a ball.

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Anitra & Ditalini browning chicken

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Manzo & Houskový assembling the paella

We used a paella recipe from the Spanish food volume of the old Time-Life Cookbooks from the 1970s. It was heavy on seafood (lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels) and meat (chicken, pork, linguica sausage).

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Paella in the oven

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The finished paella

We welcomed a new member to the cooking club last night, Recto Alpaso, and put him right to work cutting the linguica.

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Houskový Knedlík, Manzo Spezzatino, Anitra Spezzatino, Magret de Canard, new member Recto Alpaso, Ditalini deMenthe

Dilalini wanted to make a Spanish dessert, and flan was the obvious choice. She did a fabulous job of it, especially for a first effort: we’ll definitely do this again.

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Flan à la Ditalini

Magret de Canard thoughtfully brought along Brazilian finger food (actually a dessert, but we ate them as appetizers), a treat from her younger days in São Paulo. The Portuguese name for these slices of cheese with guava paste on top is goiabada, popularly called Romeos & Juliets. As you can see, we had already made a dent in them by the time I remembered to take a photo.

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Magret’s Romeos & Juliets

The idea of getting together in one kitchen to prepare dinner together was a great success, and we’re going to do it again at our next meeting in a couple of months. I’m not sure we’ve settled on exactly what it is we’re going to cook together, but Magret is hosting, so we know it’ll be great!

© 2015, Crouton deMenthe. All rights reserved.


About Crouton deMenthe  Amateur cook and barbecue fanatic.


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