I’ve been writing about my dear Culinary Experimentation Club for over a year now, and tonight I want to tell you a bit about this group of people who mean so much to me.
Once upon a time I didn’t even know these folks, but through one strange and hilarious tale after another we somehow found each other in this crazy world.
At first there were just a few of us, meeting once a week to cook and eat together. Over time more stragglers arrived, strangers for a little while, now beloved faces we can’t wait to see each Monday night.
Darren is our official host each week, granting us free usage of kitchen, pots and pans, dishes and wine goblets. Various roommates pitch in, sharing forgotten ingredients, dashing to the store for last minute items. We all take turns making messes and cleaning them up.
They’re the sort of people you can be yourself with, the ones you can call in the middle of the night when something goes wrong, the folks you know will be there when you need to haul furniture or move apartments.
I wish I could gather them all in the biggest hug to thank them for their love, friendship, and never ending inspiration.
I love you guys. 🙂
Although none of us are vegetarian, this week was Week Two of Vegetarian Month.
After the mutiny last week (click here for the Vegetarian Pot Roast Rebellion) everyone was in fine form and turned out a fantastic feast of vegetarian, gluten-free deliciousness.
I brought a Roasted Red Pepper Soup made with a chickpea soup stock instead of the traditional chicken broth. Thick, smooth and smoky, it was especially splendid with a dollop of goat cheese swirled in.
Kat and Selwyn prepared platters of marvelously stout Irish cheeses, chevre, and an array of gluten-free crackers. We cleaned them up in short order as we sipped red wine and waited for the rest of the dishes to be done.
Kat also brought an assortment of apple varieties and fresh strawberries which paired beautifully with the strong cheeses.
Cameron worked his magic with tofu turning out two delectable versions: simple smoked and Spicy Cajun Fried. While both were good, the Spicy version was my favorite and made me a true tofu fan.
After Darren’s rousing success with Lemon Risotto, he tried out his new risotto powers with a creamy spinach version that was both hearty and delicate.
Our newest Culinary Experimentation Club member Nicole wowed us with gluten-free Cajun Onion Rings, perfectly spiced then fried to perfection by Toby.
We ended the meal with slices of my Clementine Tart dusted with Kat’s raspberry sugar.
We closed our evening with great talks and rousing games of Uno.
Who are your favorite people to cook with?
Krista’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup
(makes one large stock pot full)
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1/3 cup minced garlic
1 Costco-sized can of roasted red bell peppers (capsicum), drained
12-14 cups stock
(I used chickpea: add 2-3 cups dried chickpeas to soup pot, add 1 quartered onion, 6 cloves garlic, and cover with water. Bring to boil, simmer for one hour. Drain, reserve broth. Use chickpeas for another recipe.)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Heat olive in large stock pot over medium heat, add onions and potatoes and cook, stirring often, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, cook 5 minutes more, stirring to keep garlic from sticking to pot.
- Add stock and bell peppers. Return to boil, simmer partly covered 20-25 minutes.
- If you have an immersion blender, puree in pot. If not, let cool a few minutes then puree in batches in blender or food processor.
Nicole’s Gluten-Free Cajun Onion Rings
(Click here for recipe)
Note: to make gluten-free, substitute gluten-free self-raising flour mixture for the flour.
Krista’s Gluten-Free Clementine Tart
(Click here for recipe)