L-R: Anna, Lia, Laura, Celeste. Some nobody in the front.
“Usually, when it says garnish with parsley, I’m like, ‘Skip.’” Celeste was admitting she wasn’t often the best recipe follower. “But this time, I followed it to a tee,” she said proudly. Cute.
Everyone was being cute. Last Tuesday was the first meeting of my new cookbook club, and I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure how seriously my friends would take it—not that it needed to be taken seriously at all, of course. It’s just a made up club that I started to get back in the habit of cooking again, an excuse to set up what would essentially be a regular potluck with friends while I slowly (very, very slowly) pick back up with P+P again (we’ll get to this another time). But still, I was charmed to see how excited everyone was to take part, how these typically loosey goosey home cooks were sticking to the recipes for the sake of the club. Cute, super cute.
Taste Buds* is what we’re calling it, our little cooking gang. Lia was the first to arrive with spring rolls. Then came Anna with crostini, Celeste and Rob with salad, and Laura with rice crispy treats. I made Thai-ish soba as the entree. We’d decided to keep it simple and pick recipes from Sprouted Kitchen—the blog, not the book. (So OK fine, that makes it technically a “food blog club,” but whatever who cares.) Not everyone followed the recipes exactly—Laura made some substitutions and Lia went totally rogue— but all the dishes came out great. Anna’s dish in particular was better than great. Grape salsa with goat cheese on crostini. Who knew?
I’d punched in “90s R&B” into Pandora for background music, and I should have known with this gang that our dinner conversation would quickly devolve into nonstop “Remember this song?”-ing, which I am most definitely not complaining about. Impromptu singing, YouTube music video searching, and overeating. It was a good time.
* all credit for this ever-so-clever club name goes to Jez, honorary member and Anna’s boyfriend
MEETING NOTES, SEPTEMBER 17, 2013
Attendees: Anna, Laura, Lia, Celeste & Rob, and me
Spicy Lentil Summer Rolls: Lia left out the lentils, beets, and avocado, and replaced them with fried tofu and shiitake and made her own peanut sauce. So basically she didn’t even make this recipe. But Lia’s original concoction got two thumbs up!
Grape Salsa on Goat Cheese Crostini: Anna followed the recipe like an A+ student, even dicing the Anaheim chiles with anal retentive perfection. She noted it was a real pain to dice each grape, but all us eaters agreed the final result was worth it. We’re encouraging her to employ the use of a Slap-Chop or a similar contraption for easier dicing in the future.
Honey Mustard Broccoli Apple Salad: Celeste’s salad was the bee’s knees. I think she got this recipe from the actual SK book and not the blog like the rest of us hacks, so I’m linking to Joy the Baker’s adaptation since that’s online. Recipe followed “to a tee,” as mentioned above.
Thai Soba Noodle Bowl: As the cookbook club founder/host/president, it was only right I make the entrée. Dummy here doubled the recipe, so two mistakes: (1) my ingredient measurements got a little wonky and (2) I made waaay way way too much food. Celeste said, “I feel like it could use something more, like, more flavor, maybe.” Hm. Helpful. If I make this again, I’d kick up the salt and add a lot more thai chiles. (Note that I also selected an unoriginal SK recipe, meaning it’s adapted from a Harold Dieterle recipe from Food & Wine. So, kind of not technically an SK recipe at all. My bad.)
Brown Rice Crisp Treats: Laura being Laura, AKA Ms. I Eat Vegan Chocolate Pudding for Breakfast, she volunteered for dessert. She substituted coconut butter for the butter but otherwise followed the recipe, and the flavor was great but we agreed it was kinda dry (we blame the recipe, not Laura). Didn’t stop us from snorfing it down though. Also note this recipe, too, was adapted from elsewhere, so she also did not use a real SK recipe. High five, Laura! You and me, girl.
Next meeting of Taste Buds will be October 24th. Stay tuned. I’ll try to take more pictures of the actual food.