Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Coming next - Family Tradition recipes!!

Boo!! Don't be scared - it's our Halloween feast!

Back row: Glory, Lyra, Amanda. Front row: Jaime, Madelynne, Janna, & Bonnie
How about a little kiss? (We all have the Hershey's candy corn kisses in our mouths, tee hee)
 Glory was in charge of hosting for October. She really brought the Halloween atmosphere in both her decorations & her dress. In addition to her delicious "Chili in a Coffin", Glory also provided a few other terrifying treats.

Janna & Glory showing off their Halloween style. Check out scary Jaime in the background!

Madelynne Brown - Eyeball Taco Salad


  • 2-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can (8 ounces) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 package (12-1/2 ounces) nacho tortilla chips, crushed
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups torn iceberg lettuce
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 10 slices tomato, halved
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 10 whole pitted ripe olives, halved


  • In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  • Place tortilla chips in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese. Spread meat mixture over top; sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Top with lettuce and onion. Cut into ten 5-in. x 3-in. pieces. On each piece, arrange two tomato slices for eyes; top each with a dollop of sour cream and an olive half. Yield: 10 servings.
Glory Rascon - Chili in a Coffin

Janna Mathews - Bleeding Heart Brie

8 oz. wheel Brie cheese
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 TBLS balsamic vinegar
1/4 c sliced toasted almonds
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Defrost pastry sheet for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the brie wheel in half, longwise so you end up with two circles.
Lay out pastry sheet on ungreased basking sheet and place half of the brie wheel in the center, rind side down.
Stir the raspberry preserves and balsamic vinegar together. Then pour over brie half, springle with almonds and place other brie half on top, rind side up.
Bring all four corners of pastry sheet together above brie and twist slightly to enclose the brie. Seal the seams by pinching together.
Brush the entire outside with the bean egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
Serve with sliced fruit and crackers.

Jaime Horlsey - Hoppin John aka "Bugs & Maggots"

1 lb. lean pork sausage, hot or regular
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup converted rice
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 14 oz. cans of black-eyed peas, rinsed & drained

Saute the sauce, onion, green pepper and celery in a large pot over medium high heat.
Drain the mixture and put it back into the pot. Add chicken broth, rice, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, & bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the black-eye peas to the pot and simmer an additional 7-10 minutes (until liquid is absorbed into rice)

Lyra Hollinger - Hummus & Crostini

2 15 oz. cans chick peas
1/2 cup yogurt
2 drops Tabasco sauce or chili powder
juice of one lemon
1-2 TBLS tahini (ground sesame seed)
1/4 cup Olive oil
4 garlic cloves (minced then mashed - or use garlic from a jar)

1/2 cup Water
1/2 tsp. Salt
Mint leaves for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a blender & mix. You can top this recipe with paprika & toasted pine nuts. It is so good - you'll want to double the recipe!

Amanda Wallace - Scarecrow Treats


1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
1 (18.25-ounce) package pudding in the mix yellow cake mix
1 egg
3 cups miniature marshmallow

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups salted peanuts
1 cup candy corn
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine butter and cake mix in large bowl. Beat on low speed until well mixed. Add egg; continue beating until well mixed.

Press onto bottom of ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven.

Immediately sprinkle marshmallows over hot, partially baked crust. Continue baking for 1 to 2 minutes or until marshmallows puff.

Meanwhile, combine corn syrup, sugar and brown sugar in large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture comes to a boil (2 to 4 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in cereal, peanuts and candy corn. Immediately spoon over marshmallows; spread to cover. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coming soon - Halloween Recipes!!

Our next meeting is October 20th so prepare yourself for spooky Halloween treats!

Recipes from Rachel Ray

Lyra, Janna, & Jaime

Glory & Sarah

Madlelynne, Lyra, & Janna

Madelynne Brown - Fillet a la Veracruzana  

  •  4 fillets of chicken or fish (snapper or tilipia)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour to dredge
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 large Spanish onion, sliced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into half-inch slices, lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into eight wedges
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, pit removed and sliced
Season the fillets with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Shake off any excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO in a pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the floured fillets and cook until golden on one side. Flip the fillets and cook until golden on the other side.

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add the onions, peppers and garlic. Cook until fragrant, then add the tomatoes and capers and heat through. Add the lime juice, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove fillets to plate and top with vegetables. Serve with Yellow Rice - Arroz Amarillo and garnish with a slice of avocado.

Lyra Hollinger - Vegetable Kebabs on Rosemary Skewers
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 slices
1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and tops removed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 & 1/2 TBLS balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 sturdy stems of fresh rosemary, 6 inches in length
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat grill pan over high heat.
Combine zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes in bowl. To make the dressing, use a small bowl to combine the lemon zest and vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil.
Thread veggies on rosemary stems, threading from the bottom upwards. Place vegetable herb skewers on the hot grill pan. Baste liberally with dressing and season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning and basting occasionally. Transfer to a serving plate. Cut lemon in wedges and squeeze juice over skewers when served. 

Jaime Horsley - Chimchurri Chicken Bites 

  • 1 rounded tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, a couple of handfuls
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 3 splashes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds chicken tenders


Preheat a grill pan over high heat.

In a food processor combine paprika, parsley, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, onion, garlic and cayenne. Finely chop the mixture by pulsing.

Heat oil in a small pan over medium low heat. When oil is warm, stir herb and garlic mixture into oil and heat 3 to 5 minutes, then remove from heat. The oil will become infused with the flavor of the herbs and garlic. Transfer to a bowl and stir in vinegar and salt. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Cut chicken tenders into thirds and place in a shallow dish. Wash hands.

Spoon half of your chimichurri over the chicken and coat completely and evenly. Using tongs, transfer the bites to the hot grill and cook 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Transfer bites to a serving plate. Serve with party picks and reserved chimichurri sauce for dipping.

Janna Mathews - "Smoky Sweet Potato Chicken Stoup (yes, stoup)"

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 to 2 chipotle chili in adobo, finely chopped, plus a spoon of sauce from the can
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme, eyeball it
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3/4 to 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, a generous handful, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish, optional


Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 turns of the pan.
While soup pot heats, chop carrots in half lengthwise then slice into thin half moons. Add the carrots to the pot while it heats, stirring to coat the carrots in the oil. Chop and drop in celery and onion, chopping as small as you can, but don't make yourself crazy. Add the garlic, chipotle, and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook the veggies together 1 minute. Add the wine and reduce a minute. Add the stock to the pot, cover the pot, and raise heat to high. Bring the stoup to a boil, remove the cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then thinly slice into bite size pieces. Add the cut chicken and sweet potatoes and simmer 5 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn the heat off and add the scallions and cilantro. Serve each portion of stoup with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Glory Rascon - Arroz Amarillo
  • 1/2 cup achiote oil*
  • 1/2 cup Sofrito
  • 1/2 cup alcaparrado (marinated olives, capers and pimentos, found in jars in the international foods aisle) or coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed olives
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned, plus additional if needed
*Achiote Oil:
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds
Heat the achiote oil in a heavy, 4-5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Stir in the sofrito and cook until most of the water is evaporated. Add the alcaparrado or olives, salt, cumin, pepper and bay leaves, then stir to combine. When the mixture is bubbling, add the rice, stirring to coat. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rice by the width of two fingers. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid until the broth reaches the level of the rice.

When the broth and rice are level, stir the rice once, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, without opening the pot or stirring.

After 20 minutes, gently fluff the rice up by scooping the rice from the bottom to the top. Serve hot.

*Achiote Oil:
Heat the EVOO and annatto seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until the seeds start to give off a lively, steady sizzle. (Don't overheat the mixture or the seeds will turn black and the EVOO will turn a nasty green color). Once they're sizzling away, pull the pan from the heat and let it stand until the sizzling stops.

Strain as much of the EVOO as you are going to use right away; store the rest for up to four days at room temperature in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Sarah Wright - Mini Pecan Ice Cream Pies

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 4 mini, individual graham cracker pie shells
  • 1 pint butter pecan ice cream
  • Caramel sauce, for sundaes
  • Whipped cream, canister


Toast pecans over moderate heat then reserve. Place pie shells on a small tray. Soften ice cream in microwave on high for 20 seconds. Fill pie shells with ice cream, mounding each shell up. Smooth edges of the ice cream pies and freeze 20 minutes to set. Remove lid of the caramel sauce and warm it, 1 minute on high. Top pies with caramel sauce and lots of toasted pecans and whipped cream.
Graham Cracker Crust (I made mine since I had the ingredients and didn’t want to make another trip to the store)
1.   In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt 10 T. of butter.
2.   Place about 24 graham crackers in a plastic bag. Roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed.
3.   Measure 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs into a medium bowl.
4.   Add 1/4 cup of sugar and a dash or two of cinnamon to the graham crackers.
5.   Add the melted butter.
6.   Stir or blend together with your hands.
7.   Press into individual ramekins.
8.   Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The Curious Cooks are back and working it, Julia Child style! For this month's cooking club we chose recipes from Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". The food was amazing. How could it not be with all that butter and cream? In addition to being tasty, we also discovered how time consuming french cooking can be.

Here we all are (before our tummies were full of rich food) - Amanda, Sarah, Janna, Madelynne, Bonnie & Glory
Tonight's menu included Brioche, Soup a la Victorine, Ratatouille, Ham w/ mushroom cream sauce, and finally a blueberry Clafoutis for dessert. Is your mouth watering yet?

Here's a picture of my plate. It's grape juice, just in case you were wondering. Ha ha.

The brioche was amazing - so rich and buttery. Madelynne really outdid herself on these. The recipe is huge (and takes 8 hours) so if you would like a copy, just mention it in your comments and I will email you a copy).

Here is Bonnie's contribution - Soup a la Victorine (puree of white bean soup, eggplant and tomato garnish)  Same thing here -if you want a copy of the recipe, tell me in your comments and I'll email the pdf.

Janna made ham with mushroom cream sauce

Sarah made the classic vegetarian dish - Ratatouille

Glory brought a little bubbly.

Finally we finished the meal with my treat - a blueberry Clafoutis. What a great meal!


Blueberry Claufoutis
(Serves 6-8)

1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour
3 cups blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar

In a blender blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish or 9 inch pie plate that is 1 1/2 inches deep. Place in the oven for 5 minutes until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the berries over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm.

For 6 to 8 people

1/2 pound eggplant
1/2 pound zucchini
A 3-quart, porcelain or stainless-steel mixing bowl
1 teaspoon salt
A 10- to 12-inch enameled skillet
4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
1/2 pound (about 1 1/2 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
2 (about 1 cup) slice d green bell peppers
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, if necessary
2 cloves mashed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound firm, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and juiced (makes 1 1/2 cups pulp)
Salt and pepper
A 2 1/2 quart fireproof casserole about 2 1/2 inches deep
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Salt and pepper
Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8 inch thick, about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends and cut the zucchini into slices about the same size as the eggplant slices. Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain. Dry each slice in a towel.
Drain your eggplant and zucchini slices and dry them on a towel.

One layer at a time, sautée the eggplant, and then the zucchini in hot olive oil for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and the peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender but now browned. Stir in the garlic and season to taste.

Boil a small pot of water and immerse your tomatoes for about 10 seconds. Remove, cool, and peel off the skins. 

Slice the peeled tomatoes through the center (crosswise and not through the stem), and gently squeeze them over a bowl to extract the juices and seeds. Slice the juiced and seeded tomatoes (Julia calls this the “tomato pulp”) into 3/8 inch strips. 

Lay the sliced tomato pulp over the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes have begun to render their juice. Uncover, baste with the juices, raise heat and boil for several minutes, until juice has almost evaporated.

Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a heavy casserole pot (the recipe calls for a 2 1/2 quart fireproof casserole about 2 1/2 inches deep) and sprinkle over it 1 Tb. of parsley. Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini, and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.

Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip casserole and baste with the rendered juices Correct seasoning, if necessary. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavored olive oil. Be careful of your heat; do not let the vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole.
Set aside, uncovered, and reheat slowly at serving time, or serve cold.

Ham with mushroom cream sauce
 Serves  6 people

1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon good cooking oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
2 1/2 pounds sliced ham
2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon cooking oil, more if needed
1/4 cup Madeira or dry white vermouth (can substitute white grape juice or apple juice)
3/4 cup beef stock
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch blended with 1 tablespoon of the cream
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons softened butter
parsley sprigs

1) Sauté the mushrooms in the first amount given of butter and oil for about five minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in the shallots and cook for a minute longer. Season the mushrooms and scrape them into a side dish.
2) Cut ham into slices
3) Place butter and oil in the skillet and set over moderately high heat. When the butter foam begins to subside, sauté the ham, a few pieces at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side
4) Pour the wine and stock into the skillet and boil it down rapidly, scraping up the coagulated cooking juices, until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Beat in the cream, then the cornstarch mixture. Simmer a minute. Add the mushrooms and simmer a minute more. The sauce should be lightly thickened. Correct seasonings.
5) Season the ham lightly with salt and pepper and return it to the skillet along with any juices which may have escaped. Baste the ham with the sauce and mushrooms, or transfer everything to a serving casserole.
6) When you are ready to serve, cover the skillet or casserole and heat to below the simmer for 3-4 minutes, being very careful not to overcook. Turn off heat and just before serving, tilt casserole, add butter to sauce a bit at a time while basting the meat until the butter has absorbed. Decorate with parsley and serve at once.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's coming!!

Sorry it is taking us so long to do another cooking post. We had some scheduling conflicts in May and June. We'll be doing french cooking in July (7/14) and all focusing on recipes from Julia Child's cookbook. So hang in there!! There will be new posts.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Greek Night (4-21-10)

Avgolemono (lemon chicken soup)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 egg yolks
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 large lemon, zest of
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 chicken breasts (meat cooked & shredded)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sliced pita bread, on the side

1) Combine milk, corn starch, & egg yolks. Set aside.
2) Boil the chicken stock in a large soup pot (4 quart is good). Once the stock is boiling, add the orzo pasta and let it cook covered for 9-12 minutes (until pasta is tender).
3) When pasta is tender, remove the pot from the heat and add the egg mixture and butter. Stir slowly until it all blends together. Then add garlic and chicken to pot.
4) Return the pot back to the heat and continue to cook the soup. It will thicken slightly.
5) Remove from the heat again and add the lemon juice and lemon peel. Serve with pita bread.

Sautéed Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts
olive oil (about 2-3T)
1 small red onion, chopped (about 1c)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch green kale (about 3-4c)
1/2c pine nuts, toasted
juice of one lemon, optional (about 1-2T)
Salt & pepper, to taste, optional

1) Wash kale thoroughly, and strip the leaves from the stems. Chop into fine strips.
2) In a medium skillet, sauté onion in olive oil, over medium heat, until translucent.
3) Add garlic and sauté for one minute until fragrant.
4) Add kale and stir until it is completely wilted.
5) Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes until kale is tender (not mushy), vibrant green and still a little springy.
6) In a small dry skillet, over high heat, toast pine nuts, stirring constantly until golden brown.
7) Stir pine nuts into kale mixture.
8) Drizzle with optional lemon juice and add seasonings, if desired. Serve immediately.


1 (16 oz) package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped walnuts
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan. 

2) Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep. 

3) Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp. 

4) Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes. 

5) Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up. 

(Pita chips with hummus)


1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Tahina sauce
Pita bread

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Welcome to our blog!

This is the beginning of our brand new cooking club - The Curious Cooks. I would like to take a brief moment to spotlight the seven lovely ladies in our club.

Madelynne Brown - from Salt Lake City, UT.  I am a therapist, artist, and foodie wannabe.

I love to make desserts, but stir-frys are also my specialty.

I don't usually cook with recipes. I remember the first batch of cookies I made by myself - I left out the baking soda, and they ran all over the pan. I was so disappointed, and its really hard to stir baking soda into stiff dough!

Patti Cook - I am a lover of variety and crave it in food, people and experiences. I graduated with an undergrad in technical writing and after doing that for a while, I moved into planning events for corporations and associations. Now I stay at home with my two kids and try and plan our daily menus while working around meltdowns, my husband schedules and life in general. I like to cook and enjoy raw ingredients and simple, clean favors. Don't ask me to bake though - I have NEVER had a cookie or a loaf of bread turn out like I had hoped. Yes, I said NEVER....but hope spring eternal.....

My disaster story started when I was banned from the kitchen at a young age. My mom gave my sisters all cooking lessons. When it came to me, I made one dish - homemade mac and cheese - and for some reason it turned out so bad that I was banned from cooking lessons and the kitchen in general! Good thing I married later in life and had lots of time after leaving home to practice cooking. No one since has banned me from the I call that a success!

Aliisa Leon

Janna Mathews - Hometown is Kingman, Arizona. Although now I have lived in the Salt Lake Valley so long, it is starting to become my home. I am currently the Production Supervisor in the Marketing Department for SOS Staffing.

Its hard to pick a favorite food, but I would have to go with watermelon. Nothing can beat a perfectly ripe watermelon. My favorite cooked food however would have to be cheesecake. A yummy crispy crust, with the velvety texture of cheese, egg and cream baked to perfection. hmmmm now I want cheesecake.

My diaster story is a dinner I was making for friends and roommates. I burned the rolls, meat and overcooked the broccoli. It seemed like everything I was doing messed up! I was trying to plug ahead though and thought maybe a little parmesan sprinkles would be ok over the vegetables. I was trying to break up the clumps by hitting the container on the counter. What I didn't realize was that the lid wasn't on very tight. So with the first bang, the lid came off, and I flung Parmesan cheese all over the kitchen. So now not only was my food ruined, but now the whole Kitchen was covered in a fine dust of parmesan cheese.

Glory Rascon

Amanda Wallace - I grew up in a small town called Searcy, Arkansas. I moved to Utah in 1996 and despite my dislike of snow I stuck around. I work as a manager in Dermatology at the University of  Utah (for the past 7 years).

Favorite dish to make is chocolate pecan pie.

Cooking disaster story - I made the perfect cherry pie for a church activity. It was beautiful. Before I left I nibbled on a tiny piece of crust that had broken off. Thank goodness I did! It was super salty. I had accidentally doubled the amount of salt in my crust. Moral of the story - always taste your food before you leave the house!!

Sara Wright - Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, I never thought I’d spend a majority of my adult life in Washington, DC, which is where I began working for Marriott Hotels. When I moved to Salt Lake four years ago, I took my job with me and am fortunate enough to work from home. I’m a manager of special projects in the International Training department and LOVE to travel. Especially internationally. 

My favorite thing I like to make is a bowtie pasta and broccoli dish. And a citrus rice salad. Love the melding of flavors.

My cooking disaster story involves a cheap metal saucepan, a stove burner, oatmeal and molten metal…all while I was a freshman at BYU. It’s always a good idea to remember when you have something cooking on the stove. Just a note to self. One Saturday morning, my oatmeal breakfast turned into a disaster area when I left the cheap metal pan burner on our electric stove in Heritage Halls and got involved in another project. Fifteen minutes later, the smoke alarm informed everyone in the apartment that all was not right in the kitchen. Smoke was pouring from the saucepan and as I lifted it up, the molten metal that dripped from the now bottomless pan (!) met the floor with a sizzle and left its mark. Luckily for all concerned, my roommate no longer wanted her pan and the linoleum was being replaced in all of the apartments later that year. Whew!