12 fantastic women. A beautiful cookbook. Great conversations and a whole lotta food. This is Cookbook Club! Just like a regular book club but it’s about cooking, eating, sharing and learning (not so much “reading”).
Developed and organized by My Edible Advice (MEA), cookbook club is a great concept bringing people together through food and fun. A cookbook is chosen, recipes are tested, food is shared – and it’s a lot of fun. I was lucky to have been a part of MEA’s first cookbook club experience which featured “The Green Kitchen” by David Frenkel and Luise Vindahl (www.greenkitchenstories.com)
This is how it went down…..
(So the following is just a quick play-by-play. For the interests of time, I’ve just given you the overview here. But trust me—it was a great time!)
Meeting #1 – Appetizers
*Met MEA and other club members
*Met friend from high school (no joke!)
*Sat at a beautifully set table at the Juice Truck Store Front
*Admired The Green Kitchen Cookbook
*Sampled appetizers from cookbook prepared by MEA
*Ate and chatted
*Got my main course assignment for next meeting
Meeting #2 – Main Courses
*Brought my assigned main dish
*Introduced my dish to the group and let them know how it went
*Sampled all dishes and discussed likes and dislikes
*Got my dessert assignment for next meeting
Meeting #3 – Dessert
*Brought my assigned dessert
*Ate a lot of dessert
*Talked, discussed, evaluated and ate more dessert. Woo hoo!
Now let’s get down to the foodie nitty gritty. What did I make from this vegetarian cookbook?
My first assignment was the “Sicilian Parmigiana Di Zucchine” – basically a vegetarian lasagna. BUT it didn’t use traditional “pasta”, so this recipe is completely gluten free!
This was awesome and a big hit with the club members. Starts off with a basic tomato sauce (recipe also from cookbook) and then is layered with sliced zucchini (this replaces the pasta), hardboiled eggs, buffalo mozzarella, grated parmesan, mint and basil. You just layer it all up, season with salt and pepper and throw it into a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Easy peasy, super cheesy and not so messy. Buffalo mozzarella is a bit on the expensive side so you could very easily substitute for another fresh mozzarella. The next time I make this, I may add a little cilantro to the tomato sauce just to give it a little more added flavour (and also because I love cilantro – I know it’s a bit of a love hate relationship for some)
Here is the basic tomato sauce recipe (also found here)
Basic Tomato Sauce
makes around 1 litre / 4 cups / 34 fl oz
2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried chili
3 x 400 g (14 oz) cans whole plum tomatoes
5 sprigs of basil, leaves picked
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chili and sauté for a couple of minutes until golden. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes. Lower the heat, cover and gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Use immediately or cool and store in an air-tight glass jar in the fridge. Keeps for about a week.
Now, you are probably wondering what my dessert assignment was. Well feast your eyes on my “Cardamon and Apple Buns.”
A variation of the recipe I used can be found here (this recipe includes hazelnut)
These turned out well but for some reason my yeast didn’t work so there was not much rising action. They were a bit dense but the flavour was good and it would make for a nice breakfast/brunch treat with a nice cup of coffee or tea, You could even hit it with a chai tea and have a cardamom explosion in your mouth!! BA-BAMMM!!!
The ingredients are basic and easy to find – nothing too fancy, It’s made of spelt flour so not your traditional “dessert” flour. I am not dying to make these again but definitely will give it another try to see how they turn out when the dough actually rises – give yeast a chance, right?
Now that’s what I was prepared – but the genius behind cookbook club is that you get to try so many more other recipes from the same book that you may not have necessarily made on your own. Here’s a list of some of the things the other club members made and variations of the recipes can be found on the Green Kitchen Stories website:
Appies and Small Bites
– Red Pepper & Rosemary Spread
– Sage & Walnut Pate (I highly recommend this one! YUM!)
– Orange kissed seed crackers (big hit with the group!)
– Fennel & Coconut Tart (YUM!)
– Moroccan Vegetable Tagine (perfect comfort food on a cold day)
– Pizza with Cauliflower crust
– Savoy Tacos with Corn & Mango filling
– Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake on a Sunflower Crust (YUM!)
– Carrot, Coconut & Banana Cupcakes (YUM!)
– Hemp Protein Bars (YUM!)
– Decadent Beetroot & Chocolate Cake (NOT SO YUM – let’s just say the beetroot flavour is not subtle. I love beets and I love chocolate cake – just not together).
The Green Kitchen is a beautiful cookbook and the photographs are ah-mazing, The book contains a variety of recipes and the level of difficulty ranges from quick and simple to a little more challenging and time consuming. But for those who only eat a vegetarian diet, this cookbook does provide a good variety of choices. They got breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks and beverages covered. They are all healthy options including some gluten free and dairy free recipes.
Cookbook Club was a blast and I will joining My Edible Advice and Friends again later this month with a new book (not telling!)
My Edible Advice has done an awesome job of putting this all together and I highly recommend signing up for a session when you get a chance, The location and cost of the sessions varies but it is worth every penny. You get to meet great people, talk about food and EAT!
Good times, good times – 2 Spoons Up!