Sunday, May 27, 2007

Girl's Night Cooking

Last Saturday I planned on a cooking night with some ladies from BARF. The interest was always there, but I never got around to making it happen until now. I scheduled every chick for a time slot in the kitchen so there wouldn't be too crowded. It worked out pretty well since Linda, Charlotte and myself were cooking. We had some flakes and others weren't going to arrive until later.

Linda wanted make Butternut Squash & Chesnut Risotto and Charlotte had prepped some parsnips that needed to be thawed and roasted in the oven. I brought all my groceries to make hookedonheat's Chili Lime Shrimp and Coconut Chicken Curry (the recipe is for fish, but you can make it with chicken too). Jusytn also made his delicious sherry cake too!

Now I've never cooked with butternut squash before, but the recipe seemed simple enough. You just need to dice the squash and saute it with some onion before adding the aborio rice, chesnuts, herbs and chicken stock. Unfortunately, the butternut squash was HUGE. I've never seen one this big. And phallic. You'll see what I mean when you look at the pictures.

I was the first one to cook my two dishes so after a shot of tequila (which I normally don't drink) I prepped my ingrediants and showed Linda some tips to save time in the kitchen. I used a grocery bag to dump garbage into instead of having to walk to the garbage can. I know that seems like I'm lazy, but it actually makes things so much easier. I also used foil to put my prepped ingrediants instead of dirtying up a bunch of bowls. Thanks to Rachel Ray for those tips. After I was finished cooking my dishes I helped Linda cut up the squash for her dish. I walked her step by step from cutting the squash to heating up the stock and making the risotto come together. When it was done, I helped Linda adjust the seasoning and tried it out. Perfect! I was really happy with it.

Charlotte didn't realize how long it would take to thaw the parsnips so we had to use the microwave to defrost. Into the oven they went. When they came out pipping hot, I couldn't resist but try one. The parsnips were crispy on the outside and tender with a hint of sweetness. I can't stand carrots, but parsnips are going to be a new favorite in my recipes. Yum!

The other girls arrived and Linda left with them to pick up more groceries. Melissa made a beautiful salad and Roxy cut up some sausages to serve with crackers. At first I was appalled and gave them tons of crap for cutting them into wedges instead of circles. I made them get out of my kitchen and show them how to cut them correctly. I became The Jaded Nazi foodie. I might have been a little harsh, but it was all in good fun. The dishes we made earlier were in the oven staying warm until we were finally able to eat.

Dinner was good, I was a little disappointed in my chicken curry since it's normally thicker. Overall, I had a good time. I might even do this kind of thing on a regular basis. Cooking with friends is fun!

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