Wednesday, September 17,2003 FOOD Page 15 great food, great friends, great fun! The popularity of cooking clubs is sweeping the country. These groups offer a fun way to experiment with different recipes and flavors in a casual setting. What's more, anyone can participate, whether it's a group of friends, couples or families. In 1997, six women from New York City took the plunge and started their own cooking club. They shared two passions: a love of good food and enduring friendships. Six years later, The Cooking Club is stronger than ever. They published '"The Cooking Club Cookbook" (Villard Books/ Random House, Inc.) last year and "The Cooking Club Party Cookbook" will be available in bookstores this fall. Try these tips from the experts to start your own cooking club: • Select a recurring date (like the third Sunday of every month) and set it in stone. • Determine a theme and assign courses to reflect that theme. . • Keep it fun by rotating course assignments. • Meet at the home of the person preparing the entree. The following easy fall menu can be a great cooking club starting supper. It incorporates the hearty autumn flavors of butternut squash, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and sage. start a Spiced Squash Soup, Sage Rubbed Pork Chops With Wild Mushroom Sauce and Cinnamon Raisin Bread Puddin' flavor tips Next? to friendship, perhaps the most essential ingredient of any cooking club meal is flavor. McCormick offers the following for ensuring fresh flavor in all your dishes. • Fresh spices mean more flavor, so remember to check for vibrant color and aroma before adding them to your recipes. •'. B Avoid storing spices over the stove, dishwasher, sink or near a window! • Try not to sprinkle spices directly from the bottle into a steaming pot, as heat and moisture will hasten flavor loss. • For spice dps and recipes, visit www.mccormick.com. Members of The Cooking Club, from left: Lisa Singer, Lucia Quartararo, Katherine Fausset, Cynthia Harris, Rebecca Sample Gerstung and Sharon Cohen Free/man. SPICED SQUASH SOUP 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 teaspoon McCormick ground cinnamon l /z teaspoon McCormick ground nutmeg Vz teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection ground cardamom 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded 2 tablespoons olive oil Vfe cup chopped onion 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped 3'/z cups chicken broth Salt and ground black pepper to taste Chopped chives Heat oven to 425°F. Combine butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Place squash, flesh side up, in roasting pan. Prick flesh several times with a fork; brush with butter mixture. (Pour excess into cavity.) Cover pan with foil and bake 50 minutes or until squash is tender. Scoop out flesh and reserve. In soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and apple; saute" about 10 minutes or until soft. Stir in broth and squash. In food processor or blender, pure"e soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to pot; add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with chives. Serves 6 Cooking Club Tip: Prepare soup in advance and cool. Transport soup in pot sealed with Press 'n Seal wrap. Reheat before serving. sp"Kf' 3££C- r *"- - _ SAGE RUBBED PORK CHOPS WITH WILD MUSHROOM SAUCE 2 teaspoons McCormick rubbed sage % teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger Vi teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper 6 center-cut pork chops (3/4-inch thick), trimmed 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth ] /4 cup balsamic vinegar . 1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Pewder 1 teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves 1 cup fresh mushrooms (such as shiitake or cremini sliced) Blend sage, ginger and pepper. Rub evenly on both sides of chops. In skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chops and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove chops from skillet; keep warm. Add broth, vinegar, garlic powder and thyme to skillet, scraping browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in mushrooms. Lower heat to medium; simmer about 15 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half. Spoon mushrooms and sauce over chops. Serves 6 Cooking Club Tip: Transport cooked chops on serving platter and sauce in separate container. Seal both with Press 'n Seal wrap. Reheat in microwave before serving. transporting your dishes Transporting prepared dishes can be one of the biggest challenges for a cooking club. Recently, The Cooking Club participants discovered a new plastic wrap called Press 'n Seal from Glad. The wrap seals to most every surface — wood bowls, silver serving trays, plastic containers, paper plates and Styrofoam trays — with a spillproof seal. It adheres only when pressure is applied. You can make a dish ahead, freeze in Press 'n Seal wrap and take it from freezer to microwave to heat. For more information about transporting dishes, visit www.glad.com. CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD PUDDIN' 2eggs '/2 cup sugar, divided 2 teaspoons McCormick pure vanilla extract ! /i teaspoon salt 2 cups milk 2 tablespoons butter 8 slices cinnamon raisin bread, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 1 teaspoon McCormick ground cinnamon Heat oven to 350°F. In bowl, whisk together eggs, Vt cup of sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat milk and butter over low heat until butter melts. Add milk mixture slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Place half the bread in a greased loaf pan; layer apples over bread. Mix cinnamon with remaining sugar; sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over apples. Layer remaining bread on top, pour egg-milk mixture over and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Set loaf pan in larger baking dish; add hot water to fill baking dish halfway. Bake about 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into pudding comes out clean. Serve warm. Serves 6 Cooking Club Tip: Bake Puddin' ahead and cool. Slice and arrange on serving platter, then cover with Press 'n Seal wrap. Re- heal in microwave before serving. — Recipes adapted from "The Cooking Club Cookbook," Villard eon creoie more than food in kitchen ^jb*'"" f '• * . i. » verything created in the kitchen is for ttons above, • • ^ ^>>- f s <- ^, „ |ust punch a bote before putting into overL Getnagkkis in the fcridten and being ere-, Thread onto yam; or colored string. 'Make • ^bejortasmuctifHmevenwhenaieir necklaces and bracelets. tetrt of the cdlMc variety. . Or make your shrink ait into a key chain. • fwtoo want ttreal what they make, . -Cut out a large obioog or any shape, color ckouS AieKidsin tile Kitchen retipeon with a permanent marker, punch a hole in i..o«.i. ^-.i"~_> - -^ ^ is fan to make the top, and shrink in the oven. They make a' cutekeychain. CAW CRAFT ty#tt' ' . > ¥,. ^ . .-, „ \ 9O1YSUME 1 , This is a tot like the store bought silly putty, butailot cheaper) The longer you play with it, the more ftin it get*! It stays fresh in a baby on'diebotr food'Jar foe weeks. * ' Putthexnona Iky.biowmg bubbles widi it, by stretching a a lew into- blob owyoitf^ and genny bkrwing. v _ t* 1 1 '/,. . ~~ This project is rated very easy to do. ' Whatyouneed: Equal amounts of white glue and liquid laundry starch (it's by the laundry products in the store). Start with about V6 cup of each. How to make ie Measure equal amounts of the glue and liquid starch, about V4 cup to start, into a bowl. Stir thoroughly. Let rest 5 minutes. Knead it with your hands, until it comes together. Just when you think it is ruined, it suddenly turns into a wonderful long-stranded glob! it gets to be a nice clay consistency. If it is too sticky, add a bit more cinnamon or even a touch of flour. You can make shapes and designs or even use cookie cutters. Put the shapes in a warm, 'dry spot to dry—this takes a few days! You know have sweet-smelling sculptures to decorate and/or paint. They make nice gifts. ^ :"» « APPLESAUCE CINNAMON DOUGH RECIPE . Materials Needed: ...' J cup applesauce 1 cup cinnamon i m '-" . ..» J f . ~ - 1 . t -, ' .' * • m m&. PLAYDOUGH Supplies: 3cupsflour IVicupsrah 3 tablespoons oil 2 tablespoons cream of tartar 3 cups water Food coloring Mix and cook over very low heat until not sticky to touch. You can add food coloring if and me cinnamon iuitil/4 you want.. "', ie.appfja ''-'•• - fe|$^ t«t hi, homework? What did the hungry computer eat at '•:' '•',•' • ;qiips/pne byte at a time. , ' ''' '
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