Cook With: Confidence

“I feel like I can go home and cook anything right now, big or small. And have it taste good and be good for me.” – Candace Cohu
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First round of the cook with project dinners, done!
And what Candace, a dinner attendee, said before leaving, made my whole weekend. It’s about kitchen confidence, really.

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Since I was inexplicably nervous about how starting this project in people’s homes would go, I got to test the hands on dinner concept with two sets of friends in addition to some friendly new faces.

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We took two hours to cook, drink wine, practice knife skills and improvise a bit when recipes needed a bit more or less of something. There was lots of laughter, cooking revelations (ie: panfried scallion pancakes) and a renewed sense of inspiration that yes, cooking at home can be awesome.

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Here are some of my favorite comments from the crowd:

“It felt like a delicious education…recipes were interesting but accessible and also outside of my comfort range.” – Nicole Warren

“What a magical evening of friends and delicious food! I’ll absolutely be cooking them again, and will be employing the super helpful cooking techniques we learned. Yum!” – Melanie Nead

“I am a new cook, and I feel like I could cook anything, I definitely learned a lot!” – Mar Johnson

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The January menu was a gluten free dairy free and soy free Asian inspired menu, with culinary themes from tradition Chinese New Year. Keep with the season in the kitchen, that’s always the plan! Horseradish and pistachio crusted sweet potatoes (above), a radicchio quick pickle, red cooked pork (or fish) in aromatic broth, and of course, the favorite to all, the daikon scallion pancake.

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My Chinese New Year gift to you is this most favorite recipe from the menu. For all of you who are signed up for an upcoming cook with dinner party, lucky you! You get the whole menu! No fear, you can still sign up.

Here’s to a happy new year (of the wood horse) and to many more dinners that bring friends together in the kitchen and at the table.

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