Meals are best when shared with others; when everyone at the table can enjoy each other’s company over good food and even better conversation. That simple idea of getting to know your neighbors by sharing a kitchen sprouted the Community Cooking Club.
In the summer of 2013, my boyfriend and I were still new to the area, slowly meeting people, but we were eager for new faces. Through the help of the website nextdoorneghbor.com, one simple post asking if others would be interested in a cooking club, led to our Sundays once a month being reserved for swapping recipes and meals.
It wasn’t difficult to find others who shared our enthusiasm for cooking and conversing over dinner. The group that started with only a handful of people, has grown to a list of over 20 neighbors who all share one thing in common: a love for exploring new cuisines and conversations. Every month, a member opens up their home to the group and chooses a theme for all dishes. Past themes have included: Summer Salads, Harvest Pizzas, Quesadillas and Favorite Anniversary Dishes. Members are asked to share recipes with the group so we can recreate those on our own. It’s always exciting to see, and taste, what the group brings to the table every month: from oatmeal muffins and peach compote (see recipe below!) to Hawaiian sweet potatoes.
With many of us working long hours, being engrossed with technology and computer screens, sitting down to a shared meal with neighbors is a great way to decompress and relax. This idea of bonding over dinner and getting to know those who live near-by was one of the reasons we wanted to start the Community Cooking Club. Laughing at the table, sharing stories about the community and getting to know each other has been a wonderful experience so far.
If you are interested in being added to our e-list for reminders about future dinners, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
February’s Featured Recipe
Oatmeal Muffins and Peach Compote
(adapted from The Flying Biscuit (http://www.flyingbiscuit.com/) in Atlanta, Georgia)
SERVINGS: 1 dozen
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 lb frozen sliced peaches, thawed
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- Preheat oven to 425F, grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners
- In a small blow, combine milk and oats, let soak for 15 minutes
- In a separate bowl, beat together egg and oil, stir in oatmeal mixture
- In a third bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups until they are 2/3 full
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean
- In the meantime, combine peaches, brown sugar and orange juice in a medium saucepan
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, simmer until sauce begins to thicken (about 20 minutes)
- Serve on the side of warm muffins
CC licensed image credit to Alan Levine