Monday, January 25, 2010
We are the five lady chefs, all teaching together at a small International school in South Korea. Though we are all very different in nature, we share some things in common: we are health conscience food lovers who are always looking to improve ourselves whilst embarking upon new adventures. A brief look at how we spent our Christmas vacation illustrates our adventerous natures: Thailand, Cambodia, Nigeria and Wisconsin welcomed at least one amongst us (Thailand claimed more!) as we sought a little R&R.
At the turn of the new year and the start of a second school semester, Cheffette Natalie suggested that we start a "food swap." She had done this before with someone else, and really enjoyed the variety of healthy food and ease of an occasional meal delivered by a friend. It works like this: one day you cook for someone else, and then on another day they cook for you. I think she was a bit surprised when all four of us replied with a resounding "YES!" She asked that we all give a preferred day to cook along with any allergies or dietary restrictions. Responses came in with the over-all result showing that we all preferred healthy, low carb options with no pork and limited dairy. Deciding that we should test out cooking for the large group of five, we were all assigned a day to play the role of chef. We would evaluate the success at the end of the week and adjsut accordingly.
Week one turned out to be incredible! We all found that cooking for five made it easier to prepare some of those dishes that we wouldn't want to prepare for just one, and we had a healthy meal ready for us after a long day of work. Coming from a wide array of regions throughout the world, we have varied palates and vast knowledge of world foods, making our evening meals something of a gastronomical foray into another culture. Erin started the week off with roasted squash soup served with a baby greens andfeta salad drizzled with sundried tomato vinaigrette. Natasha shared an amazing avocado, peppers, and mixed greens/spinach salad with feta cheese followed up with chocolate covered dates stuffed with walnuts from Russia. To the table Maria brought a Thai influenced dish of glass noodles with shrimp and cashew nuts for the main course and Spanish olives with cheese to follow. A little Spanish explosion of cherry sweetness finished off her meal. Elizabeth treated us to an incredible grilled chicken topped with the all American "cowboy cavier, " the avocado, beans, and yellow peppers marinated in low-fat Italian dressing made this dish a staple item for the meal exchange program! Natalie tossed together a delightful harvest salad filled with dried berries, sunflower seeds and roasted turkey. Her dish was complemented by the exquisite blend of berries and dark chocolate in the "raw cookie" dessert that closed the meal.
Natalie sent out a follow-up email: "Was it a success? Do we want to continue?" Five exclamations of YES brought us into week two. Maria suggested that we start a Google doc to share recipes, and from that suggestion, the blog idea was born. Here you will find recipes, reflections, and anecdotes that narrate our journeys into our cupboards, where we pull out healthy ingredients, lovingly mixing them together to nurture our friends, strengthening our friendships.
We hope you enjoy some of the recipes we share, and that you will feel inspired to start a cooking circle of your own. Open that cupboard and share what's inside; you never know what will follow!