Community Cooking

Welcome to the Connect Community Kitchen. We're a community kitchen located in the basement of South Huron Hospital in Exeter, Ontario, Canada.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Community BBQ

We met on Monday August 21, 2006 for our BBQ planning night with nine members in attendance. After some deliberation we were able to choose our recipes for our special celebratory BBQ. We decided to try our hand at the following recipes: Asian Cucumber Salad, Zesty Three Bean & Roasted Corn Salad, Shrimp & Noodle Salad in Lettuce Wraps, Arborio Rice Salad with Pine Nuts & Lemon Zest, Chicken Satay with Peanut Chutney Sauce and for dessert Oatmeal Coconut Cookies and Vanilla Ice Cream, not your ordinary BBQ menu!

In order for us to be ready to BBQ on Thursday, 6 of us met on Wednesday night for some prep work. We worked hard, mostly chopping, dicing, mincing and making sauces. We learned that making salad dressing is a delicate process, always needing to take a little taste to see what else needs to be added; a little more of this, a little more of that. Thanks to Randi, we also learned a few tips on dicing onions in an efficient manner (so as not to waste too much time crying) and also how to peel the skin off of ginger with a spoon! We kept all the salads and dressing separate to be tossed the next day just before the BBQ.

With Thursday, came the big day, with a little bit of running around and a lot of tossing it was time to BBQ! We all came together at the pavilion in McNaughton Park in Exeter. Thanks are in order to both Lisa and Stuart who brought their portable grills to the park and BBQ'd the Chicken Satay and also to Mary for lending her picnic basket complete with plates and utensils! With 12 members in attendance and our special guests Michelle Hansen of Hansen's Your Independent Grocer in Exeter who generously supplies all our ingredients and her daughter...the taste test was on. Everyone was in agreement....everything was delicious! The favourites being the Shrimp & Noodle Salad in the lettuce wraps & the peanut chutney sauce on the chicken satay, even though it was a little tedious cooking them on the small portable grills! It was a great night of eating, mingling, bonding and even a little bit of rock n roll! Community kitchen member, Stuart, provided us with some rockin' entertainment with guitar and vocals. After Randi served up the Oatmeal Coconut Cookies as ice cream sandwiches...everyone was full to the brim and contented.

Zesty Three-Bean & Roasted Corn Salad

This southwestern-accented recipe combines canned beans with sweet summer corn and red bell peppers for a colourful side dish.

cooking spray
2 1/2 cups (1 inch) cut green beans (1 lb)
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (2 medium ears)
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cliantro
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno
1 (16 once) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed, drained
1 (15 once) can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 fresh lime juice
1/4 red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red chile sauce (such as Cholula)
Dash of ground red pepper
1 cup diced seeded tomato (about 2 medium)
1 cup diced avocado

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high hat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add green beans and corn to pan; saté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer green bean mixture to large bowl. Add bell pepper and next 5 ingredients (through black beans) to bowl; toss well. Combine juice, vinegar, and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add juice mixture to bean mixture; toss well. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Gently stir intomatoe and avocado. We substituted cherry tomatoes and left the avocado out until just before serving Serve immediately. Yield 10 servings (serving size 1 cup)

Chicken Satay with Peanut Chutney Sauce
You will need 12 metal or wooden skewers for this dish; soak wooden skewers thoroughly in water before using to prevent them from scorching on the grill.

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter,preferablee natural
3 tablespoons mango chutney
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut across the grain into 1/4-inch wide strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
fresh cilantro for garnish (optional) we opted out

1. Make sauce: In a blender, combine peanut butter, chutney, lime juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, garlic, pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water; blend until smooth, set aside.
2. Thread each chicken piece onto a skewer (fold the pieces slightly as you work so the skewers go in and out of the meat. Place skewered chicken in a shallow dish; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle oil and remaining soy sauce over chicken; turn to coat.
3. Heat grill to high; lightly oil grates. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter; garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve with chutney sauce.

Note: The peanut-chutney sauce can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to a week. If you like, double the recipe, and serve the extra with grilled pork or as a dipping sauce for shrimp.

Shrimp & Noodle Salad in Lettuce Wraps
In this easy-to-make adaptation of an Asian favourite,succulentt shrimp and noodles meet a crunchy mix of fresh vegetables and a delicious sauce combining sweet, hot and nutty flavours. The combination of colour, spice, texture and taste make this dish an instant favourite.

1 lb of large shrimp, shelled and deviened we used pre-shelled and pre-cooked shrimp, defrosted
1/2 lb of Asian rice vermicelli noodles
1 bag of shredded carrots
1 bag of PC lettuce wraps
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-thin strips
4 slender green onions cut into matchstick-thin strips
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed through press
1 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
we also added cilantro and chopped peanuts

1. In a blender, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, honey, and ginger; puree until smooth. Set aside.
2. Cook vermicelli noodles, drain and cool.
3. Mix noodles, carrots, pepper, green onions in large bowl and toss with sauce.
4. Serve on lettuce wraps.

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup quick oats
1 cup shredded coconut
we added butterscotch chips....yummy!

In a small bowl sift together flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a larger bowl cream butter and sugar till combined. Beat in vanilla, milk and eggs for about 2 minutes, stir in flour mixture, add oats and coconut. We don't have an electric beater, so Robin acted as worked. Drop in small tablespoons on to a baking sheet and bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees.

Arborio Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon Zest

Yield: 4 servings

I've adapted both recipes for 2 people, with enough for one to have an extra helping or for the other to have leftovers for her lunch the next day. However it works in your household.

1 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 TBSP red wine vinegar
zest of 1/2 a lemon
freshly ground pepper
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted in the toaster or regular oven at 350 for 3-5 minutes till golden brown

1. Fill a large pot with water and season with enough salt that you can taste it, but it's not salty. Bring to a boil, then add rice and turn down to a light boil till rice is tender but still firm (took me 15-20). Drain the rice and tip into a serving bowl.
2. Sprinkle olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon zest over the rice and stir well with a big wooden spoon. Let sit for an hour (or up to 8 hours in the fridge) so the flavors meld. Stir every now and then.
3. Before serving, bring rice up to room temperature and stir in the pine nuts.

Asian Cucumber Salad

4 English cucumbers
1 sweet onion
rice wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
peanuts, chopped
Asian chili sauce

1. Peel and de-seed cucumbers, cutting into thin slices. Slice onion into thin rings.
2. Mix rice wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and asian chili sauce to taste. Making about a 1/4 of sauce.
3. Mix cucumbers and onions with sauce.
4. Add peanuts just before serving.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mmmmmmmmmm BBQ!

The Connect Community Kitchen will meet as usual for planning on Monday August 21st at 6:00pm at Connect, but will be meeting for a special celebratory BBQ on Thursday August 24th at 6:00pm at the McNaughton Park Pavilion in Exeter for food preparation and dinner together!
There is no cost for this event....seeya there!

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