Join a Fun Virtual Cooking Club from the Ocean House

Jerusalem DinnerThis fall, I decided to do a first and take a cooking class. Not just any cooking class – one at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Now if you haven’t been to The Ocean House, you don’t know the significance of this. The Ocean House is a legendary vacation destination, which was demolished and painstakingly rebuilt to its former glory. When in western Rhode Island it is a must see. Check out the website and you will understand.

 Taylor Swift lives down the road and stops by every once in a while. Just sayin’.

Anyhoo, it was a blast. And not only was the class fun, instead of holding it at the resort, it was held at the Pink House. A friend, who grew up in Watch Hill, told me the home was formerly owned by Mick Jagger. She said that they were always on Rolling Stone watch in the summer. Yup, I cooked in his kitchen. (I will now pause for that to sink in.)

It was fun. I am confident Mick knew I was there and wished he were back in Watch Hill. I could feel it in my soul.

But I digress;  this isn’t about that experience (which by the way is a definite Do Again), it is about a virtual cooking club.

You see, the other day Janice McEachen, the Food Forager for The Ocean House, (cool job, huh) contacted a bunch of us to see if we wanted to start this virtual cooking thing.

I said, “Yeeeees!” And we were off.

Cardamom Onion Ckicken It was determined that our first dish would be from the Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, which I had just purchased. Janice decided our first recipe would be Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice. It looked good, so off I went to the grocery store.

Now, if I am going to make a special dish, I don’t want it to be for just the husband and me, so I invited my friends Tami and David over as my official taste-testers. I also decided to try other recipes from the book, since I did own it, and chose the Swiss Chard with Tahini, Yogurt, and Buttered Pine Nuts and Clementine and Almond Syrup Cake. Sounds good, huh.

Well, it was.

Swiss Chard with Tahini Yogurt Sauce As a group, we decided that the rice and cake were the big winners. The rice was wonderfully flavored with spices and herbs and the cake was moist and sweet, yet not cloying. The chicken was a little bland, but Janice thought that if the thighs had been marinated with the spices overnight the flavors might be more pronounced. I thought brining the thighs might benefit the recipe as well.

The only other problem I had was that some of the directions for the recipes were incorrect. The Swiss chard recipe told me to squeeze the water out of the chard until dry, which made the vegetable too dense and flavorless. The picture showed a much more moist vegetable than what I ended up with  by following the directions exactly. If I made this recipe again, I would just remove most of the water.

Clementine Almond Syrup CakeAlso, the cake, batter is more of a cake paste and cannot be “poured.” I don’t make cakes often since I am more of a salty gal, rather than a sweet, (My dessert is usually another glass of wine.) so I was freaking out about this misdirection and assumed I had ruined the cake. Well, I hadn’t; it was the star of the meal.

While eating this meal was wonderful, what was even more fun was discussing this experiment via the Facebook page with everyone else who had participated. Now, this is a new group, so there aren’t a lot of us yet, but I must say, it was fun and worth doing again.

Check out the links and Facebook page provided. If you like trying new recipes and discussing your trials and tribulations in the kitchen, try it out. You will find me there!

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