Cooking Club

Tonight’s Table

Way back when I was single, had roommates, and worked as a talent agent I decided to start a cooking club with my friend Cornelia. I remember we were sitting in a now defunct restaurant in Hollywood drinking wine, out much later than we should have been on a work night.  Besides having the prerequisite single girls conversation; fashion, boys and work, we found we both had a yearning to become better cooks and entertainers.  We already entertained quite a bit but we wanted to learn more, to master things we were afraid of (for me it was bread dough) and to also create an opportunity to carve out some quality time with good girl friends who were of like mind and wanted to learn some things in the kitchen. And so the Cooking Club was born.

I hosted the first cooking club in my tiny apartment kitchen that I shared with my dear friend Interior Designer Mary Luby and Yoga Booty Ballet Creator Gillian Martloth. I prepared cornish game hens and a wild rice dish.  It was all about quick, simple, sure to wow recipes. We drank too much and though the food was delicious, the evening was more like me conducting a cooking lesson on the Foodnetwork. We have learned a lot in the 10 years the Cooking Club has been in existence and now our get togethers are collborative and themed based.

Sally’s Spread for Spanish Cooking Club

(she had the items sent from Spain)

Alix working on her Biscotti for Italian Night

Stacy and Vanessa cooking up Garlic Flavored Oil for Broccolini

Toppings and Fresh Pizza Dough for our Pizza Night

Lettuce Wraps

Jessica and Clarke Sporting Bindi’s for Indian Night

Indian Night Table @ Alix’s House

Celebrating Lulu’s Book “Lulu Powers, Food to Flowers” with a Table Scape Using Some of her Tips

Our group now consists of some professionals in the food biz which has put the cooking on a much higher level.  We “tease” when someone hasn’t put much time into a dish or if they make the same thing numerous times, but we are all quite serious about our cooking.  Most of us have had a big flop (except the fabulous Caterer Lulu Powers) and great successess.  We have bumped it up even more now by taking special care in our tablescapes.

Lulu’s Summer Table

Clarke’s Favorite Things Dinner

Malibu Beach Food @ Sally’s

The members have changed through the years, but we now have a core group that has been going strong for years. There are some ladies I only see when we get together, others that I see more often, but I adore each and every member and learn so much (not just in cooking but in life). There have been weddings, babies, divorces, job losses, and career changes.  We have lost parents and pets. Members have moved away.  We have even been in national magazines and on television. But the desire to learn, cook, to be wonderful hosts and entertainers is still what drives us all.

Some of the other Cooking Club members have blogs you should check out!

Sally Horchow “Very Good Looking”

Lulu Powers    “Living La Lulu”

Heather Fogarty  “The Foodinista”

I am hosting tonight, so off to go do a little prep.

Happy Cooking Everyone!

xoxo Carrie

Please Set The Table.

Photo: www.thefoundblog.com

I think one should set the table every night.  It is a good way to keep your family at the table longer, it prompts conversation.  It sets a good precedence for your children, by setting the stage for learning table manners.  I am astonished how many kids and adults  do not know where a knife and fork should be placed.  Paper napkins send me over the edge and soda bottles on a table make me cringe. If you routinely eat on a paper plate you need a time out.  Save those for the picnics!

Photo: The 10 minute dinner table setting

I can sense the eye rolls.  I know we are all super busy, time is tight and some may think it is silly to put effort into setting a table.  It  seems like every day is “Casual Friday” and I think it should stop. What’s so wrong with a little formality?  I am not suggesting we put on a suit to travel or wear white gloves, just simply take the time to set your dinner table.  I timed it.  It takes 5-10 minutes to set a table with plates, napkins, silverware, and a place mat.

Photo: Caroline’s Placemat

 Give your children the job of setting the table so they know how it is done, do it with them and then set them free and let them do a table scape themselves.  Caroline has drawn place mats for us, picked flowers, pine cones, special rocks or shells when she set our table. It was a great activity and it kept her busy and out of my hair while I cooked dinner.

 I will admit I do use paper napkins when there is a messy dish such as ribs or if it is lunch on the run, but I try to routinely use cloth napkins.  It’s so much nicer.  You can use a tip from Lulu Powers, author of “Lulu Powers, Food to Flowers” and go to Ikea, buy some $0 .79 cent dish towels.  Buy a ton and keep them folded in a cute basket so you have them at your fingertips. They wash nicely and even look better with wear.  If they get too stained then throw them out or use them a dust cloths.

So for those who need a reminder here is a diagram of a proper table setting.  Keep in mind the daily meal setting will be much simpler so don’t freak about the 12 different pieces!

 Photo: weddingsandeventsbymuse.com

I may loose you here….How about pulling out the Wedding China out on a regular day?   Who says you have to keep it for a special occasion?  I like to have a “fancy” dinner night where I use all the good stuff, but I serve breakfast for dinner.

 

 Photo: www.paloma81.blogspot.com

So go open your linen cabinet and pull out your napkins and table clothes and start setting your table!

Just do it!

xo Carrie

Saturday Night Dinner Party

www.cocodot.com

Saturday Night Dinner Party

Dinner for 6

Mood

Comfortable and Casual

Roaring Fire

Backgammon and Scrabble

Dress Code

Flannel Pajama’s

Bath Robes

Slippers

Stubbs & Wooten

Menu

Comfort Food

Chicken and Dumplings

Bibb Lettuce Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Root Beer Floats

Flowers

Ranunculus in simple vases

Music

The Alabama Shakes

Table

www.barneys.com

ttp://www1.bloomingdales.com

www.fabricsandpapers.com

The Take Away

Mariebelle Hot Chocolate

Williams Sonoma

xoxo Carrie