EVENT SUMMARIES (2012 NEW HAVEN)

For general descriptions of our future events please check the YaleCooks "Partnerships & Projects" page.

These events will support and promote the YaleCooks "Mission & Vision" and the goals and strategic plan of the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA).

Day Date Notes (eg. Special Meal Themes) Recipe Demonstrated Link
Fri September 21, 2012 first organizing meeting (Yale) homemade hummus Summary
Wed September 26, 2012 first potluck dinner (Yale) tofu with spicy peanut sauce Summary
Wed October 4, 2012 Yale OISS Oktoberfest (Yale) day old "Pretzel bagels" Summary
Wed October 11, 2012 potluck dinner (Yale) fresh "Pretzel bagels" Summary
Thur October 25, 2012 potluck dinner, vegetarian (Yale) Bread Summary
Wed October 31, 2012 potluck dinner, vegetarian (Yale) broccoli & tofu, fried potatoes Summary
Wed November 7, 2012 potluck dinner (Yale)   Summary
Thurs November 15, 2012 potluck dinner; international foods (Yale) roasted Peruvian chicken Summary
Wed November 21, 2012 Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck Feast (Yale) Roasting an 18.5 lb turkey! Summary
Wed November 28, 2012 "eating fresh bread" potluck dinner Bread Workshop (Yale) Summary
Wed December 12, 2012 potluck dinner (Yale) Thai & Chinese cooking demo Summary

YaleCooks Asian Cooking Lesson & Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Wednesday, 2012-12-12)


Michael's finished "Pad Ga Prao" (made with ground pork).

Michael A cooking "Pad Ga Prao".

Ingredients (herbs & vegetables) for "Pad Ga Prao".

Ewgeni's "Vegetarian Couscous".

Stephen's "Soy Sauce Chicken" (split breasts).

Stephen's "Soy Sauce Chicken" (boneless pieces).

Meg's "Rice Noodles + Shrimp, Chicken, Mushrooms, & Napa".

Stephen's "Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli" (but overcooked).

Anjana's "Rajma" (red kidney bean curry).

Vassilis's "Fakes" (made from lentils and onions?).

Ourdane's "Tarte tatin" (French upside down apple pie).

Stephen's "Steamed White Rice".

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) The YaleCooks food event held in New Haven on December 12, 2012 was just our tenth meeting (in less than three months).  Among the new members there were some interesting stories.

One new member, from Europe, arrived in New Haven only a few weeks ago (his trip to CT was delayed by Hurricane Sandy).  He is interested in purchasing good quality kitchen knives and learning to cook because he wants to recreate the memorable meals his grandmother prepared.  Unfortunately, like most families his family never asked his grandmother to describe her recipes and cooking techniques before she died.  Meg, another new YaleCooks member (from Shanghai) agreed that her relatives who cook have their culinary "family secrets" for preparing tasty, fast, nutritious, and cost-effective meals.  We hope to use the YaleCooks website to archive family recipes and cooking techniques so this knowledge will be available, when needed, to future generations of Yalies.

The YaleCooks group expects to be around for a while.

Another new member's connection to Yale shows the appeal and reach of the YaleCooks mission-vision.  She is "three degrees separated" from Yale (her "friend's-friend's-husband" is a student).  If the YaleCooks group can develop effective ways to reach everyone who has just a one degree of separation from Yale (family members and friends of Yalies) then we have the potential to reach millions of people (including many people connected to Harvard).  The "Yale community" reaches all around the globe.

Imagine millions of people, connected by a simple interest in food-cooking, working together in groups to improve the world.  We can do it, but we need some help.  Please encourage your Yale schools, Yale departments, Yale student campus groups (from all the schools), Yale alumni associations, Yale alumni organizations (eg. SIGs and Yale clubs), and Yale University offices plus programs to form partnerships and develop innovative programming with YaleCooks.  Not all projects will be focused on food-cooking, but most projects will have a small food-cooking-nutrition-health-farming-culture element-component.

2) Stephen and Michael arrived early to set up their cooking demonstrations and to talk about bread baking.  The bread dough which Michael prepared during the recent YaleCooks bread baking workshop (2012-11-28) and which Michael tried to bake in his home oven did not meet his expectations.  After just a few questions it became clear which step Michael had skipped.  Although Michael was patient and allowed the dough to rise all day in a loose-fitting plastic (needed to allow the dough to expand) he did not let the dough rise again for 30 - 60 minutes (under a plastic sheet) after forming the loose loaves.  In retrospect, his oversight was perfectly reasonable.

Although the "Wooster Street-style" pizza and "pretzel bagel" recipes (on which the bread recipe is based) were completed before the bread workshop, the final detailed bread recipe was not ready in November.  Therefore, Michael's lack of success was (probably) due more to a lack of detailed instructions than technique.  Remember, a large amount of the bread workshop was focused on the participants learning the desired texture of dough when the correct amount of water and flour are combined.  This "feel" is easier to learn from a "hands-on" workshop than a detailed written recipe (although one lesson learned is that having a recipe completed before each workshop is best).  Thanks Michael.  Your experience will make the final "bagel baguette" recipe more complete.

The assumption is that Michael's oven can reach the desired 425°F temperature needed to bake the bread.  To confirm this theory Stephen gave Michael some bread dough which he prepared earlier in the day.  If you are interested in reading more about Michael's bread baking experience bookmark this page.  In the next YaleCooks event summary we will also report back on the successes of Anjana, Lies, and Ouardane.

Editor: Here is the recipe for Stephen's "Bagel Baguettes" (from the November 28, 2012 workshop.

3) The meeting started with Asian cooking demonstrations by Stephen and Michael.  Stephen demonstrated his version of his mom's Chinese "soy sauce chicken" recipe (made with split chicken breasts, soy sauce, "homemade" brown sugar, star anise, fresh garlic, [fresh ginger], and water).  Then the group discussed the different ways they prepare basic white rice and the desired characteristics (eg. Asian families which eat meals using bowls and chopsticks prefer rice whose kernels stick together).  Stephen described how Chinese broccoli (which he quickly stir fried just before we ate, and then promptly forgot about, so it was overcooked) is different from American broccoli.  This information (about rice and Chinese broccoli) is the exact type of information which we want to share with other members of the "Yale community" via the YaleCooks website.

Michael described the different ingredients he uses to make Thai dishes.  Salty ingredients (dark soy sauce, light-colored sauce soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, Thai-Vietnamese "fish sauce", and oyster-flavored sauce) and sweet ingredients (palm sugar).  [Editor: Surprisingly, "sour ingredients" (eg. fresh lime juice) were missing from Michael's "pad ga prao" recipe. ]  He asked members of the group to help him prepare the Thai dish "pad ga prao" () by cutting up the fresh sweet basil and other vegetables (onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and spicy peppers).

Michael stressed the importance of "mise en place" ("everthing in its place").  With the stove set to "high heat" the cooking was completed in a few minutes.  Once cooking starts there is no time to prepare ingredients.  If an ingredient is not ready to be used when needed it does not go into the finished dish.

Michael and Stephen promised to find time, during the next few weeks, to write down the recipes.  Thanks guys!

4) During the meal Stephen announced that the twenty-sixth (26th!) recipe contributed by YaleCooks members is the "Dutch coconut milk carrot curry soup" prepared by Lies for the last meeting.  He forgot to mention Anjana's recipes for rasgulla and ras malai, Ouardane's recipe for "tarte au citron meringuée" (French lemon meringue pie),and even his own recipe for "cranberry sauce relish".

We are averaging two new recipes a week.  Imagine what we can achieve after we start chapters in other cities.  Anjana, who usually surprises the group with her wonderful Indian cooking, emailed her family recipe for "rajma" (red kidney bean curry) before the meal started!  Stephen promised to write the recipes for several of the dishes he has prepared for YaleCooks events (eg. bagel baguettes, roasted Pervian chicken, and roasted turkey).  With some luck we should have over thirty recipes before the group's next New Haven meeting (TBA) in 2013.

We are developing different ways to make it simple for members to contribute recipes.

5) At the very end of the meeting several members discussed some strategic-organizational-sustainability issues.  For example, building membership (why and how), possibly creating different chapters at Yale for different campus groups, expanding to other cities (national and global).  Maybe we should have a separate meeting, perhaps once a month (perhaps on the second weekend of each month?), where we discuss logistical topics which are important to the survival of the group.  During our weekly food-cooking events the members enjoy discussing food-cooking more than "strategy".

We need to answer questions (ideally, as a group) such as "how do we use social media and email to communiciate with (potential) members?"  Currently, we send out an occasional "newsletter" via email.  We send email via BCC: so members do not have the ability to respond to each other.  This is currently done for different reasons (primariy privacy and the desire to avoid creating "email fatigue" associated with the YaleCooks "brand").  Although this "centralized" communication approach may appear "limiting" it is common.  For example, Yale alumni email address databases are closely guarded assets.

Just because a person "joins" YaleCooks (via the online survey or by participating in one potluck event) should not mean the person automatically has access to all the other people on our email list.

The hope is to use the "teaser" approach with email and social media.  We will mention only partial information about events, etc. on social media, but for complete details a person needs to click on a link which sends the person to the YaleCooks website.  The website is where recipes and other valuable long-term information is organized and shared, so the goal is to use social media and email to support the website's resources by driving traffic to the website.

On each page of the YaleCooks website there are links to our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

6) Let's get back to food!  Future YaleCooks events (eg. special themed meals and workshops) for 2013 include homemade cottage and ricotta cheeses ("paneer" cheese), deep frying (eg. vegetarian, dumpling, desserts, seafood, and meat), regular events such as a "Bread-of-the-Month" club (eg. fougasse or European rye flour breads) or a "Dumpling-of-the-Month" club (eg. wontons, pierogis, kreplack, dim sum, etc.)", "molecular gastronomy" (eg. sous vide and food foams), and comparing kitchen gadgets (such as knife sharpeners) and electrical equipment (eg. juicers).

Many thanks to Anjana, Michael, Del, Vassilis, Ouardane, Timothy, Sheril, Veronica, Cynthia, Carlos, Stephen, and the other members of YaleCooks for their ideas and active support.  You have made YaleCooks a fun experience.

7) So what were some of the dishes shared by YaleCooks members?  Michael prepare "pad ga prao", Stephen prepared Chinese "soy sauce chicken" and stir fried Chinese broccoli.  Anjana made "rajma" (a red kidney bean curry popular in northern India).  Ouardane baked a "tarte tatin" (a French, inverted apple pie), Ewgeni made a vegetarian "couscous" dish, Meg prepared "Chinese rice noodles with shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, & cabbage".  Vassilis made "fakes" (a Greek lentil dish).  Bon appetit!

8) The dates for the next YaleCooks events in early 2013 (for both New Haven and New York City) have not been finalized.  Please check the YaleCooks "Events" page for important details (eg. what is the "theme"), the recipes for the dishes being demonstrated, and other changes, such as BYOBF.

If you plan to attend the cooking class-demonstration and potluck dinner please RSVP by completing the online YaleCooks food-cooking survey or if you are already a member just send us an email (with an appropriate email Subject, such as "YaleCooks Event: RSVP [event date]").  In your RSVP please include the name of the dish which you plan to bring to share with the group.

Happy holidays everyone!  Stay warm in your kitchens.

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YaleCooks Bread Workshop & Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Wednesday, 2012-11-28)


"Bagel Baguettes" (from 2012-10-25).

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) This summary for the November 28, 2012 "Bread Baking Workshop" and potluck dinner was delayed for several days.  Sorry.  Due to the large number of recipes recently submitted by members of YaleCooks several of the "regional cuisine" pages had to be split and reorganized to accommodate the extra content.  Previously, European cuisines were covered by just two pages.  Now the recipes are organized using six pages.  On the new "Latin American" recipes page the Mexican recipes are now split into different regions (similar to what Ouardane suggested for the French recipes).  Most of the current Chinese recipes are Cantonese (a "southern" region), but a separate "dim sum" section has been created.

As of Tuesday, December 4, 2012 there are now twenty-four (24) recipes contributed by YaleCooks members, with several more in the pipline (including the recipe for "bagel baguettes").

We are developing different ways to make it simple for members to contribute recipes.

2) The "bagel baguette" bread workshop was fun.  Six people decided to roll up their sleeves and knead dough.  We had an active discussion with good questions and comments.  The workshop feedback (and any future experiences from both the workshop participants and visitors to the YaleCooks website) will be incorporated into the published recipe.  [ Editor: here is the recipe for "bagel baguettes" ] For example, the "minimal yeast" recipe we used works well when the "first" rising step is not rushed (and given several hours), but we did not add enough yeast to create sufficient leavening action in just 1 hour (our goal, since the workshop was limited to 2 1/2 hours).  Next time we will add more yeast (thanks, to Sheril F, for suggesting the use of fresh yeast cakes and possibly "rapid-rise yeast" for short 2 hour bread baking workshops)!

Although it did not rise very much in 60 minutes the one loaf of bread (made with dough prepared by Anjana) which was baked seemed undercooked when first removed from the oven.  However, after cooling it was like a thick, chewy, bread stick.  Still very edible.

The workshop participants took their bread dough home (which is why we asked the workshop participants to bring clean plastic bags) to bake in their own familar ovens.  Ouardane report success.  Anjana sent an email saying the dough she brought home baked successfully (after being given sufficient time to rise).  She said homemade bread has already replaced store-bought bread.  Anjana is already thinking about baking other types of bread.  We are using the experience of Michael, a talented and "intuitive" cook, but first time bread baker to trouble-shoot and improve the recipe and teaching method.

3) The next YaleCooks event will be Wednesday, December 12, 2012.  Before the potluck dinner starts Michael will demonstrate a Thai stir fry recipe (probably "pad ga prao") and Stephen will demonstrate how to make Chinese "soy sauce chicken".  Please check the YaleCooks "Events" page for important details (eg. what is the "theme"), the recipes for the dishes being demonstrated, and other changes, such as BYOBF.

If you plan to attend the cooking class-demonstration and potluck dinner please RSVP by completing the online YaleCooks food-cooking survey or if you are already a member just send us an email (with an appropriate email Subject, such as "YaleCooks Event: RSVP 2012-12-12").  In your RSVP please include the name of the dish which you plan to bring to share with the group.

4) To eat with the freshly baked bread new YaleCooks members Lies P (welcome!) made some wonderful "coconut milk carrot curry soup" (made with carrots, onions-leeks, chicken bouillon cubes, and coconut milk).  Michael made kakitama jiru (a Japanese egg-drop soup) using dried dashi flakes.  Vassilis brought some pasta served with a creme fraiche.  Simona and Petr brought some olive oil and Bulgarian feta cheese.  In addition to the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast needed to make the bread Stephen also brought some some Comte cheese (from the Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro) and some brie.  For dessert, Ouardane made a wonderful French tarte au citron meringuée (lemon meringue pie).  Bon appetit!

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YaleCooks "Pre-Thanksgiving" Potluck Feast Summary (New Haven, CT; Wednesday, 2012-11-21)


Stephen's "Roasted Turkey" (before the gravy was made).

A plate of Stephen's "Roasted Turkey".

Anjana's "Assorted Vegetable Pakoras".

Dennis' "Brussel Sprouts" (in a dijon mustard sauce).

Michael's "Asian-Inspired Stuffing".

Stephen's traditional "Bread Stuffing" (without sausage).

Stephen's fresh "Cranberry Sauce Relish" (without walnuts).

Stephen's "Mashed Potatoes".

Stephen's baked "sweet potatoes" (without butter).

Stephen's baked "potatoes" ("Idahoes").

Ouardane's "French Bread".  Qui est un chef intelligent?

Turkey & cranberry sauce on a "Bagel Baguette" sandwich.

Vassilis' "Pumpkin Pie" (from fresh pumpkin; not egg-free).

Timothy's "Pumpkin Pie" (was this egg-free?).

Timothy's "Apple Pie" (made from what types of apples?).

Delvinia's and Reuben's "Malaysian Pineapple Tarts" (so cute!).

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) We forgot to take photos of Yunuen's dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), Ricardo's horiatiki salata (Greek salad), Ouardane's French crepes (with maple syrup), Stephen's gravy (made from the turkey "drippings" and thickened using wheat starch), Anna's juices (plus corn), Simona's & Petr's wine, and Michael's seltzer.  If we forgot to give anyone credit, please contact YaleCooks.

2) The YaleCooks "pre-Thanksgiving" feast was our largest event so far.  More than 20 people attended, including many new members from "as far away as" New York City.  YaleCooks is now international and "interstate"!

3) The table where we ate was long and full, so we had different "concurrent" conversations.  Here are just a few of the many highlights:

Tim and Ouardane began to compare their experiences with molecular gastronomy.  Tim shared his belief that the "16 g" CO2 cartridges used to make espumas should be universal.  Tim recommendeds the use of "food grade" cartridges and not less expensive low grade aluminum cartridges filled with industrial grade CO2, possibly contaminated with oils and other organics.  Tim also described some siphons which permit adding twice the amount of CO2 gas.  These siphons are designed to include small valves which seal off the chamber while the first empty cartidge is replaced.

Tim and Ouardane agree that organizing a molecular gastronomy workshop might make joining the YaleCooks group more appealing to hip Yale College students (remember, increasing membership is part of the YaleCooks "strategic plan").  We discussed with several Yale College students the hope to create a cookbook of reliable and predictable recipes which can be followed using the equipment and ingredients available in the different Yale student kitchens (supplemented with perishable ingredients purchased from local markets). For example, New Haven restaurant-inspired recipes (eg. "Wooster Square" style pizza and "Lithuanian Coffee cake") as well as recipes from family members for "comfort food".  Many Chinese families make "congee-jook" using the Thanksgiving turkey bones.  Do not expect jook to appear on any Yale Dining Hall menus, but not fear.  If you could not go home for Thanksgiving you can make it yourself.

One Yale College student offered suggestions for how to reach out to Yale undergraduates.  Thank you AA for your great ideas!

What other conversations did you enjoy?

4) We forgot to distribute the copies of the "edible Nutmeg" food magazine which we obtained from the CitySeed Green Market (Wednesday, on Church Street).

5) Things we learned (cooking and event advice):

Ask people to bring more beverages.  Thanks to Anna M and Michael A for their contributions.

People did not use the lemon slices on their turkey, but they worked well on the beverage table.  When confronted with so many choices the celery "heart" sticks (a healthy vegetarian option), although very tender, did not seem very appealing.

Do not forget to check the sweet potatoes (scrubbed, rinsed, cut in half, and wrapped in aluminum foil).  Check after 2 hours and then at fifteen minutes intervals until soft.  One small sweet potato is enough for two or three people.

Mashed potatoes made from 8 pounds of Idaho potatoes is too much.  Next time 4 or 5 pounds of potatoes is enough.  Add whole milk and a potato masher to the shopping-packing list(s) for making smooth mashed potatoes.  Need to ask if people preferred the skins removed after the potatoes are boiled (more effort).

Add corn or wheat starch to the packing list.  Saved again by the "Hong Kong Market".

Turkey roasting advice (until a more formal recipe is created): If you are using disposable aluminum trays (thanks to the McDougal Graduate Student Center which sponsored a fall gardening talk), double-up for greater support.  An 18.5 pound (8.4 kg) turkey fits in the IC oven (with enough head space to permit adequate circulation of hot air) when using a roasting rack which elevates the meat 3 inches (7.5 cm) above the pan.  With the same amount of side dishes we could have easily accommodated 30 - 40 people.  If a larger turkey is needed (or if you have less than 3 1/2 hours to roast the turkey) simply "butterfly" the defrosted turkey by cutting out the backbone using kitchen shears.  The backbone will not be wasted and can be simmered with the giblets (heart, liver, and gizzard) in water to make the broth needed to moisten the stuffing-dressing.  Here is how we roasted the turkey (total time: 3.5 hours; no basting): 60 mins@350F (breast up), 60 minutes@350F (breast down), 30 minutes@325F (breast up), 30 minutes@325F (breast down), 30 minutes@325F (breast up).  Cool before slicing.

Cutting the onions and celery ahead of time makes preparing the stuffing very easy.  Stuffing made from three ?? oz loaves of white bread was too much enough for 20 people (although leftover stuffing is always nice to have).

One of the OISS work study students tasted both the canned cranberry sauce and the homemade cranberry "relish".  The commercial cranberry sauce is sweeter, but she preferred the homemade cranberry relish.  She suggested adding it to a lettuce salad.  A yummy idea!

6) We continue to develop different ways to make it simple for Yale members to contribute recipes.

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YaleCooks "International" Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Wednesday, 2012-11-15)


Michael's "Black bean chili".

Vassilis' "Fakes" (Greek lentil soup) inspired "Lentils & Turkey".

Anjana's "Ras malai" (prepared using rasgulla).
 

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) Attendance: 60% of the potluck dinner participants were connected to Yale OISS and 20% were first-time participants.

As an ice-breaker we asked the "regular" YaleCooks members to describe why they are active in the Foodies@Yale-YaleCooks group.  In the future we should also ask: 1) what can we improve and 2) what topics have we not discussed in a while (eg. using social media, website improvements, etc.).

If you have questions about Indian, Bengali, Korean, Chinese, Greek, and French cuisines please contact YaleCooks.  Our active members also have experience with home fermentation, using pressure cookers (to save time and energy), sous vide (slow 55C "low temperature" cooking), "molecular gastronomy" (eg. "espuma" food foams and food pearls; see below), and using propane torches (useful for charring meats, making the French dessert creme brulee, and fixing the occasional home plumbing problem).  No need to worry, YaleCooks will NOT use propane torches on Yale propery without first getting the proper permits.

Many thanks to YaleCooks members for creating lists of "authentic, traditional, or classic" recipes for Korean (Michael A), regional French (Ouardane J), and Italian (Anna M) cuisines.  Remember, one long-term goal of YaleCooks is to create a collection of reliable (and hopefully simple) recipes written by "Yale community" members.  Until then, just click on the Google, Bing, and YouTube icons and you will see images-videos and links to internet recipes.  If you want to contribute a list of recipes for other international-regional cuisines (especially African, Caribbean, and Latin American recipes) please contact us.  Thanks!

2) The Foodies@Yale-YaleCooks group is not the only Yale community group which organizes events (with food) to (re)connect people.  The evening's conversation began with a discussion of the Diwali celebration held at the Yale University Commons and a description of the recent "Pocha Night Market 2012" (sponsored by Hanppuri, the Yale College international Korean students group).  Stephen wrote a quick review of the PNM event (which includes the names-recipes of the dishes served; thanks Juli!).  Let's form a partnership!  (BTW, if you search Google for "yale pocha night" the first result is the YaleCooks review!)

FYI: The Yale SOM Japan Club is sponsoring a Japanese Tea Ceremony on Thursday, November 29, 2012.  For more details please see the YaleCooks "Events" page.

At different times during the potluck dinner we discussed different strategies for building the YaleCooks membership by engaging with different Yale College and Yale Graduate & Professional student groups plus alumni groups from all Yale schools.  For example, we would like to organize pizza and dessert (eg. cakes and cookies) making workshops, possibly in the twelve residential college student kitchens or the Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS) kitchens.  We know Yale graduate students are interested in food, because during the fall 2012 semester the McDougal Center hosted a pastry (apple turnover) baking event and a cupcake icing event.  Each event cost $5 (?).  There is a lot of interest in food-cooking among members of the Yale community, but the information describing on campus activities is not well coordinated.  If you know the person in your Yale community group who is responsible for publicity please contact YaleCooks and we will add your event (with some aspect of food-cooking) to our "Events" page.

The goals of these Yale campus YaleCooks cooking-baking workshops are 1) to do a current survey-assessment of the equipment and supplies available in Yale campus student kitchens (in the twelve residential colleges and the various graduate school student kitchens), 2) to teach students how to prepare desserts and how to bake pizza using homemade pizza dough (making pizza is faster, cheaper, and healthier than ordering pizza), and 3) to feed hungry Yale students.  "Free" food (in exchange for some time; YaleCooks needs help planning future activities on campus).

It would be great if students in Yale College, the Yale GSA&S, and the Yale professional schools started "campus" chapters of YaleCooks during the 2013-2014 academic school year (we need to learn the different requirements & registration deadlines).  Two obvious advantages are 1) access to more campus kitchens and 2) the ability to request student activity funds from the Yale College Council (YCC) and the Yale Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS).

To be clear, if different YaleCooks groups organized on campus each would remain independent (eg. Yale College students need to build their resumes).  Each group would have its own "governance" structure (since YCC and GPSS are separate) and organize its own events (if desired), but we would all be guided by the same principles.  Although separate, the different groups would support each other by sharing resources (definitely recipes and expertise, and possibly specialty kitchen equipment and gadgets).  A few times each year, possibly during the week of the annual AYA Assembly (when hundreds of active alumni leaders return to campus), the various YaleCooks campus groups could come together and plan food-cooking-eating events on campus or in New Haven.  The plan to create a strong network of Yale community cooks living in-near New Haven is just part of our plan to expand with YaleCook chapters across the US and around the world.  Everyone eats!

3) We had a wonderful conversation discussing many topics.  We discussed making "paneers" (eg. ricotto and cottage cheese), additional ways (no pun intended) to use whey (as in "curds & whey"), different types of cardamon (small green and large brown), the use of fermented vegetables in different cuisines (eg. Korean and French), "terroir" (the concept that any food producing region, on land or in the water, has a distinct microclimate-soil-flora of microorganisms which affect the taste of foods grown, harvested, caught, or processed in the region), phyllo (opa!) and pastry dough, the OISS "Oktoberfest 2012" celebration and pretzel bagels, using the bones from a roasted chicken-turkey-duck to make a rich broth (which can be used to make other dishes such as risotto and congee-jook), making traditional "artisanal" bread using poolish-biga-levain starters (instead of commerical bread yeast-sugar), different ways to make pasta by hand (such as the mechanical Italian crank operated rollers, using American rolling pins with special "rings", and the always impressive Chinese "hand pulled noodles" method), foie gras, sous vide (thanks, Vassilis), the benefits of using agar agar when preparing food pearls (agar agar is from seaweed, but gelatin is from animal bones and requires more steps to dissolve), and making "espumas" (food foams, using compressed gases, similar to Reddi Wip-brand "instant" whipped cream) using gas siphons which use CO2 cartridges (thanks, Ouardane).

Our members' experience with molecular gastronomy may be a way to introduce YaleCooks to Yale College students.  Are there any Yale College students reading this summary who are interested in the "Final Cut" cooking competition?

In Europe two typical siphon sizes (made specifically for food gastronomy vs for making simple seltzer water?) are 0.25 and 0.5 liters (roughly 1 and 2 cups).  It is very important to filter the "flavoring liquid" before filling the lower reservoir.  Each CO2 cartridge is used for only one "loading", because attaching the cartridge pressurizes the lower chamber.  We do not know yet if there is a global standard for CO2 cartridge dimensions, gas capacity, "food grade" quality (vs the CO2 cartridges used to refill bicycle tires).

What was the context of the "pâte à choux" discussion?  Cream puffs, chocolate eclairs, and other desserts are made using a French dough called pate a choux.

What other food-cooking concepts did we discuss?

4) YaleCooks is hosting a "Pre-Thanksgiving" dinner event on Wednesday, November 21, 2012.  You must RSVP for this event by Monday, November 19 (noon).  Okay, we are slightly flexible, but the earlier the better.  Please check the YaleCooks "Events" page for important details such as BYOBF.

If you plan to attend the dinner please RSVP by completing the online YaleCooks food-cooking survey or if you are already a member just send us an email (with an appropriate email Subject, such as "YaleCooks Event: RSVP 2012-11-21").  To help us keep organized each person must send a separate RSVP.

5) Before the potluck started Stephen demonstrated several "tricks" he uses when he prepares "roasted Peruvian chicken" and potatoes.  We did not get the chicken into the oven until 6:30, but we raised the oven temperature to 400 degrees (instead of 350F).  It was finished at 8 PM.  Roasting a chicken this week was a test of the OISS oven and Stephen's roasting rack (a "yard sale" purchase).  When a shelf is in the lowest position the available oven space is: 22 inches X 14 inches X 11 inches (but remember, you need space to permit hot air to circulate).  A reminder to bring extra sponges to the November 21 feast.

Michael brought some of his homemade Korean daikon kimchi (which had been fermenting for four weeks).  Vassilis brought a simple, but very tasty Greek fakes (lentil soup) inspired lentil and turkey dish.  Ouardane J baked some pumpkin muffins.  Anjan continues to impress us with her knowledge of Indian desserts.  This week she prepared "ras malai".  Wow!

6) Anjana requested the recipe for the "eggless pumpkin pie" baked by Vasillis several weeks ago.  The Veggieboards.com link was added to Vassilis' no-roll pie crust recipe.  Opa!

We continue to develop different ways to make it simple for Yale members to contribute recipes.

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YaleCooks Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Wednesday, 2012-11-07)

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) We hope everyone is safe, warm, and dry.  The post-Hurricane Sandy "Northeaster" snow storm reduced attendance at the potluck dinner, but several die-hard members still made it through the wind and snow.

2) The conversation focused on how we can improve the YaleCooks "brand" and promotion-publicity for YaleCooks events.  One of the group's most important short-term goals is to build membership since we want to create a university-wide, national, and eventually a global network.  On Saturday, November 3, 2012 several YaleCooks members attended the annual "Food Night" celebration hosted by the International Students Organization (ISO is a Yale College group).  Stephen wrote a quick review of the event (which includes the names-recipes of the dishes served).  (BTW, if you search Google for "yale food night" the first result is the YaleCooks review!)

We met Carl, the president of the group and several other ISO leaders.  We discussed the possibility of having a pre-Thanksgiving "strategy-working" dinner on Wednesday, November 21, 2012.

What types of food-cooking related activities (other than potluck dinners with "themes") might the extended "Yale community" find interesting?  Cooking workshops, classes, and lessons were requested.  At YaleCooks we try to be responsive, so at 6 PM (at the beginning of the next New Haven potluck dinner) we will have a cooking class to prepare "roasted Peruvian chicken" (after you reach our "South American Recipes" page click on the small Google, Bing, and YouTube icons to see images-videos for internet recipes).  The chicken and potatoes will take two hours to roast.

See below for "RSVP-registration" information.

3) The next YaleCooks event will be Thursday, November 15, 2012.  Please check the YaleCooks "Events" page for important details (eg. what is the "theme") and other changes, such as BYOBF.

If you plan to attend the cooking class and potluck dinner please RSVP by completing the online YaleCooks food-cooking survey or if you are already a member just send us an email (with an appropriate email Subject, such as "YaleCooks Event: RSVP 2012-11-15").  In your RSVP please include the name of the dish which you plan to bring to share with the group.  If you are a Yale College student who is on the meal plan your "contribution" to the meal can be fresh tofu purchased from the Hong Kong Market (just $1.40 for three cakes).

4) Piyali prepared the Indian dessert "vermicelli payasam" (made with milk, nuts, and noodles).  Michael prepared bokumbap (a Korean fried rice with kimchi).

5) Anjana contributed several traditional Indian recipes for dishes she has prepared for earlier events.  Try making her mother's recipes for chole (the chickpea curry dish), badam kheer (a tasty milk dessert beverage, served hot or cold), meethe chawal (a sweet rice dish), and besan ladoo (gluten-free "cookie" balls made from chickpea flour).  We love family recipes!

We are developing different ways to make it simple for members to contribute recipes.

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YaleCooks Vegetarian Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Wednesday, 2012-10-31)


Piyali's "Aloo capsicum".

Roopa's "Pulao" (made with basmati rice).

Vassilis' "Greek salad".

Vassilis' "Grilled peppers with feta".  Opa!

Stephen's "Brocolli & tofu".

Stephen's "Fried potatoes".

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) We hope everyone is safe, warm, and dry after Hurricane Sandy.  Some street lights and traffic lights in Connecticut were not working last night.  We hope the children were not too scared on Halloween night!

2) Attendance at the potluck dinner dropped slightly, but several members emailed to say they could not attend due to work related to Sandy.  Two new members joined us for dinner.  85% of attendees were connected to OISS (scholars, fellows, and spouses).  A big welcome to all.  Thanks for sharing your input and ideas for improving future YaleCooks events.

3) The conversation topics varied a lot from how to encourage Yale College students to increase their participation in YaleCooks events, the origin of Urdu and its relationship to the Hindi language, lactose intolerance and dairy-cheese consumption in Asian cultures, voting in the US and other countries, online dating in different countries, streaming music from Pandora, and learning how to dance.

4) The next YaleCooks event will be Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  Please check the YaleCooks "Events" page for important details (eg. what is the "theme") and other changes, such as BYOBF.

5) Photos from several of the dishes prepared are shown above.  Piyali's "aloo capsicum" (a curry with pototoes seasoned with cumin), Roopa brought a Punjabi (northern Indian) basmati rice dish called "pulao",  Vassilis made two dishes, the Greek salad and also grilled peppers, feta cheese, seasoned with oregano and olive oil.  Opa!  Feng fried several vegetarian Chinese pancakes during the potluck dinner (they did not brown well, because she did not bring any oil).  Stephen's stir fried American broccoli served over fresh soft tofu purchased from the Hong Kong Market on Whitney.  Pan fried potatoes were also prepared.  Recipes were promised!  Opa!

We are developing different ways to make it simple for members to contribute recipes.

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YaleCooks Vegetarian Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Thursday, 2012-10-25)


Anjana's "Chole" (an Indian chickpea curry).

Stephen's fresh "Bagel Baguettes".

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) Once again, many thanks to the OISS-ISPY Mah Jong group for sharing the space with Foodies@Yale.  We are glad you volunteered to help us eat the loaves of bread baked during the potluck dinner!

2) Attendance at the Yale-New Haven potluck dinners continues to surprise us in unanticipated ways.  Three new members joined us for dinner.  85% were connected to OISS (scholars, fellows, and spouses).  A big welcome to all.  Thanks for sharing your input and ideas.

At future events we should designate one person the photographer.  Once again, we forgot to take photos of the food.  Vassilis baked an "eggless pumpkin pie" (recipe added 2012-11-10) which only our tastebuds will remember.  Next time, more photos.

Several members have offered to "host" future YaleCooks events.  After meeting the new YaleCooks members part of the discussion was spent describing the logistics of organizing a food event (last minute shopping, setup, photos, attendance, cleanup, check-out).

3) The next YaleCooks event will be Wednesday, October 31, 2012.  Please check the YaleCooks "Events" page for important details (eg. what is the "theme") and other changes, such as BYOBF.

4) Photos from several of the dishes prepared are shown above.  Anjana's chole (a northern Indian-Punjabi chickpea curry; recipe added 2012-11-10) were served over fresh soft tofu purchased from the Hong Kong Market on Whitney.  Fresh "bagel baguettes" (long chewy bread) was baked by Stephen.  Recipes were promised!  Michael could not attend, but he sent us his family's traditional approach to making homemade kimchi!  Vassilis emailed us the yummy eggless pumpkin pie recipe he used.  Opa!

We are developing different ways to make it simple for members to contribute recipes.

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YaleCooks Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Thursday, 2012-10-11)


Michael's "Dak galbi" (a spicy Korean chicken stir-fry).

Nur's "Fish curry".  A treat for the taste-buds and the eyes!

Feng's "Vegetarian fried rice" (including a "tree ear fungus" some believe lowers blood pressure).

Anjana's "Badam kheer", a sweet dessert.  A wonderful ending!

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) Once again, many thanks to the OISS-ISPY Mah Jong group for sharing the space with Foodies@Yale.  We are glad you volunteered to help us finish the sixteen homemade pretzel bagels treats we baked during the potluck dinner!

2) Attendance continues to improve.  Four new members joined us for dinner.  A big welcome.  Soon we will need a larger room!

We can build membership by inviting other Yale community groups (eg. SAGA) to participate in our events.  Everyone eats, so let's eat together!

3) The most important general discussion focused on making it easier for members to plan their weekly schedules.  The group decided that Wednesday evening was the best day-time for most members.  There was also strong support for Thursday evening events.

During weeks when the OISS space is not available on Wednesdays (eg. because of special events) we will try to plan an event for a Thursday or another weekday.  We are still trying to locate a space in New Haven to meet on weekends.  If you are able to host a small group of YaleCooks members in your home kitchen for a weekend cooking workshop please contact YaleCooks.  As the host, you get to choose the recipe(s) we will prepare (as a hands-on activity).

4) The next YaleCooks event will NOT be on a Wednesday, but instead will be held Thursday, October 25, 2012.  Please check the YaleCooks "Events" page for important details (eg. what is the "theme") and other changes, such as BYOBF.

[Edit: We had hoped to plan a potluck dinner for Wednesday, October 17, but the OISS schedule we were using did not list another event.  By the time we realized our error it was too late to plan an event for Thursday, October 18, 2012.  A YaleCooks member was planning to bring homemade rajma (an Indian vegetarian kidney bean curry).  Sorry for the confusion.  Our loss!]

5) Photos from several of the dishes prepared are shown above.  Michael's chicken dish and Nur's fish curry were served over fresh soft tofu purchased from the Hong Kong Market on Whitney.  Hopefully, lists of ingredients and recipes will follow.  We are developing different ways to make it simple for members to contribute recipes.

Stephen also brought a small sample of homemade "Greek-style yogurt" (recipe added 2012-10-22) prepared using an extremely low tech "system".  He was motivated to make homemade yogurt again after hearing Anjana and Piyali describe how families in India and other south east Asian countries make yogurt every day.  When fresh naan is prepared the traditional way with just freshly made yogurt extra leavening action from baker's yeast (the workhorse of "western" bread bakers) is not needed.  Several people expressed interest in trying his yogurt recipe.  When retested the recipe will be added to the YaleCooks collection of "dairy" recipes.

Stefanos described his interest in adapting the pretzel bagel recipe to use buckwheat flour.  One reason Stefanos purchased a 25 pound bag of buckwheat flour is that it contains a very high amount of the nutrient-element Magnesium (Mg).

Someone was concerned about eating meat and yogurt.  A journal search is needed to see if this belief is supported by the scientific literature.  This may be one "culinary-historical" explanation for the Kosher dietary rule which forbids meals which combined dairy and meat.  However, some Indian recipes (???) combine dairy and meat.  [Edit: A quick internet search located several websites describing the Ayurvedic concept of disease and the recommendation that some specific food combinations (samyoga), including milk and meat, should be avoided.  Eastern vs western theories! ]

The cost of the ingredients to make sixteen pretzel bagels is at most $1.  Michael used ______ chicken to make his dak galbi (estimated total cost $XX).  Nur-Taz used frozen tilapia (???) in her fish curry (estimated total cost $XX).  The most costly ingredient in Anjana's badam kheer dessert was the whole milk (estimated total cost $XX).

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Homemade "Pretzel Bagels" Baked for the OISS Oktoberfest Celebration (New Haven, CT; Thurs, 2012-10-04)


Hot homemade salted "Pretzel bagels" served at the OISS
"Oktoberfest" celebration (before they were retoasted).

If you enjoy reading what we do at YaleCooks events please complete the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey.  Your answers will help us plan future events.  Thanks!

1) Many thanks to the Yale OISS staff for organizing the German Oktoberfest celebration.  It was a fun way to spend two hours.  Although it rained, the event was crowded.  Between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning the number of people who RSVPed doubled from 60 to over 100!  If you feel you are responsible for the large increase in the number of online registrations please contact YaleCooks.  We need help building our membership and we need your advice!

2) YaleCooks baked forty (40) homemade (made from scratch) salty German "pretzel-bagels" assuming fifty people would attend the event.  Next time we will bake more!

We call them "pretzel bagels" because to save cooking time we decided against the traditional pretzel "twist" (we were able to bake eight "pretzel bagels" on each cookie sheet vs perhaps four twisted pretzels).  Plus, the resulting texture was closer to a chewy bagel (or a "NYC street-vendor pretzel") than a crunchy European pretzel.

3) The "pretzel-bagels" were baked Wednesday evening and after cooling they were stored overnight in two open plastic bags (to permit any moisture to escape).  Unfortunately, the opposite occurred.  The high humidity and the salt on the bagels combined to create a "hygroscopic" effect.  The "pretzels bagels" which had a very nice crunchy crust when baked in the evening developed a soft texture within a few hours.  They were almost like bialys.  Edible, but not the desired effect.  Time for "Plan B."

4) We arrived at the IC fifteen minutes before the event started, said hello to the OISS staff, and immediatedly got to work in the kitchen.  The electric oven was set to 300F (in the future we need to remember that the convection oven setting may heat faster).  After the oven was hot we heated twenty bagels on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes (they were originally baked at 425F for 20 minutes; recipe to follow).

Success!  The slightly crunchy exterior was restored, but the interior was still soft.  Question: do "authentic" German pretzels have a dry crunchy interior?  Our "pretzel bagels" did not have a dark brown crust.  They had a tan color, similar to croissants.

5) Thanks to Kaitlin (spelling?) for suggesting the use of a paper lined basket to create a nice presentation.  To our surprise the first batch of twenty warm pretzel bagels were all grabbed within at most five minutes!  After the second batch of twenty bagels were ready to serve they were cut in half.  This time I walked around the room offering pretzels bagels to the various groups.  Word about the fresh "pretzel bagels" must have spread across the lounge (or maybe it was just the aroma).  People started to walk towards me!  The biggest compliment of the evening came when a man walked over to get the last pretzel bagel.  Mission accomplished!

In America, many people will not take the "last one".  Why?  It is a combination of the "last one" as something which no one else wanted (eg. the small runt in a litter of puppy dogs) or the expectation-hope that replacements will be arriving.

6) Fifteen people said they wanted the recipe for the pretzel bagels and they shared their email addresses (none of the addresses bounced; thanks to all for writing legibly).

7) Hopefully the recipe used to make the "pretzel bagels" will be posted within the next two weeks.  A link will appear on the YaleCooks home page and below in this post.  Thanks to all!

8) Update: Thanks for your interest and your patience.  Here is the link for the YaleCooks "pretzel bagel" recipe (added 2012-10-13).

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YaleCooks Potluck Dinner Summary (New Haven, CT; Wednesday, 2012-09-26)


Stephen's "Tofu with Spicy Peanut Soy Sauce" (2012-12-18).

The first YaleCooks Potluck Dinner cleaning crew.

1) The first YaleCooks potluck dinner (Wednesday, September 26, 2012) was a success even though there was a heavy rain storm when the meal began.  There was a 33% increase in attendance (including several new members), compared to Friday's organizational meeting.  Apparently, members of the "Yale community" will travel through rain storms to share good food!

Two new members learned about the potluck only hours before they event.  We were very happy they decided to join us to share their interest in food.  There was plenty of food for all.  Question: in the future, should we consider using some of the leftovers to create one or two dinners for homeless people living in New Haven?

2) Before the potluck started the OISS and the McDougal Center for Graduate Student Life cosponsored a "Fall Gardening Workshop" by Rachel Ziesk a Certified Master Gardener.  Rachel described what vegetable and fruit gardeners can do now during the fall to prepare for the spring planting.  She also described different food storage strategies. For example, moist and dry root cellars, drying fruits (including tomatoes and eggplants), drying herbs, freezing vegetables, and canning (using the boiling and pressure canning methods).  When the gardening workshop attendees were leaving (as the rain storm was starting) we distributed handouts describing YaleCooks (of course, to be good neighbors, we asked first).  YaleCooks hopes to collaborate with the McDougal Center in the future.

3) The potluck was started by discussing what were the most important topics discussed during the September 20 meeting.  In the initial drafts of the September 20 meeting summary the topic of donating cookbooks to Yale was not included. This has been corrected.

4) Preliminary data from the online YaleCooks food-cooking survey were described.  The results are summarized here.

5) The email correspondence with members from the Yale Club of Boston (YCOB) was described.  On September 20, 2012 several members of the YCOB met to discuss the possibility of writing a YCOB recipe cookbook.  A summary of their event was received by email.  The YCOB members who are interested in food have been invited to become members of YaleCooks and to start a Boston chapter.  Is there anyone interested in developing a guide for starting YaleCooks chapters in other cities?

6) Very little time was spent during the potluck discussing how to develop YaleCooks (eg. how to increase membership, locations for future events, etc).  Talking about food-cooking-eating is so much fun!

7) Lastly, what food was served at the Wednesday potluck?  Here is a quick list (more details, hopefully including recipes, will follow).  Grapes and a salad were leftovers from the gardening workshop.  A "Tofu with Spicy Peanut Soy Sauce" dish was prepared in the kitchen, but the red pepper sauce was added by each person, because we forgot to prepare a pot of rice (which helps to modulate the "heat").  Homemade bread (only 19 hours old) was served with a simple egg salad.  Bindaetteok (a Korean "mung bean-based fritter" which is gluten-free) was cooked by Michael.  Robert brought some of his homemade "ten-day old" fermented cabbage and carrots.  Feng brought some fried beef-cabbage dumplings made with a fermented dough.

8) Many thanks to the YaleCooks potluck cleaning crew for staying until the end and helping out.

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YaleCooks Organizing-Planning Meeting Summary (New Haven, CT; Friday, 2012-09-21)


Anajana's "Besan Ladoo" chickpea flour (gluten-free!) cookies.

1) The first YaleCooks meeting (Friday, September 21, 2012) was a big success based on one measure.  Of the members who said they were available to meet in New Haven on a weekday evening who showed up?  We had an 88% participation rate for a "planning" event, which is very good for a group holding its first event!  One person said she could not attend, because of prior plans.  Instead of sharing her enthusiasm in person Sheril wrote a short story (already on the YaleCooks website under the "Stories, Memories, and Photos" left menu tab) in which she describes a recent "foodie trip" to NYC (thanks, Sheril, for the story and photos).  At the Friday meeting there was a lot of interest in YaleCooks and commitment to the group's goals.

In the future we need to remember to take photos of our events.

2) There is a lot of support for using potluck meals to develop interest in YaleCooks and to help choose menus for future cooking lessons-demonstrations.  At a potluck we hope to hear members saying "This dish tastes wonderful.  Next week can you demonstrate how to make the dish?" or "I have always wanted to make this dish and I have tried many recipes, but I am always disappointed with the results.  Is there a secret technique?"  One of the YaleCooks goals is to expose members to new flavors, aromas, cuisines, and cooking techniques.  Potluck meals are one way to accomplish this easily.

At all potluck meals we hope to have one member "demonstrate" how to prepare a recipe other members may want to learn.

3) Thanks to Piyali and Michael for helping the group answer the question about ingredient expenses.  For the potluck meal cooking demonstrations it seems to make the most sense that the person cooking the dish pays for the ingredients.  That dish will be the person's "contribution" to the potluck meal and not everyone may want to taste the dish.  Does this make sense?  See below for a variation on this idea where the costs may be shared by the group.

The question of cooking equipment came up.  We have not asked if the OISS will permit the "Foodies@Yale" group to keep a plastic storage bin at the IC in which we can keep kitchen gadgets which the OISS kitchen does not have (eg. a bread stone).  The IC kitchen is mainly equipped for "serving" food, not for preparing food.  They already have some pots, pans, and cooking utensils which we can use.  Note to cooks: we always need to clean up afterwards, before we leave.

4) If there is interest in a cooking lesson where everyone participates or at least takes something home (eg. making fougasse bread; Google it if you do not know this bread).  To maximize the learning experience these cooking lessons would start at a specified time (in contrast to the more leisurely schedule of a potluck meal).  Ideally, cooking lessons should be at most two or three hours (including clean-up).  Whoever is teaching the lesson can decide if s/he wants to donate the recipe ingredients to the class or ask the cooking lesson participants to contribute toward the expenses.  Remember, some ingredients (eg. lobster) are expensive, but cooking is usually cheaper than eating out.

For example, in May (during a 2012 AYA Yale Day of Service event) several alumni taught children living in Harlem how to fold wonton soup dumplings.  The ingredients to make two-hundred dumplings, using a ground turkey filling, and chicken soup served with vegetables (fresh snow peas and frozen corn) cost just $22.  Learning to make fougasse (and breads in general) is even cheaper (flour, salt, a source of yeast, and maybe oil), because no meat or special ingredients are needed.  The ingredients needed to prepare desserts are usually very reasonable.  Although some chocolates are expensive most chocolate desserts do not require a lot of chocolate.  Looking for suggestions for where to shop?  Check our the YaleCooks "Where to Shop" page (currently with information for New Haven and New York City).

Remember, YaleCooks wants to encourage the sharing of recipes which do not cost a lot of money to prepare.  The "I" in the YaleCooks "KITCHENS" acronym stands for inexpensive.

5) According to an early analysis of the YaleCooks online food-cooking survey weekday meetings are best for YaleCooks members who travel during the weekends or who spend time with their families on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Fridays evenings may be the best days for YaleCooks events and meetings during the week.  What times are best for you to meet on these days?  If you want to organize an event which meets during the day (9 AM - 5 PM) feel free.  Remember, the YaleCooks organizers do not need to attend every event.  You can do it.  We can help.

Other YaleCooks members do most of their weekly cooking on the weekend, and they prefer weekend potluck meals and meetings.

Unfortunately, meeting on the weekends is more challenging, because finding a space with a kitchen is not as easy.  We are exploring different options.  Two YaleCooks members have already volunteered the use of their home kitchens for an occasional potluck meal or cooking lesson.  There is always the option to rent space, which is more affordable if we have more YaleCooks members attending the event and splitting the cost of the rental space.

We may repeat popular activities on different days of the week to accommodate different schedules.  Tell us what you want to do and when.  We will try to make it happen.

6) Due to different member schedules, and to strive towards the goal of being inclusive, it makes the most sense to have a "rotating" schedule.  Let's assume YaleCooks is meeting every Wednesday night and Friday night and we plan to have five "regular" events: one vegan potluck, one "try to make a recipe you have never prepared before" potluck, two omnivore potluck (although most YaleCooks members are omnivores, I think most are also interested in learning some vegetarian-vegan recipes), one"dumpling of the month" club cooking lesson.  We would rotate among those five activities over the two days.  Based on the attendance at each event we might learn that some days are better than other days for a certain type of event, but we will not know this until we start!

7) We discussed the idea of sharing cookbooks, possibly by donating cookbooks to the Sterling Memorial Library cookbook collection (yes, according to several sources it really exists!).  Another options is to donate the cookbooks to the OISS library or another Yale office (which may have more accessibility during late evening and weekend hours).

8) Lastly, what food was served at the Friday meeting?  Four variations of hummus were prepared (using the recipe on the YaleCooks website): a) version "A" ("fat-free") prepared just with garbanzo beans, garlic, and salt, b) version "A" supplemented with tahini sauce, C) version "B" supplemented with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and d) version "C" supplemented with spicy red pepper flakes.  In other words, the hummus became step-wise more complex.  The hummus was served with homemade bread.  Another YaleCooks member brought in a homemade Indian dessert named "besan ke ladoo" (also made from chickpeas).  Thank you Stephen and Anjana.

9) The next meeting will be a potluck dinner on Wednesday, Sept 26, 2012.  Please check the website's "Events" page for the latest details.

10) If you were not able to attend the meeting on Friday September 21, 2010, but you want to share your ideas and opinions please contact YaleCooks.

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