Monday, September 10, 2007

Tech Chefs: A History

When Psycling started grad school a couple of years ago, we met some other grad students who shared our interest in cooking and eating good food. We decided to start a little cooking club, and called it "Tech Chefs" since the primary members were students at Georgia Tech and their significant others. We get together once a month to prepare and enjoy a great meal.

The size of the group can vary, but as you can see, it can get quite large!

Here's how it works: Each month, there is an Executive Chef(s). The Executive Chef is in charge of planning the meal...setting the menu, doing the grocery shopping, and figuring out the logistics of the evening. The second saturday of every month, we get together to carry out the Executive Chef's vision. We all share the cost of groceries, and it is also the Executive Chef's job to ensure the cost never goes above our set limit of $20/head. So far, this budget has never proven to be a problem, even with wine included. Over the past two years we have had some wonderful meals!

We have had crepes, pizzas and pie, Mexican Food, Turkish Food, wine tastings, traditional English food (pictured here), European tapas, and lots of other stuff. We've never had a bad meal!

This weekend, we kicked off year three of tech chefs. It was a small group, but a fabulous meal, as always. Psycling and I served as Executive Chefs. We did a wine tasting of wines picked up during the summer travels of our members. It was fun to research the wine, and try to plan a meal around it. While we can both appreciate a good wine, we found it can be difficult to try to plan a meal around wine (rather than pick a wine to go with the meal). But I think we did a pretty good job.

We started with an appetizer of goat cheese stuffed figs, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg.

It paired quite nicely with our 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from Hart Vineyards. Our main course was a salad of watercress and cherry tomatoes, topped with zesty crutons and shaved parmesan cheese.

This salad, along with our Spinach manicotti with spicy sausage sauce paired very well the the Church Mouse Pinot Noir from Church and State Wines. It was a derivation of the Spinach Caneloni in the Classic Pasta at Home Cookbook from Williams Sonoma. We used manicotti, because apparently, it is impossible to get Caneloni in Atlanta. Who'd have thought that would be such a difficult thing to find? Also, the original recipe called for a regular spicy red sauce, but having read that this particular wine did well with meat and spicy red sauces, we decided that adding the spicy Italian Sausage to the sauce would work well. It did! There was nothing left at the end of the meal!!

For dessert, we had take one of my work-in-progress creation for the September Cupcake Hero challenge. But you'll hear more about that later.

All in all, it was a great evening of cooking, food, and good company.