Have you ever noticed the Foodie Fun section of my sidebar?
Scroll down, keep scrolling…there.
It’s about time I tell you about the goods people. I love to cook and bake. That’s no secret. But stretching my taste buds and cooking limits is one of my favorite things that blogging has done to my cooking prowess. Stepping outside my comfort zone and tackling recipes from assigned chefs, having a secret ingredient to feature and meeting new people are all part of the fun. So I thought I’d tell you all a little more about the cooking clubs and foodie groups I’m part of.
My very first cooking club was I Heart Cooking Clubs.
I found this group through Michelle from Ms. enPlace. This is small group, but it has helped me stretch the most. I joined in the middle of the Rick Bayless cycle and loved it! I took off the last cycle since India food would not go over well in my house, but I’m excited to start the Yotam Ottolenghi cycle. Vegetarian dishes will be something new, and needed, around here.
- Every six months the group hosts pick a new chef. (Sometimes readers get to vote for the next chef) All recipes submitted to the group are from that particular chef as interpretations of the theme.
- Each week, the group hosts post a theme. It could be something broad like red or spicy, or something more specific like root vegetables or pasta. You choose whatever recipe you want based off that week’s theme. Posting once a week sounds like a lot, and it is. I shoot for 1 to 2 IHCC submissions per month.
- If you’ve got a recipe you’re dying to try from the current chef or a past chef the IHCC group has cooked from, you’re in luck. Once a month, IHCC has a potluck theme. You can submit any post from any chef IHCC has featured. It’s a free for all!
The next club I joined was the Get Your Chef On cooking challenge.
Okay, I didn’t just join it – I created it. I wanted something to challenge myself in the kitchen. I have a plethora of recipe I’m sitting on and have wanted to make for years with no real motivation to do so. I’m a Food Network and Cooking Channel addict and an Iron Chef type group just seemed so right. I emailed Jen from Four Marrs & One Venus and GYCO was born.
- Every two months the featured secret ingredient is announced. If you want to cook along with us, sign up. Make any dish you want featuring the secret ingredient – don’t hide it, flaunt it! Simple as that.
- The winner of each round even gets prizes!
Then there was Foodie Pen Pals.
This isn’t a recipe/cooking club. It’s snail mail. I love getting mail, don’t you? Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean had such a cool idea with this group. I took some time off, but I am back in business! This is such a great way to try new foods/products, get some local goods, and sometimes get a new recipe to boot.
- Sign up any given month you want to participate.
- By the 15th of the month mail out a box of foods to your sendee. There’s a $15 spending limit. I like to do a mix of homemade and purchased goodies when I can. And be sure to include a little something hand written with your care package.
- If you blog, post about it at the end of the month.
Next up is Spiked!
This club is put on by my wonderful friends Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama and Julie from This Gal Cooks. Spiked was inspired by Get Your Chef On. Carrie and Julie were regulars at GYCO. I was so flattered they were inspired to start their own club!
- Every two months the secret ingredient is announced. And it’s always booze! That’s right kids, we’re cooking with booze. How awesome is this group?!?
- You make an original recipe using the star ingredient. It CANNOT be a drink. This is all about getting creative.
- The winner gets prizes. I love prizes.
Then came The Secret Recipe Club.
I signed up to be apart of SRC, gosh, I don’t know how long ago. There’s a waiting list, and requirements. But it’s really fun and a close knit group. I love finding new blogs – some I knew, some I didn’t. Oh and the recipes that are out there. *sigh* Loving this.
- Requirements: You must have at least 100 recipe posts on your blog that you have personally tried and photographed. You must take your own photos. You must link back to sources and given credit where it is due – chefs, magazines, other blogs, etc. You must have some sort of organization for your recipes – recipe index, archive (not just a drop down with months), something AND a category/labels/tag cloud section.
- Once a month you get a blog assigned to you. Pick any recipe from that blog that you like, and share it on your group’s posting day.
My newest club is the Pass the Cookbook Club.
This club is from Kita at Pass the Sushi and Girl Carnivore. I’ve been in love with Pass the Sushi for quite some time now. In March, I found a post from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes that talked about this club. I could sample cookbooks (some I’ve had on my wishlist) and cook along with one of my favorite bloggers?!? SOLD!
- Join the PTCC Facebook group for all the details.
- Once a month get a selection of 3 recipes for that month’s cookbook. Choose which recipe of the 3 you like and make it. Adapt the recipe to your taste/diet if needed. It’s about trying something new!
- Share your post on the assigned posting date and see what everyone else made.
I love cooking with all these groups. If you think any of these groups might be fun, give them a try. Except for SRC, they’re are all pretty non-committal. Sign up and/or participate when you want, and take off when you want. Easy peasy. SRC gives you the option to not participate on a given month, but you need to stay active to stay in the group – but it’s great, don’t be scared! I hope to see you all for GYCO in May!