Adventures

Since winter of 2007, I’ve been hosting local culinary events (or adventures!) for my social activity group, What’s Cookin Chicago. Click on the green titles below for links to some of the monthly adventures I’ve done. Please check back soon as I will continue to add more adventures as they happen each week!

JOELEN’S CULINARY ADVENTURES
I love living in Chicago for the wonderful culinary opportunities it offers. Aside from the plethora of amazing restaurants, there are quite a few food related events that take place here. I do my best to attend these events – everything from festivals, conventions, culinary lectures, community service, etc. This link captures the events I’ve attended!


CHEF SPOTLIGHT DINNERS
My Chef Spotlight Dinners highlight a specific chef or a group of chefs for the contributions they have made to the culinary community. Each month friends prepare a dish of the chosen chef(s) to share for a potluck dinner I host. Together we enjoy & talk about our dishes, the chef(s) & their contributions and have a wonderful evening with friends & food.

IN THE KITCHEN
Being an organizer of a cooking group, my friends and I definitely spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen. In the past, we started out working in a commercial kitchen but we got too big! So these days I’ll host various cooking classes & interactive cooking events in my home. Here you’ll find the different events I’ve hosted focused on specific foods and/or food themes.

FOODIE FILMS
As an avid movie fan, I especially like movies that that has a definite culinary viewpoint as part of the story line. To combine both food and film, I created these events where attendees prepare a potluck dish inspired by the chosen culinary inspired movie and we watch the movie together.

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD TOURS
Chicago is made of many different neighborhoods rich with diversity. Often times, exploring the city’s neighborhood will make you feel like you’ve traveled many miles away, fully immersed in the cultures that surround it. Check out the different culinary neighborhood tours I’ve hosted where I’ve shared Chicago’s diversity with friends through food.

WINE & DINES
After a trip to the wine country of Sonoma & Napa, CA, I was inspired to learn more about wine. I love researching about food and sharing what I’ve learned with others. Every month I host an event, ‘Wine & Dine’, and friends come over to learn about specific wine varietals and enjoy tasting many of them over paired foods of a certain theme/cuisine. These links capture the wines we’ve tasted along with the types of foods we served them with.

TASTING SESSIONS
Tasting Sessions takes the principle behind a wine tasting nine steps further and features step-by-step instructions for hosting different types of tastings including: wine, chocolate, tea, honey, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, cheese, apples, beer and cured meats. It’s a unique concept of ?deep tasting,? opening up the palate by slowly savoring a food or drink in a structured fashion.

FOOD SWAPS
Most people are familiar with Holiday Cookie Swaps, but I’ve taken it a step further to incorporate the idea & concept throughout the year. Every month, friends prepare the chosen food that can be easily shared and/or portioned. When we get together, everyone takes home their portion of all our offerings to enjoy for themselves.

As an active food blogger, there are quite a few opportunities to connect with other food bloggers from all over the world. One such way to network is to participate in food blogging events. Events of all sorts of food related themes are available, which all challenge and encourage us to improve our own cooking and baking skills. I participate in a handful of events and have hosted many in the past. Below are links to food blogging events I participate in along with those I’ve hosted myself.

TASTY TOOLS
As an avid cook, I’m guilty for taking the tools of the trade for granted. Sometimes we underestimate how versatile some tools and to highlight their uses, I created a monthly blogging event called, Tasty Tools. In this blogging event, fellow bloggers submit a recipe using the tool being highlighted for the month. At the end of the month, all the submissions are compiled and as a result, we have a collection of recipes that utilizes the tools. Maybe you’ll be inspired to use these tools more often or even justify new kitchen toy purchases!

BREAD BAKER’S APPRENTICE
For a long time I was intimidated to work with yeast. I finally faced my fears not too long ago so that I could feel more comfortable with yeast doughs. Now that I have gained more confidence in bread baking, I joined this weekly blogging event where I make the recipes outlined in Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Recipes for the breads made from the book are not reflected in my blog, however I encourage others to check out this book to learn more about bread baking. In the link above, you can read about my experiences as I try these recipes. Hopefully my posts will encourage you to bake bread from scratch too!

TUESDAYS WITH DORIE
When I lived in the suburbs, I used to have a specialty cake and baked goods catering service. I really enjoyed cake decorating and baking several years ago. However, I decided to put all that off when I moved into the city, since keeping my clients would be much more difficult being further away. Now that I’ve settled into the city, I started to miss cake decorating and baking. I joined this weekly blogging event to brush up on my baking skills and to learn new techniques using Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking From my Home to Yours. Recipes made from this book are not reflected in my blog, however in the link above, you can read about my experiences as I try her recipes. Within these posts, I do include a link to blogs where you can find the recipes.

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