Food & Drink

Cooking the New Frontier | February.

Happy Tuesday that feels kind of like a Monday and kind of like a repeat of all the other days this month (I’ve decided the movie Groundhog Day was set in February for a really good reason!) It is – yet again – wet, gray, and chilly outside (mostly wet) and 🙂 I am delighted to have something to share that is none of those things.

A few weeks back, I told y’all about a new thing we (me, my sister, our mom, our sister-in-law) were doing this year. Cooking the New Frontier! The loose idea is that we meet monthly. for dinner. cooking recipes from the Pioneer Woman’s New Frontier cookbook. Y’all thought it sounded like a great idea and wanted to know more. Now that we have two dinners under our belts (so to speak), I’m ready to let y’all in on the details. because I totally recommend this whole getting together idea and I want y’all to try it! (and share your experiences.) Also, the food has been amazing!

    1. There are four of us, which translates loosely to four courses – a starter, a main, a side, and a dessert. or (like last month) a cocktail, a starter, a main, and a side. March’s dinner is just in the planning stages and who knows where we’ll end up!
    2. We all live pretty close to each other (my sister and I are only 15 miles apart and the other two are closer in). We will be sharing hosting responsibilities and no one will have to drive too far.
    3. Hosting rotates. The one who hosts “hosts” chooses – and cooks – the main course. The others decide their recipes after the host chooses hers.
    4. We are meeting at 4pm on a Sunday. Karen and Lydia have day jobs. No one likes to drive in the dark. Sunday dinner before 6pm is really nice and being home by 8pm is too. maybe better.
    5. This cookbook has 112 recipes … and a lot of them aren’t traditional dinner fare. We are considering additional “club meals” when we have our annual girls weekend at the beach in April (snacks? brunch? I think we sold our mom on the Caprese Bloody Marys) and when we have our family reunion in May (brunch? there are 16 breakfast recipes, including a lot with eggs). I think Karen chose this book because she loves Ree. (let’s be clear, we all do). If you want a “dinner only” club, choose your book accordingly.
    6. Once the date is set – would be awesome to agree on “the 3rd Sunday” and even the four of us can’t always agree on that – the host chooses the main course and lets the others know.
    7. The others choose their recipes. and let the others know. the menu is set.
    8. The host hosts. the others supplement. depending on the recipe, a little group participation might be necessary. (if you’re not the host, don’t prepare onsite. reheating might be fine but showing up all put together and ready is better).
    9. Make notes in ONE of the cookbooks (maybe the one that the person who chose this book owns? that’s how we’re doing it) about who made what, when … and with what changes. This cookbook is really the diary of the club for the year and it’s important to have the documentation. Also, if you have the different cooks’ notes in their own handwriting, well, yay!
    10. TAKE PHOTOS!!!

and here are mine from Sunday. First, the appetizer (Lydia. Parmesan Crisps, Two Ways p 79) and the dessert (Karen. Key Lime Bites p 295)

Cheers! the cocktail wasn’t from the book … and it’s ok to supplement when you need to!

Prepping the main course was a group effort. Our mom had everything prepped and we only need to assemble (and then cook). For a group of four, this was a fun activity … judge your crowd appropriately. 

The plated dinner. Roasted Potatoes with Sage (me. p 281) and Herb Citrus Salmon (our mom. p 222).

The group photo. Note that Holly is with us. in her fancy red dress with the pearls. 🙂

I am All On Board with this forever. It’s a really fun activity to get like-food-minded people together. Happily, these three ladies love to cook and eat and we have a great time together.

Have you done something like this? do you want to?

12 Comments

  • Kat

    Oh, man! I am LOVING your mom’s drink with that olive! (I think she is my kind of girl!!) And, what fun… especially since it is ladies only (for the most part!) That might be the best part of this.

  • Honore´

    Delicious fun! Thanks for sharing all the details about your monthly cooking adventure and those tempting photos. Looking forward to next month.

    Cheers~

  • Sarah

    I love this idea and it looks like it’s been a big hit! We did something sort of similar years ago with a group of families who all had kids around the same time we had ours (we were in a sort of moms group when we were on maternity leave). We did a sort-of Iron Chef thing. The hosts chose the secret ingredient and made the main course and then everyone else did apps, sides, and desserts.

  • Bonny

    This looks both fun and delicious! I’m not sure I live close enough to enough family that I could pull this off, but that won’t stop me from trying those Key Lime Bites myself!

  • Karen

    Such a delicious way to spend time with family (and friends!) Years ago we had a similar process with four couples. It had an international theme. The hostess picked the country and the main dish, and the others brought the sides and dessert. It was great fun, and I truly don’t remember why it ended!

  • Kym

    This sounds like such fun, Mary! Thanks for sharing your structure and tips! A friend and I have been talking about doing something like this for years now . . . maybe your experience will inspire us to finally DO IT! 🙂

  • karen

    what a fun idea! How nice to have three other important ladies to participate. Makes me wish for family or friends with similar interests!! I do have a knitting group but not a cooking tribe.