Meet This Week's Tattle Tasters!

Today I'd like you to meet some fellow What's Cookin, Chicago members! They have weighed in on some upcoming recipes and come to share their thoughts, some suggestions to put on a new twist on them and which dishes they liked best and least. This week, they are reviewing dishes using the following recipe:

All Purpose Dough
recipe adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2001

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and salt to yeast mixture, and stir well. Stir in 2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes), and add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Shape dough according to the recipe directions.

Note: To freeze, let the dough rise once, punch down, and shape into a ball.

Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag coated with cooking spray; squeeze out all air, and seal. Store in freezer for up to 1 month. To thaw, place dough in refrigerator 12 hours or overnight. With scissors, cut away the plastic bag. Place dough on a floured surface, and shape according to recipe directions. Alternatively, for pizza, you can make the dough, roll out, wrap in foil, and freeze. To bake, remove from freezer; top and bake according to recipe instructions (no need to thaw).

Stay tuned in the next few days to hear what they have to say! Let's meet today's Tattle Testers, shall we?

"I love to cook and I love to eat! When I was little, I used to watch cooking shows instead of cartoons. That love of food and cooking food has continued into adulthood and I think I still watch more cooking shows than anything else! I love to entertain and when others are happy and enjoying my food, it makes me feel happy as well."

Tami lives in Evanston, a suburb on the northern border of Chicago. She's been a part of What's Cookin Chicago since January 2008. She found What's Cookin Chicago when she was new to the city and was looking to meet new people. "Since I love to cook, What's Cookin Chicago seemed like the perfect group for me!" When asked about her thoughts on What's Cookin Chicago, Tami says, "Food binds people together. No matter which culture you are in, food is one of the main social activities in which people partake. I think What's Cookin Chicago is a great way to bring people together through a love of food and a love of the community that is built around cooking and eating together." Tami really enjoys all types of food, but her top three cuisines would include, Indian, Mexican, and Mediterranean.

Tami says, "I love to try new foods and was so excited to have the opportunity to taste something new and give my opinion about it! It's always fun to hear what other people think about certain dishes and to be able to try the same thing as others and compare our opinions sounded like a lot of fun!"

Kevin & Marla
Kevin: "I've been cooking since I was a young child. Mom and dad worked, and I being the oldest son, was responsible for getting the family dinner statred. In 7th grade I took my first cooking class and have been hooked since!"
Marla: "I consider myself a food critic - Rarely does a restaurant live up to my expectations. All I ask is that the food and service be on par with what I do if it were my own business. Maybe I'm too critical, but in today's economy I expect value for my hard earned money. As for being a taste tester/recipe reviewer for What's Cookin Chicago, you'd be a food not to want to try Joelen's recipes! I'm sure she'll take all critiques, good and bad, and use them to create scrumptious dishes for years to come. And we want to be a part of that."

Kevin & Marla live in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago. Both of them have been a part of What's Cookin Chicago since August 2008. Kevin & Marla started a couples social group and searcged out some other groups to get involved in. "Kevin came across Joelen's group and signed us up for one of her dinners - And it was FABULOUS! Joelen is a wonderful teacher. It is obvious she loves cooking and sharing her art with others. We are happy to call Joelen our friend."

When asked about their thoughts on What's Cookin Chicago, Marla says, "Let's see... one of the biggest culinary meetup sites in the world, with a fabulous organizer and assistant organizers, incredible foodie events, giving back to the communith through charitable work, members who consistently come up with incredible dishes, what's not to love?!" Kevin and Marla enjoy Polish, Mexican, Italian and most recently Greek cuisines.

"I am willing to try different types of food."

Eric lives in the Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago. He's been a part of What's Cookin Chicago since May 2008. Eric accidentally found What's Cookin Chicago online and joined because he loved the idea. "I like the idea of groups enjoying food together like a family picnic."

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