Through a unique collaboration of two Winslow businesses, a virtual cooking demonstration will take place next week from Seattle cook and author Hsiao-Ching Chou, who just released her latest book Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food.
This innovative partnership is meant to celebrate the coming Chinese Lunar New Year as well as to address the difficulties small businesses have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This will be the first event — although virtual —that Eagle Harbor Book Co. has held since last March. The bookstore does not plan to hold any in-person events for the foreseeable future but could hold some more virtual events similar to this one depending on how this first one goes.
“We have missed having a packed room or even our more intimate author events,” Victoria Irwin of Eagle Harbor Books said. “People love being together to meet authors and hear their backstories. We have always said Eagle Harbor Books is a place for community conversations, and we’ve missed that. This is the next best thing, and we think it will bring a lot to the table, literally, for our customers.”
Local restaurant Marche is the other half of this equation. Chef Greg Atkinson will prepare a take-out tasting menu based on recipes found in Chou’s new cookbook from Feb. 9-13. Customers can enjoy the experience by purchasing the tasting menu for take-out and a signed book copy at Marche.
“There is a growing interest in cutting down on meat and making plant-based meals,” Irwin said. “There is also the great benefit of buy local, read local, eat local. Your money stays here in the community.”
According to his bio, Atkinson is considered a revered chef in the Pacific Northwest, known for his restaurants and cookbooks. The menu at Marche is built around new and traditional dishes based on local produce, seafood and pastured meats. Marche also includes dishes from Atkinson’s various cookbooks, such as his latest work At the Kitchen Table: The Craft of Cooking at Home.
Chou will be hosting her cooking demonstration from her cookbook via Zoom Feb. 13 from 3-4 p.m. The Zoom link will be free to the public (check eagleharborbooks.com.) Her book is available at Eagle Harbor Books for $27 or at Marche with the takeout meals.
The book is a vegetarian follow-up to her popular Chinese Soul Food cookbook that includes 75 plant-based comfort food recipes.
“Chinese Soul Food drew cooks into the kitchen with the assurance they could make Chinese cuisine at home,” a news release states. “Though popular across North America, Chinese food can be a little intimidating for the uninitiated. Chou’s friendly and accessible recipes work for everyone, including average home cooks.”
In this new collection, cooks will find vegetarian recipes for stir-fries, rice and noodle dishes, soups, braises and pickles. Other dishes include vegetarian versions of Chou’s famous dumplings and other dim sum delights. Other tips provided during the demonstration include essential equipment, core pantry ingredients, ways to season and maintaining a wok.