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Detroit, MI, 48207
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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Bialk

Rebecca Blauw

CMK Grad Tell us a little about yourself.

I am from Port Huron, but moved to Detroit to attend Wayne State University. That was when I really got to know Detroit and love Detroit. I started working front of the house in restaurants to support myself during college. I knew cooking was a passion, but it was always on the back burner until I decided to pursue it in 2007. I enrolled in the culinary program at Oakland Community College. When I started volunteering for Cooking Matters, it really changed the way I think about food. So many people are not aware of how easy it is to make healthy meals, or that they can do it on a budget.

How did you connect with the Cooking Matters program?

A friend told me about it. I was a little skeptical until I got involved. It’s really amazing to take what I know and share it with others who will make that knowledge useful for them. It’s a natural fit for me to help out in this way.

What ingredients do you always keep on hand?

I love fresh vegetables. I try to use them as much as I can when I cook at home. I always have milk and eggs I the refrigerator, which is really useful when cooking from scratch. I also keep lots of spices and fresh protein on hand. I try to stay as vegetarian as possible, but I also appreciate meat.

Do you have any tips for shopping smart?

I’m always keeping an eye out for produce on sale at different markets, and buy in bulk. I also look for store brands when it will save me money.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my chef friends. I also enjoy music and the outdoors.

What is the best thing you’ve done with a Cooking Matters class so far?

In the last kids class I did, we made veggie superheroes and fruit faces. I laughed so hard!

Is there a recipe that you would like to share?

Curry Veggies and Tofu with Brown Rice

1 cup brown rice

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into one-inch cubes

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste or 1 tablespoon curry powder*

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen okra

1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the carrots, onion, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften. Mix in the curry paste or powder.

Add the broth and coconut milk to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu, peas and okra and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve with the rice.

*If using curry powder, salt dish to taste.

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