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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Garden and Pickled Radishes

This year's garden is coming along nicely. We have 5 tomato plants, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, carrots, speckled butter beans, lady peas and bell peppers.
I planted my favorite variety of radishes, French Breakfast and this morning I set out to make pickled radishes. There were not as many ready to harvest as I expected, but I gathered enough and got to work.

I cleaned and cut the radishes, added them to small jars, and made my brine.

I got four beautiful small jars!
These radishes have a lot of great peppery flavor and I just love how the intense color of pickled radishes really dress up a salad plate. I can't wait to incorporate these into menus for upcoming client dinner parties.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Week Of Teaching

I love to do in-home food educational experiences with clients! Over the years I've done lots of variations: a ladies lunch and learn, group themed cooking parties, and sometimes just cooking alongside clients to help them become more comfortable with techniques and gain experience.

Last week I had two such opportunities. The first, teaching pasta making with a long-time client and their second-grade daughter. We began by making the pasta dough.

We then cut some of it and made a carbonara from scratch. We used the remaining dough to make sausage and ricotta filled raviolis. Then we all sat down for lunch and had a great time catching up and chatting over the food we'd just created!
On Friday night, I had a request to teach a family how to make French tarts. I brought two recipes and all the ingredients. The whole family pitched in and had a great time. I taught them how to make pastry dough from scratch, how to roll it to fit properly, and how to prepare the fresh fruit we would use. We made a filled tart with fresh fruit and cream. The second was a fresh apple tart. 

In-home cooking instruction is one of my favorite things to do and I'm so thankful that my job has so many legs to it that presents opportunities like this.

Yes, I do have the best job ever!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

USPCA Conference and Vacation

I'm back home in Atlanta after being away for almost two weeks. My trip began with the 2014 United States Personal Chef Conference in Long Beach, CA. Four days filled with educational classes, inspirational guest speakers, networking with fellow chefs, and spending quality time with dear chef friends.  Highlights of educational classes included food styling, learning to make green corn tamales, and learning more about using my sous vide machine.  Great conference!

Then I was off to Salt Lake for the start of a week-long vacation with my son. We saw Salt Lake City, and visited the Bonneville Salt Flats....this had been on my bucket list, so checked that one off!

After Salt Lake, we headed to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Amazing! If you haven't been, I highly recommend both of these beautiful spots. In Yellowstone, saw tons of buffalo and other wildlife, then relaxed amidst the beauty of the Grand Tetons. We enjoyed many long walks and a lot of time just admiring Mother Nature.
So, back in the thick of my business....cooking for clients this week and a dinner party Saturday night, with a calendar quickly filling for the next couple of months.  It's always nice to get away but equally as nice coming home.

Friday, August 9, 2013

So Many Peppers

This week, I found myself having about 4 bags of baby multi-colored bell peppers. Some were left over from a party I cheffed over the weekend, and some were from my last two CSA boxes. I was determined not to let them go to waste and I knew we wouldn't be able to eat all of them, so I set about making a bell pepper relish. I had made one before, but found another interesting recipe and decided to give it a try.
I washed and chopped the peppers, then the recipe said to put the chopped peppers in a bowl and cover with ice for three hours....OK.
Then, I cooked all the peppers with two kinds of vinegar, sugar, yellow mustard seeds and paprika....for one hour.

I was ready to fill my jars! I got four half-pint jars from about eight cups of peppers. Then, I used my water-bath canner to process the jars for about 10 minutes.  This turned out great....I used it as a topping for my fish for dinner.

So glad the peppers didn't go to waste. Canning is such a great way to preserve summer's bounty!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Visit To Decimal Place Dairy Goat Farm

Last week the Atlanta Chapter of United States Personal Chefs visited Decimal Place Farms in Conley Georgia for our March meeting. We had a blast! Mary Rigdon owns and operates the farm with about 50 adult goats and on the day we visited, about 25 new baby goats. The goats on the right were 2 days old! We all were able to feed the baby goats and got to milk an adult goat. Of course, this was a new experience for all of us and the goats were just delightful. They were very calm and friendly, and the baby goats were adorable.

Mary gave us a tour of the farm, showed us the equipment she uses for milking the goats and making the most delicious goat cheese you can find. We were able to taste several kinds: chevres, cheddars, one coated in ash (my favorite) and several flavored varieties.

You can find Mary selling her cheeses on Saturdays at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market and during the week at the Grant Park and East Atlanta Village farmers markets. Definitely buy her cheese...you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Would You Like Some Collards?

Last night I hosted knit night at my home. We were just getting ready to eat and one of my  neighbors came to the door with a huge, just-pulled-from-the-ground stalk of beautiful collards! He asked if I wanted to share them with him and well, yes, of course I did!

I cut them from the stalk last night and refrigerated them, so now this afternoon I'm getting ready to get them cooking. I'll make some cornbread and voila, dinner! Can't wait. I haven't had fresh collards since last Fall when they were in my CSA box. These apparently came from another neighbor's garden who shared with my neighbor, who shared with me...love my neighborhood. (Ashford Park in Brookhaven)

Last weekend we cleaned out what was left from our winter garden, and this weekend we will add another six-foot raised bed section. Spring is in the air and I'm ready for the first crops of lettuce and spinach from my own garden and from my CSA box that I get from Dillwood Farms.

 For knit night, I made chicken corn chowder and spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. Warm food for a cold night. Then we settled by a nice warm fire and got to our knitting projects and had a lovely evening....love my knitting friends and our knit nights!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Do Love My Cookbooks

Yes, it's a bit of an obsession. But I love to sit down with a good cookbook. And I do have lots. I try to keep them fairly organized, so when I'm looking for something or need to embellish or confirm an idea I have, it's easy to go to the right spot.

These are some of my newest cookbooks -- two I can add to my collection of signed cookbooks, to join Wolfgang, Anthony Bourdain, Giada.

I've tried a couple recipes from the Hugh Acheson cookbook and look forward to trying his Atlanta restaurant soon, Empire State South.

I admit I have more French cookbooks than any other style, but these are my favorites.

 I have collections, home canning, special diets, and cookbooks devoted to using the pressure cooker. Then, I have some by celebrity chefs, but the Ina Garten books have great recipes and are worth a try if you don't have them.

I'm always thinking about new ways to prepare food for my clients. I try to keep ideas fresh and present new foods cooked in new ways so I use these books as inspiration. And I've ordered two new books on the Paleo Diet that should be here any day now. Obsessed? Maybe.

If you have a favorite cookbook, please let me know! It may be something I don't have and will need to rush out and get.