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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.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Busy Holiday Party Season

It was a very busy holiday season for me and I am very grateful to have been totally booked for the last 3 weeks of December. I cooked for my regular personal chef clients and also had events that were celebrating many different things, from mom's birthday to parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary. All the parties were different in style and theme and I love the diversity. The photo at left is from a family holiday luncheon, and one of the desserts was red velvet cake parfaits presented in jelly jars.

Another party I did was a small gathering celebrating a mother's birthday. Two daughters were in from Los Angeles and wanted to do something special so I did a hands-on cooking party. I started by showing them how to make two easy appetizers, then how to make a homemade citrus vinaigrette for salad.
We then made homemade pasta from scratch. Everyone was amazed at how easy it is and how much fun. Then I showed them how to cook salmon in parchment paper. This is a great healthy way to cook fish and lots of fresh vegetables can be added.

Another party I cheffed was a parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary. I was asked to come up with a Southern theme to honor their Southern roots. The menu: shrimp and grits, crab stuffed trout, Coca-cola glazed pork tenderloin, pimento cheese potato gratin, braised collards and skillet cornbread. Everything was delicious, the shrimp and grits plates all came back totally empty, and everyone came back for seconds. Dessert was a made-from-scratch coconut cake.
Thanks to all my clients new and continuing for a great 2012! And a big shout out to all my chef assistants who made me look good.