Hello Dear Readers! Wow these past few weeks have been crazy and crazy fun! Last weekend I catered the biggest event of my career, a 150-person after-wedding party at Neon’s Unplugged in downtown Cincinnati, for my very dear friend Carmen and her now-husband Ben. I love these two so much, it was awesome to be able to feed them and their families the day after their big day! (more…)
My Biggest Event Yet + Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta Salad September 7, 2012
Grill It: Chipotle Pork Chops with Apple Chutney June 11, 2012
I have to tell you, I’ve been really digging the weather in my new home, Cincinnati. Summer is already in full force here, which means I can cook many of our weeknight meals (and my client’s meals) on the grill. I just love being able to cook outside—and the fact that there aren’t so many dishes to wash after we’ve finished dinner. Granted, I know the humidity index will skyrocket in July, but I’m trying to pretend that’s never going to happen. Let’s see how long I can keep up the delusion, eh? (more…)
Easy DIY Chive Blossom Vinegar May 14, 2012
As my career progresses, I’m really beginning to understand the power of vinegar in cooking. It adds much needed acid to stews, sauces, soups and dressings, and it comes in wild variety of flavor profiles. For the most part I always stuck with white distilled vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar, but I’m realizing there’s a whole world of vinegar flavors out there—many of which I can make at home!
I’ve always been a huge fan Marisa McClellen’s blog Food in Jars, and she recently re-posted one of her old recipes for Chive Blossom Vinegar. I immediately thought of my mom’s herb garden and the three giant chive plants that protect its borders. I forwarded the post to my mom, and low and behold she had a ton of chive blossoms for me to make this vinegar. Thanks Ma!
Grill it! Rosemary-Citrus Chicken Thighs May 9, 2012
I’ve been really digging marinades lately. They’re so easy to prepare (Mix all the ingredients together. Add meat. Wait.) and, with a little planning, you can have all the work done the night before so you just have to throw the meat on the grill when you’re ready to eat the next evening. Score!
I made a chicken kabob marinade similar to this one a few weeks back at a 50-person party I catered, and it was such a huge hit that I thought I’d recreate the flavors here for you. Let me tell you, juicing citrus for four is so much easier than juicing it 50. That’s task I wouldn’t wish on many, but having my super-awesome new citrus juicer attachment for my stand mixer made it a whole lot easier. (more…)
Takeout With A Twist: Chicken Green Masala May 7, 2012
As a lover and promoter of all things Indian (remember this Chicken Saag with crispy onions and this Chicken Tikka Masala? Holy yum!), I’m often looking for interesting new Indian preparations to try. Lucky for me, I got to spend a week with my adorable sister Annie in Washington D.C., and she knows all the best restaurants in town, including the most tasty Indian spots. With some finagling we got a small table in the lounge area of Rasika‘a Penn Quarter location and I was happy as a clam. Score!
Super Natural: Wild Rice Casserole February 28, 2012
Although it may seem like all I eat is king cake, citrus pie, and bourbon-pecan bread pudding, I definitely take care to eat lots of foods that are good for me too—often much to Doug’s chagrin. (While he’ll eat vegetables, he’s very much a meat and potatoes man.)
I recently picked up Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, and it’s chock full of fabulous vegetarian and whole-grain recipes that are simple enough for everyday. In the past few days alone I’ve made several of her healthful recipes, including her whole-wheat yogurt biscuits (spiced up with cheddar cheese and jalapeno, and doused with goetta gravy for Sunday brunch), Weeknight Curry (a Thai red coconut curry loaded with vegetables and tofu, perfect for my vegetarian personal chef client), and this beautiful Wild Rice Casserole.
DIY Fun: Bourbon Brown Sugar Mustard January 25, 2012
My dear friend Ian is what you might call a mustard connoisseur: His pantry is always full of a variety of expensive pretzel mustards from Europe gifted to him by his aunt, and his condiment shelf in the refrigerator always has at least three different kinds of mustard. Classic Dijon, spicy horseradish, fiery wasabi, or rustic stone-ground—you name it, he’s got it.
All I knew for sure is that Ian needed some homemade mustard, and that I was going to produce it. Plus, I love little canning projects like this, and it’s another way for me to check items off my “Need to Make” list. (more…)
Big Bites: Herb-Marinated Chicken Sandwiches December 7, 2011
Winter is upon us. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t crave the fresh flavors of spring and summer, right? I know you’re with me here, dear readers. And while I love a good soup, stew or braise just as much as the next person, it’s nice to put some light and fresh flavors on the table during the cold months to remind us that, although winter is just starting, spring isn’t really that far away. (more…)
Grill It! Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Stacks September 5, 2011
I didn’t really spend much time at my third-floor apartment this summer. And with Doug’s grill out of commission, I’d been dying to put my grilling skills to good use. Just as I started to think my grilling know-how was getting rusty, I landed at my parents’ house in Kentucky and saw a gleaming new grill staring back at me.
Why had my parents gotten a new grill, you ask? No, it wasn’t because the old one had gotten rusty. Or because my dad felt the need to upgrade to the newest model. Nope, the reason we got a new grill is:
My mom blew up the old one!
Mom, being the great woman that she is, offered to make my friend Rae and I dinner a few months back. She put her beautifully butterflied chicken on the grill, set a brick on it, and closed the lid—completely forgetting to the the dials down from smoking hot to medium low. The long-term smoldering heat of the 500-degree grill blackened the chicken and melted the grill grates, ruining the grill altogether.
Of course, Mom being Mom, she still served us the chicken, suggesting that we just remove the skin before eating. You gotta love her
Well, this isn’t a post about burnt chicken, but it is a post about the brand-spanking new grill that came out of that culinary meltdown. I went nuts cooking everything I possibly could on during my weekend home a few weeks ago: lemon-scented salmon with basil-walnut pesto; peppers, onions and sausages for Italian dogs; corn on the cob; and last, but not least, these Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella stacks.
Every component of these yummy stacks is done on the grill, and then they’re assembled grill-side for easy entertaining. (more…)