Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Triple Treat

This past weekend I had the pleasure and privilege of spending time with 3 amazingly talented friends.  This was an offshoot of the celebrity golf tournament I work on that's held each January and these wonderful friends put together a "Mega Package" that earned $32,000 for our event so, of course, I wanted to be available for them in whatever capacity they needed.
Here are the players: Grammy-Award Nominee, Cindy Bullens; HGTV's Kelly Edge, formerly of "Decorating Cents"  and Executive Chef, Lee Hillson, of T. Cook's restaurant at the Royal Palms Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, and of "Iron Chef America" fame.
My glamorous role? I took delivery of 150 lbs. of food and kept it all at a safe temperature until service. I also shoppped for a number of items beforehand, thus delivering about 200 lbs. of food on the first day.  The rest of the weekend was spent in support of the event...airport runs, food pick-ups, and my crappy knife-skills!  I was looking forward to spending time with Chef Lee and was so flattered about him allowing me into his kitchen.  Still, these families delivered a great experience...thank you!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Food Porn!

Don't worry, folks, it's not as salacious as it sounds! I was checking in on my Facebook account earlier and one friend was asking, "what gives?" with everyone posting pictures of their food creations. Before I knew it, I was put on the cutting board (lovingly, I might add) by my friends. Okay, I admit that I'm probably the worst offender of this, but I just love sharing my passion with others.  If I can inspire just one person to get into the kitchen and create a home-cooked meal, then I feel like I've done my job. I absolutely adore the feedback I get and all the encouraging comments from my incredibly supportive friends and enjoy seeing their kitchen creations, too. While I enjoy the comments, I'm also humbled.  I'm just a home cook and have a few friends who are actually the real deal and Executive Chefs in their restaurants, or teaching kids to cook. Man, nothing I can ever do could compare to the talent these people have.

I even got an e-mail from a friend working in NYC today with a picture of his lunch asking me to guess what it was. I guessed Gumbo. Yep, but it was Gator Gumbo!  I love those "guess what this is" food games. Keep 'em coming!

So I'm starting to think that I might actually have to throw a party for my local friends and cook for them just to prove I've the got the chops they think I have.  Who's in?

Thanks, everyone!

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm re-reading chef/author/traveler Anthony Bourdain's latest book, "Medium Raw," and just finished the chapter where he bashes the fast food industry and their blatant recruitment of our nation's children.  This made me pause and think about my own role in shaping my child's food choices.  Thankfully, I'm an unashamed foodie and had introduced him to the more exotic ingredients early in life.  Yes, I've created a bit of a food snob!  That's not to say that he hasn't had a Happy Meal or three in his lifetime (I'm human, after all), but I love the fact that he really stays away from anything with a drive-thru...that just can't be good for you. 

This young man (now 17) is definitely a Culinary Adventurer! He tried raw octopus at the tender age of four.  He's eaten live termites in Mexico and practically swoons over the very thought of escargot, caviar, and foie gras. He goes into a sushi restaurant and tells the chef to make whatever he wants him to eat. Wow, very brave! 

We've been blessed enough to have some amazing culinary journeys and befriend some of our nation's greatest chefs.  While I'm glad that I've instilled the love of good, quality food in him, I also encourage him to get a good education so he can enjoy all this when mom & dad stop paying the bills!

So proud of my boy for not conforming to society's "norms!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Aw, Shucks!

While I will never claim the world's my oyster to be leisurely plucked from its shell, I'm very proud that I tackled two dozen oysters tonight and shucked them clean from start to finish for dinner.  I sweated and cursed my way through it but sure got the job done.  Let's just say the world oyster shucking contest has no fear from me!  The big bonus was that my husband - who hates any shellfish besides shrimp - kept going back for more!  Honestly, I don't think it was the succulent and briney oysters as much as the buttery, garlicky, bread crumb topping that made all the difference.  Whatever...I'll take it.  My son, however, (who will eat anything) kept thanking me for such a great meal.  He is my pearl found in the oyster.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm Back...

Wow, the holidays, family business, and volunteer obligations really took a toll on my blogging opportunities!  Thanks for hanging in there!  My last blog post was Thanksgiving Day of 2010, which really is in the middle of my launch time.  For those (loyal 18) who have been following me, you know that the past few months have been more than challenging.  I lost my mother-in-law on Octoner 12, right in the middle of launching the celebrity golf tournament I work on.  This was the day my iPhone decided to crap out on me and leave me with very  little sound from my callers. husband calls to tell me his mom just passed and I can't hear much of what he's saying other than, "Mom just died." As I take a moment to fall apart and figure out how to explaim this to my kids, I get another phome call from Hockey Legend, Bobby Orr, telling me he can't make the charity golf event I'm working on.  I put on a a happy face and tell him that it's no problem and that we'll miss him at this year's event.

Moving on to the holidays:  On top of everything else, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, requiring a  hysterectomy - the day before Thanksgiving and being released into my care on Thanksgiving Day - and subsequent radiation therapy treatments, the last of which ends this Wednesday. God bless her for being such a trooper!  Let's just say that the holidays this year were not stellar.

Enter January: Spent New Year's Eve being entertained by our favorite local band, Mo Geetz.   A real highlight into the New Year!

As all of this is progressing, I'm knee-deep into the Tim Wakefield Celebrity Golf Classic - which benefits the Space Coast Early Intervention Center - as the Celebrity Chair. My volunteer job requires me to contact all the Celebritites Tim wants invited to his event, make all their travel arrangements, and make sure they are taken care of during their stay here.  I pride myself on doing a great job in this area!  This event was scheduled on the last weekend in January.

Fast forward to four days ago. My step-son is being recognized in a ceremony that acknowledges his accomplishments as a Firefighter/Paramedic.
Dinner?  Well, tonight was one for the reords.Steak Au Poivre/ Peppercorn Sauce, Celery Root  & Potato Mash, and Roasted Asparagus.  This girl is back on her game!

Thanks to all for your patience!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I have so very much to be thankful for on this beautiful holiday.  First, my mom came through her surgery yesterday with flying colors and she's now settled in at our house for a few days.  It was a special treat that she was home in time to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with us.  Secondly, when we gave thanks before dinner this evening, we were able to smile and remember my mother-in-law who passed last month and still celebrate the birth of two new members of our family.  We shared the day with my sister-in-law and nephew who safely made the trip from Georgia and my father-in-law who is handling the "firsts" (holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) without his bride of 53 years with great strength and dignity.

Tomorrow I'll have both of my brothers here to visit!  This is a rare occasion and one that I'm looking forward to with great anticipation.  I only wish my sister could be here as well, but she's currently working out of state.  That would be such a treat for my mom to have all four of her children together.  I hope we can make that happen very soon.

As for the day's feast; of course I cooked like I was feeding an army!  Only seven people for dinner (the least number of people to feed at a holiday gatherng ever in my history), but I had enough food for at least twice that! I just don't know how to scale back for a holiday meal.  Here's the menu:

Herb Roasted Turkey (nearly 19 lbs. and rubbed with a compound butter with roesmary, thyme, and sage with the butter also gently placed underneath the breast skin)
Spiral-Cut Ham with a Mango Chutney/Spiced Cranberry Glaze (10 1/2 lbs.)
Broccoli-Cheese Casserole
Creamy Fried Confetti Corn
Brulee'd Sweet Potato Gratin
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Cornbread Dressing (courtesy of my sis-in-law)
Mashed Potatoes (courtesy of my sis-in-law)
Mashed Turnips (courtesy of my sis-in-law)
The Best Gravy Ever!

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
Mincemeat pie
Caramel Apple Cake

Lastly, I am so thankful for my extended family, many of which I am so late in getting to know but am enjoying every minute of it - I see our interests and humor resonating throughout our every communication.  We just can't deny our DNA!

To my friends: I have known many of you for most of my life and I am so grateful for the technogically that has made it possible for us to catch up with one another.  To my more recent friends...thank you!  I've not known you that long but you have been put in my life for a reason and I am grateful and so very blessed to call you all "friend."

May God bless you during this time of thanks and beyond!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Recipe of the Day: Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Stir all ingredients together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour sauce into a bowl, cover, and cool completely at room temperature.  Refrigerate until serving.  Makes 2 1/4 cups.