Thursday, June 25, 2009

I like food!

I am sure that it’s no surprise to those who know me that I love food. I was talking with a friend recently who we often have dinner with. She told me how surprised other people are when she tells them she is cooking for a chef. They expect that a chef eats gourmet food 24/7 and would disdain anything else. Well it’s not true!

I find joy in comfort foods like a perfect mac ‘n’ cheese with meatloaf, to gourmet duck confit, to the late night runs for the border [ yes people know I’m a Taco Bell fan, but don’t tell anyone ;) ] My husband says a true gourmand is like a musician, they like everything, not just the classics or avant-garde, so long as it is done well.

I find my self overjoyed when the seasons start to change and new produce is on the market. I try hard to get the best of every season; right now I can’t pass by cherries and I am awaiting my apricot tree to ripen.

To those who want to be gourmet, I say be a foodie instead and enjoy everything!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Corn & Butter Bar

I can never wait until the fresh corn is in for the season. Boiled on the stove or grilled on the BBQ it is simple, fresh and summer. When planning a party corn on the cob is a classic side dish- why not dress it up? Try making flavored butters like Pesto, Roasted Garlic or try my recipe for Chipotle butter.

I have a bride later this summer whose wedding is featuring a corn and butter bar, and is giving corn picks as her wedding favors- I love it!

1 pound unsalted butter
2 T kosher salt (the larger the flake the better)
2 T chipotle chili powder (available in gourmet markets)
2 limes (you'll need the Zest of 1, and the Juice of 2)

Bring the butter to room temperature
Combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon, do not whip.

Place into nice crock or bowl

This should keep for up to a week refrigerated, or up to 6 months frozen.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cooking Demo on 6/28 (Lemon Soufflé)

I'll be demonstrating how to make Lemon Soufflé at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma on June 28th at 1:30 in The Showcase Building. I've always thought soufflé were easier than their reputation makes them out to be. Here's the recipe I'll be using, I hope to see you there.

1 c lemon juice
1 c sugar
1 T flour
4 eggs
Zest 1 lemon
4 egg whites
¼ c sugar

6 - 4 oz ramekins buttered and sugared well

Combine sugar and flour, whisk to sift together
Add lemon juice, stir well
Add eggs, beat well
Place over medium flame and cook until thickened (it should boil)
Be very careful to stir constantly and do not leave unattended
After cooking stir in lemon zest
Allow to cool completely
Whip egg whites to soft peaks
Slowly add sugar and whip to firm peaks
Working in 4 stages fold the egg whites into the cooled lemon curd
Place in ramekins leaving ½” from the top
Bake in a 350º oven 30-40 minutes till tall firm and light brown

Serve immediately

Monday, June 15, 2009

Best of Petaluma (more)

My thank you post for the Best of Petaluma was a bit rushed. Busy, busy, busy... but I wanted to get it out. But now as the my brain winds down I'd like to say it again.

It was a real joy to me to receive this honor last year. I am a Petaluma kid born and raised here and there has never been a question that this is where I want to be. In the same sense I wanted to have a Petaluma business, a place where we know ourcustomers and their families, where my family works with me, where we are a part of the community.

I believe in supporting the local economy and community, youth groups, service groups and more.

To be named again this year reinforces all that I believe in Petaluma and that Petaluma believes in me. Plan on seeing us at the awards ceremony for a fun filled evening to celebrate.
Thank you

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chamber Mixer - July 9th

If you missed our big PEP Benefit back in May (or even if you didn't) stop by on Thursday July 9th for the Chamber of Commerce After Hours Mixer, there will be wine and beer and music and lots of great food! The fun starts @ 5:30. Hors d'oeuvres and wine inside and BBQ and beer outback.

Sonoma County Bounty
A bountiful tasting of favorite local artisan and farmstead cheeses
accompanied by a seasonal assortment of fruits,
with sliced baguette and crackers. Selections such as Point Reyes Blue,
Bellwether Crescenza, and Sonoma Garlic Jack.

Chef’s Antipasti
Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone
Balsamic Mushrooms
Cumin Roasted Prawns
Roasted Asparagus and Peppers with White Bean Hummus

Back Yard BBQ
Smoked Pork Sliders with Carolina BBQ Sauce
Mini Burger Sliders
Parmesan White Truffle Fries

Triple Chocolate Fountains
Milk, White and Dark Chocolate
Fresh Baked Cookies and Biscotti
Marshmallows, Strawberries and more

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sesame Noodles

I'm often asked if I cook at home. The answer is Yes, when I can. My schedule of events and meetings keeps me out at least a couple of evenings a week, so when I do get home to cook I usually try to keep it quick and easy. A 30 minute meal to me is too long, but here is a recent creation that I really like, and is really quick:

1- 4oz package l0 mien or chow mien noodles
1- 4oz bag of baby spinach – I eat a lot of spinach

2 T minced garlic
2 T sesame seeds
¼ c vegetable oil
¼ c low sodium soy saouce
¼ c rice wine
¼ c rice wine vinegar
2 T brown sugar

1 to 2 c of meat - Sliced BBQ pork, Roasted Chicken, Sliced Steak - a great use of leftovers

The idea is to prepare in the time it takes to cook the noodles
Start the noodles, follow directions on package for cooking them.

Place spinach in a large bowl, set aside.

Place oils, garlic and sesame seeds in a sauté pan, then cook till golden
Add the rest of the liquids and brown sugar - bring to a boil
Add in your choice in meat, heat through

By now your noodles should be done
Drain the noodles
Place noodles on baby spinach - this will wilt the spinach perfectly
Pour the mixture of meat and sauce over the top
Toss and enjoy.

It is a great quick dinner, I have also at times added shredded carrots, cabbage, mung beans; almost any veggie that will wilt easily.

It's healthy, tasty and fast. Enjoy

Friday, June 5, 2009

Best of Petaluma!

Thank you all so much for voting us Peoples Choice Best of Petaluma 2009 - Best Caterer. It's nice to be appreciated.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

1500 people served (Last Weekend!)

So after a full weekend, we served 1500 guests which equals 2 weddings, 4000 hors d’oeuvres, 1000 finger sandwiches and much more. So, what does a caterer do for her day off? -Go to lunch! We decided to have a day out and headed to Napa, I had heard that Oxbow Market was full and open and wanted to check it out.

Driving from Petaluma to Napa is always a beautiful thing, a great start to a relaxing day. Pulling into the market I noticed that they expanded greatly since the last time I was there in 2007. My first thought was for some sweet potato fries from Taylor’s Refresher - always a favorite. But first, we decided to head inside and take a look before grabbing a bite. I was thrilled to see the spice merchant was still there, which is a great place to get just bits of things that you want to try out. We wandered on back to the cheese counter and tried some great bleus from the very helpful staff. The cheese counter is kind of hidden in back through a set of doors, but worth looking for; there's also a lot more back there.

We decided to have lunch at Pica Pica, a restaurant specializing in corn items from Central and South America. A tough call with Taylor's right outside, but the menu was very intriging. We ordered a trio of Empanadas and an Arepa. The arepa was something that I had never tried before. A thick cornmeal cake similar to a tortilla that is grilled, split and then filled. It was wonderful! Sturdy enough to hold up to the shredded skirt steak with grilled plantains, and not even a drip on the tables. You can be sure that I will be looking up that recipe.

We wandered on and around and headed to the Model Bakery and then outside. Don't forget to go around the corner past Taylor's to the Fatted Calf. It's an artisan butcher and cafe. It was a challange not to have another lunch when I saw their duck rillette. I guess we have to go back.