Several of us worked a big party recently and the party photographer took a really great group shot! by James Edward Photography
We had another successful event! This was a dinner party for 5th graders and their Basketball Team. So much fun! We offered a Build-Your-Own-Pizza buffet. We laid out the crusts and all the fixings. The boys came in, wrote their names on the parchment paper, and built their pizza as they wished. We put them into the oven and they enjoyed them in only minutes in a 500º oven. They had a great time, and were back to playing basketball really quick, which was so important!
Do you love the rich, woodsy, meaty favor of mushrooms, but are not so fond of the texture? I have a new solution I came up with recently. I took dried mushrooms and put them through my coffee grinder and made a powder. Now I can add their delicious flavor to anything, without the texture causing anyone a problem. Voila!
Have you ever struggled to peel a hard-cooked egg? Me too! So much so, that I started buying those precooked, pre-peeled ones from the dairy case. (I know! Cheater, right?) Well, after much research and trials for a client, I have found the secret formula for easy-peel eggs!
First, pick the sauce pan that is right-sized for the number of eggs you want. (Meaning it’s not too big, where the eggs will rattle around while boiling, but not too small for them all to fit in without rubbing.) Add the eggs to the pan, fill with water to an inch over the eggs. Remove eggs and add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water. Bring the water to a boil.
Meanwhile, grab a safety pin and bend the pin out a bit. You’re going to gently poke a hole into the fat end of the eggs. The key is to just go through the shell but not through the membrane inside. So go slow. The shells are pretty soft though, so it’s not too tough.
When water is at a vigorous boil, add eggs in gently, like with a spoon. Let them boil until they reach your desired level of doneness. See photo below to pick your time. When they’ve boiled long enough, remove them and put them directly into ice water until cooled.
You can peel them now, or keep them in the fridge and peel as needed. No more cursing! They’ll peel like a dream! 🙂 You’re welcome!
Chef Noelle got a great review from a client! Way to go!
“Chef Noelle provided an absolutely extraordinary experience for a milestone birthday party at my house. She took care of every detail, from offering glorious menu options for us to mix and match to recommendations on wine. I would eat her short ribs every day if I could… although it’s a pretty close race with the beet salad! It is such a treat to have someone take care of everything for a party in your own home. She sweetly “shooed” me away from the kitchen to go enjoy cocktails with my guests while she and her assistant prepared the meal. They served each course with a lovely description and were always available for a refill on wine. I look forward to the next occasion when we can have her back as our Personal Chef again!”
– Sheri, Dallas
I bet I know why!
If you are a hater of brussels sprouts, I would guess that you are above the age of 40 and your mother loved you very much! How could I possibly know this, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Up until recently, most Mom’s who wanted to feed their beloved children a nutritious dinner, would boil their vegetables to oblivion. A boiled brussels sprout is hideous! It’s bitter and mushy and would make anyone hate them forever! Fortunately, we have since learned that roasting vegetables is much better, because fewer nutrients are lost to the boiling water and roasting turns those bitter flavors into sweet flavors, making roasted brussels sprouts an amazing miracle to behold and eat!
So, my plea to you is to give those poor brussels sprouts another try! Just make sure to get them roasted this time!
Well, I survived the holidays! With all the parties I cooked for, plus my regular customers, I didn’t have a moment to rest. It was wonderful! Thank you to all the people who invited me into their homes to cook for them and their guests. It was such a blessing.
Now that things have slowed back down to normal speed, I’m going to try to add entries here again, although it’s been awhile since my last entry. I did have a great experience that I wanted to share. A loving Daughter from out-of-state, engaged me to give a cooking lesson to her beloved Mother as a gift
Mother didn’t cook regularly, but wanted to eat healthier. So, Daughter thought that I might be of assistance. Through conversation, and my preferences form, I decided that teaching some techniques and basics, rather than specific dishes, would be helpful. I kept thinking of that old saying about giving someone a fish vs. teaching someone to fish. So, on the appointed day, Mother and I went to the store and discussed what I was buying and why; how I pick the best produce and how one should stay around the edge of a grocery store and avoid the middle, because that’s where all the [email protected]#$%^&* is. The edges (of the store) have all the real food: produce, dairy, meat, etc.
Then, we went to Mother’s kitchen. We chatted and talked about food and nutrition and rice-cookers, pots and pans and anything else that popped into our heads. I tried to impart some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years and give her a good solid foundation on which to build a healthy cooking tradition.
It was such a fun afternoon. I’m looking forward to meeting with Mother again, and I’d love to do that again, with someone else. It was a mutually rewarding experience. Win/Win.
Did you know that you can cook other things, many other things, in a rice cooker? I didn’t, when I bought mine. I thought it would just be a nice time-saver for cooking rice at a client’s house and I wouldn’t have to babysit it, like I would cooking it on the stove. But since I’ve had it, I’ve tried all sorts of different grains in it and they all come out beautifully! I have successfully cooked quinoa, coarse bulgur, millet, wheat berries, and of course red, wild, brown and white rices. I have even cooked steel-cut oats in it and the oatmeal was awesome. Here’s the kind I have, Oster 14-cup Red, but I imagine they are all similar. Use the grain-to-water ratio that is appropriate for the grain you’re cooking, add a little salt and go. When it dings that it’s done, take it out immediately, because I have found that the warming feature is more of a burning feature and it will burn a good, thick layer on the bottom if you leave it in there. When it dings, I usually unplug the machine and take the bowl out with a towel, because it’ll be hot. I mix in a little butter, more salt and pepper to taste and often some frozen peas or grated carrot or zucchini. Next time you have a hankering for some grains with dinner, give it a try.
I love cherry tomatoes, and cherry tomato plants. They are so easy to grow. They cost about $2 for a seedling and when they grow and really get going, they will produce quarts and quarts of the most delicious cherry tomatoes you’ll ever eat. The ones you can buy at the grocery, even the really fancy, expensive stores, are probably picked green and either left to ripen in the box or gassed with CO2 to make them turn red, so they LOOK delicious, but they have a taste that is similar to eating a magazine photograph of a tomato. If you have never eaten a cherry tomato right off of the plant, you have never really tasted a cherry tomato. There is no comparison and afterward, you will never be satisfied with store-bought cherry tomatoes again. I harvest a pint to a quart of cherry tomatoes, both red and yellow, almost every day, and I’d say at least a cup of them never make it into the house. I would encourage you to plant your own cherry tomato plant next spring (it’s too late in the season now). Or become very good friends with someone who grows them, and you’ll probably be gifted with some. I give them away by the pint, because even though I love them, and eat them like candy, there are only so many I can eat in a day and I will eventually become tired of them, at which point, I pass them around to all my loved ones. Mmmm, I think it’s time to go harvest…