Saturday, March 23, 2013

Personal Chef Meals

Easy Caprese Salad

Today I wanted to post a small sampling of just some of the dishes and baked goods that I have done over time for my various personal chef clients. I hope you enjoy the photo's...

Brown Rice Tofu Stir Fry

Thai Beef Curry Stew

Spinach and Mushroom Hand Pie

Quinoa Salad

Summer Eggplant Stir Fry

Baked Chicken

Spinach, Mushroom, and Pine Nut Quiche

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Baby Potato and Green Bean Salad

Crispy Tofu

Chicken and Sausage One-Pot Meal

Asian Noodle Soup


Curry Chicken Salad

Pasta Bolognese with Penne

Japanese Chicken Curry

BBQ Beef Ribs

Individual Veggie Frittata's

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Tenders

Chicken and Kale Stew

Mini Banana Muffins

Three Bean Salad

Garlicky Chicken Meatballs

Kung Pao Chicken

Broccoli Beef over White Rice

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nana-Fana Chocolate Chip Muffins

As usual, I have some catching up to do. A normal theme in my life...

But I wanted to share some pics and tempt you with these banana chocolate chip muffins. I don't remember why I made them. I think I made them just because I could.

Or, maybe it was because I have had this large bag of chocolate chips in my fridge for some time now. So I think I had just decided that it was time to do something with them.  I decided on a banana-fanna chocolate chip muffin. Oh, I also have some new-ish to-the-building-neighbors, so I wanted to give them a little "welcome to the building" gift. So there, that's why.

Can we just be happy today with some nice pics and my cute-but-useless intro?

So that I don't have to bother with finding the recipe for you???

Can we be happy with that? Is that ok??

Well, just in case it isn't, I think I actually used the recipe found here. Ok, are you all happy now? Can I finally go back to watching Top Gun and finish my glass of zin? Thanks!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Parmesan "Swamp Thing" Kale Chips

mmmmm..... cheese and kale. Sounds yummy, no??? Well, it is. Just toss some chopped up curly kale with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and parmesan, and bake in a fairly hot oven for 10-15 minutes, and you have yourself a yummy little addictive snack. One little trick I learned during some kale chip experimenting, is that using older and slightly dried out curly kale is best. It seems that the moisture in fresher kale can prevent them from a perfect crisp. Seems obvious, though, now that I said it, yeah??

Think they still don't sound appetizing to you? I know, they do look like you may be eating something off of the Swamp Thing. But not to worry, Dick Durock won't mind. In fact he would probably enjoy these too. And afterall, I did get a pretty picky 2 year old to really enjoy eating kale, by making these tempting little snacks for him. So enjoy your kale! The "vegetarians vegetable".

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Indoor Picnic Time!

Marinated Portobello Sliders with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, and Sweet Potato Fries

It's July, and it's summer time, and that means that it's the perfect time of year for some picnic-ing. And I love me a great picnic! So even though it was a Friday evening after an exhausting week of work,   I still had me a little picnic, indoors. I dusted off my George Foreman grill, and got to work on this simple and completely satisfying meal.

I marinated these mini portobello mushrooms in a mix of teriyaki, light soy sauce, fresh garlic, olive oil, black pepper, and some lime juice. Let them sit for a few hours, covered, in the fridge. And when it came time to start dinner, I simply grilled them on my countertop grill...

While the mushrooms are working, I baked up some sweet potato fries. First, coating them in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, dried parsley, and cayenne. Then laid them in a single layer on a sheet pan and baked at 400 for maybe 15-20 minutes. 

I had this sun dried tomato pesto that I prepared the day before. It's totally delish, and I thought it would taste great on my little portobello sliders. In this pesto, we have sun dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, parmesan, pine nuts, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Yum...

I toasted the slider buns on the grill, and grabbed a handful of arugula, sliced some gruyere cheese, and popped a chilled bottle of vino, and our picnic was on the table...

I can't wait to make these again! Aren't they cute?!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Plum and The Goat

Arugula Salad With Baked Goat Cheese, Plum, and Blueberries
Today wasn't a bad day. It started out pretty good, then it had some incredibly frustrating moments, then it got good again, and it ended on a fine note, really. And funny how all I can think about is the really frustrating part of my day. It's just that I can't help but to wonder why in the world did that part of the day go the way that it did. I have this feeling that there was some sort of rhyme and reason behind it all. Or, maybe I just like to think that there is some secret hidden reasoning behind things that just don't seem to make any sense. Ah well. It was only an hour out of the day, so let's get over it already!

And let's think about this dish that I made for dinner. Now, I had this similar dish at a popular little place in Berkeley, called Jupiter. We ordered the arugula and plum salad as an appetizer, and their fancy mushroom pizza to share as an entree. The pizza was a hot mess. And not in a good way. It was over baked and had hardly any mushrooms. booo! But the salad was delish! And the live band, atmosphere, and my date surely made up for the poor pizza.

So tonight, after a pretty long day of driving, interviewing for a new position, more and more driving in terrible and even worse traffic, with cops out at every turn and street sweepers down every other street, taking a few too many wrong turns, and tunnel traffic, and..... ok, then a few hours of working in a catering kitchen, getting home, cleaning my own kitchen, and walking my dog, it was finally time for me! To sit down and enjoy a simple meal and a nice chill glass of vino. Finally.

I had a perfect ripe plum and some blueberries that needed to be used up, and a little log of herbed goat cheese. I decided to re-make the lovely little arugula plum salad from our evening out at Jupiter.

I coated a small ball of goat cheese in oiled panko bread crumbs, and sliced up a fresh baguette, and baked both till the bread were crusty little soldiers, and the goat cheese was just melty.
Tossed the arugula and blueberries in a simple olive oil and white balsamic dressing...
And my day is complete with these purty little crostini's...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jolly Green Pancakes, Lime Butter & Cherry Thai Basil Sauce

Pancakes. Is there anything better than a fluffy, warm, buttery pancake? I mean, really?? Well, ok, there are probably a few things better, but not by much. And especially if you are in the mood for pancakes, nothing else will curb that craving.

Now let's think about pancakes for dinner. Ohhh yes! Now we are talking! So it was well past breakfast time, and not even in the area for brunch, and I was in the mood for pancakes. So what better way to celebrate dinner time, than with a big plate of savory sweet pancakes.

I recently became the happy owner of Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook, Plenty, and this is where my savory pancake idea became a reality. I wasn't the only one out there wanting a savory pancake to sink my fork in. So I set out to make his dish, that you can find here.

A few days prior, I picked up a small bag of cherries, because I simply couldn't resist them. They were sitting so pretty and practically singing my name. I was hesitant because I have a slight allergy to raw fruits. But the cherries were at a quite reasonable price, so I picked some up. I figured I would try a few in their raw state, and see if I have any reaction. And If I did have an allergic reaction, (which I did), I would make a sauce or syrup from them, (which I did).

I also had some stunning Thai basil, so thought I would combine the two to make a savory sweet syrup sauce...
To make the sauce, simply throw the cherries and basil leaves into a pot, add a few pinches of sugar and a little bit of water, and bring to a simmer to let the cherries cook down. 
Once the cherries are cooked, and cooled, you can easily take the pits out. Remove the basil leaves. Taste and adjust sugar if necessary. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Lastly, strain to get rid of the skins.

Next let's move on to the lime butter for the pancakes. In mine, I used butter, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, cilantro and salt...

Mashed all that together and rolled into a log shape using parchment paper...
And finally it is time to start on the pretty little pancakes! Finally! I really liked the batter recipe for these, as it calls for whipped egg whites as a leavener. Awesome. I chose to do this by hand rather than using my hand mixer, because I am not a cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater! It just takes some elbow grease, which we all have somewhere in the depths of our kitchen...
And, as I always like to make my own mostly minor adjustments to recipes I find, I did make some small changes to this one. So rather than using spinach in the batter, I used parsley and cilantro in mine. I did do a taste test on the first cooked pancake, as I wanted to make sure that my cherry Thai basil sauce would be a compliment, and not an unnecessary accessory. And I found that the cakes definitely called out for a something sweet sauce. Because even though these are a savory pancake, they are still a pancake, that yearns for the safety and comfort of a sweet syrupy blanket.