Sunday, July 29, 2007


So I had a fantastic weekend full of socializing, food and cocktails. (What else can I really ask for?) Friday night I went for sushi at Amuras (Sandlake location) and, as usual when I make the drive all the way out to Restaurant Row; I treated myself to the Crystal Bubble Roll, one of my personal favorites. Rolled with rice paper instead of seaweed, it contains tempura shrimp, crab, lettuce and radish and is paired with a slightly sweetened sauce. It’s light and refreshing and really a great solution to easing some of this Florida summer heat. Also kudos to the traditional Spider Roll (soft shell crab) with the non-traditional Spicy Mayo. The addition of their spectacular sauces is a reminder that sometimes it is worth the hike.

Saturday afternoon I headed out to the school for a masterworks series on Mixology. The class was headed up by the incomparable Carolyn Jones, sommelier and general smartie pants on all things booze. The lecture was very captivating and full of little known fun facts. And again I was reminded of how many things I really don’t know, or at least know very well. It also (unfortunately) inspired me to really stock up my liquor cabinet. Mostly with high-end liquor, considering some of the things I learned about the cheap stuff. (Gold grade Tequila? Who knew it was just food coloring.)

I also had a fantastic Pina Colada; probably my first one that didn’t come from a powered mix. It was irresistibly creamy and buttery and not too sweet. Nothing like full fat Coco Lopez to really get the blood going (or, more likely, slowing.) Can’t wait for part two, hopefully working on pairing flavors.

So this blog thing has been a little slow going, but now that I have a camera, etc. to use (thanks AG), I hope to get the ball rolling and stop using clip art. Also, with another great suggestion from SR, I hope to be much more detailed and illustrated with recipes. Thanks for all of the support everyone!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Not too much of an exciting culinary weekend. (Unless you count the spinach chicken salad I had at the ghetto Bennigan’s that was actually pretty good.) Today, however, I was again very pleased in the produce section of my local grocer. Yep, another week of the blueberry season! I know, I’m supposed to be watching my sugar intake, yada yada, but I cannot help myself! Last week I ate an entire pint in one day (and who can complain at $1.50 each)! I look at it as if I am getting a year’s worth of antioxidants in a very short summer season.

I prefer them fresh, straight out of the carton, but here is a recipe for a savory chutney that I have been using for a couple of years. It was adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, and can be paired with either roasted chicken breasts (marinated in Italian seasoning) or a seared white fish.

Blueberry Chutney
2 cups Blueberries
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Onion, minced
¼ cup Raisins, Currants or Craisins
3 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar
1 ½ tsp Fresh Ginger, minced
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Garlic, minced
Dash of Ground Allspice

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Craisins give the Chutney a bit of a refreshing tartness.
*Don’t use fresh ginger that often? Peel it like you would a potato and use a sharp knife to mince, it can often be a very tough root. You can also buy a ginger paste in the produce section. It’s actually quite tasty and lasts for months in your fridge.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cooking 101

So, this being my inaugural blog, I thought I would just take a minute and address what my true goal of this blog is and a little bit about myself. I also admit that this is my first blogging attempt ever, so please be gentle with me!

I consider myself still new to the foodie world, having finished my culinary education in 2002, and really working a wide variety of jobs ever since. I currently own and operate a small personal chef business as well as teaching culinary education at Orlando Culinary Academy. I started teaching about 2 years ago at a local public “culinary” school, basically a place where people showed up with a bottle of wine for a night of fun cooking and eating. Don’t get me wrong, I loved (almost) every minute of it, but my insights and mindset of teaching have changed after working with so many individuals who literally sleep, eat and breathe cooking. I myself learn something new everyday I walk down those halls, and am continuously inspired by the freshly washed faces and eager eyes, waiting to learn.

As far as my own continued food education, I am extremely lucky to have a handful of clients that I experiment and cook for. Everyone says it, and everyone is right: it’s not all that fun to cook for one person. Yes, I'm single and I live alone. I get lazy cooking for myself. Steamed zucchini and lentils are a very suitable dinner! Cheese and mushroom omelet? Easy and delicious. Irish instant oatmeal with cinnamon? Just what I’m craving. You get the drift. So really it is a perfect situation cooking for other people in their own kitchens. And thank goodness my clients are right there by my side the whole time, willing and enthusiastic to try something new.

Anyhoo, here's my plan for this blog site:
Recipe Discussion
Restaurant Commentaries
Wines, Beer and all that good stuff
Anything else in my life I find pertinent to write about

Hope that sounds good to you and remember I welcome all questions and comments!!