Category Archives: Random Pieces

The Gluten Affair

gluten-free-symbolWell, it has been awhile since I posted anything.  What’s been going on?  Besides working a lot, I’ve been trying to get healthy again.   Several weeks ago my stomach issues started reaching new heights.  I couldn’t eat, had major digestion issues, my tummy was ridiculously bloated, and overall felt like I was just really sick, all the time.   I knew what it was before I knew what it was, really.  Having studied nutrition, the symptoms of gluten intolerance are pretty familiar to me.  But as a chef, and someone who personally has viewed the influx of gluten dieters as a ridiculous trend, I didn’t want to admit it or become one of those “does this have gluten in it?” people.  But I felt so sick that something had to give.   So I’ve cut it out of my diet and basically done a 180.  My bloated tummy has calmed down, I feel clearer, and my digestive system is about 75% better.  It’s not an overnight thing but my symptoms have improved dramatically.

I think the reason it got so bad at that point is because I was eating more sandwiches than normal, and crouton filled salads.  We also tended towards a lot of chinese food, and soy sauce is a gluten minefield.  It’s not so hard now to avoid it, but many of the exciting recipes I had planned for the blog were glutenous and I don’t want to make stuff just for me to eat by myself.  I’ve been eating really boring, whole foods at home so there hasn’t been a lot to blog about, and many of my catering jobs included things that have already been featured here.   I don’t want to make this a gluten-free blog but I might have to feature one or two recipes a week that are specifically wheat-free.

That said, if you are considering going gluten free as a diet and don’t have symptoms, don’t do it.  You won’t lose weight, most likely, especially if you use replacement foods like gluten free cookies, crackers, and cakes.  Just eat healthily and cut back on simple carbohydrates.   If you do have the symptoms of gluten intolerance, either cut it out of your diet, see if you improve, or continue to eat it and go to your doctor to get tested.  If you don’t have gluten in your system when you go for an allergy test, they won’t be able to tell if you are intolerant.

I’d also like to make a quick little list of the places I have eaten recently that have been awesome about dealing with my newfound allergy:

Benihana

Ruggle’s Green

Gigi’s Cupcakes

The Olive Garden (don’t judge me.  It’s my boyfriend’s favorite.)

Saltgrass Steakhouse

Standout:  P.F. Chang’s.  This place, while I don’t really adore the food, goes above and beyond for gluten allergies, down to special packets of tamari soy sauce and labeling everything clearly.

So, to sum up, I’ll be back blogging now that I have things figured out and a bit of a break in huge catering gigs.  Keep checking back here for recipes, tips, and more!  XO

Wedding Registry Advice From A Professional: Part 3

images-1Whew!  I’ve bulldozed through three days of registry-mania.  Here is the last list, comprised of those items that not everyone will need, and not everyone will want, but can be great to have.

Here are the previous two lists:

Part One

Part Two

Let’s get to it.

Kitchen Accessories:  Some of these, like the trivet and spoon rest, are not entirely frivolous, and actually quite helpful.  But I wanted to focus most of the list on actual cooking items, rather than decor related accessories.

kitchen accessoriesA dish rack is nice to have if you have a lot of counter space.  It gives you a place to dry things that shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, like your knives, and can also be attractive if you go for one of the newer, more modern models.   A spoon rest is simple:  it keeps your stove clean.  You can also get a set of clips that go on the side of your pots to hold the spoon, if you don’t enjoy the idea of a spoon rest.  Trivets, again, pretty obvious: somewhere to put a hot pot.   Now, enclumes are what most of us know as “those hanging pot rack things.”  They range in prices, and most places have them available for special order.  I recommend using gift cards for these, as you don’t want to receive it without having somewhere to immediately put it.  You also want to make sure you have available studs in your kitchen to mount it, and enough overhead room.  They range in price, size, style, and finish.  Salt keepers also range in styles, and are great for keeping kosher or sea salt available to pinch on your food.  The one above is made of olivewood and has a magnetic swivel lid – great for keeping dust out.

Brands I Love:  Le Creuset, Threshold, Williams Sonoma (enclume), Berard (olivewood), Simplehuman (dish rack), Umbra (dish rack).

Grilling Tools:  If you have a grill.  These are -usually- the groom’s favorite selections, especially in Texas.  Men love their grills.  So do women!  If you don’t have a grill, just skip it.  These things aren’t that expensive and won’t be difficult to purchase when and if you ever do decide to go grilling.

Grill Tools

 

A stuffed burger press is actually something you don’t even have to have a grill for, just a love of burgers with things in the middle.  Make sure you always use parchment or burger papers with one, as the meat will stick to the sides otherwise.  You can also get a regular burger press, to ensure perfectly formed patties.  Firewire is just free flowing wire with a kabob poker on the end.  It’s easier to marinate your food if it’s already on the skewer, and these coil up to go in a bowl or bag for marinating.  You can also fit it on your grill easier.  A grill press is great for cooking steaks or chicken (not burgers!  You’ll press the life out of it!) Grilling tools are just regular tools but with longer handles – and usually a bit more heavy duty.  Same goes for the basting brush.

Fruit Tools:

fruit tools

 

For the knife wary, these can be a great solution.  They are very self explanatory, and this is just a few of the available options.  Plus, if you have kids, this is a great way to induct them into the kitchen without worrying about them getting cut.  Now, they do take up drawer space, which is why I left them to the end.  There is nothing that the above tools can do that you can’t do with one knife, but there is a huge population of gadget enthusiasts out there.  These are some of the best.

Brands I Love:  Chef’n, OXO, Rosle

Pizza Tools:  Again, completely not necessary.  But really fun stuff if you love pizza!

pizza tools

 

Pizza stones are great for grilled pizzas or to bake them in the oven.  I actually prefer the much more lightweight and easier to store pizza crisper, which has perforation to encourage a crispy crust.  Pizza peels really just remove the hot pizza from the oven or, if you are the luckiest person in the world, wood burning oven.  A pizza cutter is actually good to have even if you don’t cook; those DiGiorno’s don’t come already sliced.

Brands I Love:  Emile Henry (pizza stone)

Barware: 

bar ware

 

The reason I left this section for last is purely personal; I don’t drink a lot at home and don’t have a lot of parties because my neighbors freak out and call the cops if they can hear the slightest peep.  Seriously, it’s happened during a quiet dinner.  Arg.  Anyway, for those of you with nice neighbors and who enjoy the after work cocktail, the above is a basic assortment of tools.  Honestly, none of them are very expensive at all so just like the other tools, they are great add-ons.   So if you register for some tumblers, someone can buy two and then throw in the shaker for a themed gift.  Fun!   The Soda Stream is also something to think about registering for if you love sparkling water; that’s all this machine makes.  It can save you hundreds of dollars in Pellegrino.   Or you can get some syrup and make your own soda!

Final Items For Those Who Have It All:

Have It All

 

This final section is just an assortment of items that you really don’t need, but if you are experimental in the kitchen or just have a deep love of cooking, they can be awesome to own.  The Breville Personal Pie Maker is a fantastic little machine that heats up and cooks pies, eggs, etc.   Love it.  Google it.  The Smoking Gun infuses food with a smoky flavor, without a huge smoky mess.  Raclette is a more modern version of the dreaded fondue pot, that staple of registries past.   This is a lot more fun and versatile than a fondue.  You melt cheese, grill meat, veggies, etc all yourself while sitting around this little heating unit.   Finally, the electric deep fryer is truly the most unnecessary but really cool thing to have.  What it does is self-explanatory.  I covet one.

Brands I Love:  Breville, Polyscience (smoking gun), Swissmar (raclette), Krups & Breville (deep fryers).
Some Final Thoughts (like Jerry Springer!):

You’ll notice that I didn’t get into dishes, china, glassware, table linens, etc.  Those decisions are really quite personal.  A lot of couples these days are not registering for fine china, much to the chagrin of the older generations.  I completely understand.  It’s hard for us to see the need to register for something that literally just takes up space, and most of us cannot remember our parents EVER using the wedding china.  As Monica Gellar once said, “I’m saving them for when the Queen of England comes over!”  Pretty much.  But I think it is better to invest in really great every day dishes with some statement salad plates so that when you set the table for company, you still get that “wow” factor.

Don’t register for sale or discounted items.  They are more than likely going to sell out, and then the store probably won’t get them back in.  I saw many couples register for so many sale items that there was hardly anything on their registries to purchase.  It’s also, obviously, important to frequently check in on the status of items on your registry.  Go online, and if something has gone on sale, just check with the store to see how the stock numbers are doing.  If you need to replace it, do it.

Things I purposefully left off:

Toaster – If you really want one, by all means.  But you can save space for something that the oven doesn’t already do.

Juicer – I know juicing is all the rage right now, but that is one bandwagon I personally haven’t jumped on.  If you must, must have a juicer, go with a slow juicer.  Breville and Hurom both make excellent models, and they are SO much better than the others.  You get more nutrients in the juice, more juice from the foods, and less pulp.  Plus, they are almost silent.  The other, larger juicers tend to sound like a jet liner is entering your kitchen, which your new spouse will not appreciate if you wake up early to juice.

The bottom line is this: it’s your wedding and your registry.  You know what your current situation is and should register accordingly.  If you need to change it, do it.  The store should work with you to accomodate your needs.  Also, consult with the sales people.  They know the items better than anyone and will be able to really guide you in the right direction.  Above all, you should be happy with what you get and these items that you are choosing together should make you feel more comfortable in starting a life with one another.

 

Wedding Registry Tips From A Professional: Part 2

1311271766weddingIf you missed yesterday, click here to read part one of this series!

Today’s list will go through items that are slightly less essential than yesterday (except for cutting boards, which I just forgot about.  You need cutting boards.)  Most people will wind up getting these items eventually, but why not register for them?  If you have room in your kitchen, they are great to have.  Let’s get started.

Food Prep Tools:

This is really a cross-section of different prep tools.   Obviously, you can throw in a garlic press, a mandoline, food mill, what have you, but these are more basic just to give you an idea.

food prep tools

Glass or stainless prep bowls are one of those things I don’t budge on.  You need them in your life if you are going to cook efficiently.  Lots of stores sell them in neat little sets, and they are great add-on.  A lot of people like to build their own little gifts; they’ll get one medium item and then throw in something like the bowls and then perhaps buy a tool to tie on the outside of the box.  This is why it’s good to give options in terms of size and price.

The serrated slicer (seen here: Kobra Slicer by De Buyer) is just one of those things I like.  You could substitute a mandoline here if you are a bit more advanced, but for the sharp-edge shy, this is a little less scary.  As far as cutting boards go, you can get the large wood blocks but know that they are a lot of work.  You have to massage and coddle them, though they are lovely and you can get them engraved sometimes with your initials.  I prefer bamboo boards as they are dishwasher safe, light weight, and great on knives.   They’re also not as heavy, so if you’re doing a big move after the wedding or just short on space, these are much easier to handle.  Finally a word on lemon juicers:  do not register for one that is enamel coated or painted.  The lemon or lime juice is acidic, and eats away at the paint!  I love the polypropylene ones by Chef’n.

Brands I Love:  Chef’n, De Buyer (mandoline), OXO (tools & mandoline), Epicurean (cutting boards), Boos (block cutting boards)

More Electrics:

I went over must-have electrics yesterday.  These are ones that I find fun and great to have if you can support the space.  They also are meant to sort of bring you and your new spouse together in the kitchen.

great electrics

So the waffle maker and espresso maker are great for weekend breakfasts – and if you have to impress your in-laws when they come visit.  I like a good Belgian waffle maker but the round ones are perfectly suitable.  As far as espresso machines go, Nespresso makes wonderful options in all sizes and prices.  You have to order their pods, but they are super fresh and come in a variety of strengths.  Not everyone is a barista or  has time to tinker with an espresso machine every morning, so this is a perfect solution.  Starbucks also has a new option in this field, but I prefer Nespresso.

The panini press can double as a grill on cold nights, and can replace that janky George Foreman grill you got freshman year.  You know what I’m talking about.   Finally, we all know I love pressure cookers.  Go for electric as they are much easier to use, and can significantly cut down the amount of time you spend making dinner.

Brands I Love:  All Clad (waffle makers & pressure cooker), Nespresso, Breville (panini), Cuisinart (panini and pressure cooker).

Essential Bakeware:  So we aren’t all bakers.  If you hate baking, just skip these, except for the baking set.  You just never know.

essential bakeware

For those of you that love to bake, here’s some stuff you will need.  Get a great cooling rack.  Get some expensive bakeware – high quality pans are less likely to warp in the heat of the oven and will last a very long time.  If you like to bake cookies or other small items, a silpat is a must.  It helps to keep things from getting to brown on the bottom or sticking.

I prefer tapered or French rolling pins.   They are easier to grip and if you need to roll something out round, this is the way to do it.  They can run pretty inexpensive, so again, a great add-on.   A cake tester is another wonderful addition to a larger gift.

You probably already have some measuring spoons or cups, but go ahead and register for a nice set – stainless steel will last a long time.   For the advanced baker, a digital scale is also not out of the question.

Brands I Love:  Silpat, All Clad, Williams Sonoma & Sur La Table House Brands, Target Brands, OXO, Calphalon (bakeware)

Kitchen Linens:  

kitchen linens

Now, the tempting thing to do with linens is to go crazy with patterns and super cutesy ones.  You won’t use them, unless decoratively.  Pick a neutral pattern and register for several sets of cotton kitchen towels.  It’s always nice to have several, and by sticking with a neutral, you can add pops of color elsewhere without clashing.   If you both cook, register for a couple of aprons.  Going with a more frilly one for the bride makes it a great shower gift.  The one above is from Anthropologie (I have that one) and they have an amazing selection.  Lastly, you can match your mitts to your linens if you like.  Just make sure you register for at least one pot holder and one mitt.

I have to say, linens are the item that if you don’t register for them, some family friend that you don’t really know is going to get them for you anyway and they will probably be in a color or pattern you hate.  I really recommend just registering for at least a few of the above to avoid that.

Brands I Love:  Anthropologie, Target (their new Threshold line has fantastic stuff for a steal!), Williams Sonoma Linens, Crate & Barrel, West Elm.

Holiday Essentials:  If you are registering in the spring or summer, chances are you aren’t going to be thinking about the possibility that your family may want to have Thanksgiving or Christmas at your house at some point.  By registering for some basic large  meal prep tools, you will be all set just in case.

holiday essentials

Stoneware, or ceramic baking dishes, are perfect for all types of casseroles, macaroni and cheese, or even things like bread pudding.  Go ahead and get at least two – one with a lid and one long one.  The stoneware makes for a better serving dish than a pyrex baking dish and will last a lot longer.  Most brands offer a variety of colors, so you can pick one and stick with it or go color crazy (like me!)    You can also get a matching pie dish, with ruffled edges for extra pizzazz!  A roasting pan with an included rack is what you will need for doing turkey, ham, chicken, etc.  A nice stainless one is perfect because you can use it on the stovetop to make gravy with the pan drippings, and it will last forever.

A potato ricer just makes life easier, and you can impress everyone with mega fluffy potatoes.  I think I’ve talking about 15 times on this blog about meat thermometers, but you really need one.  If you want to register for one of the fancy roasting thermometers, go for it.  I just warn against these new “remote” thermometers.  They work for about 3 minutes before you will want to throw it against the wall.  Just not perfected technology, especially for how much they cost.

Brands I Love:  Emile  Henry Stoneware, Le Creuset Stoneware, All Clad (roaster), OXO (ricer, thermometer), Tayl0r (thermometer).

So that’s today’s list!  Come back tomorrow when I will detail the last list, stuff you probably don’t need but want nonetheless 🙂

Wedding Registry Tips From A Professional: Part One


tumblr_lkzluad2zc1qjld6zo1_500Professional cook that is, not bride.   I have yet to cross that particular threshold (ahem.)  But I do know an awful lot about what you simply must have in your kitchen and those fun things that you might not buy out of your own salary, but would sign up to receive!  I worked in kitchen retail for years and also had the opportunity to try out a lot of products.  I know what’s good and what looks good but isn’t actually good.  Good.

So the way I want to organize this is by necessity.  I’ll have three tiers:  first, the must haves.  Second, good things to have.  Third, fun things to  have.  Not every couple getting married is moving into a space with massive amounts of storage, so it’s better to sort of start with the stuff that you need and think about what you can really use and fit.   If you are lucky enough to be moving into a large home or, like me, just have a lot of kitchen stuff already, go ahead and register for the less practical.

A few tips:  really think about what you register for.  Nothing is more frustrating than when brides would come in with thousands of dollars of stuff that they changed their mind about, or decided they wanted store credit for.   If you want the couch from the sister furniture store, don’t register for stuff you can return at the kitchen store for credit.  Register for gift cards at the furniture store.  Also, to the friends and family of the registrees: if a registry has things on it that aren’t to your taste, don’t worry about it!  Buy the couple what they registered for, not stuff you think they want or you would want!  Guess what happens when you decide you know better than the bride and groom.  They return your gift.  And then act awkward around you FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!   Ain’t nobody got time for that.

That said, here’s my first tier.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the second tier.

Cookware:  Register for it piece by piece, rather than all in one big set.  It makes it more affordable for your guests that way, and then if you want to return it because it has a ding in it or something, you are more likely to be able to find a replacement.  There just aren’t as many large sets kept in stock at most stores.

You really need several key pieces:

ec2

I’m not going to tell you exactly which brand of each to buy; that’s up to you.  But there are 6 pieces of cookware you absolutely need, as outlined above.  These are very basic, but you’ll be able to do simple cooking.  If you are an accomplished home cook and want to make your own stocks, by all means get a stock pot (but you can get a great one at a restaurant supply for like, 1/4 the price).  Or a griddle if you want to do big breakfasts.  But for the most part, this is it.   Do not buy or register for all nonstick cookware.  You won’t be able to get the same outcome as with stainless.  You need one nonstick pan for eggs or pancakes, but not a whole set.

Brands I Love:  Staub (cast iron), All Clad, Demeyere, Calphalon (nonstick), Williams Sonoma & Sur La Table House Brands, Kitchen Aid (budget).

Cutlery:  Again, registering by the piece can be a more budget friendly option for your guests.  However, there are several starter sets that aren’t too expensive.  The most important thing that you can do when registering for cutlery is to actually go into the store and try out the knives.  I know most of the high end kitchen stores will let you do this, and have great people with a lot of knowledge. (Houston people:  go see Lilly at Williams Sonoma in Highland Village!!)  Anyway, holding the knife gives you a feel for the weight distribution, handle size, length, etc.  Sometimes the ones that feel the best are not the ones you thought you would end up with.  Knife sets aside, here are the specific types you really need:

essential cutleter

And that’s really it.  I mean, I love a good santoku knife but not everyone does.  For more info on what all the different knives do, check out my earlier post.

Brands I Love:  Wusthof, Shun, Zwilling, Kuhn Rikon, Victorinox.

Electrics:  This is where you can sort of go for the higher end, splurge pieces for your family and close friends to buy.  Look, I know it can feel sort of like you are a spoiled brat asking for expensive items but those that love you WANT to spend the money to celebrate your wedding.  Trust me.  I had more people get frustrated that there weren’t enough big ticket items on their, say, nephew’s registry.  So go for the high end mixer; ask for a Vitamix even!  Then you’ll never have to buy another blender in your life.  Even if you don’t receive it, chances are you will have enough gift cards and returned item credit to buy it eventually anyway.  Plus, some stores give you a registry completion discount for the months surrounding your wedding, making things like this more affordable.

essential electricsSo the slow cooker is great for newlyweds without a lot of time for dinner; you can throw stuff in it, forget about it, and come back later.  Blammo.  Dinner’s done.  Plus, Pinterest has about 342 million slow cooker recipes.  The stand mixer is just something everyone wants.  It’s a statement piece.  Go with Kitchen Aid.  It’s the only brand that really stands the test of time.  As far as blenders go, just make sure it has ice crushing capability.  If you feel like you want to register for a Vitamix, please do.  It’s the best thing that is out there for kitchens, hands down.  Look it up.   Finally, a food processor.  If you go through my recipes on here, you’ll see that I totally depend on it.  Just makes life easier.

Brands I Love: Cuisinart (slow cooker, food processor), Breville (everything), Vitamix, All Clad (slow cooker), Magimix (food processor)

Finally, the last group of absolutely MUST have kitchen tools:

Cooks Tools: So this section is sort of obvious, and you might have some of these already, but why not register for newer, better ones.

essential toolsGet some great tongs; they should last a long time and be at least 12″ long.   Too short and you can’t use them for grilling, reaching in the oven, etc.  Also, you need at least one microplane zester.  These are handheld graters that you can use for zesting citrus, grating parmesan, chocolate, whole nutmeg, etc.  Super useful.  I also love the Microplane brand box grater – it has 4 sides and is very comfortable to use.  You’ll want some great peelers, and now you can get sets with a straight edge peeler, a serrated peeler, and a julienne peeler.  Finally, some offset spatulas.  The one pictured here is rather wide; good for flipping eggs or steak or fish.  The narrow ones are great for icing cakes.

Brands I Love: Microplane, Rosle, Wilton (icing spatula), OXO, Chef’n, Swissmar (peelers).

Finally, if there is one more absolutely essential gadget I can recommend, it’s a good can opener!  OXO makes one that gives you a flat edge and it is fantastic.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I post about items that are slightly less essential and a little more whimsical!

What’s Up, Googlers?

I’m chuckling because I get probably 43%* of my blog hits from people googling “boning knife.”  I have NO idea how that leads them here, since I’ve talked about that once, but I’ll take it.

I’ve decided to capitalize off of this trend and just go ahead and ask:

Are there lots of questions about boning knives?  If so, please ask in the comments.  If you’re just looking for images, that’s cool too.  I guess boning knives are the most mysterious of all the knives in the land and I’m happy to answer any questions or give my opinions on certain brands.  Working retail in a kitchen store for over two years did not leave me devoid of thoughts on this matter.

(I was really tempted to write “Happy Boning!” right here, but that means something else.)

Bone Voyage!

 

*That’s an exaggeration, but I did the math and it really is 10.4%.  Wild.

Remixed Breakfast, & How I Cook

bfast1
I woke up early this morning, ready to make breakfast.  A quick glance in the fridge showed me what I had to work with – a zucchini, some ground pork, eggs, pesto.  Hmm.  I decided to just go for it and come up with something new.  I broke out the mandoline and sliced the zucchini super thin, made the pork into breakfast sausage with some seasonings, and was on my way.  This is really how I like to cook and get inspired.  So often people will ask me, “What type of food do you specialize in?”  That’s a horrible question for me.  I love all cuisines and types of food, and think that’s really apparent in my recipes here.  I don’t like to confine myself to any particular genre.  It’s more about taking certain ingredients and trying something new or certain techniques and using them in ways they may not have been intended.   This works for me more often than not, though sometimes things don’t come out as I had planned.  That’s okay.  If you get discouraged in the kitchen, just scrap it and come back later (unless you’re cooking for company, in which case definitely practice ahead of time if you’re unsure.)  So what I’m trying to say is: it’s cool to take risks, don’t feel bogged down by the confines of genre or technique, and if you mess up, who cares.  I’m sleepy and rambling, so hopefully that makes sense.

The zucchini I sauteed in the same pan as the sausage, which is why it is dark.  I wanted to pick up some of the flavors from the pork and imbue that into the veggie, and then I brightened up the flavor with some lemon juice.  That also served to deglaze the pan a bit.  You could serve this with poached eggs or fried or sunny side up or whatever your preference is, but having the runny yolk mix with the other components was the best part in my opinion.   The pesto was just there already and I threw some on top because pesto is yummy and I have a weakness for basil & zucchini together.

Zucchini, Breakfast Sausage, and Egg “Benedict”

1 zucchini, cut in half crosswise and sliced very thinly

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lemon (for juicing)

Ground Pork or Turkey or Breakfast Sausage or Whatever you want to use 🙂

1 egg per person

Salt & Pepper

Vegetable Oil

Basil Pesto – store bought is just fine

Form your ground meat into 2.5″ to 3″ round patties.  Make sure they aren’t too thick, about 1/2″ at the most.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and then the patties.  Cook until completely done on the inside – about 4 min. per side.  Remove to a plate.

In the same pan, squeeze the lemon juice (both halves) and scrape up any brown bits.  Add the garlic and zucchini along with some salt and pepper and saute very briefly, about 1 minute.  The zucchini should be just tender but not soggy.  Remove to plate.

In a nonstick pan, cook your egg to your preference.  It’s really important to use a good nonstick surface for this, and to get it nice and hot before the egg hits the pan.  You want it to start cooking the second it hits, and then turn the heat down some so it doesn’t burn or cook too quickly on the outside.  When it’s done, arrange the food with the zucchini on bottom, then the sausage, and the egg on top topped with salt and pepper and the pesto.

Enjoy!

bfast2

Baby Shower Cupcakes!

cupcake2Today I am catering a baby shower.  I wanted to do something really really cute.  And I believe I achieved that.  Plus, these cupcakes taste INCREDIBLE.

The recipe for the batter is found here: White Wedding Cupcakes.  Great recipe, highly recommend.

For the buttercream, I mixed 3 sticks of very, very soft room temperature SALTED butter with 4 cups of powdered sugar, some Tahitian vanilla extract, and a dash of heavy cream.  Mix it until it’s super, super soft and pliable.  I mean, it’s decadent but it’s a baby shower.  C’mon.

I dyed the frosting with my favorite food coloring, these guys.  A little bit goes a loooong way.  This was about 3 drops, and it’s even a little darker than I wanted it to be.

Finally, the sugar decorations and cupcake papers are from Fancy Flours.  They have some great sales!

Came out pretty cute, right?

cupcakes1

Whoa.

I’m just curious as to what home cooks are buying these at Randall’s (Safeway) and just going to town on them.  Yikes.

ghostchile

Facebook Page!

fbI created a facebook page for my blog & business the other day; it should be over on the right hand side of the page.  If you like the blog and want extra little cooking tidbits, please click “like”!

The link is http://www.facebook.com/theladyisachef

Thanks for visiting!

I Need a Vacation.

In lieu of an actual food post (I’m trying, really, but just feel incredibly…meh about everything right now), I’m gonna post some pictures.  A best of, if you will.   My wanderlust is piqueing hard right now, and needs to be satiated.  Perhaps looking at some of my photography will help?

I promise to be back food blogging soon.  There are extenuating circumstances at the moment, and I’m not feeling particularly creative or witty.   (Don’t worry though!)

All right!  Let’s take a trip down my memory lane 🙂

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