Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Smacked with a Spatula

Back from vakay last week and reality smacked me in the face with a spatula. Arrived home at 2:00 am Wednesday with a larger than normal cook day due to begin just a few hours later. After said cook day I went to a client's home where I agreed to do the party ~ without even seeing the home, kitchen or meeting them! OK blame it on a blog~full of French Sunrise Martinis. But, still, shouldn't the day after vakay be a day of vakay? But no, Yummy~issimo! must feed the hungry!

Back to vakay and beyond ~ the good and the face smacking:


Originally uploaded by yummyissimo
I was invited to tour the Pastry/Dessert Kitchen from Chef Kaushik Chowdury. He finished 3rd place in one of those FN Sugar Competitions but gotta tell you, based upon the thousands of pastry creations I saw coming out of his small 15x15 creative area, he's a friggin genius! 13 pastry creators working in this small area, all creating masterpieces like the ones I saw every night in The Cloud Club.

Had dinner at Roy's while at the J.W. Dessert Ridge Resort and Spa and I had the surf and turf for dinner. Surf was hibiscus~glazed jumbo prawns. Loved, loved, loved the hibiscus glaze so I asked for the recipe:

Hibiscus Glaze
1/4c dried hibiscus flowers
2c water
1c super~fine sugar
Boil all together until sugar has dissolved and glaze has turned a deep ruby red. Strain well. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Reheat when ready to use.
This glaze would be amazing on salmon, pork or as the sweet component of a sweet and spicy sauce.

Really Good

Found a new favorite martini ~ The Mangolicious Martini from The Yard House, a wonderful beer hall with great food and fabulous martinis.

Mangolicious Martini
1 1/2 oz Finlandia Mango Vodka
1 1/2 oz Malibu Mango Rum
Mango puree
Sweet and sour mix
Combine all in shaker with crushed ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glass.

The Face Smackers:

I could write a long and boring dissertation about shopping, cooking, packing and unpacking the Yummy~mobile, two big parties in five days and all that jazz, but take it from me, the spatula hit the fan and then smacked my face.

I need a vakay. Oh, wait. That's what caused this in the first place.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And the “Spoiled Brat of the Year Award” Goes To….

Me! Yeah, I know you all find that hard to believe.

We arrived in Las Vegas for the start of my birthday trip. Two months ago, sweet husband Tim asked if I wanted a party or a trip for my birthday. Being the spoiled brat that I am, I naturally said “Both!”

Originally uploaded by yummyissimo

When we checked into the hotel at 9:00 a.m. local time, we never expected that not only would our room be ready but that they could upgrade us to a suite. Floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Strip and the mountains; a massive Jacuzzi that could easily accommodate four people; a huge walk~in shower with two doors and a steam room; and a lighted make~up area that’s fit for a showgirl.

Tim at Mon Ami Gabi
Originally uploaded by yummyissimo
My birthday dinner was at one of my favorite restaurants Mon Ami Gabi a French bistro with sidewalk seating overlooking the fountains of the Bellagio. We, of course, had a premium table on the railing. The evening air was cool, the air was clear and the French Martinis were flowing. What is a French martini you ask? Ketel One Vodka, Cassis, pomegranate juice and champagne. Yummy! Dinner for sweet husband Tim was Steak au Poivre with a brandy peppercorn sauce and pommes frites. Por moi, Filet Mignon medium rare with the most amazing Roquefort butter reduction. The reduction was soooo good that I asked for the recipe. I’m going to make a batch of this and serve it at my next Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service black tie event.

Roquefort Butter Reduction
Veal or beef au jus, reduced to very thick stock
2c Roquefort cheese
1/4c Butter, the best quality you can purchase
1/4c Cream
Place Roquefort, butter and cream into food processor fitted with steel blade. Process until thick and smooth. This should not be runny and should be workable with your hands. Roll into log and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate until very cold and slice into thin slices. Wrap slices individually and freeze. Remove from freezer 60 minutes before ready to use.
Heat au jus until very warm but not boiling. Place in individual containers and top with slice of Roquefort butter. Allow butter to slowly melt into au jus.

Sweet husband Tim had even more surprises for me ~ tickets to see Tom Jones! Now as many of you know, Sir Tom is my absolute favorite entertainer of all time. We got all dressed up ~ I even wore heels so you know I was serious about this ~ and had an absolutely wonderful time. What can I say except he was HOT and I’m not talking about my flashes.

One other recipe that I begged for was the French Sunrise Martini.

4oz Navan Natural Black Vanilla Cognac
Large splash fresh squeezed orange juice
1oz pomegranate juice
Orange slice, for garnish
Drizzle pomegranate juice down sides of chilled martini glass. Pour in Navan and splash with fresh orange juice. Enjoy!

Today we’re on our way to my favorite resort, the J.W. Dessert Ridge Resort and Spa in Scottsdale. With membership in the exclusive Cloud Club, I can start my day with a mimosa, move on to the spa pool for more mimosas, then clean up and back to the Cloud Club for happy hour, appetizers, after dinner drinks and dessert.

Spoiled Brat to the nth degree and lovin’ every minute of it!

Monday, September 17, 2007

49 Years, 364 Days

Today is the last day of my 40s.

I tend to look back at my life a decade at a time.

My 20s were full of change. Divorce, new job, quit job, new job, fired from job, new job, quit job, move.

My 30s were a time of change. Meet really cute guy Tim, move to Cincinnati, start at Miami University to complete my Bachelor's degree, marry sweet husband Tim, have brain tumor, survive brain surgery.

My 40s were a time of change. Acquire the job of my dreams, quit said job, acquire new job of my dreams, quit said job, start at Miami University to complete my Master's degree, start my final (was it the 5th or even the 6th?) career as owner of Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service in Cincinnati, amass an amazing number of close friends, work with Chris and Janeen on WGRR 103.5FM every week, be considered for a series on Bravo TV, learn to thoroughly enjoy every minute of every day.

Today I'm 49 years, 364 days old.

I'm finally old enough to be mature enough to appreciate every day, every person and every thing in my life. You all know who you are ~ I love you, I cherish you and I thank Bacchus every day you are all in my life!

Bring on my 50s!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Last evening was The Key Event, a huge fundraiser for The Community Foundation of West Chester~Liberty (Butler County, Ohio). The foodie premise is that 30 chefs from around the community are asked to all use the same supplied ingredients and create a masterpiece dinner for guests who pay $200 per person. Normally they ask mostly high~profile restaurant chefs but this year they did include a couple of Personal Chefs. As owner of Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service it was my extreme privilege to cook for 14 guests in a lovely home in West Chester.

Sweet Husband Tim
Originally uploaded by
Sweet husband, Tim, was my bartender. I brought a sous chef and they supplied a server who also cleaned up everything. Gotta love when you can cook, make a mess and then leave it to somebody else! I had been stressing about the menu for this for several weeks. I knew the supplied food was 8oz of unclean (their words) beef tenderloin per person, 4oz chicken breast, salad greens and chocolate. It was really unclean and by the time hottie Adam cleaned it, I had about 5oz per person. Not to worry, there was the chicken. Except said chicken must have been on a severe diet ~ each breast was about 3oz and pounded very thin. So no stuffing that breast! The final menu? A masterpiece if I do tend to twirl my own whisk.

A selection of rolls with a selection of flavored butters ~ Honey Cinnamon Butter and Garlic Chili Butter (molded in shapes of leaves and hearts).

Floral Pomegranate Salad
Originally uploaded by yummyissimo
Mixed Greens House Salad ~ Mixed baby spring greens with grape tomatoes, slivered red onion, roasted pecans, sweet yellow bell peppers, Danish Blue cheese, edible pansies and edible orchids. Served with Pomegranate Champagne dressing (recipe below).

Beef Tenderloin ~ Beef tenderloin studded with garlic slivers and roasted with a crust of fresh herbs, sea salt and olive oil. Served with caramelized chipolini onions and a Marsala~Black Currant reduction.

Stuffed Chicken Breast ~ Chicken breasts (rolled, not stuffed) with fresh asparagus and Parmesan cheese, served on Parmesan and Sun~Dried tomato risotto.

Baby Carrots ~ Baby carrots roasted in an ancho~honey glaze.

Dessert Crepes ~ Lemon souffle dessert crepes topped with shaved chocolate and lemon foam and served with a blackberry~stuffed edible orchid.

Whew ~ Bacchus and I got re~acquainted when I got home!

Pomegranate Champagne Dressing
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 large shallot, finely minced
2 pinches sea salt
1/2c Pomegranate Champagne vinegar
1c olive oil
2T honey, or more to taste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Make a paste of the sea salt, garlic and shallots. Add to food processor fitted with steel blade. Add all ingredients into food processor except olive oil. Process well until garlic and shallots are very finely minced.
With food processor running, pour olive oil in thin steady stream until dressing emulsifies and is thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate until needed. Shake well before serving.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Timmy~issimo! Party

M y 50th birthday party was held Saturday night, 9/8/07 and it was a blast! Lots of good friends (yes, hottie Adam was there), good food and good libations. One of my biggest concerns was what to wear! I have work clothes ~ which are food stained, baggy and certainly not appropriate, and I have suits ~ entirely too corporate. So I went shopping. I don't know about you, but I have to be in the mood to shop. I hate to shop! But I was in the right mood and I found two outfits that I really liked. So I bought both! And then I needed new heels. And then I needed new jewelry. It's a vicious cycle! Yes, I'm shallow and a spoiled brat but you should know that by now!

It's amazing how many of my good friends have birthdays in September (Werner, Ryan, Nancy, Janeen) and there wasn't room on the cake for all of the names. Sweet husband, Tim, had a brilliant cake idea.

Sandee really surprised me! She helped Vicki make all of the appetizers ~ well, she cut, chopped, peeled and otherwise did the busy work. The food was amazing and there was so much! Marinated shrimp; a tasty crab dip; a yummy feta, spinach and sun~dried tomato dip; a wonderful cheese tray; roasted beef tenderloin with garlic, rosemary and olive oil served with a creamy horseradish dip; jumbo shrimp guiardiniera ~ jumbo shrimp with marinated olives, jalapenos, red and green peppers, cauliflower, onions, garlic and olive oil (trust me it's amazing and I'll get the recipe from Luigi somehow); Asian pork tenderloin sliced paper thin and served with a Dijon dipping sauce; tomato, mozzarella and basil caprese salad; double chocolate walnut brownies; and more and more and more. There were 3 large tables full of food in addition to the buffet that Luigi set up. So Sandee, be warned. Now that I know that you know how to use a knife I'm going to put you to work during my holiday party crazytime!

My very good friend, Beth Brown of Beth Brown Photography came up from Maggie Valley and took photos of everyone. My gift to all my friends (as a thank you for being such a big part of my life) is she took amazing photos and I'll send a 5x7 to everyone. Vicki told me that she was going "to do a couple of appetizers" to help sweet husband, Tim, but I had no idea she was going to make so much amazing food. I don't have a photo of her, yet, but as soon as I get one from Beth I'll post.

Sweet husband, Tim (left) shown with Ryan (middle) and Brad (right) was instructed to tell everyone not to bring presents, cards or anything else. This was to be a party to celebrate everyone and everything good in my life. But, my friends listen about as much as I do, and they all know that I worship at the feet of Bacchus. So, I came home with an extra case of really amazing wine.

Some of my girlfriends ~ Robyn, Kristy, me, Beth
. Unfortunatley, Vicki and Sandee were in the kitchen!

So to sweet husband, Tim, and each and every one of my friends, I love you. Thank you so much for being a part of my life and allowing me the privilege of knowing you and being a part of your life. You are all very important to me and I could not be who or what I am without each and every one of you!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Saga of Timmy~issimo! Party Planning

Things are crazy around the Yummy~issimo! household these days! Sweet husband, Tim, is attempting to plan a birthday party. Not just any party mind you, but a 50th birthday party for yours truly. And, I keep trying to butt in. Now to be fair, sweet husband has never planned a party ~ and I've planned, oh hundreds of parties in the past couple of years. So why not benefit from my extensive knowledge? Except that he wants to do it. Although, a Timmy~issimo! party is not exactly what I had in mind. Yes, I know what you're thinking and you're right ~ I am a spoiled brat!

Picture this ~ lots of my friends are coming to the big shindig this weekend. And for food, sweet husband wanted to have a local BBQ joint cater. Gasp! I had visions of elegant finger foods that are beautiful to behold, Yummy!, would pair perfectly with champagne ~ you get the idea. Well we certainly had different ideas about what encompasses food for a party.

Thank Bacchus for good friends. Vicki, Sandee and Kristy to the rescue! They've strongly suggested we order food from Luigi's Olde World Market (side note: remember hottie Adam? He's Luigi's son), lots of red wine, white wine, Heinekin, top shelf libations and, my favorite, champagne. Food is rare sliced beef tenderloin with creamy horseradish sauce, Thai flavored pork tenderloin sliced paper thin and served with spicy mustard sauce, bacon~wrapped stuffed jumbo shrimp, marinated tomato caprese salad, a lovely cheese tray of Danish blue, Cotswold, DaVinci, etc. and other tasty appies that my great friends, who are all great cooks (except Sandee) will be bringing. Now don't get me wrong ~ I love Sandee and I've known her for about 15 years, but she can't cook to save her life!

Look for lots of party pictures next week. And, there'll be several of hottie Adam for you single gals!

Remember the DVD I attempted to send to Bravo TV? The one where they were looking for a personal chef for a reality series? Well, the DVD I sent still isn't anywhere to be found, a full two weeks after I sent it overnight by snail mail. So, I go down to the local post office in an attempt to get my money back. After all, it says right on my receipt that refunds can be obtained for overnight items not received on time. Sounds like me, right?

Wrong! Long story short, nasty postal worker with the bad breath, bad comb over and bad mood suggested that the good people at Bravo TV are lying to me. He actually said that! According to him, they've really received the DVD but they've lost it.

I really know what "Going Postal" means!