Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Bloody Theatre Recipe

Went to Sweeny Todd last night.

Read this and heed my advice.

Instead of paying $75/seat for these tickets, go out to a nice dinner.

Drink wine with dinner. Lots of wine.

Sweet husband Tim and I normally enjoy the theatre. We've had season tickets to
The Arnoff since it opened and to The Taft Theatre before that.

This is a very dark show. A barber gets out of prison and hooks up with a tarty pie maker in London. He slits the throats of his customers and she uses the body parts to spice up her meat pies.

Lovely concept.

Think Steven King on LSD, having a really bad trip and writing about it.

I tuned out ~ except when the train whistle blew, again, and again, and again, and again ~ in the second act. I've never complained about the noise at concerts or at the theatre.

Take ear plugs for the second act. The story line isn't the only thing that's painful. Your ears will hurt.

I was so bored, I was thinking up recipe names.

Here's a recipe using blood oranges.

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail Marinated with Blood Oranges
modified from Epicurious
2c blood orange juice
1/2c lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/2c ruby red grapefruit juice
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4t kosher salt
1t crushed red pepper
2 pounds jumbo shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined
1 large red bell pepper, cored, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, diced
1c celery, diced
1 large red onion, diced
1/2c cilantro, chopped
2T flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4c olive oil
lemon wedges
toasted pita wedges
Combine juices and 1/2 of the minced garlic in a medium saucepan over medium~high heat. Add salt and bring to boil. Reduce juice mixture to 1c of liquid. This should take about 15 minutes. Cool. Mix in crushed red pepper.
Combine shrimp, bell peppers, celery, onion, cilantro, parsley, olive oil and remaining garlic in large zip~lock bag. Toss with blood orange mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Seal bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What a Party!

Sweet husband Tim's birthday was last week. He turned 52. A couple of years ago, I was afraid he would never see 52.

Sweet husband had a heart attack.

He's fine now.

But now I celebrate his birthday by having a big party every year. And, I'll continue celebrating his birthday every year. The alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

Chris's Food
Originally uploaded by
As you can probably guess, when I throw a party I cook for days! I planned the menu a couple of weeks ago, spent a day and a half shopping and three days cooking.

Here's Chris O'Brien
WGRR 103.5FM
half of the morning team of Married with Microphones trying to convince everyone he's the one responsible for everything on this table. Uh huh. According to Janeen, Chris's idea of haute cuisine is a birthday dinner at Cracker Barrel.

While I'm not one to typically twirl my own whisk (too much), the menu was pretty awesome.

Date Relish (this is sooooo good! The recipe is at the end of this post)
Dilled Caviar Dip (with my favorite Tobikko salmon roe)
Creamy Spicy Sun~Dried Tomato Spread
Crostini with Feta~Chili Spread (this is an awesome spread with roasted poblano and jalapeno peppers mixed with feta)
Three Onion Dip
Double Truffle Beef Tenderloin (we went through 9 pounds of beef!)
Roasted Tomato~Olive Bruschetta
Spicy Cashew Crunch with Ginger
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pecans
Jumbo Marinated Shrimp with homemade spicy cocktail sauce
Black Truffle Pate and 5~Peppercorn Pate with cornichons and Dijon mustard
Nah Owlans Style Crab Dip
A 5~pound side of salmon fixed two ways: Roasted Sweet and Spicy Salmon and Roasted Sesame and Dill Salmon
Mediterranean Baklava with walnuts, cashews and pine nuts
Brownie bites with my world famous Kahlua dipping sauce
Mini Chocolate Brickle Cream Cakes

Kristy & Ryan
Originally uploaded by

And libations. Lots and lots of libations.

Notice all of the champagne bottles in the sink next to Kristy and Ryan? That's because we ran out of space on the recycling counter and started piling bottles in the sink. Heaven forbid I actually carry the bottles downstairs during a party! The recycling guy who does our pick up on Mondays has to really wonder about us. There are weeks, like this party week, where I can easily have 3 cases of wine bottles out for recycle. And I can't even count that high for the beer bottles!

Originally uploaded by
And, speaking of downstairs. The blackjack table was in full swing and Luigi was the big winner. At the end of the night he had at least five $5,000 chips.

But, when I went down to play a bit I hit 21 in the first 5 out of 6 hands. When you're lucky, you're lucky.

So to our wonderful friends, thank you.

Thank you for coming to our party.

Thank you for your love, friendship and support.

And save the date for Tim's next birthday party ~ Friday, February 13, 2009.

Date Relish
Adapted From: Sunday Suppers At Lucques, Suzanne Goin with Teri Gelber
Makes 8 appetizer servings

1/2c fresh dates
2T olive oil
2T lemon juice
2T Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
2T cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt

Pit the dates and chop into small pieces. Toss the dates with the remaining ingrdients. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beware of the Lemon Slice

Ouch! This one is gonna hurt! If:
You have ever been served water with lemon in a restaurant;

Or, your Chivas on the rocks is served with a double wedge of lemon and a twist is run around the rim of the glass;

Or, you like fresh lemon with your tilapia dinner;

Or, lemon slices are served with anything you order in a restaurant:
Watch this short video.

In order to be a Certified Personal Chef, I've had to pass the national Serv-Safe exam which is a national exam testing for food handling, food storage and food safety.

Bottom line.

Wash everything!

Lemons, limes, bananas, oranges, peaches, onions, shallots, potatoes.

You get the idea.

I cook a lot.

Every day.

All day.

I wash everything.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Don't Care


Gotta love them, gotta love them.

Yes, I know. Clients are the reason, the only reason, I'm in business. And Thank Bacchus for my clients! My Personal Chef clients are absolutely amazing. I love working for them ~ most of them don't even want to see a menu anymore ~ that's how much they trust me.

And then there are the party clients.

Sometimes they are a Personal Chef client who wants a party ~ appetizer, buffet, holiday, whatever. They know me. They trust me. When I tell them they're going to love IT ~ whatever IT is ~ they trust me. And they do love it.

Some party clients feel the need to micro~manage everything. I totally understand that as I micro~manage everything myself. Just ask Sweet Husband Tim.

Micro~manage mama, that's me.

The micro~manage clients are easy. You know they're going to second guess everything you suggest. That's OK. I always have Plan B. Or, at least if it's early enough in the day, I can make up Plan B.

Need to see the flatware again? No problem. Don't like the feel of the knife? No problem. Here are three more options to look at.

Need to change the menu 37 times the week before the party? No problem. And, chances are, you can change the menu a couple of days before the party. I've ordered 10 pounds of beef tenderloin for your event and two days before the party you and decide that you want lamb chops? No problem. Chances are, you'll have an upcharge from beef to lamb ~ but most likely you've done this to other party planners in the past and understand the upcharge.

Decide the day before your event you want me to provide the tables, linens, fine china, flatware, red and white wine glasses and everything else? No problem. Stress is my middle name.


The I Don't Care Client will drive me to Bacchus's arms in a heartbeat.

Would you like beef tenderloin, roasted salmon or a seafood raw bar for your event?

I don't care.

What type of event would you like? A heavy appy party, a sit~down plated dinner or a buffet?

I don't care.

Would you like to use fine china, your own everyday plates or plastic plates for your event?

I don't care.

No, I'm not joking. I have an I Don't Care client party this Saturday night.

But, after talking with her the last few days I truly understand.

Three sick children ~ all under the age of 6. Sick dog. Husband traveling. Crazy busy work and volunteer schedule. Party scheduled for Saturday night.

I'd be the same way.

I'm having 26 people over in two days. Feed them and make them happy.
I can do it.

But when I get home very late Saturday night, I'm going to visit Bacchus. He won't care.