Friday, October 31, 2008

Chef Debbie's Spooky Halloween Treats

So today is Halloween and the weather is going to be glorious tonight for the kids. And the adult kids.

Our Halloween tradition is to sit outside in the cul~de~sac with the neighbors, a roaring fire pit and a few bottles of our favorite libations.

And, no, I'm not cooking for the neighbors. Or making fun candy treats for the kids I know.

Yeah, I know. I'm a bah humbug.

Oops. Wrong holiday.

But this is one of the very few holidays that I don't have a party booked. Or have to cook for anyone but sweet husband.

Not that tonight's dinner will be all that creative. I'm thinking pizza. Or my favorite carryout steak sandwiches smothered in mushroom sauce with lots of chopped onions and gooey melted mozzarella cheese.

Yep. Steak sandwiches it will be.

I found these great spooky food photos on the web and thought they were so creative.

And then there's the Halloween pumpkins after a few too many libations. Cute. For about an hour or so. Then I'd be sick of looking at it and have to clean it up.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chef Debbie's Halloween Dogs

I'm not big into the whole Halloween thing.

Big surprise for those of you who know me!

I don't have children ~ unless you count sweet husband and the fluffy butt, Rusty.

But. This is wrong.

Funny. But wrong.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Personal Chef Debbie's Final Tomatoes of the Year

Today I HAD to pick tomatoes.

I haven't picked in about 10 days ~ too much to do and too little time to do it in. And, let's face it. We're at the end of the tomato growing season up here in Cincinnati. So I didn't pay too much attention to the plants.

And by "not too much attention" I really mean none. I didn't water. I didn't weed. I didn't even look at the plants.

And I wouldn't have looked at them today either. Until I heard the weather forecast.

We're going to have a light frost tonight.

For those of us who are thermostatically challenged, frost is our friend! I welcome the frost! I embrace the frost! I long for the day we average a high of 45°.

But enough about my hot flashes.

So I decided I'd pick the few final tomatoes of the season.

Did I mention I hadn't picked in about 10 days?

Well. I had tomatoes out the ying yang. Perfectly formed, big juicy, red, ripe tomatoes. In fact, there were 65 of them! 

Yep. 65. 

And today is October 18th. Unbelievable!

So I'll be making a batch of my world~famous spicy tomato sauce. A big batch.

But not for a few days. I still have to finish a website for a client, prep food for a video shoot, change from summer to winter clothes ~ yes, I'm still wearing shorts but we discussed that little temperature problem, as well as take care of my clients this week, talk to a new potential client who wants food 2x a week and conduct a cooking class.

I'll be lucky if I have time to share a glass with Bacchus this week.

Oh wait. There's always time for Bacchus.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chef Debbie Hits the Jackpot(s)

So sweet husband took me to Las Vegas for a few days for my birthday last month.

I know. You're saying "But spoiled brat didn't you just go on vacation for, like, two weeks to Puerto Vallarta?"

Well, yes, I did. But that was months and months (OK maybe just five months ago) but it seems like a really long time ago and I really needed a birthday vacation.

So many of you've heard my video poker stories over the years and I'm sure even though you know me, you take the stories with a grain of salt.

Gotta tell you, if I heard those stories, I'd wonder too. So I decided to take photos of my jackpots ~ when I remembered.

And there were many times I didn't remember ~ or, rather, when the champagne made me forget.  

These are the jackpots I won during the first two days of my birthday vacation because I got sick and spent four entire days in bed.

But. Thinking about it. Four days doing nothing but sleeping and reading IS a vacation right there.

Lest you think that I spent my entire vacation sleeping, drinking or in front of the video poker machine, I did manage to get to a couple of very good restaurants. Besides our standard stop at Mon Ami Gabi for steak au poivre for sweet husband and filet and a couple of French 75 martinis for me, we ate at a wonderful little restaurant in The Venetian called Tia Toretto.

I typically don't order dessert after dinner but I always look at the dessert menu before anything else ~ well, except maybe not before ordering a glass of wine. But when I saw the dessert tray at Tia Toretto, I had to have dessert. The trouble was deciding which one to have!

All of their desserts are homemade and offered on that evening's tray ~ from the top around clockwise: Apple Cheesecake; Macadamia Tiramisu; Flourless Almond Chocolate Cake; Strawberry and Pistachio Torte; White Chocolate and Orange Layer Cake; Custard Filled Chocolate Covered Longjohn; White Chocolate and Pistachio Torte; Bitter Orange Chocolate Ganache Covered Chocolate Mousse. Yummy!

I had the Apple Cheesecake ~ it sounds boring but it was amazing! Thin slices of apples were painted with a raspberry glaze and then shaped into the rose design all around a creamy apple flavored cheesecake filling. Very simple but oh so good. Along with a glass of 20~year old Port, this restaurant was a Winner!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Chef Debbie Cooks For John Boehner

Ok I get it!

I've created a blog monster and you ~ and you know who you are ladies ~ are upset that I'm not blogging more.

There's plenty to talk about but time is at a premium these days. I'll try to do better...

So. A couple of weeks ago I was the Chef for The Key Event, a black tie charity dinner where guests pay a minimum of $200 each. One of the guests at my home was John Boehner along with his beautiful wife, Debbie.

And his three secret service agents.

And their guns.

And it was John and Debbie's 35th wedding anniversary.

Geesh. Let's just add a little more pressure on the Chef!

For this dinner, sweet husband Tim and super sous chef Steve were with me as well as two servers. In black tie, sweet husband was in charge of pouring wine. Unfortunately he's not handy in the kitchen so his job was to look pretty and schmooz the guests. And he was very good at his job.

Certain menu items are provided to the chef and we are required to use them ~ beef tenderloin, chicken breasts, chocolate. The menu? A masterpiece if I do say so myself.

  • Colossal shrimp marinated in olive oil, red bell peppers, fresh herbs, Dijon mustard, garlic, white wine and garlic
  • Salad ~ baby organic greens with spiced pecans, marinated baby heirloom tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, caramelized shallots, garnished with an orchid and a choice of dressings: Dilled Ranch or Roasted Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Warm Herbed Parmesan rolls with honey~cinnamon butter
  • Double truffle beef tenderloin ~ beef tenderloin rubbed with truffle salt, roasted medium rare, drizzled with white truffle oil and garnished with shaved black truffles
  • Stuffed chicken breast ~ chicken breast pounded thin and spread with ricotta and Parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, roasted red peppers and fresh basil, rolled and lightly dusted with basil oil and fresh herbed bread crumbs
  • Potato~fennel gratin ~ this is a fabulous recipe that I've modified slightly from Ina Garten
  • Ancho honey glazed pencil thin carrots
  • Roasted asparagus with Parmesan and roasted lemon
  • My version of Death by Chocolate ~ a homemade Chocolate Truffle; Chocolate~Chambord creme bruleĆ© garnished with a dusting a confectioner's sugar and a fresh raspberry; and, a Jumbo Strawberry double~dipped in dark and white chocolate
  • With a hug and a kiss from both John and Debbie Boehner, I think dinner was a success.