Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chef Debbie's Easter Hodgepodge Blog

Today's blog is full of chatty little blurbs.

This is finally the last weekend of tax season.

Sweet husband, Tim, has been working 7 days a week since mid~February and it'll be nice to see him for more than about 10 minutes a day before he falls into bed.

Yesterday, I drove over to Indiana to meet my dear foodie friend and personal chef extraordinaire, Liz Geeslin, of In Good Taste Personal Chef Service in Lebanon, IN.

We met in Shelbyville for lunch at a bookstore~cafe called Three Sisters Books & Gifts located in the public square circle.

It's a darling place ~ not a frilly, foufou place ~ that is actually owned by three sisters. They specialize in panini sandwiches and homemade desserts ~ I had the cherry~chocolate cake which was light and fluffy and oh, so good! If you're ever in the area, it's well worth slogging through the road construction to stop in for coffee and dessert.

The weather is finally going to be nice for the weekend ~ but next week it's going to rain almost every day! If you're boiling eggs to hide for the kiddies on Easter morning, boil a few more and try this client favorite:

Deviled Egg Salad with Dill
Makes 12 servings

12 large eggs
2T shallot, finely minced
1/4c mayonnaise
1/4c sour cream
1T Dijon mustard
2T flat leaf parsley, chopped
3T fresh dill, chopped
2T chives, chopped
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Place eggs in single layer in large Dutch oven. Add enough cold water just to cover the eggs. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat ~ water will have large rapidly breaking bubbles. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 14 minutes. Drain and run cold water over eggs until cool enough to handle. Drain and peel eggs.

Grate eggs using large hole side of box grater. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I've had several clients over the last week asking what a personal chef has for a holiday dinner. Well. That's an interesting question for this time of year.

I'm making Marinated Baby Lamb Chops for my clients' Easter dinner but with sweet husband working all day, and the small fact that he's not a huge fan of lamb, we're going non~traditional for Easter dinner.

Yep. About as non~traditional as you can get. Ham & Beans with homemade jalapeno cornbread. And lots of chopped onion on the side. It is difficult, though, to find a proper wine to go with Ham & Beans!

If you like Lamb Chops, this is what my clients are having for Easter Dinner:

Marinated Baby Lamb Chops with Cucumber~Mint Relish
Serves 4

8 baby lamb chops
1/2c olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2t dried rosemary, chopped
1/4c fresh mint leaves, chopped
1T lemon juice
1t salt

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, small diced
1T salt
1/4c onion, minced
1/4c red bell pepper, chopped
1/4c fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4c rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

Prepare relish: Place diced cucumber in fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let drain for 1 hour. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a clean bowl. Add remaining relish ingredients and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Stir well to serve.

Place lamb chops in large zip~lock bag. In small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, mint, lemon juice and salt. Pour marinade over lamb chops, seal and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Preheat broiler. Place lamb chops on broiler pan and cook until medium~rare, approximately 2~3 minutes per side depending upon thickness of the chops. Remove from oven and serve with cucumber~relish.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chef Debbie's Dumped Strawberry Muffins

I found myself with a plethora of strawberries and an extra hour on a Sunday.

As many of you know, I hate to bake. No. Let me clarify that. I HATE to bake.

There. That's better.

In the past, I've called myself a dump cook. I dump it in and cook it!

So when I found this recipe online, with just a few tweaks here and there, I was able to dump together these super~simple, delicious muffins.

Chef Debbie's Dumped Strawberry Muffins
Makes 16 muffins

2 1/2c all~purpose flour
1c whole wheat flour
1c sugar
1t salt
1T + 1t baking powder
1t cinnamon
3c chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2c canola oil
1c milk
2 eggs
1/2c brown sugar
1t vanilla
zest of 1 lemon

If you're using frozen strawberries, allow them to thaw a little and then chop.

Preheat oven to 375 and line muffin tin with paper liners.

In large bowl combine flours, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir together well.

Add chopped strawberries to flour mixture and toss well to coat all strawberries with flour.

In small bowl combine oil, milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk together well. Pour wet mixture into flour mixture and stir until well blended.

Fill muffin cups almost to top. Bake 25~28 minutes or until the tops bounce back when touched and are golden brown. Remove from oven, cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.