Thursday, August 27, 2009


I'm sorry that I haven't been updating, but it's been a very busy week. Trying to get all packed up before I head back to school tomorrow. I really don't like packing, but I'm getting there.

Just to give a little update on Top Chef: even though I have a slight affiliation to Michigan, I'm happy that Eve is gone. She didn't have any focus it seems. Even though I didn't like her very much, maybe I'll still check out her restaurant in Ann Arbor. I guess I'm hoping she'll redeem herself since she went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.....I don't know......
But she's gone for now. On to next week!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Julie and Julia, Part II

I'm sitting here, listening to the rain (and Jonas Brothers), eating my PB&J sandwich, and suddenly had an overwhelming desire to blog. Maybe it's because I just saw Julie and Julia. I went with my mother and sister, and absolutely adored it! I'm sorry that I was not able to see it sooner, but I'm very happy that I've seen it now. It reminds me, 1) how much I love to cook and bake and flip through cookbooks, 2) that there are other foodies out there like me :), and 3) how much I adore Meryl Streep (especially when she's playing Julia Child) and Amy Adams.

We are having a terrible thunderstorm, due to Tropical Storm Charlotte or something from Florida, and I don't think we've had a storm this bad in a ridiculously long time. I'm very happy to have made it home, which for some reason reminds me of something that I learned in Michigan. Northerners cannot, for the life of them, drive in rain.

So, you'll have to excuse me of my short ramble, but I got started on it because I was happy to be home, and then became so much more happy when I discovered that my mother has both Volume 1 and 2 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking!!!!!!!!! She has a large mass of everything you can possibly imagine in the basement (where her desk/dominion is) and it makes me so happy that she has it! I'm pretty sure I did a tiny happy dance when I discovered that she had the books and then grabbed then and dashed off when them with her laughing at my back.

So, back to where we began, sitting at the table with my PB&J, listening to the rain (and Owl City now), silenting rejoicing my good fortune. Sitting next to me are the famous copies of Julia's books, which have the incredible talent of making anyone feel inspired to cook. Unfortunately, I won't be cooking anything right now, as it's 10 o'clock at night, and I must get up early in the morning to help my father paint his office. But that will not stop my endeavors! In the near future, I will be fixing Beef Bouruignon, so look for the post.

I just wanted to share my good fortune. Go see the movie!

Top Chef

Okay, so I'm a day or two late posting about Top Chef. So, shoot's been a busy week.

So, to begin, let's start with Top Chef Masters (even though it came on afterwards). Rick Bayless won!!! That makes me very happy because he earned it and he deserved it. I think I would have been happy if Hubert Keller has one too, but surprisingly, not so much Michael Chiarello. Either Bravo did a good job of making him look like a jerk or he is. Or maybe he's just extra competitive. Either way, I didn't really like him all that much over the all of the episodes.

So, yay for Rick Bayless! Now, I can go visit his restaurant in Chicago...and try to convince the sister and brother-in-law that they should come along..... :)

Okay, on to Top Chef:Las Vegas. I liked the quickfire challenge and the fact that they had the high stakes round. It was different. But of all things, it makes me happy to say that Jennifer Zavala went home. I don't really think her dish looked all that appetizing, and when a judge, especially someone like Wolfgan Puck, tells you that your food was not well made and didn't taste good, just shut up and take the hint. Don't stick your foot in your mouth and try to make excuses.

Also, very happy that Kevin won! First, he's from Atlanta (yay!) Two, despite the fact that there's only been one show, he's seems pretty down to earth. Not really someone who will take crap from anybody, but knows how to have a good time. I will definitely be rooting for Kevin and the other two Atlanta Chefs. And there's one from Michigan, so maybe I'll root for her too. :)

Next show: Wednesday, August 26th, 10 pm.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy National Cupcake Day!!

Unfortunately, I don't have time to fix anything today, but maybe tomorrow. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chef's Table

My grandparents are member of an athletic club in the Atlanta area, and last night, they invited me and my mother to attend what the club calls a Chef's Table. It's a dinner of about 8 to 10 people, and they give you a tour of the kitchen, pantry, storage, wine cellar, etc. before serving you a dinner that is prepared for you by the chef. Although, I wasn't able to take pictures, I can post the menu.

Deviled Egg with Beluga Caviar
Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut
Chilled Gazpacho with Lobster, Crab, and Shrimp, Chile Arbol Oil
Salad of Roasted Beets, Grilled Corn, Chevre, and Arugula
Domaine Vincent Girardin Meusault
Smoke Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Molasses and Peppercorn BBQ Glaze
Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon
Mixed Berry Cobbler,
Buttermilk Ice Cream
Deep Fried Chocolate Truffle
Pinot Blanc Vin Glace Wine
Overall, the meal was absolutely wonderful! But, I have to say my favorite part of it all was the fact that you were eating in the kitchen, and you were free to get up from your seat to go watch the chef prepare your meal!
As someone who hopes to attend culinary school one day, it was very nice to be able to ask both the executive chef and the sous chef questions, pick their brains, so to speak. They were both helpful and welcoming.
The food, of course, was delicious, and how on earth could you not enjoy a deep fried chocolate truffle?!? It was an enjoyable, summer meal with lots of wonderful company.
So, if you can, do some research to see if any local restaurants, clubs, or kitchen stores offer something similar. If they have it, jump at the chance because it is lots of fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beach Reads

Well, there's no beach involved, and it's not brain candy....sorry. :)

As some of you may have noticed, I tend to read a lot, especially during the summer when I have a little bit more time. I finished Julie and Julia, and I enjoyed it immensly! She's a wonderful writer, and while it took me a little while to get used to the sailor's mouth, I loved it. I will definitely be getting her new book which comes out this December. But since I have finished that book, I've started another (big surprise) called Becoming a Chef by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.

It's been a very informative book, and I would suggest it for anyone who has a remote interest in the food industry, whether you're looking to become a chef or you are just an avid home chef. The authors reveal a lot about the food business, especially since a lot of the advice is coming from famous chefs around the world. Just to give you an idea of some of the topics, here are a couple of chapter titles:

Chefs, Yesterday and Today; Early Influences, Discovering a Passion for Food; Cooking Schools, Learning in the Classroom, and more!

I'm maybe about halfway through the book, and I love it! I have more books on my shelf to read, but if you have any suggestions, don't hesitate to let me know!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wedded Bliss

So, today I will be attending the wedding of a second cousin in Birmingham, AL. And while I, like most young women, tend to enjoy the wedding ceremony and everything, I don't really think it's my favorite part. My favorite part.......wait for, of course, the cake. Now, I have to say, a lot of the time, I'm kind of disappointed with cakes. You know how you see all of these wonderful, beautiful cakes on TV, but they cost thousands of dollars! I'm not going to be seeing anything like that at a friend's wedding! Especially when most of them are fresh out of college. So, that leaves me with something the normal Americans can actually afford.

Now, this is all good and well; I'm not trying to place any blame or anything, but like I said, most cakes disappoint me. I feel like too often I end up seeing a very traditional wedding cake, square or round, with multiple tiers with those plastic column-things holding up a tier with maybe a plastic couple on top. But really?!? Who wants that on their wedding day?!?! Plastic columns and a stuffy looking cake that really isn't all that appealing?!? Nope, not for me....

One day, I would love to see a cake that doesn't involved plastic things to hold it up. And maybe today, I'll be surprised, which would be absolutely wonderful. And I will definitely keep you up to date on what it looks like.....maybe I'll even get a picture. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Julie and Julia

So, in preparation for the Julie&Julia movie, I've begun to read the book. And I have to say, I'm so sorry that I've missed out! I mean, this woman, Julie started this blog in 2002 (I was in high school) and her book was published in 2005 (still in high school) and I really bummed that I wasn't reading it while she was writing the blog.

It is such an enjoyable book that I often times find myself laughing out loud. And I'm very happy that I'm reading the book before I go to see the movie because, you know, you always go to see the movie and then decided to read the book...and then you're really upset that you didn't read the book first because you realize how much better the book is than the movie? I hope I'm not the only one....

Anyway, the book is very good, and you should read it......before you see the movie. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chicken and Clafoutis

Georgia can be an unbearably hot state at times. Just combine that 95 degree weather with 50% humidity, and it can be downright suffocating. But even with the heat, I cannot help but love this state. And one of the things that I love the most during the summer is all the fresh produce. There is a fruit and vegetable stand that is about a 15 minute drive away that we frequent during the summer months, and yesterday I unexpectably had the day off from work, so I went to RJ's, the infamous veggie stand.

So. For dinner, I got some fresh white runner pole beans and some lady peas, which are wonderful little beauties. I also picked up some limes to use at dinner and some fresh, warm, juicy plums. After reading "Cooking and Screaming", I decided to fix the clafoutis that Mrs. Kane had in her book, and I paired it with some chicken, beans, peas, and fresh tomatoes.

The tomatoes were fresh from a patient of my father's. The chicken was grilled with a yogurt, mint and lime marinade. Clearly, the chicken was a little bit burnt, (woops....) and I think next time I use this marinade, I will try and bake it. Or maybe grill it again, but at a lower heat.

Overall, it was a great summer meal.

And for dessert was the plum clafoutis!

The recipe suggested serving it with creme fraiche, but I actually just topped it with some powdered sugar, and it was pretty and yummy! What I loved most about this dessert was that it was so simple to bake and so good! Here's the recipe:

Summer Clafoutis:

1 cup summer fruit (almost anything that you want, but don't use strawberries; Adrienne says they get to watered down and mushy)

1 tablespoon and 1/3 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1 cup of whole milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1/2 all purpose flour

1. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. Arrange fruit in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set aside

2. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and rest of the sugar and whisk together until smooth and slightly frothy about 1 minute.

3. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt and whisk together until smooth. Sift in the flour and whisk until competely combined. Pour over the fruit.

4. Bake the clafoutis at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. The clafoutis will puff up while baking. Cool for 30 minutes (the clafoutis will fall some) Top with powdered sugar when ready to serve.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Angel Food Cake and Reading

I have this horrible habit of not blogging as often as I should. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am not the best writer in the world; I'm a science major for goodness' sake!

But to help with the update, I will do "double" update so to speak. First, on a book that I read recently and what I've been baking.

First, the book is called "Cooking and Screaming" by Adrienne Kane. It's a relatively short memoir that was very enjoyable. I wouldn't call it a difficult read, but it's definitely a page turner. It's about this young woman, Adrienne, who suffered a stroke at the age of 21, which was caused by an AVM, aterior-verous malformation, I believe. Essentially, it's a tangle of blood vessels in the brain, which ever now and then bursts. So, this memoir covers the attack of her stroke through therapy, recovering, and how she discovers her passion for cooking. Through her cooking, she is able to come to terms with her stroke and disability that results from it, and from it, she creates a successful catering business and becomes a food writer.

Overall, it's a very inspiring story, and I will be happily recommending it to all my friends. :)

Secondly, some things that I have been baking this summer: angel food cake. I had the privilege of living at my grandparents house for a couple of weeks this summer, and I had full access to their wonderful kitchen, as well as the job of planning and fixing all meals. Being Georgia and all, the peaches are absolutely delectible during the summer, and I wanted something light and yummy to accompany them. So, I baked an angel food cake. This cake is pretty simple to fix, and even better, it's lowfat! There are no egg yolks, no it's a great dessert if you're watching your waistline. :)

Here are two desserts that I fixed with angel food cake. First, is angel food cake with french vanilla ice cream and peaches and blackberries. Second, I tried to use up all of the egg yolks that I had by make a custard flavored with Chambourd and topped with raspberries. Both were very good and it was a nice summer treat!