Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Tzatziki

Yogurt Marinated Chicken KebabsRecently, I demonstrated how to make this dish for a promotional shoot on cooking with herbs for a grocery store and was reminded of how good it is.  Best when prepared ahead, it’s a recipe seemingly made for these early spring days when you want to make the most of the day, but still end it with a fresh and satisfying meal.  The fact that you can do so much ahead also makes it a smart choice for company.

Rosemary Sprig
If you’ve never used yogurt as a marinade, you might find the concept strange, but it is the perfect remedy to the common complaint of dry chicken kebabs. The yogurt helps keep the meat moist even if it spends a little too much time on the grill.  The lemon juice adds brightness and the rosemary, with its characteristic aroma, roots the dish firmly in the Mediterranean.

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On TV: Deviled Eggs with Shrimp

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 2.06.01 PMEveryone should have a recipe for deviled eggs.  They are simple to make, always a crowd-pleaser, and ridiculously yummy.   While the recipe itself comes together quickly, it’s worth watching this demo to get answers to these pressing questions:

Is there a way to get a perfectly hard-boiled egg every time?  What do I need to do to make sure my eggs peel easily? And, why do I need to count my shrimp?

It’s riveting stuff, folks.  Happy cooking!



Parmesan Gougeres stuffed with Mushroom Duxelle

Parmesan Profiterole with Mushroom Duxelle and MornayI’m often asked what my culinary specialty is.  It’s a difficult question to answer.  My business, which offers in-home cooking classes and personal chef services for dinner and parties, requires me to accommodate many requests.  Some clients want nothing more than to learn how to make authentic Italian pasta while others want to learn how to fold the perfect shrimp dumpling.  Dinners and parties require similar flexibility.  Some clients want traditional Southern dishes while others want to recapture the tastes of a trip to the south of France or the Thai-inspired mussels they enjoyed at a restaurant in New York.  I love the freedom and creativity that catering to any and all requests brings to my work, but if I had to focus on one cuisine it would have to be French cooking.

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Black Bean Soup

Black Bean SoupTwice a year, in the fall and spring, I try to limit new grocery purchases and instead try to create as many meals as possible from the ingredients in my kitchen.  This is a time for checking expiration dates, using up small portions of things like barley and lentils, and cleaning out the freezer.

Dried Black BeansThe first days of this project are always easy.  I discover pheasant in the freezer and I have apple and bacon on hand to make it an elegant roasted meal.  I find a Ziploc bag of frozen spaghetti sauce stuffed in the bottom basket destined to be paired with the half box of rigatoni in my pantry.

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Green Tea “Matcha” Madeleines

Madeleines with TeaThese Green Tea “Matcha” Madeleines are the result of a kitchen mishap.  Yesterday was warm, spring seemed like it might finally be ready to make an appearance, and I wanted nothing more than to whip up some ice cream and enjoy it without having to eat it under a blanket for warmth.  Weeks ago, on a whim, I’d picked up some culinary grade Matcha green tea powder from the store and with all the other ingredients for ice cream on hand it seemed I was well on my way to enjoying a fresh batch of green tea ice cream.  Then things went wrong.

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Tom Yum Goong: Thai Hot & Sour Soup with Shrimp

Tom Yum Goong Close-upI have always loved the folk story about stone soup.  Hungry travelers arrive at a town whose inhabitants all turn down their requests for food.  In response, the resourceful travelers build a fire and set a pot filled with water and a stone upon it.  The townspeople, curious to see what the travelers are doing, venture out of their homes to ask what they are making with only a stone and water.


The travelers wax poetic about the deliciousness of stone soup and then hint at how much better it is with just a little carrot, some potato, and, if there were any to spare, a stalk of celery.  The stingy townspeople are lured into parting with small quantities of ingredients and eventually, through everyone in the town contributing something small, a delicious soup is made that feeds a village.

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Shrimp Jambalaya

Shrimp Jambalaya

Today is Fat Tuesday and while I’m not meandering down Bourbon Street with a daiquiri in hand, I am enjoying a bowl of shrimp jambalaya here in icy North Carolina.  I’ve always loved the food of New Orleans.  Decadent and bold in flavor, it’s casual and raucous and best enjoyed without rush and with good company.

Prepped Ingredients 2

This year, for New Year’s, instead of welcoming in 2015 with steaks, lobster or indulgent caviar, we spread our table with newspaper and invited friends to join us for a dinner of New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp.  We all sat around, fingers and mouths greasy and glistening from butter, peeling shrimp by hand and sopping up the buttery sauce with wedges of bread.  It was one of the best New Year’s I can remember for its simple emphasis on good food and friends.

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