Archive for October, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween. I don’t really have any recipes for the date, maybe you can share one of your favorites. Here is  look at my artistic side: “Why so Sad” The Joker, The Dark Knight

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Not cooking but something fun for halloween. I found a book at the library on pumpkin carving, this is my attempt. Have a safe and fun holiday

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Savory is a term for something not sweet. Today’s recipe is one I came up with by mistake. I guess what I want to pass along with this recipe is part of my cooking philosophy in that, no one really (for the most part) knows what you are making. Cooking is a very personal past time and if you don’t tell someone you messed up, they will probably never know. I was very busy for a demo last holiday season, we were supposed to make 10-12 items for a tasting for the day. I was trying to save time and work on two recipes at a time, and ended up combining them instead. surprisingly it was the hit of the demo and I had to tell people all day, you couldn’t find the recipe because I messed up.

Caramelized Onion and Cheese Log 

6 slices Apple wood Smoked Bacon, Chopped

1 large onion, halved and sliced

1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

8 oz cream cheese

1/3 cup blue cheese

Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through.  Add onion and saute 10-12 minutes, until soft and browned. In a mixing bowl, combine bacon and onion with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Form mixture into a ball or log and set on serving platter.  I didn’t for the demo, but you could roll the log in nuts or chopped parsley for presentation if desired. May be made a day ahead, remove from refrigerator about an hour before service to soften slightly. Serve with Crackers

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I am going to start posting the recipes from my Library Series. This recipe is from the November 3 and 11th evenings. Many of these were originally done at a demo, but my Chef of Your Own clients loved them for holiday entertaining last year. Many of these can be made a day ahead or if you keep the ingredients on hand, whipped up in just a few minutes for those last-minute guests. This first recipe for Lemon Cheesecake Dip can be served in a bowl with vanilla wafers for dipping or poured into a graham crust and let to set in the refrigerator for a really easy cheesecake pie!

Lemon Cheesecake Dip

1 jar lemon Curd

8 oz Mascarpone Cheese

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 bag Nutorious Top it off Lemon Blueberry Meringue Topping (crush some vanilla wafers, a couple of merengue cookies and mix with some dried blueberries if desired)

Vanilla wafers or ginger snaps, for dipping

In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon curd, Mascarpone and cream cheese. Gently combine all ingredients until they form a uniform, pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Transfer to serving bowl and pour Top it Off mix over the top. Place on large serving platter and surround with vanilla wafers for dipping. May be made a day ahead and refrigerated, do not top to refrigerate.  Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before service and top with Topping and serve.

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I wanted to let you know A Chef of Your Own will be hosting some cooking seminars at the Orange County Library. I am including the link and the days as follows. Easy holiday recipes are simple appetizers that can be done ahead or very quickly for that last-minute party. I added the second one on stews and soups while the weather was a little cooler, hopefully it will cooperate and cool off again for this one next week. The last is on turkey tips and holiday appropriate side dishes. Let me know what you think, can’t find a recipe from the past, maybe I can include it for you.


Here are the details if the link does not work

Easy Holiday Recipes      Winter Garden Branch, Wednesday November 3 at 6pm             and                  Hiawassee Branch, Thursday November 11, 6 pm

Chili, soup and stew for the soul               Washington Park Branch, Thursday November 4, 6pm

Turkey Tips                         West Oaks Branch, Thursday November 18, 6pm

If you have a question about any of these topics, leave it here  and I will get you an answer. I hope you get the chance if you live in the Orlando area to stop by and say hi and pick up a recipe or two.

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For those of you in Orlando, I will be at the Fresh Market in Dr Phillips today from 3-6 cooking Cilantro Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Korma. The recipes went up here about two weeks ago. Today’s recipe comes from Bon Appetit through Epicurious.com. Happy cooking!

*Garam masala is a spice mixture available at Indian markets, some specialty food stores, and many supermarkets. To substitute, mix 3/4 tsp ground cumin, 3/4 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon: use 1 tsp of mixture

Chicken Vindaloo

3 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes

2 1/2 Tbls distilled white vinegar

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tsp tomato paste

1 tsp garam masala*

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp (or more) cayenne pepper

2 Tbls vegetable oil

6 skin less, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth or water

Blend first 11 ingredients and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper in food processor until paste forms. Heat oil in heavy, large pan over medium-high heat. Add paste from processor and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add chicken and potatoes, saute 5 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Uncover and summer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and more cayenne, if desired.

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I can’t believe it, but the holidays and entertaining are just around the corner. Less than 80 days to the New Year!? Where has this one gone. Today’s recipe came from a demo but it is also one A Chef of Your Own clients enjoyed for the holidays last year.

Lemon Cheesecake Dip

1 jar TFM Lemon Curd

8 oz Mascarpone cheese

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 bag Nutorious Top it off Lemon Blueberry merengue topping

Vanilla wafers or ginger snaps, for dipping

In a large mixing bowl, combine lemon curd, Mascarpone and cream cheese using a rubber spatula, until they form a uniform, pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and evenly pour Top it off mix over the top. Chill until ready for serving, surround with wafers or ginger snaps for dipping.

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Here is a recipe from an old Fresh Flavors demo at The Fresh Market last year. The Spicy Plum Chutney was the intrinsic ingredient and all that tasted it thought it would go great with a pork tenderloin as well.

Seared Chicken Thighs with Malbec Plum Glaze

2 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive oil

6 boneless chicken thighs

2 shallots, finely chopped

1/2 cup Diseno Malbec wine

1/2 cup Virginia Chutney Company Spicy Plum Chutney

1/2 Pacific organic Chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat for two minutes or until very hot. while pan heats, season chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Sear chicken thighs for two to four minutes, carefully shaking them loose to prevent sticking. Turn over and repeat.

Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add chopped shallots to the pan and quickly saute for two minutes until fragrant and barely translucent. Remove pan from heat and add wine, scraping up any browned bits from the pan.

Turn heat to low and return pan to heat. Add chutney and stock, stirring to combine. Add chicken and any  accumulated pan drippings to pan and allow chicken to finish cooking through, about five to seven minutes. Serve immediately.

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Here are the side dishes for the demo tomorrow. These  use some premade sauces and spice mixes to make them simple and easy. If you are not sure about how you might like them, stop by at the demo from 3-6 in The Fresh Market in Altamonte tomorrow to give them a try. I think you will by pleasantly surprised.

Vegetable Korma


2 tsp Spectrum Coconut Oil

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 large red pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 pkg TFM frozen mixed vegetables

1 jar Loyd Grossman Korma Sauce

1 c coconut milk

. c fresh cilantro, torn for garnish


Heat oil in a saute pan. Add peppers and onion and saute until they

begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add frozen vegetables and toss to

mix in with onion and peppers. Stir in Korma sauce and coconut milk.

Simmer gently until vegetables are just done through. Garnish with

cilantro and serve.

Vindaloo Curry Dip


1 . tbsp Sukhi’s Vindaloo Curry Sauce

. c sour cream

. c Greek-style yogurt

Flatbread, pita chips and raw or roasted vegetables for dipping


In a bowl, combine curry sauce, sour cream and yogurt, stirring until

well blended. Serve with flatbread, pita chips, raw or roasted vegetables.

Note: the amount of curry sauce can be increased or decreased to

adjust the level of spiciness.

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Doing a demo for the Fresh Market in Altamont this Saturday, October 9,  from 3-6. I guess this is a first for Great Chefs USA to be using some Indian products. I would love for you to stop by and try them. There is a great deal of reasearch about the health benefits of coconut oil which I will be using in this recipe. I found a great site about coconuts and coconut oil at http://www.coconutoil.com/health_benefits_virgin_coconut_oil.htm 

 Cilantro Coconut Chicken 

Serves 4 

1. lbs boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed 

2 tbsp Spectrum Coconut Oil 

1 onion, sliced 

⅓ c Hogue Chardonnay 

1 jar Stonehouse 27 Cilantro & Coconut Sauce 

. c coconut milk 

. c fresh cilantro, roughly chopped 


Heat a saute pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes; add oil and swirl to 

coat. Add chicken and saute until browned, approximately 3-5 minutes. 

Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add onion to the pan and cook for 

2-3 minutes, until soft. Remove pan from heat and add wine. Allow to 

reduce slightly. Return chicken to the pan and add Cilantro & Coconut 

Sauce and coconut milk and bring to a simmer, allowing sauce to thicken 

and chicken to finish cooking through, about 5-7 minutes longer. Remove 

from heat, sprinkle cilantro over the top and serve. 


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