Monday, February 27, 2017

Great Gals Brunch

New chef's jacket
Roasting winter veggies

Make your own. Signage by Lance.

The veg: eggplant, radish, sweet potatoes, shallots and kale

Pork tenderloin and parsley

Asparagus and havarti egg pie

Chocolate truffles made with dates; forgot to photograph the beautiful berry galette!

The Great Gals brunch group. It was an honor to
cook for good friends!

Lessons for Addie

So honored to teach my first student in my kitchen studio! Addie is 17, and was a natural. She made chicken enchiladas, black bean salsa, then plated and photographed everything, including my map for the session. Then we ate a serving together and critiqued it. Can't wait for our next dishes together!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

New This Week Mid January 2017

Sunday dinner. Baked tilapia with lemon, onions and dill with balsamic glazed roasted carrots.

Shrimp in creamy tomato sauce over cheesy polenta.

Gnocchi with pesto cream sauce. First go for both. A little clumsy. Needs fresh herbs to top.

Breakfast. Greek yogurt with honey, granola and clementines.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dance / Magic in Northwest Arkansas

It's been a dark week. Impending doom of an ice storm that mostly resulted in four days of darkness, rain, and fog. And a dark week coming up, considering the inauguration, although today is finally sunny (thank you, heavens). So during some of the dark weekend, Lance and I visited Crystal Bridges to catch the last gasp of a temporary exhibit called The Art of American Dance. Lovely, thoughtful, edgy show.  Native American dance, ballet, tap, all American forms of social and solo dance. Video to demonstrate with contemporary masters, and several paintings and sculptures depicting dance and movement.

a study by Thomas Eakins

Trying to embody the confidence of this Robert Henri dancer.

Isamu Noguchi

Trying to show my mesmerization with Nick Cave's Sound Suit.

Responsive video wall. You move and the projection tracks your movement. Gorgeous.

In another part of the museum: Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies: The Road to the White House. First time near this iconic Shepard Fairey print.

New Sol Lewitt wall drawing you can see across the water from the restaurant.

Through the Big Red Lens by Frederick Eversley. Rose colored glasses. Need them this week. It's all about perception.

On the way home we detoured off the highway to this chapel. I've been by this exit dozens of time, but had never stopped. Beautiful surprise. We were the only ones there. Special, quiet time.

Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Club 1201 Brunch, Reconstituted

So I had a lovely time for Sunday brunch with the Great Gals, a regular group of professors, academics, simply brilliant and sociable women. Great minds, eh? Today we met at Club 1201 in Joplin. We had a large group of 12, and they serviced us well. Pretty fantastic bloody mary and mimosa bar. I had some moscato, my latest fave. I got so hungry though, I stole a biscuit and some apricot preserves from the 'biscuit bar" and shared with a friend. Bread is not my best friend, so by the time my order came I just picked at it. Monte cristo sliders. Ham and cheese between marbled cinnamon bread with parmesan potatoes. The sliders were bigger than what I've seen as sliders, and not as large as an actual sandwich. Either way, too much for me. And the disappointment was that everything was SOGGY. Including the potatoes, just not crispy remotely. 

So I took home my leftovers. Immediately made a white chicken chili for weekday work meals, and tried making a balsamic reduction for the first time. Success! So easy! Balsamic vinegar and brown sugar boiled and simmer. Brilliant. I will use this FOREVER on ANYTHING: fruit, eggs, meats, ice cream Come ON! Then I was hungry again, so 'reconstituted' my leftovers by ditching the bread and crisping the rest in the broiler. Then topping some caramelized onions and drizzled the balsamic reduction over all. Better than brunch!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Holiday Season Food Firsts

Egg drop soup. Needs some crunch on top.

Garlic and herb goat cheese, caramelized red onion chutney, and smoked salmon on naan.

Homemade mayo. Tastes better than the jarred stuff. But doesn't keep long. This is all prep (plus dried cherries not pictured) for tuna salad.

Smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers on crackers.

Thought it would be fun to make citrus lollipops. Not so much. Pain in the ass. Burned the crap out of the sugar first go. Sputtering, not mess. And these pink fleshy molds are kind of grody.

Wrapping them was fun and they look all pretty in this presentation. Tastes good, but candy itself needs to be harder. I brought the mixture to 300 as instructed, but maybe took off too soon. Baking and candy-making is so exact, I'm just not good at that; I'm more of an improvisor.

I've made sugar cookies before, with a recipe of my Mom's. This once is from The Kitchn. Lemon zest in the batter. Nice. Cream cheese frosting. MMMMM.

Holiday Brunch for Friends

Instead of giving objects as gifts for a few friends this year, I made brunch. All told is was a 6 hour process between shopping, setting the table, cooking, enjoying the long luxurious meal together, and cleaning up. I enjoyed it all immensely, and my friends seemed to, as well. Most of the meal elements were firsts for me, and there weren't any complete disasters, but a few things could have been better.

Decided to put all the food out at once, so we wouldn't have to get up or deal with a buffet. Eventually the wine bottles got to the table. Grazing included baguette slices scattered on the table, with oil and vinegars (mango and black currant), mixed olives, cashews, and various cheeses. The cheese labels are porcelain and were a gift from my sister. Love them.

The main meal included a walnut, pear, and blue cheese salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. And a baked egg with spinach and feta. One of my friends is a vegetarian, so I put a big bowl of crispy pancetta on the table for us meat eaters to sprinkle over the egg bake or anything else. Clearly I cooked the egg yolk to death. Kind of gross looking.

The olive oil and vinegar, next to the milk tarts, were so pretty and festive. And I served it all on my Grandma's china. The tart pans were also a gift from my sister. The crust was easy to make, but I got it way too thick in the pans. I'm just so heavy-handed; baking of any kind is a struggle for me. The milk pudding filling was delicious, and even better topped with pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachios.