Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cookies and Candies

This year I took two days to make cookies and candies for family, friends and clients. I usually pack it all into one day, but this year I wanted to experiment with chocolate.

Last Sunday with my mom and nieces, we made Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, Sugar Cookies, Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars, M&M Clusters, White Vanilla Chocolate and Peppermint Bark and a Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Candy Bar Bark. We had so much fun decorating and taste testing.
Today, I made the two most requested Christmas treats; Holiday Biscotti Dipped in White Vanilla Chocolate and M&M Clusters.  For the biscotti, I replaced the dried cranberries with Tart Dried Cherries.  The tart cherries gave it so much more flavor.  I can’t wait to dip one in my coffee tomorrow morning.

The M&M Clusters are the perfect candy.  They have salt from the pretzels and dry roasted peanuts, then dipped in white vanilla chocolate, and topped with mini M&M’s.  It’s the perfect balance of salt and sweet.

I had bought some caramel balls at the candy store the other day, but I didn't know what I was going to make with them.  Then I was thinking about brownies made with peanut butter chips and caramel.  How can you go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter and caramel?  You can't.  So I made them into Mini Brownie Bites.  They were gooey like a brownie should be and with the melting caramel it was perfection.  Definitely making those again!

I was putting some things away in my pantry when I noticed two pounds of Callebaut Milk Chocolate.  My mind instantly starting thinking about what kind of chocolatee bark can I make?  I thought almonds and coconut would be really good.  I used slivered almonds to go with the delicate sweet coconut.  It was so good!

When I was putting away the coconut, I noticed I had some raw cashews.  I toasted them in olive oil and added cayenne and smoked salt.  Now, I have only seen people on TV say how good cayenne is with chocolate, but I have never tasted it together.  This is my new favorite bark!  You can taste the cayenne, but it’s not hot like you would think, just a warm hint in the background of great tasting chocolate.  It is an amazing flavor combination.

Here is the picture menu:

My nieces are so creative with their decorating.

Please post your favorite Christmas Cookies or Candied you make? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Personal Chef Cook Day 06-01-11

Who doesn't love food on a stick?  Kebobs are so fun to make and eat.  The best part is you can make them to everyone's individual tastes.

Here is the picture menu:

Honey Mustard Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Vegan Honey Mustard Seitan and Veggie Kabobs

Pesto Chicken Manicotti

Vegan Pesto Seitan Manicotti

Vegan Indian Vegetable Pullao

Please post your favorite kebob.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cuisine du Jour

The Cuisine du Jour cooking classes at Trevarrow are the best classes I have ever taken.  I learn so much every time I attend a class.

This month, Chef Frank Turner, did Healthy Holiday Entertaining. He is the Culinary Wellness Director at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and oversees patient food service, catering, Henry’s (the hospital's destination cafĂ©), and the hospital’s state of the art Demonstration Kitchen. If you have never been to this amazing hospital, I urge you to go there for lunch and you will be in awe of the wonderful food. I know you will walk out healthier than when you walked in.  I salute how this hospital is healing with food!

The first recipe he made Michigan Carrot Hummus.  Now, I have to be honest, because I was looking at all the recipes he was making, I thought, “None of these recipes sound like they go together or would taste good.”  I am so glad I was WRONG!  The hummus had spectacular flavor.  Carrots, lime juice, coriander, curry and fresh ginger were the subtle background tastes, but you knew you were still eating hummus. 

The Grilled Shiitake and Asparagus Salad tasted fantastic!  We had the salad cold, but you could also eat it warm.  It tasted like a refreshing summer day (even though it was freezing outside). 

Next, he made Herb Crusted Michigan Turkey Tenderloin with Braised Organic Black Cabbage and Black Eyed Pea Ragout and topped it with Spinach VeloutĂ©.  And I thought, “I don’t think I am going to like this.”  But - WOW!  I wanted to lick my plate it was so damn good.  It was healthy comfort food.  I can’t wait to make this dish for my clients.

For dessert, Chef Frank made Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars with a Cranberry Orange Compote.    So, I took a bite expecting the worst taste ever, but found that the whipped cream between the pumpkin and the cranberry orange compote was the perfect combination of flavors!

I will never judge a recipe before I taste it again!  From now on, I want to be surprised by the fusion of flavors that I think don’t go together.   What flavor combinations surprised your taste buds?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Personal Chef Cook Day 05-30-11

My client asked for salmon to be put on the menu this week.  Now, I know the kids aren't fans of this fish.  So I had to find the right recipe to at least get them to try it and possibly like it.  The kids let me know it was not bad.  And my client was happy that they ate most of the salmon.

Here is a picture menu:

Maple Glazed Salmon with Snap Peas

Vegan Maple Glazed Portabella Mushroom Caps
with Snap Peas

Vegan Tofu and Turkey Empanadas

How do you like to cook your salmon?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Personal Chef Cook Day 05-23-11

My client has really embrassed the Meatless Monday that some restaurants have started.  It is easy to take any meat dish and make it vegetarian (or vegan).  Swapping out the meat with vegetables or beans is my way of playing with food.

Here is the picture menu:

Summer Vegetable Gratin

Vegan Summer Vegetable Gratin

Chicken Cacciatore

Vegan Tofu Cacciatore

Do you do a "meatless" dish?  If so, what do you make?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Personal Chef Cook Day 05-18-11

This cook day was poultry day.  Chicken Fajitas, Turkey Cutlets and a vegan dish that you could add a meat if you wanted too!

Here is the picture menu:

Chicken Fajitas

Vegan Tofu Fajitas

Turkey Cutlets in Port Wine Sauce
over Wild Rice Pilaf

Vegan Seitan in Port Wine Sauce
over Wild Rice Pilaf

Whole Wheat Gnocchi with a Creamy Tomato
Porcini Mushroom Sauce

Vegan Whole Wheat Gnocchi with a Creamy
Tomato Porcini Mushroom Sauce

Vegan Whole Wheat Roasted Garlic Bread

What is your favorite poultry dish?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Personal Chef Cook Day 05-16-11

Since I am not a big bourbon drinker, I rarely think about cooking with it. The bourbon gives the salmon a deeper depth of flavor and tones down the sweetness of the pineapple juice. 

Here is the picture menu:

Sweet Bourbon Salmon and
Garlic Roasted Asparagus

Vegan Sweet Bourbon Portabella Mushroom Caps and
Garlic Roasted Asparagus

Garden Fresh Chicken Stir Fry over
Rice Noodles

Vegan Garden Fresh Seitan Stir Fry over
Rice Noodles

What is your favorite "spirit" to cook with?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cuisine du Jour

I recently hear Mario Balati say, “There are two kinds of people; those who are Italian and those who want to be Italian.”  He was definitely talking about me!

Last month’s Cuisine du Jour Class was with Michelle Bommarito (she is our local Food Network Star).  She had just returned from Florence Italy.  I cannot tell you how excited I was for this class!
When I walked into the class, it smelled like an Italian grandmother’s kitchen.  She started off the class with Fresh Pomodoro Sauce.  This tomato sauce is so good with only seven simple ingredients, yet versatile enough to add different vegetables and meat to make it to your own tastes.  

Michelle Bommarito

Pomodori Crostini

Have you ever had Arancini Di Riso?  They are amazing!  Italian’s do not like to waste food, so they have found creative ways to use leftovers.  You use your leftover Risotto to make balls stuffed with buffalo mozzarella and deep fry them.  She served them in Fresh Pomodoro Sauce.

Arancini Di Riso Risotto in Fresh Pomodoro Sauce

Next she roasted a whole fish.  She cooked it in a Lemon Garlic Sauce and saved half of the sauce to put on the fish when served.  It was flaky, light and perfect with that sauce.

Roasted White Fish with Lemon Garlic Drizzle

The dessert she made was Sicilian Cantuccini or Almond Biscotti and served it with a sweet Italian wine.  It was a match made in heaven.  Unfortunately, the picture I took did not turn out.  So, close your eyes and image smelling the fresh baked Almond Biscotti, now take your biscotti and dunk it into your wine for just a few seconds and take a bite.  Now, wasn’t that divine?
If you need help mastering any recipe, call me.  I can come to your home for a one-on-one cooking lesson.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Personal Chef Cook Day 05-11-11

On this cook day I went to Greece and Spain with chicken and salmon. This chicken casserole is so simple, yet has loads of vegetables and the lovely undertone of lemon.

I like to change up salmon to embrace flavors from other countries.  This Spanish-Style salmon was a big hit with my clients.

 Here is the picture menu:

Lemon Greek Chicken Casserole

Vegan Lemon Greek Chickpea Casserole

Spanish-Style Salmon with
Roasted Asparagus, Zucchini and Carrots

Vegan Spanish-Style White Beans with
Roasted Asparagus, Zucchini and Carrots

Vegan Lentil and Brown Rice Loaf with
Vegan Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy

Do you need help getting your family to the dinner table?  Contact me for a quote today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

40th Anniversary Party 10-01-2011

I know I have said this many times, but the best part of my job is doing surprise parties.  Seeing people’s faces when I tell them I am cooking for them is so gratifying. 

My client and I have been working on this party for months.  She told me that her mother said, “If you plan on throwing an anniversary party for us, I only want Chef Sherry’s food.”  
So, finally, last Saturday night was the big party.  It was a glamorous celebration with family and friends and I was honored to be serving them. 
Here is the picture menu:
Black Angus Beef Tenderloin served in a
Homemade Parmesan Tartlet Shell
with a Horseradish Cream Sauce

Roasted Figs stuffed with Goat Cheese wrapped in
Prosciutto with a Rosemary Skewer

Greek Kalamata Olive Bites

Spanish Shrimp with a Romesco Sauce

Snow Peas filled with Crabmeat (bottom right)
Smoked Salmon Canapes topped with Tarragon
Mustard Sauce (bottom left)
Granny Smith Apples Slices with Bleu Cheese Mousse
topped with Walnuts and Dried Tart Cherries (middle left)

Baklava Bites

Dark Chocolate Cups with White Chocolate
Vanilla Mousse topped with Raspberry Sauce

Mini Hazelnut Biscotti

All these amazing photos were taken by Starr. 

Personal Chef Cook Day 05/16/17

Happy Memorial Day!  To all the veterans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. I can't believe it's May 27!  Time is fleeting by too fast. ...