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A day in the life

I decided to write a somewhat in-depth article about what to expect when you hire a personal chef to cook a meal for you. I can’t say that this is how all chefs operate, but this is how I do it.
 
The night before I pull out my recipes and make a shopping list and get all the kitchen equipment together that I will bring to my client’s residence the next day.
A few hours before I arrive I load up my car and go to the grocery store. I get an idea of the client’s preferences, whether organic foods are important to them, but I make sure I always get the freshest food. The quality of the ingredients impacts the quality and flavor and texture of the meal. Because of that I might even make last minute ingredient changes such as the fish of the day just based on freshness.
 
In Breckenridge there is a bag fee to promote reusable bags, so I pack up my bagged groceries and head to the house.
 
I arrive and usually clients are there with happy faces : ) I unload the car, put on my apron and start unpacking all the fresh ingredients that I’ll use for the meal. Sometimes my clients will hang around, glasses of wine in hand, and watch me prepare the food. Other ones will relax and enjoy time with their family and friends knowing that dinner is taken care of, no one has to worry about whats for dinner or how long will they wait for a table in busy downtown. I am all for going out an experiencing the night life, but it has been wonderful watching everyone have a stress-free night in a snow chalet with food on their table prepared just for them.
 
So I get chopping, searing, boiling, and mixing. I have to time everything just right in order to have a soup or salad, multiple entrees, and a decadent dessert come out in a timely manner. My clients have been thoughtful and helped me by setting the table while I put the final touches on the entrees and side dishes and making sure the flavor will be the perfect mix of warm and comfortable and something special.
 
Sometimes my dishes are tinged with some entertainment value. One night I was in a beautiful open kitchen where the “kids table” was the counter overlooking the stove. I
flambeed some tequila shrimp and the pan was ablaze. The kids had front row seats and had never seen anything like that in person. In addition to creating great food I get to be a part of some great memories.
 
While everyone is chowing down and having polite and most of the times very humorous conversation I clean up my pots and pans and start loading the dishes with plates I’ve gathered from the table. I’ll get dessert ready to serve and wipe down the counters and stove as well. My job is almost complete.
 
After dessert is served with lots of yums and smiles I package or toss out any leftovers. I collect payment from very generous clients and I leave hoping to see them again soon. 🙂

Happy Cookin!

The past two weeks I’ve had the pleasure of cooking for a very cool family visiting Keystone. A mix of folks from Belgium, England, Florida, and my very own Houston, Texas makes my job extra exciting and blessed. I just wanted to give them a shout-out for making my time with them so memorable. 🙂

Crab stuffed poblano, enchiladas and salad

Cool Keystone Family

Fresco cooking with pickled cabbage beans and rice

Korean BBQ <3 Bulgogi

bbq ingredients

Korean BBQ seems to be all the rage these days with pre-made marinades and different plays on flavors. I like to stick to the basics, there are enough additives to our food already and it is surprisingly easy to do it from scratch as you can see from the ingredients pictured above.

You can search around for any recipe, they are all pretty similar, although look for one with coca cola if you can, this is how I’ve seen it made at a Korean gathering and it was delicious.

korean marinade

This is the mixture before I added it to the beef. I used a fork to try to get the mixture blended as consistent as possible before adding it to my beef. Always refrigerate your food while marinating so it doesn’t fall into the temperature danger zone. I covered my beef and put it in the fridge for an hour (which is the minimum suggested marinating time for this recipe) but I kept shaking it around because I’m impatient. I also started my rice so it will be nice in fluffy in time for eating.

After an hour this is what it looked like, completely different color right?

beef marinade

So from here you would ideally grill it but if you cant, sauteed in a small amount of oil is perfect. There is sesame oil in the marinade but I always add additional blended or canola oil because it has a higher smoke point. Strain some or all of the garlic, I learned the hard way because my beef came out VERY garlicy, this isn’t an issue if you are grilling.

Enjoy over rice 🙂 Please disregard the messy bowl, I was starving and barely able to restrain myself long enough take the picture before digging in.

ricebowl

As for the foil in the background? That’s for the next post : )

 

I love Spaetzle

photo 1

Above: Spaetzle sauteed with roasted garlic and wilted spinach

I love to have a good German night with bier and part of that is because its pretty easy cookin. Spaetzle is the easiest kind of pasta I’ve ever made: mix a batter, push it through a colander into boiling water, cool it and you have pasta! The best part is not needing to rest pasta dough and cut or run through pasta maker.

I’ve done a few things with my little spaetzles, simple is better though. Rather than using sauces, this pasta does good with oils and sauteed vegetable. In the dish I cooked in the photo, when cooking the garlic in oil, the oil took on the flavor on the garlic and it coated the pasta evenly. A little bit of garlic in every bite : )

Other yum variations:

:saute small dice onion/carrot/bacon then toss in the spaetlze.

: spaetlze and cheese (mac and cheese)

:brown the spaetzle in butter and add fresh chopped herbs

:toasted walnuts and parmesan

 

The recipe is great for last minute dishes because the ingredients are usually already in your kitchen. The recipe below will make two large or three small portions.

1 C flour

1/4 C milk

2 eggs

pinch of salt

So you just beat the eggs with a fork until there are no more “strings” and add in your milk. Beat that together for a few seconds to just to make sure the egg whites have broken up enough. Mix the salt and flour together in a bowl and add in your milk/egg mixture and stir until blended. Depending on how the flour is feeling today you may need to add a bit more milk.

photo 2

Next get some boiling salted water and push your mixture with a spoon through a colander like the one pictured above. Ideally its thick enough that it wont strain through the holes but thin enough you can push it through without too much resistance. If one of the above problems exist just add more flour or more liquid.

Once the little nuggets float to the top remove them and chill them in ice water immediately until they are cool to the touch. Don’t want them to overcook!

From here you can toss them directly into a saute pan or freeze them in baggies for later use 🙂

sautespaetzle