Saturday, August 25, 2007

Waxhaw Treasures

Put my chef duds on this morning and took some recipes to the Waxhaw Farmers Market for those who need more ideas about what to do with all the absolutely gorgeous eggplants there. I bought one of the beautiful little fresh-cut flower arrangements that Donna cuts from her own flower beds. What a compliment to the senses to have bunches of colorful flowers next to the baskets of shiny at-the-peak-of-ripeness red and green bell peppers, zuccini and yellow squash, corn and beans and the sweetest little watermelons I've ever tasted!

I had to pull myself away from that dazzling display and headed for my friend Vic at "What's Your Beef?" and he served up great conversation while he was cutting my beautiful veal shanks for Osso Bucco and perfectly-sliced scallopini for Veal Parmesan that I'm preparing for a client.

The Waxhaw, NC Farmer's Market and "What's Your Beef?" custom butcher shop....two real gems in the Western Union County area of Waxhaw!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Recipe: Shrimp Ratatouille with Boursin Cheese Grits

Shrimp Ratatouille with Boursin Cheese Grits

Makes 6 servings

35 shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped basil
Salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil

4 cups milk
1 cup quick grits
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
4 ounces boursin cheese

¼ cup olive oil
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 eggplant, peeled, large diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4 ounces Michelob Bavarian style wheat Beer
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup tomato juice
Basil, oregano, salt, pepper to taste

MARINATE: Combine shrimp with 1/4 cup olive oil, 6 cloves diced garlic, 2 teaspoons chopped basil, and salt and pepper. Let marinate 30 minutes.

MAKE GRITS: Bring milk and butter to a boil. Add grits. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. Add boursin and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add beer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

RATATOUILLE: Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet. Add eggplant and cook
5 to 7 minutes until brown. Drain excess oil. Add onion, garlic and peppers. Cook another minute. Add zucchini and squash. Add tomato products, salt, pepper and herbs. Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
When almost ready to serve, heat a sauté pan and place shrimp mixture in heated pan. Cook shrimp for 30 seconds on each side.
Serve in individual bowls with grits topped with ratatouille, then shrimp.

Chef Tim Thomas, Sea Island Resort

Cooking up this blog!

I just finished setting up my new blog spot...well...not really finished because I haven't uploaded my picture yet to my profile and still have tons more to learn about this medium that is so new to me! Check back and I promise you lots of recipes, local news, and restaurant reviews as well as exciting news from my kitchen table!

I went to Philadelphia, PA and stayed at the beautiful Loews Hotel a couple of weeks ago for the USPCA annual conference and joined more that 200 other personal chefs for classes and LOTS of great food and "celebration." You can imagine how much information we shared, and how much fun we had! (I'm the one in the striped skirt - what WAS I thinking wearing horizontal stripes???) with friends at the famous Striped Bass restaurant.)

First of all, for most of us (people in general) food is JOY. For all of us "foodies" anything involving food brings us unexplicable happiness. So, because every class I took was related to food and my business (which is FOOD service) it kept my interest far more than 99% of all my PSU classes all those many years ago!

Chef Mark Tafoya, executive chef of The Guilded Fork and founder of the Culinary Podcast Network is solely to blame for my introduction into blogging because he taught the "new media" class. (Check out #104-A Taste of Philly to hear some of our fabulous speakers.) I have a feeling this will be addictive!