Archive for May, 2009

Salad and Sandwich Ideas

May 26, 2009

Salads for Spring / Summer

Baby Spinach & Apple with sweet red wine vinaigrette, using local spinach and organic apples                           serving

Marinated Mushroom using marinade with fresh, seasonal ingredients & Wisconsin grown mushrooms

Organic Quinoa & Black Bean with bell peppers, avocado, & cilantro (local when available)

Organic Chick Pea Tomato with fresh local herbs and garlic

Thai Noodle Salad with seasonal veggies & herbs in ginger peanut vinaigrette

Greek Pasta Salad with olives, onions, tomato, & spinach in balsamic dressing

Cool Cucumber Salad your choice of yogurt dressing or lemon vinaigrette, crunchy cucumbers herbs

Pesto New Potato Salad with small, roasted potatoes in a light, basil pesto dressing

Add roasted asparagus in season

Tossed Salad with Local Greens fresh, local green salad ingredients with choice of two dressings on the side

Dressings: (any may be made vegan if they are not already)   Creamy Fiesta, Maple-Dijon, Berry Vinaigrette, Caesar, Lemon Tahini, or Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Fall / Winter Salads

German Style Potato with Wisconsin bacon and gold potatoes

Creamy Wisconsin Slaw using WI dairy products, cabbage, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts

Curried Cauliflower with carrots and peas in a creamy dressing (may be made vegan)

Garlic Aioli Potato with Wisconsin Potatoes, dairy products, and hardneck garlic (may be made vegan)

Chilled Sandwiches

Caper & Olive Tuna Salad

Smoked Chicken & Cranberry Salad

Chilled Roasted Portobello Tempeh (vegan)

GLBT Guacamole, Lettuce, Bacon, Tomato

Greek Salad Sandwich (Fava Bean w/cukes, tomato, & feta)

Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese with onions & greens

Liverwurst with mustard, tomato, & greens

Donor’s Reception

May 20, 2009

Yesterday I did some last minute catering for a donor’s reception at the Bartell theater.  It was fun!  I made:

Chicken Liver Pate with local scallions & Yahara Bay Apple Brandy

Fresh Chive Hummus

Ricotta Cheese Spread with Farmer John’s Romano & Local Arugula

Spiced Crostini for spreading

Chocolate Cream Puffs with Wisconsin Cream

Sicilian Wedding Cookies (orange raisin stars with orange blossom water glaze)

Zucchini Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream

Busy planning a lunch menu proposal for somebody’s office picnic  this June, today.

Naming Nutshell

May 18, 2009

In my cooking career, I have spent some time working for businesses with names varying from thoughtful & fun to questionable & disturbing.  One fine dining restaurant I cooked in during cooking school was named The Silent Woman.  It’s logo was a headless girl in servant clothing holding out a tray of food.  Later, I worked for Ovens of Brittany, and the servant girl in their imagery did have a head, an improvement!  Most recently, I came from nine years of working as a chef in Food Fight restaurants.   The fun, if confusing, logo is an image of a  piece of cheese with cannons protruding from it.

I really wanted to choose well and sensibly when finding my own identity.  Toying at different times with “Duck Soup Catering” (I wasn’t sure people would know the Marx brothers reference, didn’t know that it had any relevance to what I’m doing really, plus there is a cinema group in town by the same name) and “Girl Cook Catering” (which was certainly not the only aspect of the food – that it was cooked by a woman – that I wanted to gain people’s focus).

When I was 13, my family moved from a rural highway home to a home on a really steep hill in town.  Our garden shrunk considerably, as there was a huge Black Walnut tree in the yard.  The first two years that we lived there, my older brother and I attempted to harvest the walnuts.  They were easy to gather, but much more difficult to husk.  My fingers would be black and inky with their earthy, pungent scent.  When you would crack the shell, if you cracked it cleanly in half, you would find one of the only heart-shapes found in nature on the inside.  I had never seen a heart shape in nature (outside of a few flowers).

When I graduated from cooking school, my professor gave me some spices and a note that the secret ingredient should always be love.  I thought it was a pretty cheesy sentiment at the time, and it is…  but it’s also true.  As I’ve gained experience in cooking over the years, I have decided that what is most important to me, is that I am putting love into what I do.  For me, this means working with fresh ingredients grown and foraged in my area.  It means getting to know what matters to people and which foods and food rituals and history have been a part of people’s happiness.  It means getting back to gardening, getting my hands dirty, and learning all that I can.

I think the nutshell, specifically that heart-shaped walnut shell, is a perfect logo for me and all that this endeavor represents.  I am so happy to find a name that fits!

Teacher’s Appreciation

May 15, 2009

hummusfoccaciadeviled w/ watercressbuffetchicken pastry puffteacherscheese ballfoccaciaPitacheeseball

Hello world!

May 15, 2009

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