Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

Grain-free Bread Recipe – Ready to go!

November 5, 2012

Image

Exciting test kitchen day!  I still offer the Gluten-free Cranberry Nut Artisan Bread, but now I have a great, entirely grain-free bread that’s perfect for sandwiches and suitable for diabetic dietary needs.  This one turned out moist and delicious!  It’s 8g. Protein per bun and only 10 carbs vs. the 41 carbs of a normal wheat sub.  Next time you need some buns for wheat-free or diabetic friends and family to eat at your function, I can offer these delicious buns.  Good luck keeping the wheat-eaters away from them!

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How to: Chocolate Creme Brulee

January 7, 2011

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk, reduced by half

Coconut milk reducing on the stove

Begin by simmering the coconut milk in a medium sized, heavy sauce pan on the stove.

Reduced, thick coconut milk w/vanilla bean

Use medium heat and reduce stirring occasionally until you can see by the markings on the side of the pan that you have half the amount of liquid you had when you began.  Add the scrapings of one vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scraped. Also add 3 C. Heavy Cream or 3 C. Half and Half bring back to a simmer.

Whisking in hot cream


Next, separate the yolks from the whites of six large eggs.  Set the whites aside in the fridge for other uses (egg white omelets, low fat baking, etc.).  Place the yolks in a large bowl and whisk while slowly ladling in the hot coconut cream mixture.  Keep whisking as you do, to prevent curdling the eggs.

weighed chocolate and sugar

Weigh 6 oz. of dark chocolate and 4 oz. of granulated sugar to have at the ready.

Whisk the weighed chocolate and sugar into the hot egg cream.  Continue to slowly stir until melted, do not whisk too vigorously, to prevent air bubbles from forming.

melting

Ready to go!

Place into 10-12 ramekins, 5-6 oz. size ramekins work well.

Placed in pan for cooking

Place water halfway up the sides of the dishes with the dishes placed in a large pan with sides.  Cover in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until set in the middle.  If the custard center is only slightly jiggly, it will continue to cook and set up after removed from the oven.  If the center is completely firm, it may become a bit cracked as it cools.  The pan should not be allowed to become dry as these cook, so when checking for doneness, carefully add water to the side of the pan.

cooling custards

Remove cooked custards from the pan to slowly cool to room temperature.  At this point, you may either refrigerate each for later use, or finish with the brulee torch to serve while slightly warm.

Slice bananas and arrange as you wish, then sprinkle the bananas and custard with coarse or raw sugar.  Use your creme brulee torch to create a crisp warm caramel crust overtop the custard.

Enjoy!

Enjoy your final product!  This batch should make 10-14 depending upon the size of the ramekin.  If you are not eating shortly after you bake, you can wrap each and refrigerate doing the final step before serving.

www.nutshellcatering.com

Winter Soup Buffet – Vegetarian Meet-up Group in Madison, WI

December 15, 2009

Logoless Designs Photo

Logoless Designs Photo

Logoless Designs Photo

Wheat free Liberian Banana Rice Bread - Logoless Designs

Mediterranean Seitan Salad with Almonds and Chard - Logoless Designs Photo

Vegetarian Meet-up Group of 65

Ginger Citrus Punch with Vegan Orange Rice Dream

Vegan Hazelnut Apricot Cookies - photo by Dave The Freidman

Kapil Zubin’s first birthday party catered in Madison, WI

September 29, 2009
ginger citrus punch w/ blood orange sorbet

ginger citrus punch w/ blood orange sorbet

fruit salad with maple orange yogurt

fruit salad with maple orange yogurt

tortilla crisps for taco buffet

tortilla crisps for taco buffet

taco toppings

taco toppings

taco toppings

taco toppings

vegan chocolate-oat & hazelnut-fig cookies

vegan chocolate-oat & hazelnut-fig cookies

quinoa black bean salad & homemade taco sauce

quinoa black bean salad & homemade taco sauce

edamame hummus

edamame hummus

BirthdayParty-09

Madison Veggie Meet-up Group

July 15, 2009

VeggieMeetup-1One way of eating sustainably, is eating “low on the food chain.”  Madison Area Veggie Meet-up Group members probably already know this.  Group organizer, Dave Friedman, gets all available members together a couple times a month for all-vegan social outings.  Yesterday, I got to prepare an all-vegan buffet for their group (something I haven’t had the pleasure of doing since my years at the Ivy Inn cooking the vegetarian brunches there).

I did eight courses in four rounds.  The first being an appetizer round of veggies with vegan onion dip, edamame hummus with spiced pita, and fruit kabobs with orange maple soy yogurt dip.

Second round were salads: Black Bean Quinoa with fresh avocado, spinach with organic red wine vinaigrette, and vegan foccacia pizzas with tomatoes, spinach, and pine nuts.

Third round was a vegan taco buffet with hot roasted yams & fava beans, homemade bbq seitan, and a variety of crunchy toppings with homemade taco sauce.

Finally, for dessert:  Flaxseed brownies and vegan maple-hickory nut blondies with strawberry sauce and Chocolate Shoppe’s vegan espresso oreo ice cream!

It may be of interest that in 2008 Carnegie Mellon showed in a study that going meat and dairy free for one day of the week is more environmentally beneficial than eating locally every day.  Veggie Meet-up group shows just how easy and tasty this can be!  It was a terrifically fun event!  We held it at Daisy Cafe on Atwood Avenue, beautiful space to rent in the evening!

VeggieMeetup-3VeggieMeetup-5VeggieMeetup-6VeggieMeetup-8Go to Dave’s blog to sign up for the Veggie Meetup Group!

http://www.meetup.com/VegMadison/calendar/10640028/

A Toy Story + Happy Ever After

June 22, 2009

nutshell_green

After many forecasts for rain, hail, and tornadoes, last week, I was relieved to find partly sunny skies and no rain for Oompa Toys company picnic!  This was the first order I received for my Thai noodle salad and sandwiches, and another round for my market spinach salad with organic apples and sweet red wine vinaigrette!  It was a test-drive day for an idea I had about having sheet describing the origins of the sustainably sourced items on the menu.  At the wedding party, earlier that week, I announced source info as the courses were served.  I found that to be disruptive when people want to enjoy their conversations, and think this printed version may work better, as people can check it out at their convenience.  Loved creating the food for these parties, and I think the asparagus-grits-souffle with Farmer John’s gouda and cheddar is a keeper!  My only regret, I left my camera at home, so no shiny pictures to accompany this post.  Here is the source-menu though:

What makes today’s menu special?

Organic Prairie Bacon ~ humanely raised on family farms without antibiotics.  Feed grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  No nitrates/nitrites except for naturally occurring nitrates found in sea salt & celery juice.

Organic mixed greens

Locally foraged watercress (on tuna & salmon)

Twin Rivers, Wisconsin smoked salmon

Smoked Chicken from Stoddard’s Market & organic WI cranberries

Organic & local cucumbers and market herbs in Greek salad

Organic spinach and fuji apples in salad w/ organic dressing & fair trade olive oil

Thai noodle salad uses organic nut butter & ginger & market veggies

Sun Chips company uses solar energy & 33% renewable resource packaging and is working toward a fully compostable package

Jenny & Christian’s Wedding

June 17, 2009
Buffet

Buffet

brownie tower and sprinkles for ice cream

brownie tower and sprinkles for ice cream

olivada, bruschetta, & toasted spiced almonds

olivada, bruschetta, & toasted spiced almonds

cheese board

cheese board

rosemary chicken

rosemary chicken

fruit

fruit

mini foccacia pizzas with spinach & pine nuts

mini foccacia pizzas with spinach & pine nuts

pate

pate

Spanish meatballs & fresh herb cuke sandwiches

Spanish meatballs & fresh herb cuke sandwiches

hazelnut apple salad topping

hazelnut apple salad topping

beet, chevre, & scallion salad

beet, chevre, & scallion salad

black bean quinoa salad

black bean quinoa salad

chilled salmon with fresh herbs

chilled salmon with fresh herbs

Sausage pasta w/rp's pasta & stoddard's sausage

Sausage pasta w/rp's pasta & stoddard's sausage

Ricotta kale puffs

Ricotta kale puffs

roasted new potatoes

roasted new potatoes

Julia serving champagne w/ Christian

Julia serving champagne w/ Christian

Spinach pies

Spinach pies

della cleaning up

della cleaning up

Frangiapane tarts and chocolate cakes

Frangiapane tarts and chocolate cakes

half eaten buffet :)

half eaten buffet 🙂

Last Saturday I catered Jenny and Christian’s wedding at Jenny’s mother, Rosalind’s home in Madison.  It was a beautiful wedding in her garden with Lynnette’s jazz band playing in the gazebo.  My friends, Julia and Della, helped and we had a wonderful time together with the terrific guests.  The weather was beautiful too!  Whew!

My shared kitchen space

June 5, 2009

mixingkitchenshop

Just a few snaps of the kitchen space I am using on East Wilson.  It’s a great kitchen and shop at RP’s Pasta Factory!  I rent kitchen space as I need it.  The people there are terrific, and it’s right next to the space where Central Park will be one day & on the bike path!

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!