Posted on February 6th, 2011 1 comment
Whetting your appetite
We are moving ever closer to spring and I am contemplating new items for my personal chef clients’ menus. I thought I would whet your appetite with some pictures and descriptions of some of the things my clients have eaten lately. Some things stay on the menu year round and many things are seasonal. As you faithful readers of this blog know, I am a firm believer in eating according to the seasons. The reasons are many. The quality of locally grown in season food is higher, has more nutritive value, and is less expensive. Each season has its own energies, as does the food that grows during that time.
I must admit I am ready for the spring produce – peas, asparagus, strawberries! But, we have a few more weeks of root vegetables and squashes ahead of us. We are blessed here in California with an early spring but Mother Earth is still resting and waiting and so must we.
Here is a Winter Vegetable Stew I made for a vegetarian couple, rich with mushroom broth and locally cultivated mushrooms, winter squash, celery root, celery, onions, spinach, and sundried tomatoes which were picked and dried in the height of the season and so carry that life force in them.
A soup that sticks around most of the year is Chicken Noodle soup. Obviously, this was not for the same clients, but a family who orders soup every week. Here is where I get to be creative. I hardly ever use a recipe for soup. I have a memory of a recipe or a concept and either see what looks good at the market and/or what is available in the fridge. This means each time it is a one of a kind masterpiece, never to be exactly repeated. This soup contains chicken thighs which I find have so much more flavor and richness, especially good for soups and stews. It also has onions, carrots, celery, spinach and noodles. This day, I used what noodles were available in the clients’ cupboards. It also has a healthy dose of garlic, and some salt and pepper.
Next up is a recipe, often requested by my vegetarian clients, from the wonderful Molly Katzen for Spaghetti Squash Pancakes. You first bake the squash and when cooked scrape out the flesh which is noodle like in shape. Personally, I have never quite gotten into using this squash as a substitute for noodles but many people do. The batter is simple with the cooked noodles, rice flour, onion, eggs, salt and pepper. I like using red onion and adding some fresh thyme. This definitely is a seasonal recipe, appearing in the fall and winter. These clients love little patties and cakes so I am sure some sort of spring pancake will be on their menus soon, perhaps peas.
Lastly is a recipe I found on a piece of paper when cleaning out my garage. I suspect it is a Zone diet recipe but I cannot give appropriate credit for it. Delicious little good for you cookies, made of dried figs, almond flour, salt, vanilla,orange zest, and a bit of coconut oil. ( the oil was not in the original recipe) Happily, they are processed sugar free, grain free, and gluten free.
Almond Fig Bites
2 cups almond meal
1 c. ( 6 oz) soft dried figs ( one of my personal chef friends suggested subbing apricots, yum!)
2 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. coconut oil
Heat oven to 325º. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 1 minute.
Form dough into small slightly flattened balls and place on baking sheet 1/2 in. apart. ( cookies do not spread during baking). Bake until bottoms of cookies are slightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes, turning pan once half way through. Cool and eat!
There is a small taste of what has been keeping me busy lately. I love my work as a personal chef. Every day is different and every client is different. Stay tuned for Spring will surely come and new ideas will emerge along with the new vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
This post is part of GNOWFGLINS Tuesday Twister. Head over there and read all the other interesting posts, please.