Thursday, August 30, 2007

You Gotta Take Some Time

It has been a pretty amazing week. First, a dinner at The James Beard House. Second, an amazing write up in September's Philadelphia Magazine. Third, a stellar review from the Phantom Diner in Central PA Magazine. In between, I was able to talk to a few teachers from a local school district about healthy cooking. Healthy cooking isn't really my schtick, but I decided to do the demos because I really admire what teachers do and wanted to give something back. I live in the land of butter and bacon. Sure, fresh local produce is a huge focus, but if I can gild the lilly with some smoky pork fat, I will. So what was I to talk about. I got some amazing fruit from a local farm stand and buzzed up a smoothie. I cut up some heirloom tomatoes and made a quick tomato salad. Simple, healthy, quick. Done. As I was talking about the wonders of putting a bunch of fruit in a blender and turning it on, another thought dawned on me. It's more about taking time than being quick. This idea is so very important. Make a simple dinner...have some wine...turn off the damn TV and talk. The joy of being alive is being alive. The food is there as nourishment but the restorative aspects of the table come from conversation. Take the time to breathe, take the time to listen, take the time to savor what you are eating instead of shoveling it in and running to the next meeting. Try this exercise the next time you find yourself in a rush. If you aren't very skilled with chopsticks, get a pair out and eat your food with chopsticks. If you are skilled with the 'sticks', try eating with your weaker hand. This slows you down and makes you think about what you are eating. The bottom line is take the time to celebrate the season(it'll be gone before you know it), celebrate your company, and first and foremost celebrate yourself. ADDED NOTE: I find that doing all of the above works out even better over some great bottles of wine!

Friday, August 24, 2007

James Beard Dinner

Well, we are finally settling back into our routines after a whirlwind tour of New York City and a dinner at The James Beard House. I'm going to devote an entire post to our timeline while in NYC sometime soon. The short story is that we had a blast and I think were very well received by the New York crowd. Much more detail coming soon!!!Please check back frequently.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's Tomato Time!!!

That's right ladies and's tomato time in Central Pennsylvania. After months and months of waiting, we are finally overrun with the sweetest fruit of the summer, the tomato. However, the tomatoes we are getting at the restaurant are no ordinary tomatoes. We are using, at times, 10 different heirloom varieties grown for us by Kathy Glahn of Gettysburg Heirlooms in Gettysburg, PA. I think the biggest key is to eat as many tomatoes as you can during August and September and then shut them out for the rest of the year until you see them crop up again in mid-July. Eating a 'cardboard' tomato just for the sake of eating it is doing yourself a HUGE disservice. Get excited about the as many tomatoes as you can and make salsa, tomato juice, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, gazpacho, and the list goes on and on. If you have tomato plants in your garden, take the time to stop after picking them and breath in the wonderful scent the leaves place into the air. It really is intoxicating and is a huge part of summer. I wish someone would bottle this aroma for me...I'd spray it all over the house in the wintertime just to remember how wonderful it is to have a just picked from the vine, never refrigerated, only warmed by the sun tomato.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Day on the Farm

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with my good friend Trent Hendricks on his Telford, PA farm. The picture above shows the most amazing sunrise over his vegetable and herb garden . I was lucky enough to tip toe through his garden minutes after taking this picture and came back to the barn with armfuls of chocolate mint. This was the reason for my visit to the farm. During my two day stay, I was able to aid in the making of a cheese that I will be taking with me to a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. This soft cheese has the chocolate mint steeped in the milk which provides the most amazing mint tone for the cheese. Paired with a white peach, some raspberry puree and a doughnut(of course a doughnut!) this is going to make a huge splash in NYC. Making trips like this and being able to share a little about the processes that I go through in cooking the products is what this blog is all about. I hope that you will visit often and catch up on all the fantastic food that is being cooked and produced in central PA.