Saturday, June 28, 2008

Charleston Cooks!

I just returned from a fun and food-filled trip to Charleston, SC.
Teaching at Charleston Cooks is always a pleasure. With an unbelievably organized kitchen staff, the class runs almost effortlessly. With a sold-out crowd, we had another Girls' Night Out to remember. 
My friend and mentor, Nathalie Dupree, invited me over for a lovely lunch. In true Nathalie style, we enjoyed an impressive cheese soufflĂ©, a green salad (with herbs from her garden) and homemade tart shells filled with pineapple curd. I couldn't have found a better meal anywhere in town. Nathalie knows more about food and cooking than anyone I know and always inspires me. She was literally the beginning of my career and I will be forever grateful. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Solstice Celebration

In my cooking classes, my students often ask about parties that I host at home. There is nothing like opening your home to friends and I've been looking forward to this day for weeks. Last night we hosted a Summer Solstice party in our backyard. The weather could not have been any prettier and even the humidity cooperated. We served what seemed like every kind of beer imaginable, my signature Key Lime Martinis, and White Wine Sangria. Our friends could shake their own martinis or just stand around and sip.
For supper, we served spicy slaw, a marinated vegetable salad like my mom always makes, White Barbecued Chicken, and the best hamburgers I have ever tasted. I cheated for dessert and served sliced watermelon. The burgers (from James McNair) were on the cover of BonAppétit in 2006 and have made an appearance at almost every family gathering I've hosted since. The burgers have a texture to really wrap your hands around, thanks to pecans and andouille sausage mixed right in. Try the recipe for your next cookout. You can't go wrong with these on the table.
Happy Summer Solstice!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Every Day on Monday

On Monday, I was a guest on the nationally televised show Every Day with Marcus and Lisa. I cook on the show once a month and I always enjoy it. This month I made Homemade Limeade, Peppermint Brownies and Tortellini Salad. 
The kitchen set is beautiful and a pleasure to cook in. Here's Lisa and I after the show. 

The show airs on FamilyNet

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Christmas in June

This week I have been cooking like it's December. I am doing some recipe development for Christmas with Southern Living. It's pretty strange to make pumpkin pie when it's 98 degrees outside. I have worked on Christmas projects in the past and almost all of them have a summer deadline. To make recipe work easier, each Christmas I buy all the canned eggnog, candied fruit, and mincemeat I can find to keep on the shelf until the hot weather rolls around. 
You never know when you'll need fruitcake in June!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Culinaire, at the New World of Coke in Atlanta, was last night and was really a wonderful time. I headed home stuffed and happy thanks to all-you-can-eat tastings from 17 restaurants. With a theme of international flavors, it was almost like eating around the world in an hour.