Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A movable feast.

Let's talk about feeding people.

In Hillsborough County, 9% of residents don't know where their next meal is coming from. In Coos County, that number jumps to 12%.

My profession allows me to create menus and healthy meals for my clients. It is exciting and creative and fulfilling. I love what I do. But as I'm doing this job I can't help but think of those that don't have the luxury of planned, healthy meals.

September is Hunger Awareness Month and the New Hampshire Food Bank has been promoting the effort. It is through the Food Bank that I get the opportunity to participate in Cooking Matters, a division of Share Our Strength. I am a culinary volunteer for classes that teach children, adults and families how to cook healthier meals, shop smarter, and enjoy meal time with their families. It is incredibly rewarding and the Cooking Matters staff is full of gifted and passionate people. I am honored to be in their company. I like the "teach a man to fish" concept of providing aid. It is one thing to give someone a meal, but teach them the independence of cooking for themselves and you can change their life completely. It is a skill I took for granted- an education I was blessed with at a young age. I am thrilled to pay it forward.

This is a strange time for the Food Bank. People are sending their kids back to school, taking a break after summer vacations and preparing for the holiday season. The need for food/monetary donations is up, but the influx of any donations is down. We're all just preoccupied. Please consider making a donation to the food bank or simply spreading the word about hunger in our country. We hear of famine across the globe, but it lives in our own back yard.

It doesn't need to.

In other news, I was thrilled to get a call from the Concord Monitor the other night. I had sent out press releases to local media outlets in an effort to extend my reach in the Greater Concord area. I was delighted to get a text message the following afternoon while I was in the middle of a cook date.

"Great write up in the paper!"

I had forgotten all about it. Talk about a fast turn around. I was thrilled when I saw the headline:

Fairy godmother is her business model

I had never thought of it that way, but was I ever thrilled at the comparison! It wasn't long, but I was pleased with the whole article. Some great friends of mine shared it across social media. Here's hoping people read it and get a better understanding of what I do for a living. I get a lot of confused glances when I tell people I'm a "personal chef." They're not sure what to do with a title like that.

I am also expecting a piece in the Hippo Press soon. Back in a past life of mine I was a writer there, so it felt strange to be sending them a press release (and I told them so in my e-mail!). Regardless of that, their food writer Luke Steere gave me a call and we had a long chat about my business and what I love to do- feed people. That piece will have a photo with it, which should be helpful down the road. I know the Hippo has a ton of readers, I hope they are interested in what I do! I am so anxious for the next issue. I will let you know when it hits news stands.

As with most of my posts, I like to end with a good recipe or two. So, why break tradition?? Our family runs around a bit crazy in the mornings and the earliest of us need a fast way to get breakfast in. The answer was a combined effort between myself and my sister Melissa:

Egg Cups.

Lightly grease a muffin tin and add to the cups any vegetables you desire. These had a bunch of Swiss Chard and Shallots in them. Leave enough room to crack one egg into each cup on top of the veggies. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, maybe 20, minding the doneness of the yolk. I like a runny yolk, so I went with a few less minutes and finished with a quick blast under the broiler. Garnish with Sriracha. Because it belongs at breakfast. Even on cereal.

Besides that, we've been inundated with peaches at our house. My favorite start in the morning is plain yogurt with sliced peach, crushed walnuts and a bit of honey. It's an energy boost! Our favorite peach dessert this year has become a welcomed favorite by many of my clients- several request it over and over again. I can't take credit for it. The folks at Bon Appetit Magazine gave me this gem- and when I say it is incredibly easy, I mean it. God bless and easy dessert that even a cook (not a baker) can master pretty quickly.

Nevermind the "Blueberry" in the title, this recipe will work with any fruit you throw at it. I like mixing peach and blueberry when the season is at a crossroads.

Blueberry Drop Biscuit Cobbler (copied and pasted for your convenience)


  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 6 cups fresh blueberries (about 2 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 Tbsp. sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter; using your fingertips, incorporate until only pea-size lumps remain. Gently mix in crème fraîche. Knead in bowl until a biscuit-like dough forms, 5–7 turns (overmixing will make dough tough).
  • Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 Tbsp. flour, berries, juice, and zest in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Pour into an 8x8x2" glass baking dish or divide among six 6-oz. ramekins. Tear biscuit topping into quarter-size crumbles; scatter over berries.
  • Bake cobbler until juices are thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and deep golden brown, 20–25 minutes for ramekins or 45–50 minutes for baking dish. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2012/08/blueberry-drop-biscuit-cobbler#ixzz26AKC2U4j

That about covers it for now. What a great summer I was blessed with. I hope you feel the same about yours. Now, it's time to toast to changing leaves, heartier fare, and layered clothing.

This New Hampshire native wishes you all the best that Autumn has to offer. xo

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