Musings from a Seattle personal chef
Archive for July, 2007
This coming Saturday my darling and I will embark on our longest training run — a full 26.2 miles — in preparation for the Marathon du Medoc. We’ll start at our home near Greenlake, wind north through the neighborhood and down to Golden Gardens, head along Shilshole to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, cross over to Commodore Park, head south along the train tracks to Myrtle Edwards, continue along the waterfront to Jackson where we’ll head east to Lake Washington Blvd. We’ll continue along the boulevard, hopefully catching glimpses of the Blue Angels. We’ll then head up Madison to the arboretum, then over to UW, where we’ll pick up the Burke-Gilman trail. Cut through Cowen Park, then make our way back to Greenlake. Run around the north end, then stumble our way back home.
So, WHY is this relevant to a food blog? Well, I determined over a month ago what we’ll enjoy for our victory lunch: lobster rolls! The one problem — you can’t find traditional New England-style rolls here on the west coast. They’re the ones that are split at the top, with flat sides for grilling. But fortunately a quick call to Mom and Dad rectified the situation, and here’s what landed on my doorstep yesterday:
I’ll be sure to let you know how they turned out!
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve launched this blog. Where DOES the time go?
When I first started writing, I envisioned a catch-all for musings on various aspects of my life: my personal chef business, my culinary creations, my food philosophy, my fitness shenanigans and anything else that struck my fancy. I certainly had no aspirations for becoming a famous blogger and getting a book deal; heck, I wasn’t even sure if anyone else other than my family would read it. I was just looking for another creative outlet.
My posts have been fewer and farther between, but that can be attributed to a number of factors. Summer’s here, and I’d rather be out enjoying the weather than cooped up in the kitchen cooking (and then writing about it). Plus my marathon training takes up much of my time. My fitness musings have migrated to my other blog, Eat Drink Run Woman, so Ovens to Betsy will only be culinary related.
Aside from not having much time to devote to writing, I’m also stymied by my stomach. Even if I’ve prepared the most yum-scrumptious, blog-worthy meal, I just don’t want to take the time to make it look pretty for a photo; I’m hungry! Sure, I could write about it without photos, but where’s the fun in that? In addition, my kitchen is notoriously cluttered, and there never seems to be a clear spot to take a photo (when I actually do take the time to photograph my creations, it tends to be outside on my front porch, which typically is devoid of clutter).
As I write this, I just discovered at least one of you has found inspiration in my blog and has even awarded me with the “Thoughtful Blogger” and “Power of Schmooze” awards; thank you Caffeinated Cowgirl! As I read the criteria, they truly sum up what I have hoped to create:
The Thoughtful Blogger Award is for “those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others’ feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping other bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.”
The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello — all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”
Although I absolutely love being a personal chef, it can be quite lonely. On one hand, I don’t have to worry about obnoxious, back-stabbing coworkers, but I also don’t have partners in crime to hang out with over a beer to kvetch about the boss. I cater Christmas parties rather than attend them. Meeting friends through blogging fills that void.
I don’t know how this blog will evolve, but that’s okay by me. While some may say you should have definitive goals and direction, sometimes it’s fun just to see how things progress. I’m giving myself time to develop my voice and focus. While my writing isn’t as prolific as others, I certainly hope you continue to visit. Your comments energize and motivate me, and I hope to continue to inspire you to try new things.
The other day I was overcome with client envy. No, it wasn’t their lifestyle I coveted (although I’m sure I could get used to it); I yearned to have a refrigerator full of chef-prepared meals. All I’ve been getting lately are bean tostadas and pizza. (Okay, so they have been pretty tasty, and yes, they were prepared by a chef. But she’s been increasingly lazy with our dinners).
The one dish in particular that piqued my taste buds was my adaptation of the CIA’s Korean braised beef short ribs served at St. Andrews Cafe (it’s one of four student-run restaurants on campus and features healthy cooking techniques. I attended one of the culinary bootcamps a couple years ago and dined at St. Andrews our first night). All of us who enjoyed the ribs that night did nothing short of swoon. The beef was fall-apart tender and cloaked in a velvety smooth sauce. You would never guess it didn’t contain an ounce of butter.
I was surprised they agreed to share the recipe, but once I looked at the ingredients and preparation, I knew I’d have to make several modifications if I were to prepare it in a home kitchen. It not only was for 30 servings, it called for gallons of veal stock and consomme — ingredients most home chefs don’t have at their disposal. But I was determined and after several tinkerings I believe I’ve come up with a reasonable facsimile. They’re not as sublime as the original, and to save time I’ve included some beurre manié (butter kneaded with flour) as a final thickener.