November 23, 2014

Cultivate your lettuce.

Of course I like to cultivate food by taking everyday foods
we are familiar with and changing them up BUT
I also like to literally cultivate veggies and herbs.

I like to share and show people during cooking classes
that you can take many of your veggies and herbs
and regrow them.

Let's Cultivate our food! Right?!!

Some of the most common items we can re-grow are:
scallions, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, herbs
and lettuce.  Simply have the bottom end of the lettuce
head in clean water and you will see it re-grow.

You only need about 2 inches of water or so.
The most important thing is to keep your water clean.
The easiest way to do that is to simply
change your water every other day.
If you don't change your water- it will turn green
and slimey and eventually moldy and stinky.

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

November 17, 2014

Made some great lemonade with.... no lemons.

When we go to In-Home Cooking classes- people tend to ask us
MANY questions... food related questions are obviously quite
common but many people also inquire about wanting to
hear about a crazy story of some....  crazy house hold we went to...

We have many crazy stories but  we recently had an event where
we made some great lemonade with.... no lemons. That's right.
Lemonade with no lemons. Huh?  What?!?  How do you do that?
What kind of recipe is that?

I wouldn't call this a 'crazy' experience but it was definitely quite...
not the typical Thursday night norm for Let's Cultivate Food.

We have a company that we provide Personal Chef Dinners for.
This company is AWESOME!
They have fitness challenges with their employees every few months
and the winners receive a Personal Chef Dinner.
The "winners dinner" is what we call it.  This company is located in
Philly but has a 2nd location in Bethlehem, PA and the  winning group
this time around was a group in their Bethlehem location.

We arrived at the location (being told there was an oven/stove top)
BUT we quickly found out that this location only had a microwave.

Imagine standing in an office kitchen with bags and bags of food,
our mobile catering plates, utensils, infused pitchers of drinks
 and ALL the ingredients while being told that there is
no oven or even stove top... for 10 people when the first appetizer
required using the oven to melt 4 cheeses on top of a bread loaf.

I was speechless BUT at the same time I knew...  #wegotthis!
2 of the employees made some calls and REALLY turned on their
thinking caps and was able to arrange  using the kitchen
of the Homewood Suites which was only a few minutes away.

We walked into the hotel and Rebecca (of Homewood Suites)
handed us a room key and said the kitchen was this way....

As we followed into the kitchen, I was wondering if this was a dream
I was having because it  was hard to imagine that we carried some of
our food with us to use the kitchen of the hotel but as I mentioned
we were handed a room key as well - it was even more bizarre.
When I asked what the room key was for- I quickly then found out
that they only have an oven in the small kitchen area but there were
stove top burners only in the rooms.
That's when I also quickly realized that this facility was an
extended stay place. (meaning people did their cooking in their rooms
because they were often staying there for an extended period of time
rather than a night or 2.)

I cut, stuffed, baked the bread and dessert and while that was
in the oven... again of a hotel down the street (completely unplanned)
we walked down the halls to use one of the rooms to cook some eggs
(which was the topping of Bibimbap) on a stove top.

Typically eggs are cooked sunny side up for bibimbap so that you can
have the yolk drizzle on top of the veggies but being that I had to cook
the eggs, store them in a container and drive back to the office-
I figured cooking them over-hard was going to be better.
I didn't want to deal with broken yolks all over the place.

All in all the night was a great time.  My sous chef conducted
a cheese taste test and had some fun food trivia as I made due
under the circumstances. I would of wanted to have the food
hot rather than the room temperature that it was- but...
we certainly made lemonade with no lemons.

Below are a few pictures that I didn't even know that were
being taken at the time due to coming to the realization
that I was literally frying eggs on a stove top in a hotel.

The hospitality of the employees of Homewood Suites in Bethlehem
was a 2 thumbs up for sure. They were so hospitable, kind,
understanding and totally went out of their way to help this company
out in a slight jam of having invited us for a Personal Chef Dinner.

stuffing the everything bread with 4 cheeses... the 4 cheeses that the 
participants of the Personal Chef Dinner did a cheese taste test with..

that's me looking for room 111...

trying to slide the key card out to enter the room...

yes, I'm frying eggs on a mini ceramic stove burner... in a hotel Bethlehem...
on a Thursday evening... while using the hotel's huge jug of olive oil...

"cheers"  to the winners of the fitness challenge! 

enjoying the  apple cinnamon infused  green tea with honey...

Bibimbap- the main entree followed by the chilled bowtie pasta salad
with marinated grapes and tomatoes...

making sure the sides of the plates  are clean...

Bibimbap  on a plate rather than a bowl...

with the over-hard fried egg on top...

Lemonade without lemons can be good 
Let's Cultivate Food

Apple cinnamon ginger infused water

Water is a great way to re-hydrate yourself but 
let's face it- it can get boring!

Infuse your water with pretty much any fruit, herb or even veggie.
If you are not sure which one to infuse or try-
an easy way to start out is to use whatever fruit might
be in season. For example, because it's Autumn and apple season,
apples sliced or diced is an easy decision. I added some cinnamon 
sticks and made slices of about 1 inch of ginger 
(with the skin peeled and rinsed before infusing.)

stay hydrated all year long Let's Cultivate Food

November 15, 2014

Caprese STUFFED burger

Have you ever eaten a stuffed burger?

It is....  delicious.
I took some  ground beef and seasoned it
with a little garlic salt, black pepper, dried Italian herbs,
dried basil and an egg. I made 2 thin patties and in between
the patties I laid some.....
diced tomato (about 2 slices worth)
and some basil cut in chiffonade (thin ribbon like) and added
some fresh mozzarella cheese.
I sauteed  the burger on a pan to char the outside of it and then
baked the rest in the oven on 400 degrees to finish it off.
(about 5-7 minutes)

Once the burger was not pink anymore I turned off the oven
and added a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of the stuffed burger.
Although I turned the oven off- the heat was enough to melt the slice
of cheese.  Once the cheese is melted- you can lay your stuffed burger
on the bun or roll of your choice. I added some lettuce sliced up
and 2 thin slices of tomato. You don't need any ketchup or any other
condiments with this burger because by adding the raw egg - it not only
holds  the burger together but it keeps it moist and juicy as well.
Also being that the burger is stuffed with tomato and cheese inside-
it makes it even more juicy and....... delicious!

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

MENUS for Catered Lunch Boxes

Catered lunch boxes are individually 
packaged and personalized.  
Each comes with an entree + a side 
and a drink  (often fruit or herb infused).

(Menus can be customized for special diets & allergies)

Let's face it, your employees rock! 

Treat them to the company perk that keeps them 
fueled up and ready to work! 

When your company is ready to discuss 
your company’s lunch meal plans...

Please click the tab titled "To  SCHEDULE
where you will fill out some basic info
(location, how many employees, etc...)
so we can get a better idea of your 
company's needs and how we can 'satisfy'.

(pictured below are just a few samples)



Individually packaged and personalized,   
Let's Cultivate Food

November 4, 2014

Mac and cheese STUFFED eggrolls

What's your favorite type of mac and cheese?
The ones that kids favor from a box?
The 'fant-cee' lobster mac and cheese that can be $22?

Whichever type of mac and cheese you prefer...
change it up and create some mac and cheese stuffed egg rolls!

That's right... just roll them up in egg roll wrappers.

You can eat them plain or drizzle some sriracha sauce!

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food