Fall is here and soup is on!

Wednesday is here again, already! Weren’t we just here?

And what great weather! That is, if you are a fall lover as I am. Time to break out the boots, sweaters, clean out the fire pit and make lots of delicious and hearty soups and stews. Like I did yesterday.

What do you do with leftover roasted potatoes?

Why potato soup, of course!

What? No recipe, you say? You are in luck this morning as I am here to “walk” you through SoupMaking 101.

Grab your favorite stock or soup pot and let’s get started.

Most cooking involves beginning with some sort of fat, i.e., olive oil, butter, coconut oil, etc… Or if you are a bacon lover, start with some diced bacon and let the fat render on a medium heat. Now you can either remove the bacon, leaving the fat behind and add it back in at the end, or leave the bacon and add other ingredients.

Next, add diced onions and maybe some minced garlic. Saute these in the hot fat until soft and translucent. Next, another choice, either add some flour to coat the onions – this will thicken your soup. Or omit the flour, as there are other ways to thicken when it becomes necessary. However, for my potato soup, I do add some flour here.

Now add diced potatoes and some stock. How much of each is up to you. As far as the stock, 1 quart is 32 ounces or four 8-ounce bowls of soup, so think about how much you want to make. Or in the case of my many leftover roasted potatoes, I added 4 quarts of stock. Yes, it is a lot, but once ready, I can portion the soup into containers and freeze and have soup all winter long!

Next simmer the potatoes until soft. Once soft, mix some sour cream and egg yolks together and gently stir into the soup. Either could be omitted, depending on preference.

Here is where I break out my immersion blender, a very handy tool to own. I then run the blender through the soup, breaking up the larger chunks, but leaving some for a great consistency.

Let simmer for about 15 minutes longer and voila, soup is on! Grab your favorite crusty bread and enjoy.

But wait, how is that SoupMaking 101, you ask? Soups are all basically the same base. And like all cooking you build with your flavor components. You can substitute shallots for the onions or omit them completely. Why stop at potatoes? Diced carrots and apples with a little curry powder added make a fabulous combination. Or how about that leftover broccoli or asparagus from dinner the night before? Does it have to be chicken stock? Nope! Vegetable stock works well. Does it have to contain a dairy product? Nope! Do you like it chunky or smooth?

Soup is one of the most versatile and forgiving things to make and great for not wasting leftovers, especially on these chilly nights that are moving in quickly. And, my clients will likely receive a soup every other week in the fall and winter months.

However, if you’d rather not make that soup or dinner, The Green Kitchen would love to help you out! Give us a call at 804-687-7099 or email us at cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com

Time Saver

Some days you just want to stay in your pjs and not get in your car. Not fight traffic. Not think about who you should or could or even want to impress that day. This not only includes your employer, but also your spouse, significant other and even your children. Whether you punch someone else’s clock or are self-employed, we all have these days.

You might be as busy as I am, growing my own business. My work week starts on Sunday, when I typically grocery shop to supplement my weekly produce delivery. And I’m fortunate enough that I now cook for 30 individuals, or 1 company and 6-8 families on a weekly basis. That’s a lot of grocery shopping. Then the groceries are dropped off at the church kitchen where the “magic” is made on Mondays and Tuesdays. At the end of both those days, deliveries are made all over town.

Or your family calendar might look like this: a jigsaw puzzle of which spouse or significant other is going to run the kids around to their activities? Which spouse is responsible for dinnertime that evening or week? Yet, these 2 simple questions can mean for an exhausting week – am I right?

So it’s finally the weekend, and you’d love to relax, but there’s housework and yardwork and the kids’ sports. Who has time or desire to grocery shop for the week?

Hiring or having someone to help you with your day-to-day life shouldn’t be a luxury. A lawn service might help your lawn look great, giving you time to spend at the kids’ baseball or soccer game. A housekeeper might help your house stay clean, giving you time to spend helping the kids’ with their homework project. How could having someone who takes care of the menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking be any different?

Imagine all the time you’d get back, or as they say in business, imagine your ROI – Return on Investment. I used to position what I do as “love me, love my food”, but that has changed. What I really sell is time. Time to be with your family, and to be present daily.

So like you, there are days I don’t want to be in my car at all. There are days I don’t want to get out of my pjs. But every week one thing remains constant in my chosen line of work. Knowing there are 30+ individuals enjoying my meals, and that is great satisfaction!

The Green Kitchen would love to give you back quality time with your family. Check us out at www.greenkitchenrichmond.com and/or give us a call or text at 804-687-7099.

Doing What You Love

Are you doing something you love? As in a career or job? I am.

Travel with me back in time to 2004, I started working a part-time job, really volunteering, at Sur La Table helping chefs get ready for the evening’s cooking class. I’d leave a miserable job at 5:00, and head to SLT and go home at 10:00 so happy.

Then in 2005, I am on a treadmill at the Y, reading an article titled “Finding Your Dream Job Making Money Do Something You Love”…. Well this intrigued me to say the least.

Up until then, I’d always thought your 9-5 Monday through Friday paid the bills and “hobbies” or things you loved most were done after work and on the weekends. Suffice it to say, that article changed my life (and not walking on the treadmill, LOL).

So, after some soul-searching my thoughts kept coming back to working with food. I’d always loved to entertain and cook, but never thought about a career in food.

This soul-searching exercise turned into going to culinary school at age 44 AND graduating with honors 3 years later, though there were times in those 3 years, I cried and wanted to quit. The many projects and papers due – go figure, it wasn’t about just learning to cook!

Everything since 2004 has propelled me to today, and never happier have I been.

The Green Kitchen continues to grow, and more rapidly since the beginning of this year. Big things are on the horizon so stay tuned!

In the meantime, call The Green Kitchen to help you with any sort of cooking needs!

From weekly meals, cooked fresh and delivered – think about how much time you would be able to save by taking menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking out of your daily equation? To catering your holiday parties – why not let someone else do the work while you enjoy your guests?

Or has someone you love just had an operation? Wouldn’t a gift of a few meals be appreciated more than flowers or a plant? What about the new baby just welcomed into this world? Wouldn’t it ease the parents’ minds to have meals already covered?

Check us out at www.greenkitchenrichmond.com or give us a call at 804-687-7099 today and see how we can make your life easier and more delicious!

Time Passing Way Too Fast

Do you know what today is? Well, 3 months from today is December 27, two days after Christmas! 3 months, as in 90 days… just sayin’…

We all think it seems forever away and we can’t believe how much Pumpkin Spice we are seeing EVERYWHERE, or that Costco already has pre-lit Christmas trees for sale! That really bugs me, to be honest. The community associations haven’t even covered the pools from closing Labor Day weekend and already the onslaught of the holiday season as begun.

Time started passing much faster for me, at least, once my kids were born. I remember my daughter’s first birthday party and watching her wondering where the year had gone.

I, for one, love the holiday itself, family and friends and good food and the world basically stops. Why can’t it be like that more often and not just one day a year? But the 3 months leading up to it is enough to drive one mad.

With the season fast approaching, let’s try not to lose sight of what is important. Peace with our loved ones, and counting our blessings.

2017 has thus far, been a fantastic year for The Green Kitchen and it continues to be so, and I am fortunate enough to be doing something I love. I hope you are as well.

Never Enough Time

Continuing from my recent one-statement survey, I asked my Facebook followers what their dinnertime challenges were. Answers varied but a few mentioned “time”. Aaaahhh yes, the epitome of our busy lives today!

When did we become so busy? Remember the commercial from a couple of years ago, the one where someone ordered a latte and the cashier turns around to prepare the order and the customer immediately asks “where’s my latte?”

With the ever-growing presence of social media, we have truly become a nation of immediate gratification. We try to fit as much as we can into the few precious hours we have. Careers, family, social life, etc…. Something’s inevitably going to suffer, and unfortunately, that is usually quality time with our families, including dinner around the table, a lost tradition.

So how can we take that tradition back? Menu planning for the week can be helpful. On the weekend, plan the upcoming week’s menus, perhaps even going so far as a calendar with each evening’s menu written upon it. Then go grocery shopping armed with a list of needed ingredients. And, if time allows, prep as much as possible ahead. Imagine leaving work, not having to go to the grocery store, knowing you have a plan in mind for when you arrive at home.

And when having enough time to menu plan, grocery shop, prep and cook is just not possible, another option is to bring in help! I have helped many families with bringing back that tradition and regaining their quality family time.

Give The Green Kitchen a call today at 804-687-7099 to see how we can help!

Dinnertime Challenges

In a recent one-statement survey, I asked my Facebook followers what their dinnertime challenges were. Answers varied but one consistency I saw was “what to make”. Been there, done that.

In the past, I have spent much time walking around the grocery store, searching for inspiration. Walking through the various departments, seeing what would grab my attention.

I am asked all the time “what is my specialty”, or what is my favorite thing to cook and for me, the answer is always the same – food. I LOVE to cook and have always found it meditative. I can’t tell you how many times I have put on music, and wound up “in my zone” – oh and yes, some times wine is involved. “I love wine and some times I even cook with it”, as one of my mentors, Julia Child, said.

Creating a meal, particularly for those you love, can be a most satisfying experience. But I know it’s just not the same for some of you out there. It’s stressful. I’m here to help.

You likely have a few standards or go-to meals, but some times you’d just like to try something different, or more exciting. So how do you do this? The key lies within your own imagination.

Now as you can imagine, I have a “few” cookbooks to refer to, but I don’t use them as often as one might think. Sure, I will open certain ones now and then, but overall, I cook from inspiration, and inspiration can come from anywhere. Cookbooks, cooking shows, cooking magazines, even the newspaper. You could be inspired by the current weather – if it’s raining, may be a pot of soup and a good crusty bread? Or if time is a challenge, a simple grilled meat and roasted veggies?

With a little forethought and imagination, dinnertime doesn’t have to be a challenge. More helpful hints from The Green Kitchen are on the way.