Easing into Fall

Well, I am loving these temperatures. I’ve now turned the heat off and opened the windows. Will have to close them before turning in, but it was nice listening to that rain Monday night.

The changing of the season brings so much to mind. I’ve decorated for Halloween and will continue through Easter next year, and I love having my dining room and sitting room done up for all the holidays.

It also brings to mind changes in general. Where were you last fall? What a difference even a year can make. And my little white Chihuahua, Luna has been with me 2 years already. What a love she is. Her and her big brother, Little Bit are approximately 4 years old now. They had a tough beginning but I think they have enjoyed rescuing me.

And this is the beginning of the “giving season”. We should all remember how fortunate we are. Many in my circle are suffering in one form or another, so I do give thanks every day for how blessed I have been. My animals are just one example. Of course, my kids are as well. My daughter has relocated back to Richmond after being in 2 different states for 2+ years and it’s been great being able to see her so much more. And my son has been cooking with me since 2013 and is becoming quite an accomplished cook himself. He works very hard at all his jobs and I couldn’t be more proud.

And The Green Kitchen is happy to be sponsoring Give Thanks, a fundraising dinner here at my home on Sat., November 18th. Check it out on EventBrite and The Green Kitchen Facebook page. Proceeds will benefit FeedMore. I hope you will be able to help us support a great cause, remembering those who don’t have the same Happy Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, my catering schedule is filling up so if you need help with any holiday party you might be throwing, give us a call, as we’d love to help you shine for the holidays! Give us a call at 804-687-7099 or email us at cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com

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!