Chef Tips for a Perfect Holiday Celebration

Chef Tips for a Perfect Holiday Celebration

Food Tips for the Perfect Holiday Celebration

holidayparty

With a little planning this just might be your best holiday yet!

Tip #1: For a successful celebration – “Keep it Simple.”

Here is a formula that works: 2-2-2. It works this way, I like to offer six items: two that are store bought, two that are semi-homemade and two homemade. That lets you take time to focus on your special recipes while keeping the other prep easy. Next you want to make sure you have something for everyone in the mix. These days that can be challenging. So many people are gluten-free, vegan, aren’t eating dairy and such so make sure you have that information when crafting the menu. In a perfect world offer vegetarian, seafood and meat options so it feels like a meal. People are moving more towards tapas so the basic crudité, meat and cheese board doesn’t cut it anymore. There is no shortage for ideas on the internet so menu planning is just a click away! If you find yourself stumped just take a look at my catering options and I am happy to help.

Tip #2: Focus on the Platters and Decorations and keep the dishes in the cupboard! Select nice napkins, small paper plates, if needed, and plastic cups rather than creating extra work that comes with lots of dishes.They are perfectly fine for these holiday gatherings. You can then put some thought and design into your selection of platters and decorations to create a lovely setting. I have yet to hear anyone complain, especially when the food is tasty.

Tip #3: A Simple Self-Serve Bar – Provide a selection of beverages that includes sparkling water, craft beer, red wine and maybe a signature cocktail like an Aperol spritzer.

Tip #4: Bites per Person – People always ask me this and its the larger groups that can be challenging. The rule of thumb is 4-6 bites if a meal is being served and 8-10 bites without a meal. Having gourmet nuts, chips and olives and maybe a dip like pimento cheese with crackers staged in several areas will always help to fill people up!

Tip #5: Deserts- This is the time of year when people splurge! Either make your favorite holiday deserts or save yourself time and go to the local bakery and pick up a few unusual items. Consider placing a special order ahead of time to make sure you are covered. Actually, this is where fruit and cheese can also work well. A beautiful platter of warm brie drizzled with honey surrounded by dried and fresh fruit and chocolate covered almonds it’s just enough to finish off the evening!

Tip #5: One Bunch of Flowers Will Do – There is no need to spend lots on elaborate flower arrangements. You can save a bundle by picking up a loose bunch of flowers from the grocery or florist and add to it with simple greens and berries from the yard or local garden center. With this inexpensive combination you can create stunning and memorable decorations without breaking the bank.

Tip #6: Cooks Tip: No need to feel overwhelmed this holiday season. Look to your closest grocery store, like Ingles. They can make stunning holiday platters with just 24-hours notice. By delegating those labor intensive items like tea sandwiches and deviled eggs you will have more time to do the holiday prep that you find the most fun.

 

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June ’18 – Fridge Tips

June ’18 – Fridge Tips

Summer is a great time to really clean out your refrigerator. With the farmers markets and fruit stands in full swing eating fresh is a breeze but it can seem like a lot of work. Here are a few tips to make your food prep really work for you!

  1. Throw out any old produce and try to plan a menu for the week ahead. If you are a person who would rather decide what to cook as you are shopping you still need to keep your purchases to what is achievable not only for time sake but for cutting down on waste. Most people throw out 15- 20 % of fresh items weekly because they just don’t get to it or it goes bad before they do.
  2. When you return from the grocery or farmers market wash and store everything that day. By prepping all your vegetables that day you set yourself up to enjoy fresh salads and vegetables all week with only minutes to plate a salad or sauté whatever you like.
  3. Fresh Herb Storage: Basil should be kept at room temperature in a glass container filled with a few inches of water with a plastic bag covering it. This will keep it fresh all week. Other herbs like cilantro, dill and mint can either be kept the same way as basil but in the fridge or wrapped in damp paper towel and placed in plastic storage bag in the vegetable drawer.
  4. Summer dressings are so simple; with the abundance of fresh herbs you can simply add a few pantry staples and have the perfect dressings. It can be as simple as fresh lemons and limes whisked with good extra virgin olive oil and if you like, some Dijon mustard or a little white wine vinegar or a vinegar of your choice.

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Recipe: Mustard and Herb Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as tarragon, chives, parsley, dill, basil and cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: Combine mustard, garlic, and vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Mix in herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

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May ’18 – Tips on Chef Products and Tools

May ’18 – Tips on Chef Products and Tools

May 2018 Newsletter

tips on chef tools and products

Last month’s Newsletter featured Pantry and Fridge Staples. As a continuation in helping to make cooking more fun I wanted to share ideas and products you should know about! I would also encourage you to visit the Food Blog to check out previous posts you may have forgotten about, lots of great stuff!

Flavor Boosters:

  • Herbamare Sea Salt adds such a subtle undertone to my cooking, I use it to finish off Soups and Sauces and it is a great replacement for table salt https://www.avogelusa.com/herbamare/
  • Calabria Chili Paste is something all cooks should have in the kitchen. Add as much or as little as you like to give layers of savory flavor to Pasta Sauces, Eggs, Sandwich Spreads, Vegetables and Meats. I blended it into a Meatloaf mix and wow it really punched up the flavor. https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Chili-Peppers-Crushed-jar

Food Trends:

  • Pickling, this fun process is the hottest trend going and Spring is the perfect time of year to get started. Whether it is a quick pickle or the stove top version, you can create any texture or flavor profile you want. It’s really the new “Condiment of Choice” top your favorite Salad, Taco or Sandwich and it makes a great Marinade for Meats. I like to change the Flavors by adding a Mexican Twist using Fresh Cilantro, Jalapeños, Coriander and Cumin. Check out this easy recipe https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/quick-pickled-vegetables
  • Power Bowls are so popular now that even Cracker Barrel is using the idea as a Marketing tool! Look for these Fresh and Healthy options on my Menus this Summer. https://www.simplemost.com/power-bowl-recipes-make-lunch-dinner/

Kitchen Tools:

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April ’18 – Kitchen Staples

April ’18 – Kitchen Staples

Be Prepared With a Well Stocked Pantry

With Spring here and the warmer temperatures approaching we will have an abundance of amazing produce to work with, but don’t forget to have your Pantry and Fridge stocked with the the basics to elevate whatever you are cooking. The beauty of these items is that you can create a meal even without the benefit of a
protein or vegetable. The below is my list of items that I can’t live without!

Pantry

  • Kosher Salt
  • Extra Virgin Oil
  • Boxed Stock and Broth
  • Pastas all shapes and sizes
  • Jasmine Rice, Quinoa, Barley, Farro, Couscous
  • Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers
  • Canned and Dried Beans all varieties
  • San Marzano Tomatoes, Tomato Paste in a tube
  • Coconut Milk
  • Nuts
  • Italian Tuna
  • Dried Bread Crumbs
  • Spices of your choice

Fridge

  • Lemons and Limes
  • Parmesan, Asiago, Pecorino, Cheddar, Gruyere or whatever you like
  • Olives, Capers
  • Pickled Jalapenos, Banana Peppers, Relish
  • Eggs/Butter
  • Hot Sauces, Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Mustards, Mayonnaise

 

Learn More About Chef Patricia’s Services

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What is a Personal Chef? 

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February ’18

February ’18

Chef Patricia February ’18 Newsletter

With Winter finally showing signs of winding down, now is a good time to stock up on some of your favorite Soups! I will begin to transition the offerings from denser comfort food based recipes to lighter more broth based recipes. As most of you know I call my Soups Stewps! This thought came to me years ago as I traveled around the world and noticed that for many cultures soups represented the main meal. Check out this link https://odyb.net/food-cooking/types-of-soup/. From this idea, I have taken entrees like Beef Stroganoff, Jambalaya even Mac N Cheese and created the Soup Version. Below is a Master Soup list that continues to grow.

Think about throwing a “Welcome to Spring Soup Party” or gift a friend in need, or simply stock up the freezer for those times you just don’t feel like cooking!

More to come…

Best,

Patty

Master List of Soups

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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Noodle

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom

Chicken Tortilla

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Chicken Florentine

Italian Chicken and Rice

Chicken or Beef Hungarian Goulash

Seafood Chowder or Clam Chowder New England or Manhattan

Velvet Cauliflower

Broccoli Cheddar

Roasted Vegetable

Roasted Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda

Italian Wedding with Orzo and Lemony Kale

Lentil (Can add Sausage)

Black Bean (Can add Chorizo or Smoked Turkey)

 

Cheddar Corn Cheddar (Can Add Shrimp)

Minestrone (Vegetarian Available)

Vegetable

Brunswick Stew

Split Pea (Vegetarian Available)

Roasted Pork Vegetable

Pork Mexican Pozole

Tomato Basil

Velvet Potato Leek

Tuscan White Bean and Baby Kale (Can add Chicken Sausage)

Organic Chicken and Chorizo Chili or Vegetarian 5 Bean Chili

Mushroom Beef Barley

Texas Chili

Beef Stroganoff

Pepper Steak

Shepard Pie

Mac N Cheese

Stuffed Sausage and Peppers

Portuguese Cabbage Soup

Learn More About Chef Patricia’s Services

Learn how to Give the Gift of Food via a gift certificate

What is a Personal Chef? 

Learn about Event Catering in Tryon NC and the surrounding area

January ’18

January ’18

Chef Patricia January ’18 Newsletter

With the first month of the New Year almost over I wanted to take the time to re- introduce my many services. Most of you have become Cooking-class-tryon-ncclients via word of mouth from the Weekly Grab and Go Program. This Program has proven to be a big success and has allowed me to introduce you to a variety of different flavors and items in a cost-effective way. The response to the addition of the Recipe Cards has been great and has given me another way to pass on tips and ideas to inspire you to get into the kitchen and re-create those recipes!

Many people ask what is the difference between a Personal Chef and A Private Chef? The difference is, that a Private Chef prepares food for a single Family or a Client while a Personal Chef has several Clients. Check out this link on my website: What is  Personal Chef,  to understand how my services work on a one-on-one basis. Lastly, one of the hottest concepts I have introduced is a Street Taco Bar which is great for events like the Super Bowl, Family coming to town, Birthdays ETC. It’s interactive, super tasty and lasts for hours. I have several other fun motifs so if you are interested please let me know.

More to come…

Learn More About Chef Patricia’s Services

Learn how to Give the Gift of Food via a gift certificate

What is a Personal Chef? 

Learn about Event Catering in Tryon NC and the surrounding area