Gardening for Life Project

Gardening for Life Project

Although I am now officially a Texan I still have very strong ties to the Foothills and will continue to send out Newsletters that I feel support the community. Over a year ago my friend and genius gardener Corrie Woods, embarked on a journey with a few friends to spread the word about how each and every one of us can make a difference right in our own back yards and Gardening for Life Project was born. As a Chef, this project really resonated with me, learning and understanding how protecting our native plants contribute to healthy diverse habitats while creating a highly productive ecosystem that we need to survive. A garden filled with native plants produce high yields of photochemically rich food requiring fewer inputs including water, fertilization, pest and disease control.

The Gardening for Life Project has come full circle and is sold out, over 750 attendees! With that said, even if you weren’t lucky enough to get a seat just click the above link and you can watch by live streaming the event which takes place on March 4th at 1:45pm EST.

Food Trends and New Healthy Foods You Have to Try!

Food Trends and New Healthy Foods You Have to Try!

It’s that time of year when most folks decide that they need to clean up their diets and reset their health goals. Most of you have already shifted your diets to less meat and dairy, no gluten, less salt and sugar, more vegetables and a focus on adding more protein. There is an avalanche of so many new products, but I really like below items……

Also, food trends have really come a long way – check it out this link!

Cassava Pasta – So many benefits with this pasta. It’s free from glutens, grains, the top 8 allergens, legumes, gum and lectin. With an earthy flavor and fantastic texture this truly is the closet to the real thing.

Chick Pea Flour Tortillas – Enjoy Taco Tuesday or Meatless Monday with these tasty tortillas. Roast off some cumin dusted sweet potatoes, add some smoky black beans, top with cheese or crema, avocado and fresh cilantro and you have the perfect dinner.

Vegan Cheese – This has probably been the hardest category for me to endorse as I have not been a fan! But after years of trying so many types and brands, these cheeses taste like the real deal and are delicious. 

Bone Broth – Although this category isn’t new, I don’t think it’s really caught on! Besides being high in protein and its many benefits from aiding in digestion to protecting bones and joints, it’s great for cooking. I use it in soups, sauces, flavoring rice and pasta.

November Newsletter 2022 – Biazzo

November Newsletter 2022 – Biazzo

Over the years, I have featured just a few local restaurants, but I am so excited to introduce you to Biazzo! Owner Brian Frascino from New York has opened an Authentic Gourmet Italian Sandwich Shop and Deli in Landrum. All the Subs are served on Artisan Rolls and the quality of the ingredients, especially the Italian meats are the real deal. The flavor combinations for the Panini’s are so creative and delicious. Sides are made fresh daily and really compliment the subs. Italian Pastries, Cookies and Cakes flown in from Little Italy New York are available Thursday – Saturday.

The Shop has a deli case so that you can buy the high quality imported and domestic specialty meats featured in the subs. With the holidays coming Biazzo can create gorgeous Antipasto Platters along  with all the great sides.

Fresh grab and go and frozen take and bake products available including homemade Marinara, Lasagna and Meatballs in Marinara.

But I must say the icing on the cake for us is Friday night Pizza! Having lived in Chicago and New York, we are Pizza snobs. I can’t say enough about how amazing the Pizza is! No surprise since Brian owned a Pizza truck for 8 years in Greenville. Get there early… first come first serve.

Tips for Cooking Chicken Breasts Perfectly and Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Tips for Cooking Chicken Breasts Perfectly and Chicken Parmesan Recipe

November Newsletter

I know Turkey is top of mind this month but Chicken is the number one protein for American Meat Eaters! Not only is it a healthier choice than Beef but check out so many other reasons to reduce your Beef intake

The issue with Chicken is cooking it properly! It is either to dry, has no taste or worst case scenario if handled incorrectly can make you sick! Between working in commercial kitchens and cooking as a Personal Chef I have developed some tricks over the years to ensure flavorful and moist Chicken Breasts.

1. Carryover cooking is a huge issue with Chicken Breasts! Safe internal temperature for Chicken Breasts is 165°. Two key issues here, so many home cooks don’t use a thermometer, it’s a must and pull the Chicken at 160° as it will continue to cook.

2. Dry Brine it is worth the time. Remove Chicken from package one day prior to cooking. Pat it dry and place on foiled lined baking sheet then sprinkle both sides generously with kosher salt. Place in lowest shelf in refrigerator overnight. This method relaxes the fibers and lets the meat absorb their natural juices making it juicy and tender. This method works best if seasoning with just olive oil or butter and dry spices for grilling, frying or baking.

3. Marinating is a huge win with Chicken Breast. A marinades primary purpose is to add flavor, but also helps the meat to remain moist after it’s cooked. It can be made with oils, herbs, spices, juices and more.

4. Baking tip: A higher Temperature 450ºF and shorter cooking time will help to seal in moisture.

5. Pounding or butterflying is another secret to succulent chicken, creating an even surface will ensure even cooking.

6. Breading, the standard breading practice is Flour, Egg, Breadcrumbs. Cook’s Tip, season the flour with salt and pepper and don’t forget to add your favorite flavors to the breadcrumbs like dried herbs and your favorite cheese.

7. Baking versus Frying I like the below recipe!

Perfect Baked Chicken Parmesan


  • 4 chicken breasts, about 8 oz each, sliced in half lengthwise to make 8
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, I use a combination of Italian Breadcrumbs and Panko
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup marinara
  • olive oil spray


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with spray.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture. Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Lightly spray a little more oil on top and bake in the oven 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160°.
  4. Remove from oven, spoon 1 tbsp marinara over each piece of chicken and top each with 1 1/2 tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
Fall in the Air Makes You Think About Soups!

Fall in the Air Makes You Think About Soups!

Having worked in several commercial kitchens, it always surprised me that most Chefs hate to make soup so they always dumped that responsibility onto me! Not only did I hone my knife skills, but my love for creating soups blossomed into over 40 recipes and continues to grow. Just the smell of a soup simmering on the stove brings comfort and for me soups are the perfect meal. Many of my soups were crafted from a favorite comfort food and several have an international theme!

Remember the key to a great soup is the stock. If you don’t know the difference between stock and broth check out this link explaining the difference.


Chicken Cacciatore
Chicken A La King
Classic Chicken Noodle
Creamy Chicken and Mushroom
Chicken Tortilla
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Chicken Florentine
Lemony Greek Chicken and Artichoke
Italian Wedding and Lemony Kale
Thai Chicken and Rice
Tuscan White Bean and Chicken Sausage

Brazilian Shrimp Stew
New England
Manhattan Chowder
Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Shrimp Scampi
Thai Red Curry Shrimp

Black Bean
Broccoli Cheddar
Cream of Mushroom
Italian Lentil
Moroccan Chick Pea
Tomato Basil
Tuscan Vegetable
Velvet Potato
Velvet Cauliflower

Beef Stroganoff
Beef Goulash
Rosemary Crusted Ham Split Pea
Vegetarian 5 Bean Chili
Loaded Beef Barley
Pepper Steak
Shepherd’s Pie
Texas Chili
Stuffed Sausage and Peppers
Stuffed Cabbage
Whole 30 Hamburger

Velvet Cauliflower Soup

Velvet Cauliflower Soup


  • 1-2 heads cauliflower depending on the size leaves trimmed
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces maybe more
  • 3-4 potatoes peeled and quartered, I like Yukon gold
  • 2-3 shallots, roughly chopped *can use 1 medium onion or 1 leek sliced and rinsed
  • ½ cup white wine *optional
  • Coarse kosher salt (more than you think)
  • Lemon infused olive oil *Cooks note: I use this to roast my florets you can use extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/2–5 cups water more or less depending on size of cauliflower and potatoes
  • Garnish Options: fresh parsley, thyme, basil, green onion, white and light green parts, chives, Frank’s Red Hot


  1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core to remove and cut up into large florets. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower, set aside. Quarter potatoes make sure potatoes are a little smaller they take longer than the cauliflower.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and salt. If using wine, cover shallots and let simmer (you can use water). Cook until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add chunks of potato and water to the saucepan with shallots. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are almost tender. Add cauliflower and possibly more water and salt, simmer until tender about 10-15 minutes. *Cooks Tip taste the water, here is where you can start to achieve the flavor you want.
  4. Meanwhile, line a small baking sheet with foil and add the reserved florets tossed in lemon olive oil and salt, roast florets on bottom shelf in a 400 oven for 15 -20 minutes until golden brown. You will need to flip and watch them carefully.
  5. Process cauliflower and potatoes in batches in blender using some of the cooking water until smooth and desired thickness. Be careful not to use too much water, it’s easier to thin out than to thicken. Returning pureed soup to pot, bring to brief simmer over medium heat, and adjust consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture). Season with salt to taste and maybe more butter. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with roasted florets, fresh herbs. *This soup is delicious cold it tastes just like Vichyssoise……