I have been asked this A LOT lately, so let me put in all writing for you. I’d like to tell you that I am a sous chef for hire, but I am not. MOST of what I do has little to do with food prep and/or cooking. And I only wield a knife to prove I mean business in one fashion or another. (Moment of Truth -That is not to say I threaten anyone, I just use the knife to prove I have chops and that I know what I am talking about.) I handle all the things the Chef shouldn’t have to worry about, and I work MOSTLY with traveling Chefs who don’t have local contacts because they don’t have a restaurant here. I hire local talent for them. I handle purchasing, including, but not limited to liquor, produce, propane and tools. I make sure they eat and have enough caffeine and I know where they are supposed to be at any given time. I set up trade show booths, prep areas and kitchens. I will even get their chef coats dry cleaned and pressed if necessary. I am basically their personal assistant for the time I am working with them. Clear?
But that is not ALL I do. I cook. I teach. I entertain. My latest “edu-tainment” scenario is at The Springs Preserve here in Las Vegas. I teach a once a month cooking class in their outdoor “kitchen” (I use quotations because there is no cooking surface or refrigeration – I bring my own with me). This past Saturday was my first class there and I was relieved and thrilled that everyone in attendance had a good time. Attendees received printouts of the recipes I did, but not for some of the components. I promised that I would share the recipes some of what I made, so here are the recipes for the Lemon Curd and the Buttermilk Pound Cake that I used in the Triple Berry Trifle. I don’t teach fancy food. I can make it, be sure of that, but I don’t like to do it. Most home cooks need ideas for entertaining so they can enjoy their guests and not spend all their time in the kitchen, so that is what my focus is for the series of 3 demos that I am doing for the Springs Preserve. You can buy your tickets HERE. The setting is AMAZING – gorgeous flowers and herbs growing all around and they even have the fancy overhead mirror so you can see what I am doing. Classes are the 3rd Saturday of the month and seating is limited and YES, there are samples to be had. And you never know…there could be surprises!
You can use your favorite filling for lemon meringue pie – that’s where this one comes from. Hints: grate your zest from the lemons before you juice them – easier that way. I am very liberal with the lemon zest because it makes for a tangier curd. Be sure to stir constantly during the boil process so it doesn’t burn and make sure you don’t skimp out on the boiling time or it won’t hold together. 1 ½ cups sugar 6 tablespoons cornstarch ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup cold water ½ cup fresh lemon juice 3 egg yolks, well beaten 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 ½ cups boiling water 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- Mix sugar cornstarch, and salt together in a 2 – to 3-quart saucepan. Using a wire whisk, gradually blend in cold water, then lemon juice, until smooth. Add egg yolks, blending very thoroughly. Add butter. Slowly add boiling water, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula.
- Over medium to high heat, gradually bring mixture to a full boil, stirring gently and constantly with spatula. Reduce heat slightly as mixture begins to thicken. Boil gently 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon peel.
Buttermilk Pound Cake
This recipe is from a 1985 Southern Living Recipe Annual. You can either bake it in a tube pan (or Bundt™ pan) or you can use 2 loaf pans. Bake time is roughly the same, but start checking it at 50 minutes when using the loaf pans. You can also sub almond extract for the lemon. Hint: remove from pan at the 10 minute cooling mark. The sugar content in this cake will make it stick to the pan if left to cool any longer…I found out from experience. 1 cup butter, softened (I use unsalted butter) 2 cups sugar 4 eggs 3 cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Combine flour, soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in flavorings. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool completely on a rack. Yield: one 10-inch cake