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  • HereInMyKitchen - The Road Ahead

    Dish – All Of Them Themes - Gracious and Good Food/Tech Tie In – All The Things Homage – Every Cook, Chef, Foodie & Friend Hey my foodie friends. Its Nov 2022, and as we begin to wrap up the year, it felt like a good time to reflect and share with you what’s next for HereInMyKitchen. But first, let me not bury the lead...You asked, I listened and the COOK BOOK has been created! It is available for purchase on Amazon and you have your choice of a print on demand paperback or an e-book. It’s titled...drumroll please... “HereInMyKitchen – Just Good Food” A curated collection of 25 recipes that includes 8 BRAND NEW RECIPIES that will not be published as stand alone recipes on my website until after the new year.(A blurry draft of the cover 🤣 a sneak peek photo collage of the new dishes and a little mode photo reflecting my other passion are below🤗), “HereInMyKitchen – Just Good Food” is a down and dirty cookbook with “one” photo of the finished dish and the recipe. The recipes include Ingredients, Tools, Method of Production and Tips. No stories, or the likes this time around (perhaps Ill include that for the next one). I hope you buy a copy for yourself and everyone you know! I thank you on the front side. On to the sharing... Its been almost two years ambling on this journey. Creating a brand, website and social media presence is...a lot of work and to no ones surprise, the work has been on occasion...hard. It started out as an answer to the question in the early days of the pandemic of “how do I use my gifts, skills and talent, in these times?”. Lock down was for real, we didn’t know a lot about what was to come, there was no vaccine and the world seem to be at a standstill. Restaurants closed. Not For Profits, (where I saw myself embedded, as that’s why I went to Culinary school), that weren’t closed, were not bringing in new hands, but trying to survive and serve on the few they had. I was fortunate to have a strong friend group IRL that I stayed connected to virtually as we navigated the unknown. Even if we couldn’t see each other in person we consistently checked in on each other, lending words of encouragement and often just an ear, as we were all in the same boat no matter where we were in the world. I also had access to Barb Pellegrino @barberic_design. A former colleague with a wonderful marketing background, Barb helped me put into words the who, what and why of my brand (marketing people are deep y’all), helped build my website and later in the year, partnered the caption creation process. In trying to understand the algorithms of various platforms, what time to post, do hashtags really bring the foodies to the yard, the monthly stats etc...we have laughed, learned, stumbled, got back up, cheering on each other and our efforts, as we mapped out each months theme, featured products, new dish, all the things...Y’all get it. How fortunate was I to have her oaths ride! As I sit typing this BLOG, to date...I have published 40 recipes, all produced HereInMyKicthen FOR REAL. I have tapped friends and family to test the recipes, getting feedback on flavor, texture, reproduce-ability in someone elses kitchen and proofing them for errors I cant see, even after reviewing it more times that one can imagine...eeek! I even have a few customers that I have connected with over the past year, that have tested a recipe or two. Im sharing all this to say...it took and takes a virtual village to move this brand forward and the biggest contributor that fueled me on the regular, was the belief from all, most importantly myself, that there was a need and the unwavering belief that I could meet that need. It helped that many were already fans of my food😉 Onward I pressed and let me tell you, it is much easier coming into the kitchen and just cooking, than it is to do so with the intention of writing a recipe. The typing minus my typos, wasn’t so bad, but capturing the exact measurements for dishes I intuitively made year after year, was quite the thing. Shooting the photos that go with each recipe, trying to understand why two shots taken one after the other in the same light like look different. Do I use the big photo lights or get up early and just try and shoot everything on a sunny day? Ugh! Writing and approving captions for social media, creating cleaver descriptions for the website, capturing keywords in hopes that it comes up in a search, the same for Newsletter’s and BLOGS. Ugh again!. Do I luv learning new things? YES! Do I luv sharing? YES! Do I like walking my talk that Good Ingredients and Good Technique come together to product Good Food? YES! Does it take a lot of time and energy to keep this going? YES. Why do I continue to do it? Ummmm. So here’s the skinny. I did it as the answer to the question cited in earlier in this BLOG, and Il’l continue to do it as it brings me joy. I believe through food we can heal and I remain dedicated to helping to move humanity forward through food. What will change as we ease into the new year...is the pace that Im doing it. I am consciously making a shift to get off of the social media hamster wheel where I try and influence algorithms to come the dance, and will now, post, BLOG and create recipes, as Im moved to do so versus on a defined schedule. Ill revisit recipes currently published as it make sense, devote more time to volunteering, connecting with other Chefs and closest to my heart, connecting with Not For Profits in ways that help and support them. So that’s whats up Y’all. That’s where Im going with the brand and hope you will continue join me on the journey. Know I remain thankful and standing...in a state of grace. PS. Please Buy the Cookbook👩🏽‍🍳

  • A Tale from the Shrewsbury River - Crabbing Anyone?🦀

    Themes - Gracious and Good, Level Up Food/Tech Tie In – Cake/Fritter Making, Dredge, Sautéing Homage – The Shrewsbury River Back in February of 2022, as I wrote about the journey to the shrimp cake, the crab cake got a little air time as well. It was all linked to good friends, first jobs and doing it up big time. This time...its all about the crab. Crabbing to be exact. Yes I said it my friends, crabbing. Your gurl, who you know is not the out doors-ie type, shuns extreme heat, or cold for that matter, would prefer to be at a spa than roughing it anywhere, grew up...crabbing. In this BLOG, Imma share when I started, when I stopped and why I stopped albeit it didnt stop me from creating the recipe for “A NICE CRAB CAKE", HereInMyKitchen😉 In the summertime on the jersey shore, along with the ocean, there were ample banks and rivers with bridges over them, where it was an everyday occurence to see folks set up with lines and coolers in search of the next catch, some peace if they were alone, or hang time if they were with others. In our family, it was not unusual on a Saturday to pack up nets, a few wire hangers, twine of some sort, throw them in the back of the pickup (yes I said pickup) and head to the Shrewsbury River. A stop at a small hut, shed really, to buy a small container of kellys used for bait, was the beginning of a day spent in peddle pushes, PF flyers and a string tied around my eight year old finger. The adults were in lawn chairs, some dropped traps in the water, others might have a rod for ancillary fishing while waiting for the crabs to take the bait, and through it all they kept one eye on us, the kids, and the other on everyone’s line looking for that bob or taught-ness which meant, there was a hungry river critter on it, aka dinner. The start and end time were driven by the tide chart, hence it could be a few hours out there in the jersey sun, which was fine, cause there were sandwiches, sodas, dixie cup ice creams and regional beer for the adults. Might even be a radio playing (nothing hip cause the adults were in charge of the dial) but it was all good as it was a day out of a non air conditioned house, on the river with family, crabbing. This went for years. My peddle pushers, evolved into shorts, then hot pants...sort of, and my hair went from pony tails, to a bun, to wearing it out after setting it on rollers the night before. All was well...until my early teens. That’s when Curtis...last name shall remain withheld cause y’all are some googling folks...walk down by the river, shouted hello to my parents, cousins and all that were around, and then to me. Hot, sweaty, hair jacked, with the funk of the river on me as I was pulling my crab out of the water and into the net...this was not the look that I wanted attached to being noticed by Curtis!. Nope, this was not the time or space to be seen by the boy I had a crush on for...forever. I mean, he was tall, fine, played sports...profound embarrassment was all that going on in that moment. And that is the when and the why, of my crabbing days being a wrap. NEVAH again, was I going to be spotted at the river, hanging with the fam, in the murk of the water, dragging a string with my dinner on it. Now I still enjoyed the feast that followed when others returned to the house with the crabs. We could get the boil going, made sure all the sides were on point (read my BLOG about Potato Salad🤣) , but to this day, I have yet to throw a line with kellys on a bent hanger, a cage, a rod, or anything else into a body of water other than myself, and even that is a rarity. That said, I will through some crabmeat, sauteed diced veggies and aromatics, into a bowl and make A Nice Crab Cake, cause don’t get it twisted, while the memory of my crabbing days may have ended my personal efforts at garnering the main ingredient fresh from the water, it did not impact my love for the taste of the crustacean goodness of crabs. From HereInMyKitchen to yours...your welcome🦀 I hope as you are learning a little about me and being mildly entertained with the stories from my life, you'll check out the recipe for A NICE CRAB CAKE as well as others👩🏽‍🍳

  • Curried Potato Salad, Nana & Me

    Themes - Gracious and Good, Level Up Food/Tech Tie In – Boiling Potatoes, Dicing, Grating, Mixing Homage – My Nana Esther Im not sure how many Gracious and Good stories start with, or lead back to my grandmother Esther. Im sure its quite a few...and this is another one. As shared in a couple of prior BLOG posts, growing up, I would not eat anyone’s potato salad other than my grandmothers. On the real, I would try to cause...you cant go over folks house or to the cook out, and refuse their mother’s, aunt’s, or any other family members potato salad. That said, the best I could do was push it around the plate, filling up on other things like that stack of magical sliced bread that came in the pkg with the red yellow and blue polka dots, on ‘erbodys table in those days or at least the brand X version. Nana’s potato salad was always on point. It never varied and along with her fried chicken and greens that were the go to meal eliciting that “Mmmm, this good Nana” from me, and a smile from her, it was something I looked forward to cause often, she would make it just for me. OMG teary eyed moment here. Ok, I have recovered as we can’t have the mascara running...what!?!...we know who I am. What I have learned about why I loved Nana’s potato salad is that it was classic with a twist, and the biggest thing was ...NO SWEET PICKLE RELISH!!! No shade, ok shade but my taste buds are leading the way here. I could not and still can’t get down with, sweet pickle relish in potato salad. I don’t care who’s it is including my mothers (a source of conflict), famous Chef (insert name here), or yours. There I said it! I think the preference of my Nanas Potato salad over my others led to some mother daughter fallings out, but my gastro system deemed it worth it, and that included all the soul food dishes that went with. So BIG fallings out tied to my preference for my grandmothers cooking which I was too young to understand, would indeed occur from time to time. I mean, I clearly remember a phone call about gravy between my mother and grandmother...with my mother's always being unsavory and pale-ish and my grandmother's being light brown and full of flavor...let me tell YOU... Wait...why y’all up in my business?!?! Esther’s potato salad started with no name potatoes. Clutch the pearls! No Yukon Gold, Red Bliss, Waxy vs Starchy, they were just regular ole’ potatoes available at the grocery store across the street from the house (most likely Russets, which were used for everything). Boiled, peeled and cut, they were mixed with grated NOT chopped onions along with carrots, celery, hard boiled eggs, mayo (the H, cause we we were Jerseyites, albeit I work with the D living in the South these days), salt and pepper. The classics that made her potato salad the bomb, free of sweet things that I have no idea why other folks used, was all that was needed. There may have been some yellow mustard in there, but that was it. And I LOVED IT Fast forward, her recipe was, is and most likely will remain the base for any rendition that I come up with. I have evolved it over the years with the addition of curry, cumin, garam masala, parsley...and lets not forget the sweet peas delivering on all the yums. Serving it framed in a mold then decorated with greenery or scooped and adorned with an editable flower, delivers on the “I went to culinary school” thing. That said, served straight up, with the juice from the onion and the sweetness of the carrot gracing the palate, it is the flavor profile’s base that will forever hold a heart print in and throughout my spirit. From HereInMyKitchen to yours, I share the memory of this dish with the hope that a little bit of Esther...comes with it.

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  • Gracious & Good | HereInMyKitchen

    Gracious & Good The Story of... What are those stories, those memories, those moments that conjure up amazing smells, incredible tastes, a great meal, that time when… ​ HereInMyKitchen, Gracious and Good is where I share a little sumpin’ sumpin’ that connects to, a particular ingredient or elements of a meal, be it when I fell in love with Falafel, my brothers love of Italian food, or the heart print moments made by Ma (Clarissa) and Nana (Ester) as I nestled up to them shoulder to hip. They created all kinds of goodness in their kitchens, making those pots talk. Ok, sometimes I just sat and ate, but you feel me. When we are in our kitchens we are not there alone. We bring to the cutting board, the pan, and the table, all of those memories, real, enhanced and imagined, built on the love of good food.

  • Next Steps | HereInMyKitchen

    Next Steps It's What's Up Your blanching and saute-ing are on point, your slice mushroom game is stellar, but what if those green beans you are blanching are long beans, and what if the mushrooms are not sliced button or baby portobellos, but wild mushrooms full of texture and flavor. Yeah, that’s what Im talking about. HereInMyKitchen, taking that next step in pushing the culinary experience, often using everyday items, is Whats Up.

  • About | HereInMyKitchen

    My Story Helping to move humanity (someone/something) forward via food be it in preparing, teaching or sharing, as I believe we can heal ourselves and our spirits through food, is my intention. Blessed with a 25 plus year international corporate career, reflecting various levels of leadership as well as brand and talent growth, transitioning to Culinary Arts has allowed me to utilize the joy of exploration, teaching and enhancing growth in and with others, in ways that pay homage to those who have given me their time, talent and most of all, their love. Be it at the apron strings of my Nana “Esther”, or shoulder to hip, heart to heart with my Godmother “Clarissa”, both of who inspired me to stand tall and walk forward in pursuing my dreams, in this next phase of my journey, I want to try and do more of that in an impactful way for others. Gracious & Good The Story of... What are those stories, those memories, those moments that conjure up amazing smells, incredible tastes, a great meal, that time when… ​ HereInMyKitchen, Gracious & Good is where I'll share a little sumpin’ sumpin’ that connects to, a particular ingredient or elements of a meal, be it when I fell in love with Falafel, my brothers love of Italian food, or the heart print moments made by Ma (Clarissa) and Nana (Esther) as I nestled up to them shoulder to hip. They created all kinds of goodness in their kitchens, making those pots talk. Ok, sometimes I just sat and ate, but you feel me. All that to say, Gracious & Good is where we can remind ourselves, when we are in our kitchens, we are not there alone. We bring to the cutting board, the pan and the table, all of those memories, real, enhanced and imagined, built on the love of good food. Level Up Let's Get Real, Very Real The truth is, you know how to cook, you love to cook, you do your thing in your way and it works…everytime. But evvvvery now and again, you dig learning something new. It could be a small thing like how to make beautiful blond Garlic Chips, other times it's how to properly sear, scallops or oxtails prior to braising (and what braising anyway?). HereInMyKitchen, with "Level Up" dishes, there will be a focus on techniques and cooking methods, that lead to that moment, when you look at what you have accomplished in your kitchen and say with a wink and a smile, yeah that’s right…I did that. Next Steps It's What's Up Your blanching and saute-ing are on point, your slice mushroom game is stellar, but what if those green beans you are blanching are long beans, and what if the mushrooms are not only sliced button or baby portobellas, but wild mushrooms full of texture and flavor. Yeah, that’s what Im talking about. HereInMyKitchen, we will share dishes that take that next step in pushing the culinary experience, often using everyday items. Thats...Whats Up. NoFood Left Behind Get All The Good, Good Peel to Fruit, Flower to Stem and beyond, HereInMyKitchen, it is an intention to share dishes that utilize every part of the food, that makes its way in the door, be it from a local farmer selling seasonal product or a neighborhood grocery store. Those broccoli and cauliflower stems make the most amazing soft tortillas and breakfast cups. The chicken bones combined with vegetables, fresh garlic and onions (including the skin)…net broth like nobody's business. The purple flowers of the chive plant, yearn to be utilized as they impart a subtle chive flavor and a pop of color to any dish, that will make your eyes smile. With an intention to leave No Food Left Behind, even a blueberry pie test gone left, we can agree, food is precious. Through food we can heal ourselves, our spirit and others. ‘Nuff said.

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