herbacious endings.

Hello, friends.  Tumblr has been having some technical difficulties, so I’ve been unable to post.  But, I’m back!  And I am excited to share my latest culinary concoctions and new developments in my Plan to Plate world.

Part of the way I cook and an important facet of what I bring to my clients’ tables, pun intended, is the ability to be resourceful.  In planning a week’s menu for any client or for my sweet husband and me, I am extremely mindful of the ingredients I include.  My goal is to never throw away food.  Nothing breaks my heart like realizing that my best intentions for utilizing fresh foods have ended up in the trash can.  I’m sure you have experienced that disappointment as well.  My job is to help my clients avoid that heartache through thoughtful planning.  And that challenge energizes me!

I see people in the grocery store all the time with several recipes in their hands- either ripped out of a magazine, printed off the computer, or handwritten on old school recipe cards.  They are bound and determined to cook these new dishes, that have few, if any shared ingredients.  And then life gets busy, and dinners don’t get prepared, and vegetables die.  So sad.  I want to tell them to stop and sign up for my services so they can be happy and full.

Last week, after my Italian and Mexican feasts, I had a bunch of herbs, citrus, and garlic leftover.  I got creative and rolled up my sleeves.

I decided to blend some of my herbs with garlic, citrus, and a touch of Olive Oil to make an herby paste to add flavor to a full bone-in double breast of chicken I purchased at the Farmer’s Market.  My first thought was to butter that baby right up.  But, I metaphorically slapped my own hand, because apparently after you get married, you get “fat and happy” real quick.  Honestly, I have eaten more dessert since October 10, 2010 than I did in the entire 9 months preceding.  And I really don’t even have a sweet tooth.  Oy!  I already played the “fat and happy” game after I met my husband years ago.  And after losing that weight, I’m not going to play it again.  (I say that with my fingers crossed and a big grain of salt, of course.)  That being said, I opted for the lighter, Olive Oil based version.

Simply enough, just like you see on TV, I spread that flavorful herby goodness between the skin and the bird.  Then I rubbed it all over the outside too.

This was about the time I realized that friends were joining us for dinner.  Yay!  And when they asked what to bring, somehow, I eeked out the ingredients for creamed spinach- since I had some spinach in the fridge, and it was a meal for company after all!  (You see how strong my will power is, right?)  So, I sliced up some polenta, which has become a favorite side dish of mine over the years.  It’s easy to use, quick cooking, and you can use it in a variety of ways.  It’s also not as heavy as potatoes, for which I have a pretty constant hankerin’.

Let’s skip right over the indulgent creamed spinach that will make you slap yo mama, as they say.  Oh- and Adam whipped up a quick pan gravy to top it all.  The deliciousness cannot be conveyed without a proper food stylist and food photographer, but I think you can catch my drift.

The following evening we enjoyed a colorful, party of a salad with a homemade herby salad dressing, that was good enough to write home about.

So, I encourage you to be thoughtful and creative in your kitchen and stretch your dollar and your ingredients as far as you can possibly take them.

In other Plan to Plate news…I will be featured in Mamapedia’s “Sweet Deal” this Friday.  Mamapedia is a local organization that researches businesses and connects them to some 5,500 moms in the Atlanta area to help ease the craziness of life.  I am stoked about the opportunity to reach out to a new clientele and to bring joy and deliciousness to many local families.

The best part about my job is getting messages like the one I got today: “Yum chicken pesto!”  It does my heart so much good to think about folks cooking my recipes in their kitchens and mmmmming and aahhhing over them.  They are eating fresh, delicious food, growing as home cooks, and spending time together in their kitchens.  Somehow, I am still teaching and making the world a better place like I did for years in my classroom, just in a different way.  A more yummy way!!


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