Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Garbo – And the Monterey Bay Abalone Farm

The Mysterious Underworld of the Monterey Bay Abalone Farm – By Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Garbo

Personal Chef San Francisco - Monterey Abalone Farm

Personal Chef San Francisco – Monterey Abalone Farm

It’s Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Garbo here and I’m reporting about a spectacular field trip to Monterey… It was a beautiful sunny day in Monterey Bay where the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter met at the very end of the Municipal Wharf #2. On this very same wharf John Steinbeck walked while looking for a boat to take him and Ed “Doc” Ricketts to the Sea of Cortez in 1940.  Chef Bourget coordinated this Chapter field trip where we learned all about Abalone farming.

Abalone Farm Tour

Personal Chef San Francisco - Art Seavey's Abalone Farm

Personal Chef San Francisco – Art Seavey’s Abalone Farm

As our group of 10 entered the small office inside the Monterey Abalone Company we saw papers, shells, and instruments scattered about. Whilst listening to our host Art Seavey, owner and master abalone farmer, one couldn’t help but notice the large trapdoor in the middle of the wooden floor. Soon, all eyes were fixed on Art as he demonstrated how to descend through the trapdoor on a bolt upright, wet and steely ladder leading to the dark and cavernous underworld of the abalone farm beneath the pier. We all followed Art down, very carefully, one by one. It was gloomy and the planks were weeping all around us. There was a salty smell in the air that was both fishy and animal. A pathway of planks lead to the end of the pilings. We heard pigeons cooing above, while a cacophony of barks and splashes erupted from the darkness within. As we walked the narrow slippery planks we saw large shapes emerge and discovered that we had startled the California sea lions lounging among the perilous pathways. They raised their heads, provoked by our disturbance, and continued their deafening clamor. Eventually they shuffled off like drunken sailors lumbering into the murky waters as they were clearly done with us.

Personal Chef San Francisco - Sea Lions - Monterey Abalone Farn

Personal Chef San Francisco – Sea Lions – Monterey Abalone Farm

Unbeknownst to the tourists sauntering overhead, there is a vast sea farm of 150,000 abalone being raised and harvested beneath the wharf. A recent article published by the Earth Island Journal described Art Seavey’s unique operation thusly… “Sturdy mesh cages hang in the sea from a network of beams. There are 150 to 6,000 abalone per cage, depending on the size of the shells within. A system of pulleys and ropes is in place to lift the cages out of the water. The enclosures protect the abalone and mollusks from the marauding sea otters who constantly circle in search of snacks.” Art’s farm raises thousands of these sea creatures, once a plentiful gourmet treat on Coastal California, but are now so rare that they are banned from commercial fishing and restaurants can charge as much as $45 for a plate of sea snails.

Seavey Vineyard Wines, Abalone and Pot Luck Feast

After our tour, Chef Bourget led the Chapter to her fiancée’s family summer home located in Seaside adjacent to Monterey Bay.

Personal Chef San Francisco - Chef Bourget

Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Bourget

There, Art taught us how to shuck, clean and tenderize the abalone we purchased. Then, Chefs Bourget and Dawn Buccholz demonstrated how to convection steam the prepared abalone. After the pounding and shucking lessons, we gained a new appreciation for the high price of abalone as they are difficult and labor intensive to raise and can take up to 7 years to mature. Plus, we learned first hand how time consuming they are to prepare.

Personal Chef San Francisco - Art Seavey - Abalone Shucking

Personal Chef San Francisco – Art Seavey – Abalone Shucking

Personal Chef San Francisco - Chef Bourget's Abalone Appetizers

Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Bourget’s Abalone Appetizers

And if that wasn’t enough, Art Seavey gave us a wine tasting flight from his very own family winery named Seavey Vineyard located in the Napa Valley. They’re known for producing world-class, age worthy Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot.  According to Robert Parker, the Seavey family has…“The most underrated great Cabernet produced in Napa Valley….with perhaps the best second label wine in Napa, the Caravina Cabernet…keep in mind I have Seaveys going back to 1990 in my cellar.”  Robert Parker, Wine Critic, The Wine Advocate, December 2008.

Personal Chef San Francisco - Chef Dawn's Salmon Mouse Appetizer

Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Dawn’s Salmon Mouse Appetizer

Personal Chef San Francisco - Chef Alexandra's Mushroom Flans

Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Alexandra’s Mushroom Flans

Personal Chef San Francisco - USPCA Local Chapter Feast

Personal Chef San Francisco – USPCA Local Chapter Feast

Personal Chef San Francisco - Chef Garbo's Chocolate Bundt Cake

Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Garbo’s Chocolate Bundt Cake

With all the goings on in the kitchen, we managed to get our pot-luck dishes onto the dining room table and engaged in a lively and fantastic feast paired with wonderful wines and good cheer. It was an ambitious and educational field trip that Chef Bourget finessed quite elegantly. We walked away with our bellies full and our minds enriched by a truly remarkable day of adventure and learning from both Elizabeth Bourget and Art Seavey. We can’t thank them enough!

 

Green Eggs and Ham for Mother’s Day – by Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Garbo

Green Eggs and Ham 2

Green Eggs and Ham

As a Personal Chef in San Francisco, I am wondering how best to show my appreciation for Mother’s Day this Sunday. After all, she gave me the gift of life. I appreciate my mother for emphasizing the importance of reading when I was a kid. And boy did I enjoy all the Dr. Seuss books, especially “Green Eggs and Ham”! Maybe that’s where I got my love of all things food? She used to call me “Sugar Nose” because I could smell a candy bar a mile away… but I digress. My point is that I have some great Mother’s Day brunch ideas that your Mom might like.

Whether Mom prefers a leisurely breakfast in bed or a family brunch around the table, you’ll delight her with these easy homemade hard boiled eggs with pesto and ham.

Hard Boiled Green Eggs and Ham:
2 Servings

2 large eggs boiled for 15 minutes, cooled slightly and peeled
2 pieces of French bread toasted and buttered
2-3 slices of ham, sliced and briefly pan fried till warm
2-4 tablespoons of Garbo’s Pesto

Place buttered pieces of toast on plate and top with sliced hard boiled eggs. Arrange 3 slices of warmed ham on the side and drizzle eggs and ham with pesto to get your Green Eggs and Ham!

Fried Green Eggs with Pesto, Ham and Potatoes

Green Eggs & Ham

Green Eggs & Ham

Fried Eggs with Pesto, Ham and Potatoes
2 Servings

2 pounds red potatoes, diced
1 pound ham, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 dash of salt and pepper (to your liking)
2 large eggs
3 medium scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons of pesto

Using 2 frying pans, sauté the ham until it begins to brown (about 10 minutes) keep warm. Fry potatoes until deep brown or to your liking (about 20-30 minutes) and season with sea salt to your liking.  Once ham and potatoes are done combined them with the sliced scallions, toss and keep warm until serving time. Fry two eggs sunny side up to your liking.  Place potatoes and ham mix in center of plate, top with fried eggs and drizzle with pesto sauce and serve with toast if desired.

Garbo’s Own Garlicky Basil Pesto
6 Servings

5 cups basil, (about 3 bunches) packed blanched, drained
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
10 large garlic cloves, minced (5-10 depending upon your preference)
1 teaspoon salt, 1-2 teaspoons depending upon your preference
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Toast 1/2 cup pine nuts in sauté pan and set aside until golden brown set aside.  Blanch the basil leaves for 30 seconds in boiling water until bright green. Plunge in ice water bath, drain & spin dry in salad spinner. (this prevents it from browning and prepares it for the freezer) Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, parmesan cheese in a Cuisinart and blend to paste. Drizzle olive oil down the tube while processor is blending until desired                       consistency is achieved. I like mine on the saucy side versus the pasty side (i.e., add more olive oil).

Mother’s Day Bonus Cake

Chocolate Drip Cake by Chef Garbo

Chocolate Drip Cake by Chef Garbo

If you’re really ambitious you might consider making a Chocolate Drip Cake for Mother’s Day. This cake is literally eye candy and it tastes great too.

Chocolate Drip Cake with Shards
10 Servings

For The Mud Cake:
1 cup butter, plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup chocolate, plus 2 tablespoons
8 teaspoons coffee granules, instant
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons self rising
1/2 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose
4 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten at room temp.
5 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, squeeze 1 lemon into milk and let sit for 10 minutes

For the Ganache:
1/2 cup(s) chocolate, Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate
1/2 cup(s) heavy cream

For the Butter Cream Frosting:
1 1/2 cup(s) butter, 3 sticks
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla
6 cup(s) powdered sugar
6 tablespoon(s) milk, 4-8 tablespoons to get desired consistency of your choice. More makes easier to

Directions:

For the Mud Cake:
Preheat your oven to 160c or 320f. Grease & line your baking tins. Combine butter, water and coffee over heat until they come to a slow boil. Turn off heat and pour in chocolate stirring until its completely melted. Set aside Sift flours, cocoa, sugar & baking soda together in a large bowl & make a well in the centre Pour in the eggs,
buttermilk, oil & chocolate mixture and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps. Pour into your prepared tins and bake for approx 45m (6″) and 1.2 hours (8″) removing when a skewer inserted into he middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to completely cool in the tins before removing. Enough for a 9″ x 3″ round cake, an 8″ x 4″ round cake, a 6″ x 4″ + approx 8 cupcakes or an 8″ x 3″ square cake

For the Chocolate Ganache:
In a microwavable bowl, microwave the chocolate and cream at 20 second intervals until melted. Let cool a bit before doing the drip on chilled cake. Can use Squeeze Bottle for more control

For the Chocolate Shards:
Click here for recipe on chocolate shards.

For the Butter Cream Frosting:
Beat the butter in a mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add the powdered sugar in several additions, scraping down the sides after each addition.  Add milk a tablespoon at a time and mix together until you achieve a smooth consistency.

Step by Step Frosting of the Cake:

Trim tops off cake to flat surface using cake table and keep in fridge
Smear a bit of frosting on cake plate the place first layer. Top with frosting, Repeat with all layers. Chill 15 minutes before trim. Have cake board on top of cake

1. Trim tops off cake to flat surface using cake table and keep in fridge
2. Smear a bit of frosting on cake plate the place first layer. Top with frosting, Repeat with all  layers. Chill 15 minutes before trim.  Have cake board on top of cake
3. Trim off rough edges here and apply crumb coat to cake and pop in freezer for 10 mins.
4. Apply final coat of frosting to entire cake. Use cake plate on top/bottom of cake and apply frosting with spatula and scrape from board to board in a top/down motion. Use hand to spin and frost sides. Use pastry scraper to remove most of frosting. Run warm water on scraper and run around cake to smooth it all off. Lift off plat on top, scrape inward and freeze 15 minutes.
5.Add straws to stabilize cake layers, frost entire cake, scrap and do a final warm scrape.

Ganache Drip Method:
Using squeeze bottle or spoon drizzle ganache on chilled cake to your liking and then using off-set spatula smooth excess to center of cake top. Decorate to your liking.

DEMO VIDEOS FOR CHOCOLATE DRIP CAKES

 

 

Personal Chef SF Garbo Presents: Sweet Heat Valentine Treats

Valentine Candy Collage - Personal Chef SF Garbo

Valentine Candy Collage – Personal Chef SF Garbo

Valentine Cake That Pops!

I’ve always liked the saying “Life is Short Eat Dessert First” and that will be the order in which I present my Valentine’s dinner idea that is sure to please. My over the top cake idea is so easy it’s laughable and totally fun to create using any type of candy toppings that you like. I chose a Bundt cake for its simplicity and filled in the center hole with peanut M&Ms which not only makes a sturdy base to hold the heavy lollypop but adds drama at slicing time as the M&M’s cascade out of the center like a water fall. If you have kids in the house they’ll love it!

Valentine Cake NL

For the Chocolate Bundt Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extracts (best quality available)
1 cup boiling water

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for one minute.  Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right). Fill a Bundt pan with batter.  Bake for approximately 35-50 minutes or more until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs. Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

For the Glaze & Candy Decorations:

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk (or more)
2 tablespoons raspberry extract
1 drop red food color paste (go easy to get a pink color)
Candy assortments of your choice (M&Ms, Tootsie roll pops, Hershey’s Kisses)

Directions:

Whisk glaze ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar. Using a spoon carefully drizzle on cake to get the desired drip effect to your liking. After glaze has set, arrange your candy decorations starting with the taller pieces towards the back (chocolate shards, suckers etc.) and finishing with smaller elements to create balance and movement. Fill in with the rest with cookies or candies and other sweets. Try to work with odd numbers and to place things asymmetrically. You can add as much or as little embellishments as you like.

Thai Green Curry with Chicken Created by Pich Wongprayar

And now for the main event. Over the Holidays our family enjoyed a delicious Thai green curry recipe made by Milk, a foreign exchange high school student living with my sister’s family back East.

Milk 2 NL

Milk, (aka Pich Wongprayar) was raised in northern Thailand in a town called Phayao. She’s been cooking since she was 7 years old as she help her Dad out in the kitchen growing up. Milk’s Dad also learned how to cook at a young age. He was taught by his grandparents and it was his daily responsibility too cook meals for his brothers and sisters while his grandparents worked a great distance away from their home. In his college years, Milk’s Dad loved to cook for all his friends too. Like her father, Milk enjoys cooking classic Thai dishes like curries, fried rice and veggie stir fries. Milk stated that it’s a Thai tradition that every girl must learn how to cook in order to get married… YIKES. Well, I can tell you that she has learned well and treated my family to some lovely Thai green curry! I watched her carefully while she made the dish and adapted her recipe to my liking.

Thai Green Curry NL

This one dish wonder will satisfy as it’s packed with healthy protein and veggies along with that wonderful aromatic sweet-heat combination for which Thai cuisine is famous. All you need is a rice side and voila! You have dinner in a heartbeat for your Valentine.

Thai Green Curry

Servings:  4

1 pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless, stir fry cut
2 6 oz. jars of Thai green curry paste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
8  ounces Shiitake mushrooms, sliced (authentic Thai ingredient: green brinjal)
1  medium red bell pepper julienne sliced for garnish
1/2  teaspoon salt
2 1/2  cups coconut milk
1/2  cup water, for thinning curry
2  medium kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1 1/2  teaspoons brown sugar (authentic Thai ingredient: coconut palm sugar)
1 1/2  teaspoon fish sauce
1/4  cup basil, fresh leaves, whole, garnish just before serving
4 small red chili peppers, garnish, just before serving
1 tablespoon scallions, sliced thin for garnish

Directions:

Slice the chicken into thin pieces, about 1/3″ (3 cm) thick. Sauté the green curry paste in coconut oil over medium heat in a wok or sauté pan until fragrant, reduce the heat, gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk a little at a time, and stir until a film of green oil surfaces and a slightly thick consistency is achieved. Add the chicken and kaffir lime leaves, continue cooking for 3 minutes until fragrant and the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a large pot, place over medium heat and cook until just boiling. Add the remaining coconut milk, season with palm sugar and fish sauce. When the mixture returns to a boil add the mushrooms, red bell peppers and remaining ingredients. Cook until they are done, about 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with sprinkles of sweet basil leaves, red chilies if desired and serve.

 

Personal Chef San Francisco – Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Chef Garbo’s Christmas Cookies

As a Personal Chef in San Francisco I can’t believe it’s the Holidays and Christmas cookies rule! This year I’m excited to share some of the best Christmas cookies ever and have stood the test of time!

Russian Christmas Tea Cookies

Russian Christmas Tea Cookies

Russian Christmas Tea Cakes

The origins of Russian Tea Cakes are not quite known but it is speculated that this simple shortbread cookie migrated from Eastern European countries to Mexican via European nuns and today they are commonly associated with Christmas or weddings. All I know is that they are delicious and melt in your mouth.

Servings: 24

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups butter, 2 sticks
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted

Directions

Sift flour and salt together. Using electric mixer, cream butter in large bowl until light. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients in 3 batches. Mix in hazelnuts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours. Preheat oven to 400°F. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Space 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until just firm to touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool slightly. Roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll cookies in powdered sugar again. Store in air tight container.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Chocolate Bundt Cake S
If you’re really pressed for time but still want to have an impressive looking Holiday cake, then look no further than Pamela’s Gluten Free cake mixes that can be purchased at Whole Foods shown above. It’s super moist and tasty. Just drizzle with your favorite glaze.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

The classic Crinkle cookie originates from Europe and have become a favorite among children because of their soft puffy texture that makes them irresistible. And they’re quite healthy made with 75% cocoa powder, a powerful anti-cancer ingredient but best of all they taste great!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (though you can do this with a wooden spoon, too) beat together the cocoa powder, white sugar, and vegetable oil until it comes together into a shiny, gritty, black dough of sorts.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds each. Add the vanilla and beat in thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder if using. Mix into the chocolate mixture on low speed until just combined. Do not overbeat. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill the dough for four hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioner’s sugar in a wide bowl. Using a rounded teaspoon get clumps of the chilled dough and roll them into 1-inch (2.5 cm) sized balls using your hands. Roll the balls in the confectioner’s sugar and place on the cookie sheets (you should be able to get 12-16 on each sheet). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool a minute or two on the sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cooking: From Russia to the USA – An Interview with Chef Polina Antonva

The United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) has attracted members from all walks of life and from many distant places. This article is about our fellow USPCA member Chef Polina Antonova, of Caliblini Personal Chef Service, who comes from Russia and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Personal Chef Polina Antanova

Personal Chef Polina Antanova

Recently, Polina hosted the Local Bay Area Chapter meeting and we had the distinct pleasure of enjoying her fine cuisine which included quail leg confit, pickled quail eggs from her domesticated quails, infused vodkas, handmade cheeses, home made pastas and fresh grilled rabbit that we picked up at the local Marin Farmer’s Market. Let’s discover how Polina’s Russian upbringing has influenced her work as a Personal Chef and what makes her tick cooking wise.

How Has Your Russian Background Influenced Your Cooking Style?

Quail Leg Confit

Quail Leg Confit

My Russian Grandmother taught me how to cook. She grew up in the countryside during the very lean and difficult 1920’s and 1930’s, so respect for the ingredients, using what’s available, growing her own food, foraging, and making everything from scratch were natural for her. I grew up cooking and eating traditional Russian food. My Grandmother made use of whatever we could get in those difficult years. In summer we ate from our kitchen garden. In winter, we had jars of homemade preserves and barrels of pickled vegetables and mushrooms that we would combine with whatever meats Grandma could find to make hearty, healthy meals. We foraged for wild mushrooms and hazelnuts in fall, and gather young nettles for soup in spring. I grew up in the 1970’s Soviet Union, where no one went hungry, but there were food shortages, so we used what was available, and did our best to grow or forage our own food, and preserve it for the winter. I didn’t have to break myself out of the habit of making soup from canned chicken stock or using canned cream of mushroom soup as an ingredient. When I was learning to cook, there were no canned goods used in my family meals, only fresh ingredients that we either used in that day’s cooking or we preserved it for a long shelf life during the harsh winter months.

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Russian Dishes?

Quail Eggs

Quail Eggs

Pelmeni is my favorite Russian meal. It’s a “tortellini meet wonton” or dumpling, filled with assorted meats and/or mushrooms. As a child, during winter, my family would spend the afternoon before New Year’s Eve making Pelmeni. In Siberia, they make Pelmeni with all types of filling: mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, grains, fish, meat, poultry, or any combination. In Moscow, where I grew up, Pelmeni were always filled with mixed meats, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and minced onion. The traditional meet stuffing was half ground beef (not too lean) and half pork. Whenever we had venison, we would always mix ground venison into the Pelmeni filling (1/3 beef, 1/3 pork, 1/3 venison). Mom made the filling, dad rolled out the dough, and we all shaped. The first hundred or so Pelmeni would go on our holiday table, the rest were frozen on all available surfaces including our outdoor balcony, for winter dinners to come. If the temperatures stayed consistently below freezing for 3-4 months, we’d make a few hundred pot-stickers, put them in a bag, and hang it outside our kitchen window, to be cooked as needed. During the Holidays we would put a whole peppercorn into one of the dumplings. The lucky recipient could make a wish that would come true in the New Year. Although I don’t cook a lot of Russian or Eastern European food in California, even for my Russian clients – the ingredients and the lifestyle are too different – I do have a few winter favorites that I make, mostly on our ski trips to Tahoe. There is much more to Russian cuisine than Stroganoff and Borscht. As mentioned earlier, I love making Pelmeni, all kinds of savory pies and pasties, cabbage rolls, hearty winter salads of cooked root vegetables and pickles, selyankas – big one-dish meal soups based on either meat or fish and adorned with pickles; springtime soups with sorrel or nettles and a garnish of chopped hard-boiled egg and sour cream. I think of myself as the biggest promoter of buckwheat, millet, and roasted beets in the Bay Area. I am also a big fan of the cuisines from neighboring countries that are very popular in Russia. For example, Georgia (known for spring lamb or sturgeon kabobs; beautiful bean dishes that include walnuts and lots of herbs; serving plates of whole fresh herbs – parsley, dill, cilantro, green onions – as a condiment at the table – you wrap them in a flatbread and eat with anything; hot, and sour sauces based on unripe fruits; meat and rice dolmas) and of Central Asian states (famous for elaborate spicy rice dishes with meat, tons of onions and garlic, and sometimes fruits; fried hand pies; tiny vegetables stuffed with spiced rice and/or meat)

What’s In Your Garden?

Anything the gophers don’t eat. This includes, grapes, figs, lemons, oranges, mandarins, pomegranates, alpine strawberries; herbs: rosemary, oregano, mint, thyme, sage, parsley, tarragon, chives, chervil, savory, borage, lemon balm, verbena, lavender, bay, kaffir lime, lemongrass, sorrel, horseradish; garlic and fava beans; tomatoes, onions, carrots, shallots, beans, fingerling potatoes, and peppers. I don’t grow enough fruits and vegetables to use for my clients on cook dates, they are mostly for myself, my friends, and the seasonal inspiration. I rarely have to buy lemons and herbs, though.

Why Do You Keep Domestic Quails?

Polina's Domestic Quail

Polina’s Domestic Quail

I would gladly surrender to the modern trend of keeping backyard chickens. Some of my clients and neighbors keep chickens and get fresh eggs every day. When I cook for them, I always save vegetable trimmings that I give as treats to the chickens. My own backyard is too small for chickens, so I got quails. They take much less space and are easier to care for than chickens, and they lay their tiny eggs every day. The eggs are a pain to peel, but they are very tasty, nutritious, are salmonella-resistant, kids love them because they are kid-size, and they make a great presentation at dinner parties. My cooking class students never fail to fall in love with the quails; one of them already acquired some that he keeps in his tiny San Francisco backyard, another one is looking to get hers. My only problem with the quails is that I miscalculated and started out with too many birds (20), so now I get more eggs then I can handle. I am always looking for new ideas for using eggs.

How Polina Uses Her Pickled Veggies and Infused Vodkas & Vinegars

Pickled Quail Eggs & Vinegars

Pickled Quail Eggs & Vinegars

During our Chapter meeting we all helped Polina prep the veggies and fresh rabbit for the grill. While we worked together, one couldn’t help noticing Polina’ s well stocked kitchen, with vast amounts of pickling jars that contained quail eggs, fava beans, green beans and carrots. There were lots of infused vinegars & vodkas too made with rosemary, lemon rinds, shallots and peppers, all from her garden. It was like a glass menagerie of all things picked and infused. Polina’s vodka infusions are used the same way as any liqueur, for cocktails and to carry flavor into marinades, sauces, and baked goods. Polina uses all fresh herbs from the bounty of her garden to season the meals she prepares for her clients too.

What Motivated You To Become a Personal Chef?

Grilled Rabbit

Grilled Rabbit

Cooking is my passion, and I believe that home cooked meals make the whole world of difference for my clients’ quality of life. With food, like with almost any other product that you use, there is a big difference between something made specifically for you and something made “for the market”. This is why home cooked meals will always be superior to restaurant, takeout, or other mass-produced meals. I want more people to experience this.

What Do You Like Best About Being a Personal Chef?

It’s the creativity of the process, the variety of the work, and, of course, being able to make people happy, even if only at dinnertime that I like best. And I get to share the bounties of my garden with my clients! Like many of my fellow USPCA members, I am an escapee from the corporate wonderland. Working as a Personal Chef, I get the instant gratification of seeing the beautiful product made by hand and then seeing the clients enjoy what I made (or, more often, getting a message about how good the food is in the evening – I don’t get to see my clients enjoying my meals too often). This is Priceless. Doing what I like to do for a living makes me happy.

How Has Being A USPCA Chapter Member Impacted Your PC Business?

Gluten Free Easter Pastries

Polina’s Gluten Free Pastries

Joining the USPCA was one of the first steps in starting my business. In fact, the biggest challenge for me was to convince myself that someone would actually pay me to cook for them in their kitchen. I never looked at cooking as work, but rather a fun activity and quality time, and it was psychologically difficult to believe that there was a market out there for home cooking, although rationally I knew that there was. Seeing my fellow USPCA members growing successful businesses cooking for their clients was very motivating.
Being a member of the USPCA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter has also been very helpful in terms of discussing best business practices with them in the startup phase, and I am still learning a lot. Chef Garbo is my favorite mentor in all things marketing; other members share a lot of useful tips, from food storage to dealing with difficult clients to sources for ingredients and containers. And the best part of being a Chapter member is that we exchange referrals which helps to grow one’s business.
Thus ended my conversation with Chef Polina Antonova. It is clear that Polina, like her vinegars and vodkas, has infused her Russian background of foraging for the best local ingredients into her unique California cuisine. And nothing demonstrates that better than her below recipe creations. Take a look and enjoy!
Polina’s Handcrafted Recipes

Beet Pickled Quail Eggs
Makes 30
1 large purple beet root, peeled, quartered
1 cup water
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp salt
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
5 whole black peppercorns
1 clove
2 juniper berries
1 pinch red chili pepper flakes (optional)
30 quail eggs

For the marinade:
Cook the beet root in a small amount of water until very tender. Puree in blender, adding some of the cooking water, as needed. In a small pot, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, salt, bay, thyme, peppercorns, clove, juniper, and chili flakes (if using). Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the salt, let cool. Stir in the beet puree.

For the eggs:
Fill a kitchen sink or a large bowl with ice water. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add quail eggs, stir, cook 4 minutes. Remove the eggs to the ice water, let cool, crack, peel under water, starting at the dull end. Make sure to remove the tough membrane together with the shell. Put peeled quail eggs in a jar, cover with the marinade, refrigerate for 3 days and up to 2 weeks. Serve on salads or as an appetizer.

Grilled Quail
Serves 4 as an appetizer or a light main course. For a more substantial main dish, allow two birds per person.

4 quails, about 6 ounces each, cleaned, skin on
1 clove garlic, minced
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only, lightly crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper
Lemon slices for serving

Prepare the quails for the grill: remove the backbone and neck by cutting through the bird on both sides of the backbone with kitchen scissors (save the bones for making stock). Open up the bird and press with your palm to flatten. Rub with garlic, thyme, olive oil, and generous amounts of salt and pepper. Cover loosely, let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to two days. Preheat gas or charcoal grill. Grill the birds over high heat (450 degrees) 2-3 minutes per side, until the thighs are cooked through but still pink at the bone. Serve with lemon slices, or you favorite sauce for game.

The quail’s name used to create this recipe was Godfather. He was an aggressive male who terrorized the rest of the flock. He was absolutely delicious grilled, served with mashed sweet potatoes and black beans.

Saffron Aioli (to accompany grilled quail & pickled eggs)

Polina's Chips and Saffron Aioli

Polina’s Chips and Saffron Aioli

Makes 2 cups

1 generous pinch saffron
2 Tbsp water
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
6 quail eggs
1-1/2 cup avocado oil
Salt, pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Combine saffron with water, let infuse for a few minutes. Put saffron water, garlic, and quail eggs in a blender, blend until smooth. With the blender running on low, slowly pour in avocado oil. Season with salt, pepper, and, if desired, lemon juice.

Serve with French fries, cold meat, fish, or vegetable dishes, or just about anything.

Homemade White or Red Wine Vinegar

For the complete recipe, please find it on Polina’s Blog here:
http://caliblini.com/blog/business/homemade-white-or-red-wine-vinegar/

Personal Chef SF – Chef Garbo Wins Website of the Year Award

USPCA National Conference – July 2015

Woo-Hoo… l was an award recipient at the USPCA National Conference for Personal Chefs in San Antonio, TX

The Award was presented by Larry Lynch, President of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA). My newly re-designed site was among many submitted with judging based on creativity, clarity and mobile friendliness.

Read the full Press Release here.

Personal Chef SF - Chef Garbo

Personal Chef SF – Chef Garbo & Larry Lynch, President of the USPCA

I am thrilled and honored to have received this award.  I want to give a huge thank you to the USPCA and its members for this distinguished recognition. 

A big thanks goes to Brielle of Arrow Root Media too. She worked with me every step of the way to make sure my vision was realized. Brielle exceeded my expectations on deliverables and customer service. I’d recommend Arrow Root Media to anyone on a budget who wants to take that next step to getting mobile friendly!

 

KGO News Radio Interviews Chef Garbo

Contact Chef Garbo Now

 

KGO-LOGO1

KGO News Radio, a local San Francisco News talk radio station, recently interviewed me to learn more about a Personal Chef Service and how it works. Frequently the terms Personal and Private Chef are used interchangeably and KGO Radio wanted to know the difference.According to the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) there is a distinction. In fact, the USPCA invented the Personal Chef Industry way back in the early 1990’s. Back then, the term Personal Chef was not a part of our vernacular, but today, with our busy lifestyles, hiring a Personal Chef makes life easier and healthier.

San Francisco Personal Chef Garbo Presents a Festive Holiday Salad & Sparkling Mead Cocktail

Personal Chef San Francisco - Chef Garbo -  Shaved Butternut Squash Salad

Shaved Butternut Squash Salad – Gluten Free

With Thanksgiving approaching I thought it fitting to present two simple yet elegant recipes in keeping with the spirit of the Holidays. I always love a fun cocktail to accompany my meals so I crafted a Fall inspired sipper combining apple cider and sparkling mead by Heidrun Meadery that’s paired with an autumn colored tossed green salad made from shaved butternut squash, peppery arugula & a grainy mustard vinaigrette. The light and refreshing bubbles of the sparkling mead cocktail is perfect with the salad. Enjoy!

Shaved Butternut Squash Salad with Pepitas & Dried Cranberries- Gluten Free

Shaved Butternut Squash Salad with Pepitas & Dried Cranberries- Gluten Free

Shaved Butternut Squash Salad

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

2 scallions minced, white portion

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butternut squash, peeled, then shaved with peeler.

1 cup carrots, shaved

6 cups fresh arugula, freshly packed

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds

Instructions:

Combine the first six ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Pour into a medium bowl. Shave off butternut squash & carrot and marinate in dressing for 15 to 30 minutes. Add arugula & toss to combine. Top with dried cranberries & toasted pepitas.

San Francisco Personal Chef Garbo - Sparkling Mead Cider Cocktail

Sparkling Mead Cider Cocktail

 Sparkling Mead & Cider Cocktail

½ cup apple cider

1 shot vodka

1 Dash cinnamon

1 Dash nutmeg

1 tsp maple syrup

½ cup Heidrun CA Orange Blossom Sparkling Mead

(or Prosecco)

1 teaspoon each of coarse sugar and ground cinnamon (garnish)

Combine coarse sugar &amp; cinnamon in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl pour a bit of the apple cider. To rim glasses, first dip the glass rim in the apple cider then dip into the sugar cinnamon mixture. In a shaker combine the cider, vodka, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup with ice. Shake well and pour into champagne or martini glass ¾ full and top with Heidrun sparkling mead or champagne. <a href=”http://heidrunmeadery.com/shop.html” target=”_blank”>Click here to purchase Heidrun CA Orange Blossom Sparkling Mead.</a>

Note: If you’re really short on time and ingredients then fill each flute with a mixture of 3/4 champagne to 1/4 cider and voila!

San Francisco Personal Chef Garbo Celebrates Summer’s Last Hurrah with Sexy Ribs & Boozy Pops

Baby Back Pork Ribs with Bone Suck'n Sauce - Gluten Free

Baby Back Pork Ribs with Bone Suck’n Sauce – Gluten Free

Years ago I seduced my beau over a rack of ribs. Yup, I wore my food and it was love at first bite for him, regarding me. You can’t be too polite when it comes to eating bone suck’n ribs. You have to dive right in with gusto, and if it means getting the sauce on your face and in your hair, then so be it. I love ribs and I don’t mind wearing them either!

You see, BBQ ribs are a thing of passion for many folks, especially when it comes to the method in which they are prepared. I believe that pork ribs are best cooked slow and low so that the connective tissues break down and the fat is rendered. This technique delivers a tender, fall off the bone rib that melts in your mouth. A spice rub is the Pièce de Résistance when it comes to succulent deliciousness.

BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs

Servings: 6

FOR THE SPICE RUB AND RIBS

2 tablespoon(s) cumin, ground

1 tablespoon(s) chili powder

1 tablespoon(s) mustard, dry

1 tablespoon(s) salt, coarse

1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cayenne

1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cardamom, ground

1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon, ground

6 pound(s) pork ribs, baby back

1 Jar of Bone Suck’n Sauce

DIRECTIONS FOR SPICE RUB:

Mix first 7 ingredients in medium bowl. Rub spice mixture over both sides of rib racks. Arrange ribs on large baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Slow cook ribs in 325 degree oven for 2-3 hours until meat falls off the bones. Baste with Bone Suck’n Sauce during last half hour at 10 minute intervals or to your liking.

Boozy Mojito Ice Pops

Mojito Lime Ice Pops

Mojito Lime Ice Pops

I love anything to do with cocktails so when I stumbled upon these icy beauties I was inspired to create my own boozy concoctions. They’re super easy and tasty too. What  a way to end your Labor Day!

To purchase ice pop bags by FRIOPOP click here.

To purchase BPA free ice pop bags by ZIPSICLE click here.

Recipe for Mojito Ice Pops

Makes 8 Pops

1 cup lime juice

1 1/2 cups light rum

3/4 cup triple sec

1 cup soda water

3 tablespoons mint, finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients in a measuring bowl with pour spout. Fill the bags, tie, and freeze for at least 8 hours.

TIP: Alcohol does not freeze so these pops will not get completely frozen. The more alcohol the less firm they’ll be. If you turn your freezer up you should be fine.

Bloody Mary Ice Pops

Bloody Mary Ice Pops

Bloody Mary Ice Pops

Recipe for Bloody Mary Ice Pops

Makes 8 Pops

3 cups good quality tomato juice

juice of 2 limes

grated zest of 1 lime

2 teaspoons grated horseradish

dash of Worcestershire

few drops of hot sauce

1/2 cup vodka

salt & pepper, to serve

In a large bowl, mix tomato juice, lime juice, lime zest, horseradish, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and vodka. Mix well.  Fill the bags  with the Bloody Mary mix, tie, and freeze at least 8 hours.  Serve with a mix of flaky salt and coarse pepper.

TIP: Alcohol does not freeze so these pops will not get completely frozen. The more alcohol the less firm they’ll be. If you turn your freezer up you should be fine.

 

Mixed Berry Vodka Ice Pops

Mixed Berry Ice  Pops with Vodka

Mixed Berry Ice Pops with Vodka

Recipe for Mixed Berry Vodka Ice Pops

Makes 8 Pops

1 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

juice of 2 lemons

1 cup triple sec

1 cup vodka

2 cups ginger ale

Place the berries in a large bowl and muddle together.  Add lemon juice, triple sec, vodka, and mix well. Pour in ginger ale and stir until all the bubbles are gone. Tie the bag closed and freeze at least 8 hours.

San Francisco Area Chef Garbo Wins Food Photo of the Year

Chef Garbo Wins Photo of the Year Award 2014

Chef Garbo Wins Photo of the Year Award 2014

Claude “Chef Garbo” Garbarino, owner and operator of Healthy Meals for Busy People, has taken top honors for Food Photo of the Year during the 2014 United States Personal Chef Association National Conference in Long Beach, California.

Jul. 31, 2014 – LONG BEACH, Calif. — Chef Claude Garbarino, a Certified Personal Chef, has been a member of the United States Personal Chef Association since she started Healthy Meals for Busy People in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004. In addition to her Personal Chef Service, Chef Garbo currently serves as Secretary for the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the USPCA.

“Ever since I can remember I’ve been passionate about food and photography,” says Chef Garbo. “The two naturally came together when it was time to market my Personal Chef Service on my website.”

Judges for this inaugural competition consisted of professional members within the United States Personal Chef Association. The award was presented at the USPCA’s National Personal Chef Conference in Long Beach, California, on July 19. The conference drew personal chefs from throughout North America and from as far away as Zimbabwe.

Chef Garbo credits a class she took with 2014 USPCA National Conference keynote speaker Denise Vivaldo as the reason for her quality photos: “After taking Denise Vivaldo’s Master Food Styling Class, my business took off, and my food photos have been selling my service ever since because people eat with their eyes! I am honored to have won the Photo of the Year Award, as it acknowledges that I’m getting it right.”

Drinking Vinegars and Shrubs Hits Mixology

Lime Serrano Shrub

Lime Serrano Shrub

We’re talking shrubs, preserved syrups made with fruits and vinegars, not the kind you find in your garden. Imbibing vinegars may not sound appealing when you desire a summer afternoon refresher but they are making a come back. A shrub is an-old fashioned syrup made by macerating fresh fruit in sugar and vinegar. It’s an extraordinarily fruity, tart and sweet mixture that dates back to Colonial times. Like salting and smoking meat in the pre-refrigeration days, preserving fruit in sugar and vinegar was a problem solving necessity. Put shrubs on your radar as you will likely find an inventive Mixologist at your local tavern offering creative concoctions using these syrups as an alternative to conventional lemons and limes.

Blueberry, Lemon & Ginger Shrub

Blueberry, Lemon & Ginger Shrub

 Shrub Love – The History of Shrubs

The American version of the shrub originated from 17th century England where they used vinegar as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of summer harvested berries and other fruits which was enjoyed during the off-season. By the 19th century, classic American recipes called for drenching their summer bounty of fruits with vinegar which was left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days; then they strained the fruit which would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and finally reduced to make a syrup. During the hot summer months, the sweet-and-sour mixture would be added to a glass of water or soda water as a thirst quenching soft drink. Often times the fruit syrups were used in alcoholic beverages as well. Shrubs eventually fell out of popularity when the refrigerator was invented. These days, however, serving up vinegar-based shrub drinks has become popular once again as Mixologists seek to reinvent historical tricks of the trade and you can find a slew of shrub recipes which are incredibly easy to make at home.

Shrubs are also excellent used in savory marinades and sauces for meats and they’re great flavor enhancers for icings or poured over ice cream and yogurt!

Lime Serrano Shrub

Lime Serrano Shrub

 Lime Serrano Shrub (1 bottle)

8 limes zested

4 cups lime juice

4 cups sugar

4 cups white wine vinegar

4 Serrano green chilies, whole, no slit.

To make the Lime Serrano Shrub: (1 bottle)

Zest 8 limes. Juice 4 cups of lime juice. Dissolve 4 cups sugar in lime juice. Add 4 cups white wine vinegar, shake. Add 4 peppers. Let sit for at least 6 hours up to four days after the vinegar has been added and taste for heat. The vinegar will still be strong but you don’t want to leave in the peppers indefinitely. If you want more heat slit the pepper. Decant into a 16 ounce bottle with swing top rubber stopper. Shrubs will keep up to one year in fridge.

Lime Serrano Shrub Cocktail

1 jigger Lime Serrano Shrub

2 jiggers Vodka

1/2 jigger St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur

1 jigger Lime Juice (fresh)

Pour all of the ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and fine strain into a chilled martini glass “straight up” or serve over ice and garnish with lime wedge. You can adjust the sweet:-sour ratio to your liking.

Cherry Shrub with Absinthe

Cherry Shrub with Absinthe

 Cherry Shrub with Absinthe

• 1 oz absinthe

• 1 oz cherry shrub

• 1 oz lemon juice

• 2 oz ginger ale

• lemon wedge garnish

Preparation

Combine absinthe, cherry shrub, lemon in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 ice cubes. Shake vigorously for a few seconds, then strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge if desired.

To make the cherry shrub:

Chop 2 cups of cherries and place them in a large glass jar. Mix in two cups of cane sugar and let macerate for 2-3 hours at room temperature. Place lid on jar and refrigerate for 7 days shaking the jar once or twice a day to dissolve the sugar.  After 7 days strain the fruit mixture thru a fine mesh sieve squeezing the pulp to extract all the juices. Add 1 cup cider vinegar and 1 cup black cherry balsamic vinegar.  Decant into a 16 ounce bottle with swing top rubber stopper. Shrubs will keep up to one year in fridge.

Roast Chicken with Apricot-Citrus Shrub

Roast Chicken with Apricot-Citrus Shrub

Roasted Chicken and Apricot-Citrus Shrub Salsa (Adapted from Tyler Florence’s “Fresh” Cookbook)

For the Chicken:

6 whole chicken legs (drumstick & thigh) free-range chicken

1/2 cup smoked olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 -1/2 pounds baby creamer potatoes in assorted colors

For the Apricot-Citrus Shrub Salsa:

2 limes

3 tablespoons Apricot Shrub

1 navel orange

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

6 breakfast radishes

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Flowering cilantro buds

Fleur de sel

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rub chicken all over with some of the smoked olive oil, ensuring it gets in all the crevices. Season all over with salt and pepper.

For the Chicken: Set the chicken legs in a large roasting pan over two burners and heat over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken legs skin-side down and sear for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, add the potatoes to the pan, and drizzle with more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the joint between the thigh and drumstick reads 160 degrees to 165 degrees F. The potatoes should be golden on the outside and tender in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes.

For the citrus salsa. Use a sharp knife to cut away the rind and pith from each of the citrus fruits. Holding the fruit over a bowl, carefully cut between the membranes to free the segments. Let the juices and segments fall into the bowl. Add about cup extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl and 3 tablespoons of Apricot Shrub and season with salt and pepper. Cut the radishes into very fine matchsticks on a mandoline or with a sharp knife. Fold them into the citrus salsa, and add the chives. Serve the roasted chicken with the potatoes and citrus salsa, and garnish with flowering cilantro. Season with fleur de sel.

To make the apricot shrub:  

Chop 2 cups of apricots and place them in a large glass jar. Mix in two cups of cane sugar and let macerate for 2-3 hours at room temperature. Place lid on jar and refrigerate for 7 days shaking the jar once or twice a day to dissolve the sugar. After 7 days strain the fruit mixture thru a fine mesh sieve squeezing the pulp to extract all the juices. Add 2 cups cider vinegar. Decant into a 16 ounce bottle with swing top rubber stopper. Shrubs will keep up to one year in fridge.

Strawberry Shrub Drizzle with Oatmeal Vanilla Yogurt

Strawberry Shrub Drizzle with Oatmeal Vanilla Yogurt

To make the strawberry shrub:

Chop 2 cups of strawberries and place them in a large glass jar. Add two cups of cane sugar and let macerate for 2-3 hours at room temperature. Place lid on jar and refrigerate for 7 days shaking the jar once or twice a day to dissolve the sugar.  After 7 days strain the fruit mixture thru a fine mesh sieve squeezing the pulp to extract all the juices.  Add 1 cup cider vinegar and 1 cup Champagne vinegar. Decant in to 16 ounce bottle with swing top rubber stopper. Shrubs will keep up to one year in fridge.

Strawberry Shrub

Strawberry Shrub

STRAWBERRY CHERUB’S CUP

1 part St-Germain

2 parts Vodka, Cirtus Vodka, or Hendricks

1 part lemon juice

1 part strawberry shrub

top with Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine

Shake and strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with Brut Rosé or Brut Champagne. Garnish with strawberry.

Easter Egg Decorations – by Personal Chef San Francisco – Chef Garbo

Easter Egg Decorations

The incredible edible egg has been the symbol of fertility and rebirth for centuries.  In fact, the art of Easter Egg decorations goes back to the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and Persians as they enthusiastically celebrated the coming of Spring. Today, the skill of Easter Egg decorations comes in many different art forms, the most famous being the expensive Faberge eggs and the techniques used by the early American Pennsylvania Dutch settlers, who are credited with bringing the craft of dying Easter eggs to America.

And techniques I give you… For some really fun Easter egg decorating ideas click here.

Deviled Easter Egg Recipe

So what do you do with all those beautiful decorated Easter eggs?  You make Deviled Eggs of
course!  Check out the below recipe which features wild Ramps from my garden!

Deviled Easter Eggs - Gluten Free

Deviled Easter Eggs – Gluten Free

Ingredients

*    8 hard boiled eggs
*    4 tbsp mayonnaise
*    2-4 tsp Dijon mustard, to taste
*    2 tsp white vinegar
*    2 tsp minced shallots
*    ¼-1/2 tsp salt
*    ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
*    ¼ tsp ground black pepper
*    pinch of curry powder
*    6 drops hot red pepper sauce
*    paprika for garnish
*    ramps or chives for garish

Instructions
Hard boil your eggs for 15 minutes, then plunge in cold water and let them cool completely. You could even boil them the day before you want to make your deviled eggs. Once the eggs are completely cooled, shell them, then cut them in half lengthwise and leave the whites intact. Carefully remove the yolks, and place them in a bowl.

In the bowl, mash the yolks with the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, shallots, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, curry powder and hot sauce.

Spoon or pipe the egg yolk mixture into the indent of the egg whites, mounding the mixture slightly. If you wish to pipe the mixture in, use a star tip on a pastry tube.

Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, and a couple of cut ramps or chives. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.