Monday, June 28, 2010

Cancer Wellness Center at Piedmont Fayette Opens

If you look at our smiling faces, you will know that we were very happy last Thursday night. Just a short drive south from Atlanta, the new Cancer Wellness Center at Piedmont Fayette Hospital celebrated its VIP Grand Opening! Chef Hans and I enjoyed cooking Indian Lentil Burgers, and Spicy Honey Cumin Shrimp and Okra for the over 200 visitors. What a beautiful new center! Designed by Daniel Montanez from Harris Fritz Architects, the new center boasts a fantastic kitchen full of Wolf and Subzero Appliances, great meeting and class space and even several huge aquariums full of colorful and exotic fish. I know the cancer patients and survivors, (and thrivers) will really enjoy spending time with each other in such a beautiful place. Congratulations and much thanks to all who have played such a big part in this important cancer community venue.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Woo Hoo - Time for Watermelon

Here in the South, it’s watermelon season again. Just because watermelon is sweet, juicy and delicious doesn’t mean its just for dessert. One of my excellent cooking assistants has sent me a flavorful and unusual recipe for a watermelon salad. Thanks Bill!

Watermelon Salad with Potato Vodka Feta Dressing

1 Head Bibb or Romaine Dressing
2 Cups Seedless Watermelon cut into 1” Cubes
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
Chopped Mint Leaves for Garnish
*Potato Vodka Feta Dressing
Cover a salad plate with the lettuce. Top with the seedless watermelon and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Lightly sprinkle the smoked paprika over the dressing and garnish with the chopped mint.

*Potato Vodka Feta Dressing
1 Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Light Mayonnaise
½ Cup Loosely Packed Fresh Mint Leaves Finely Chopped
2 - 3 oz Feta Cheese
1 - 1 ½ oz of Potato Vodka.
Stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, mint and feta ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the vodka and continue stirring until the dressing becomes thick and creamy.

Recipe by Bill Thomas

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dinner Tonight - Fast and Delicious!

Just because I'm a chef doesn't mean that I don't have the same issues as everyone at dinnertime. Not enough time, ingredients in my frig and pantry. So for nights like this, I have a solution that both Mike and I love: Tortilla Pizzas. I throw whatever is available on, and we have dinner in 15 minutes. The secret is to keep your toppings simple and spare - too much and the thin tortilla won't hold it!

Tortilla Pizza

1 Large Whole Wheat Tortilla (My favorite brand is Tam-x-ico's, available in the dairy section of most grocery stores)
1 TB Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
1 Thinly Sliced *Tomato
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella, Fontina or Manchego Cheese
½ TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Julienned or Chopped Fresh Basil

Preheat the oven to 500F. Place the Tortilla on a Baking Sheet or a sheet of Aluminum Foil. (Or use a pizza stone and cook directly on the preheated stone.) Sprinkle the tortilla with the Parmesan, and place the tomato on top of it. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste. Scatter the mozzarella over this and top with a drizzle of the olive oil. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with the fresh basil. Set aside for a few minutes to cool and cut into wedges.

*If your tomato is ripe and juicy, slice it and place it on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Roll it up and let sit for about 5 minutes to remove any extra juice, before placing it on the pizza.

And to drink:

Loads of dark red juicy fruit taste and an aroma of violets and berries makes Southern Italian Sangiovese a winner with easy Tortilla Pizza. Did you know the Sangiovese grape is the same grape used for Chianti, a traditional choice for pizza and pasta? Wine Advocate Antonio Galloni gives Di Majo Norante a score of 90 points. I agree. You can find it at Cost Plus World Market for about $10 a bottle.