Sunday, October 3, 2010

Something You Didn'y Know About Me

Something you all do not know about me is...

That I love food. I am passionate about food. I am incredibly knowledgeable about food. I love to cook, and I usually create my own dishes...sometimes very elaborate and other times very comforting.

I work in a restaurant, as a server in a pretty hip restaurant that is brand new. I have always worked in a restaurant, both in front and back of the house. I cooked in the kitchen for more than a year, where I was known by customers and staff alike to make the best soups. After the first two weeks of making soup, I never followed recipe but made my owns soups.

I might get ideas from recipes, or from something I saw in a cook book. Or I would get ideas from what was in the walk in. Whatever you need to go ahead and use will make a great soup. I eventually made the nightly fish specials. I was allowed a lot of creativity with it. I must mention here, though...that it was a fine dining STEAKHOUSE so the fish special usually was not a top seller. It was a great restaurant though, and everything we put out was quality.

I once made an pecan crusted catfish with a maple and cayenne buerre blanc served with bourbon brown sugar sweet mash. I ground pecans into a flour like consistency, and then dredged the catfish in it (with an egg wash). It was awesome...I make a blackened tuna bloody mary where I blacken a big thick piece of ahi, and I sear it just barely so the meat is rare and it is topped with a "bloody mary" salsa, which has stewed tomatoes, picked okra, picked green beans, pepperincini, horseradish, and a little green olive. I make a leg of lamb that I coat with oive oil and them rub down with fresh rosemary, mint, and garlic then it is roasted until medium rare. 15 minutes before lamb is done, I rub a thin layer of grated fresh Parmesan and bread crumb so it bakes crispy and brown. Then I use all the leftover juices and make a herbed cabernet gravy. It is divine!

I am struck, now for the first time, with the fact that I use alcohol in my gourmet cooking. I often deglaze the pan with white wine or beer, depending on what the people around me are drinking. I use wine in my sauces, and I use the flavors of famous drinks. For instance, I make a Mint Julep Creme Brulee that I put fresh mint and a little whiskey. For a recovered addict, this would seem odd.

And I honestly never noticed until I wrote it on paper. I never even thought about it. I do not drink anymore. But, I cook with it. My mom will have a beer while I am cooking on a holiday or gathering (I cook for almost all family events, often with my brother who is also a superb cook.) and if my pan is sticking, I just ask her for a little splash of beer. I never think about wanting a sip.

I think in those first few years of being in recovery, my mom would get nervous at the mention of alcohol. They never drank around me at first, and then my family would have a glass or two of beer or wine at a special occasion. No one in my family got sloshed. When I asked to get a splash to cook with it one time I sensed my mom's trepidation. They never questioned me for cooking with it, but I saw that questioning look. I am not sure if they trusted my judgement, but I had been clean more than a year when this first happened. I could tell they were worried. But now, my mom just hands me the bottle to splash some in. She knows I don't want to drink it. And alcohol is part of the culinary experience.

In the world of food and food writing, alcohol is part of it. But, that does not mean you have to drink to be able understand this pairing. Now, I am not sure if you get the knowledge you would need about wine without drinking it. I used to drink, and when I lived in New Orleans...I drank a lot. I worked at a great restaurant there that had over 1,000 wines on our list. We had a weekly wine class, and I learned a lot about wine in the three years I worked there. Now, I have the knowledge, so it is just keeping up with the trends and products. I can read a flavor profile of a wine, and I can generally pair it with that alone. Anyway, I think I have ventured from the point of this little piece with my discovery of the mention of alcohol....

One of my goals is to win the James Beard award for Journalism. The James Beard awards are the most prestigious awards in the culinary world. I did not know they had Journalism awards until recently, but I knew several restaurants that have received these honors in various other categories. It is always an honor. I hope to win this award with a blog. I plan on doing a food-photo blog, where it has a picture every day with piece of writing crafted around the image. I plan to write stories, and information, or whatever that food inspires me to write. I want my knowledge and LOVE for food to be the driving force of the food blog. I want my readers to feel my passion for flavor, and cooking, and the experience of eating. Food is a life force. Food is an art source. Food is divine and yet necessity. Food is a universal human experience.

I am currently finishing another writing project, that I am hoping to craft into a book. When the book is finished, the blog will be my next main project. Right now, I am gaining experience by writing for my college's online newspaper, and of course by writing on this blog. I only need one big project at a I finish the book AND THEN start the food blog.

But, I am always scribbling down ideas for the food blog. I think I have six months worth of ideas! I do not have any pictures yet because I am hoping to buy a really nice somewhat professional camera for this. I took several semesters of photography in college, and I actually have an eye for it. And,food,food...who doesn't love food.

I make a mean shrimp and grits. I make an amazing Gumbo Ya-Ya. I make grilled seafood and top it with my own fruit pico de gallo. I make homemade pimento mac and cheese. I make a great black and blue pasta, with blackened chicken and a blue cheese cream sauce. I make the best green beans, and excellent healthy collard greens. I love to cook!!! And I love to eat.

And I love to write. It is a gift from heaven that I am talented with both writing and food, and an eye for photography. I am very blessed with talents, and I have finally have the means to use all these talents together. I am very excited about the future.


  1. If you cook as well as you write I can't wait till you get your own restaurant.

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