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Extras Video by Sarah Newby and Mallory Messer!
5/17/2013
8th Grade Nutrition students were charged with giving their class presentations on the five food groups displayed on MyPlate, which is the new, jazzed up food pyramid.  One lucky group from each class had to focus their presentation on "Extras."  Sarah Newby and Mallory Messer did an awesome job with this cute and funny video!  They really thought outside of the box and got the information across in an innovative way.  I am so proud of them and just wanted to share this video which also features some of our St. Paul's cafeteria and maintenance staff!  Great job girls!

Quinoa Salad
5/13/2013

This week the 8th grade nutrition students are creating cooking videos as their final project of the year.  The students are taking what they have learned in Nutrition class this quarter and making healthy recipes with nutritional value.  My three year old daughter, Rose, and I made a sample video to show the students.  I thought that I would share our video along with a light and refreshing recipe for Quinoa Salad with Citrus Dressing. 





Nutrition with Prichard Preparatory!
5/13/2013
8th Grade Nutrition Carnival with Prichard Preparatory School
5/2/2013
St. Paul's 8th Grade students hosted the Prichard Preparatory 4th and 5th grade students for a Nutrition Carnival on Friday, April 26th.  Activities included Zumba led by SPS parent Renee Mullenix, a game show called "Family Food" where teams competed for prizes by answering nutrition based questions, a fresh fruit activity where students were able to participate in a fruit matching game and then make a fresh fruit salad, and last but not least, students made their own vanilla ice cream while learning about food science and the benefits of controlling the ingredients used in a recipe when making it from scratch.

Our St. Paul's 8th grade students were welcoming and gracious to our Prichard Prep guests.  I was amazed by their maturity and kindness.  These nutrition students took complete ownership of this event and made it their own.  We all enjoyed the time with the Prichard Preparatory students and it was sad to see them go!  I am so incredibly proud of our 8th graders!

As I mentioned, one of the stations at the carnival was a homemade ice cream station.  The recipe is extremely simple using only 2% milk, a tablespoon of sugar and a bit of vanilla extract.  I tested it at home with my three-year old first and it was a hit!  Try it at home with your kids or grandkids for a fun activity involving food science.  Talk with the kids about how rock salt lowers the freezing point of water and enables the ice cream to freeze in the zip lock bags.  This recipe is also great and super simple if you mix it together and freeze it using an ice cream maker. 

Please view the Saints Serving Photo Gallery to see more pictures of the Nutrition Carnival.

Augusta Evans Prom 2013
4/22/2013

The Culinary Club had the privilege of catering the Augusta Evans prom on Friday, April 12th.  The Augusta Evans prom committee picked a carnival theme for this year’s prom.  I was very excited when I heard this because I knew that planning a Mardi Gras themed menu would be easy and fun!  Leslie Lerner’s Service Leadership class coordinated the decorations for the prom, working hard with the help of Augusta Evans teachers and staff to transform the Augusta Evans gym into a magical space.  The Culinary Club prepared a menu of Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Garden Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, French bread straight from New Orleans, thanks to Doug Klyce, Mary Pettit and Bebo’s Springhill Market, homemade Moon Pies and homemade King Cake

Admittedly, these recipes can be intimidating, but they are really not that bad once you get into them!The King Cake turned out so beautifully that I don’t think I will ever purchase one again.  The Jambalaya is the real deal and easy to put together; the most time consuming part is prepping the ingredients.  To finish off the festive meal, homemade moon pies were certainly a special treat for our guests and would be for yours too!

Culinary Club members Zoë Donalson, Courtney Baker, Kendall Ann Bailey, Emily Peeler, Grace Killcreas, William Chandler, Caroline Scott and Hayley Hack did an amazing job catering the prom onsite at Augusta Evans.  These students sacrificed their Friday evening (it was Emily Peeler’s birthday too) in order to give back to our community through food.  I am extremely proud of what these students have accomplished this year.  Although catering the prom was hard work, we had a fun evening and Julie Taylor made it even more special by treating the students to dinner at Butch Cassidy’s.  Also, thank you to my Eighth Grade Nutrition students who did much of the prep work leading up to the big event.  It takes a village!

Check out the Saints Serving photo gallery to see more pictures from the prom.



Alumni Luncheon 2013
4/10/2013

The Culinary Club was very proud to participate in the St. Paul’s Annual Alumni Luncheon.  With the help of the 8th Grade Nutrition classes and the Service Leadership class we prepared and served a menu of Gourmet Chicken Salad, Mediterranean Pasta Salad, Fresh Fruit, Chive Biscuits and Iced Cookies made to represent the four pillars of the school, Academics, Arts, Athletics and Spirituality.  These recipes are easy to make at home and also very versatile so you can truly make them your own! 

A few notes about the recipes:  We were able to lighten up traditional chicken salad by using Greek yogurt and reduced-fat olive oil mayonnaise in our recipe.  Because we used tender rotisserie chicken meat, the salad is packed with flavor and the healthier ingredients are a refreshing change from the norm.  Pasta salad also gets a bit of a face lift from the use of orzo (the real deal only available at Food Pak or the Greek Orthodox Church) cooked in chicken broth for extra flavor, red wine vinaigrette with fresh basil and lots of Mediterranean ingredients like olives, artichokes and feta cheese.  After the fresh fruit, we rounded the menu out with Chive Biscuits made using one of my favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes.  I wrote the recipe the way I make the biscuits, using both a food processor and a mixer, because I love the results.  However, the biscuits can be made by hand or using either a mixer or food processor only.  This is a great recipe because you can make the dough, roll and cut the biscuits and then freeze, unbaked, until you need them.  Chive Biscuits are a great make ahead item for any party!

I hope you have as much fun with these recipes as the Culinary Club has.  Happy Cooking!

Please view the School Life Photo Gallery to see pictures from the Alumni Luncheon.



An easy weeknight meal using three of the food groups!!
3/27/2013

So this week the eighth grade Nutrition classes are really honing in on the five food groups.  Our weekly goal is to try and eat more veggies.  I am not one for sitting around and nibbling on carrot sticks so any time I have the opportunity to easily incorporate vegetables into a meal I take it! 

I ran across a great looking recipe for Black Pepper Caramel Shrimp in the April issue of Cooking Light.  I made some adjustments to the recipe according to what I had in my pantry and fridge and whipped up a version of the recipe for dinner a few nights ago.  I say “whipped up” because the dish truly came together in a flash.  I must admit that I did take a shortcut and used Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown Rice that only has to be heated in the microwave for 90 seconds.  But you know, there is no shame in taking shortcuts and the microwavable rice made this meal do-able for me on a weeknight.

I will call my version of the Cooking Light recipe Caramelized Chicken and Sugar Snap Peas with Brown Rice.  This dish was a hit at my house AND it incorporates three of the five food groups…what more could you ask for?!



Have you had your fruit today?
3/21/2013

I am very excited to announce that last week was the start of the Middle School Nutrition Program as part of the Physical Education curriculum.  During fourth quarter the eighth grade students will come to me one day a week for Nutrition class and next year the plan is to implement this program in grades five through eight.  I am pumped! 

At the end of every class I am presenting the students with a goal for the week.  I am going to try to meet this goal as well and I thought it would be great to put it out there on Foodies in Progress so you all can join along if you wish!  The goal for this week is to eat fruit every day.  The MyPlate Guide (new and improved food pyramid) recommends two servings of fruit per day.  The goal is to eat SOME fruit everyday even if it is not possible to get the full two servings.  If you are looking for a way to add more fruit into your diet, I recommend smoothies.  You can get a full serving of fruit from Ellie Krieger’s Blueberry Blast Smoothie as well as a full serving of dairy.  Add a piece of whole grain toast or some whole grain cereal to make a very balanced breakfast!   



Make Cupcakes like a Pastry Chef!
3/5/2013

Yikes!  I have not posted a new recipe in over a month…sorry!  The Admissions Office has been a busy place recently, which is great, but I admittedly have put the blog on the back burner.  To make up for it I am posting two recipes today.  This past weekend we had my three year old daughter’s birthday party.  Let me just say that DreamLand Skate Center (owned by Lori Finlen’s husband), a bunch of three year old children on riding toys, and adults wearing roller skates makes for just about the most fun party I have ever been to!  Needless to say, given my training, I was in charge of desserts.  Rose is my only child and I totally get carried away so amongst other things, I made yummy vanilla cupcakes topped with the most delicious and easy vanilla buttercream frosting. 

What most people don’t realize about culinary school is that one doesn’t necessarily graduate with the best arsenal of recipes ever but what graduates do leave with are the best techniques.  I look for inspiration and recipes the same places everyone else does but it may be easier for me to pinpoint what is going to work and what isn’t and how to tweak a recipe to make it better.  I picked this Vanilla Cupcake recipe because the cake is a “liquid fat” cake, meaning that instead of butter, oil is used.  Liquid fat cakes are always the moistest!  There is also a good bit of vanilla in the recipe.  Remember that the better quality vanilla you use, the better your cupcakes will taste.

The Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is off the hook!  I have been making this for years.  The key is not to short change the mixing time.  The butter and powdered sugar really need to whip in the mixer for AT LEAST five minutes in order to get light and fluffy!  This recipe is so versatile.  I love adding vanilla bean paste for adults so the vanilla bean specks can be seen, which to me is extra special!  Sometimes I add strawberry jam to make strawberry buttercream or melted chocolate to make a delicious chocolate frosting.  Baking is a science as they say, but there is still plenty of room to be creative!



In the Kitchen with Chef Lucy
1/25/2013

This past Wednesday Chef Lucy Greer Cheriogotis (Class of 2005) joined us in the kitchen.  “Chef Lucy” taught the Culinary Club members how to make two delicious recipes.  With Chef Lucy’s guidance, the students made a Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole and a beautiful Asparagus, Strawberry and Baby Spinach Salad tossed in a citrus vinaigrette.  This healthy meal is bursting with citrus flavor and will be a wonderful addition to your repertoire!  Also, both recipes come together in a flash. 

We loved having Chef Lucy in the kitchen!  After cooking together we concluded the afternoon with a “family meal” as we say in the restaurant biz.   


For more pictures of Cooking with Chef Lucy please view our School Life Photo Gallery

Peanut Butter Split Smoothie
1/8/2013

I must admit that I have not exactly started the New Year out right in the department of health and fitness.  However, I am changing my tune as of right now.  I would like to share one of my favorite breakfast recipes with you.  This Peanut Butter Split Smoothie recipe is from Ellie Krieger’s wonderful cookbook named The Food You Crave.  Making this smoothie is super fast and simple.  I usually throw it together right before I run out of the door and drink it in the car on the way to work.  The Peanut Butter Split Smoothie is a perfect nutrient-rich recipe that is also so delicious it doesn’t even taste healthy!    

My Christmas Dinner
12/18/2012
I wanted to share one last recipe with you before our holiday break.  I will be serving this Shrimp and Lobster Pot Pie to my family on Christmas night.  It would also be wonderful to serve on New Year's Eve.  This Pot Pie recipe is based on a Barefoot Contessa (my idol) recipe but I have made a few changes to suit my taste.  The process may seem a bit intimidating but the filling can be made a day in advance and if you are not up to making the crust yourself you can always purchase pre-made pie dough from the refrigerator section of your market.  I will say that the homemade dough is worth the extra effort though!  I have also made this recipe into individual pot pies which is very festive and fun if you are feeding a smaller group.  If a lobster tail or two is a bit out of your price range you can easily turn this into a shrimp only pot pie or fill in with another protein. 
I hope you all have an amazing holiday season and I would like to thank each of you for reading Foodies in Progress and supporting the Culinary Club!  My season is brighter because of you!
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
12/12/2012

I think the Christmas song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” recorded in 1963 by Andy Williams is pretty much on target, at least for me anyway!  December can be incredibly hectic and stressful as it was for some of the Culinary Club members last week who prepared graham cracker "gingerbread" houses and decorated them with the children at Penelope House.  It was hectic getting ready for the field trip, hectic loading the bus and getting to Penelope House and hectic setting up the houses, icing, candy, hot chocolate and cookies.  HOWEVER, when the kids residing in the shelter came in and saw the treat that awaited them, everything calmed immediately.  The Culinary Club members were wonderful with the children, helping them decorate their houses and then coloring Christmas pictures after. Because everyone was having so much fun, the room was almost silent as both kids and adults focused on their little winter wonderland houses!  Fleeting but inspiring moments like the ones we had at Penelope House are what make it the most wonderful time of the year!  Participating Culinary Club members were Courtney Baker, Kendall Ann Bailey, Grace Killcreas, William Chandler, Emily Peeler, Tatiana Finan, Caroline Scott and Zoë Donalson.  Mrs. Leslie Lerner helped organize, chaperoned and provided the Pollman’s cookies for the event.

For more pictures of the Culinary Club at Penelope House please view the Saints Serving Photo Gallery.

A bit off topic but another thing that makes December the most wonderful time of the year is the food!!!  I have been making this Smoked Salmon Dill Dip for years and years and it is one of my favorite party foods!  I have served it with crackers, toast points or veggies and I have also piped it in hollowed out cherry tomatoes or peppadews (sweet spicy red peppers that can be found on the Fresh Market olive bar).

The Gingerbread Houses are Here!
12/3/2012

Truth be told, I have never in my life made a gingerbread house from scratch until a few weeks ago.  If you have not stopped by and looked at the gingerbread house village at the front of the main building, please do so ASAP!  I think that the Culinary Club members did an amazingly creative job with these houses.  I have learned that, oddly enough, making a gingerbread house is incredibly rewarding and it makes me happy.  I would imagine that everyone who walks through the front doors of the school and lays eyes on the display, must smile.  As an adult, I cannot tell you how much fun planning this project was, especially laying out all of the beautiful candy for the students to make their creations with.  I now firmly believe that EVERYONE should make a gingerbread house during the holiday season.  It doesn’t matter your age, you will feel like a kid again when you are making your house (or mansion, if you have a little Martha Stewart in you)!

The following students worked on the beautiful houses: Tatiana Finan, Ashley  Forwood, Kendall Ann Bailey, Madeline Rihner, Courtney Baker, Elizabeth Morrissette, Stuart Cekolin, Jessica Knezha, Grace Killcreas, Kelly Jeon, Anna Alford, William Chandler and Nadia Barrani.

We used the Gingerbread House recipe and template as well as the Royal Icing recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Also, thank you to Deana D’Alonzo for making the gorgeous red candy cane garland to hang above the houses and to parents Katie Kirby and Kim Klyce for providing the beautiful fresh garland and completing the look!  I dare anyone to make it past the entrance table without a smile.


For more pictures please view the School Life Photo Gallery

A Great Way to Start Your Thanksgiving Meal
11/14/2012

Radio station Magic 93.7 (based in Mississippi) has started playing Christmas music.  This simple pleasure makes my morning and afternoon commute SO much better.  When the Christmas music starts I know that it is time to pull out my Butternut Squash Soup recipe.  I cannot get through the holiday season without making this delicious soup at least a few times.  Butternut squash soup is a perfect way to start your Thanksgiving meal, or any meal for that matter. For a special occasion, serve the butternut squash soup in pretty bowls and garnish with a few homemade croutons.  For an hors d’ oeuvres party, serve the soup in small glasses or cups garnished with fresh chives and placed on a large mirror or tray (as seen in the slideshow above).  The possibilities are endless…make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, add shrimp and make it into a butternut squash and shrimp bisque, grate yummy cheese over the top and drizzle with olive oil…I could go on for days.  Bring on the holiday music because I am ready to cook! 

Happy Thanksgiving!


*Stay tuned for the Culinary Club's Gingerbread Houses coming in December! 

Have a "Dawg" for Dinner Fundraiser
11/6/2012

The “Have a Dawg for Dinner” Fundraiser was a huge success and the Culinary Club raised just over $1,000!  I have truly learned the meaning of the phrase “it takes a village!”  I would like to thank the following adults: Leslie Lerner, Laura McGee, Deana D’Alonzo, Julie Taylor, Nancy Galanos, Anna Moore, Jon Laycock, Charles Bowman and Stan Roberson.  Each one of these talented people played a very important role in the planning and execution of the dinner.

The Culinary Club is made up of phenomenal members.  I would like to thank the following student chefs and “Dawg” Dinner workers: Zoë Donalson, Kelly Jeon, Anna Alford, Emily Peeler, Kendall Ann Bailey, Courtney Baker, Madeline Rihner, Stuart Cekolin, Grace Killcreas, Haley Hack, Laura Hampton Greene, Millie Jordan, Key Lamberth, Danielle Williamson, Elizabeth Morrissette, Tatiana Finan, Ashley Forwood, Nadia Barrani, Caroline Scott, Claire Sanderson, and Seline Morrissette.  These students worked incredibly hard, some of them for multiple days, making and packaging the Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad, Simple Cole Slaw and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I am very proud of their hard work and the final product! 

With the money raised, the Culinary Club can continue “Cooking for a Cause” by working with Penelope House and other non-profit organizations as well as inviting guest chefs to come in and cook with our students and many other things…with the “village” of St. Paul’s behind us the possibilities for the Culinary Club are endless!  Thank YOU for all of your support!



*Please check out the School Life Photo Gallery for more pictures of the fundraiser.
Lunch for Two
10/29/2012

The week of the “Dawg” Dinner is finally here!  The first “Dawg” Dinner fundraiser has been on my mind since this summer when Leslie Lerner came up with the brilliant idea.  The Culinary Club members have a huge week ahead of them and will be preparing dinners for over 200 people.  I am very confident that things will go off without a hitch, but nonetheless I spent yesterday (Sunday) testing all of the “Dawg” Dinner recipes to the letter, adjusting amounts and measurements, making notes and lists, etc.  My two and a half year old daughter, Rose, helped me (she actually spent most of her time throwing toys around the house and watching Dora).  Rose was allowed to spend the whole day in her princess p.j.’s and we just hunkered down and cooked.  When I am nervous about something (a hypothetical example would be a 200 person fundraiser dinner) I lose my appetite a bit.  Since Rose and I did not leave the house yesterday, I had to come up with something for lunch.  The only thing I could even think about eating was buttered pasta, my ULTIMATE comfort food since childhood.  I put a simple, yet gourmet twist on the standard buttered noodles dish by using browned butter and adding fresh thyme and sage, both of which I had in my fridge from recipes I prepared last week.  I hope you all enjoy this pasta dish as much as Rose and I did!  Who wouldn’t want to eat a princess plate full of brown-buttered spaghetti while wearing princess pajama’s?!?!

P.S. – The recipe testing went great and if you are not having a “Dawg” for dinner you are missing out!!  All “Dawg” Dinner recipes will be posted next week!  As you can tell from my pictures, Rose approves of the recipes.  Oddly, out of everything, she liked the Cole Slaw the best.

Pumpkin Muffins
10/22/2012

This past week the Culinary Club made desserts for Camp Rap-A-Hope’s Family Fun Day.  Our student chefs did a great job making Chocolate-Chunk Ginger Cookies, Lace Cookies, Halloween Themed Sandwich Cookies filled with Strawberry Jam and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Glaze.  I have my favorites but I think all of the sweet treats turned out beautifully!  The following members participated in this great project that was thought of by Mrs. Karen Alford, Anna Alford’s mother: Viktoria Boening, Anna Alford, Kelly Jeon, Kendall Ann Bailey, Madeline Rihner, Stuart Cekolin, Courtney Baker, Danielle Williamson, Millie Jordan, Megan Stegelman, Elizabeth Morrissette, Laura Hampton Greene, Seline Morrissette, Ann Mason Hunter and Tatiana Finan.

Since we are in the month of October I would like to share the Pumpkin Spice Cupcake recipe with you.  Even though they are called Cupcakes, I think the finished product is more like a muffin.  Of course, that could be because we did a simple glaze made of powdered sugar and pure maple syrup rather than a rich frosting.  This recipe is very versatile…you can frost them with cream cheese frosting, drizzle them with a glaze as we did, bake them will a streusel topping like little pumpkin coffee cakes or just eat them as they are right out of the oven.  When testing this recipe, I probably consumed eight plain “muffins” (seriously!) over the course of two days and they were perfectly delicious without any topping!  Jim Gullatte’s son, Paul, was my junior taste tester and said that his favorite part was the glaze.  Be creative and make them your own!

 Happy Cooking!

*To see more pictures check out the Learning Through Service Photo Gallery!

 

Made from Scratch Salad Dressings
10/15/2012

Salad dressing recipes may not be the most practical recipes to have in your arsenal, however, I believe that salad with a homemade dressing can take even the simplest meal up a notch.  To be honest, I have a very difficult time eating vegetables, so having a side salad with dinner makes me feel a little bit better!  I like to have homemade vinaigrette in my fridge whenever I can.  Danielle Williamson made this delicious and unique Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette for our Penelope House dinner.  Grace Killcreas and Nadia Barrani whipped up the Herb-Buttermilk dressing as a second option for the Penelope House residents.  I love to use this yummy spin on ranch dressing on a butter lettuce wedge with a slice of tomato and cracked black pepper as one of my dinner party staples.

Penelope House
10/5/2012

The Culinary Club did a HUGE thing this week…we completed our first project and the students were literally pushed into a commercial kitchen with a printed recipe and raw ingredients at each of their stations and were told that they needed to prepare a gourmet meal for about 75 people.  All I can say is that our students rose to the occasion!  They prepared, from scratch, Chicken Poppy Seed Casseroles, Salad with Homemade Croutons, Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette, Buttermilk-Herb Dressing, HOMEMADE Bread, S’more Brownies, Butter Cookies cut out into pumpkins, ghosts and bats and Colored Cream Cheese Icing.  I witnessed food bring people together.  I watched our students, in various grades, come together as a team and bond over food.  I saw the smiles on the faces of the women and children at Penelope House as they decorated Halloween cookies with the assistance of the Culinary Club members.  I watched most of our students prepare a meal, serve the meal and clean up after the meal while others were helping the children at Penelope House complete their homework.  Yesterday truly was a GREAT day to be a Saint!

I must thank Mr. Jon Laycock and his whole staff in the St. Paul’s School Cafeteria for welcoming us into their “home,” ordering the Culinary Club ingredients and letting us use valuable space in their cooler to store our items.  Seriously, there is no way we could have done what we did without Mr. Laycock and his staff greeting us with smiles as we invaded their space, three days in a row!  Also, a HUGE thank you to Leslie Lerner and Julie Taylor for going with the group to Penelope House and using their very valuable time to support the Culinary Club (those of you who know these women know that they are both capable of moving mountains and they did just that at Penelope House).  Last but certainly not least, thank you to our budding chefs – Courtney Baker, Grace Killcreas, William Chandler, Nadia Barrani , Anna Alford, Victoria Falkos, Danielle Williamson, Laura Hampton Greene, Stuart Cekolin, Zoe Donalson, Katherine Schulte, Viktoria Boening, Kendall Ann Bailey, Tatiana Finan, Millie Jordan, Megan Stegelman, Caroline Scott, Haley Hack, Elizabeth Morrissette, Emily Peeler, Madeline Rihner and Kelly Jeon.

Out of all the delicious things that our talented students prepared the S’more Brownies were the favorite, of kids and adults alike.  I sort of consider myself a connoisseur of brownies and I must say that the S’more Brownie recipe I found years ago in Elizabeth Faulker’s amazing cookbook is by far the best!!!!!

Check out the Learning through Service Photo Gallery to see more pictures from the Penelope House event!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paella
9/26/2012

Paella = Delicious!  Paella always intimidated me until a few years ago when my sister-in-law shared this recipe with me that she received from a friend’s Spanish grandmother.  This is my go-to entertaining dish but it is easy enough to make on a Tuesday night for dinner.  Paella is a one pot meal which is my favorite kind of meal!  Once you pop it in the oven, you can walk away for 40 minutes and when you return you will have PERFECT paella, which is why I love it for entertaining…I prep it before guests arrive and put it in the oven, then I can socialize and enjoy the party with everyone else!  Also, it can be customized for your family or guests depending on what meat you add and can be easily doubled or tripled.  To be completely honest, I am a bit hesitant to share this one but I guess I am a “blogger” now and bloggers share, so here you go...

French Macaroons
9/18/2012

Some dear friends hosted a bridal shower for my sister this past weekend.  The hostesses prepared a delicious lunch and I was honored to be asked to prepare the dessert.  I made several cookies and an ice cream or sorbet to pair with each one.  I like to do grown up twists on classic combinations so I made mini chocolate chip cookies from The Chewy recipe with Brown Sugar Ice Cream, Raspberry Jam filled Cookies with Peanut Butter Ice Cream as a play on PB & J, and last but not least Chocolate Macaroons with a Red Berry Sorbet.  Everything was good, but the Macaroons really stood out.  When people have these macaroons they flip!  I try not to post dessert or sweet recipes two weeks in a row but so many people asked me for the macaroon recipe that I thought I would make an exception and kill two birds with one stone!  Also, if you mastered last week’s recipe for Forgotten Kisses, you can take your skill to the next level with this one.

Probably all over the United States but especially in the South, the word Macaroon is associated with coconut.  The Macaroons I make are traditional French-style macaroons made with French meringue, ground almonds, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Preparing these little jewels is not for the faint of heart but well worth the praise you will receive when your guests taste them!  The ultimate compliment came at my sister, Sara’s, bridal shower when her good friend and St. Paul’s alumnus, Meg McCrummen (Class of 2007), who has lived in France, said that she has not been able to find “real” macaroons anywhere since she returned home and these are the best she has had.  I am sure she was just being nice but her statement made my day!

Happy Cooking!

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten Kisses
9/12/2012

One of the first things we learned in Culinary School was how to make meringue.  There are three types of meringue, French, Swiss and Italian, and they vary by method and stability.  Luckily, I already had the French variety under my belt thanks to my aunt, Sally Greer.  I am sure most of you know Mrs. Greer but if you don’t, you should.  She is the sweetest person on the planet and the best aunt a girl could ask for!  She has been making “kisses,” as we call them, my whole life.  Forgotten Kisses are the easiest and most delicious treats!  You can make them in the evening, place them in a preheated oven, turn the oven off and not think about them until the next morning.  The only thing to keep in mind is: DO NOT try to make these when the weather is bad.  The weather has been great this week so I made them last night and they are pillows of perfection!!  My hope is that the Forgotten Kisses will entice the wonderful Culinary Club members to attend the meeting today:)  We will see!

Happy Cooking!

Mrs. Gregory

 

 

 

 

 

Poppy Seed Chicken
9/6/2012

When writing about this recipe, I must give a big nod to Ms. Cindy Wootton in the St. Paul’s Development Office.  The original recipe for the ever so delicious Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole came from her.  She made it for my family several times when I was younger.  When I started catering, I needed a go-to chicken casserole recipe.  I made a few changes, one being to add the pasta into the recipe rather than serving it on the side, because when catering for large groups, a one dish meal is ideal.  This casserole can stand on its own or be served with a fresh salad.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have served this over the years, to my family as well as my clients.  It is anything but healthy but you truly CANNOT beat it!  Just ask Suzan Doggett:)  Thanks Ms. Wootton!

** For a shortcut pick up a rotisserie chicken from the market instead of roasting your own!

Happy Cooking

Mrs. Gregory

 

Dinner with Friends
8/30/2012

A few weeks ago we had friends for dinner.  One of my good friends does not eat a lot of meat, such as chicken or beef,

but loves seafood.  Since shrimp is my favorite food in the world and we have this particular seafood-loving friend for dinner often, I am always looking for new ways to prepare shrimp.  I LOVE hosting dinner parties but every time I plan a menu I ask two questions…Will my guests like the dishes? and Can I prepare most of the food ahead of time?!  For this dinner party I served Caprese Salad, Grilled Shrimp Skewers with warm Mango Salsa (based on Barefoot Contessa recipes), Herbed Basmati Rice and Caramel-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake with Candied Almonds made with homemade caramel sauce, ice cream and cake.  It turned out to be delicious and a perfect meal for entertaining!  I won’t overwhelm you with all of those recipes but I have included the recipe for the grilled shrimp!  When I peeled my shrimp I left the tails on for presentation purposes but if you are making this for a large group, I would recommend ordering your shrimp already peeled and deveined to save some time.

 

Happy Cooking!

 

 

 

The Chewy
8/22/2012

WOW!  The response to the Culinary Club and Culinary Club webpage that I have received from students, faculty, staff, parents and alums has been overwhelming and SO wonderful!  I think it shows that food is so hugely important to our minds and bodies.  I am thrilled that our St. Paul’s family is excited about cooking!  However, I do feel like the pressure is on!!! 

This past Tuesday was Upper School Club Day, where students in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to sign up to participate in various clubs.  I decided that it might be a good idea to reward the students who signed up for the club with chocolate chip cookies:)  Much to my surprise, I ran out of cookies half way through Club Day so I owe many of you out there a cookie!  I found Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” recipe over a year ago and have been addicted to these cookies ever since.  The bread flour makes the texture of this cookie extraordinary! 

 

Comfort Food
8/15/2012

browned orzoThe first week of school after summer break is always a bit nerve-wracking.  Even as an adult, working in a school, I get nervous and excited when the students come back after the VERY quiet summer months.  Which brings me to comfort food…I feel like this is a week in which students as well as parents, faculty and staff deserve a great comfort food meal.  Obviously comfort food means different things to different people.  I am Greek so my comfort food is orzo, which is rice shaped pasta.  Other than Greek Fest the only authentic Greek orzo you can find in Mobile is at Food Pak on Old Shell Road.  Fortunately, however, orzo has become very main-stream so most grocery stores carry a more American version of it.  My (and my family’s) preparation is very simple (and it works with any brand of orzo you can find) and all of you Foodies in Progress out there can truly make it your own depending on what you add…the possibilities are endless! At my house we make some variation of this weekly.  I have never prepared this orzo for someone who did not love it!

Bon Appétit,

Mrs. Gregory

culinary-orzo

 

Welcome to Foodies in Progress!
7/30/2012

My name is Elizabeth Galanos Gregory (St. Paul's Class of '99) and I have worked in the St. Paul's Admissions office for several years.  I am SO excited to be involved with the St. Paul's Culinary Club for the 2012-13 school year!  After graduating from St. Paul's and Auburn University, I attended The French Culinary Institute, now named The International Culinary Center, in New York, NY where I received my Grand Diplome in Pastry Arts.  Working in the restaurant and catering industry was never dull but ultimately I came back home to St. Paul's.  I am thrilled to be able to share my training and passion for food with our St. Paul's family.  I encourage any interested Upper School student to get involved with the Culinary Club!

 

To get things started, I have included simple directions for a beautiful caprese salad.  It is the perfect time of year for a dish like this.  When making caprese salad, good-quality ingredients are the key, then the rest is just assembly.  My goal is to post an entry, including a recipe, weekly.  Culinary Club members will also have the opportunity to participate in the blog.  Get involved with the club or stay tuned to Foodies in Progress for more.  I have big plans in store!

Bon Appétit!

Mrs. Gregory

 

 
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