A Quickie…Serenbe Farmers Market

A Quickie…Serenbe Farmers Market

There is nothing I enjoy more than a good farmers market. Actually that’s a lie. I enjoy cooking whatever I buy at a farmers market even more. So you must know how excited I was to be able to do a cooking demo at one. More specifically the Serenbe Farmers Market.

I immediately knew what I wanted to create for the Serenbe shoppers. A friend and fellow chef, has a line of hummus and desserts that she vends at that market from time to time. I decided to pay homage to the cooler weather and use her black eye pea hummus to create comfort food. I wanted something that said Fall that wasn’t a stew or soup. Pasta came to mind. I would make a sauce from the hummus and coat the pasta in it. But what goes well with black eye peas? Collard greens. Yes. Bacon. Double Yes. This is how “The Southern Comfort” dish was born.

Southern Comfort

1 lb. Linguine

1 lb. Thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ strips

1 medium onion, cut into slices

1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1″ strips

1 cup black eye pea hummus

1/4-1/2 cup pasta water

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package. In a pan cook bacon pieces until crispy. Do not drain bacon fat. Add onion slices to the bacon and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add greens, cooking until just wilted. Mix in hummus and cooked pasta. Use pasta water to loosen the sauce so it coats the pasta. Finish with black pepper. Top dish with cheese.

If you noticed I don’t mention any spices, except black pepper. That’s because the hummus has enough spices and flavoring in it. The bacon brings enough salt to the dish as does the parmesan cheese.

If you’d like to order hummus visit Chef Diahann at her website here. Or if you are in need chef services for this upcoming holiday season you can email me at chef@thechefinpearls.com. I will be offering services that include in-home cooking, drop-off meals, artisanal hot chocolate service and much more.

If you make this dish share a picture and tell me what you thought of it. I made some really good memories while at Serenbe. It’s your turn to do the same. Now go forward and make your own memories with a new recipe to try.

Until next time.

~Cassandra The Chef In Pearls

What’s in a Name?….The Real Milk and Honey ATL

What’s in a Name?….The Real Milk and Honey ATL

What’s in a name? A lot more than most people dare to acknowledge. Let’s take our own names into consideration. Our parents, most I hope, gave some serious thought to what they would name us. They looked at meanings, considered our elders, thought about what image they wanted to convey when our name was heard.  This because your name is tied to you and all that you do. When your name becomes sullied it is so hard to recover from it. That brings us to The Real Milk and Honey Atl. It probably sounds like another restaurant in the Atlanta area. Sort of like the Chef behind The Real Milk and Honey Atl , Chef Sammy Davis, Jr.  Doesn’t his name ring a bell? A couple of years back he brought an all day brunch spot by the name of Milk and Honey to Atlanta. Since then he franchised it out with the hope that it would continue all the things that made it popular under his helm. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

So now we fast forward to The Real Milk and Honey Atl. Chef Davis felt he owed it to Atlanta to give them back the all day brunch place he originally created. And I had the pleasure of being at the V.I.P. tasting for the restaurant. Chef Sammy created a new French Toast for us to sample before the rest of Atlanta got their chance. It is a Peach Crown Royal-infused French Toast with a Peach Cobbler topping (also with Peach Crown Royal as an ingredient) served with a Peach Crown Royal Glazed Chicken Wing. This dish was my introduction to Peach Crown Royal and what an introduction it was. Now when you go visit The Real Milk and Honey Atl, and I know you will, please make sure you order the Brunch Punch.  It is Life! If I didn’t have a long drive back home I would’ve asked for another, it’s that good. (Please drink responsibly!!!) And if the french toast and the drink weren’t enough, we got to taste dessert! Yes Chef Sammy’s right hand man Chef Daniel Day made the cutest Apple Rose Tarts with Strawberry Jam…oh so delicious!

I had a great time at the tasting. Got to meet and chat a bit with Chef Sammy and the lovely Monique (his fiancee & business partner). Met some other cool people too. Most important thing was I made new memories. You know how I feel about that! When you are looking for a new place for brunch, venture to Main Street in College Park to The Real Milk and Honey Atl. Let me know what you think of the spot. Better yet, let me know what you think of the Brunch Punch! So go forward and make some new brunch memories.

Until next time….

~ The Chef In Pearls

P.S. They have announced their grand opening. It takes place July 6th & 7th and you get tickets through Eventbrite. Visit them on Instagram @therealmilkandhoney to get your tickets.

 

For the Love of Fudo…..

For the Love of Fudo…..

You’re a guy. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You finally mustered up the courage to ask the girl of your dreams out. You don’t want to do a place that’s too pretentious. Or a place where you could scare her off with too much . Well, I have the perfect place for you!

Name: Fudo

Food: Asian small plates

I recently had the opportunity to experience Fudo on a date. I can tell you first hand this is an excellent place for date night. From the moment you arrive, the hipster vibe envelopes you at the entrance. The view of the bar area’s back wall, lit in blue glowing light, draws you in just on curiosity if nothing else. Then you walk through the doors and are met by a modern take on an industrial setting. Wood and metal meet gracefully in the mix of the low lights. Everyone seems earnestly happy, from the host to the sushi chefs and even our waitress. How could you not feel comfortable? We were seated and that’s when all the action began …

My date wasn’t very big on the idea of raw fish, so our server was very helpful with making alternative suggestions. We started  with a couple of drinks, I had the “Dancing with Stars” and he the “Mandarin Oriental”, and we were told they are the most popular drinks on the menu. We all know you can’t have drinks without appetizers, so we ordered a couple of small plates. Pan Seared Dumplings (with it’s very own lacy covering) and Tori Karaage or Japanese Fried Chicken (served with a Spicy Asian Ketchup that I am sure would make shoe leather taste good). Note: Japanese Fried Chicken tastes like regular fried chicken except it is not heavily coated. Did I mention that it came with a kick ass spicy ketchup? Yea, I really liked that ketchup. With a suggestion from Rey, our server, we tried Rock Paper Shrimp. There was no way I was going to a restaurant that served sushi and not try something from their sushi menu. This shrimp dish has easily become one of my favorites. It has a crispy rice base, topped with a crab salad, which is then finished with a seared shrimp and micro greens. It satisfied us both: I got some sushi and he didn’t have to eat anything raw.  Win-win! For our main entree we each got a Donburi or Rice Bowl. I had the Katsu-don … crispy pork with balsamic teriyaki, butter corn, pickled vegetables. He had the Gyu-don … marinated short ribs, fried kimchi, arugula. We enjoyed our rice bowls while drinking a little warm sake, a suggestion made by my date.  Apparently it’s one of his favorite drinks, Who knew? Well now I know.

It turned out to be a really good date. We talked about food likes and dislikes. I ate with chopsticks, he with a folk. We were able to be comfortable and talk without trying to yell over too loud music. All the while the staff was very accommodating and helpful. The only thing they didn’t have that we wanted was dessert. However, I was told by a little birdie that they dessert would be available soon, just in time for Valentine’s Day! So if you are looking for a really great spot to enjoy for lunch or dinner or Valentine’s Day, then Fudo’s is it. If you don’t believe me then check out the pictures. Exactly! Now wipe the drool from your mouth. Check out their website here and call to see if they are doing reservations that night. Once you’ve had your date night at Fudo hit me up and tell what your favorite experience was.

Now go forward and make new memories. Until next time …

~The Chef In Pearls

 

35 Years of Getting it Right . . . First Watch

35 Years of Getting it Right . . . First Watch

How do you celebrate 35 years of getting healthy food right? With a cookbook of course! And that’s just what First Watch did. They have created a cookbook with all of the favorites and made it home cook friendly. So now you can either head to your nearest First Watch and saddle up for some fresh cooked food or pull out their cookbook out and whip up a meal or two for you and your friends. The choice is yours!

Oh so you’ve never been to First Watch? Man are you missing out! You couldn’t want for a better place to meet up with friends. First Watch restaurants are known for their breakfast, brunch and lunch menu. No dinner items on their menu, they only open during the daytime, 7:00am- 2:30pm. I recently had the privilege of dining at First Watch with a couple of fellow bloggers, Jennifer Harris of Gluten Free Go To Guide and Rochelle Wharton of Culinary Veggout. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, so it was great to connect again over food. Our host for the afternoon was Charles Rohling, the regional marketing manager for First Watch. He started our meal off with one of their more popular dishes, Avocado Toast. It’s their thick cut multi grain toast topped with fresh smashed avocado, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt and served with two basted eggs. (In the cookbook they walk you through how to recreate all of the ways they cook eggs in the restaurants). They were even able to create the dish with gluten-free bread for Jennifer, who eats gluten free.We then got to try their Million Dollar Bacon, which was sweet and spicy all at the same time. But not Culinary Veggout because she’s vegan. Now I am not one for green drinks as I prefer to eat my veggies than drink them, but their Kale Tonic won me over. I was slow to sip but once I did I wanted to take it home with me. At this point you would think that was all they had for us but no, there was still more food being brought out. Next was the Parm Hash . . . potatoes, Italian sausage, onions, crimini mushrooms, tomatoes, parmesan, mozzarella, and fresh herbs topped with two eggs. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I know it does because it was. And how can we not sample the lemon ricotta pancakes? So we did. You can’t go wrong with a meal at First Watch.

I was very content with the meal they provided but First Watch is a very generous company. They provided each of us with a copy of their new cookbook. You know I had to put that to good use. I re-created their BLTE sandwich with my take on their Million Dollar Bacon. It tastes even better than it looks. And we all know that it looks damn good. When you get a chance please check out your nearest First Watch location. And if you want to re-create some of their dishes, make sure to pick up a copy of the cookbook. Once you’ve had a First Watch meal and made wonderful memories make sure you let me know what you think. What’s your favorite dish? Did you make something out of the cookbook? I’d love to know.

Until next time . . .

~The Chef In Pearls

 

A Love Story…They Cook You Eat

A Love Story…They Cook You Eat

Kevin and Brooke Stovall recently celebrated 3 years of marriage. To some not a big deal, for them a milestone achieved after a two year, long distance courtship. They were separated by more than 700 miles. How did they make it work? They would try to visit each other bi-monthly. During the times they couldn’t see each other, they would meet up virtually. They dated via FaceTime, spending time cooking together. Technology helped to sustain the relationship while the couple communicated through food. Fast forward to the present and their love story has birthed another relationship, coauthors to a cookbook, He Cooks She Eats. It will be the story of their courtship alongside recipes. Pretty cool if you ask me. A love story. Over Food. Yes!

On November 3rd they hosted the inaugural meal for They Cook You Eat. It is their foray into the world of supper clubs. An opportunity to share their love story while highlighting up and coming chefs in the Atlanta area. Guess who was the chef they chose to roll it all out with? That’s right your girl, The Chef In Pearls. Of course I was more than honored to have this opportunity. It was an honor because I would be the chef making the first impression for their guests. I could have taken it on as a lot of pressure but instead I chose to see it as a challenge. How would I leave their guests wanting to attend future events while also setting the standard for the chefs to come? I believe I accomplished just that with this meal. With constant communication and open minds, the three of us came to an agreement on a menu. A menu that I felt would woo the guests. A menu that I hoped would create a new love story between guests and They Cook You Eat.

We started with a welcoming drink of Spike Horchata, a rice & almond milk drink spiked with tequila. The starter for the meal was a Tlacoyo. Traditionally a breakfast dish in Mexico, we filled the masa dough with lump crabmeat, roasted poblano peppers and oaxaca cheese. It was plated with an avocado crema and fresh corn salsa. The accompanying drink was a jalapeno- cucumber margarita. The second course was Pozole, which means hominy, a key ingredient to this soup. We kept it vegetarian, garnishing the soup with sliced radishes, minced cilantro, and pan seared shrimp. The accompanying drink was a grapefruit margarita with flamed rosemary. The entree was Red Snapper Veracruz, snapper fillets baked with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, capers, olives, onions and garlic, served atop lime-cilantro rice. The accompanying drink was a perfect Manhattan made with tequila. We finished the meal with a Mexican take on affogato, which is traditionally an Italian dessert of coffee and ice cream. We brewed our version of cafe olla using orange zest, anise and clove, topped a shot of Kahlua and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it. I overheard it described as eating clouds. That put a big smile on my face. As usual, I’ll let the pictures speak to you.

This event was truly a love story.  I fell in love with my hosts, the Stovalls, and all the memories we created for ourselves and our guests. I hope that you will consider enjoying a night out at a They Cook You Eat event in 2019.  I am excited to see who the reigns get handed over to in the kitchen. Come out and help make some new memories for everyone involved.

Until next time….

~The Chef In Pearls

Photo Credit to Michelle Turner of Excited to Feast, Kamiliah Edwards and Michelle Munroe…thankful for you ladies because it sure is hard to cook and take pictures

For the Taataas…Breast Cancer Awareness

For the Taataas…Breast Cancer Awareness

I did this shoot for the taataas. Truth be told I did this shoot because I wanted to honor those I know who fought the horrible fight against breast cancer. The ones who won and the ones who didn’t. I did this shoot to honor them. To honor the bravery they had to fight such a fight.  I had to be brave too. I never show this much skin. Plus size woman aren’t supposed to.  But I did it for the taataas.  I did it so that we recall our fallen sistas ( and brothas). I did it for the ones who feel less than because they lost what they thought made them whole (mastectomies can be hard not just on the physical but the mental as well). I did it so we remember our monthly breasts exams. One arm behind your head while checking feverishly in a circular motion with the other hand. So we are the first to notice when something isn’t quite right. I did it for my friend, Sandra Hutchinson, who survived breast cancer but still passed on.  I did it for Michelle Munroe who won that fight and continues to be a support for others ( I see you girl). I did it because I needed you to see this 46-year-old mom who breast-fed children. That these taataas were more than something to just look at. I needed you to see that they don’t stand up like 20 years ago. Nothing a good bra can’t fix. I did it because it was freeing. I did it because of the memories I created and will be able to share. I did it because I want you to be aware that we are nowhere near where we need to be in fighting this fight against breast cancer. I did this for… the TAATAAS!

Embroidered Mesh Top: Lane Bryant

Pink Hooded Jacket: JC Penney

Pink Shorts: JC Penney

Shades: Versona

Diner en Blanc Atlanta . . . Another one in the Books

Diner en Blanc Atlanta . . . Another one in the Books

30 years since created + 5 years of Atlanta participating + 3,500 people all dressed in white + 1 location = Diner en Blanc Atlanta. This was the year Diner en Blanc turned the big three O and if that wasn’t enough Atlanta celebrated 5 years of being on board. I had goals set for this year’s Diner en Blanc. I wanted to cover 3 different Diner en Blanc and each location I chose held a special place in my heart. Jamaica, New York and Atlanta. My heritage, my past and my present. It would have been an homage to myself of sorts.  Like all good plans sometimes they just don’t work out they way you want. I reached out to the planning committee for Jamaica and have yet to hear from them. I guess I was not persistent enough. I started to be a little smarter with my approach. I reached out to a friend who worked with the planning committee in New York. She helped to connect me with the right people. I was in for New York! Plane ticket purchased, dress ordered, restaurant connection made, itinerary created. The only thing left for me to do was to pack. Then life hit me with a big blow. My Dad’s wife, my bonus Mom, passed away.  I talked a big game to myself and others. I was still going to New York. I was still going to cover at least 2 of the three locations for Diner en Blanc. Yeah I was a tad delusional. Death can do that to you. I had to cancel my trip to New York, I missed my Mom more than I realized.  As if wanting to add insult to injury, it seemed as if there would be no Diner en Blanc Atlanta. My 30 year Diner en Blanc blog post was dying right before my very eyes.  Ugghhh!

Just when I thought I would have to try again next year. I sent one more email to Diner en Blanc Atlanta. I didn’t get an email reply. Instead I received a phone call from Carla Griffin letting me know my name had been added to the media list. Whew. I guess one-third of an original idea is better than none. While I may not have been able to do Jamaica or New York, I enjoyed covering Diner en Blanc Atlanta. Which says so much as Atlanta is the location of my present life. What better way to pay homage to myself than with living in the present. Thank you to the planning committee of Diner en Blanc Atlanta. It was great meeting new people and having the Diner en Blanc experience! Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I am gonna let the below clip say all that I can’t.

Some of you may remember that I atended Diner en Blanc last year, if not then check out last year’s memories here.  If you wold like to create some Diner en Blanc memories of your own,  visit Atlanta.dinerenblanc.com to see how you can be down for next year. Hey maybe we will run into each other and make some memories together! Now go forward and make some memories.

Until next time. . .

~The Chef In Pearls

Practice What You Preach…It’s About Time.

Practice What You Preach…It’s About Time.

How can I tell people they need to stop “trying” and do and I wasn’t doing the same. I was letting my need to get it just right stand in the way of all that I know I needed to accomplish. I created not one but two different series that I needed to bring to life in front of the camera. They would help me connect even further with followers. Introduce them to new people and places. I had people willing to work with me. I asked everyone and anyone that I thought was interesting if they’d be interested in being a part. And they all said “Yes”. I never received a “No”. So what was my hold up. I could list all the excuses I gave myself but the reality was I was letting fear of not being perfect, not having the “right” equipment, not being able to edit like others hold me back.  It was time for me to practice what I preach.

Well today I give you the first interview in my series “Conversations with The Chef In Pearls”. I will say that this interview didn’t go quite as  planned.  Footage got cut off, I lost my editing twice, spent time uploading the wrong version once edited. The bottom line is I did it. With every hiccup I was improving my abilities. I tell people constantly, “We are a people that do, not try, whether we fail or succeed. We do!”  So today I do! I present to you “Conversations with The Chef In Pearls featuring Dr. Leni Sorensen.”

 

 

After watching this interview  I want you to go and do that thing that you have been wanting to do. Like Nike …Just Do It. You will be amazed at the memories you will create from just doing. So glad to say that I do now. I am no longer a hypocrite because I practice what I preach. Now go forward and make some memories of you doing.

Until next time…

~The Chef In Pearls

August Recap…

August Recap…


I know we are in a whole new month, September. But I never got to share all that I did in the month of August. So here’s a recap of all I did.  At the beginning of the month I got to visit a really great spot in the Dunwoody, GA area. It’s called Crafthall Kitchens. They are a 3 in 1 restaurant serving up gluten-free options that are amazingly good. You can read all about them in my next blog post where I’ll go a little more into detail. Just know that if you happen to get there before my post definitely try the fried avocado taco. You won’t regret it.

As always I fit in a trip up I-85 to visit my Dad and my bonus Mom. Once a month I work my way to Winston-Salem to check on the parental units and help them however I can. No big deal just teaching my kids through example. The daughter was in tow. We did get to check out a new to us breakfast place in Winston-Salem named Breakfastime. There were some hits and misses for me. No green tea offering, cold home fries, didn’t try the biscuit because it too came out cold. I did like the omelette I had but not enough to return.  Back down I-85 to Atlanta, GA.

When I returned to Atlanta I had a weekend of unexpected poetry and music. I don’t know if you have ever heard of the talented Mumu Fresh. Well if you haven’t I need you to check out her NPR little desk concert. Now that you have been officially introduced you will understand why I was hell bent on going to see her live at my favorite hole the wall music spot, Apache Cafe. I was so focused on getting to see her live in my neck of the woods that I didn’t even know that she was a part of  an erotic poetry night. Say what? Her friend and hostess for the night was Miss Ingrid B. If you have never been to a show she has put on you are truly missing out. She does a great deal in the Miami area and time to time in Atlanta. Keep an eye out. But back to Mumu she left me wanting for more. her talent is un-ending. I was literally left in awe as I watched her layer different recordings of her vocals to create the music she then sang over. Yeah she is not a part of that auto-tunes era, she is a true musician in every form. Since my life is never as simple as most the following night I was blessed with a ticket to take in “The Red Light Special” hosted by none other than my friend Journee Poetess. Did I mention that I had no clue either of these nights included erotica? Journee showcased some amazing talent from poets, to musicians, to a comedian. It was a hot night not to be forgotten.  Since I am a lover of music her closing act, Cristina Rae, vocalist extraordinaire left me with goosebumps. I am currently working out my schedule so that I am able to catch some more of the music she is serving. Her vocal range will leave you wanting for more.

As if August couldn’t be any better for me, I was back to host the 4th Annual Veggie Connection. I have been with Lateefah Smith since her inception for the event. As always she provided for a really great event. Not only did I host but I also did a demo. I showed attendees how to make an Un-Tuna Salad. I showed them my basic “tuna” salad recipe which includes corn, red onions, bell peppers and a few other things (video & recipe to come). I even gave them a sample of  an Un-tuna salad that had a spicy curry mayo base. Yeah I was doing it like that for the vegetarians and vegans.

I got a chance to visit High Hog Farm, only one of my favorite places in Georgia (even though I have an allergic reaction to their cats and dogs). I was there to help my sister friend Kiesha Cameron with the planning and organizing of a 3 day workshop on Provisioning with Leni Sorensen. Name not familiar to you? She is another person you should Google because the knowledge and history this woman brings to any table is amazing. When I first met her last year at the Food for Thought Conference. I thought this is what a 70 something year old Cass is going to be like. Well versed, opinionated and strong willed. Definitely my kind of woman. Interested in learning more about the workshop then hit the link. What link? This one right here.

What better way to close out the month than with me being the August feature on Flavorful World. Sometimes you think no one is noticing your work and then boom. Would you like to be our feature for August? Heck yeah I do. So I did. You can read my interview right here.

August has come and gone. It was memory filled. And I have seen some good and some bad but I keep moving. Thank you guys who are subscribed and those who dip in and out to see what I have going on. I appreciate the love you all give to The Chef In Pearls. I hope you had some great summer memories because Fall is on its way. Go make some last minute Summer memories before it is all gone.

Until next time…

~The Chef In Pearls

Prosecco and Filet Mignon…At STK

Prosecco and Filet Mignon…At STK

Monday isn’t just National Prosecco Day, but it is also National Filet Mignon Day. How can you go wrong with a combination like that? The only thing that can make it better would be to enjoy it at STK Atlanta, Midtown’s sexiest steak and seafood house. Known for it’s high-energy atmosphere and its’ exceptional signature and seasonal offerings, STK Atlanta is offering an exclusive special this Monday, August 13th. To celebrate the day, guests are invited to sip in style as they enjoy STK’s Stellina di Notte Prosecco in the lounge and dining room. As an ideal compliment to this favorite bubbly, STK is also offering a brand new, 10 ounce coffee-infused filet mignon just for the occasion. Glazed with black garlic, served over creamy mashed potatoes, topped with wild mushrooms, morels, chanterelles and finished with black truffle butter and summer black truffles.  Is your mouth-watering yet?

I believe every good event starts with bubbly and Prosecco is the perfect bubbly to turn Monday or any day into a great day. Now add a Filet Mignon, also known as the King of Steaks, and you have a mearl that makes any day your personal special event. You can do it to celebrate these national days or create your own reason for heading over to STK Atlanta. How about something like National Let’s Make a Memory Day? Sounds good to me!

For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.stkhouse.com or call 404-793-0144. STK Atlanta is located at 1075 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, on the corner of Peachtree and 12th Streets in the 12th & Midtown development. Stay connected on Twitter  and Instagram at @eatstk and  #STKAtlanta. Now go forward and make new memories at STK Atlanta.  I have many memories with the STK team and you need to create some too.

Until next time…

~The Chef In Pearls

stk filet and presecco

 

Photo courtesy of  STK Atlanta

Some copy courtesy of  Caren West PR

The Chef In Pearls

Cassandra Sinclair is a Lifestyle Chef and Gourmet Cooking Instructor who enjoys demystifying the art of cooking for One. You can catch her live demonstrations across major social media as @TheChefInPearls.

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