Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A little catch up

Well it happened. I haven't posted in quite a while and so I'd just like to catch up a bit.

Tax day has come and gone and my signing hand is now recovered.

Spring is in full bloom around here and my little tomato plants are over 3 feet tall now. They also have a lot of small tomatoes on them. Probably they are shading my other plants too much but this was all an experiment anyways. We shall see if they make it as things are starting to heat up here.

An orchid that I have been regrowing even has showed off its colors once again.

Also a closeup of some Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

And here is some Thai basil growing happily.

Of course I watched in horror with everyone else at the Boston marathon bombing. The story of this is just so sad but we were so happy when it came to an end on Friday. How crazy is it that they shut down the whole city so they could track down the suspects?! We applauded the police along with everyone else when they captured the 2nd suspect.

Since my last post, I entered a local newspaper cooking contest. This Top Home Chef competition involved creating a menu for six, a recipe for an appetizer, and an essay about your cooking style and why you think you can cook like a real chef. If I had made the final 3, I would have had to make dinner for the main restaurant reviewer as well as others from the entertainment section. I carried the article with me for weeks as I wrote my entry.

Well I didn't make it and while I'm disappointed, I am happy I entered and my appetizer pic was even on the website.

Here is a link to the contest and the entries, I am #32.

Here is my menu and appetizer recipe.

The Hefe Kitchen Menu

Crostini sampler plate: carrot top pesto with burrata, herbs and tomatoes plus classic radish, butter and sea salt

Herb grilled whole beef tenderloin with chimichurri, chard stems gratin, roasted and grilled assorted market veggies

Margarita pie deconstruct with graham cracker crisp

Farmers Market Crostini plate:

With Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata
1 loaf crusty French or Italian bread, sliced

1 locally made burrata cheese ball
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Campari tomatoes chopped
1 T minced fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano etc.)

Carrot top pesto (recipe below)

Heat oven to 375°. Drizzle or lightly brush bread with olive oil and place in
oven until toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Remove burrata ball from container and lightly dry off with a paper towel. On a
plate sprinkle burrata ball with salt and pepper, then olive oil, then the herbs
and tomatoes. Set aside.

Assemble crostini: spread toasted bread with carrot top pesto and then cut into
burrata and put some on top of pesto.

Carrot Top Pesto

1 packed cup of fresh carrot tops, stems removed, cleaned & spin dried
1/4 cup raw pepitas, lightly toasted in a dry skillet, cooled
1 garlic clove chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 big pinches kosher salt
2 tablespoons Parmesano Reggiano
1 small lemon wedge

Combine pepitas and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add in
carrot tops and start pouring in the olive oil while processing. Scrape down
sides as needed until sauce comes together. Scrape into a bowl and add salt,
Parmesan and lemon squeeze. Stir together, taste and add salt or more oil as
desired. Refrigerate and use or freeze within a couple of days.

Radish and Butter Crostini

French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
Unsalted sweet butter, room temp.
Coarse sea salt

Assemble these by adding a smear of butter, several radish slices and sprinkle
with sea salt. I used red Hawaiian sea salt.

Serve Crostinis on a platter with drinks before dinner.

Have you ever entered a cooking contest and how would you feel to be judged by a restaurant critic?
It definitely made me uneasy but I feel that I would have been fun to try...
Until next time, peace.


  1. Throw some of those tomatoes over your South Wall. :)