It Takes a Village

They always say it takes a village.  Or maybe it’s a group.  It could just be fate.  But I think it really is a community that cares and wants to see people grow.  

Many days, I stand in my kitchen alone.  It’s okay because I like to feel the love that moves from my fingers to my food.  It’s a process that a lot of people might not understand.  It something that comes from within, deep inside my soul.  But it is at the cost of alienating myself from people.  I can become a hermit, lost in the flavors and textures of creations I do for people.

This is why I value my community because they understand my passion.  I’m a novice to this community as many of them have been growing their trade for many years.  Yet they embraced me and welcomed me, despite the fact I have not the years of experience behind me.  They say people come in and out of your life for different reasons.  I have so many people that I believe are a reason I am where I am and most of you know who you are, whether you are still a part of my life or not.  You have all helped me grow and realize the road I should travel on.  

Kristin of Jollity was my first “real” client.  We did many parties together and she helped me to realize that small foods are great foods to have at your party and something that I love to do.  Although, not in my community any longer,  I still appreciate her help in the beginning.  Barbara, the creator of Virginia Wedding Week and owner of Style Events is the one who got me started in the wedding industry.  She took a chance on some pictures she followed and asked me to serve some of my food at a meeting they held.  It was one of the best and most

Ashley of Studio I do and Barbara of Virginia Wedding Week

important nights I’ve had.  I met so many amazing people that I would not have met if it wasn’t for her belief in me. I have to say I absolutely love this person for who she is and I hope she is always a part of my community.  Kelly of Inspired Events by Kelly and Ashley of Studio I do have had the trust and confidence in me for their important events and for that I am and will be always so grateful.  They are such a part of my community that I when I’m not working with them, I love seeking out just to say hi to.  And finally, Charles… my friend, my neighbor and my mentor.  As the owner of Blue Seafood, the help he has given me is probably more than he knows, and so appreciated.

Kelly of Inspired Events by Kelly

Where would any of us be without our people?  I’m sure many of you have thought you’ve done well at getting where you are on your own, but really has it been without those silent supporters that cheered you on?  Maybe it is just fate and we’re destined to be on that road no matter what.   Whatever the reason is, I am blessed to be where I am.  Whether we are “competitors” or acquaintances,  it is important to support and help grow each other.  In a world where “ME” comes first, where kindness is non existent, and neighborhoods are not really neighborly, I find strength in having that community around me.  

And that is why it’s okay if I’m alone sometimes.  I always know there is a village for me to reach out to.   

Living the Dream

Last week we went to the U.S. Open. It was a dream of my husband’s and although I like golf I think I could have lived without it. The deal was, however, that we would go into East Hampton the next day and hopefully run into Ina Garten. How could I pass up a deal like that?

The golf tournament was ok. It rained, I was soaked, they played on. Blah, blah, blah. I did however see Tiger pull off a good bogey, Bubba walked by and Michelson played very well on the 9th. It wasn’t a bad ending to the day, but certainly there were better things ahead of us. LIKE SATURDAY IN EAST HAMPTON!

Coincidentally, Ina had posted a blog about if we came to East Hampton, here were her favorite places to go. (are you kidding? it was like an invitation to stop by for dinner!) So there I was, with my list, headed to the land of Ina Garten. I would run into her and she would then realize we were destined to be the best of friends. (I might be stretching the truth just a little bit here and although she never responded, I did send her an email inviting her out to dinner).

The first stop (and the best stop) was a little cheese shop in Sag Harbor. It was called Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese. I walked in and fell in love. It was so quaint and I knew if I lived closer, I would be there every day. The girls in the shop were so nice and so helpful. We tasted a couple of cheeses I had never had and of course bought some. I ended up buying some of their gourmet items also, much to the chagrin of my husband’s wallet.

I walked in and fell in love. It was so quaint and I knew if I lived closer, I would be there every day. The girls in the shop were so nice and so helpful. We tasted a couple of cheeses I had never had and of course bought some. I ended up buying some of their gourmet items also, much to the chagrin of my husband’s wallet. And as you might have guessed, I asked if Ina really came to the shop. The girls said she came in all the time, was a sweet and as real as anyone. I thought I would hang out for a week or two and wait for her but my husband really wasn’t keen on that idea, so we had to leave.

As I left, I asked them to say “hi” to Ina for me, and told them she just hadn’t realized we’re best friends yet. I’m sure they think I’m some crazy stalker-ish kind of person. I’m not really. I’m just a wanna-be Barefoot Contessa kind of person hoping to run into one of my favorite idols.

And Ina Garten, I’m still waiting and hoping for your phone call.

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Apple Cider Gravy

There are always those times when you want something easy but a bit more than a soup and sandwich.  Maybe it’s mid-week busy night or a Saturday evening with friends.  And of course it has to turn out right every time.

In conjunction with my last post this Crispy Chicken Thigh recipe from Bon Appétit goes very well with the Farro Risotto.  I have made this chicken several times and it comes out perfect every time.  If you aren’t confident in the kitchen you can still pull this off looking like a pro and the flavors will make everyone think you spent all day in the kitchen.

squash, apple farro rissoto 002

 

The sauce is interchangeable.  If you don’t want it as sweet, use a tart apple and add more mustard.  It is really all about what you like.  Just have fun with it.  You can start with the basics of what I’ve given you and make it your own.  This is the reason I love cooking so much.

Have fun and invite friends over.  Let them think you worked all day.  Share what you love because this is what it is all about.

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Apple Cider Gravey

Course Entree
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs about 2 1/4 pounds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup apple jelly
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons apple brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

Instructions

  1. Heat apple cider over medium high heat and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until reduced by half and thickened. Set aside to cool.

  2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Season chicken wit salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12″ cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Nestle chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium high; continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging chicken thighs and rotating pan to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes.

  3. Transfer skillet to oven and cook 13 minutes. Flip chicken; continue cooking until skin crisps and meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate; let rest 5 minutes before serving.

  4. In the meantime, combine 2 Tablespoons of the apple cider (reserve remainder for another use), 2/3 cup apple jelly, Dijon mustard, apple brandy and grated ginger in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

  5. Pour over chicken and serve.

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