the winner is..

The winner of a darling apron from Lulu’s High Country Kitchen is Eliot the Cat!

Lulu apron

Please contact us for details on how to get your lovely hand-made Colorado apron from Lulu’s High Country Kitchen.

Here are some lovely bakery pictures for you to enjoy and I will be back blogging this week.  Working two jobs has made it difficult this last month but now things have slowed down a bit.  I cannot wait to get back to it.  Here are some of the things that I work on every morning…very early.  I am loving the bakery work.  Great to make 600 plus croissants each morning.  Really!

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Pad ThaiLast week I cooked for the folks at the Unreasonable Institute again.  You gotta love catering for a group of people where most of them give you a big hug when they see you!   Makes the job so much nicer.

I decided to make Pad Thai.  This is one of my favorite foods.  Quick and easy, Pad Thai is a great week night supper.  This dish may seem complicated with its unique Thai flavors but is actually a pretty simple dish to make.

Since Pad Thai makes use of the veggies you have on-hand and eggs it is a simple and inexpensive dish.  Eggs are a great source of cheap protein.  You can also prep your ingredients up to a day before and assemble and heat the day you serve the dish.  I will make up a bottle of Pad Thai sauce and keep in the fridge for 2 weeks to make salad dressing and other Asian dishes.

To further simplify this dish you can buy a roasted chicken at Whole Foods or one of those yummy cheap ones from Costco and even go so far as to buy the pre-cut veggies in the produce section.  This way you can  cook the noodles, saute your veggies and make sauce.

How to cook rice noodles:

Rice noodles cook differently than wheat noodles.  They are more delicate.

Bring a pot of about 4-5 quarts of water to a boil.  In another pot add your noodles.  Pour hot water over noodles and let sit for about 8 minutes.  You want to under cook your noodles a little bit as the noodles will finish cooking in the sauce when you stir fry your Pad Thai together.

Give your noodles a taste after 5-6 minutes and drain when they are tender but still seem a bit underdone.  Toss with sesame oil, canola oil or olive oil and set aside.  Make sure to toss noodles well in oil as you do not want them to stick together in a huge clump!

Prep what ever veggies you may have on hand.  I shred carrots on a cheese grater with the big holes.  Thinly slice celery, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms or bok choy.  If I add broccoli I will par cook the broccoli ahead of time until just tender crisp and pull apart the broccoli to make small pieces.  Wash your mung bean sprouts, cilantro and fine dice some cucumbers before cooking.  Toppings on Pad Thai give it bright flavors and intriguing crunchy bits like fresh cucumber or chopped peanuts.

I like to use chicken thighs in Pad Thai.  Roast bone-less  skin less  chicken thighs in the oven and dice them in a small dice.  This step can be done up to 1 day ahead of time.  I will usually plan to make a dish with chicken the day before and reserve 4-5 thighs for the Pad Thai the next day.

You can use shrimp, roasted chicken, sautéed and diced cooked chicken breasts or any other protein you enjoy like diced extra firm tofu.   Pad Thai is a great dish to clean out the fridge and just use what you have on hand.

Recipe yields about 3 cups sauce.  Use within two weeks or freeze for later.

1/4 cup Yoshida Sauce or other sweet teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1/4 cup good tomato paste

2 tbs soy sauce

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

2 tbs fish sauce

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/4 cup minced fresh green onions

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tbs good toasted sesame oil

1/4 cup canola oil

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce (just one chili not the whole can!) This adds a nice smokey and sweet taste to your pad thai sauce.   It is not traditional but very yummy.

Put everything in a blender or food processor and pulse until blended but still a bit chunky.  I will add the cilantro and green onions at the end and just pulse a few times after adding the herbs if I use a food processor.

Pad Thai Recipe

1 box thick rice noodles like Annie Chung brand.

4 eggs lightly scrambled

Veggies diced all the same size if possible up to 4 cups

I will use bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onions, chard, cabbage or anything else  you have on hand.

4 cooked chicken thighs diced

2 tbs canola oil

Cook noodles as per directions on box and set aside.  Make sure to toss noodles in 1 tbs oil so they do not stick together.

Sautee veggies in 1 tbs oil in wok or large skillet.  When veggies are tender crisp but not fully cooked add chicken and sauce.  Stir to mix.  Bring to a simmer and add noodles.  Toss to coat and serve.

I like to serve Pad Thai topped with ground peanuts, mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges and diced cucumber.

Lulu apron

I have an obsession.  I usually do not tell people about it.  Like it is a dirty little secret….  I am a professional chef.  I rock the white coat and look good but I adore little frilly and pretty aprons.  Really!  The prettier and more feminine the better.  If  an apron is made with all lace I am in love.  Of course these aprons are not wearable but hang on my kitchen wall.  You can’t really cook in these creations.  Especially when your cooking can often resemble the work of the Swedish Chef on the Muppets..you know what I mean, with food flying everywhere.

My problem has been solved.  Lulu’s High Country Kitchen makes aprons that are absolutely adorable but completely wearable.  These sturdy aprons are made to not only be cute as heck, but you can actually wear them in the kitchen.  YAY!

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When I met Lulu I  was delighted when she rolled up to our meeting with sunglasses on carrying a canning jar box with aprons in it.  She obviously is a hipster canning girl too!  We sat down at a local coffee shop and talked mostly about music, living in the mountains of Colorado and Jamestown.  As you all know Jamestown is my favorite place in Colorado.

Lulu is also a professional chef and she spoke of her inspiration for making cute and wearable aprons.  She is an artistic and creative person who just wanted to work in something more interesting than the usual black apron or white chefs coat.  She took matters into her own hands and designed her own line of aprons.  You just have to love a person like this!

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Those darling aprons spoke for themselves.  I fingered the professional seams and marveled at the sturdy design and fabric.  I did not need to ask much about them and the quality spoke volumes.

Lulu is serious when she says she is making a line of wearable aprons.  The quality is better than the ones I get at the restaurant supply store.

Lulu and her husband live in the mountains and are both artistic.  Her being a chef and him a talented musician.  They live a lifestyle most of us only dream about.

Lulu is happy to give away one of her darling creations to a lucky reader from this blog.  Just comment below and you are entered to win.  Pin the aprons on Pinterest or post on Face book to get more entries.

The winner gets to choose which apron they want.  Visit Lulu’s Etsy site to see all of her aprons.  Lulu’s High Country Kitchen

Good luck!

Contest ends April 26th.

March 28 2013 154

For the past 5 or 6 years I have been working 60+ hour weeks.  I did not get much time to spend with my kids.  I have remedied that.  It is important to me to spend as much time with both of my kids as I possibly can.  I am also spending as much time exercising as I can.  I have decided to combine the two activities and so my son and I are starting to hike the trails around Boulder nearly every afternoon.  Like all 12-year-old boys my son loves sweets.

March 14 2013 084I can often tempt him on a long and arduous hike if I promise a treat.  My son loves Gelato.  This is always a good temptation.  He wants to tour Italy and review Gelato.  Seriously, and he is only 12.  I love this kid.  I told him that we first had to start reviewing local shops that serve Gelato.  Our first choice was Lucky’s Bakehouse in North Boulder.

March 14 2013 069First we hit the trail above Wonderland lake and after a one hour hike headed for gelato.

Lucky’s Bakehouse opened in our neighborhood last year in November.  We have been there several times.  They make all of the baked goods from scratch with great ingredients.  Everything is creative and pretty.  The Chef Jen Bush is a creative baker who designs beautiful as well as tasty pastries, cakes, pies, bars and other treats.

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Ben sampled several gelato and ice cream flavors.  Lucky’s makes all of the gelato and ice cream in-house from scratch and uses local ingredients as much as possible.

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Ben chose Mango Gelato.  Ben described this gelato as not too sweet and a little tangy.  He said it was cool and refreshing after his hike.

March 14 2013 093Light and fluffy he said the gelato had a strong mango flavors and tasted as if it were made with fresh fruit.

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Next week sampled Two Spoons Gelato Shop on Pearl Street.   This place is really great.  Every flavor we sampled was excellent.  They also use local ingredients and organic as well.

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Ben chose  the raspberry lemon gelato.

March 28 2013 157Ben says this gelato made him feel alive.

March 28 2013 151He said it was bright with clean raspberry and lemon flavors.

March 28 2013 148Powerful flavors and not too sweet.  Very tangy and lively.

March 28 2013 174He said there was the right amount of sweet and tangy.  This gelato got two thumbs up!

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Before visiting Two Spoons we walked up the Boulder Creek trail for over an hour.

As for the two gelato shops Ben’s opinion was that he liked Two Spoons better.  Maybe it was the bigger serving?  Ben also said he liked Lucky’s since he could get other things as well, like a donut.  This kid loves his donuts.  We have heard that the Justin’s Peanut Butter ice cream at Lucky’s is literally to die for so maybe another long hike and visit to Lucky’s needs to be scheduled.  When going for gelato we will be heading down to Pearl Street to visit Two Spoons.  When my daughter read this post she wanted to leave and go to Two Spoons right away.  I am making her hike Mount Sanitas first!  For those of you familiar with this hike you know she will be earning her gelato.

I love to combine exercise, time with my sweet kids and food reviewing all in one.  It just does not get any better than this.

Back at the Boulder Farmers Market today.  I am amazed at the great products that are made in my beautiful town.

Farmers Market opening day 026The clean and fresh taste of these pickled foods from Zuke are always a treat.  Esoteric Food Company.

Farmers Market opening day 074Farmers Market opening day 072

Farmers Market opening day 078I am a huge fan of Windsor Dairy.  These folks just keep raising the bar for meats and cheeses.  Truly a model for how to run a dairy.

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It used to be difficult to get great pie in the Boulder area.  Now we have My Mom’s Pie company in Niwot and I could not be happier.

Farmers Market opening day 149I love this artist.  She works with old shoes and plants….fabulous.

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More pretty greens.

Farmers Market opening day 381Farmers Market opening day 382Perhaps one of the coolest things about the farmers market.  Beautiful locally produced fiber!  Thank you Cure Organic Farm.

Happy Farmers Market Day!

March 28 2013 180I have made many flourless chocolate cakes in my career.  I love the ease of a flourless chocolate cake and when you use exceptional chocolate the result is a dense and flavorful cake that all of your guests will love.

I can finally say that I have developed the perfect flourless chocolate cake recipe.  I have made many recipes from Martha Stewart to Rose Levy Barenbaum and this recipe takes all of the best parts of those recipes to create not only a delicious cake but an easy cake.

This cake is so easy you would not say it was unreasonable at all.

The people who I served this cake were definitely unreasonable in the best possible way.

I was catering recently for a group from the Unreasonable Institute.  If you have not heard about this group, check them out.  Amazing….is all I have to say.  I spent at least 3 hours just looking at all of the entrepreneurs they have helped with their program the first time I went to their website.

This is what it says on their website:  “We get world-changing ventures and entrepreneurs what they need to scale their impact. Each year, we unite 10-30 entrepreneurs (called “Unreasonable Fellows”) from every corner of the globe to live under the same roof for six weeks in Boulder, Colorado. These entrepreneurs receive customized training and support from 50 world-class mentors, ranging from a Time Magazine Hero of the Planet, to the head of user experience at Google X, to an entrepreneur who’s enabled over 20 million farmers to move out of poverty. In the process, they form relationships with corporations and international organizations, receive legal advice & design consulting, and get in front of hundreds of potential funders. Our goal is to bring all the resources to accelerate these ventures so they can scale to meet the needs of at least one million people each.”

How cool is that..

Here are a few of the ventures they have helped out:

Worms 4 Change

Replicable vermicomposting production and training model to promote health and development in rural and urban communities

Initiative for the Development of Former Child Soldiers (IDEFOCS)

Restoration of peace & security in West Africa through Former child soldiers’ rehabilitation & reintegration.

Lili Dairy

Empowering Women Through Dairy Farming

The list goes on and on.

I had the privilege to cater for this group and the one dish they raved about most was the flourless chocolate cake.  I agreed to share the recipe.

Very Simple Flourless Chocolate Cake

8 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
8 oz 60% cacao chocolate chips (I used Costco Brand which I love..)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup very hot and very strong coffee
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons unsweetened organic cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli again)
8 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tbs vanilla extract
1 tbs whiskey (I used Jack Daniels)
Instructions:
 Pre heat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 10-cup Springform pan by lining the bottom with buttered parchment
Break up the unsweetened chocolate into pieces and put the chocolate into the bowl of the food processor or blender. Add the chocolate chips as well.  Pulse until the chocolate breaks up into small bits. Add the sugar. Pulse until the chocolate and sugar turns into a sandy grain.
Pour the hot water or coffee slowly into the feed tube as you pulse again. Pulse until the chocolate is melted.
Add the butter pieces and the cocoa powder, and pulse to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla, whisky and process till smooth. The batter will be liquid and creamy.
Pour the batter into the lined Springform pan. Wrap the outside of the whole pan with a big piece of foil. Bake at 350º  in the center of the oven, till puffed about 45-55 minutes.
Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove from pan and let cake cool on rack for 1 hour.  Best when refrigerated over night wrapped in plastic wrap.  Top with caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, powdered sugar or berries.
March 28 2013 184

Farmers Market opening day 021

I love Boulder.  The farmers market is all local.  Everything.  Here are some pictures from opening day for you to enjoy.  I loved the tender spring greens.  All of the local meat and poultry farmers added this year was fantatastic.

Farmers Market opening day 031The people with this company, Zuke are truly food nerds.  The fresh and clean tastes of the pickled veggies they make are extrodinary.  Truly the best pickled foods I have ever had.Farmers Market opening day 039

Lovely Mushrooms.  Farmers Market opening day 145Something to do with your old crocs!

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Local and tasty granola.

Farmers Market opening day 072Windsor Dairy is a favorite of mine.  This high quality dairy keeps adding more tasty selections each year.  The eggs I bought from them had yokes so bright orange they looked un-real.  The taste was outstanding.

Farmers Market opening day 090These tender greens were delicious with a citrus ginger dressing.

Farmers Market opening day 280Sweet carrots.

Farmers Market opening day 355Beautiful babies.

Farmers Market opening day 007These perfect little darlings come from Street Fare.  This is a program by the Boulder Homeless Shelter that trains people in the baking industry.  I had to pick up a box of treats at this stand.

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goat_and_pecan_appI have been flirting with the idea of taking on clients for private chef work and catering again. I love this type of work and have some free time until mid-June when I will be catering for the wonderful group of people attending The Unreasonable Institute retreat this year. I am excited about this gig and looking forward to posting lots of recipes and pictures from the retreat.

shrimp_tuna_passedI find myself with some time on my hands until then so I am picking up new clients. I am excited to be working closely with families again and catering fun parties and weddings.

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My schedule is filling up quickly and the blog posts should be full of great new recipes.

Cheesecake_3My catering and personal chef service website is http://flatironschef.wix.com/yummy.

March 20 2013 066

This dish did not work for the Hubs.  I loved this salad but my husband just said it was girl food and he felt like he was grazing.  I think it is sexy!  The bitter greens, sweet balsamic vinegar, peppery good olive oil, crunchy almonds, caramelized fennel and sweet blood orange segments…oh my!

Try it out and let me know if you find it sexy.

March 20 2013 065

4 cups baby kale leaves (you can get a big bag at Costco and it is a great price)

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1 blood orange cut into segments

1/8 cup good balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fennel cut into strips and roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and seasoned (you can do this step in the morning or the day before so the fennel is chilled when you assemble the salad)  Keep the fennel fronds for garnish.

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1/4 cup almond slivers

Toss this all together and season to taste with salt and pepper.  I like to let it rest for about 1/2 an hour before serving.  The balsamic will tenderize the kale leaves and they become darker green.

March 20 2013 048

Poppy Cafe Scallops, brussels, etc 191What to do with all of that left over Corned Beef from St. Patty’s Day?

Make a quick stew!

Low Carb Cheesecake 060

I used a heavy chicken stock.

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Added more cabbage because it is so good for you and brussels sprouts cause I love them.

Diced up the beef and veggies and simmered for half of an hour.

Do not add salt since the corned beef is salty.

Enjoy!

Andy B-day in Jimtown 021

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