Musings on Food and Life

Musings on Food & Life

Food is my passion. I create, read, write, breath, eat, photograph, love and live food. As a chef and culinary instructor, each day is a quest to learn something new about a food ingredient, recipe, history, or fact about all things edible. Three silly dogs share my passion for eating and I'm blessed to be married to my best friend Tracy. Tune in for my thoughts on food, recipes, dogs, travel, music and life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Do for One

Somehow I still can't believe that 2011 has arrived, let alone that January is now history. They say the older you get, the faster time flys...there is certainly some truth to that! Now that the Christmas & New Year's holidays are a distant memory, I've been thinking about the new year and it's opportunities. I resist making formal "New Years Resolutions", but I do think about my life and things I would like to do. Some are as simple a reading more books and some as complex as plugging in to serve others in a way that uses my passion.

A few years ago I had the privilege of teaching cooking classes for teenage girls who were victims of teenage sex slavery. This problem - the commercial sexual exploitation of children or CSEC- is huge. Until a few years ago, I had no idea that Atlanta, a place I've called home for 20 years, is one of the largest teenage sex trafficing cities in the country. Not exactly the kind of "dirty little secret" that folks want to discuss or have in their backyard.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending Lobby Day at the Georgia State Capitol to raise awareness about CSEC. Hundreds of people like you and me came together to be a voice for those who have none. For those who are victims of this unmentionable crime, and to address a legal system barely adequate to help victims, treating them like criminals. They must have services and we must raise awareness. If there was no demand, there would be no supply. Every Econ 101 student knows that concept. I went to meet with the Georgia senator and representative from my district to ask them to lend their support to this very worthy endeavor and to vote for bills that will help to correct this blight. The children are at stake. These could be your kids. Think about it.

I heard a great message in January where my pastor discussed doing for one person what we would like to do for everyone but can't. It's not possible for me to put my time and effort everywhere, but I will choose to lend my voice to help these girls who are forced to sell a piece of their soul and their childhood each day on the street. If you pray, please take a moment to add this to your prayer list.

For more information, you can go to, one of the local organizations who sponsored Lobby Day. And remember, no matter where your passion to serve lies, do for one what you would like to do for everyone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blast from the Past

Last month, one of my friends planned a wonderful surprise party for her husband's 60th birthday and asked me to create the food for the festivities. When she talked with me about menu possibilities, she mentioned a 60's theme. Growing up in the 60's, I remember my folks hosting many dinner parties which often included jello salad. Long out of vogue on the culinary scene, I picked up my Mom's recipe box to seek a colorful "blast from the past".

Nothing like a tasty walk down memory lane! As I thumbed through the recipes, I came upon the perfect offering. The recipe card was simply called "Orange Salad", but the description could read "Mandarin Orange Salad with Chiffon Icing". Voila - the salad was resurrected to see the 21st century.

The menu for Dave's party included classics like shrimp cocktail, herb dip with crudite, beef stroganoff with poppyseed noodles, and German chocolate cake. I also made a red velvet cheesecake (so good!) and of course, the mandarin orange salad. The birthday party was a great success as Dave was indeed surprised and the guests had an enjoyable time. As for me, I think the Mandarin Orange Salad will be on a menu at my house real soon. In case you want a blast from the past, I've included the menu below.

Mandarin Orange Salad

1 large box orange jello
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 pint orange sherbet (I used the no sugar added version)
2 cans Mandarin oranges
1 small can crushed pineapple (undrained)

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Add the sherbet and mix until melted and dissolved. Drain juice from oranges and add 1/2 cup orange juice to jello mixture. Add pienapple and oranges. Pour into a jello mold or a 8 x 11 dish. Chill until firm.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 package Dream Whip
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cook the sugar, butter, pineapple juice, flour and egg together over medium low heat until thick. Allow to cool. Once sauce is cooled, mix the Dream Whip with milk and vanilla as directed and fold into the sauce. Spread on top of the firm jello layer and then chill until serving.