February 13, 2012In the midst of the very corporate Valentines holiday, I am reminded of how often we say I love you with food. It's very easy to make a reservation and take a loved one out for a delicious meal. However, let's not forget that everyday is an opportunity to swoon that special someone with a home cooked meal straight from the heart.
I have found that one of the best ways to convey emotion is through food. Well, at least love. Unless you make a cyanide laced dinner then that may convey a whole different message which I strongly suggest you stay away from.
After surveying some of my single and coupled up friends without children about their meal times I was shocked. Most all of them told me they prefer to either go out for meals or resort to pre-packaged convenience food. While certainly taking a loved one to dinner (especially when I am the chef) can be very sweet and romantic it can also get old, unappreciated and expensive.
Most people avoid cooking at home for these three reasons
1) I either don't know how or what to cook
2) I don't have time to cook
3) I don't want to waste time
Awesome, I can help with all three of these excuses.
So, the first week may not be easy and it may be hard to adjust but I promise you will be rewarded in so many ways. First, let us address reason number one. Everyone can cook. Cavemen did it and they didn't even have food network, so relax its not hard. Planning your week out the first couple times is going to be the key to avoid struggling at the stove on what to do. Don't forget buy groceries at the store not meals or you will be making daily trips to the store. Keeping it simple, here is what to shop for: protein (chicken, beef, pork, eggs), vegetable (get crazy broccolini, cabbage, peppers), starch (rice, risotto, pasta, potato, cous cous) and a little fancy pantry. I like bacon, fresh garlic, onion, fresh herbs, olive oil. Next, as far as time is concerned you have plenty of time. You absolutely can cook a meal and eat it in less time than it would take to go out and wait on your order. Last, you need to cross utilize even at home. This does not mean leftovers it just means shop smart, buy what you like to eat like bacon or tomatoes.
I will leave you with one simple dish and how to utilize the ingredient later. I hope that you can find the time to show that special someone how much you care with a warm meal.
Shrimp for Two
14 ea 16/20 fresh shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
1 ea head of broccoli rabe (rapini) blanche in salted boiling water for 1 min
6 ea cloves of fresh garlic (peel and rough chop)
6 strips of bacon (rough chop)
1 ea small onion (rough chop, small)
1 ea tomato (rough chop, small)
Fresh herbs any kind
4 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: heat EVOO in sauté pan. Add onion and bacon, cook for two minutes on low heat then add shrimp. Raise heat. Cook for two more minutes and add garlic. Cook two minutes more and add rapini. When rapini is warm add tomato, herbs and season to taste turn of heat. Plate and serve.
Ray's at Killer Creek's Executive Chef, Tracey Bloom
Tracey began working in the restaurant industry as a way to earn extra money, but soon found she had a true talent and passion for the culinary arts. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Bloom has worked in several of the Atlanta area's finest restaurants. She served as the opening pastry chef at Sia's Restaurant in Duluth and then joined the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group to work at 103 West under Chef Gary Donlick. Tracey has also held sous chef positions at Asher in Roswell, Oscar's in College Park and Luma in Winter Park, Florida. She was the executive chef at Table 1280 in Atlanta before becoming a contestant on the seventh season of Bravo's "Top Chef" in 2010.
Tracey's goal is to give each guest a truly enjoyable dining experience. She finds it of the upmost importance to produce high-quality cuisine, as well as maintain strong relationships with both her staff and restaurant guests.
Tracey currently resides in Atlanta. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, boating and spending time with her family.
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