I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

In the heat of the moment.....

I could be a vegetarian. One of the nicest things about the arrival of summer is the availability of all sorts of tasty garden-grown vegetables. Who needs a huge hunk of meat when you have heirloom tomatoes, colorful bells, squash, zucchini, green beans, cukes...the list could go on and on. And while veggies are most definitely one of the great things about summer, one of the worst things can be the sweltering heat. Who in their right mind wants to be in a towering inferno kitchen? Grab a cold brew my friends, step outside to my patio, and enjoy some of my veggie delights! Grill 'em or eat 'em raw but best of all it's easy, easy, easy!!! So easy a caveman can do it...oh wait, that slogan is already taken. Dang!

No real recipes here folks - well, except for my green beans almondine which does, in fact, require you to be the kitchen but I think you can tough it out for the length of time that it takes the beans to cook.

Grill 'em

Slice up some zucchini, squash, vidalia onion, and eggplant and grill for about 2-3 minutes per side. I like to let them marinate in some Italian Dressing for a few minutes before grilling. Put the veggies on a platter with a couple of colorful roasted bell peppers. Sprinkle with some feta cheese and Yum-O!

Eat 'em raw

I'm not a huge fan of raw tomatoes - grape tomatoes are okay in my salad but don't be trying to sneak no grocery store grown tomato on my sandwich, burger, or anything else for that matter. Insalta Caprese is a different matter, though. It don't get no better than sliced heirloom tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt just before serving. I like to cheat and drizzle some balsamic vinegar also. I'm sure there are some people from the Old Country who would roll over in their grave at the thought of that.

Saute 'Em

Being a southern girl, I do love me some green beans cooked with fatback but every great blue moon, I have to stray from my southern roots and saute some beans for green beans almondine. Quick to make, I love to serve these room temp but I have a habit of munching on them while they're sitting out on the counter and before you know it, there's none left for dinner! Even on the worse of hot and humid summer days, this dish is worth battling the heat of the kitchen.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Green Beans Almondine

Serving Size : 4
Categories : Vegetables and Side Dishes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 pound green beans
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
fresh ground pepper -- to taste
1/2 cup onion -- small dice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
sea salt -- to taste

Trim ends from green beans. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add green beans and onions and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly so beans cook evenly. Add broth, oregano, and pepper; sauté for 20 to 30 seconds. Continue to cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until beans are tender-crisp. Meanwhile, in a small nonstick pan over medium heat, dry-roast almonds, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle almonds and sea salt over cooked beans.

"Wish Upon A Chef Catering & Gourmet Market"
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NOTES : Best if served room temp.

And speaking of eating veggies, I noticed Bugs Bunny in my back yard the same night that I was out grilling my bounty.

Here's the little guy happily munching on my hosta lilly.....

and here is his blurred getaway once my pooch got wind of him!

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