December 2010

TELEVISION

PUBLICATIONS

  • DECEMBER  “Birmingham Magazine”-Christmas  & Hanukkah Recipes
  • DECEMBER “Yum Food Magazine”
  • DECEMBER  “Yum Food Kids Magazine”

CLASSES | APPEARANCES/OTHER

Judging Kick’n Chick’n Wingfest for Magic Moments

It was such a busy weekend for me, and I had to share. A few months ago I was asked to be one of the judges for the 2nd annual Kick’n Chick’n Wingfest right next to Soho Square in Birmingham. This festival is a benefit for Magic Moments which is a charity that grants all kinds of wishes for all kinds of kids, specifically those who have life-threatening or life-altering medical conditions that substantially limit one or more major life activities. Eighteen restaurants in Birmingham compete to battle their “hot” wings and “alternative” wings. Seven judges and myself had to critique and judge each wing on its appearance, texture, tenderness, spicy, flavor and overall experience. I was so excited to sit next to and meet in person the amazing, John-Brian Hopkins of “Foodimentary” as well as meet so many fun, talented other judges from The Birmingham News, Birmingham Magazine and a few other Birmingham talents. The event was highly successful with unexpected huge crowds on a beautiful Saturday in Birmingham. Adults as well as kids looked like they were having a blast.

The winners are:

Overall Winner: Michael’s Steak and Seafood

Best Kickn Hot Chickn went to Baumhowers

Best Kickn Alternative Chickn went to Sweet Bones

Best Finger Lickn Chickn ( Peoples choice) went to Baumhowers

Shake Your Tail Feather (best dressed booth) went to Mellow Mushroom for the 2nd year in a row

Raise the Bar (Most Money Raised) went to Pizza Hut!

“Birmingham Restaurant Week” Review

Last week was the first annual Birmingham Restaurant Week, and I was so fortunate to participate and contribute to Birmingham Magazine’s blog “Good Taste”. My first stop was Jinsei which offers some of the best in sushi and cocktails in town (see the Blackberry Mojito below).  For appetizers, they offered a choice of the Tempura Fried Green Beans or Edamame. For the entree, it was a choice between Kadoma Tuna (pictured above) or Kobe Wrapped Asparagus and the Red Dragon Roll or Shachioko Roll. The dessert was “Baby Bites” from Pastry Art located down the street. This was a great menu, and Jinsei is one of my top picks in Birmingham. Jinsei is located in Homewood in Soho Square. The phone number is 205-802-1440. They are open nightly at 5:00 p.m.

My second stop was Franck Stitt’s Bottega Restaurant. His incredible menu included a choice between appetizers of Wild Mushroom Soup with Porcini Oil or Arugula Salad with Ricotta Salata, Grilled Onion and Roasted Peppers. The choices of entrees were Rigatoncini with Fudge Farms Pork Sugo or Chicken Saltimbocca with Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Sage and the dessert was “Franks Favorite Cake”. The food was incredible along with impeccable service (and bread-see below). Bottega is located at 2240 Highland Avenue South, Birmingham , Alabama. The telephone is 205-939-1000. Dinner is served 5:30 pm  to 10:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday.

FYI-one of our favorite parts of the meal was the bread (see below)

My last stop was Rojo which has one of the most casual outdoor and cool atmosphere’s in town. Some people even bring their dogs to dine outside. The indoor atmosphere is eclectic with a full Latin and American menu, great beer and wine selections, and of course, sangria. The menu started off with their Salsa Trio Appetizer which included their House Salsa, Black Bean Salsa and Pineapple Salsa. The second course was Chipotle Pork and Mushroom Burrito served with a side salad (which is huge). For dessert, it was their Chango (pictured below) which they called a Fried Cheesecake. Rojo is located at 2921 Highland Avenue next to Clay Scott Artworks Gallery (which I love). Rojo is open Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m to 10 p.m (serving brunch on Sunday). Their bar is also open late.

Food Blog Forum-Atlanta Recap: Wonderful Learning and New Friends

I am so fortunate to have attended Food Blog Forum in Atlanta this past weekend. Atlanta is a simple drive from Birmingham so I was very lucky to be able to travel such a short distance. I am not sure where to start to describe this conference, but it was awesome (and for such an incredible price). Not only was the information presented so amazing, but I can’t say enough about the unbelievable people I met. There’s almost too many to name, and I don’t want to leave anyone out. This was the nicest group of people I have encountered in probably, forever. I have to thank Jaden from Steamy Kitchen, Todd and Diane from  White on Rice Couple, and Gwen from Bunky Cooks for organizing such an amazing event. Y’all are so awesome and have such great talent, personality and heart. Special thanks to Preyna of Indian Simmer and Angie of Bakerella for sharing their photos for this post (my camera battery was dead).

My Favorite Things about Food Blog Forum Atlanta:

1. The Watermelon Pork Belly Skewers and Pork Tacos prepared by Kevin Rathbun of Rathbuns.

2. Meeting Todd, Diane and Jadan. These three couldn’t be more talented and wonderfully sweet and genuine all in one.

3. Hanging out at The Viking Store Atlanta and tasting incredible food and wine in a wonderful shop filled with everything I wanted to buy. It was hard to resist.

4. Driving and talking to Amy, She Wears Many Hats, Debra and Rod of Smith Bites, Robyn, Add a Pinch and Winnie, Healthy Green Kitchen. Truly a fun and talented group!

5. Listening to my friend, Virginia Willis, and meeting and listening to Alysa of Bella Cucina as well as Jaden’s insights on “Building a Personal Brand”. They are all beyond amazing.

6. Having lunch with Julie from Mommiecooks, Preyna of Indian Simmer, Megan from What’s Megan Making and Wendy of The Local Cook.

7. The amazingly informational photography, photo gear and styling tips by Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple.

8. Meeting and chatting with Nashville talents Lyndsay and Taylor of Love and Olive Oil, Beth of  Eat, Drink Smile and Julie of The Little Kitchen

9. Hanging with Angie (who gave me my first blog advice ever) of Bakerella and Beverly and Alyssa of  Kitchen Scoop of the famous newspaper column, “Desperation Dinners”.

10. Realizing that the food blog community is beyond special. This group of people was so kind, real, talented and passionate about what they are doing. It was, and is, truly inspiring!

Girls Night Out: Tomato and Avocado with Boursin Appetizer

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My friend, Kiel, just recently moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and she sent me some recipes from her “Girls Night Out” dinner. She and 10 of her friends get together every Tuesday night and alternate at their different houses trying new, fun and creative recipes. One night, they made Panini sandwiches and homemade tomato soup. Recently, they had an abundance of healthy, fresh salads. She sent me some of the recipes from her latest dinner. This Tomato-Avocado Appetizer with Boursin is such a breeze and tastes delish! It is so perfect for a crowd, especially during the summertime (such as this weekend for July 4th) celebrations. Thanks Kiel and your wonderful friends for sharing your recipes with me.

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EVO Conference and My First Time in Park City

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Last week I had the luckiest and most wonderful opportunity to attend EVO, a conference focusing on the evolution of Women in Social Media in Park City, Utah. It was beyond my expecations, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first “blog” conference. I usually attend the yearly IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference, and this conference was even more unique in many ways. Read below for some of my favorite highlights.

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THE TOP 10 THINGS I lOVED ABOUT EVO (in no particular order) :

1. Making so many new friends

2. Learning so many new things from so many talented people and new great blogs to follow.

3. Seeing beautiful scenery set in the most beautiful part of the country. I could almost move there..

4. Staying at the Canyons Resort: Great huge hotel room, great views, great staff, comfortable beds. I highly recommend it!

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5. The Food seminar located at Alpine House: Wonderful food and goodies, cooking demos, speakers and mouth-watering Watermelon-Mint Punch

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6. Laughing and crying listening to so many wonderful speakers’ stories, specifically the “Make a Wish Foundation” speakers

7. Meeting Jill, Founder of “Mom it Forward” and Rachel, Founder of “Today’s Mama”. The most incredibly organized and talented women I have ever met.

8. Closing party at Park City Resort (although I had to leave early and miss it ugghh!)

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9. Listening to the Producer and Creative Directors from Oprah.

10. Meeting the wonderful sponsors and learning about new businesses and products (great meeting Park City Mountain ResortCity Deals, Think Thin, The Giving TeesNu Skin to name a few)

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Park City and Social Media at its Best at “Evo Conference 10”

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I have had a super busy month. Busy is good, but it’s almost unbelievable. It’s the heart of summer, and I am working at home with 3 kids going in 3 different directions. Besides my normal recipe development work projects, my cookie event at Pepper Place farmer’s market last week, 4 television segments this past thursday for NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama”, monthly work for the Birmingham magazine, and a new huge holiday recipe project for an international client, I can’t believe I am finding time for this blog post. In light of all this, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Park City, Utah for Evo 10, a conference featuring women in social media. It’s been called “a summer camp for bloggers” taking place in a beautiful setting. Forgive me for no recipe today, but I have a fabulous one coming tomorrow.

This Saturday: Pepper Place Farmers Market and Gluten-Free Cookies

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Come see me this Saturday, June 12th at Pepper Place Farmers Market and my Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips Cookies. It’s a great way to spend saturday morning purchasing the best of the best in fresh produce, flowers and other great items. I went last weekend, and I purchased the most delicious and fresh blackberries, squash, tomatoes and peaches. Hope to see some local friends there.

Iron Chef in Training: My Cooking Class with Lillian

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Yesterday, I had so much fun with Lillian! I was asked to do a private one-on-one cooking class for Lillian, an incredibly talented second grader for one of her birthday presents. She has a passion for cooking, and wow was she fabulous! I tailored the class specifically for her, and we made an array of healthy snacks, desserts and she even decorated these awesome cupcakes for Halloween. We set up the food for a photo-shoot, just like I do on the set with national food magazines, such as Southern Living. We prop-styled, food styled and critiqued the photos. If you’re interested in this type of class for your child, parent-child, groups of four, college age, newlyweds or yourself, contact me for more information.IMG_2602