Thursday, June 27, 2013

Study In Still Life


Wowzie...... I quit my other crazy Chef job to do more and focus on what I am passionate about, now I find I don't have enough time to fit everything in that I'm mad silly about! Plus with more time to cook, bake, read, think, research, visualize, create, drink coffee etc. I am discovering more, more & more, oh my. The world is my oyster! This is fun.

Which leads me to my newest discovery, most likely this is old news to everyone else, fresh brewed ice tea, LOVE! 

note: I am a serious coffee lover and haven't experienced the tea thing, so bear with me, please.

It all started with my tired achy out of shape arms/back/body schlepping cases of bottled ice tea, yuck, to the Cowbell, I said to myself, really?
Light bulb goes on in my tiny brain and I think brew tea then you only have to carry the concentrate.

My bestie who lives in Brooklyn, mecca of trendy food & stuff, told me about a tea company, Porto Rico Importing Company on Bleeker St. since 1907. Ordered up some and nuff said.
Next I've got peach and vanilla coming, refreshing.
Tomorrow mint.

        Mint Tea Leaves, so pretty
     next I find this recipe for your ice tea & I have it growing in my yard!

Honeysuckle Simple Syrup

4 cups honeysuckle blossoms, lightly packed

Place blossoms in a bowl, pour over just enough boiling water to cover them. Cover, and let sit on the counter over night, up to 24 hours.

After steeping the flowers (they will look totally gross and brown, but smell amazing), strain the liquid into a large bowl, discarding the blossoms. Measure the liquid and place into a large saucepan. For each cup of water, use one cup of sugar. Bring sugar and water to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

The syrup should keep for up to a month in the fridge.


Next peaches, my taste buds are madly in love with this fruit that is starting to come into its season. I bought my first case of peaches yesterday at the Leesburg Farmers Market. Today was the first step in a 2 day process of making peach jam. First you clean, peel, cut up & macerate the peaches with sugar and lemon. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours then tomorrow when I get home I will start the cooking process. So worth the time and effort.

I will use the jam for pop tart filling and all sorts of yummy things. I made more tomato jam and red onion jam to go on the roasted pork loin melt for Saturday's menu.
Off the jam topic, made Oreo cookies for the weekend!!!!

P.S. Keep the reservations coming for Twinkle Bell Secret Dining Fellowship July 27th event. It is going to be a blast! Thanks for all the support and enthusiasm!!!!!

more still life......


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Eat your vegetables, please

                                                              Pickle me lovely

Today was a very production day in the kitchen. I find that I am the happiest and most continent working in that spot. Hours pass without me noticing till I look up at the clock and realize I've been at it for some time. Good stuff.

The summer months at the farmers markets are crazy good. I have been scoring at the Wednesdays Leesburg Market. Beautiful produce, fruit and super nice vendors. Open from 3-6pm and is located at Va. Village Shopping Center, Catoctin Circle.

I have started purchasing my bread from Bonjour La Parisienne. I love it and love its artisan look and taste. Great addition to the Cowbell.

Westmoreland Berry Farm's fruits are so delicious. The strawberries last week melted in your mouth. This week I made a cherry almond coffee cake and black raspberry blueberry jam which I will use as a filling in homemade pop tarts.

Potomac Vegetable Farm offers wonderful organic veggies. This weekend I will be serving up sauteed kale, squash and oregano on the veggies melts, add some mac & cheese and it is a taste sensation.

Also made more tomato jam and pickled up some more veggies. If you know me, you know I love to pickle and make jam. I am going to get my Virginia certification so I sell jars at the trailer, will keep you posted.

                                                                   Market bounty

Found this while cruising food blogs, yummy!

Iced Mocha Green Monster Smoothie

This icy drink is a hybrid between an Iced Mocha Coffee and a Green Monster Smoothie.

Yield: 2 servings or 3 cups


  • 1 cup coffee, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 small handful spinach
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 large Medjool dates, pitted (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 10 large ice cubes

1. Blend until smooth. Gulp. Cool down. Enjoy summer!

                            Twinkle Bell Secret Dining Fellowship

Don't forget about the July 27th. I have had fantastic response!
The Chef's Table is booked, woot woot!!! but still have seats available.

To get in touch with me,

call me,304-433-7665

or stop by the Cowbell at Lucketts, Friday, Saturday or Sunday 10am-5pm to sign up.
Waiting to hear from you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

twinkle bell secret dining fellowship



In collaboration with Lucketts, the Cowbell Kitchen will be hosting a monthly, outdoor, under the stars, unique dining series which will continue till the weather prevents us.

All the ingredients will be sourced from local farms, markets and artisans.The experience will be staged at various locations on the Lucketts property. The theme & menu, of course is top secret, and will be unveiled the night of. OK, maybe a tiny hint before!

Usually, the styled rustic dining experience will unfold at communal tables set to inspire. Creating a backdrop for the simple & delicious bounty to be presented that evening.  
The menu will always be exciting and innovative. It could range from 3 courses to 5, the night sky is the limit.

I will accommodate any food allergy, gluten free or vegetarian request via email before the night of.
This will be a BYOB event but we will provide glasses, ice etc
Limited seating
Chef's Table seating available.
Some sort of live music or entertainment will be provided.
Dancing could happen!
Rain or moon glow


6:45pm: cocktails and nibbles

What to bring: an appetite!!! BYOB, comfortable shoes, could be chilly, bug spray, an adventurous fun loving attitude

$60 per person + gratuity
Chef's Table $70 per person + gratuity

Hint: Red, White & Blue, all things American!!!!!

To make a reservation or inquire: call me. 304-433-7665, email me or come visit me at Lucketts Friday, Saturday or Sundays at the Cowbell.
cards accepted
plenty of parking
remember mum's the word.........

please, please, please come support this effort and make these events add to your rocking fun summer!!!!!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

kitchen oberservations

Oh yes please, let me loose in this kitchen!  Love the splash of green and all the natural sun light. Doing a bit of day dreaming of mine completed...........sometime soon, maybe just maybe?

Monday we did complete, the messiest job ever, sanding the floor which will be painted bright shinny white soon. Next project, finish painting the second half of walls then building the long awaited windows seats. I covet window seating and can hardly wait to pick out fabric for the cushions, Calico Corner here I come!!! Finally the to-do list is becoming shorter & shorter, hallelujah.

I am interested in photographing and doing a write up on kitchen spaces, before and after would be great. If anyone would be interested in sharing their kitchen and story please contact me.

I will put together a photo journal of our 2 plus years kitchen renovation and post. It is pretty amazing, I must say!


Friday, June 7, 2013

note to self......

                                                            thanks Oliver, got it!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

becauce farmers markets & friends make everything better......



Potomac Vegetable Farm

This week turned out to be exciting in many ways.

First I was so lucky to have my two best friends in town for a few days. The days flew by fast but we lazily grilled, drank and spent hours chitchatting on the back porch. Our featured cocktail was Gin & Tonic, simple and refreshing! Of course we threw in some wine, Prosecco and beer, for a change of pace!

Sunday evening the entire meal was prepared on the grill, boneless Rib Eye's with a chimichurri sauce featuring herbs from my garden, grilled romaine, asparagus with lemon aioli and spicy shrimp which we sauteed on the grill in a cast iron skillet. The meal was fantastic and somewhat easy to prepare. I did have very attentive prep cooks at my side, which helps.

try this,

Boneless Rib Eye with Chimichurri
serves 2-4

1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 C finely chopped parsley
3/4 C finely chopped oregano
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C red wine vinegar
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 lb. boneless rib eye

bring 1 tbsp. of salt and 1 cup of water to boil in a 1 quart sauce pan, let cool. whisk parsley, oregano, chili flakes, oil, vinegar, garlic and pepper in a bowl. stir in salt water mixture. let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Secondly I made it to Potomac Vegetable Farm on Wednesday at the Leesburg Farmers Market. I have been anticipating their produce and believe me I was not disappointed.


Here are my purchases for the Cowbell this week:
strawberry's from Westmoreland Berry Farm Oak Grove Va.
sourdough bread from Bonjour La Parisienne Manassas Va.
fennel & spring onions from Potomac Vegetable Farm Purcellville Va. 

this is what I made........

local spring onion mac & cheese featuring Trickling Springs cheddar, which will be the filling for the melt this weekend, yum
local fennel, jalapeno, peppers & red onion pickles for the ham & cheese melt
new local seeded sourdough bread for the melts
         also made tomato Vadalia onion jam to smear on the melts, go my gosh.....
Unfortunately the tomatoes are not local, they are from North Carolina. I decided to use them for the jam. I did support a local fruit stand, Wilt's on Route 340. They are a family owned  business that has been around since 1959. They are the nicest, helpful and are devoted to the quality of fruit and produce they sell!
 working on the strawberry hand pies, the strawberries are so sweet and delicious!
With all the extra love and support from my besties visit I am energized. It is amazing what simple food, laughs and good ole friendship can do!!!!
XoXo, Cher