End of Summer/Getting ready for the Fall

How is it that summer is over already?! I feel like it went by SO quickly! But I have to say, it was a great summer! Lots of catering! And it doesn’t stop there. Planned an AMAZING menu for an “End of the summer pool party”, which should have been this past weekend, but with Hurricane Dorian passing through, we had to reschedule our event for a couple of weeks from now. (Be sure to check in a couple of weeks for the final results!) This party of 40 people will have:

*Crudite platter with veggies, fruit, hummus, and tzatziki

*Veggie paninis with pesto

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*Antipasto pasta salad with an herb vinaigrette

*Sliders with all sorts of toppings

*Grilled chicken

*Grilled corn with cilantro lime butter

*Coleslaw

*BBQ spiced popcorn

*Sweet and savory chex party mix

*Peach cobbler

*Strawberry shortcake

I don’t think it’s going to be enough food! LOL If you read the post before, this is going to be for the family that I catered a fun First Holy Communion for their daughter. The best compliment they gave me, being able to be present for their celebration while having fun hosting and not having to prep and cook for all of their guests. Can you imagine this pool party with all of this food and they won’t get to enjoy their own party? I can’t wait to post how it went! So when she requested peach cobbler, I began to crave it so I HAD to make a little batch of it (ya know, because of the diet! LOL).

Also, getting ready for the Fall and put up some awesome cooking classes to get you ready for all of your fall hosting. There are some great recipes that you can add in your archive of recipes! There is more information under the Services page, but here are the menus for September and October:

September cooking classes:

  • Hot Cuban Flavors Amazing Latin flavors are packed into this simple, but delicious menu!
    • Spicy Grilled Mojo Chicken with Avocado Mango Salsa, Grilled Corn with Cotija and Lime, Coconut Flan
  • Fall Favorites Perfect, comfort recipes just in time for the fall!
    • Perfect Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs, Vegetable Pot Pie, Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Cream
  • For the kiddos Fun and interactive class where kids learn how to make pasta! They will also learn to make a cookie they are sure to love!
    • Fettuccine Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan, Lemon Sugar Cookies
  • Date Night Enjoy a fun night with your friends and cook an amazing dinner that you will for sure cook over and over!
    • Crostini with Caramelized Shallots, Balsamic Fig Jam, and Burrata, Fresh Pasta, Lobster Ravioli with White Wine Beurre Blanc, Champagne Chocolate Truffles

October cooking classes:

  • Autumn Pies It’s that time of year again and that means fall baking! Learn how to make delicious, decorative fall pies
    • Classic Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Bourbon Caramel Sauce
  • Fall Soups and Stews Fabulous recipes for the perfect fall day
    • Chicken and Herb Dumpling Soup, Hearty Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew, Sweet Potato Soup with Apple and Ginger
  • Girl’s Night Out! Grab your favorite Champagne and your girlfriends to this delicious fall menu!
    • Endive Salad with Grapes and Candied Pecans, Pan Roasted Chicken with Sage Au Jus, Pumpkin Risotto with Fried Sage, Apple Butterscotch Gallette
  • Date Night The perfect dinner for a romantic, fall night in!
    • Fennel and Blood Orange Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette, Cast Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce, Truffle Mashed Potatoes, Chocolate Espresso Pot de Creme

What would you like to learn in November? I’ll be posting the November classes by the end of the month, because my favorite holiday is right around the corner and there are some good, classic recipes to be shared! Thanksgiving is the perfect time to host a great dinner and my classes will be filled with all sorts of tips and ideas!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram! So many good food pics and inspiration! Also, subscribe to my blog for future classes and recipes! xoxo

Meal Planning and Back to School

Hi everyone!  Summer is coming to an end and we’ve eaten a lot of great food.  Meal planning going strong!!  I’m very grateful that I have new clients and I am helping families.  I love that they are referring me to their friends and family!  It’s very fulfilling to provide fully cooked meals for families who don’t have the time to cook.  I get the opportunity to help them eat healthy food while they take care of everything else.  What would you like to see on the meal plan rotation? 20190812_161015-01

On the menu for one family:

*Lemon and Parmesan Salmon with Heirloom Tomato, Corn, and Avocado Salad

*Korean Grilled Steak with Sesame Chimichurri and Asian Chopped Salad

*Greek Chicken bowls with Lemon Orzo and Tzatziki

*Roasted Lamb Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Honey Glazed Carrots

*Double Chocolate Brownies

For another family:

*Gnocchi Bolognese with Caesar Salad

*Sweet Thai Basil Chicken with Jasmine Rice

*Lemon Roasted Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

*Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas with Cilantro Lime Rice

*Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Let’s plan your weekly meals!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram!  xoxo

Getting ready for the Back-to-school rush

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Is it just me or did the summer go by a little too quick?  I’ve been enjoying every minute of it so far and loving all of the summer menus that I’ve cooked for my new clients!  Some of my favorites so far include a grilled beef flap steak, that just melted in your mouth, served with chimichurri, and a chicken and seafood paella served with a few different tapas for a party.  It’s so much fun to create menus for these summer parties and BBQs!

With school starting in just a few weeks, I’ve set up some school lunches for your kiddos.  There are plenty of things that you will need to do to get ready for the first day of school, but lunches are something that you don’t have to worry about!  Choose 3-5 meals for the week.  All lunches include a main, 2 sides (usually fruit or vegetables), and a healthy dessert- because no meal is complete without dessert!  One of the favorites is my chocolate zucchini muffins.  And the best part, is that they can’t tell that there’s vegetables inside!  Win Win!  All lunches will be portioned in food safe containers and they are very kid friendly.  Check out the menus in the Back-to school- section under Services.

Have a great week!  xo

 

Strawberry Shortcake

One of my favorite summer desserts–Strawberry Shortcake.  Since last year, I’ve been making my shortcakes with cornmeal and I haven’t turned back.  It is insanely delicious!!

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Normally, when I make strawberry shortcakes, I usually just macerate my strawberries.  What does that mean??  That means tossing your fruit with a little bit of sugar and allowing the fruit to sit for at least 20 minutes.  This allows the fruit to release it’s natural juices and creates a bit of a sauce, which is perfect for topping yogurt or ice cream.  But today!  Today, I’ve decided to roast the strawberries instead.  I know, it sounds weird, but it’s UH-MAZING!!  This dessert dates back to the 1500’s and nowadays is know as National Strawberry Shortcake Day.

It’s perfect for those wonderful summer days and it’s easy to travel with.  So you can enjoy it at the beach or on a picnic!  (Yes, I am that person that will bring strawberry shortcakes to the beach.)  Serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  (The secret to my whipped cream, which everyone goes bananas over, is Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.)  It makes such a difference in your desserts!!  I mean, a HUGE difference.  I use it in all recipes where I need to add vanilla.  I even added a touch in my strawberries before I roasted them.   Maybe you will make this for Father’s Day?  Don’t forget to subscribe!  New recipes plus cooking class schedules will be posted!!

Strawberry Shortcakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tender, soft shortcakes layered with sweet, roasted strawberries and topped with light vanilla whipped cream

Ingredients

-3 tbsp brown sugar

-1 1/4 cup AP flour

-1/4 cup very fine cornmeal

-1 1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/4 tsp baking soda

-6 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold, cubed

-6-8 tbsp heavy cream, very cold, plus extra for brushing

-sparkling sugar, for topping shortcakes

-1 lb strawberries, hulled, quartered

-1 tbsp granulated sugar

-1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

-1 lemon, zested

-2 cups heavy cream, very cold

-granulated sugar to taste

-vanilla bean paste, to taste

Directions

  1. For shortcakes:  Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a food processor, add the brown sugar, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Place the lid on and pulse a few times, just to evenly distribute the ingredients.  Remove the lid and add one tablespoon of very cold butter.  Replace the lid and pulse the butter in the food processor 5 times.  Repeat until all of the butter has been used.  The flour should resemble wet sand.
  2. While pulsing, slowly add the cold heavy cream in a very slow stream.  Add enough heavy cream until a dough has formed into a ball.  (You may not use all 8 tbsp of heavy cream.)
  3. Turn dough onto a floured surface.  Roll dough until 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out shortcakes, using a cookie cutter and place onto Silpat or nonstick sheet tray.  Once all cut shortcakes are placed on sheet tray, brush with heavy cream and generously sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  4. Place sheet tray in the refrigerator for 15 minutes so the dough chills.  *Very important step.  The dough must be very cold before going into the oven.
  5. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out cleaned.  Allow to cool completely before assembling shortcakes.
  6. For strawberries:  In a medium bowl, toss strawberries with sugar and vanilla.  Place in a baking dish and roast in oven at 400 F for 12-15 minutes, until softened.  After roasting, remove from oven and cool.  Zest 1 lemon on top of strawberries and toss so evenly distributed.
  7. For whipped cream:  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, add heavy cream and mix on medium speed.  Add sugar and vanilla, to taste, once you have soft peaks.  Increase the speed and whip until medium peaks.  Taste and adjust the sugar and vanilla.  If you are happy with both, increase the speed and whip until you have stiff peaks.  Careful not to over whip!  Put in a pastry bag and refrigerate until ready to assemble shortcakes.
  8. To assemble shortcakes:  Take cooled shortcake and slice in half with serrated knife.  Spoon roasted strawberries with juices on the bottom half of the shortcake.  Place the top half on top of strawberries and pipe or spoon a generous amount of whipped cream on top.  You can spoon another generous amount of strawberries on top of the whipped cream, if you’d like.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Memorial Day Weekend meal planning

Hi there!  I hope everyone is having a fun filled and safe holiday!

Every week, I’m incorporating more and more kid friendly options for busy families.  For one family this week, I prepared:

*Ginger soy glazed salmon with sauteed bok choy

*Herb roasted chicken and potatoes

*Lasagna with Caesar salad

*Mac and cheese and roasted broccoli

 

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I’m also planning a birthday party for a new family this weekend and the menu we came up is going to be fantastic:

*Peach, honey, and goat cheese crostini

*Bruschetta with and seasoned ricotta and roasted tomatoes

*Grilled Caesar Salad with homemade croutons

*Marinated veggie paninis with sun dried tomato pesto

*Grilled steak with chimichurri

*Potato salad with herb dressing

*Vanilla panna cotta with balsamic roasted peaches

This new family is a referral customer and for that, she (and the customer who referred her) are getting a special gift!  I’m so happy that she and her family are giving me the opportunity to take the stress off their shoulders and cater their special occasion for them.  All they need to do, is have fun with their guests!

The month is almost over and so is the discount off your first service!  Let’s plan your special occasion and create an amazing menu!

Mother’s Day Weekend

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing ladies!

This past weekend was so great! It started out with an amazing event that I catered on Saturday. It was for this sweet little girl who just had her First Communion. I met this very sweet family a few weeks ago and it was such an honor that I got to be a part of their event. When the mother reached out to me to cater her event, she thought it would be a fun idea to do a brunch board with all sorts of goodies. I thought, “how fun!” and I was all in! Their menu consisted of :

  • Lemon poppyseed muffins
  • Double chocolate chip muffins
  • Goat cheese, spinach, and ham quiche
  • Bacon, broccoli, and cheddar quiche
  • Buttermilk pancakes
  • Chocolate chip pancakes
  • Nutella French toast (I mean anything with Nutella is heavenly, am I right?)
  • Raspberry and cream cheese stuffed French toast
  • Assorted bagels (complete with 3 cream cheese smears, arugula, capers, and tomatoes)
  • Cheese board (complete with 6 different hard and soft cheese, crackers, honeys, and nuts)
  • Fresh fruit (with extra strawberries and blueberries)
  • Crispy bacon and smoked sausage
  • Orange juice and raspberry lemonade

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What an AMAZING way to celebrate with your friends and family!! It’s such a great feeling to see the smiles and to hear how everything exceeded expectations!! And as I was leaving, the happy parents both told me that this was the best way to celebrate-at their home and not having to wait at a restaurant for all the food for their large group! I’m looking forward to catering another event with them in the future!

On Sunday, I spent the day with my family. It started with me, my mom, and my cousin, Trish. I bought us a couple bottles of champagne, we had chicken and waffles for brunch, and we spent some time in the pool. It was a perfect laid back day- we talked Game of Thrones and listened to good music all day. And speaking of Game of Thrones!! What an episode! No spoilers here, but OMG! I cannot believe that next week is the last episode! How did this time go by so quickly?… What are your predictions for the finale?

National English Muffin Day

 

20190423_120754-01Today is National English Muffin day and, of course, I made English Muffins from scratch!  Turns out, they are incredibly easy to make and the flavor is sooo amazing!  Not to knock any store bought brand of English muffin, but using high quality ingredients such as King Arthur flour and Kerrygold butter, gives these beauties such amazing flavor!  I cooked them in my Lodge cast iron and then toasted them in my Breville oven.  I will definitely be making these over and over again!  Will be trying them out with the crab cake eggs benedict soon!

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I am discounting your first service!  15% off either your week of meal planning or catered event throughout the month of May.  Moms deserve a great culinary experience–treat her to a nice brunch or a dinner throughout the month and show her how appreciated she is!  What are your plans for Mother’s Day?  Mother’s Day menus will be posted this weekend.  Follow in Instagram and subscribe here for updates!

Easter

Hey everyone!  Another busy week and I finally have a moment to sit and reflect.  Last week, I was reminded that there are going to be obstacles when you least expect it and I become stronger and stronger every time.  I have an amazing tribe and with them, I can do it!  This is a new week and it started on a great note!  Still hype over Game of Thrones!  Is it just me, or did that hour seem to just fly by?!  I feel like I blinked and it was over!  This weekend, we will be ready with an EPIC dinner because it’s not only Game of Thrones, but it is also Easter Sunday!

This week, I’ll be focused on helping new customers with their meal preferences and lift the burden of having to cook dinner for their families and for themselves.

For one family:

*Shrimp scampi with roasted broccoli and a grilled Caesar salad  *Perfectly seared scallops with mashed potatoes  *Four cheese lasagna with Zucchini noodles  *Whole roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and honey maple glazed carrots

For another family:

*Roasted cauliflower with turkey sausage and yogurt  *Chinese chicken and broccoli with white rice  *Mongolian beef  *Vegetable fried rice *Gluten free brownies

Another family will have:

*Creamy Tuscan Chicken with broccoli rabe  *Pan seared salmon with white wine pan sauce  *Pinenut couscous with apricots  *Seafood Paella with roasted garlic aioli  *Olive oil polenta cake with honey whipped cream

For Easter dinner:

*Spring Pea salad with asparagus, watermelon radish, and champagne vinaigrette  *Mezze Platter with homemade hummus, marinate olives and artichokes, and pita  *Lamb chops with mint salsa verde  *Roasted Brussels sprouts with smoked brown sugar  *Orange ricotta cake with honey whipped cream

Next week, I have my first customer where I will planning some breakfasts for while they are in town.  These cinnamon rolls are definitely going to be a part of it.  There is just something so comforting about cinnamon rolls.  And they don’t get better than homemade.  These make the perfect addition to any Easter brunch spread.

 

20190417_124649-01.jpegMore on the breakfast meal plans next week.

Easy comfort food

Hey guys! This week has been so busy and it’s not going to stop. (And I’m so excited that things are going strong!)

New families and private dinners planned throughout the month!

This week’s meal plans include the following:

1. *Pan seared salmon with mango salsa *Scallops with swiss chard and cauliflower puree *Grilled steak with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus *Caesar salad *Garden salad

2. *Cast iron steak and potatoes *Indian butter chicken with basmati rice *Shrimp fettuccine alfredo *Potato salad with scallion vinaigrette *Chicken Shwarma salad with tahini

3. *Mojo chicken with cilantro rice *Black bean and corn salsa *Shrimp ceviche with tostones *Roast pork shoulder *Coconut lime Popsicles

All delicious and solidifying some vegan menus this week! Coming up, I am going to post some class menus. It’s a great idea to host for birthdays or anniversary parties!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welcome to my blog! I’m happy you’re here! I previously had another blog and starting this one on nicolemarlow.com was something that I was going back and forth on, but then I decided, WHY NOT?! It will tie everything together throughout my private chef life and my passion for food. Every week, there will be a new post and (hopefully soon) I will be able to post more frequently!

This week on the menu for some of my rock stars, are these amazing gluten free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! I was never a fan of oatmeal cookies. I like oatmeal for breakfast and I love granola, but cookies, not so much. Enter this cookie. For one of the families that I cook for, healthy eating is everything and they do like their sweets, so we had to find a common ground. Now what I like about this recipe, is the fact that it has almond butter! I’m all for almond butter and we need a little chocolate to make this cookie delicious. Although I was never a fan of oatmeal cookies, now this cookie is something that I crave more often. It’s quick and easy to make and what’s even better- they freeze very well! Very kid friendly and these families request these cookies every week.

One of the meal plans set for this week include these cookies, Tuscan kale and roasted tomatoes, chicken gyros with tzatziki, and banana bread. SOO delicious!