Month: October 2018

The Culinary Diary Of Two Mad Women

The Culinary Diary Of Two Mad Women

Diary Entry October 24th, 2018: I have my first appetizer gig next week.  Again, Elizabeth will be abroad, this time in Italy, learning how to make olive oil.  That woman!  All I have to say is, I better get some olive oil out of it. …

Enter The Court

Enter The Court

I don’t know if any of you have been following the scandal at the court, but I’ll fill you in.  The Court Of Master Sommeliers is an organization that certifies people as wine experts.  With the upper tiers of the certifications that the court offers…

The Night Circus

The Night Circus

Wowee what a week.  We did the biggest event to date…..eight courses for forty people.  Plated.  I got very nervous talking to people between courses and found myself doing deer in the headlights when it came time to describe what they were eating.  I really need to work on that.  Or get someone else to do it.

Diane was my sous and thank the universe for that woman.  We had to set up an entire kitchen complete with our Camp Chefs and sous vide wands.  They should sponsor us.  Truly.  I’m willing to bet that no one works the magic we do on our Camp Chef stoves.

We got a a fantastic write up in the newspaper and a local foodie group posted about us on Instagram complete with fabulous pictures.  I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but here was the menu:

~Lamb meatball on herbs de provence jasmine rice with black cherry sauce

~Squid ink ravioli filled with prawns, chives, basil, and parsley in a garlic, shallot, and white wine cream sauce

~Salad of whole heirloom cherry tomatoes, cucamelons, and radishes on endive with roasted heart shaped beets in a citrus vinaigrette

~Fresh pineapple sorbet (I did not get a pic of this, but it was delicious and we served it in teacups)

~Beef tenderloin sous vide, grill finished, with chimichurri sauce and fried parsnips brushed with tahini mustard

~Beer batter hush puppies with aged  English cheddar and diced hot peppers in a chipotle beer cheese sauce

~Cinnamon roll topped with apple pie ice cream and shards of cinnamon glass candy

~Salty milk chocolate brandy truffles robed in dark chocolate and topped with turbinado sugar

And here’s the actual menu I wrote, which Hannah, Elizabeth’s daughter, added her expert calligraphy skills to:

We did this shindig at Old 99, a local brewery here owned by the Hills.  Amanda did an amazing job putting the whole thing together.  Her husband Matt did an incredible job pairing the beers.  Everyone was flipping out over how well the beer pairings were and Amanda’s place setting antics were thoughtfully done and so well executed.  I just love her so much.  The theme was based on a book, The Night Circus, that Amanda loves.  Did I mention she’s a hot librarian?

Diane graciously gave her recipe for the squid ink pasta for all of you.  You can obtain the squid ink on Amazon.

Fresh Squid Ink Pasta


  • 3/4 lb all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod
  • 2 teaspoons squid or cuttlefish ink
  • 1 drop blue food coloring
  • 1/2 cup tepid water plus 1 tablespoon

Place the flour in a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and make a well.  Blend the 1/2 cup water with the ink, Pernod, and food coloring, rinsing with the remaining tablespoon of water and add it all to the flour.  Mix on lower speeds, gather into a ball, cover with saran wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator  for at least an hour.  The dough will keep for up to three days.

Thanks Diane AKA the Pasta Genius!

Fancy Fish Fettuccine

Fancy Fish Fettuccine

For all of this week I’ll be testing and prepping for the October 14th event.  There’s only a few tickets left and I’m both terrified and excited at the same time.  This will be a defining moment in the fledgling Basil & Sage private chef…

Chicken Cacciatore With Fresh Tomatoes

Chicken Cacciatore With Fresh Tomatoes

The quest to decrease the tomato problem in my kitchen continues.  My friends are now turning down offers of free tomatoes because they also have more than they can handle.  So what am I going to do today?  Well, more salsa, for starters.  And then…

Basil And Sage….Or….The Culinary Diary Of Two Mad Women

Basil And Sage….Or….The Culinary Diary Of Two Mad Women

Diary Entry September 29th, 2018:

It’s official.  Elizabeth and I are now private chefs.  Tada!  After exhausting requests to cook in a hired capacity from friends, I’ve finally acquiesced.  My reluctance comes from being traumatized by the public after being forced to become a waitress by The Court Of Masters Of Sommeliers, only for them to change the rules years later on when you can and can’t take next level exams.  But that’s a completely different story.  The point is, I’m not a fan of the public, especially when they’re in a restaurant.  I can’t think of anything I’d hate worse than to be a chef in a restaurant, dealing with all the annoying patrons with all of their annoying complaints and even more annoying requests.  No thanks!

It was when I was managing a vineyard that I met and became friends with Elizabeth.  She’s kind of an enigma.  Mysterious and a little aloof, but she has an incredible work ethic.  She’s a woman not afraid of manual labor.  We were kindred spirits.  I was astonished that she instilled those ehtics into her five children, all of whom are wildly talented and equally unafraid of manaul labor.  That’s what vineyard work is, afterall….hard manual labor, often in less than favorable weather.  In the midst of that grueling work, we became solid friends, sharing funny stories about kids and husbands and life.  I cooked a meal for her husband’s school auction and we were convinced to make a go of this new direction.  We were a hit.  Our first official event happened last weekend.

Hubs and I are friends with Rudy and Dawn, who own Swinging From The Vines, a wine tour bus company.  Rudy is a common guest at our home for dinner.  I always cook too much and Rudy likes to eat, plus they live in our neighborhood.  It’s perfect.  Then he started bringing Dawn with him and I just love her so much!  All we do is laugh together, it’s great.  Rudy’s been bugging me forever to do food events for his tours.  Ok, fine.  I created some menu options with Elizabeth’s help.  Now Dawn wants holiday menus!  Happy now, Rudy?!  (he is)

So last weekend we did our first official party at Joseph Jane Winery.  This group chose the prime rib dinner and the shrimp crepes for the no meat folks.

The Menu:

~Herb roasted prime rib with smoked salt and au jus, truffle steak fries with asiago, salt and pepper asparagus, and chocolate cupcakes with milk chocolate ganache topped with fresh raspberries.

~White wine poached prawns draped in crepes topped with garlic leek cream sauce, baby red smashed potatoes in lemon butter parsley sauce, salt and pepper asparagus, and chocolate cupcakes with milk chocolate ganache topped with fresh raspberries.


Here’s the prime rib recipe


Here’s the crepes recipe (albeit using ham and swiss)


Shrimp Crepes In Garlic Leek Cream Sauce


  • 2 lbs raw frozen shrimp peeled with the tail on
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh garlic
  • 1 large or 2 medium leeks cleaned and sliced crosswise
  • 1 and a half bottles white wine
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley to garnish



Truffle Fries


  • 6 to 8 russet potatoes washed
  • 1/2 cup finely grated asiago cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Fine ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Truffle oil white or's just potatoes people


  • Preheat the oven to 350.  Leaving the skin on, slice the potatoes into wedges and arrange on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or foil.  Make sure they aren't touching.  Massage all the wedges with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast on the middle rack until they just start to brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the asiago and return to the oven to finish browning for about 10 minutes or so.  Sprinkle with truffle oil just before serving.


Salt And Pepper Asparagus


  • 1 or 2 bunches asparagus washed and trimmed of the woody ends
  • Olive Oil
  • My pink salt blend or Kosher salt
  • Fine ground pepper

Lemon Butter Parsley Potatoes


  • 6 to 10 baby red potatoes
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 or 3 lemons juiced depending on size
  • 1 cup rough chopped parlsey leaves I use curly parsley because it's more tender
  • Kosher salt to taste


  • Boil the potatoes on high heat in salted water until fork tender, about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice to taste and butter in a small saucepan on very low heat until just melted.  Whisk in the parsley at the last minute and salt to taste.  Drain the potatoes and smash on a plate or in a bowl, one smash per potato.  Pour the butter sauce over and serve.
Green Beans With Dried Tomatoes

Green Beans With Dried Tomatoes

I’ll be glad when I get to the point where I’m posting about recipes that don’t have tomatoes in them.  In the meantime, I made this little side dish to go with some mystery beef we smoked up the other night.  I had some leftover…