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Thanksgiving Day Menu

Friday, November 8, 2013

posted by Jamie the Foodie
10:24 AM


Another of Life's Simple Pleasures

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I am sure if you are reading this you know we eat a healthy diet at the Dietrich house. However, this morning I woke to find the most beautiful white box with that lovely royal blue writing that says "The Donut Hole" on my kitchen counter. (Let me interject, I love those white, cardboard bakery boxes, especially the plain ones. They bring a smile to my face & flood me with fond memories of my childhood.) Yes, my sweet husband, while out making an early morning run to the hardware store, stopped by The Donut Hole, waited in a long line & came home with 2 of my favorite pastries! (Of course, Mr. Healthy had none!) I have 3 favorites: chocolate cake doughnut, blueberry cake doughnut & apple fritter (their apple fritter is the size of 2 of my fists!). I realize this is not the healthiest breakfast. However, in the 3 1/2 years we have lived here, I have never once stopped by The Donut Hole to get myself a doughnut & this is only the second time Sean has done so. So no worries of me falling into that trap! I sat & had my morning coffee all the while pinching off sweet, apple cinnamon chunks of goodness. Even more than the "treat" of having doughnuts for breakfast, the fact that my husband found a small way of showing me that he loves me is today's simple pleasure.

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posted by Jamie the Foodie
3:12 PM


Life's Simple Pleasures

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today for lunch I fried a whole grain pita in my iron skillet with a little Earth Balance margarine & then, using a serrated knife, gently sliced all the way around the edge of the pita so that I had something more reminiscent of a sandwich. Next I slathered Veganaise on both sides of the pita (Yes, both sides!) & added thick slices of homegrown tomatoes & a sprinkling of salt. I did not grow the tomatoes, nor are they local; tomatoes in this area are just now starting to ripen. These came from south Florida, but were still homegrown, you could tell from the inconsistencies in the skin & such. They aren't as good as the ones that are yet to come, like the ones from Slocomb, Alabama (Those are the absolute best! Sean & I have actually driven the nearly 2 hours to buy some before.), but they were good enough to put a smile on my face. After I was done savoring every last mayonnaise dripping bite, I ate half of a sweet, ripe cantaloupe I bought on the side of the road somewhere between here & Dothan, Alabama on Saturday. I know that summer is not officially here, but these are some of the simple pleasures of summer!

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posted by Jamie the Foodie
1:09 PM


I can't say it's cheese, either, but it sure is good!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I was introduced to the "We Can't Say It's Cheese" products at my local health food store, For the Health of It. I was perusing the cool vegan products when I came across it; I like to look but don't typically buy any of them. I was studying the container when Ed, the owner, asked if I'd like to try some. Free food? Of course I'd like to taste it! He gave me a yummy garbanzo bean chip to dip in it, which was very good, too, but I digress. I was amazed at how good this "cheeze" spread was! I ended up purchasing the Hickory Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread. Sean didn't seem as impressed as I was with my new love. I practiced self-control & came home & only ate half the container. The next day, I ate half of the half that was left. All the while giving Sean ample opportunity to have some. Finally, the third day (okay, maybe it really was the second day) I polished it off! When I mention this spread now, Sean will say he didn't have a chance to eat any--whatever!

The biggest surprise to me? The main ingredient to this thick, creamy dream of a "cheeze" spread is oatmeal. Of course I saved the container as a reference to the ingredients used. I have since been playing around with a recipe, I have made it 3 or 4 times with great success. Saturday I tried to make queso dip or what I grew up calling Rotel dip; basically Velveeta cheese melted & mixed with Rotel tomatoes. This was the dip of my youth; I no longer make Rotel dip, but I must admit, if there is some at a party, I do have a dip or two or ten! I haven't mastered the consistency of the original Rotel dip, yet; but I was in a hurry to get to a cookout, so didn't spend too much time on it. I ended up pureeing the batch with the Rotel tomatoes with a plain batch; the result had a wonderful spicy, smokey flavor. I didn't hoover over the bowl as my husband did at the cookout(he has developed more of an "interest" in this spread since his first taste), but I do think that my "cheeze" was enjoyed by vegans & non-vegans alike (I came home with an empty bowl). Next batch, I'm adding fakin' bacon bits! They can't say it's cheese & neither can I, but we sure do love it at our house!

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posted by Jamie the Foodie
8:13 AM


Where, oh, where has Jamie been?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before, but my husband, Sean, tried to get me to take an oath to blog three times a week! And he was serious! I must admit that blogging takes a lot of time for me. I don't just slap some words on the screen, overlook the grammatical errors & move on. I put lots of thought & care into my blogs. However, they do come out quite wordy & very lengthy. Today I am turning over a new leaf; I am attempting to blog more & less...more often, but less words.

So, now to answer the question, where has Jamie been? Being that we live in a seasonal tourist community, winter is my slower season for my private chef business. I do have clients that come into town throughout the year, but I am not as busy as in the summer. This winter Sean & I have worked hard on the Airstream. I should really say that Sean has worked hard on the Airstream. I am so grateful to have a husband who believes in me & loves me so much to work as hard as he has to make my dream a reality. We are converting the Airstream into a commercial kitchen & plan to open a natural foods cafe next month! However, for the record, I will DEFINITELY continue my private chef business; I love it!

In the past several months I have catered some weddings and large charity fund raising events, such as Walton County Habitat for Humanity's Christmas party & Paint A Difference, as well as participated in some cooking demonstrations. (I will include some photos from some of those events.) I have also been developing & testing my recipes for the cafe. It's all very exciting, but lots of hard work. Today was a very exciting day, I finally submitted my building permit application to Walton County! Now I will anxiously await their response! We do have a website for the cafe & Sean has been blogging about his progress in the 'Stream (my loving nickname for the big, silver bullet). Please check out the new cafe website. And for any of my regular clients or potential clients who may be reading this, don't hesitate to give me a call or send me an email, I am still very much in the private chef business.

And to the foodies out there, more food posts to come soon.

(Obviously a cooking demonstration!)

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posted by Jamie the Foodie
3:18 PM


Ratatouille, polenta & seeing red

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Daddy went to the curb market last week & called me while he was there to see if I wanted anything. Twenty-eight minutes later (that's how long we were on the phone discussing the selection) he had me a basket full of goodies from the "clearance" area! I got eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, corn & bananas (the latter three were not from the clearance area). One night I made tempura tofu & veggies, very tasty! A couple of nights ago I decided to try my hand at ratatouille, being that I had all the vegetables here & they needed to be eaten. (We made ratatouille nightly in the restaurant that I did my internship, but it was a quick skillet version.) This was a labor of love & well worth every second! I used Julia Child's recipe which I found online (I just added more eggplant & zucchini than called for, I later read she had increased the amounts in another printing of the same recipe-- my measurements are listed below). I wanted to serve it as a main dish, so I also made polenta to go with it (I added Parmesan to mine, but left some plain for Sean). Next time, there will definitely be a next time, I will leave more juices; seeing as I was serving as a main course & over polenta--more juices would have been good soaked into the polenta.

Sean was working, so when he got home I was excited to see what he thought about it; he loved it, he ate 3 bowls full! I saved a little to try the next day, to see how the flavors melded overnight. I had an appointment yesterday morning & didn't get home until well after lunch & was starving. I went to the refrigerator & pulled out the polenta & started searching for the ratatouille. Frantic, I couldn't find it, I went to the sink & to my horror there was a small container with what appeared to be the remnants of my beloved ratatouille in it. I was on the phone; I told my Mother that I would have to call her back, she quickly hung-up, not wanting to hear my wrath. I called to Sean in his office, indeed, he had mindlessly eaten my precious leftover ratatouille while talking on the phone & not thinking of my request for him to leave it alone. What ensued is not printable! I had to go to him later & apologize for being so angry. It had taken me a couple of hours, or longer, to prepare this dish! He was sorry that he had eaten it & all was well...except I had not gotten to taste my day-old ratatouille...that he informed me in the middle of my screaming "was even better today"! Thank you very much!


1 lb. eggplant
1 lb. zucchini
1 t. salt
7 T. olive oil, divided
2 c. thinly sliced onion (I used yellow)
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 lb. firm but ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded & cut into 1/4 in. strips
3 T. minced fresh parsley

Peel eggplant; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut into 3-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips. Cut zucchini into same size strips. Place vegetables in large bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain; dry with paper towels.

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and zucchini to skillet; sauté until light golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate; reserve.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet; heat over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; sauté until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Place tomato strips atop onion-pepper mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet; cook over low heat until tomatoes begin to juice, about 5 minutes. Uncover; baste vegetables in skillet with juices. Boil until juices are almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer 1/3 of onion-pepper-tomato mixture to 2 1/2-quart pot; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini, then remaining onion-pepper-tomato mixture; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Layer remaining eggplant and zucchini over; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Cover; simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Uncover; tilt pot and baste with accumulated juices. Increase heat to medium; simmer uncovered, basting several times with pan juices until only 2 to 3 tablespoons juices remain in pot, watching closely to avoid scorching, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cool slightly. Cover; chill. Serve at room temperature or rewarm over medium-low heat before serving

I have very much been enjoying corn lately; in different forms, though. A week or so ago I prepared food for a very casual lunch & had some Mexican cornbread muffins left over. A favorite lunch of mine last week was a fried egg, Mexican cornbread & a tomato; very nice combination of flavors & textures. Today, I reheated a piece of polenta & ate it with a fried egg & tomato--again, delicious! I think I may be onto something!

I realized a couple of days ago that this month is Vegan Month of Food or VeganMoFo; it's basically to bring awareness to veganism & vegan food bloggers commit to blogging about vegan food 5 days a week for the entire month of October. I love the concept & even considered making the commitment. However, I just don't have the time; the Airstream is rolling right along (pun intended!) & is requiring much of my time & energy. I am looking forward to reading so many vegan food posts by so many talented cooks & funny bloggers!

Speaking of the Airstream, we received some very positive news last week regarding the location we are trying to get approved to open our all-natural, slow food, organic, mostly vegetarian cafe. As a result, we are working towards obtaining a building permit & finishing out the inside of the 'Stream as quickly as possible. We have set some goals & a timeline & are very excited about all that is happening! It will give me an outlet to cook the food that I am passionate about, healthy food, & also, a kitchen to prep for my personal chef jobs in. Speaking of which, I better head to the kitchen & get busy with some prepping that I need to get done for another job!

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posted by Jamie the Foodie
3:10 PM


The "Good Time"

Monday, September 21, 2009

I love snowballs, you know, shaved ice. My sister lived in New Orleans for years & it was just a short walk from her house to Pandora's in the City Park area. I would go visit her in the summer & would have to make at least one trip to Pandora's while I was there, even as an adult. When you eat a snowball the ice begins to melt & eventually you have a cup of slush, this is what I named the "good time"; it's the best part of the snowball. Well, the term has bled over into many other things, like when you order a pizza & after several pieces have been taken out of the box & there is a huge glob of cheesy goodness stuck to the cardboard, this is the "good time". Or the brown crust at the bottom edge of a pound cake that sometimes wants to break off, that is definitely the "good time". Or when you are eating spaghetti & there is just a little sauce left in the bottom of your bowl & you have a small piece of garlic bread left & you use the bread to sop up the last bit of sauce, that is the "good time".

I imagine you are getting the point. Well, tonight I was actually at home, not cooking or prepping for clients & decided to cook for me & Sean. I made a delicious stir-fry with fresh vegetables & lightly fried tofu. I had not eaten much today so I served myself a very generous bowl of brown rice & stir-fry. Did I mention that I love tofu; really, I eat it straight out of the package. Well, I ate & ate & ate, all the while saving some "good time", which tonight happened to be the chunks of tofu; I wanted to savor them at the end. The problem was that I got full before I got to my "good time". Don't fret, I ate it all; as my assistant, Donna & I say, I made a happy plate (Can you tell I taught preschool for almost 5 years?). But my "good time" wasn't quite as good as it could have been had I not been so full. I have always loved food & loved to eat. I can remember being a child & eating so much that I would be chewing a bite & have to spit it out because I knew that if I swallowed it I would be sick to my stomach. Okay, I admit, that was not healthy! But it does prove that my love of food runs deep & long!

On to my stir-fry, it took me about 5 years to perfect the stir-fry. I have considered getting a job in a Thai restaurant just to learn their techniques & sauces & such. In the early days, I would add too many ingredients to my stir-fry. Then even when I simplified my ingredients, my vegetables would come out overcooked. I have some tricks, which make things much simpler. I admit, I would still love to learn from the owner/chef of Benjarong in Mary Esther, he is the former chef at Royal Orchid in Miramar Beach. His vegetables come out with just the slightest bit of char & his cucumber salad is something I dream about. However, Sean did say tonight that this was the best stir-fry he can remember having in a long time. Here's what I do...


For the sauce:

2 T. sesame oil
2 T. vegetable oil
6 scallions or 1/4 onion, chopped
2 T. minced garlic
1 T. minced ginger
1 1/3 c. vegetable stock
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. sugar (I use sugar in the raw)
a couple pinches crushed red pepper (or to your taste)
2 T. white vinegar
2 T. cornstarch
2-3 T. cold water

Heat oil in skillet, add ginger & onions, saute until tender (if adding mushrooms, add them with the onions & let them soften). Add garlic & saute about a minute. Add stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper & vinegar. Mix well. In a small bowl combine cornstarch with cold water & mix to dissolve cornstarch. Add cornstarch slurry to the skillet & stir to thicken. You may need to add a little more slurry depending on how thick you want your sauce.

For the vegetables:

Choose whatever combination you like; my favorites are green beans, mushrooms, cabbage & broccoli. I prefer to just use 2-3 vegetables at a time. Steam your vegetables for a couple of minutes, not until they are done, just until they are crisp tender. Tonight I used cabbage, green beans & mushrooms. Again, for the mushrooms, I sauteed them with the onions. Then I steamed the beans & cabbage together, about 5 minutes. Add your vegetables to your sauce just to heat.

Sometimes we just have a vegetable stir-fry over brown rice, but tonight I added tofu. (For frying tofu, I use extra firm.) I have often read to toss tofu cubes in cornstarch prior to frying. I have never tried this method & decided to try it out tonight. I only used about 1/2 an inch of oil in my skillet & added the cornstarch covered tofu chunks & lightly fried them. The cornstarch did give them a nice crisp exterior that they would not have had otherwise, very nice result. I added this to my vegetables & sauce & tossed it all together. Typically my last step would be to add chopped cilantro to my stir-fry; unfortunately, we are out of cilantro. (Note to self, add cilantro to grocery list.) Even without the cilantro, the stir-fry was delicious! (The lighting wasn't the best for the picture, the colors were much better than they appear.)

I had half a pineapple left over from making a pineapple upside down cake for clients last night; so I decided to make one for us. Of course I had to veganize my recipe. I also added coconut milk & shredded coconut to the cake batter. Just a few minutes ago I went back into the kitchen to get a little bite of the "good time" from the cake--the crusty edge, but the cake was already completely gone! I ate so much tonight that my stomach hurts--just like my childhood days! I guess that's one way to know that dinner was a success!

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posted by Jamie the Foodie
7:07 PM