Category Archives: Lifestyle

Labor of Love: Hand Crafted Knives

Custom Made Knives by Heartwood Forge

2015-08-26 12.14.54

Great food is a result of many moving parts like quality ingredients, talented cooks and the right equipment, all working together to create an unforgettable meal. I’ve found that people here in Georgia are pretty savvy when it comes to knowing how our food is grown and where it comes from. And thanks to popular cooking shows, they also know how to properly cook and present that food! But I wonder if they’ve ever given much thought to how their pots, pans and their knives are made? Well I did, so I took a journey to Jefferson to find out.

Heartwood Forge chefs knife

photo by Will Manning

Nestled in the woods right off Potters House Road is Heartwood Forge, where designer and knife maker Will Manning creates his practical works of art. Hoping to answer my own question, I spent the day making knives with Will. Which admittedly, from the outside looking in, seemed more like Will making the knives while I just watched. What I learned was this: Will is very skilled and passionate in what he does. He uses repurposed metal from places like Monticello to make his knives; salvaged wood from trees like pecan, box elder and maple or white tailed deer antlers to make the handles; and reclaimed brass for balancing the handle with the blade of the knife. I also learned that his goal is to put his knives in the hands that will use them, and for that measure he has a virtual store front where you can browse and buy your knives. If you’re thinking you want something more a bit more personal, like a custom made knife, then you’re in luck, because as it turns out, Will makes those too!

2015-08-26 12.23.41

Photos by Jennifer Hill Booker

Baby It’s Cold Outside! Winter Pumpkin Soup to Warm the Soul!

Chef Jennifer Booker Cookbook

 

Winter Pumpkin Soup with Parmesan Croutons & Bacon Chips

Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

Serves 4

Any type of winter pumpkin or squash, such as Sugar Pie pumpkin or butternut squash, can be used for this soup. Just remove the seeds, cut it into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in a 350° F oven. The roasting softens the vegetable and reinforces its natural sweetness. The addition of stock and cream gives the soup a velvety smoothness, and the croutons and bacon chips add a nice crunch.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 slices of Hickory smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch strips

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1⁄2 medium white onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups roasted pumpkin, mashed, or unsweetened pumpkin puree

2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1⁄2 cup heavy cream

2 cups stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1⁄4 teaspoon red chili flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large stockpot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, then add the rosemary and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the bacon is golden and crispy and the rosemary leaves are lightly browned.

Drain the bacon and rosemary on a paper towel. Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems and roughly chop the leaves, discarding the stems. Set the rosemary aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease from the stockpot. Set the bacon chips aside while you make the pumpkin soup.

Add the butter, onion, and garlic to the bacon grease in the stockpot and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir often to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mashed pumpkin and the chicken stock, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream just before you serve; do not let the soup boil once the cream has been added.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

To make the parmesan croutons, toss the bread, olive oil, cheese, chili flakes, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Spread the bread mixture onto a sheet pan and bake 5 to 6 minutes, or until the bread cubes are golden brown.
Serve the soup in warm bowls topped with croutons, bacon chips, and the chopped rosemary.

Layout 1

 Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014

Jennifer Hill Booker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

Collard Green Salad w/ Apple Cider Vinaigrette. Yum!

~Enjoy this Georgia Grown ‘ Pick Keep Cook’ crop in a Fresh New Way~

collard_green_salad

Collard Greens Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

recipe by: Chef Jennifer Booker
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 bunch collard greens, washed
1/2 cup Pecan oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves raw garlic, minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. black pepper
Method:

De-stem and chop the collard greens into long strips. Place strips in a large bowl. Pour Pecan oil on collard strips and sprinkle on salt. Massage the oil and salt into the strips with your hands until all pieces are well coated. Whisk together apple cider vinegar, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and ground pepper. Pour apple cider vinegar dressing over the collard green strips. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours, but overnight is best. Serve chilled or room temperature.

 

GAGrownExecChefLogo

Forget Viagra! Eat a Beet

Chef Jennifer Booker Cookbook

Now that I have your attention . . . here are 6 Great Health Benefits of Eating Beets!

1. Beets are nature’s Viagra
Seriously. One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. And that’s not just urban legend – science backs it up. Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.

2. Beets are high in many vitamins and minerals
Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. These are but a few of the many nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can be found in beets and beet greens. Beets are particularly beneficial to women whom are pregnant, as the vitamin B and iron are very beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and replenishing iron in the woman’s body.

3. Beets cleanse the body
They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, works as a purifier for the blood, and can prevent various forms of cancer. Nuff said, right? Tastes good and prevents cancer? Sign me up!

4. Beets help your mental health
Beets contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, similar to chocolate. Beets can also lower your blood pressure. So if you’re already steamed about not eating beets, you can get a two-fer by diving into them right away.

5. Beets are used as a stomach acid tester
How in the world does that work? Glad you asked. If you are eating a lot of beets or beet juice, and your pee turns pink, guess what? You have low stomach acid. Pee still clear? Ratchet it up and get juicing (use the greens too)! Nutritionists use beets and beet juice to test stomach acid levels, so stay ahead of the curve by adding beets to your diet now.

6. Beets are a high source of energy
At the same time they are low in calories and high in sugar (although the sugar is released into your system gradually, as opposed to chocolate). Very few foods found in the natural world are as beneficial as beets in this regard.

Beets are a wonderful addition to any dietary need. With their high volume of nutrients, delicious taste, and multitude of uses, anyone can jump right into beets without missing a beat.

Looking for a Delicious Beet Recipe? Pick up a copy of Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, at YourResidentGourmet.net

article from fullcircle.com

photo credit Deborah Whitlaw Llewllyn

Join Chef Jennifer @ Strippaggio Book Signing!

Layout 1Chef Jennifer Booker heashot

~Book Signing~

Join Chef Jennifer Booker as she signs her debut cookbook:
Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 6pm

Strippaggio – Artisan Oils, Vinegars, Specialty Food & Gifts

855 Emory Point Dr, Suite C-135, Atlanta, Georgia 30329
Strippaggio

Georgia Honey Rocks!!

Georgia Honey:  Nature’s Energy Booster

Honey combThe benefits of honey go beyond its great taste. A great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies, honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting the performance, endurance and reduce muscle fatigue of athletes. Its natural sugars play an important role in preventing fatigue during exercise. The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy. It is known that honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar.

Try this Delicious recipe featuring Georgia Honey, Yum!!

Honey & Lime Chicken Strips

Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

4 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Georgia honey

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons Pecan oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice + 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons grated lime zest + 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

12 chicken tenders or 2 large chicken breasts, cut into strips

1 tablespoon Georgia honey

 

Lime wedges, for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat the electric grill to 400*F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, ginger, jalapeño, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, Pecan oil, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and lime zest.

Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat.

In a small bowl, mix the honey with the remaining lime juice and lime zest. Set aside.

Add the chicken to the grill and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes; turning after 3 minutes. The chicken’s internal temperature such reach 165*F.

Remove the chicken from the grill and drizzle with the lime honey.

Serve the chicken with fresh lime wedges.

GAGrownExecChefLogo

26 Foods You Should Know How To Cook In Your 20’s . . .

26 Foods You Should Know How to Cook in Your 20’s . . 
A good friend of mine recently shared this article with me, and after a VERY unofficial poll, I found that not many people know how to cook these 26 foods!
So this week’s Your Resident Gourmet is sharing my choice of Top Ten foods you should know how to cook at any age. Don’t worry-I’m also sharing the link with you for the other 16, so get cooking!

Happy Cooking!

Chef Jennifer
Pre-order your copy Chef Jennifer’s cookbook, Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent
at PelicanPub.com
Follow Chef Jennifer on Facebook
Chef Jennifer Booker
and Twitter
@Chefjennbooker

26 Foods You Should Learn to Cook in Your 20’s . .  .


Here Are My TOP TEN

1. A Deliciously Melty GRILLED CHEESE

Serious Eats has a great step-by-step slideshow of how to make the ultimate grilled cheese. The key tip is that you should toast one side of each slice, sandwich the cheese between those toasted sides, then toast the other sides.

2. The Best CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

The New York Times did a great story in 2008 where they tested and retested different chocolate chip cookie methods to “assemble a new archetypal cookie recipe.” The results indicated that letting your dough rest overnight before baking is essential.

3. Perfectly Seared STEAK

Pat it very dry, season it, cook it over very high heat in the right kind of fat, let it rest. As for doneness – buy a thermometer, poke it with your finger constantly, and practice makes perfect.

4. Killer GUACAMOLE

Authentic guacamole doesn’t have garlic or tons of lime juice in it. (Personally, I think tons of lime juice makes it heavenly, so I add it anyway.) The most important thing is to choose avocados that are super ripe and salt aggressively.

 

5. Easy Homemade TOMATO SAUCE

Tomato sauce is just canned tomatoes with some kind of seasoning that you add cooked together for a while to let the flavor develop. Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce recipe just has you simmer canned tomatoes with a butter and an onion cut in half. That works. So does sautéing a chopped onion, maybe some garlic, then adding the tomatoes and simmering for a while, like this recipe from Bon Appetit.

6. An Easy FRITTATA

This really comes in handy when you have big group of people to serve breakfast to, or when you have a lot of vegetables and you’re not sure how to use them quickly. Just sauté veggies, pour in whisked eggs, cook it on the stovetop for a while, then stick it in the oven for a few minutes.

7. Pan-Roasted CHICKEN THIGHS

This recipe is hands down the cheapest and quickest way to make chicken that’s delicious – way better than anything you do to chicken breasts, trust.

8. Simple SAUTÉED GREENS

Vegetable oil in pan, get it nice and hot, push chopped greens around in there for a while, season with salt until you like the way they taste. Works for spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens, anything. You can sauté shallot, garlic, or onion in the pan before you add the greens if you want, but you don’t have to. You can add lemon or vinegar and some red pepper, but you don’t have to.

9. Fluffy PANCAKES Not From a Box

Knowing how to do this will make you a Sunday morning hero so many times in your life.

10. MUSSELS in White Wine Sauce
You’re going to be shocked by how easy it is to cook mussels – and clams work exactly the same way. Add crusty bread and you’re in heaven.

To Read this article in it entirety, check out:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/foods-everyone-should-learn-to-cook?bffbfood#  

Meet Chef Jennifer Booker . . .

Getaways for Grownups: 21plus Travel

Chef Jennifer Booker

Chef Jennifer Booker

Meet one of the ten chefs who will compete in the 3rd Annual Golden Onion

By Hope S. Philbrick

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, owner and executive chef of Your Resident Gourmet in Lilburn, Ga., was named a Georgia Grown Executive Chef in 2013. She writes a weekly newsletter, is a contributing columnist and recipe developer for several magazine titles, and hosts Basil Radio Show. She partnered with Hard Rock Café-Atlanta for its culinary series, served as a culinary expert for Williams-Sonoma, and taught at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Atlanta. A member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Booker is co-chair of its farm and garden initiative. After earning a B.A. from The University of Tulsa, she completed Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee’s Culinary Arts program and later earned a Cuisine de Base Certificate from Le Cordon Bleu-Paris. She led Grayson Technical High School’s efforts to earn accreditation through The American Culinary Federation, making it the first school in Georgia to boast such honors.

Her new cookbook Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, is set to be released by Pelican Publishing House on September 1—and is already available for pre-order at Amazon.com.

Have you ever competed in a cooking competition before?
I have done several. In culinary school we had mystery baskets and it was much harder than the rules for Golden Onion in that we didn’t know what ingredients we’d get so we couldn’t prepare. Also, when I was teaching at Le Cordon Bleu I liked doing competitions with other chefs, just hanging out as friends.

You’ll be competing in Golden Onion for the first time this year. What motivated you to enter?
A couple of different things. As a Georgia Grown Executive Chef I wanted to get in there and promote one of our state commodities. Plus I have friends who have competed previously and they had nothing but good things to say about it. I think it will be lots of fun.

You’ll be preparing “Vidalia Onion, Wild Mushroom & Gruyere Tartlet.” What considerations went into creating your recipe?
My cookbook will be out later this year and I want to showcase some things in the cookbook and also bring in Vidalia onions and show how versatile they are no matter what cooking style you’re using. I’ll show the sweetness of the onion by caramelizing it then pair it with the meaty richness of mushrooms. I’ll also show how a Vidalia onion can be a pickle. The pickling acid will balance that sweetness and cut through the fat.

How long did it take you to develop the recipe, which must include a Vidalia onion and be prepared in an hour at the competition?
Technically since it’s from the cookbook maybe a year, but to think up what I wanted to do for Golden Onion I knew within 15 minutes that I’d do the tartlet.

The day before the competition, how will you prepare? Will you find it hard to sleep that night?
The day before I’ll be doing some cooking demonstrations at an expo, so I’ll need to pack up two days before the competition. What I do is run through everything in my mind—unpacking, setting up, cooking, plating, judges’ tasting and winning. I’ll be prepared that way. I’ll be excited but fine. I know the value of sleep.

Tell me more about Your Resident Gourmet.
I founded Your Resident Gourmet in 1995 while living in Germany as a way to continue cooking while we were overseas and it has grown into a culinary company with cooking classes, demonstrations, menu consulting and now a cookbook. We do personal chef services and intimate catering—we could do a couples’ anniversary dinner, a girls’ night out, but generally not weddings [or other large events].

In addition to booking a private party, how might readers get a taste of your cooking?
We have a product line, Jelly’s Jams & Condiments—my daughter’s name is Janelle and her nickname is Jelly. Right now we have a cranberry orange relish which is wonderful on sandwiches as well as roasted and grilled meats. We also have a red onion confiture, a sweet and sour pickle relish. You can just click on over to YourResidentGourmet.com and pick them up.

We’re switching over to organic ingredients and I’m retesting the recipes with the organic produce.

That’s interesting. You need to retest the recipe?
When switching suppliers I test for quality and flavor profile. In my experience, it will be better. Organic produce tends to be fresher and have brighter color.

Is there any dish that you’re most known for?
I get credited for healthy cooking and ‘farm to table,’ which I call ‘local and seasonal.’ I don’t know if I’m known for a dish as much as a style of cooking, which I call Floridian cuisine—with lots of tropical fruits, vegetables and fish—and classical French.

Chef Jennifer BookerAs a Georgia Grown Executive Chef, how do you define ‘local’?
Local to me is within a 100-mile radius. I try to do my very best to shop and eat local as well as seasonal. Remember with seasonal you’re able to can, preserve or freeze products in season so you can enjoy them when they’re out of season—like Vidalia onions.

What do you most like about cooking with Vidalia onions?
The versatility. I can add them to a dish for sweetness, pickle them to add sourness, I can eat them raw—and I love that fact, I love them chopped on top of beans and greens. And they don’t make you cry!

Vidalia onions add a great flavor to every savory dish without the bite or bitterness of other onions. I look at Vidalia onions as a delicacy because I can only get them while in season and only from Vidalia, Georgia. I make a point of using them and have created specialty dishes just so I can use more Vidalia onions.

Aside from Vidalia onions, what are your favorite Georgia ingredients?
I definitely love pecans and I’m very excited about our Georgia Grown olive oil.

When you’re at home, after a long day, what’s your favorite thing to eat?
I’m a country girl at heart, so I love beans—pinto beans, Northern beans and more. I love slow-cooked savory beans and ham hocks or greens with chow chow on top.

More Information…

Your Resident Gourmet
Lilburn, GA
678.294.2002

Fresh from the Kitchen! Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent

Layout 1

FIELD PEAS TO FOIE GRAS: Southern Recipes with a French Accent

By Jennifer Hill Booker

 

Building a culinary foundation on her Mississippi roots and a farm-to-table concept, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker creates a unique take on contemporary Southern cooking. Combining agrarian approaches and down-home style with classical-French techniques, Booker reinvents Southern cuisine. These 135 recipes are the culmination of summers and holidays spent in Charleston, Mississippi, at the family farm.

For both the novice and experienced cook, Booker has the perfect recipe to satisfy your nostalgic taste buds. With chapters devoted to everything from breakfast foods to vegetables to pork dishes, Booker presents a fresh and versatile perspective on contemporary Southern food. From comforting Cracklin’ Bread and flaky Buttermilk Biscuits to elegant Winter Pumpkin Soup and innovative Fig Stuffed Chicken Livers, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker will introduce you to an array of recipes that use French techniques to elevate familiar flavors.

In addition to recipes, Booker shares personal stories and photos of her family—raising chickens, butchering hogs, and tending the garden. The easy-to-follow recipes, food-pairing suggestions, and delectable photographs make this a must-have cookbook for any kitchen.

 

About the Author

Jennifer Hill Booker is the executive chef and

owner of Your Resident Gourmet, LLC, a

personal chef and catering company. Booker

earned a bachelor of arts degree from the

University of Tulsa, an associate degree from

Oklahoma State University, and a certificate

from Le Cordon Bleu-Paris. A former culinary

instructor and a culinary arts program director

, she is well qualified to write about proper

cooking techniques, flavor combinations, and

food pairings. Booker lives in Lilburn, Georgia.

 

About the Photographer

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn is a commercial photographer who has been shooting interiors and food for more than twenty years. She enjoys the challenging aspects of her craft—the technical functions of a camera, the importance of lighting, and attention to detail. Her profession allows her to travel, meet various types of people, and try delicious food. Llewellyn lives with her husband in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

FIELD PEAS TO FOIE GRAS

                Southern Recipes with a French Accent

By Jennifer Booker

Photography by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / American / Southern States

COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / French

COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / Soul Food

192 pp.  8x 9 1/4

50 color photos  Index

ISBN: 9781455619726  $26.95

E-book ISBN: 9781455619733  $26.95

Pre-orders available at Amazon.com