Friday, August 27, 2010

The "Crostini" Lady

The Chef Next Door should be re-named to "The Chef Around Town" because I tell you what...I have been everywhere and back these past few weeks!  Cooking classes in Toney, cooking classes in Athens, boxed lunches in Research Park, cooking classes out in Madison, cooking classes in Meridianville, catering and pre-made meal drop-offs anywhere and everywhere around Huntsville, just to name a few.  Phew! Definitely been putting some miles on the vehicle.  But luckily, two spots that I've been featured at recently are within less than a mile of our home:  The Wine Cellar and My Spirited Art.   These are two venues that I hope to be doing a lot of work with in the future, and it sure is nice to be able to hop in the car and be there quicker than I can buckle my seat belt!

I happened to stroll through The Wine Cellar one day a few weeks ago in search of an inexpensive Red to get hooked on.  Right away, Will and Rhonda (the owners) befriended me and scooped me up into their weekly wine tastings.  They let me provide three flavors of my crostini which they paired some wines with accordingly for one of their Wednesday night tastings. (And let me give out a lot of business cards and shake a ton of hands, too!)  Their store is so fun and welcoming, and I can't wait to be doing wine tastings, cooking classes, and more with them in the future.

The Chef Next Door and Glinda Clardy of 
The Wine Source pairings- featured at 
The Wine Cellar's Wednesday night tasting

Praxis Viognier paired with 
Gorgonzola and Honey Crostini

Sables d'Azur Rose paired with 
Mozzarella, Cherry Tomato, Fresh Basil and Balsamic Crostini
Gode II Rosso di Toscana paired with 
Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and torn Prosciutto Crostini

Glinda did a WONDERFUL job pairing the wines to the flavors of crostini....and it was very cool to taste my own food on a whole different level.  Wine really does change things! Thanks, Will and Rhonda!

I have also been an enormous fan of Rebekah Bynum's My Spirited Art for over a year now (See previous blog posting titled: "Don't Drink the Paint Water!")  Her store is filled to the brim with 40-50 ladies (and gentlemen, on occasion) every single night, so I thought I'd take a shot in the dark and see if she'd actually allow me to come set up a "free food" table for the guests on any particular night, to get my name out there in the public even more.  Well, sure enough, she is fantastically generous and basically said, "Sure! I'd love to have you do that!"  Fast forward a week or two and there I am, in front of a giant crowd of women, displaying the ever-popular crostini, among other things.  My poor "Sous Chef", Taylor, has helped me make more dainty little crostini in the past few weeks than I think he would care to admit. But boy, oh boy, are they yummy!  I got to meet a lot of great ladies and even had a catering request email waiting for me by about 7:30 this morning from a lady who was at the art class last night.  Gotta spend money to make money, right???  :)  Here are some shots of the yum-yums I gave out last night.

The "free food" table at My Spirited Art

Warm Bacon Swiss Dip in crispy Phyllo Cups

Gorgonzola and Honey Crostini

Caprese Salad Skewers with Balsamic

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and torn Prosciutto Crostini (top)
Olive Tapenade, Cream Cheese, and Parmesan Crostini (bottom)

It was a lot of fun, and if I'm lucky enough, I'll get to be the "go-to caterer" for some of My Spirited Art's many private functions that go on several times a week. Thanks, Bekah!!

Stay tuned: There will be much more to come- 
my calendar is slowly but surely filling up!


The Chef Next Door

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