Chocolate Pavlova with Berries
One of my favorite scenes in the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally is when Meg Ryan’s character Sally has the following exchange with a waitress:
Sally: I’d like the chef salad please with oil and vinegar on the side and the apple pie a la mode.
Waitress: Chef and apple a la mode.
Sally: But I’d like the pie heated, and I don’t want the ice cream on top. I want it on the side and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream, but only if it’s real. If it’s out of the can, then nothing.
Waitress: Not even the pie?
Sally: No, just the pie, but then not heated.
I laugh (my bf laughs harder) because it hits close to home. As a chef, I know how personal food can be, and admittedly, I have been known to be...particular. In my younger days, even more so.
As a child, soft and crunchy were too different to coexist. Foods were either soft and tender or crunchy and crisp, and never the twain shall meet. My desserts of choice had to be velvety smooth; any crispy, fruity, or even sprinkles decorated on top ruined it for me. Don’t get me started on my dislike of sweet on savory/meat.
Gradually my taste palette evolved and I became a true texture-convert due to my love for pavlova. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this personal game-changer is a meringue-based dessert with a soft marshmallow center and crisp outer shell. The contrasting textures are brilliant—it’s a little crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. By the second day it loses its crispness and becomes a decadent truffle-like brownie, but still pillowy light. The recipe is adapted entirely from Smitten Kitchen. She lowered the sugar and upped the chocolate and it’s just perfect. I didn’t change a thing.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 10
Ahi Poke Bowl with Kohlrabi "Rice"
We’ve been in a heat wave this week and the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven, stove or grill. On these hot days, a shrewd dinner choice is a poke (it's POH-keh, by the way) bowl. Poke bowls are basically deconstructed sushi and restaurants sporting the dish seem to be popping up everywhere, which makes sense as they are incredibly healthy. However, you can easily make poke at home and the process lends itself well to a “make your own bowl” party, where everyone can assemble their own bowls as desired.
I switched out regular rice for the root vegetable kohlrabi (see photo at bottom) to keep the dish low carb (jicama and daikon radish also work beautifully) and make it a no-cook meal. However, if we're having guests, rice will make an appearance as well. Japanese short-grain sushi rice is traditionally the base of the poke bowl, but it can be made with white or brown. I have also used wild green salad mix as the base–one of my favorites is store bought seaweed salad.
This versatile dish begs to be customized. I have listed the ingredients I love below, but feel free to make it your own with ingredients you enjoy and have a "cool" party!
Number of servings: 4
Kohlrabi “Rice” or Regular Rice
The root vegetable kohlrabi, which you can find in any good produce section.
A quick note that you should expect regular recipe posts every Wednesday (with occasional lagniappe as is deemed necessary). ;-)
Nectarine and Marscarpone Tart in a Gingersnap Crust
A perfect summer dessert, the tart nectarines and spicy gingersnap crust offset the not-too-sweet filling nicely. Originally a Bon Appétit recipe that Smitten Kitchen adapted, I made a few additions, namely, heavy whipping cream and cinnamon as I prefer a fluffier, less dense filling. The topping is open to a variety of summer fruits. I have made this tart and topped with cherries and other stone fruits as well.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 8-10
Another seasonal (in California, we are in the throes of cherry and corn season) client favorite, this one is quick and simple to prepare, and the colors and ingredients scream summer. The sweetness of the corn with the charred lettuce, tangy pickled cherries, and shallots make for a fresh, vibrant combination.
Adapted from Heather Christo
Number of servings: 6
Pickled Cherries and Shallots
Sticking with the strawberry theme from the last post, here's a fun single bite of goodness that has worked well for many of my Fourth-of-July catering events. There are many different ways to customize the filling (suggestions below), but the simple vanilla is a good foil for the chocolate and graham-cracker dip.
I have used gluten-free graham crackers for clients who require that; you can substitute with nuts (chopped pecans, walnuts) or even sprinkles.
Yield: 24 strawberries
Hi! Welcome to my first blog post, and thank you for stumbling onto this page.
I am an Oregon-girl (and a U of O grad, Go Ducks!) who has cooked for my own family for decades, but decided to apply it as a self-employed trade into the teeth of the 2008-09 financial crisis. A layoff from a corporate job in the sleep-education field gave me the opportunity to experiment with different culinary techniques in the kitchen, and subsequently create and execute meal plans for friends.
As Silicon Valley slowly recovered, I formally launched the Moveable Feast personal-chef service, and have enjoyed serving the bay area's mid-peninsula ever since. Besides the many families I have had the pleasure of cooking for, my clients have included executives from Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube and, up north, Boeing.
Here you will find all sorts of recipes from healthy to comfort food to indulgent desserts. I cook seasonally and with as much local ingredients as possible. I develop all the recipes on this site myself along with the photography and food styling.
With the help of my partner-in-crime Don Zulaica (who has written/edited everything from medical-device marketing to local newspapers, national music magazines and entertainment web sites), this blog will share delicious recipes and experiences from the past decade, document the continuing journey, and hopefully give you a few ideas for dishes to try out in your own kitchen.
Hope you're having a wonderful 4th-of-July holiday!
Crispy Salmon with Strawberry Salsa
Of all of the posts at the Moveable Feast Facebook page, and the upwards of two dozen salmon preparations, this gets the most requests for its recipe. It's also one of the more popular seasonal dishes from my summer menus.
Sweet strawberries and basil might seem an unusual pairing with salmon, but coupled with the kick of red onion and/or serrano pepper, balance out the entree nicely.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.