Media coverage is priceless. They say any press is good press. Sometimes I want to conjure up something so outrageous and unlike me, just to to have my publicist ring my phone off the hook with interview yays or nays.
I’m still debating! Any ideas?
Well, while I wait for a phone call from Conan O’Brien, I get local phone calls. In August, Daily Candy featured my Private Chef business and highlighted this blog! They were interested in a certain twist. The editor called and asked if we could include that I’ll give salsa lessons after we do cooking lessons! Well, Yeah!! As soon as the piece hit, my phone started ringing off the hook; all while I’m trying to get started on the CBS Better Mornings Labor Day taping! You can see all the mango goodness I cooked here (with the incredible assistance of Don over at Mr. Orph’s Kitchen).
One of the phone calls was from Harris & Clark, a General Store owned by a really nice young couple, Anissa & James. They wanted me to come and teach a 2 hour cooking class and give salsa lessons, two Sundays ago. The caveat, they were located in SERENBE. I’ve heard of this place, but hadn’t really looked into it much. I had considered it for a cooking show taping after a good friend mentioned it last year. As my life goes, I back-burned taking a trip to the community, especially when I heard it was 40 mins. south of Atlanta.
SERENBE is a made up word that reflects serenity. The community is about 900 acres made up of art galleries, the General Store, 3 restaurants, single family homes, condos, horse stables, a farmer’s market and a super sexy Inn. The philosophy behind the development of the reclusive enclave is organic and sustainable living. How perfect. Although as I was driving to the GS, it felt kind of Stepford wive-ish…
Not my kind of lifestyle, but I found value in it. Actually, in my own neighborhood, full of yuppies, I found out a male lawyer was sneaking in the pool with a single female neighbor. Yup! And he got caught by the wifey! What a dork. D.R.A.M.A.!
So in the simple pleasure of stepping on my stage, I taught my class in this $750k, 70’s-4 story, LA-style home, with a huge pool in the front of the house, on the 2nd floor (I think I’ll move in now), and answered questions. I did a mostly pressure cooking style menu: picadillo, which I’ve blogged about before, fresh black beans, flan and mojitos. Oh those mojitos!! I have a new one for you on Sunday! I even surprised myself!
Let’s talk about picadillo. It’s simple, colorful and even healthy if you buy the lean beef chuck. It’s a dish from from the Orient region of Cuba and something you’ll find cooked very often in every Cuban home. I had a boyfriend call it “sloppy Joe” once and I almost broke up over it. You just don’t say things like that. Especially when sloppy joe’s are just that, sloppy, lacking color and true flavor. IMO. Anyway, like most Cuban food, this stuff tastes better the next day and should never go to waste! We typically eat it over or next to white rice with black beans. But if you love spaghetti and have little time to cook, this is something to seriously consider! Mix this into your noodles and you’ll never go back to ordinary beef for your pasta! I promise! It has everything you need: tomato sauce, olives, raisins (give it a very surprising sweet taste), garlic, pepper and continue reading the recipe below for everything!
Take a look at the slide show below where you’ll see me teach how to make picadillo, caramelize sugar for a beautiful flan, and all other goodness in the pressure cooker! I swear the pressure cooker is the best cooking utensil ever invented!
The class went so well I landed 2 gigs for the holidays and got invited to come back this weekend to teach another 2-hour class in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month! If you live in the Atlanta area and are interested in attending the class or just in need of an out-of-city experience, visit Harris & Clarks’ website here:
*Update: Harris & Clark is not longer in business.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
Follow the sexy & delicious fun on
- 2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
- 1 tsp. salt (add more to taste)
- 1 tsp. Black pepper
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup white potato, peeled and cubed (optional)
- 1/4 cup dry white cooking wine
- 1 tsp. Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Spanish olives stuffed with pimento
- 2 tsp. Capers, rinsed
- 1/4 cup raisins
In a large skillet add cooking oil and cook beef or turkey over medium heat, about 5 minutes. While cooking, break up meat using a wooden fork. Season beef with salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. Stir well to combine. Add tomato sauce and stir. Add vegetables, dry whilte cooking wine and vinegar. Stir and cover skillet. Maintain heat on medium and cook for an additional 20 minutes until meat is cooked. Add olives, capers and raisins and stir. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5-7 until raisins soften. Stir once more. Adjust for salt.
Chef’s notes: If beef appears to become dry while cooking, add ½ cup water or broth.