I created this spicy carrot spread for my menu collaboration with Kitchit Tonight. It is reminiscent of hummus – and is super easy to make and a great starter for any party.
Spicy Carrot Spread
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Harissa
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoon Tahini
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Set a steamer basket in a saucepan with 2 inches simmering water. Add carrots. Cover and steam until tender, about 12 minutes.
Heat oil in pan and saute until lightly browned.
Transfer carrots, onions, Harissa, cumin, pine nuts, tahini, and lemon juice to a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, adding up to 2 tablespoons water if necessary.
I’ve been friends with Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem for a long time. It was such an honor to have him over to my apartment for dinner with Kitchit Tonight preparing my Pride Month menu! You can listen in on our conversation by clicking on the image:
I’m thrilled to host a Dinner Party with Kitchit that will support Y.E.S. (Youth Empowerment Summit) the beneficiary of my annual Pride Party (see last years event). There is nothing I love more than cooking and feeding friends! It will be a night of marvelous surprises paired with exceptional food! This will be a night of wild wining, delicious dining, and spellbinding socializing.
A healthy diet is good for everyone. But as people get older, cooking nutritious food can become difficult and sometimes physically impossible. A pot of soup can be too heavy to lift. And there’s all that time standing on your feet. It’s one of the reasons that people move into assisted living facilities.
But a company called Chefs for Seniors has an alternative: They send professional cooks into seniors’ homes. In a couple of hours they can whip up meals for the week.
Chef Sina Sundby cooks delicious, nutritious meals in Jim Schulz’s home in a suburb of Madison, Wis.
For more than a year, Chef Sina Sundby’s been doing just that for 85-year-old client Jim Schulz, who lives in a suburb of Madison, Wis. Her starched white chef’s jacket tops a pair of blue jeans, while her strawberry blond hair is tucked under the traditional floppy chef’s hat. She’s a blur, chopping and mixing while pans sizzle on the stove. Schulz watches, but doesn’t interfere.
“We chatter a lot when it’s just the two of us,” says Schulz. “And even if I don’t say anything, she just keeps talking.” Schulz and Sundby both laugh. They know this story.
“I stepped out of the room once and I heard her talking and I said, ‘Who are you talking to?’ ” Schulz says. “And she said, ‘I’m talking to the food.’ ” “I do talk to the food,” says Sundby, proudly.
Schulz says his diet was “lousy” before Sundby started cooking for him. Schulz’s conclusion: “That’s what makes it so good, it listens to her.” The food is also good because Sundby knows what Schulz likes.
So this week’s dinners will be Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy, crab cakes with remoulade sauce and asparagus, chicken divan with fresh spinach and chicken pot pie with vegetables. And a twist. “Jim likes biscuits,” explains Sundby. “So instead of the pie dough, we’re gonna do biscuits.” Schulz never made this kind of stuff for himself. When it comes to the kitchen, he’s mastered the art of boiling water. His wife was a good cook, he says. But she died 14 years ago. So he ate whatever he could buy frozen and shove in the microwave. “I was anemic, I’d lost a lot of weight, and it was [because] my diet was lousy,” he says. But Schulz says that according to his doctor, that’s no longer a problem. “The last time I saw him was three months ago,” says Schulz. “And he said, ‘We can go a lot longer [between appointments], you’re doing so well.’ ”
According to some estimates, there are hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million seniors living in their own homes who are malnourished. In long-term care facilities, up to 50 percent may suffer from malnutrition. This leads to increased risk for illness, frailty and falls.
The family didn’t take it lightly, either. If only there had been a way for her to have the food she needed and remain in her home, they thought. Then, about two years ago, the Allmans’ 21-year-old son Nathan, a University of Wisconsin student, turned his family’s longing into a business. He entered the idea for Chefs for Seniors into the University’s Burrill Business Plan Competition. And he won his category. “That’s how we received our startup funds,” he says: $1,000, plus mentoring. Enough, says Nathan Allman, that “the next week my dad quit his job and we were off and running.”
Part of the business plan is keeping the service affordable. In addition to the cost of the food, the client pays $30 an hour for the chef’s time. That’s usually a couple of hours a week of cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. There’s also a $15 charge for grocery shopping. So clients pay on average $45 to $75 a week.
And while there are lots of personal chefs out there and services that deliver meals for seniors there are few services specifically for older adults that prepare food in their homes.
Chefs for Seniors now has 50 to 60 clients and employs around 10 chefs. They talk about expanding their territory. They talk about franchising. But right now, Barrett Allman still consults personally with every new client and is there the first time the client and the chef meet. He cooks for the most challenging cases himself: the people with severe disabilities or people in hospice care.
“I can’t solve all the problems in that senior’s life, but as a chef, the least I can do is make them food,” Allman says.
Less than two hours after arriving at Jim Schulz’s house, Sina Sundby is packing the food she made into single-portion containers, ready for the microwave. Aromas of chicken, mushrooms, biscuits, asparagus and chocolate chip cookies linger.
“When she leaves, I’m exhausted,” says Schulz.
But he’s got a week’s worth of nourishing dinners to build up his strength for his chef’s next visit.
“If anyone knows a thing or two about late-night eats in San Francisco, it’s bartenders, chefs, wine directors, nightlife writers, and drag queens. So, we hunted down these nocturnal experts to share their favorite post-midnight haunts (and what to order), for the next time your hunger strikes during the wee hours. People love to complain about S.F. restaurants closing their doors at 10 p.m., but the only way to promote a vibrant after-hours dining scene is for us to support the one we already have. So, click through these pro tips on where to head after last call, whether you’re craving pupusas, potato skins, or even kale salad. (Yes, really. Because — San Francisco.)”
I just love the ring of ‘Juanita’s Carnitas’. If you’ve haven’t prepared carnitas at home you are in for a treat. There is really nothing like the smell of the slow braising pork coming out of your kitchen. San Francisco has a taqueria on just about every block and they are featured on every menu. I mean a great taqueria is judged by their salsa, pickled jalapeños and the carnitas – right? These are very simple to make at home.
½ white onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups water
6 garlic cloves
1-teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1-tablespoon kosher sea salt
4 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 4-inch chunks
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 3 oranges
1 large piece of orange zest
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
In the jar of a blender place the water, onion, garlic cloves, thyme, black pepper, cumin, cloves, bay leaves and 1-tablespoon salt. Puree until the liquid is smooth.
Salt the pork chunks lightly while heating a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the lard and brown the pieces of pork on all sides about 15 minutes.
Once the meat is brown pour the onion and spice mixture into the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Add in the orange juice, zest and sweetened condensed milk, stir and let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to low and cover.
Cook covered for 1-½ hours, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and check meat for tenderness. Let the meat continue to cook and the liquid reduce about 10 minutes.
Remove the carnitas with a slotted spoon and shred with a fork, if desired before serving you can refry the meat in a separate pan with some lard until crispy. Or serve them straight from the pot.