You don’t need to go to a culinary school to step up cooking at home. By changing or adding a couple simple things in the way you prepare food, you can elevate the results from ho-hum to spectacular. There is no magic wand to wave or nose to twitch that guarantees creations like a celebrity chef, but then again we’re talking about feeding your family. That simply translates to taste-testing as you cook. I remember watching my grandma do exactly that. She’d say, “Trust your instincts,” as she’d sip the tomato sauce off the end of a wooden spoon. If you are aware your partner gags at the thought of mushrooms in a sauce, then forget the idea and tweak the recipe to make it work for you. Just remember to balance out the five basic flavors: sweet, salty, spicy, savory, and acidity. That’s half the battle. And speaking of the pros…Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures as you eat with your eyes. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Elevated Edibles!” This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement.
Dining Outside the Home: Jason Aldean’s Kitchen and Rooftop Bar in Nashville, Tennessee! There’s nowhere else you can go for a cold brewski where the bar is built around an original 1961 John Deere tractor. But that’s not the only thing showcasing Jason Aldean’s Kitchen. Other artifacts include a 1952 Chevy Pick-up Truck hoisted above another eating area. These interesting quirks add to the atmospheric appeal while the creative menu aims to please the craving for bodily sustenance. Having a world-renowned chef translates to Southern food with a flare. Live music and rooftop views of Broadway guarantee an amazing nightlife that is sure to please.
Dining Outside the Home: Carlo’s Bakery in New York, New York! He’s the Boss, that’s for sure. Luscious cakes, cream-filled cannolis, chewy cookies, and countless culinary creations will have your head swimming from refrigerated display case to bakery case. Customers in line murmur, “I want this. I’ve had that” as their fingers point to the delicious pastries behind the lighted glass. In no time at all, by the time you snake your way up to the energetic staff, you’ll easily walk away clutching fifty dollars worthy of dreamy confections.
Dining Outside the Home: Trump Grill in New York, New York! Truth be told, enjoying a meal at a destination restaurant on prestigious Fifth Avenue is all about the experience. The Trump Grill exists to be a lunchtime hotspot for busy shoppers, casual tourists, and thrill-seeking foodies. Located on the Garden Level of the world-class Trump Tower affords visitors a harmonious view of a 60-foot waterfall surrounded by flowers in bloom and unique retail shops. If you’re all in, begin with a signature cocktail like the “You’re Fired” oversized Bloody Mary. It pairs well with the Chopped Cobb entrée salad. The presentation is photo-worthy. The menu is filled with American classics from appetizers to desserts. In the end, relax, chat, linger, and enjoy food for the pleasure of it.
Dining Outside the Home: Sift Bake Shop in Mystic, Connecticut. How lucky to discover a celebrity pastry chef, who won the Food Network’s “Best Baker in America” award, owning a bakery in Mystic, Connecticut. Talk about a hidden gem. Adam Young’s French inspired bakery will lure you down to Water Street with its fresh-out-of-the-oven aromas. Follow your nose to be pleasantly surprised by artisanal breads, sold by the whole or half loaf. Croissants might be stuffed with meats, veggies, nuts, or chocolate. Choose wisely. Exquisite cakes and delectable cookies satisfy the sweet tooth cravings now and later in the day. Better get extra. By dilly-dallying around you could find yourself yearning for something another customer already placed in her French market basket.
The secret to a good cook is pretty basic. Look to their kitchen for essential tools and you will discover why food preparation comes as naturally as breathing. Start Smart. For instance, a chef’s knife makes short work for cutting and chopping. Wooden spoons are perfect for stirring and mixing, plus they look great in a counter caddy. My son recently introduced me to the handy-dandy fat separator for making unbelievable lump-free gravy. How did I not know of this? It’s pure genius! I could go on and on about food processors, dutch ovens, spiralizers, and rice cookers, but you get the idea. Recently I froze some Farmers Market corn by removing the kernels from the cob with my corn peeler. (There really is such a thing.) Now you know…anyone can be a gourmet chef…like me. lol. Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures one bite at a time. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Start Smart.” This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. As of this writing, WordPress has acknowledged that I’m on a 1641-day streak. Let’s keep it going!
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, I knew there was one place that was definitely on my Bucket List: Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace along the Las Vegas Strip. If you’re familiar with the reality cooking series, Hell’s Kitchen, I don’t need to tell you Michelle Tribble was the winner of Season 17. She was awarded the position of head chef for this Vegas hotspot by owner, Gordon Ramsey. And this is the second time I’ve met her. No matter how busy the kitchen staff is, on a full-scale stage for all to see, excited patrons as well as Instagram enthusiasts stop by to pose for selfies. Chef Michelle, keeping one eye on the crew as she circles the dining area checking out the food, continuously greets curiosity seekers for feedback and photo ops. She really is down-to-earth, very personable, and pays great attention to detail. No wonder it was a privilege to meet her.
Dining Outside the Home: Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada When it’s hot outside in Vegas, crank up the heat even more at Hell’s Kitchen with smoky cocktails and iced shrimp cocktail. The world-renowned celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, recreated the infamous studio set from the television show. Prepare to be amazed. The sleek contemporary restaurant also landed a view overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. But forget all that. Come to Hell’s Kitchen for the outstanding food, extraordinary cocktails, and the dining ambiance. Take your time. The Beef Wellington is unsurpassed, which is the reason for the HK Signature Prix Fixe Menu. The final culmination of a fabulous meal would be the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Don’t forget the coffee.
Dining Outside the Home: Michael Mina Pub 1842 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tucked away in the MGM Grand is a hidden gem inspired by a celebrity chef. Pub 1842, named for the year Pilsner was invented, offers a nice selection of craft beers, but that’s not where it ends. Check out the great selection of unique whiskeys and specialty cocktails. Happy Hour features a pair of Brisket Sliders worth nibbling on. Feast your eyes on the tender black angus beef prepared Kansas City-style, drenched in savory bbq sauce slathered over a bed of kale slaw. Spear a gherkin and it’s ready for that first bite. Add an order of Fries in a Can to balance things out. Chef Mina knows what he’s doing. Try not to drool.