If you are looking for a personal chef in the Western PA area, you’ve come to the right place! Our members offer a wide variety of services and are spread out over the region so there is sure to be a personal chef near you!
Comprised of several independently owned and operated Personal Chef Services, West PA Chefs has member chefs located throughout the Western PA Region, including portions of the Northern Panhandle of WV and bordering counties in Eastern OH.
Each chef offers a variety of Customized Meal Solutions including freshly prepared meals which are packaged and ready to heat and eat as well as offering chef services for small dinner parties, interactive cooking parties and demonstrations! Several member chefs also provide larger catering services, cooking instruction, meal pick up and preparation from commercial kitchen space.
Our members are also dedicated to providing services using as much locally grown products as are in season and available. With many local farms, farmer’s markets and CSA programs in the region, we look forward to cooking what’s currently in season in the area!
The direct tangible benefit to hiring your own chef will be the time saved in the actual meal preparation and the associated shopping while still enjoying palate specific meals at a surprisingly reasonable cost! Those who choose a chef to cook for a dinner party will no longer need to spend countless hours in the kitchen and will have more time to actually enjoy their party and the company of their guests!
The time and money saved as well as the health benefits of having preservative and additive free meals at your fingertips is incalculable!
If you are a member of any of the CSA programs in the Western PA area and are interested in having your CSA boxes turned into delicious meals, or to be taught what to do with all that great, locally grown produce, please click here to email us to be referred to the personal chef nearest you!
If you would like to find out more about membership in West PA Chefs, are interested in becoming a personal chef by utilizing a course through the Culinary Business Academy or would like information about finding a personal chef in your area, please click here to email us!
I know I could use a bit of sunshine! How about a healthy, light, and sweet salad dressing to jump start your taste buds?
Try the following salad dressing recipe with a mix of organic baby field greens, some toasted walnuts and finely sliced red onion or when those sweet strawberries are ripe – some fresh baby spinach, sliced strawberries and toasted almonds. The fresh lemon and orange zest will perk up any salad greens.
Citrus Honey Dressing for Salad Greens1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large orange) 2 tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons lemon zest 2 teaspoons orange zest 1 cup extra virgin olive oil sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine vinegar, orange juice, honey, lemon and orange zests in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil.
Dressing can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewhisk dressing before using.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Speaking of Spring, we start to think of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that will be here in the coming months. Do you buy organic fruits and vegetables? Sometimes they are hard to find and they can be more expensive especially in the winter months. When shopping for my personal chefs clients, I encourage purchasing specific organic vegetables and fruits, at least.
(Those fruits and vegetables that typically have high pesticide use, we purchase organic ones.)
In an effort to try to keep it simple, I found a helpful guide on this subject from The Environmental Working Group website, The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. Download the handy guide at: http://www.foodnews.org/ It’s small enough to fit in your wallet.
This guide will give you The Dirty Dozen (Did you know peaches are the worst in terms of pesticide use?) and The Clean 15 (Onions are the lowest in terms of pesticide use).
This will give you a starting point to try to incorporate organic fruits and vegetables into your shopping. Check out the link to read more about this subject in a quick and easy to read format.
As the farmers markets start in a couple of months here in the Pittsburgh area, notice the growing number of local farms with organic produce. You can talk to these farmers at the markets about their farming methods, and do some research on your own. Its always a good idea to talk with them about their organic farming methods, the history of their soil and what methods neighboring farms are using.
Check-out Chef Catherine’s updated website at: www.personalchefcatherine.com and her current Chef’s Special Offer.
Next month: Chef Catherine will give you some interesting information from the fascinating subject of Food As Medicine.Catherine’s Personal Chef Service special diets, custom meal preparations, dinner parties and more! www.personalchefcatherine.com 412.513.6603
by Carole Ortenzo, Owner, Organic Personal Chef Service
I love using burdock root in soups (especially miso soup), stews, and in Asian vegetable dishes. Its earthy flavor adds a wonderful dimension to any dish in which it’s used. And, the fact that it’s one of the most important vegetables used in alternative medicine for both treatment and health maintenance speaks to its healthful qualities.
Please read the following information sheet, complete with a simple recipe, for more details.
Organic burdock root is often available at Whole Foods Market, in Shadyside, and at East End Food Coop, in Point Breeze. I, personally, get it at a store in my area, McMurray, called Sunny Bridge Natural Foods. It’s a small, natural foods store, and believe it or not, the price of organic burdock root there is almost half the price that it is at some other stores. So, talk with your local grocer and see if they can’t carry it. It would not only be more readily accessible, but it might also be less expensive. You can even provide your grocer with the below information sheet to help inform other customers as to what burdock root is, why they should eat it, and how to incorporate it into their diets.
Most people are familiar with the fruit of the burdock, those small burrs we pick off our clothes after walking along a road or in a meadow. Interestingly, those burrs were also the inspiration for Velcro. Burdock leaves were used by European continental women to wrap butter when bringing it to market, hence the name beurre-dock, or butter-dock (dock refers to a broad leaf). The root of the burdock, unquestionably the most important part when it comes to health and eating, is considered by some to be the most valuable root vegetable available. Burdock root, a slender root that grows up to two feet in length, has coarse, brown skin and fibrous, white flesh. It has long been used in Europe, since medieval Italy, and is a long-time favorite of the Japanese.
Burdock root purifies the blood and helps restore the body to normal health by supporting the elimination of toxins by the lungs and kidneys. In alternative medicine, it is used to treat abscesses, acne, eczema, hives, and rosacea because of its skin-detoxification and hormone-balancing properties. Burdock root supports digestion by stimulating the liver to secrete bile, a key digestive function, and is an excellent source of potassium and inulin. Inulin is a helpful carbohydrate for both diabetics and hypoglycemics because it does not elicit rapid insulin production. Burdock root is also used in herbal formulas as an anticarcinogen (anticancer agent), a treatment for arthritis, a liver detoxifier, and for general kidney support.
Most people enjoy eating burdock root cooked, but some eat it raw, grated on salads, or juiced as part of a regimen for clearing the skin. To cook it, leave the skin on, lightly scrub it with a vegetable brush under running water to remove dirt, thinly slice it, and allow 5 to 10 more minutes cooking time than you would for carrots. Burdock’s sweet, earthy flavor and tender-crisp texture enhance soups (excellent in miso soup), stews, and vegetable dishes. Select firm roots, preferably not more than 1” in diameter. Limp roots are acceptable if they are not spongy or dehydrated. Unwashed burdock will keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for a month or more.
References: The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood, Prescription for Natural Cures by James Balch, M.D. & Mark Stengler, N.D., Food Lover’s Companion, by Sharon Herbst, www.cybermacro.com, www.Food4Peace.com, www.rawfoodinfo.com, and www.susunweed.com.
Burdock, Carrots, and Onion Kimpura
Yield: 5-6 servings
Adapted from a recipe by Melanie Ferreira, instructor at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. (Kimpura is believed to strengthen the intestines.)
Ingredients:2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or sesame oil (light, not toasted), more as needed 2 cups matchsticked* burdock root 1 cup thinly-sliced onion 1 cup matchsticked* carrot Sea salt, to taste Shoyu (high-grade soy sauce), to taste- start with about 2 tablespoons
1) Heat a large skillet over low-to-medium heat. Add oil and heat. Add burdock and sweat (cook over low heat), covered, until they start to become tender. Stir periodically.
2) Add onions and carrots and mix together. Cook, covered, for approximately 10 minutes more. When vegetables are tender, add sea salt and shoyu, to taste.
*To matchstick root vegetables, cut diagonal slices that are approximately ¼” thick and 1 ½” long. Stack the slices, two or three at a time, and cut lengthwise into approximately ¼” strips.