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From My Kitchen to Yours

In Season

In Season February: Chicken and Barley Soup

It is the season in many parts of the country for heart warming comfort food.  Even in Florida, we get damp, chilly evenings where a hot bowl of soup is just want you crave. 
On one such evening when we were in the mood for some comfort food, I was inspired to use barley in a different way. 

I love beef barley soup but I wanted to try my hand using barley in a chicken soup. Think of it as similar to chicken with rice soup but with more flavor.   Whole grain barley is high in fiber and protein.

In Season for Winter: French Onion Soup with Beef and Barley

French Onion Soup with Beef and Barley from www.chefjenswitzer.comHappy 2015 to all my clients and blog followers.  I wish you all a year full of joy and contentment.

It is also that time of year where we crave comfort food.  I love to make soups and stews during this winter months as not only are they warm and comforting, then are just plain warm your soul.

I love french onion soup and I was craving it but I was also looking for a one dish supper as well and although french onion has depth of flavor with its caramelized onions, I felt on this particular night, I need to add some meat to make it a complete meal.

In Season: October at the Farmers Market featuring Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Bradenton Farmers Market | www.chefjenswitzer.comOctober marks the start of the farmers market season in Florida.  What is in season is the southern part of Florida is quite a bit different than what you might find available in other parts of the country. You can find fresh produce of almost all varieties from sweet corn to potatoes to kale and collards.  Then there is the fresh seafood vendors and the bakers specializing in Italian breads and pastries. There is truly something for everyone.

Last weekend was the first weekend of the Bradenton farmers market that I feel blessed to be able to walk just a short 2 blocks to!

In Season September: Harvesting Fall's Bounty

For many parts of the country, September is a bountiful month with the fruits of the summer labor bring a smorgasbord of options at the farmers markets. I have had to adjust my expectations a bit in Florida as this is not a bountiful time of year here. Farmers markets start up again in late September and October as many are closed during the heat of the summer. However, in today’s modern world when you can’t get local you can often still get good quality options at the local grocery store.  I was able to purchase sweet corn form the Midwest today and I am cautiously optimistic that it will be as sweet as I remember the local Minnesota corn to be.

In Season July: Oven Roasted Vegetables

Don’t know what to do with all the zucchini, tomatoes and summer squash that you have in your garden or from your CSA?  Give this recipe a try for dinner tonight.  It goes great with grilled chicken or steak or just about anything Italian…And, it doesn’t get much easier than this…
Preheat your oven to 450 F.

Cut up your zucchini and summer squash into similar size pieces, I like to do about 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. Add in some mushrooms, cut into similar size pieces if they are large. Toss in some cherry tomatoes along with red or yellow peppers and red onions cut into 1 inch pieces.

Dinner Tonight: Mussels Marinara

Two myths that I would like to bust in this dinner tonight blog. 

#1: Good food does not have to take hours or a grocery cart full of ingredients.

#2: Mussels are hard to work with and just not a good option for a weeknight meal.

I truly believe that week night meals should be have a limited number of good quality ingredients so that dinner can be on the table without a lot of stress and effort.  Save the complex recipes for when you have time on the weekends.  Otherwise, week night cooking will become a chore.

A Fresh Taste brought back from Pacific Northwest: Salmon with Ginger Shiitake Glaze

So it has been awhile since I have had a chance to blog….

It has been a busy few weeks as my youngest nephew graduated from high school in Oregon.  I had an amazing week with my family while I was there.  My nephews are all going up to be awesome young men!!

Also, I always enjoy time in the kitchen with my sister, Rebecca who is an amazing cook, probably even better than I am to be honest.  We like to experiment together, which is always fun.  On this trip one of our experiments was to make the salmon with ginger shiitake glaze featured in Fine Cooking’s Cook Fresh Summer 2014 edition that I had picked up at the airport before my flight to Portland.

Summer Southern Classic: Shrimp Boil

I grew up in rural western Minnesota and spent my 20s and 30s in the Minneapolis.  Summer there brings back memories of spending time at the lake grilling hamburgers and brats, potato salad and creamy coleslaw .  Or, if you were lucky and someone caught walleye or northern pike fishing at the lake, you might have a fish fry. 

When I relocated to the east coast a few years ago, the picture of summer fun began to change.  Fresh salt water fish and seafood was now available at the local seafood markets all year round.

Asian Style Tuna Burgers

As it approaches Tuna Tournament time in Virginia Beach, I am beginning to crave some of the outrageously fresh tuna that we were lucky enough to enjoy the past few summers in Virginia Beach.

I love it just seasoned simply with salt and pepper and then seared just enough to form a nice char on each side but still rare.  However, when I have had an abundance of tuna or need to purchase it at the market, this recipe is one of my go to recipes.  It is Guy Fieri’s recipe forGrilled Tuna Burgers

Crab Stack Salad

As summer begins to heat up here in Florida and around the the country, I find myself drawn to crisp, clean salads for dinner.  One of my favorites to order out at theLynnhaven FIsh House in Virginia Beach at their Pier Cafe over looking the Chesapeake Bay is their Fresh Seafood Tower.  It has fresh local blue crab and shrimp layer between mango salsa and a cilantro lime salad with basil oil and roasted pepper coulis that make the flavors pop.  

I also love their Seashore Salad (pictured on the right) that features layers of crab and shrimp, fresh, avocado and tomato on a bed of lettuce with hard boiled eggs for garnish.

June In Season: Fresh and Flavorful Chicken with Corn Saute and Strawberry Arugula Salad

Jen Switzer, Personal Chef, Colonial Williamsburg GardenFor me, June means flowers in bloom, hot weather, flip flops and sundresses along with extra sunscreen.  June also marks, In many parts of the country, the beginning of farmers' markets and fresh seasonal produce becoming finally available in the grocery stores. June brings fresh strawberries, juicy and sweet, that are finally worth buying to the store.  It also often marks the first appearance of corn on the cob at road side farm stands and in the markets.  

Today’s what’s for dinner menu features these two seasonal favorites along with marinated and grilled chicken breasts.
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