Chef Christine

It is rare that grocery shopping is ever a pleasant experience for me. I usually spend an hour staring cluelessly at my options, eventually pick the choice with the prettiest packaging, and then leave the store with less than half of what I actually needed to get. Then I likely make a stop for fast food on the way home because Kroger has taken every last bit of energy I have, and the most of the food gradually goes bad the rest of the week because I am absolutely clueless about what to do with it. I am NOT proud of this!

I truly believed I was a lost cause in the kitchen until I met Lily. Lily is Emily's next door neighbor, a great friend, and also very talented personal chef. I now associate the name with all things kind, beautiful, and PATIENT. She told me she would teach me how to cook this summer, but I'm pretty sure she had no clue what kind of project she was in for. We have spent many evenings cooking all sorts of delectable dishes, drinking wine, and sharing storys. I have even been "quizzed" in her garden, but the majority of my "lessons" have taken place at farmers' markets and Greenlife Grocery. Amazingly they have been some of the highlights of my summer.

A few of the highlights:

 My first cooking lesson I learned to make lemon basil vinaigrette. Mmmm-mmm! I zested. I chopped. I poured.

This dressing can make a salad exciting. It makes a fresh summer pasta if you toss it with penne, fresh heirloom tomatos, cucumber and olives, and it makes a wonderful marinade when roasting a chicken.

(Yes, I did this!)

Then it came time to show off my newly acquired talents, and Chris was more than impressed. I seared pork chops, and then roasted them to perfection with local, organic figs (my absolute favorite). They were serve on a bed of locally grown romaine and topped with shiitake mushrooms. My favorite part of the meal? The beautiful, deep purple sweet potatoes (decadent indeed). It turned out delicious... and if your mouth isn't watering yet, here is a picture!

Cooking is wonderful for date nights because it's a great way to enjoy each other's company. Chris and I love to sit on my balcony and chat about our work weeks-- although it usually turns into me talking nonstop about weddings while he plays the banjo and we enjoy Hors d'Ĺ“uvres.

Lily is a wonderful teacher, and her passion has inspired me. Cooking has become less of a chore and more of an opportunity for growth and creative expression. I'm so excited to share my new hobby with friends and family back home.

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