I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

Get over it and move on why don't ya?!

There comes a time when you have to let go of things....the ratty old sweatshirt that you pull out of the closet every time you need "comfort clothes", the love letters from a long lost sweetheart that take up space in your underwear drawer, the warm, balmy weather of summer.....

Being an overly sentimental person, it's hard for me to let go of things that have meant so much to me in the past. As I fold my favorite sweatshirt and lovingly place it in the charity bag, I remember all the chilly evenings that it kept me warm. As I read for the last time and toss the tattered love letters into the garbage, I remember how seeing my high school sweetheart in the hallway before class would make my heart skip a beat. And as the first frost of the season lays on the ground, I long for the garden fresh produce and simple meals of summer days gone by....

But wait.....frost? winter? what? where? Are we stuck in a global warming time warp? It's freaking November for heaven sakes and temperatures are still hovering in the low 70s. Being a cold weather wimp, I'm not really looking forward to the the Artic blast, however I'm trying to keep a positive attitude and assimilate myself to the climate change. I've tried rotating hearty soups and stews into my menus. I've pulled out the sweaters, coats, and flannel jammies... I'm trying to get over summer days gone by and move on! But nooooo......

So finally, I just gave up the ghost. It's no longer a fashion disaster to wear white after Labor Day, so who says we can't throw together a quick and easy summer inspired meal in mid-November?? You just go right ahead and report me to the FoodNetwork police.....

Couscous. It's an odd little thing, isn't it? Say that out loud to someone who isn't familiar with it and the next thing you know, they're saying, "bless you!" because they think you just sneezed or something. Prepare it straight out of the box and it's bland and unexciting. But throw in nearly any fruit, vegetable, meat, seafood, herb or spice you can imagine and you have a versatile quick and easy meal. So, here on the brink of bygone summer days, I'm sharing my favorite way to prepare couscous as well as telling you about a great product that I stumbled across over a year ago but am just now getting around to trying....

I was given a sample of Seasoned Skewers at the 2006 Fancy Food Show. They've been in my kitchen drawer all this time and I figured since I was already pressing my luck with the out-of-season-food-preparation, I'd go ahead and break them out for a trial run. They're wooden skewers that are seasoned with various flavors - mine were Coconut Curry with Lime - and they infuse the flavors into whatever you skewer and cook without any additional seasonings. Whoever heard of such a thing? Probably the same person who's never heard of couscous or wearing a tank top and shorts in November! I used 16-20 count peeled shrimp with no additional seasonings, let them sit for about 10 minutes to absorb the flavors and cooked them on a grill pan. By golly it worked! A lovely mild coconut curry flavor resonated throughout my shrimp and paired with my vegetable couscous it was quick...easy....perfect. Just like these warm November days....

Vegetable Couscous

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 each carrot -- diced
1/2 cup celery -- diced
1 each onion -- diced
1/4 cup sweet yellow pepper -- diced
1/4 cup sweet red pepper -- diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 each zucchini -- diced
1/4 cup fresh basil -- minced or 4 tsp dried
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 dash hot pepper sauce
1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

In a large skillet, saute the carrots, celery, onion, and peppers in oil for 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the next five ingredients; mix well. Stir in the couscous. Add broth, bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 5-8 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.

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