A Pampered Palate hosted dinner party for “Ushri” a celebrated painter in Atlanta.

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Ammazza

Two brothers decided to take a chance and bring a truly special wood fired pizza and share with the rest of us pizza aficionados. Traveling to San Francisco, Chicago and Italy, they developed something that’s simply divine. Located in the Old 4th Ward district of Atlanta…..

Welcome to Ammazza!
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This bike was given to the restaurant by a neighborhood patron who wanted to aid them in delivering pizza’s. It holds four 12″ pizzas….how cool is that!

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The dining area is very spacious with a huge community table that runs down the middle. There are also serveral tables and booths that run along the edge. The building itself was built in the late 1800’s and the owners kept as much of it as possible. There is even a space for “live” local bands that play on weekends.

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We started with the Insalata Di Basil- Field greens, artichokes, kalmata olives, bell peppers, goat cheese and roma tomatoes in a basil dressing.  There was more than enough for two, and it was delicious.

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We decided upon the Inferno Pizza- Spicy sopressata, mozzarella, calabria peppers and torn fresh basil.  The crust!!! OMG, perfection….the sauce, the right amount of heat, all ingredients equally distributed, and….just satisfying.

Just a side note: They carry Clown Shoes IPA (Tramp Stamp, Chocolate Sombrero & Muffin Top) and Hangar 1 Vodka…excellent!

 

Getting started cooking Taiwanese

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So many times we think about cooking a dish and we run out and get the ingredients for a particular recipe, spending so much more money than we have to trying to create the dish.

However, as a chef I’ve learned that it’s more savvy to equip ones kitchen with essential ingredients so that you are stocked with items that allow you to cook more freely.

The flavors of Taiwan (see Taipei, Family Style) echo those of mainland China and Japan, but the island boasts its own canon of staple ingredients.

Here is a list of items to get you started:

  • Kobacha and other kinds of hard squash—collectively called nan gua in Mandarin—are often stir-fried with ginger or stuffed with sticky rice and sweet Chinese sausage and baked.  Image
  • A clear, faintly sweet variety of Chinese rice wine, sometimes labeled michiu or mi jiu and intended only for cooking, is used for braises and stews. Image
  • Hong Zao, a marinating paste that imparts a complex, sour flavor and pink hue to meats. Image
  • Black VinegarFermenting rice a different way produces rich, tangy black vinegar, which goes into dishes like hot-and-sour soup and mian xian, a garlicky noodle soup, and makes a great dipping sauce for dumplings.   Image
  • White pepper – Musky-tasting white pepper is often used in stir-fries. Image
  • Dried fermented black beans – Which lend a pungent, earthy flavor to stews. Image
  • Sweet potato starch – The Taiwanese are masters of deep-frying, and their preferred batter is made with sweet potato starch, which creates a crisp, light crust (use the coarsest variety you can find). Image
  • Mushroom powder – essentially dehydrated mushroom broth- adds a savory, umami character to many dishesImageSo, there you have it. 

    Just about every city has as Asian market in an existing neighborhood. Here in Atlanta we have a wonderful ethnic community just north of the city on the famous road known as Buford Highway.  Image

    There you can find everything from Japanese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Ethiopian and the list goes on. 

Chef Ashley brings you… “The Essential Kitchen”

The Pampered Palate, Personal Chef service is offering to set up  your new or old kitchen into a completely functional,  organized exciting culinary workspace. Image

Whether you’re moving into your new home

 or organizing your existing one, we will :

stock and organize your kitchen, from pantry to fridge

unpack your dinnerware, glassware and china

shop with you for trusty kitchen tools, or evaluate what you have

 cook a fully prepared 1st meal for you and your family

We’d just moved into our house after relocating from Chicago,

so having our entire kitchen unpacked and fridge stocked

 with food made a hectic time easier to handle.

We would recommend The Pampered Palate Personal Chef

to all our friends, and the food was exceptional- Ron & Stacey Houseman, Midtown Atlanta

Contact: 404.759.0805

http://www.chef.ashley@yahoo.com

Roasted Rosemary Orange Chicken with Savory Carrots

Roasted Rosemary Orange Chicken with Savory Carrots

I used the “high heat” method for roasting for a crispy, darker skin.

Start by allowing your meat to arrive at room temperature. ( at least 30 minutes)

Mix a good amount of softened butter and fresh chopped rosemary.

Preheat your Oven to 450

Once bird has sat for 30 minutes, rinse in cool but not cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season the inner cavity with a generous amount of salt/pepper. Cut a whole navel orange into quarters and insert into the bird.
Salt/ppr only the backside of the bird, place into your roasting pan. Tuck the wings and truss the legs (optional).
With your hands, slather the butter mixture over the entire breast wings and legs (front side).
Sprinkle with a little salt/ppr
Place in your heated oven for 15 minutes (450F degrees/ 230 C)

Then reduce heat to 350F/175C and roast for 20 minutes per pound. So for a 4-4.5lb = 1 hour 30min.

*Cut mid sized cuts of carrot, onions and quarter another orange. Toss together in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, herbs de provence and a dash of salt & ppr
Half way through cooking, Add the veggie mixture, place around the bird and continue cooking.
Allow bird to rest 10 minutes prior to cutting.

I served this along with garlicky green beans and a wonderful Oregon Pinot Noir.

The Pampered Palate

So just what is “The Pampered Palate?” 

It’s about people who find passion about their food. Whether they are cooking it themselves or eating a prepared meal. They certainly understand that food brings people together, comforts them and releases fond memories.

I never used to see food in that way. As a pre-teen I was the obedient eater, after years of being told by my mother, “Please finish your food Ashley, others are not as fortunate as you.” I just went along for the ride. Perhaps it’s all my Catholic guilt. You Catholic’s out there? I’m sure you understand the hidden code.

I never questioned the taste or what I was eating (well most times, except for those awful brussel sprouts), how it was prepared or where it came from. But once I grew into adulthood, started eating out and traveling the world I realized just how wonderful different flavors taste and how wonderful cooking could be.

So I started my own catering company in Atlanta called the Pampered Palate in 2000. It described everything I loved about food. That as you come to try new flavors and textures, not only are you enjoying the process of eating good foods, your sense of smell, touch and even hearing are also peaked.

So there I was, fresh out of culinary school with only one apprenticeship under my belly and I didn’t know how or where to really start. Then I began to ponder, what’s the use in having a mother who was always dragging me to black tie affairs for every known educational fundraiser in the world  if I couldn’t lean on her now and then.   Before long I was booked practically every weekend.

Okay………………it wasn’t that easy…….really.

I had the use of a neighborhood church kitchen that was always so busy with church functions that I had to wait until very late at night to do any prep at all. Most of the ovens cooked unevenly or didn’t work and I had no one to help me for the first year. I would prepare meals for 70 people, alone and then hire my mother’s sister’s creepy son, who was just a step above, always looking like he’d just rolled out of bed without a care in the world at twenty-nine, to help me. Who else with a life, was going to be willing to work 7 to 8 hours serving, lifting, replenishing, cleaning and occasionally being bitten by the clients dog for $10 hr. (Okay, so there was no “Occupy” at that time)

To top it off, I hadn’t gotten my calculations down and so I’d mostly end up working for free. Ah….the pleasures of owning your own business.

Mom would call me and ask, “How did you do?” “Oh, it was absolutely fantastic, I’d say,”

But as they say, plenty of time in, means a better product on the opposite end. I just had to learn by trial and error. On my own. Grow into it and see what I needed to change. One thing I did have right from the start was passion.

My recipes began to grow and expand. I threw out the old Beef Wellington, and added I Malaysian Curry Clams. I was developing a better palate. I was eating everything from Spaghetti with roasted tomatoes and Sea Urchin to Natto (slimy soybeans, I don’t know why I made myself take the first bite, stuffs just…yuck)

Soooo here I am, a personal chef!

I will be here to share my experiences – good and bad. I will venture out and try all sorts of things. So what I learn, so will you!

Let’s share this great and wonderful thing we love, called “The Pampered Palate!”