Catering by Linda

Archive for the ‘seasonal foods’ Category

Layering Depth of Flavor

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Layers of frozen beef broth are at the ready!

Layers of frozen beef broth are at the ready!

You may have heard the term “one note” on your favorite cooking show. The term refers to foods that have one flavor that masks all the other flavors in that dish. Building a “well-rounded” dish that contains equal and various flavors is an art! Recently, a friend and I went to Flora, in West Hartford’s Center (, for drinks, and I ordered their smoothie called “Pineapple.” It was purported to contain pineapple, cream of coconut, banana, lime, and mint, so when the drink came, I took multiple sips and tried to identify each ingredient, even though it was blended with the others. I felt like I was a judge on “Master Chef” and it made me think about the fabulous Thai Chicken & Rice Noodle soup I am making for my annual soup swap as it builds on flavors, too: ginger, curry, coconut, brown sugar, turmeric, lime. All contributing to an amazing broth in its own subtle way, none overpowering another. Layering those flavor profiles causes a depth and complexity of flavor that keeps a foodie coming back for more, and is the reason behind my dedication to the idea of saving beef pan drippings for use in soups and stews. When I roast a tenderloin, for instance, the drippings aren’t needed for gravy, so I cool the drippings– full of the herbs and seasonings I used in the rub– and pour them into a dedicated Tupperware container I keep in the freezer, and anytime I make a beef soup or beef stew, I have a “mountain” of layered drippings, ready to lend nuances of rosemary, garlic, and thyme to whatever I am making. Last week when I made beef and barley soup during the snowstorm, I just popped these babies, frozen, right in the crockpot!

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Winter “Bites”

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

At the start of the Winter season, I get excited about all the Winter comfort foods, and we spend about a month revisiting Beef Stew, Chicken Casseroles, Italian Wedding Soup, and Meatloaf.  When the excitement of visiting “old friends” dies down, but sometime before Spring arrives with its fresh Asparagus and Rack of Lamb, we are in dire need of flavorful, fun, and different foods, and that is when I get creative.  It is almost as if, since daylight is shorter-lasting, I need something yummy to wake up my tastebuds!  I start becoming more adventuresome with my salads, tossing mixed greens with nuts, berries, cheeses, and using a flavored vinegar and oil.  I layer the previous night’s leftover chicken or beef with a fun spread of Harry and David’s bruschetta, or Fruit Topping for Cheese (you know– the jar of topping that came in that Christmas basket of goodies from your sister-in-law?), and make paninis to go with the soup!  If you don’t have a panini maker, treat yourself to one!  They make every sandwich combination something yummy and gooey on the inside, and crunchy and buttery on the outside!  And I love making appetizers for parties, such as the ones below.  Figs wrapped in Prosciutto, then layered with Gorgonzola and a Walnut, all skewered together in one salty, sweet, creamy, and crunchy bite with a frilled toothpick.  Talk about chasing those Winter blues off your plate!

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Catering by Linda