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COOKING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Generally, Labor Day brings the end of my summer and a feeling of sadness. Some weirdos think that fall is awesome. Not me! I love spring and summer. My wife and I often walk in the sunshine and lay out on the beach. Even my ragdoll cat, Mr. Fortune the Little Kitty, enjoys being outside on the patio to menace birds from behind the overflowing planters of coleus. His stalking amuses us all. Well, maybe not the birds, but they aren’t in any danger. Raw foods are not a part of his keto diet.

This morning, Sam and I cycled 10 miles, lamenting the coming of winter. We’re training for a bicycle trip in France in 2019. Since Sam’s never ridden a bike before this year (started fresh at age 46), this is quite an undertaking. The promise of drinking wine again and seeing France spurs her to keep at this. Riding at the gym is not quite the same as experiencing the new challenges each day on the Columbus People Trail. Dodging sightseers and maneuvering around squirrels eating nuts creates an exhilarating thrill that can’t be found while watching CBS Sunday Morning from a stationary bike.

This Labor Day weekend, I’m serving Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve meals to family and friends. What’s up with that? We’ve been hard at work on my first cookbook, KetoLuxe: Simple Gourmet Keto for Life. Since we decided to self-publish, I’m able to refine my recipes and shoot them the same day. How fun for my creative spirit!

For Labor Day weekend/New Year’s Eve I prepared a ketofabulous meal of shrimp cocktail, cucumber cups, king crab legs, escargot, caviar, rumaki, stuffed strawberries, and deviled quail’s eggs

This weekend’s favorite dish, so far, has been the Tsar Nicoulai caviar with keto bread and crème fraiche. I find the hella-luxe experience of caviar most definitely takes my entertaining to the next level with zero effort. Earlier this year, Sam, the Mother, and I visited the Tsar Nicoulai farm in California to learn about caviar production. What a treat! It was a bucket list-level experience. We got to hang out with sturgeon, see the beginnings of their aquaponic farm, and eat a fabulous amazing caviar spread. For my New Year’s Eve menu, caviar is the centerpiece.

What holiday is complete without a gorgeous turkey? You can keep your hot dogs.

The timer just went off for the turkey. In the sweltering kitchen, I pull it from the oven.

Sam just said “Oooh, that’s sexy. Let’s put it on kale,” about my turkey. Two phrases I never thought would go together.

My dad commented that the turkey is “like an illusion, because it is not Thanksgiving.” He didn’t mind stuffing those crab legs and escargot down his throat when we were eating New Year’s Eve dinner last night. I wonder what he will have to say about the prime rib and eggnog?

My mother is trying to man-handle the turkey, to pick on her favorite parts. “Who taught you how to cook a turkey?” she asked when I admonished her. I am still telling her to leave it alone. Sam will be confused if there is only a carcass for her photos.

Sam’s favorite bourbon with fresh mint, blackberries, and seltzer water

I still have a ton of recipes to finish before Thanksgiving is done. Cheese souffle, green bean casserole, sautéed cabbage, and grilled oysters still need to be completed before Leah and Jeff arrive. And Sam should refill my cocktail of Maker’s Mark with mint, blackberries, and seltzer. Since we’re eating the food and drink we shoot this weekend, someone has to take the hit to finish it up…

Happy End of Summer!

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