"GEORGIA'S KITCHEN"--NYC Chef comes home again by way of Tuscany, Italy
by Virginia Campbell
Not only is food and fiction a dynamic duo, it’s one of the highlights of my life! I savor the flavors of fabulous food, and I feast on the fantastic buffet of fiction available in today’s literary market. It’s a reader’s smorgasbord!
“Georgia’s Kitchen”, by Jenny Nelson, is a colorful, cuisine-filled story of one talented and likeable young chef’s journey to the place where she was always meant to be. When we first meet Georgia Grey, she is on the brink of becoming a married woman, and her star continues to rise as the head chef of a popular New York eatery. Her fiance, Glenn, is a successful entertainment lawyer, and they share an apartment, a dog, and a mostly good romantic history. The restaurant where Georgia works is owned and operated by Marco, a morally ambiguous man who named his eatery after himself. At the same time that Georgia realizes Glenn has a substance abuse problem and other secrets, Marco’s unfortunate treatment of a restaurant reviewer’s very young daughter earns the eatery a scathing review. To save face, Marco blames the review on Georgia’s cooking, and she loses her job. She also loses her fiance and her dreams of a productive life in the big city. She does what any smart and savvy heartbroken woman would do, and she heads for the hills. The Tuscan hills. Tuscany, Italy, where she has a friend who is opening a new restaurant and is in need of a skilled chef. Georgia’s life takes on amazing new and unexpected aspects, including a relationship with the charming and sensual Gianni, owner of the winery next to her friend’s restaurant. He tempts Georgia in more ways than one, including offering her a position as head chef at a prestigious hotel in which he owns a partnership. Georgia’s sojourn to Tuscany was meant to be temporary–a time of healing. Now, she is faced with some soul-searching decision making. Should she stay in beautiful, sun-drenched Tuscany with a marvelous new opportunity to dazzle the world with her cooking skills and also enjoy the attentions of the gorgeous Gianni? Georgia is a very appealing character with heart and spirit, and how her life comes full circle and she returns to the spotlight is an involving tale full of astute observations about the restaurant world and the powerful elite movers and shakers who operate behind the scenes. The food is mouth-watering and quite varied. From Georgia’s Nana’s home cooking, to the incredible haute cuisine of New York’s finest dining, to the rustic elegance of Tuscan wine and native food favorites, you will truly savor the meals you are served from “Georgia’s Kitchen”!
Tuscan Bread Salad
2 cups crumbled day old Italian Bread
6 medium red, ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 medium yellow onions, thin sliced
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 sprig Fresh Basil, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Crumble Italian bread into a large salad bowl. Add tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and basil, toss lightly with enough olive oil to coat. Place in the refrigerator to chill. Just before serving add vinegar, a bit more oil, and salt and pepper, to your liking. Serves 4.
Sweet Italian Sausage & Beans in Red Sauce
1 pound small white cannellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight
2 sprigs of sage
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 yellow onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
2 lbs red, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 (14 oz) can Italian plum tomatoes
Drain the beans and simmer in fresh water to cover, with 1 sprig of sage and 1 tablespoon olive oil, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until tender, adding salt when the beans begin to soften. In a Dutch oven (large enough to hold the beans) heat the remaining oil on low heat with the garlic, remaining sage, and the onion. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a fork and browning well. Add the tomatoes and simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Spoon off any excess grease, and then add the drained beans with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 15 minutes, adding reserved bean liquid as needed to make a well-sauced finished dish.
Pasta Salad Rustica
1 lb rotini or medium shell pasta
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp virgin olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 Tsp coarsely chopped thyme
2 Tsp coarsely chopped marjoram
1 1/2 lbs cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely grated Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cool to room temperature. In a blender, puree basil, parsley, garlic, thyme and marjoram with the remaining ½ cup olive oil. Season with salt. In a large bowl, toss pasta with herb puree, tomatoes and olives and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to develop flavor. Just before serving, add Romano cheese, season with pepper and toss well. Store remaining salad in refrigerator.
Savory Rosemary-Roasted Chicken
2 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken
2 bunches fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme
6 tablespoons dried rosemary
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
6 cloves crushed garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil
1 cup white wine
To Make Marinade: In a food processor, blend together the parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper, oil and wine. Run processor until ingredients are mixed all together and mixture is smooth. Rub marinade both inside the cavity and all over the outside, coating well. Place chickens in a glass dish, breast side up, and pack remaining marinade on top of the breast and around the legs. Cover dish and marinate in refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove chickens from marinade dish, discarding any remaining marinade. Place in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until chickens are no longer pink inside and their juices run clear.
Causes Virginia Campbell Supports
I live in a very small town with few job opportunities. I would love to be employed in a position which allowed me to promote literacy and put books in the...