Gourmet Easter Treats

T & G April 2014Town & Gown Magazine
April 2014
Recipes and photos

Sample recipe below. Click here for e-edition.

 

 

 

 

Rich Orange Sorbet

  • 3 cups blood orange juice, divided
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white wine, optional
  • Zest of 1 blood orange

In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup orange juice and sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove pan from heat. Add the remaining orange juice, white wine, and orange zest. Pour mixture into an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

One the mixture is chilled, process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Once churned, place sorbet into the freezer and allow it to freeze overnight.

Serves 6

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shape Up and Have Fun!

MS Mag March April 2014

Mississippi Magazine
March / April 2014 Beauty Supplement

Mississippi native Kajal Desai combines aerobics with Bollywood to create one of the fastest growing workouts in America

Move over Zumba, there are a couple of new girls in town.

Eight years ago, fate would change the life of Kajal Desai forever. A small town Mississippi girl raised in Ellisville, Desai was living and working in Washington D.C. as a consultant for the U.S. government.  However, her real passion lay in the Indian folk dances her mother taught her as a child.

While Desai was born and raised in the United States, her parents hail from Gujarat, India. As a way to help her stay close to her family’s heritage, Desai’s mother taught her the traditional folk dances from her village. Desai perfected her moves by watching Bollywood movies, which is the largest film producer in India and one of the largest film producers in the world.

By the time Desai was an adult, she already had a deep-seated love for dance and a desire to do something more with that passion. It was then that mutual friends suggest she meet Priya Pandya. Over a cup of tea in 2005, the two women realized they had the same vision and decided to launch a business venture that would combine their love of dance with fitness.

The pair started offering a dance class once a week to residents of the DC area and doing local performances on the side. By 2007, their following had nearly doubled in size and Desai and Pandya decided it was time to take the plunge. They quit their day jobs and devoted themselves full time to the new company they named Doonya, after the Hindi word for “world.” After that, the craze seemed to take on a life of its own spreading from DC into New York City.

Exactly what is it about Doonya that makes it so popular? For starters, it involves a lot of high energy aerobic movement that gets the heart pumping and the muscles moving. Then there is the music. The beats are infectious, invigorating, and after a few minutes, your body wants to move. It’s that perfect combination that keeps a person motivated, even during the most intense parts of the workout, and coming back for more.

“The music and the movements might seem foreign at first, but it’s about letting go of your inhibitions and having fun,” Desai says.

Over the last eight years, Doonya has managed to garner a huge amount of publicity. The workout has been features in such notable publications such as Cosmopolitan, Shape, Elle, and The Huffington Post. The women have also appeared on Dr. Oz, Kathie Lee and Hoda, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

After all that success, where do you go next? Desai and Pandya wanted to make Doonya accessible to more people and knew a DVD would be on the horizon. However, they wanted it to be more than just a dance video, they wanted it to have some credentials behind it. Desai earned certification as a group fitness instructor with the American Council on Exercise, while Pandya became a certified yoga instructor. As plans for the DVD began to take shape, both women devoted a lot of time researching the fitness aspects of the workout and developed dance moves to incorporate it. The attention to detail paid off. Within the first week of launching in February 2013, the DVD made it into the top 10 fitness videos list on Amazon.com.

Desai and Pandya continue to bring their workout to more people. Currently, they are setting up new classes at fitness centers across the U.S. and are even working with Weight Watchers to make the workout accessible to online members. However, despite all the success, Desai hasn’t forgotten that she’s a Mississippi girl at heart. Frequently during her visits home, she will offer a few classes at fitness centers across the state.

“We are really bringing to life the spirit of Bollywood,” Desai adds. “In one hour, you might start out feeling a little silly, but you’ll also start to feel a little sexy and you will smile a lot. That’s what health and happiness is really all about.”

Asian Cuisine

T & G March 2014Town & Gown Magazine
March 2014
Recipes and pictures

Sample recipe below. Click here for e-edition.

 

 

 

 

Mie Goreng
Mie Goreng is a true Indonesian dish. Mie means “noodles” and “Goreng” means fried.

• 8 ounces dried noodles or one pack of fresh cooked noodles
• 4 tablespoons sweet soy sauce, divided
• 2 large eggs
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
• 1 large carrot, cut into thin strips like matchsticks
• 1 cup cabbage cut into strips or squares
• 1 cup cooked, diced chicken
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
• 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
• 1 teaspoon sesame oil
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cook noodles according to package instructions. Remove from heat and drain. Drizzle a small a small amount of vegetable oil over the noodles along with 3 tablespoons of the sweet soy sauce and stir until noodles are evenly coated.

Heat a small amount of oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add the eggs and scramble. Remove eggs when cooked and set aside.

Add a little more vegetable oil to the pan, then fry the garlic and ginger until they become fragrant. Add the carrot, spring onion, and cabbage and continue to stir-fry until the vegetables become tender.

Add the diced chicken, scrambled eggs, and the cooked noodles to the pan. Add the light and dark soy sauce, remaining sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Mix thoroughly and continue to fry until heated through cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The King’s Tavern: A new restaurant brings life back to Natchez’s oldest building

EDM Feb 2014

eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI
February / March 2014

Drive through the picturesque streets of Natchez is like stepping into a time machine. It’s not everywhere that you can catch glimpses of grand antebellum estates through the magnolia trees. However, turn down Jefferson Street and you are sure to find one structure that catches your eye. It’s an imposing wood and brick structure that predates anything else still standing in Natchez.

The King’s Tavern has a long and colorful history. It was originally constructed in the late 1700’s from the wood of scrapped ships as part of Fort Panmure, which housed a large detachment of British troops that occupied Natchez at the time. Eventually an entrepreneur named Richard King purchased the building and set up a tavern and inn for weary travelers. The tavern also housed Natchez’s first post office and soon became a popular gathering spot for the town.

As the rise of steamboat travel began to hurt Mr. King’s profits, the tavern eventually fell into the hands of the Postlethwaite family. The Postlethwaite’s would live in the structure for nearly 150 years, until 1973 when it was purchased by an investor and was once again reopened as a restaurant.

The King’s Tavern sat abandoned for almost a year until 2013, when Doug and Regina Charboneau purchased the property. Regina Charboneau is no stranger to the restaurant business, having owned and worked in restaurants from Alaska, to San Francisco, to New York. When the couple returned to Natchez in 2000, Regina thought she was through with the restaurant business. However, all that changed when Doug decided he needed a “project.”

“I really had no intention of getting back into the restaurant business,” Regina reveals. “But Doug wanted to open a rum distillery, the King’s Tavern was available, and it seemed like the perfect place.”

Regina had just ordered a wood-fired pizza oven for her home. When a concept for the new restaurant began to take shape, she decided to construct the oven at the restaurant instead. Several months of renovations were needed before The King’s Tavern could open for business. Finally, in September 2013, the historic restaurant welcomed the general public once again.

The restaurant’s specialty, under the direction of Executive Chef Allison Richard, is handcrafted, wood-fired flatbreads topped with an array of mouthwatering toppings such as brisket and horseradish cream, smoked bacon and shaved Brussels sprouts, or shrimp and smoked tomatoes.

Like many chefs, Regina is enthusiastically embracing the farm-to-table movement. Her menu items are seasonal and she is even making her own mozzarella for the flatbreads. The bar features craft beer and cocktails, unique Italian sodas, and craft bottled sodas. Bar manager Ricky Woolfolk frequently offers mixology classes on weekends.

In Spring 2014, Doug and the Charboneau’s son Jean Luc plan to open Charboneau Rum Distillery in the restaurant’s former bar. The pair plan to sell white rum and eventually aged rum in small quantities. It will also have a tasting room and provide tours.

Rum may not be the only spirit residing in the King’s Tavern. The restaurant is notorious for ghost sightings, the most famous named Madeline, a young girl who was supposedly murdered and then buried within the building’s walls. Regardless of whether the story is true, the lore has earned Madeline her own dish on the menu. However, staff and visitors over the years have reported seeing apparitions walking throughout the tavern, including Regina herself.

“I don’t believe in that kind of thing, but there was one instance during renovations when I was meeting with the construction crews and we all saw a shadow move across the room and block out the light. Whether it was Madeline, I don’t know.”

Maybe there is a reason the tavern’s tagline reads, “Spirits of All Kinds.”

From Alaska to Natchez and Everywhere In Between: Chef Regina Charboneau lives life to the fullest and loves every minute.

EDM Feb 2014eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI
February / March 2014
Article and photos

Imagine being the mother of a daughter in her early twenties and one day receiving a collect phone call from –of all places – Alaska. Your daughter informs you that she’s taking a job as a cook for eight men at a construction camp in the middle of nowhere. Thirty-five years ago, chef and Natchez  native Regina Charboneau made such a call to her own mother.

“This was before email and cell phones. There was really nothing she could do about it,” she says.

Charboneau grew up in a family that loved to entertain and always felt a draw towards cooking. After high school, she attended a few different colleges across the South, but never really found her niche. That is, until one summer when she and a group of friends decided to take a trip to Alaska.

The Tobeluk Consent Decree of 1976, also known as the Molly Hootch Act, had gone into effect a few years earlier. The act required the State of Alaska to build high schools in Alaskan native villages, meaning construction jobs in the area were plentiful at the time. Regina took a job as a waitress in a café in Anchorage.  However, she didn’t work there long before a customer came in and offered her a job cooking at one of the construction camps.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“It was a great time to be in Alaska,” Charboneau recalls. “Anchorage was only 50 years old at the time. There was so much going on. I really wasn’t qualified to do the job, but there was so much need for help in those days, that they really didn’t care.”

Despite the understandable concern of Charboneau’s mother, that trip would change Charboneau’s life forever. The work was hard, but she learned a lot about cooking. Working in the bush of Alaska meant there weren’t any supermarkets nearby. Fresh food was dropped every 2-3 weeks and had to last until the next drop. Fresh salmon and caribou were usually among the supplies. Charboneau says she became more of a game cook while living in Alaska than she ever did growing up in Mississippi.

“That experience gave me my travel lust,” she explains. “I was in my early 20’s. I felt like the whole world was open and I could do anything.”

While in Alaska, Regina also met her husband Doug. She jokes, “His girlfriend was sweet enough to introduce us.”

Eventually, Charboneau managed to save enough money to put herself through cooking school. She attended Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France, one of the first accredited professional cooking schools in France to offer instruction in both French and English. Afterwards, she returned to Alaska and accepted the position of executive chef at the Tower Club in Anchorage.

In the mid-1980’s Charboneau and her husband decided they were ready to move back to the mainland. The couple was torn between moving to New York or San Francisco, but during a visit to The City by the Bay one clear February night, they knew they had found their new home.

“It was a beautiful night and I told Doug, ‘This is the place,’” she says. “The food scene was just getting going and the timing was perfect.”

Her career in San Francisco began as a cook at the Golden Gate Grille. The restaurant was a popular hangout for singers and had great reviews, but it wasn’t what Charboneau wanted to do. Once again, fate intervened when she was introduced to a group of people opening a restaurant in San Francisco’s Regis Hotel. The opportunity was a huge leap for the young chef.

“People ask me, ‘Weren’t you scared?’ I didn’t know any better. I just dove in feet first.”

Regina’s at the Regis opened in 1985. Because of its proximity to San Francisco’s theatre district, it quickly became a favorite among theatre goers, actors, musicians, and celebrities. Charboneau would go on to open a total of four restaurants in San Francisco, including the famous Burger and Blues, which won the WC Handy award in 1999 as the “Best Blues Club in America.”

Despite her wanderlust, the call to return home to Natchez finally won her over when Charboneau’s father passed away. In 2000, she and her husband returned to Natchez with their two sons, Jean-Luc and Martin.  The couple purchased Twin Oaks, a beautiful 1830’s-era home in the heart of Natchez.

Even though life moves slower in the South, that hasn’t stopped Charboneau. She serves as the culinary director for the American Queen Steamboat Company, where she oversees menu and recipe development; runs a six-bedroom guest house on the Twin Oaks property; and frequently gives tours of her home during the Natchez pilgrimage.

In early 2013, Charboneau and her husband purchased The King’s Tavern, a restaurant housed in the oldest building in Natchez. After several months of renovations, The King’s Tavern reopened in September 2013. The restaurant specializes in hand crafted, wood fired flat breads made in a wood-fired pizza oven on site. A rum distillery is scheduled is open in the spring of 2014.

Looking back, Charboneau is the first to admit that her life has been nothing short of amazing.

“I can honestly say I have loved my life,” she admits. “I have met so many people along the way. People that I cherish and still have life-long friendships with.”

Easy Weeknight Meals

Town and Gown February 2014Town & Gown
February 2014
Recipes, pictures, and cover photo

Sample recipe below.  Spread also included oven Braised Beef Short Ribs and Meyer Lemon Pesto and Feta Penne with Shrimp.  To view the entire issue online, visit the Town & Gown website.

 
 
 
 

Clementine Baked Chicken
● ⅓ cup chicken broth
● 1/4 cup olive oil
● 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed clementine juice
● 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
● 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
● 3 tablespoons maple syrup
● 2 teaspoons kosher salt
● freshly ground black pepper
● 8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
● 2 fennel bulbs, cut into quarters
● 4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced thin
● 2-3 few sprigs of fresh thyme

In a large mixing bowl or resealable plastic bag, whisk together chicken broth, olive oil, clementine and lemon juices, mustard, maple syrup and salt. Season with pepper, to taste.

Place chicken in the mixing bowl or bag. Toss gently until chicken is evenly coated with the sauce. Allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place marinated chicken skin side up in a 9 x 12 x 2-inch baking dish. Reserve the marinade. Arrange fennel slices in between the chicken, layer clementine slices and thyme over the top. Pour the reserved marinade over the entire dish.

Bake chicken for 30 minutes. If the skin is browning too quickly, turn the oven down to 400ºF and continue roasting until the skin is brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes longer.

Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes. Arrange everything in a serving platter and drizzle the pan juices over the top.

Serves 8

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Family, Friends, and Love

ms mag jan 2014Mississippi Magazine
January 2014

It was a chilly, crisp evening in October when friends and family came together to celebrate the engagement of Callie Mounger and Reid Wesson.  However, the atmosphere inside the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Mounger II of Jackson, was warm and inviting.

During her off time, one can frequently find Crisler Boone moonlighting as event planner and wedding coordinator. It’s a skill that proves to be invaluable in her full-time job as head of external affairs at Jackson Prepatory School. Boone previously worked with the Moungers on a capital-raising project for the school, where her abilities to host a good party soon became apparent.

“Cissye [Mrs. Mounger] told me, ‘Whenever one of mine gets engaged, I want you to plan it,” Boone says.

The opportunity finally arose when several of the Mounger’s close friends came together to throw the young couple an engagement party to end all parties. As the initial planning phase began, Boone knew she wanted every aspect of the night to be representative things that were important to the couple – family, friends, good food, and great music.

The role of the Mounger home played a significant role in Callie and Reid’s time together as a couple. In fact, Reid proposed to Callie while sitting by the fire pit in the Mounger’s backyard. Boone used that as the starting point, using the Mounger home not only as the backdrop for the party, but also incorporating it into other elements. Fresh Ink was recruited to design the party invitations. A watercolor print depicting a scene from the Mounger’s backyard was used as the background.

Wendy Putt of Fresh Cut Catering and Floral oversaw the menu and floral arrangements. As guests approached the Mounger’s home, they were greeted by two vibrant topiaries made of apples, oranges, and artichokes flanking either side of the front door. The couple’s initials fashioned with moss-covered letters hung from each of the doors. Before entering, guests could leave their well-wishes on panes of glass in a reclaimed glass window that would later become a priceless memento for the newlyweds.

Once inside, a romantic pomander of delicate peach roses hung from the chandelier in the foyer. Guests then made their way to the beautifully landscaped backyard which overlooked the Mounger’s in-ground swimming pool and picturesque waterfront views just beyond. Floating lanterns, votives, and elegant lanterns provided soft and romantic lighting throughout the property.

Boone incorporated the couple’s initials “C & R” into several details throughout the party – from the cocktail napkins and menu place cards to the water feature in the center of the swimming pool. Neutral linens in bronze and taupe allowed the bright colors in the floral arrangements and surrounding landscape to pop.

Putt also found unique ways to incorporate the couple into the menu selections. The father of the bride provided vension for the wild game table, which was served alongside other unique dishes such as micro-deviled quail eggs and grilled quail legs with bourbon sauce. A s’mores station paid homage to the night the couple got engaged as well as allowed guests to indulge in a favorite childhood pastime. Graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows were on hand, as well as a few gourmet touches such as peanut butter and flaked coconut.

Guests mingled and danced to the soulful sounds of Pryor Graeber and the Tombstones.

“The party was very Callie and Reid,” said Boone. “The Moungers have such big hearts and are so generous in the community.  You could tell that everyone in attendance had a love for the Moungers and this young couple embarking on a life together.”

Game Day Grub

e861292_589765237737570_1936952674_oat.drink.MISSISSIPPI
December / January 2013
Recipes and photos

Superbowl munchies are almost as exciting as cheering on your favorite team and watching the commercials.  Here are a few easy to assemble recipe ideas to curb your appetite and gameday excitement builds.

Recipes included Burger and Fries Bites, Individual Mexican Layered Dip, Cookie Dough Truffles, and tablescape ideas.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.