Chives Innovative Catering is an off-premise catering business serving St. Pete, Tampa, & the surrounding gulf coast of Florida. We provide gourmet food for casual to elaborate weddings, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, mitzvahs, hors d'oeuvre parties, bridal/baby showers or any other social event. We pride ourselves on our expertise in creative menus, delectable cuisine, stylish presentation & gracious service. A Chives event will meet & surpass all your expectations.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Apple Crisp - a wonderful Fall dessert

Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: About 1 hour

6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples or other fruit
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup brown sugar, or to taste
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits, plus some for the pan
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Dash salt

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Toss the fruit with half the cinnamon, the lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and spread it in a lightly buttered 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.
2. Combine all the other ingredients—including the remaining cinnamon and brown sugar—in a food processor and pulse a few times, then process a few seconds more, until everything is well incorporated but not uniform. (To mix the ingredients by hand, soften the butter slightly, toss together the dry ingredients, then work in the butter with your fingertips, a pastry blender, or a fork.)
3. Crumble the topping over the apples and bake until the topping is browned and the apples are tender and bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Recipe of the week: Do you have too much zucchini from your garden???

Here is a pasta dish which features zucchini.  This dish may seem a little bit unusual but the creaminess of the ricotta compliments the sweetness of fresh zucchini - enjoy!

Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Salt (preferably Kosher salt)
1 cup ricotta
1 pound diced zucchini (3 to 4 cups)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallot or 1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound dried pasta
1/2 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock or pasta-cooking water
About 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

1. Set the ricotta on the counter to come to room temperature while you prepare the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it.
2. Put 1/3 cup of the oil in a medium to large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the zucchini and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini begin to brown, at least 10 minutes. Add the shallot, stir, and cook until the zucchini is tender, another minute or two. Turn off the heat.
3. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. When it is almost done, add the stock to the zucchini, turn the heat to low, and reheat gently. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water. Toss the pasta, zucchini, and ricotta together with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil; add a little of the pasta-cooking water if the dish seems dry. Taste, and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the basil and serve garnished with more basil.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recipe of the week - Grilled Lemon Pesto Shrimp Skewers


1lb = 20 shrimp - makes 5 skewers


2 C- fresh basil
1/2 C - olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 C pine nuts
Kosher salt and pepper

1lb of large shrimp (I prefer black tiger)
Bamboo skewers
1/8 C olive oil
Zest and juice of one large lemon

Soak skewers in water for one hour to prevent burning.
Combine basil, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts in food processor. Blend until smooth, season to taste. Set aside at room temperature.
Skewer and brush shrimp with olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Grill shrimp for 3 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Immediately after grilling, brush pesto on shrimp and serve. Pesto should be enjoyed fresh for the best flavor so do not cook shrimp with the pesto on it. You can always use this recipe as an appetizer or serve cold on top of your favorite salad - enjoy!

Courtesy and Copyright of Ken Jurgensen, Chives Innovative Catering, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Got Questions???

Hi friends - need help in the kitchen, do you have a grilling or cooking question, do you need some tips?  I hear the "heat" has been getting to some of you, so let me try and help!  Respond to my post or send me a quick email ( whatever works for you!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Grilling Sweet Corn

Happy 4th of July everyone!  Most of you will be having or going to a picnic today to celebrate the holiday.  I thought I would provide you with a few tips I found on grilling sweet corn.  I prefer the Husks Off Option #2 which is my favorite way of eating it.   Also, I use the grilled corn in my corn salsa recipe I posted and hope some of you have tried that.  Great side dish to bring to a picnic!

Husks On - Option #1
Peel back the husk without removing it from the corn cob.
Remove the thin silk that runs along the kernels of the corn. Remove excess silk with a vegetable brush or with a damp paper towel.
Fold husk back. Secure husk with kitchen twine.
Soak the corn in water for 1 to 3 hours before placing on the grill.
Place prepared corn on the grill directly over medium heat.
Cook 20 to 30 minutes, turning frequently throughout cooking time. Corn is done when it starts to steam.
When done, the husks will be charred but the corn inside the husks will be sweet and tender with a nice roasted flavor.

Husks On - Option #2
  1. Using a kitchen scissors, trim excess silk from the end of the corn.
  2. Soak corn in cold water for a minimum of 1 hour.
  3. Before placing on grill, shake to remove excess water.
  4. Grill for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, turning frequently.
  5. The husk and any remaining silk is removed after grilling. Use heat resistant gloves to protect your hands.

Husks Off - Option #1
Shuck the corn as shown above by peeling back the husk and completely removing it. Remove the thin silk that runs along the kernels of the corn. Remove excess silk with a vegetable brush or with a damp paper towel. Break or cut off any excess corn stalk.
Wrap each individual ear in aluminum foil. Spread softened butter on the ear and then season as desired.

After spreading butter and seasoning, wrap each ear tightly with the foil.
Puncture the foil to allow excess steam to escape while grilling.

Place the foil wrapped corn on the grill directly over medium heat. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, turning frequently throughout cooking time.
Remove corn from the grill and carefully open the foil wrap. Check corn for doneness. If it is not done, wrap the ear back up and place it back on the grill for 4 or 5 additional minutes.

Husks Off - Option #2
Carefully pull husks back off from the corn but do not detach it at the end. Remove the silk.
Tie the husks with string to hold them back and form a handle at the end of the ear of corn.
Mix 6 tablespoons of softened butter with 1 clove of garlic (minced) and 1 to 2 tablespoons of minced parsley. Stir butter mixture until smooth and then spread lightly on the ear of corn.
Place corn on the grill directly over medium heat. Arrange so that the husks hang off the edge of the grill or place foil under the husks in the area the husks will be placed. This will prevent them from burning.
Cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the corn frequently during the cooking time. Brush ears with the remaining butter mixture as they are cooking.
When the corn is done the ears will be golden brown. Remove from the grill and serve while warm.

  • Do not add salt to the water when cooking sweet corn because the salt will toughen the corn. Add a little sugar to the water to boost the flavor.
  • To cook a couple of pieces of sweet corn in a hurry, place two or three ears in a resealable plastic bag and add 1 tablespoon of water for each ear. Leave a slight opening in the bag and cook on high in the microwave for 2 minutes. Check for doneness and if not done, cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Sweet corn will lose its sweetness much faster if stored at room temperature compared to storing in the refrigerator. It is best to eat it as soon as possible after it has been picked.
  • Two to three medium ears of corn are equivalent to approximately 1 pound, depending on ear size. Two medium ears equal approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups of kernels.
  • If harvesting your own sweet corn, it is best to pick it early in the morning and eat it as soon as possible. If not cooking it soon after it is picked, store in the refrigerator until ready to cook. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creamy Cucumber side dish

This simple side dish gives a cool note to summer suppers and works well with salmon or lamb. I prefer the crisp crunch of an English cucumber to the waxy ones that require peeling. You may substitute sour cream for the yogurt. Any mild-flavored vinegar can be used in this warm weather recipe. Sweet onions tend to run large so a half will do.
Serves 4
  • 1 organic English cucumber (about one lb-sized)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup best quality Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • zest of one Meyer lemon
  1. Slice the cucumber and onion as thinly as possible. Place slices in a colander, sprinkle with the salt, stir and seat the colander over a bowl to catch the released liquid. Refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Discard the extra liquid and now rinse the salt from the cucumber and onion. Drain well and pat the slices dry using kitchen towels.
  3. Turn the cucumber and onion into a medium-sized bowl and add the sugar and vinegar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Fold in the yogurt, dill and lemon zest. Chill for an hour, stir again (juices will have settled) and serve.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Receipe of the week: Grilled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa or Corn Salsa

Grilled Pork* Tacos with Mango Salsa or Corn Salsa

1 pkg of corn tortillas (soft)
1 cup of shredded lettuce
1 lb of pork loin
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chili powder
Fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 of red onion for garnish
Kosher salt and pepper

Marinate pork with the cumin, coriander, chili powder and salt and pepper for 2 hours and grill to your preferred temperature; cut pork into strips; warm corn tortillas in a hot skillet or griddle for 10-15 seconds; place shredded lettuce on top of corn tortillas; add grilled pork loin; add either the mango salsa or the corn salsa; garnish with a flew thin slices red onion and fresh cilantro; fold and eat ... a little messy but good!  Enjoy.  Makes 8

*chicken, beef or shrimp can be substituted for pork

Mango Salsa
2 ripe mangos
1 Tbsp finely chopped red onions
1 Tbsp finely chopped red peppers
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
Cut mangos into rough cubes then mix all ingredients together

Corn Salsa
4 ears of cooked corn
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp chopped scallions
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut into small pieces
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Shave corn kernels (not too deep) off the cob and then mix all ingredients together, season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Recipe courtesy of Ken Jurgensen, Chives Innovative Catering

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Save R Gulf - check this out!!!

Save R Gulf is a (sea)grassroots effort created to organize the voices of residents and concerned citizens affected by the ongoing Gulf Oil Spill.  Our goal is to give us, all, a way to speak out and access the information needed to understand the extent of the crisis.  

GO TO Website:  Save R Gulf   Get the Magnet:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Salad - Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula

Makes: 4 to 6 servings 
Time: 15 minutes    

In Italy, where balsamic vinegar originated, strawberries and balsamic are served as a dessert. The combination is equally fantastic in a savory salad.

3 cups strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
1 tablespoon excellent balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups arugula leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Toss the strawberries with the vinegar and black pepper in a large salad bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add the arugula, sprinkle with salt, and toss again. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently one last time. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

***Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula and Goat Cheese. Before the final toss in Step 2, crumble 4 ounces of goat cheese over the salad.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dessert Pictures

Here is an example of a dessert tray from a small dessert party I did in a clients' home.  Want to see more go to:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Food Writer

New York Times writer, Mark Bittman, is one of my favorite food writers.  He has a great cookbook titled "How to Cook Everything" which I would suggest having on hand or give as a gift.  Check it out!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tampa Bay food, wine and beer events: Memorial Day 2010 edition

May 25, 2010 at 10:30 am by Franki Weddington

Flobots play at 97x's Backyard Barbecue on Saturday
Wednesday, May 26: The NoHo Bistro
Wine Wednesdays. The wine and tapas change weekly, so come back regularly and bring your BFFs, blind dates, co-workers, boy/girlfriends or, hell, someone else’s boyfriend. $15 for two glasses of wine paired with two tapas. 1714 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa (813-514-0691)
Thursday, May 27: SideBern’s
Grill & Chill BBQ. Messy, sticky, down-home cooking probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of SideBern’s, the hot younger sister of world-renowned steakhouse, Bern’s. But SideBern’s chef Chad Johnson isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty: he’s serving up Florida-raised pork, paired with ales, stouts and lagers from Coopers Beer, Australia’s only naturally-brewed, family-owned operation. $45. 7-9 p.m., 2208 W. Morrison Ave., Tampa (813-258-2233)
Thursday, May 27: The Florida Aquarium
Mistology: The Science Behind the Cocktail. Canadian Mist Whisky “Chief Entertaining Officer” Tim Laird and “Spirits Scientist” Steve Hughes answer the how and why of all of your bartending questions. Try your hand as a mixologist after the presentation, or sit back and let the expert bartenders do the work while you nosh on the array of whiskey-friendly appetizers. RSVP to Phyllis Kelly at 1-800-268-7266 or e-mail $15, $10 Florida Aquarium members. 6-8 p.m., 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa.
Many more events after the break:
Friday, May 28: World of Wines
Memorial Day Kick-Off Wine Tasting. Remember when you were a kid, and school got canceled on snow days (or for us native Floridians, hurricane days)? Well, now that we’re of drinking age, a three-day weekend brings the same level of excitement. Start your 72 hours of freedom off right at  tonight’s tasting of Argentinian and South African wines, paired with light hors d’oeuvres. $10. 6-8 p.m., 3431 S. West Shore Blvd., Tampa (813-835-9463)
Friday, May 28: Bern’s Fine Wines and Spirits
Over 90 Points, Under $20 Crush Hour. One of the most practical tastings we’ve ever seen — learn what you like in a wine, what qualities earn 90+ points, what to serve when you want to impress a date/boss/in-laws, and how to do it all affordably. You’ll sample wines from diverse regions including Italy, Argentina, Australia, and Napa Valley; you’ll try white, sparkling and red wines; and you’ll learn about old-world style production versus  modern production. After tonight’s Crush Hour, you’ll be like the Renaissance (wo)man of wine. $25. 6:30-8:30 p.m., 1002 S. Howard Ave., Tampa (813-250-9463)
Saturday, May 29: Vinoy Park
Backyard Barbecue. If you think the weather has been on the border of sweltering for the past few weeks, prepare yourself for four more months of thermometer-busting heat. What better to combat the dog days of summer than a beer garden tapping into dozens of selections from St. Pete’s World of Beer? Work up a sweat playing volleyball and corntoss before cooling down with a brew (or six); see daredevil motocross demos; and hear the sounds of Paper Tongues, Crash Kings, Flobots, Need To Breathe, American Bang and Rich Nix. $10. 501 5th Ave. NE, St. Petersburg.
Monday, May 31: Lions Club Beach House
Bluegrass Barbecue. The St. Petersburg Lions Club throws a Bluegrass Barbecue on Sunset Beach in Treasure Island. Admission is $15, but proceeds go to the visually impaired, and admission includes all kinds of good-for-the-soul sounds, from Gypsy Wind to the Bluegrass Parlor Band and Gator Grass. Nosh on spicy ‘cue and hot brats, and put the heat out with a cold brew or glass of wine. 12 p.m.,  9300 W. Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island,
Monday, May 31 – Saturday, June 6
Italian Lifestyle Wine Dinners. Most Memorial Day food fests are full-on Americana, but if you’re looking to branch out, check out the Italian Lifestyle Wine Dinners, a six-night series of prix fixe dinner-and-wine pairings from May 31 to June 5. Proceeds from the dinners, the Abilities Foundation’s latest project, benefit job placement services for disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Choose from an international array of cuisine at Paddy Burke’s Irish Pub, Middle Grounds Grill, Savannah’s CafĂ©, Madfish, Roy’s and The Venue. Visit for full schedule and list of locations.
Saturday, June 5: Dunedin Brewery
Hoppy Endings IPA Festival. A celebration of the flower clusters that brewmasters use to bitter their beer. The cheekily-named event features a variety of India Pale Ales (including those of the double and triple variety) that will highlight the importance of hops — particularly during the opening blind tasting. Your 25 bucks gets you a raffle ticket and souvenir tasting glass; plus you can sample foods expressly prepared to complement the 20-25 beers that are expected on tap. $25. 7 p.m.-midnight, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, (727-736-0606). –Anthony Salveggi
Saturday, June 5 – Sunday, June 6: England Brothers Bandshell Park
Pinellas Pepper Fest. The flavor adventure starts Saturday afternoon with the fourth annual Pinellas Pepper Fest. Local vendors will bring the heat, letting you sample and purchase the spicy foods and sauces that hurt so good, while also offering BBQ and a variety of pepper plants for sale. $2 general admission, kids 12 and under free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., 5010 81st  Ave. N., Pinellas Park (727-423-8433). –Anthony Salveggi
May – June: Willow Herbal Delights Garden
Going Organic with Willow. Upcoming classes with herbalist Willow LaMonte include: “Gathering Wisdom From a Flower: Herbs for Women’s Health” An eight-week class that covers herbal care for adolescent girls; pregnancy preparation, nursing, and weaning; peri- and menopausal women; Plants to ease stress, strengthen immune systems, encourage breast health, support nutritional needs, and benefit skin; Using fresh and dried herbs for teas, tinctures, vinegars, and bath soaks. (May 25, June 8 and 22, July 6 and 20, and August 3, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., $100-$150); “Wild Edibles Walk” Meet wild edibles high in nutrition that many of us have growing in our own yards, plus medicinals, wildlife habitat plants, and providers of garden and basket-making supplies. (10 a.m.-noon Fri., June 4 and 10-11:30 a.m. or 1:30-3 p.m. Sat., June 20, $10-$15). Preregistration required for all classes. 2211 Ray Rd., Valrico (813-643-7285)
Tampa Bay Fresh Markets It’s always the perfect season to get fresh, organic local produce at these markets across the Bay:
Corey Sunday Market. The now-annual market returns with more fresh produce, plants and flowers, crafts, foods and live music (9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays, Corey Avenue, St. Pete Beach,
Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market. This year-round market offers fresh produce and seafood, artwork and live entertainment. (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday on Beach Blvd., in Gulfport’s Florida Waterfront district)
Safety Harbor Farmer’s Market. Florida weather is perfect for getting out of the house and finding fresh, organic produce, plants, flowers, baked and gourmet goodies, along with hand-crafted art and jewelry. Visit for more info. (Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Continues through May 27, John Wilson Park, 401 Main St., Safety Harbor)
Sweetwater Market. The organic farm offers straight-from-the-garden produce, fair trade coffee, chocolate and tea, organic clothes and eco-friendly products, all to the tune of live music and often accompanied by yoga or movement classes. (Runs noon to 4 p.m. most Sundays through May 30. Visit for more info)