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.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Are you using? Well you should be …

Using Kosher salt that is!  Kosher salt has been the “gourmet” choice for generations bringing out the true flavor of fresh food.  I more often use Morton Kosher salt, a coarse salt renowned for its exceptional texture, bendability, stickability and pure flavor.  Generally, savvy cooks prefer kosher salt when cooking, since its coarse texture is easier to take a pinch of when seasoning savory dishes.  Be careful on the amount that you use; it’s not like table salt. Start using today and give me your thoughts.  – KJ    

“Where would we be without salt?” – James Beard

Friday, January 18, 2013


Vegetable & Barley Soup
Soup is always a favorite of mine especially this time of year and yes, my New England friends, even here in Florida it gets a little chilly for my liking.  Dinner at my house can be a challenge.  My wife recently lost a lot of weight and wants to keep it off (the potatoes she’ll remove) and my daughter well, she’s 8, and I always like to feed her something other than her usual choice of chicken fingers.  This is a great fast meal for everyone to enjoy!  KJ

Serves 6 to 8
  • 1/8 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 8 sprigs fresh parsley plus 3 tablespoons chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds leeks, white and light green parts sliced 1/2 inch thick and washed thoroughly
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (preferably a sauvignon blanc)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Grind porcini with spice grinder until they resemble fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds. Measure out 2 teaspoons porcini powder; reserve remainder for other use. Using kitchen twine, tie together parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf.
2. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, celery, wine, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and celery is softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Add water, broth, barley, porcini powder, herb bundle, and garlic; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.
4. Add potatoes, turnip, and cabbage; return to simmer and cook until barley, potatoes, turnip, and cabbage are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
5. Remove pot from heat and remove herb bundle. Stir in peas, lemon juice, and chopped parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.

The soup can also be garnished with crisp bacon, crumbled cheddar cheese, or croutons.