I have a dream that this holiday season, a chef will magically appear in my kitchen and prepare everything on my wishlist so I can just relax and kick back with family and friends. This has to be the perfect Christmas gift that anyone can give so if it is not on your list, it’s not a bad idea to add it.
One chef who can make your holiday wish come true is John Beals, executive chef of Food Lovers Catering and Events based in Atlanta, Georgia. Since leaving his hometown of St. Lois, Missouri, he has created memorable culinary experiences for a host of celebrities, athletes and political leaders.
“I host a lot of events in Atlanta and I have a very simple but elegant approach with my style. The food is bold with flavors but at the same time is identifiable. There is nothing like biting into something and you are able to identify all the flavors. To me that is good eating, “says Beals.
Beals goes on to add that his style is clean and all of the ingredients used are locally sourced to take it to the next level.
Known for his soul food tapas, clients’ taste buds are going crazy for his collard green eggrolls with a sweet potato dipping sauce. “People are literary jumping off the roof for this dish. I mean I am seeing it more and more on my repeated clients' request menu. As well as the famous salmon croquette, well we do a chicken croquette with a cream sauce that will make you die and go to heaven.”
Another recipe that wowed filmmaker Tyler Perry is his mac-n-cheese which Beals says has been passed down and tested from generation to generation to generation. When asked for a hint of what makes it so wonderful, he says, “My mom, she never knew this at the time, when we do our mac-n-cheese, we start our mac-n-cheese with a béchamel. Now if you are a chef or you’re a cook then you know where I am coming from and I like to keep it like that.”
This holiday season, Beals is seeing the trend go toward requests for non-traditional foods. So out with the turkey and ham and in with the smoked chicken and applewood sausage, cornbread dressing to sweet potatoes with cranberries and sun-dried herbs.
Staying in line with non-traditional recipe and technique ideas, Beals offers these tips:
1. Be creative with dressings. One that he likes to do is a seafood dressing with shrimp.
2. For collard greens, use smoked turkey sausage vs. hammocks.
3. If ham is on your menu, take a root beer soda and pineapple juice, reduce by half and base your ham with it and as a result, it will be the talk of the dinner.
For more great tips and ideas as well as a consultation for your upcoming holiday event, you’ll have to connect with Beals directly by going to http://flcandevents.com or calling 404.422.9376.
Meanwhile, enjoy his collard green eggroll recipe and let us know how it turns out.
COLLARD GREEN EGG ROLLS
1 cup collard greens, lightly chopped and completely dry of liquid
4 – 6 egg roll skins
Sweet Potato Dipping Sauce
¼ cup of rice wine vinegar
½ cup of brown sugar
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
½ cup of water
1. Dry collard greens completely. Layout 1 egg roll skin with a corner facing towards you.
2. Place about 2 ounces of collard greens on the skin and fold left then right corner towards the center of egg roll and continue to roll egg into a log. Whip the egg to make an egg wash and lightly brush the final corner to seal the egg roll skin.
3. In a large skillet, heat fry oil at 375 degrees. Place egg roll in oil cook until golden brown. Remove hot egg roll from oil and drain on paper towel or small rack.
Sweet Potato Dipping Sauce
1. Place all ingredients into a small pot. Cook sweet potatoes until done.
2. Put cooked potatoes in a blender or food processor and blend liquid until smooth.