Sometimes going out for dinner every night you’re on vacation isn’t desirable, but the thought of cooking (and the cleaning that comes with it) when you’re supposed to be relaxing isn’t appealing, either. We have another solution for you! Hire a personal chef to create a meal in your Stay Charlottesville home, either for your family or a group of friends. That’s what this group of executives, on retreat at our Crossfields property, did last weekend. Jerry Sole communicated with them before they arrived, created a menu, brought the groceries, and gave them a mixology demonstration as well as a cooking demonstration all before the party of eight settled in for a delicious, home-cooked meal.
A Michigan native, Jerry lived for years in NYC and LA before recently relocating to Charlottesville. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu in LA, and ran a catering business there for years. Jerry and his wife, Ann, are enjoying the bustling local restaurant scene, as well as the many wineries in and around Charlottesville. One unexpected thrill is the vast food resources the area has to offer. “There is a real tie to the land here that I wasn’t expecting to find. This dedication to quality food products allows us all to enjoy a wonderful assortment of locally-grown produce, as well as really delicious everyday ingredients like fresh eggs, locally-made cheese, honey, hard cider and, best of all, properly raised and butchered meats. For me, this makes cooking especially pleasurable.”
Three-Textured Asparagus Salad
Inspired by NYT recipe writer Mark Bittman
This is a spring and summer salad that is surprisingly simple to prepare and always delicious. And, as the asparagus is served raw, the vegetable retains all of its nutrients.
1 ½ to 2 pounds of asparagus will yield 2 to 4 servings.
Begin by removing the ends of each stalk of asparagus. Snapping a stalk towards the bottom will tell you where to make the cut. Gently hold the flower end of a stalk and, using a vegetable peeler, remove the dark green outer skin of each spear. Peel a ribbon once and turn the stalk to repeat. One stalk should yield 3 to 5 ribbons, depending on its thickness. Once the stalks have been peeled, set aside the ribbons in a bowl. Next, remove the flower ends of each stalk. Add the flowers to the bowl. Finally, cut each stalk into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Bite into one of the stalk pieces. If you find the stalk it a bit too thick, slice each one in half lengthwise. Add the cut stalks into the bowl and gently mix together the three textures.
Next, divide the asparagus into portions and place onto plates. Lightly drizzle each with a good-quality olive or walnut oil. Next, drizzle either freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste over each, or use vinegar of your choosing. Finally, shave some Parmesan cheese to taste over each, and season.