Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hello World! Have a Margarita!

Please, join me in a toast: to the first post of the Blog for Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet-To-Go-Go!

And let's make it a social! Here's my own recipe, modified over the years from my brother's and father's recipes:

Hot Mama's 3-2-1 Margarita Recipe
Makes 2 Servings

3 parts (6 oz.) Jose Cuervo Especial Gold Tequila
2 parts (4 oz.) Nellie & Joe's Famous Key Lime Juice
1 part (2 oz.) Triple Sec (I used Dekuyper because we had it )
1 Tbsp. Madhava Agave Nectar Amber (if you can find the Raw, use that!) (and swish the tablespoon in the pitcher to get the full amount into the mix - stuff's sticky!)
1/4 tsp. (leveled) Kosher Salt for the drink (+ extra  pile to rim the glasses in)
2 large scoops ice -  the cubes should take up the volume of the liquid, but still "swim" freely

Combine all of the measured ingredients above in a blender pitcher; also form a small pile of salt for rimming on a separate plate.
Blend on Ice Crush setting until fully smooth
Dip the rims of the glasses in the margaritas in the blender pitcher to wet them, then rim then in the extra salt.
Pour in the Margaritas & Enjoy!
Notes: The 3-2-1 ratio of Cuervo Gold to Nellie & Joe's Key Lime to Triple Sec makes an absolutely outstanding Margarita, no matter if you are using ounces or bathtubs to measure it out. Always excellent results. Add the sweetener and salt to taste, and the ice or water to your level of preferred alcohol strength. I use the Agave nectar because 1 - it's made from the same cactus that the Tequila comes from, and, 2- we always have it on hand in our house (my kid has ADHD, it has a "slow burn" compared with sugar)


I'm Liz, quite literally the head cook and bottle-washer around here: Chef, Owner & Mama of Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet-To-Go-Go (the Personal Chef & Catering company), and the person who will be writing these blog posts, at least until my beautiful daughter grows up, takes over the Family Business, and lets me retire in splendor to a beach where I will spend my golden years under the shady trees, creating new recipes for Rum and Tequila, and Talking Like A Pirate every Tharrghsday. But I digress...

I hope you like the 3-2-1 Margarita recipe. It really is my Personal Secret Recipe*, and it has spoiled me for all others, except maybe the ones from Tommy Bahama's in Naples, Florida. Maybe.

I hope the Blog Name made you smile the instant you read it, because it actually has a story of its own, and by way of telling you the story of Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet-To-Go-Go, I can introduce myself as well.

The first Personal Chef business I started, years ago, was in Seattle, Washington before my daughter was born. It was called Today's Gourmet, and I was even featured in a USA Today article about personal chefs at that time. However, there had been another, WAY-COOLER name that had popped up when I was brainstorming what to name my business: Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet-To-Go-Go. I loved it! It was so fun! Nobody would ever forget a business with a name like that! Yay!

My then-husband was horrified.

Oh well, he wasn't a bad guy; he just didn't share my delightful sense of whimsy. Nor my effervescent charm, and quirky sense of humor. Talk Like a Pirate Tharrghsdays did NOT happen in his well-ordered world. Ever. Poor fellow. I named my first business Today's Gourmet, and I was very happy with my clients, and busy, until...well... Life. Once we both realized it just couldn't work out, our baby girl and I took the first plane out, back to the glorious home of my birth, my beloved Philadelphia. Cultural Center of the Universe. Where wild Wawa's roam free, and spectacularly fresh sandwiches are our Inalienable Right at any hour of the clock. Land of cheese steaks, Taylor Pork Roll, Tastykakes, blue-claw crabs, Jersey tomatoes and corn, Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple and handmade sausages, fresh milk and dairy to make the angels weep. Where a thousand phenomenal Italian restaurants fight it out like culinary gladiators for the honor of your patronage, and you can get a soft pretzel The Way God Intended: doughy, wet, lightly smoked by the fumes of a Septa bus tailpipe, served in a brown paper bag by the unwashed hands of a guy standing by the side of the street, with mustard.

Did I mention my quirky sense of humor? Yeah.

So, flash-forward 10 or so years, and it turned out along the way that our darling daughter had some pretty unique and special issues, that needed both of us to step up and bring our A-games. Her Dad and I? Our relationship has never been better. Really. We rock as divorced co-parents in a way we never did as a married couple. But the road from there to here meant that I had quite a few years of struggle, trying to juggle being a mom of a kid with special needs, with a career that paid the bills. And then just for fun, The Great Recession hit us all.

And finding myself unemployed, in a tough job market, I struggled. Really. Until one day, I was reading the blog of another young single mom, with two little girls of her own, who was going through chemotherapy and was talking about how tired her treatments leave her, and her own mom had passed, and how much she needed a way to take care of her family over the ongoing weeks of her battle. Wow. Talk about a cosmic slap upside the head... there I was, thinking I had problems?!?!

She inspired me to try again, even though the thought absolutely terrified me.

So I prayed, really hard. The Big Prayer - a Novena. And I talked to my Wonderful Man (he's "new" you'll hear about him later!), and then I had a moment where I got this crazy name of "ManiFEASTation" in my head and I knew that was just such a terrible, terrible pun it was not what I was supposed to do... but I was supposed to cook for people who really needed me. People who were recovering from surgery or doing chemo or just had life situations where they needed good, nurturing food from someone who could think in flavor and modify any recipe to fit their needs. People who needed my creativity in coming up with the nutritional balance they needed, and menus that would help tempt them, and still feed their families. I had renewed my ServSafe certification in my former job, which I'll post about sometime later, I'm sure.

But I was still shaky, unsure if I should take the chance again, to stick my neck out and try to start my own business again - honestly, it had been a rocky 10 years. And then the most amazing thing happened, I posted on Facebook that I was praying for guidance, about making this decision, and so many people sent me positive energy and prayers, and in the comments one night, I joked about the name, and at least it wasn't "Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet To Go Go".

And everybody stopped. I got all kinds of messages, most everyone loved the name and asked WHY wasn't I using it?

And then I thought back... 10 years... wow, ...  that name I never used, still stuck with me.

And I still liked it. A LOT.

Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet-To-Go-Go.

It made me smile. It made me laugh. And it made me realize, I'd come full-circle. Back when I first thought of the name Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet-to-Go-Go, I wasn't ready to BE "Mama" yet. I was still a Noob, at so many, many things. I had a lot to learn, and a lot to live, and a lot to grok, and a road to travel.

Once Upon A Time, I graduated at the top of my class in 1999 from the AIS culinary program set up by French Master Chef Roland Henin, CMC, and I also had a BA from Villanova University. I am ServSafe certified, and can cook for people with sensitive or compromised immune systems, such as post-surgery, or in chemotherapy, young children or seniors, and I am able to customize all of the recipes I make, or create new ones, to provide the nutrition as well as the delicious flavors that are so important to lifting a person's energy and wellness. I make all of my menus with the whole person, and the whole family, in mind.

My new business name is Hot Mama Tarditi's Gourmet-To-Go-Go. I hope that name makes each one of my clients smile, and lifts their spirits before they even take their first bite. I want to enliven, uplift and nourish people's whole beings with my cooking, body, mind and spirit. I want to create beautiful food, to keep learning and creating new things, that make people happy - no matter if they are celebrating the great things that life brings, or are struggling through tough times. That's the story of Hot Mama's. That's the story of me.

Welcome, Friends!

(Now, let me get back in the Kitchen, where I belong....)

* For the business, we DO pick up from the PLCB State Stores for our clients, as an errand, for only a set, standard service charge for the stop made: clients get the original PLCB receipt for their purchase with no up-charge. We don't sell alcohol.

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