My horoscope says my health practices, my house of long-term goals and achievement, and my discipline are aligning with the stars, priming me for powerful life changes. (Take note, Pisces, it’s a good time to be us!) Zodiac voodoo aside, I swim and soak up vitamin D all season long waiting for the fall. I use the month of August to get my ducks in a row for clients to return from vacation. When school starts, I buckle in getting everyone back on schedule with food, and before I know it, it’s the holidays!
There is still a month left of summer, the Olympics are uniting our planet for 16 days, and I was a guest on the Leonard Lopate show! (More on that below.) These three events on the calendar have me more motivated than ever.
Did you watch the Opening Ceremonies? These Olympic super humans coming together in team spirit, representing their countries and their sports are some of the biggest dream makers in the world. Inspiring stories of overcoming defeat, staring down adversity and declaring victory. It’s intoxicating! Despite being the daughter of a professional athlete, I’m not a huge sports fan outside of the Olympics. But I am a fan of goal setting, healthy competition, ambassadors, and hard work being recognized. This global platform always recharges my own personal motivation.
This last week my own hard work was recognized. I was given an opportunity to be a bit of an ambassador for caterers and chefs on one of my favorite radio shows. A few months ago, I catered a cocktail party for a longtime client and one of her guests was a producer for the Leonard Lopate show. Introductions were made, emails were exchanged, I was pitched to be part of Leonard’s Food Fridays segment, and I was approved! This was a huge opportunity. I wake up to NPR every day and it is my number one source of news and culture.
From the NPR website: “Host Leonard Lopate lets you in on the best conversations with writers, actors, ex-presidents, dancers, scientists, comedians, historians, grammarians, curators, filmmakers, and do-it-yourself experts.” I got to sit in front of the famous WNYC microphone next to New York City catering pioneer and huge inspiration, Mary Cleaver of the Cleaver Company. Mary and I had so much fun getting to know one another on air as we shared our stories with Leonard and his audience. We are both artists that brought our creativity into the kitchen. Click here to listen to the interview.
Even though I’m very often in front of a professional microphone recording voice over work, I was really nervous. My mind was full of comparisons between Mary’s beloved catering company and where I am in my career. I was afraid I would be asked a question and not have a compelling answer. I’m a huge NPR fan, I couldn’t imagine being good enough at anything to be featured on one of their radio shows, least of all Leonard Lopate! Luckily, my dear friend Christopher reminded me how much I love what I do and that I only needed to speak from that place, that love. (He also said, “Let this experience be a welcome mat to all the goodness on its way from your horoscope.”) I love the idea of laying out a welcome mat for all of your hopes and dreams.
The morning of the interview, I went to dance class to get out of my head and into my body so I would be more relaxed and present for what was to come. As I was dancing, I made friends with my nerves and anxiety. I remember reading an article about one of the elite athletes preparing for Rio. I can’t remember if it was a swimmer or a gymnast, but it was a woman and she said, “Nerves are just a friendly reminder to your body that you’re doing something extraordinary.” Aha! Now that the Leonard Lopate show is behind me, I can say that it truly felt extraordinary. It felt good to tell my story, pay tribute to my clients and staff, share my family history, and to make one of my NPR dreams come true.
We talked about tips for easy entertaining during the interview. Mary and I agreed that room temperature food is a secret to our success when cooking for a crowd. Here is a recipe that cooks up at the last minute and can stay at room temperature throughout the length of a party. These little peppers are the perfect finger food. Shishito peppers are an heirloom Japanese variety found all over our farmers’ markets here in New York City and served on a lot of restaurant and bar menus. If you can’t find them in your area, search online to find some seeds and get them growing. Here is a tasty snack that seems fancy, but that can be easily prepared in your own home.
Blistered Shishito Peppers with Alabama White Sauce
Heat a small frying pan with a thin coating of olive oil. Once the oil is really hot, toss 3 cups of shishito peppers into the pan. They will spit and jump a bit, but give the pan a shake until all the peppers have touched the pan surface and been coated with oil. Let them blister a bit and blacken in spots. This only takes about one minute! Remove from the heat and slide the peppers onto a plate. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Pick up each pepper by the stem and eat the whole thing. One in ten peppers is spicy, the rest are mild and sweet.