Carried away with Cooking
July 30, 2012
Some parents in double-income families can come home to their Manhattan apartments and whip up a dinner of grilled Caesar salad, skirt steak chimichurri with brown rice salad, and chocolate banana crepes.
Those who can’t quite manage that on their own can call Kate Ferrara Homes, ’04, who runs Carried Away, an accessible personal chef service, which can do everything from catering a dinner party or offering a food demonstration to—more typically—preparing a week’s worth of meals for families.
“People get the whole package of having a personal chef where you get custom food—and it’s anything you want, and it’s cooked in your home—but it’s not the commitment of having a full-time personal chef,” said Homes, who is married to Harper Homes, ’04.
“I go once a week and we agree on a menu. Then I go and grab the groceries, do the cooking, and leave everything with reheating instructions. It’s so great for New York. People love services here. You have a ton of double-working households.”
After earning her degree in French from Loyola, Homes collected a Bachelor of Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu. She worked at the Food Network and for two James Beard Award-winning chefs before she moved to New York City and started her personal chef service—with a particular focus on serving families with young children.
“We just go with how people want to do it. My philosophy is that the kids should be exposed to the real food, but we can tailor anything,” said Homes, who often takes calls from new customers who have heard she can cook kosher, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. “We’re not the nutritionists, but we’re the link between what you hear from the nutritionist and making it taste good. Especially in New York, a lot of people have a trainer or a nutritionist. So many women say my nutritionist wants me to eat whole grains and beans and they just don’t taste good.”
Those women haven’t tasted Homes’ sausage with white beans and kale. Or her cashew chicken lettuce wraps. Or her crabcakes and truffle beef sliders. She assures her clients that everything can be customized to their tastes. And she often thinks back to her time at Loyola and how it influenced her interest in food.
“Having the French background and studying abroad (in France) was super fun,” she said. “Being over there, I would actually go to the farmers’ market in the town where I was studying. We’d go on wine tours, and go to little cheese shops. I was so pumped about food.”
See Carried Away’s recipe for Cashew Chicken Mushroom Lettuce Cups on the next page.
Cashew Chicken Mushroom Lettuce Cups
1 lb ground chicken (dark meat)
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 small bunch scallions, sliced thin
2 T toasted sesame oil
3 T soy sauce
1 T chopped cilantro
1 lime, ½ in wedges
2/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped
1 head boston or bibb lettuce, washed and separated into ‘cups’
Sriracha or other hot sauce
Season the ground chicken with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chicken, breaking into pieces with a spoon. Stir in mushrooms, garlic and ginger and continue to cook until most of the cooking liquid has cooked off. Stir in scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce. If you like spicy, now is the time to stir in a tsp (or more) of hot sauce. Alternately, you can serve it on the side later. When the liquids have cooked down, transfer to a bowl and let cool before mixing in chopped cilantro and juice of one lime. Taste for seasoning and add more lime juice, salt or pepper if necessary.
To serve, mound a small amount of chicken mixture on each lettuce cup. Top with cashews and serve with cilantro and lime on the side.
Created by Kate Homes for Carried Away