Five Maudies – Highly Recommended
This post is long overdo and has ben on my to-do list for months. But, it deserves to be written.In early January, just before I left for training to prepare to go to Afghanistan, Lynn and me used our last few days together renting a cabin in the north Georgia mountains, in the Blairsville area. It was our last chance to get away together for months or more to come and we love the mountains of north Georgia, east Tennessee, and west North and South Carolina. In our younger days, we took our kids wilderness backpacking in the Cohutta Wilderness that is located mostly in north Georgia, with a little in Tennessee.
When I thought I was going to work in Abu Dhabi, I had already made reservations to go to New York City and eat in a few of the best restaurants in the country, including Le Bernadin. That wasn’t going to happen. We brought all the best food and ingredients to cook some lovely meals for ourselves at the cabin and we did. Prior to leaving, I ran across a link to a private chef who
was in the area ad would come to your cabin and prepare a gourmet meal. That sounded like fun and the price was pretty reasonable. There was a menu to select from and he would bring everything and make it in the cabin kitchen and serve you.
We went over the menu. Being winter, I tried to select things that were local as much as possible, knowing that some things would be impossible to obtain locally this time of year. The menu was fairly short, yet varied enough for anyone to get something they would like.
Chef Douglas arrived on-time and unloaded a couple of coolers and boxes of food and supplies. He arranged his materials, then cleared the table and put on a nice linen tablecloth. We weren’t expecting that. He set the table with nice silverware and cloth napkins and topped it off with a vase of fresh cut flowers. Very nice. He set his cookbook down and suggested we could look at it and purchase it if we wanted.
One thing I was concerned about was if our personalities would get along and how strange it would be to have someone else cooking our dinner while we sat there. Lynn had said that anyone doing private chef work like this would have the personality to be comfortable with and get along with the clients. I was worried also if Little Buddy would
get in the way. All my worries were unfounded, of course. Chef Douglas was very personable and quick comfortable talking about a range of topics. Little Buddy was fine after she realized he was no threat. It turns out that he and his wife had left the corporate food world to buy a small organic farm up here in the mountains. This was a great way to bring in some cash. Organic veggie farming does not pay well for smallholders, as I well know.
The full menu (subject to change, of course) is at the end of the post. I selected White Bean ad Roasted Garlic Spread, Organic Baby Spinach Salad, Local Mountain Trout, Risotto and Local Apple Bread Pudding. Lynn selected Smoked Trout and Goat Cheese Tartlet (I would have selected this, but I was having the trout entrée and we were sharing, in any case), Organic Seasonal Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cinnamon Dusted Sweet Potato Spears and Bananas Foster. We brought our own wine, a nice German Gewurtztraminer.
First off, the meal was wonderful. He prepared everything from scratch, including the tartlet, and everything was outstanding. My fish was perfectly cooked, and fish is always a huge worry of mine, it is so often overdone. The smoked trout and goat cheese tartlet was to die for and the white bean spread and pita triangles were wonderful. I make a pretty mean white bean and garlic spread myself and this one was perfect. If you’ve never made or had it, it is easy and similar to hummus in a lot of ways. This version was silky smooth. The salads were both good, if not overly exciting. The balsamic Vinaigrette was very good. The entrées were both outstanding, as I mentioned, my fish was perfectly done and the pecan crust was
thin and a perfect complement rather than overpowering the delicate taste of the trout. Lynn’s cordon bleu was very nice, she was impressed. Dessert was a special treat. My local apple bread pudding was excellent. I know “modern” chefs think Bananas Foster is out-of-date and “uncool” these days, but ignore them. This was just plain fun to watch being made and the taste was to die for. Never be intimidated to order it. All in all, a perfect meal, with Chef Douglas cooking and serving, including pouring our wine. throughout what was a great experience. We bought the cookbook (which was a bit too expensive) as a souvenir and it has some good recipes in it. Not a cookbook I would normally buy, it is aimed at beginners and has some good basic tips, as well as some recipes guaranteed to lead to your success. The only negative thing with the entire experience was when Chef Douglas packed up and also took the fresh flowers. That was a tad tacky, we thought, but a minor thing.
If you are ever in a self-catering cabin in Chef Douglas’ neck of the woods, I highly recommend you hire him as your private chef for a wonderful meal. He also will come and prepare meals for you to heat up later. All the info is on his web site, cabincuisine.com. Highly recommended.
In-Cabin Dinner Menu (from cabincuisine.com)
Below you will find the menu from which you may choose your meal. Each Gourmet Four Course Meal includes your choice of appetizer, salad, entrée, side dish and dessert. In addition, each meal is served with warm fresh bread.
Each guest should choose an appetizer, salad, entrée, side dish and dessert.
Smoked Trout and Goat Cheese Tartlet
Local apple wood smoked trout combined with local goat cheese presented in golden brown puff pastry and finished with a sun-dried tomato and basil pesto aioli
White Bean and Roasted Garlic Spread
Pureed white beans, roasted garlic and sage on pita triangles and topped with tomato, cucumber and red onion salsa finished with a sweet balsamic vinegar reduction
Greek and Spanish olive with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and feta cheese served on French bread slices
Jumbo Gulf Shrimp Cocktail
A classic made from plump jumbo Gulf shrimp with lemon and a tangy cocktail sauce
Asian Pot Stickers
Pan fried Chinese dumplings filled with Southern style slow roasted shredded pork bar-b-q and drizzled with a slightly sweet Asian sesame, honey & ginger sauce
Chef Douglas’ (Almost) Famous Crab Cakes
Lump crab meat lightly pan fried in extra virgin olive oil and served with a spicy Creole remoulade sauce. May also be ordered as an entrée for $75
Toasted French bread slices topped with tomato and basil fresh from Chef Douglas’ garden with extra virgin olive oil and prosciutto from Italy. Only available seasonally from June through September.
Organic Seasonal Mixed Greens
Please choose one dressing for each mixed greens salad
Fresh organic seasonal greens with choice of Ranch, Thousand Island, blue cheese or fresh made balsamic vinaigrette dressings.
Organic Baby Spinach Salad
Fresh organic baby spinach with Mandarin oranges, toasted slivered almonds, sliced mushrooms, feta cheese and dressed with a fresh made balsamic vinaigrette
Fresh hearts of romaine lettuce with Parmesan cheese, croutons and creamy Caesar dressing
All entrées include your choice of appetizer, salad, side dish, dessert and warm fresh bread.
Please choose one side dish from the list below per entrée
Chicken Cordon Bleu – $65
A French classic worthy of the Blue Ribbon for which is named made with locally raised organic chicken filled with Gruyeres cheese and Virginia ham .
Mediterranean Chicken – $65
Oven baked locally raised organic chicken breast with Greek and Spanish olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh basil and feta cheese topped with a garlic and white wine cream sauce.
Apple Glazed Medallions of Pork Tenderloin – $70
Tender locally raised natural pork medallions oven baked and glazed with local apples.
Filet Mignon – $80
A hand cut eight ounce tender locally raised, grass fed, natural, dry aged beef fillet finished with red wine and portabello mushrooms.
Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail – $95
A hand cut eight ounce tender locally raised, grass fed, natural, dry aged beef fillet and steamed lobster tail with drawn butter.
Rack of Lamb with Rosemary – $80
An oven roasted western lamb rack coated with fresh rosemary
Salmon with Lemon and Dill Sauce – $70
Fresh salmon steak pan-seared and finished with a light lemon and fresh dill sauce
Local Mountain Trout – $70
Fresh local Rainbow trout coated in crushed pecans and baked.
Vegetarian Napoleon – $65
Fresh vegetables sautéed in olive oil layered with mozzarella and placed between slices of a large sautéed portabella mushroom cap.
Each entrée is served with your choice side dish.
Please choose one side dish per entrée
Herbed mashed potatoes
Risotto (creamy Italian rice) with portabella mushrooms
Cinnamon dusted sweet potato spears
Steamed fresh mixed vegetables
Hot Fudge Cake
Individual chocolate cake with a molten hot fudge center served with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream
Seasonal Fruit Crisp
Chef’s choice of in-season fresh local apples, peaches or berries with crushed pecans served with vanilla ice cream
Local Apple Bread Pudding
A traditional southern favorite with local mountain apples and cinnamon served with caramel and vanilla sauces
A classic presentation of bananas sautéed in butter with brown sugar and cinnamon then flambéed in rum and served with vanilla ice cream
Fresh Fruit and Fresh Berry Sorbet
Chef’s choice of in-season fresh fruit and in-season local berry sorbet
Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Tart
Individual tart layered with crunchy peanut butter, thin sliced bananas and rich chocolate then drizzled with caramel sauce.