Quite recently, a very special friend introduced me to a new acquaintance as a food blogger. She called me a cook. She spoke of my affinity for food, excitement for travel and the irrepressible passion I have for exploring the happenings in a variety of places. I am very much a grass-is-always-greener type individual and like to be in the thick of the action, so the latter analysis was true. I must admit however, I did a double take at the term "food blogger". I am not used to being generously colored as so. I had to tell myself, you wear another hat now Elizabeth. You are in fact a blogger and a food blogger at that. You focus on food and what to do with it. Oh what a wonderful world.

For many years, I presented myself as a Corporate Communications professional. What always followed was a comprehensive introduction to the firm for whom I was working. Upon moving to Charlotte in 2009, I dove into a business arena quite foreign to me. At the time, my company was heavily focused on carbon based products. I spoke in great length about graphite electrodes and steel manufacture. Anodes, cathodes and graphite specialties quickly made their ways into my lexicon. In due time, I spoke to carbon fibers, polyacrylonitrile and carbonization. Lighter than aluminum as well as steal and stronger than both. I introduced folks to massive offshore wind turbine rotor blades that I saw being created by hand in northern Germany. Men appeared the size of ants working along the colossal blades. Once upon a time, I even had the opportunity to climb inside of one. I learned about composite parts and went on business trips to see the actual products as well as technology in Los Angeles, Seattle, Everett, Paris and London. Finally, I became well versed in the automotive arena. Trips across Germany and again out west to the great state of Washington introduced terms like "serial production" and "paradigm shift". I loved my job and my international role within the organization. More importantly, I was committed to communicating this passion to the outside world. 

In the business context, I have my "birth to current" elevator speech down to a science. I am pleased to speak of my background when and where the audience commands so. As briefly as I can, which is a challenge for me at times, I speak about my birth in Dallas, Texas to an international family. I always touch on my South African and German roots. My father once coined we Breyer's a "global family" and this term rang genuine for us all. I recall one Christmas when we could not congregate a cause of logistics. I was in Germany, Keith in China and Michelle New York City. Until now, this was a first and last. Better luck next time. My folks lived overseas for the better part of more than a decade. Home was Wiesbaden. I speak to being a Tarheel and the semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy that served as a stepping stone for my ambition to live and work in the global arena. In 2002, I moved three hours down the Autobahn from my parents to a marvelous city called Dusseldorf. I had taken a job at the global headquarters of a multinational firm. After two tremendous years, the bosses wanted to send me to their U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey. I had seen enough Sex and the City to know that when in the area, young people want to be in the Big Apple. No Jersey judgement by the way. My sister studied at university there, my brother-in-law is from Bridgewater and an ex-boyfriend had a lingering flirtation with Hoboken. I have nothing but love for Jersey. Perhaps more to the point, I was 25 and delighting in my life abroad. Repatriation across the Atlantic was not in the cards at the time. 

With this, I dove into the job search as a non-visa holding American. Surprisingly quickly, a firm was prepared to vouch for me. I went to work for two venture capitalists who saw great success during the dot com explosion and started an HR IT software firm. The small, privately owned company was truly international. On any given day I heard at least six languages being spoken. A command of German paired with a sense of humor bound us all. After three whirlwind, educational years there and more than five years in Deutschland, it was time to head home. After a review of three cities, thanks to my sister and bosom pals, I chose New York City. From here I declined an offer with a prestigious consulting firm as I wanted to be in the city Monday to Friday and instead consulted for a Public Relations boutique in New York City alongside a German partner. My short time there was fortuitously interrupted by an outstanding opportunity in Charlotte. After five rewarding years there I made a switch last year. That particular move was short lived and here we are, singing a different tune. I spend my free time aggressively networking and job hunting as well as cooking, documenting recipes, working on my blog, building my audience and integrating myself into this new and very extraordinary world.

Cooking has always been something that I do and enjoy enormously. I like feeding myself well and also those around me. Sure people come over and like what they see and ingest but what I do in my kitchen has forever been my business. My Mom always knew of my love for cooking. She once told me that I was obsessed with food and alarmingly so. Apparently I was always thinking forward to my next meal. Go figure. Note to self, continue to practice mindfulness and holding onto the moment. Back in 2007, I toyed with culinary school. One of my bosom pals in New York City, who I knew from high school, spent a couple of years at the CIA before taking a job as a recipe tester. She had markings on her forearms to prove her commitment. I wanted those. Note one needn't attend culinary school to achieve markings on hands, fingers and forearms. A job offer put the kibosh on studying food. My cooking was new to my father. I once sent him a photograph of a dish and he inquired as to the restaurant. I stated incredulously that this was no chef's masterpiece but rather mine. Who knew that Elizabeth could cook. And then, the already acknowledged secret was out. Now when the family comes to town, we no longer venture out. Why would we? Instead we congregate at ours and I feed the clan. 

It's no secret that I was once bitten by the travel bug and I most certainly have my folks to thank for this. Throughout my gallivants, I focus on food. If a friend or a family member is traveling somewhere, I like to share my know-how or offer to execute gastronomic due diligence. I have documented this fondness within the confines of Facebook and Instagram for some time. It is only now that I am gaining traction with Beets and Bratwurst that the broader virtual community has come to recognize my rapport with food. You know my red Le Creuset (a most generous gift from my wonderful mother), the Villeroy and Boch dishes, our faint granite counter tops and the bamboo cutting board on which I chop. I like this new identity though I am unsure what to call it. Name, personality, status, characteristic, existence. Elizabeth the cook. My being associated as so makes me proud. As my mother likes to say, I have added another notch to my belt. I have taught myself to take a few things and incorporate them into something delicious. When the end result is also beautiful, icing is thickly frosted on my cake. I have jumped feet first into a smorgasbord of others who, like me, prepare and photograph food. I am still trying the notion on for size and while I have yet to fully characterize myself as a food blogger, the term is gaining momentum in my mind. In short, this is a very cool consortium to which I am fiercely honored to belong.

I dare not gripe too loudly about the lack of rain in Charlotte as other parts of the world are in a far worse situation than we are. I read a most interesting article about how the draught in California is reshaping the practices within kitchens. Some are using pressure and slow cookers, which require less water. Cheese tastes different now because animals are no longer eating green grass. Less water means less produce and according to the laws of supply and demand, prices are going up. Dishwashers are being organized to house more and leftovers are now scraped off with cutlery instead of water. Water used to boil pasta is later irrigation for outside plants. Here at home, people's yards are a reflection of the current situation. I am tenant to liberally water my herbs and as such, they have suffered. While assessing my sickly bounty two days ago, it was evident that my glorious mint was just scraping by. As such, I salvaged what remained and created the below. I implore you to make this at the weekend. It is zesty, spicy, fresh and vibrant. Smear it on meat, spoon it on bread or just lick it off your fingers. Bon appetit.

Mint Chimichurri

1 cup of mint
1 cup of flat leaf parsley
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
The juice of 2 lemons
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp of white pepper

1. Throw everything in your food processor, blitz, chill and employ accordingly.

For our meal, I took half of the chimichurri and smeared it on a pound of skirt steak, which is a cut very similar to that of flank and hanger. I put the meat in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinade before grilling. Once cooked, I cut it on a chopping board and dusted it with a pinch of kosher salt. In a pan I sautéed two garlic gloves with two spiralized summer squash. In tandem, I roasted a punnet of cherry tomatoes. You simply cut them in half, drizzle with a generous glug of olive oil and roast at 450 for 20 minutes. The cherries burst and caramelize yielding the most inescapable flavor. After tasting, you will roast tomatoes with greater frequency. To serve, fill your bowl with the cooked noodles, a dollop of the chimichurri, steak slices and finish off with a spoonful of tomatoes and a crack or two of black pepper. My chimichurri leftovers were enjoyed last night with a watermelon feta salad, prosciutto and a crusty baguette. What little remains will be served this weekend with roasted potatoes. Spread it on bread, drizzle it on eggs. Quite simply, go to town. 

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