Passionate Life-Changer, Award-Winning Baker, KC Quaretti
A star can be defined in many ways. It can be that little, sparkling light we see in the clear night skies, or it can be, as entries proclaim in Merriam-Webster, “an outstandingly talented performer” or “a person who is preeminent in a particular field”. KC Quaretti certainly is a local star, shining bright in every arena she graces!
Having been a relative globe-trotter, KC grew up in Western Washington State, lived in Malibu, CA., Chateauneuf De Grasse, France, and Venice, FL., before discovering New Port Richey, “a hidden gem” on the Florida West Coast.
Shortly after she and her husband, Filippo Quaretti-Lee, settled into their New Port Richey home three years ago, KC sought to become more involved in the community, so she applied for the Executive Director position with Connections Job Development Program. Her passion perfectly matched that of the board of directors, and she was hired, which she believes was all “controlled by fate.”
KC said, “I love what we do at Connections! In 2015, we gave out over 7,000 services and helped over 350 Pasco County residents find work! Just think how these 350 people’s lives changed for the better when they found jobs!”
Connections provides many services from resume creation to computer instruction. Plus, they supply appropriate attire for interviews, all free of charge.
Connections Job Development Program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and KC invites the community to get to know this amazing organization and help celebrate their milestone!
In her off-time from Connections, KC’s culinary talent shines! She started baking as a child with her Mom, but with a limited selection of ingredients. As her love of baking expanded, so did her resources and creative flair!
She entered her first baking contest hosted by Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Paula Deen. It had a grand prize of $25,000, and spanned a total of 12 weeks, with a finalist chosen each week, based on the contestants’ recipes and video-taped demonstrations of their preparations. KC was the last finalist chosen at the end of week 12. She won over the other eleven contestants with her French Apple Cake, and she’s “never looked back.”
“My second big win was the following year for the Food Channel to host my own online cooking video show, Chat ‘n Dish, sponsored by Florida Department of Agriculture and their “Fresh from Florida” campaign. You can find Chat ‘n Dish online 24/7, with new episodes year-round,” KC explained.
KC’s culinary advice: “If it’s in season, eat it, if not, don’t. This is a motto I use often in my Chat ‘n Dish videos. My goal is to show the online viewer how easy, healthy, rewarding and economical home cooking can be. Following my video tutorials will give you the opportunity to be a cooking star in your own home!”
Aside from Kraft Foods honors, KC’s creations have also won prestigious competitions including Master Chef: Season 2; Game Day Chef; Challenge Butter, Trump International and Georgia Blueberry Council, just to name a few.
Although, you cannot find any of her delicacies commercially, KC frequently donates her time and talents to non-profits and fundraising events.
In her continual effort to give back to her community, KC is active in PAN (Pasco Aging Network) WIN (Women in Networking), WPBA (West Pasco Business Association, Service Council) Trinity Positive Business Association, Keiser University Advisory Board, Gulf Harbors CSC (Community Civic Association, and the West Pasco and Trinity Odessa Chambers of Commerce.
KC & Filippo, “the best husband in the world”, have a son, Guiliano, who recently graduated from FSU; a daughter, Marina, who just graduated from UNF, two dogs and a cat. In her spare time, when she’s not handling her numerous responsibilities as Executive Director at Connections, or preparing her next award-winning recipe, KC enjoys paddle-boarding and kayaking with their springer spaniel, Cody.
Dream Lover’s Dinner
Lover’s Pork Wellington and Dreamy Chocolate Mousse
1 small onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
3 T. fresh oregano chopped and divided in half
2 pieces pork tenderloin, each 2 inches thick
1 sheet puff pastry
4 ounces shitake mushrooms (or mixture of your favorite mushrooms)
1/4 cup white wine
4 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water beaten together to create an egg wash
Pre-heat oven to 425
In large nonstick pan over high heat; brown onions stirring constantly about 10 minutes
Add vermouth and reduce until almost gone
Add 1/4 cup chicken stock and ½ of the oregano, reduce until sauce is reduced by 1/2.
Remove from heat and let cool
In a preheated nonstick frying pan (or grill pan) sear both top and bottom of the pork tenderloin over high heat
Remove pork and set aside
Cut puff pastry sheet in quarters.
Place 1/4 of the onion mixture in the center of each puff pastry
Top each with one tenderloin
Moisten the outer edges of the puff pastry with egg wash.
Bring the puff pastry up around the sides and bottom of the tenderloins, overlapping the edges. Press together to seal.
Turn the Wellingtons over and place on a nonstick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper.
Brush each Wellington with egg wash.
Cut one heart for each Wellington out of left-over puff pastry and place on top of the Wellingtons, give the heart a coating of egg wash.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, the puff pastry will be nicely browned and the internal temperature should be at least 145.
When the tenderloins have been on the oven for 15 minutes start the mushrooms
Sauté the mushrooms and garlic in 4 T. butter and olive oil over medium high for 5 minutes
Add 1/2 cup wine and reduce by half
Add 1 cup chicken stock and reduce by 1/3
Let the tenderloins rest for 5 minutes before serving with the mushrooms and sauce
Place one tenderloin on each plate and surround with 1/2 of the mushrooms and sauce and sprinkle with remaining oregano.
Serve and enjoy.
1 ½ Cups Whipping Cream well chilled (calories don’t count!)
1 Bar Dark Chocolate broken into small chunks (usually 3.5oz)
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
Gold Heart Sprinkles (optional)
In a small sauce pan heat ½ cup cream to just before a boil.
Add the chocolate and remove from the heat. Let stand for 3-5 minutes while chocolate melts
When chocolate is melted stir until well blended
In a narrow and deep bowl beat together the remaining cream and the powdered sugar on medium until frothy.
Continue whipping on high until you have stiff peaks.
Reserve two soup spoons of the whipped cream for the topping
Mix one large spoonful of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly blended.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream and mix until smooth.
Spoon into clear glasses, top with remaining whipped cream, sprinkles and chill until dinner.
By Debra Taylor Tee | www.ItsYourHomeMagazine.com | 727-709-9541