Welcome to Extra Counter Space! My name is Ellen and I am a cook in Charlotte, North Carolina. I graduated from culinary school in 2013 and have been working ever since. This blog is my personal counter space to share with you some of my recipes, basic culinary skills, and tips and tricks I find useful. Also a few posts on makeup because that's something else I really enjoy. Let's face it, kitchen or bathroom, everyone needs more counter space. So this is mine. Thanks for stopping by!
Who I am:
My name is Ellen. I am 25 years old, born and raised in the small town of Florence, SC. Two of my favorite things ever are beer and cupcakes. I started cooking when I was 17. I attended culinary school from 2011-2013 and loved every minute of it. I have a boyfriend, Drew, a sister, Amanda, two cats, Malon and Faron and of course my awesome Mom and Pops. I am excited to start this blog and share with you all of my favorite things and more!
I am a huge fan of beer. All kinds. Incorporating beer into food and desserts is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. Also, notice the bottle here...Chive on!
|Mom's birthday dinner at Frank's Outback in Pawley's Island, SC|
My awesome family. Couldn't ask for a better one. We don't always agree, but come on now... who does?
|Happy Father's Day!|
My Mom and Dad. They have always supported me no matter what I was into. And that means a lot because I was into everything when I was younger. I have always had a good relationship with my parents. I was never that kid that was embarrassed to have their parents around. I don't understand why some kids can be like that! I always wanted them involved in everything I did, and they were. And they still are. I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy so much when they come to visit me in Charlotte. Especially when they come eat at the restaurant in my hotel and let me serve them good food! I would say my dad is my number one fan when it comes to my cooking. When I first started getting interested in cooking, I was young and didn't really have any money. They were nice enough to give me some cash to buy ingredients then cook them a meal! Or sometimes TRY to cook them a meal... In my early days things didn't always turn out so great! Thanks Mom and Pops for always being there and supporting me!
My parents and me on my last day of culinary school. They came to eat in Fowler Dining Room, the schools restaurant, where I served panko crusted salmon, Israelii couscous and roasted asparagus with an herb compound butter. This was also on Valentine's Day!
|Heading to the Nutcracker at Blumenthal Performing Arts|
My sister Amanda. When we were growing up we were about as opposite as you can get. We barely agreed on anything and had almost nothing in common. Even down to the color of our hair. Somehow though we always managed to have a good time together despite our differences. We have always stuck together through thick and thin. If a boyfriend broke up with one of us...sure, we'd cry, but then we would always go to the mall and Sonic together to feel better. We built a lot of forts, spent a lot of time outside riding our bikes, jumping on the trampoline, but I think our favorite times were spending weekends with our grandparents, Gam and Pa. Now that we're grown, we've found a lot of common interests. Mostly cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, makeup and beauty products, but probably most of all...our cats.
|Nitro and Mia|
Nitro and Mia. My nephew and niece! Click here to check out her blog where she too posts cooking tutorials and recipes, but also a lot more.
|After our anniversary dinner at Baku|
My boyfriend, Drew, my sous chef. I wouldn't be anywhere without him. We love all things nerdy, especially Game of Thrones and Star Trek! We love to cook together. It has been great fun for me to teach him a few things about cooking. I love that he enjoys being in the kitchen with me even if he is just kicking back having a beer chatting with me. We are excited for what the future holds for us.
|Enjoying a little snow in West Hartford, CT|
He even bought me my first Boos Block! ( I was a little excited, can you tell?)
Where I live:
I live in Charlotte, North Carolina!
Charlotte is the perfect city for me. It's not too big and not too small. It has just about anything you could want. When I was in school in Myrtle Beach, I knew that I didn't want to go too far from home, but that I had to go to a city because that is where the food scene is. I chose Charlotte because the food scene here is very modern, but with a twist. That is totally my style of cooking, so I thought I'd fit right in here. Charlotte has great restaurants, shopping and it's home to the Carolina Panthers!I'm still settling in here in Charlotte, even after 1.5 years. But I like it so far!
What I do:
I love love love to cook. I haven't always been interested in cooking though. It started when I was a senior in high school. I would come home every day and watch Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals. I can safely say that this woman has taught me more about food than I thought possible. It amazes me how much I learned about cooking from watching a 30 minutes TV show everyday. She inspired me to go to culinary school and pursue a career in cooking.
Here are a few pictures of what I love to do!:
|Spicy tuna rolls with cucumber, scallion and avocado|
I love to experiment with different cuisines. Above is my attempt at homemade sushi!
Gotta start the day off right...veggie omelet!
|Seared scallops with vegetable medley and beurre rouge|
|Peppercorn crusted ahi tuna over basmati rice with a grilled pineapple salsa.|
|"Healthy" pancakes. Made with spinach, green peppers, scallion, and lime. Served with a lime butter.|
|Feta stuffed roma tomatoes with basil and balsamic glaze.|
Grit Fritters. Or as my dad likes to call them...Gritters! Grits bound together with egg and panko bread crumbs, cajun seasonings, andouille, deep fried to golden perfection. Served with a tobasco cream sauce.
I hope you will enjoy my blog. I wanted to do this to have a place to post all of my recipes to share with family and friends. So many people on Facebook and Instagram ask me questions when I post a picture of something I've made. How to make it, what's in it, what spices I used, etc. etc. So I want this blog to be a place anyone can come to to get the answers to those questions. My goal is to post very basic to not so basic culinary skills tutorials and also post recipes that use those basic skills. Thanks for reading and please subscribe!