By Anthony J. Sepe
Each Sunday, I thank my readership for their loyalty and dedication to my blog, by providing a healthy recipe. To those that know, this is a healthy repeat, but for those that are unaware and are new to the blog, this is my way of “giving back.” It is also a way to “Pay it Forward.” Each Sunday, not only will you have a healthy recipe, but you will have an expert in the field of dietetics, food and nutrition, provide the healthy recipe to you. It is my pleasure to provide for you this week, Lou Luzzo and Elaine Giammetta, Co-founders of Gourmet Girl Magazine with Executive Chef Paw Mikkelsen, and a delicious recipe: “Mango Pineapple Soup .
Lou Luzzo & Elaine Giammetta
Lou Luzzo and Elaine Giammetta are co-founders of Gourmet Girl Magazine, the result of their journey to learn, experience and share with their readers, all that is "Good Food, Good Wine & Good Living." They were both born and raised in northeastern New Jersey.
After working in the corporate offices for Lord and Taylor on prestigious 5th Ave. in New York, Elaine moved away from NJ to raise a family in the mountains of Vermont, where she spent 15 years in education, and later worked in the Office of the Governor. She returned to her NJ roots some 24 years later, once her two children were grown. She went to work in the corporate offices for NJ Transit and continued to pursue her love of fine dining, art and culture in the restaurants, museums and galleries just across the bridge in culturally rich New York City.
Louis, father of one girl and four boys, spent many years on the road as a singer for the band Full Circle. While in the studio in 2001, working on his debut solo CD, he received a call shortly after the bombing of the World Trade Center from his one time Full Circle bandmate and piano player, Jumpin' Jack. Jack explained to Lou that his brother was heading up the Ground Zero cleanup and asked if Lou would be willing to go work at the site and help. Dropping his instruments, Lou immediately agreed. Unfortunately, in December of 2002 , while walking through the southern most PATH tunnel, 90 feet below the Hudson River, on his way back from ''The Pit" to New Jersey, Lou experienced a fall which severely injured his neck and cervical spine. While recuperating and awaiting his third and final major surgery at the Jersey Shore in the summer of 2005, he met Elaine. They came to find out, through discussion, that their fathers had been high school classmates who regularly saw each other at class reunions. Fate obviously had plans for these two. They started dating and sharing all things 'gourmet' in one of the greatest food cities of the world, New York. Together, in their first year alone, Elaine, with her Zagat guide in hand, led Lou on a tour of fine dining experiences at 72 of the city's top 100 restaurants, as well as many more in Chicago, San Francisco and Montreal.
In the winter of 2007, the cold northeast weather proved to be too much for Lou's injuries, and that summer they moved to Southwest Florida's warmer weather. In March of 2008 they launched Gourmet Girl Magazine, a chronicle of their ongoing culinary journey. Elaine is an accomplished cook, who attributes her love of good food to her Aruban mother. "My mother was a fantastic cook," states Elaine, "while other kids were coming home to pot pies and frozen pizza, my mom was whipping up pastiches and Caribbean patties, taking me to places like Trader Vics and The Rainbow Room." Louis, now a gourmet cook in his own right, says, "Growing up spending time with my mother and grandmother in the kitchen, which is the heart and soul of most Italian families, really infused in me a love of cooking." He attributes his love and knowledge of 'the art of fine dining' to Elaine, stating, "She truly is 'The Gourmet Girl,' and I'm quite content to be the Gourmet Girl's guy. She has taken me on a culinary whirlwind tour that continues to be amazing."
Lou and Elaine reside and publish Gourmet Girl Magazine from the tropical paradise that is Southwest Florida.
Executive Pastry Chef Paw Mikkelsen
Paw was born and raised in Denmark. His parents owned a pastry Shop and he started working for his dad when he was 11. He then left his fathers pastry shop at 15 to apprentice for another pastry shop in Denmark to gain further experience.
Paw moved to Boston at 20 to join his brother Uffe, a chef at the Ritz Carlton. Paw took a position at the Pastry shop intending to move back to Denmark within 19 months. During his time at the Ritz, Paw met his wife Elizabeth. The two were married 2 years later and have been married for 17 years. He stayed on at the Ritz and eventually became Executive Pastry Chef. After 4 ½ years at the Ritz, Paw relocated his now family of 4, (He and Elizabeth had twins, Margit and Oliver) to Houston, TX where he became the Executive Chef of The Four Seasons Hotel. He also did a stint as Corporate Pastry Chef for Houston's premier restaurant group, Tony's. He stayed in Houston for 4 years and during that time, Abigail became the 5th addition to the Mikkelsen family.
In 1998 Paw and his family moved to Vicksburg, Miss where Paw became Executive Pastry Chef for The Ameristar Casino. While vacationing in Naples 2 ½ years, later he heard about a space being vacated by a pastry chef who was retiring. In 2000, Paw relocated his family to Naples and he opened Mikkelsen's Pastry Shop. The transition was easy as Elizabeth had been part of the opening of the Ritz in Naples 22 years earlier and they had many friends and family in the area.
Paw then relocated to a larger facility at 1068 Business Lane in North Naples. With his wife Elizabeth, they continue to cater to the pastry needs for many of the area's clubs, restaurants and hotels. Mikkelsen's also has a strong following among the residents of Naples and Southwest Florida, as he provides specialty cakes, desserts and whatever else his customers need to satisfy their sweet tooth, and we are fortunate to have him as our pastry chef here on the magazine. Each month he creates exclusive one of a kind desserts that readers can make at home, in the feature Sweet Beat. Paw was the pastry chef for the ACF team that competed in a major regional culinary competition held in Orlando, where they won the Gold Medal.
© Mango & Pineapple Soup
Developed and reprinted with permission from Chef Paw Mikkelsen and the Gourmet Girl Magazine
1 fresh mango peeled and cubed
1 c simple syrup*
1 cup of sugar
1 ½ cups of water
Add sugar to water and bring it to boil. Boiling until all the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat.
Method for soup
Place mango in a blender, gradually adding syrup, making sure to test for desired sweetness.
Once you achieve the desired sweetness, set aside and prepare the curd.
Mango and Pineapple Curd
1 1/2 cups mango
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
8 oz sugar
3 oz egg yolks
1/2 oz or 6 sheets of gelatin
12 oz butter
Note: You must continue to whip the mixture from the start to finish.
Whip until smooth and all the air bubbles have been removed. Continue whipping for two more minutes.
Mixture should be creamy and smooth.
In the top of a double boiler, dissolve the gelatin in the mango & pineapple juice.
Once the water is boiling, add the sugar, eggs, yolks and butter. Stir until melted.
Pour into molds and freeze.
1 sheet of puff pastry
Preheat to 375 F
Brush some water on the puff pastry sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cut into a strips and twist forming the 'sticks.'
Bake 10-15 minutes.
Use a bowl or a plate with some depth to it, pour some of the soup into the well of the bowl or plate.
Unmold the mango and pineapple curd and place in the center.
Slice some strawberries, or other sliced fruits, around the curd to give it color.