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The Pittsburgh perfect summer cocktail (and eats) with Slow Cooked Food

And now, the perfect Pittsburgh summer drink for these dog days of summer, The Berry Basil Muddle.

Gather a delightful combination of locally grown and made ingredients--a blend of blueberries, a few strong sweet basil leaves, some icy cold Boyd and Blair--on ice and strain. Add a squirt of Pittsburgh Seltzer Works.

This refreshing recipe comes from Pittsburgh personal chef Elizabeth Schandelmeier Gilgunn, author of the foodie blog, Let's Blog About Food and the chef behind Slow Cooked Pittsburgh.

Elizabeth founded Slow Cooked Pittsburgh as a way to promote the preparation of locally grown, whole foods, especially for people with special dietary needs, whether gluten-free, chemical-free, vegan or low-fat cuisine. The idea is to encourage local residents to bring the freshest the farm has to offer to the table, she says.

As a personal chef, Schandelmeier Gilgunn cooks for people in their homes several times a week, many whom are challenged by dietary restrictions. She's entirely devoted to bringing the freshest food from local farms to small groups, no larger than 50.

"My goal is to help people find joy in eating again," she says.  "I'm purely culinary (as opposed to a nutritionist), looking at food and combining it with cocktails and drinks. If you don't want to use a lime--because we don't grow limes here--I consider what I can add to give it a zing. That's the kind of journey I'm describing."

When she's not busy feeding her own family of three girls in Squirrel Hill, she can be found working in the public schools and at the community theatre, where she once presented a vegan chocolate truffle. You may have seen her at the Pittsburgh Public Market where she teaches and offers demonstrations. 

"I cannot get away from food," she says good-naturedly. "It's an outlet for me, putting things out there to see what kind of responses I can get. Throwing my seeds to the wind. Where will they go and what will I harvest? It's all been very positive."

Writer: Deb Smit
Source:  Elizabeth Schandelmeier Gilgunn, Slow Cooking Pittsburgh

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