a date - HOBNOB Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘a date’

Healthy and Phenomenal: A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Cold soups and summer make for a fine pairing. In our review of cookbook A Change of Appetite, author Diana Henry shares her recipe for a cucumber and yogurt soup dressed with walnuts and rose petals. This is a true party hit.

As part of my summer entertaining party plan, a cold soup was called for. Luckily we found one in this cookbook devoted to healthy eating. Too often “healthy” eating means deprivation and sacrifice, where food becomes the enemy and every mouthful of bland, sad diet food is a form of punishment in the name of whittled waistlines. A Change of Appetite completely upturns those notions with its bright, fresh, abundantly delicious and satisfying dishes that just happen to be good for you too.


Celebrated British food writer and cookbook author Diana Henry, who shares her weakness for French pastries and really fantastic crusty bread, is a true food lover who believes that cooking should be full of joy, pleasure, and care, never suffering. In A Change of Appetite, she shows us what healthy eating really means, in which deliciousness is key, and healthiness is just a happy bonus—no fanaticism in sight.

hobnobmag cookbook review A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

To start, it’s not about what you can’t eat, but the incredible abundance of what you can eat. Henry, who proclaims in the book’s introduction that she is “more into living life to the full” than she is “into thinking of [her] body as a temple,” sought out dishes that are so good that you would never think you were missing out.


Organized by seasons and beautifully photographed and designed, A Change of Appetite features recipes that are loaded with vegetables, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, fish, and just a bit of red meat and sugar too, because no food should be forbidden and overall balance is what we should strive for.

These are lighter, fresher takes on the classics, but in no way boring. Inspired by the “accidentally healthy” cuisines of the Middle East, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam, her dishes are full of what she calls “big front-of-mouth flavors”—think chiles, ginger, lime, bright herbs, and lively spices. And what does she suggest if you do indulge in that perfectly rich and buttery golden croissant? Really love it and enjoy yourself. See if you don’t agree with her recipe for a spectacular and beautiful cold soup.



I always love the look—and the idea—of Middle Eastern cucumber soups, but have never tasted one that actually has enough depth of flavor (not for me, anyway). So this isn’t purely Middle Eastern, because I’ve used some stock, which they wouldn’t do, but it has the right spirit: light, healthy, and “green” tasting. I actually prefer it without the dried fruit garnish, but that is traditional.

Serves 8

For the soup

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped, plus matchsticks of cucumber to serve
1 CUP walnuts, plus extra chopped walnuts to serve
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
3 TB chopped mint leaves
3 TB chopped dill leaves, plus extra to serve
pinch of dried red pepper flakes
leaves from 5 sprigs of tarragon
1 3/4 slices stale white country-style bread, crusts removed, torn
1 CUP strong chicken stock
1 CUP Turkish yogurt (or Greek, Turkish is thinner)
2⁄3 CUP extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
2 TB white balsamic vinegar, or to taste
salt and black pepper

To serve

handful of raisins (optional)
pink or red rose petals

If you will be serving the soup with raisins, put them in a small bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Let stand for 30 minutes to plump them up, then drain.

Put all the ingredients for the soup into a blender, in batches if necessary, and process. You will have to stop every so often and move the ingredients around so that all of them get to be near the blade. Taste for seasoning; this soup needs really careful adjusting. You may find you need a drop more lemon juice or white balsamic or extra virgin oil instead of salt or black pepper.

Chill well, then serve in small bowls, with the raisins (if using), chopped walnuts, cucumber matchsticks, dill, and rose petals.

Try a heartier version Cucumber soup is wonderfully adapatable and can be dressed in all kinds of ways. Instead of rose petals and walnuts, top this with spoonfuls of Salmon tartare or flaked hot-smoked salmon, or even with chopped, still-warm hard-boiled egg and sautéed shrimp. You could also try replacing the dill in the recipe with basil, and the walnuts with almonds, to make a more Italian soup. Top with finely chopped tomatoes and torn basil leaves mixed into a vinaigrette, or Almond and basil gremolata.

A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley 2014. Photos: Laura Edwards

Brooklyn Backyard: Branch Ofc’s Cocktail Basics by Chris Buckley

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Soon as warm temps hit, people start looking for cool outdoor spots to relax in. This Brooklyn backyard has a sweet vibe, and nicely-priced libations to boot.

There’s a new bar in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, and this one has got the big backyard for those days when you simply must find a spot to linger outdoors, along with a wallet-friendly cocktail menu and beer offerings. (Our photos show all three $11 cocktails, one of which is sure to please.) Those cocktails work perfectly as part of my party scenario for hosting a sensational summer bbq.

hobnobmag Brooklyn Backyard Branch Ofc

Owner Christopher Buckley earned his stripes in the restaurant world in fancy private clubs down south, which has definitely left a mark on his level of hospitality. He made his way back to NYC, with his wife who is a fifth generation resident of the borough. This is their second bar in Brooklyn, and the new location 10 blocks from the former Ebbets Field was inspired by an uncle who was a sportswriter who covered baseball during the Jackie Robinson-era. To hark back to those times, the couple referenced family photos, looking for 1950s design elements, and set up the bar to be that friendly, casual spot that draws a relaxed crowd.

hobnobmag Brooklyn Backyard Branch Ofc

Buckley has the gift of gab, and can offer the best advice to locals and tourists alike on where to head out to experience the best in the NYC bar scene. He often connects with world travelers and sets them on the right course. Enjoy the recipes. branchofcbrooklyn.com

See more of the formula for throwing a fabulous summer bbq in our ULTIMATE SUMMER issue.

Liran Mezan of The Fillmore Room’s Luscious Smoked Trout Rillettes

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Summer recipes call for cool, light bites. This chef’s recipe for Smoked Trout Rillettes covers all of the above. Try serving with pickled vegetables and a grainy mustard.

Next time you are gallery hopping in West Chelsea, NYC or taking a stroll on the High Line you must make a stop at The Fillmore Room, the newest project from Chef Liran Mezan, formerly of STK. You might think this restaurant has been a NYC staple for a 100 years or more, with its sprawling, deco-style bar, tin ceilings, and fireplaces, but it has just been thoughtfully renovated to achieve the feeling of nostalgia. [UNFORTUNATELY, this place has permanently closed since this post ran. But please make the fab recipe at your next hosting, and get the details for the rest of the menu for throwing a fun summer bash at this link.]

You can also welcome a straightforward menu of well-made American fare with a French influence. For starters, dive into a bounteous raw bar platter, sweetbreads, or steak tartare with gribiche sauce. Nicely-priced entrees include a brown-butter trout, pea/ricotta gnocchi, and roasted eggplant, mushrooms, with pecan-faro ravigote. Steak lovers can feast on a peppercorn NY strip or share a dry-aged bone-in ribeye. Brunch offers a trio of drinks from the Bloody Bar: the classic Bloody Mary, Fiddler’s Green includes a medley of fresh veggies along with gin, or the Mellow Yellow, which pairs tequila with peppers, pineapple, herbs and hot sauce.

hobnobmag Smoked Trout Rillettes recipe

Mezan welcomes neighborhood folks and those wandering on the west side to partake in the casual, bustling space—and to host a party room in the cavernous room in the back. The venue would be ideal for weddings—or a birthday bash with your 100 closest friends.

hobnobmag Smoked Trout Rillettes recipe

Chef Liran Mezan shares the recipe for this seriously seductive bite. (I tried the Smoked Trout Rillette at the opening party and just had to know how it was made.) Be sure to serve on toasted slices of a baguette with a side of pickled vegetables. fillmoreroom.com

hobnobmag Smoked Trout Rillettes recipe


Smoked Trout Rillettes

1/4 lb butter
2 TB chopped onion

1/2 LB smoked trout, skin removed, bones removed, shredded
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
pinch white pepper

2 TB chopped chive
1 TB mascarpone

Heat a medium size heavy bottom sauté pan. Add the butter and melt until foaming slightly. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the trout meat, white wine, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook until wine evaporates.

Cool the mixture slightly before mixing. Spoon the mix into a bowl and add the chives and mascarpone cheese. Cool over ice and refrigerate.

hobnobmag Smoked Trout Rillettes recipe

Vegetable Ribbon Tart in Colorful Stripes

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Vegetables add to the design of this tart and to the taste. We mixed shaved strips of carrots, zucchini, and eggplant to create a beautiful pattern in this vegetable ribbon tart.

I tried this recipe two ways. First in a 9.5-inch square pan that was only 1-inch deep, and then in a scalloped 9-inch round pan, about 1.5 inches deep. They both came out well, so decide how you want to serve: in small elongated bites, or cut into triangles from the round.

If this recipe appeals to you, we’ve got even more recipes geared for summer in the Stripes party theme.



1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

Remove one pasty from package. Securely wrap remaining pastry and return to freezer immediately. Let pastry thaw for 40 min.


1 CUP ricotta
1 CUP mozzarella, shredded
1/2 CUP sour cream
1 egg
2 TB parsley, minced
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.


2 large carrots, peeled
2 zucchini
1 eggplant

Using a peeler, shave strips of carrot lengthwise, holding the larger end. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, then cut into strips. With the eggplant, slice into it keeping in mind that you want to keep the skin for its color. The slices should be about the same height as the depth of the tart pan, so adjust accordingly.


9.5-inch square ceramic dish, 1-inch deep
thawed pastry
cheese mix
veggie strips

Into a lightly greased pan, lay the puff pastry. Trim excess. Add the cheese mixture. Alternate the vegetable strips.

Bake 35 min on the lowest shelf in the oven, until the veggies have browned a little. Allow to cool a bit before cutting and serving. For the square, cut into 9 rows, then in half to get 18 petit servings. If you chose the round tart, then cut into 8 or 10 triangles.

A Calvados Cocktail + Striped Bottles of Sparkling Wine

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Calvados, that wonderful spirit made from apples in the Pays d’Auge region of France, gets mixed into a fantastic summer sipper: a calvados cocktail with hints of vanilla and chocolate mint.

To include in our fresh menu for summer, I’ve developed a cocktail made with Calvados from Domaine Dupont, one of the leading craft Calvados and Cider makers in France. Plus, to go with the stripes them, I suggest a couple of bottles of Chandon, a bubbly wrapped in a pretty striped  party package. (see the rest of the menu for a summer gathering with a Stripes theme at this link)


[1] Summer Cider This party’s cocktail pairs calvados with vanilla accents in the form of syrup and tea. Then I added some chocolate mint to heighten the flavor. This is a super-sophisticated summer cocktail. See the recipe with this post.

[2] Domaine Dupont Calvados orchards in the Pays d’Auge region of France, exist in an area with chalky soil, which limits the size of the trees—but is essential to the quality of the final product. Thirteen varieties of tiny apples with thick skins thrive here, each with its own flavor profile, and are blended and aged with the same levels of elegance and expressiveness found in the best wines.

The Hors D’Age is made with 80% bittersweet apples and 20% acidic apples, aged for six years in toasted oak barrels. This bottle is best savored on its own. Tasting notes: Lightly wooded, fruit aromas of apple and banana, hints of rose and jasmine. The aroma is heavenly.

Vielle Réserve is a younger version, aged for four years. Its notes of vanilla and lemon and lighter body inspired our cocktail recipe. calvados-dupont.com

HOBNOBMAG Calvados Cocktail says Summer

[3] Heilala Vanilla Syrup This is a sweetener that could hijack your sugar fix. Heilala Vanilla Syrup is 100% pure vanilla and adds a whole vanilla pod to ensure the spectacular flavor continues to develop in the bottle. Great in cocktails and for baking. heilalavanilla.com

[4] Republic of Tea Caramel Vanilla Black Tea Enjoy the flavors of a sugary treat sans calories. This tea was inspired by traditional Southern yellow cake with homemade caramel vanilla frosting. We made a batch and flavored it with vanilla syrup to heighten the flavors, and served it in our cocktail. The Republic of Tea is known for canvassing the most prized tea gardens of the world to make their extensive line of teas. republicoftea.com

HOBNOBMAG Calvados Cocktail says Summer

[5] Chocolate Mint The sensational flavor of chocolate mint blended with the tea to add a fine accent and edge. The first time I sniffed a batch of this mint, it seemed too good to be true. Mint is so easy to grown, so I suggests growing a batch of this to have on hand to add to all sort of things—ice tea, yogurt, desserts, and of course, cocktails. It adds super impact to this party’s signature cocktail.


[6] Chandon Limited Edition Brut Classic and Rose Sparkling Wine To round out the bar, offer this lovely striped number. This is the third year that Chandon, a sparkling wine house in Napa Valley, has added playful and patriotic pops of red, white and blue stripes to add pizazz to your summer entertaining.

The Brut is nautically-chic in blue, and its sister Rosé version features the same crisp, classic stripes in a vibrant pink. Available Memorial Day through Labor Day. $22-$24. Brut minis also available. $8. chandon.com

A Summer Cocktail for Amaro Lovers from Lana Gailani of Pouring Ribbons

Posted on: June 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Pouring Ribbons, a place known for their serious dedication to creative cocktails and a great oral history, offers up a cocktail for amaro lovers, with hints of jasmine and peach, to celebrate summer.

Lana Gailani, a mixologist at Pouring Ribbons, is preparing the summer cocktail menu for summer. She says: get ready for lighter and brighter cocktail ingredients for summer—infused into in complex configurations . I interviewed her to see her philosophy behind the cocktail strategies. Amaro lovers, it’s your time!

This cocktail is part of the Pouring Ribbons new summer menu…what else can we expect to see, ingredient-wise?
We’ve gone for lighter, brighter cocktails with pretty classic summer ingredients—we have a tequila negroni with muddled strawberry, we have a vodka cocktail with watermelon juice and soda, and a take on a pina colada with peach instead of pineapple. These drinks all have a bit of a twist to them, though—the watermelon cocktail features cachaca and amaro, and the pina colada sneaks in a bit of scotch.

HOBNOB Cocktail for Amaro Lovers

You described this cocktail as a “beginners” introduction to Amaro…are you a fan? How do you like to use it?
I love amaros—they can add depth and complexity while using very small amounts due to their intensity. They can be spicy or herbaceous, sweet and/or bitter, sometimes quite earthy. On their own they make wonderful digestifs and I often have one as a nightcap. The amaro in Safe Word is Cardamaro, which is lighter in style, made with blessed thistle and cardoon, which is in the artichoke family. Its slight earthy tones match the malty qualities of the genever very well and help this cocktail come across almost more as a light whiskey drink than as one based on gin.

How did you get involved in mixing drinks?
I fell in love with mezcal. I’d worked in pastry before, and while waiting tables and working as a sommelier, I realized that I really missed *making* something every day. The craft. I had a job waiting tables at a restaurant with a very extensive agave collection (Empellon Cocina) and I realized that mezcal had a lot in common with wine, and if I managed to get behind a bar I could have everything I wanted. I could be a nerd and study spirits, make something with my hands every day, and meet new people all the time. So I started harassing them to let me behind the bar, and eventually they did.

HOBNOB Cocktail for Amaro Lovers

Name your favorite summer sip:
Rosé all day!

What are your plans for Pride weekend?
I’m working Friday and Saturday, but Sunday is still up in the air…

hobnobmag Cocktail for Amaro Lovers lana

Elegant Rainbow Party Food: Sushi at Home + Edible Spoons

Posted on: June 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Here are a couple of party-worthy ingredients that will be sure to impress your guests. In keeping with Hobnob’s theme for menu in the colors of the rainbow, see edible taco shells/spoons in surprising colors, plus a sushi-grade tuna.

When I started to develop the idea of turning the colors of the rainbow into a lively party spread I knew I had to find quality natural ingredients to make it happen healthfully. I love the idea of introducing pops of color to a party in a totally natural way—which includes fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables that are inherently colorful. In addition to that, here are some fun and delicious items that will help take your party to new technicolor heights.

hobnobmag Elegant Rainbow Party Food

[1] Foodie Spoon

Made with nutritious, all-natural ingredients (no artificial food coloring in sight!), Foodie Spoon’s edible vessels are a novel and delicious way to present your cocktail bites—plus add a mighty pop of both color and flavor.

For the rainbow party, HOBNOB used Foodie Spoon’s bright Green Veggie Mini Taco Shells in our chicken tacos and flaming orange Chili Pepper & Lime Edible Spoons to create a one-bite sensation with a cube of pork and mango nectarine salsa.

If you are looking for other colors in the spectrum, there’s much more! Go for the vibrant Red Tomato Mini Taco Shells or the deep purple-hued Blue Corn Edible Spoons. There are whole grain and gluten-free options to boot. Serve your edible vessels within 14 days, freeze extras for up to 6 months. And the best part? No plastic waste! foodiespoon.com

[2] Sushi at Home Yellowfin Tuna

[This product was available at Whole Foods Market, look for something similar] The most intimidating part about making sushi at home is finding high quality fish to give you the confidence to serve it raw. Here’s how to get that confidence. Try the fish from Sushi at home. Upon catching the fish, tuna from Sushi At Home are “superfrozen.” This means they are chilled to an ultra-low temperature (-76ºF), at its “eutectic point” so that natural decay is stopped in its tracks.

This highly technical freezing process is actually similar to a method used in the medical field to preserve blood at blood banks. Your tuna, super frozen within hours of being caught and gutted, is essentially frozen in time, making your at-home sushi as fresh as can be. Serve raw fish in small portions throughout the night to keep your offering fresh. I found this product in the freezer section at Whole Foods, next to the fresh fish counter in NYC’s 14th street location. See the recipe for Tuna Poke on Red Tortilla Chips in this party’s menu. The tuna requires a short time defrosting in a water bath before being able to use. sushiathome.co

hobnobmag Elegant Rainbow Party Food sushi

Store Bought Dessert: Maple Cream Cookies and Ice Cream

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

In compiling a menu for our party theme, The Wild Party, I was at first flummoxed for the end of the night dessert offerings. But after doing a little shopping, I found a bunch of store bought desserts that were special enough to make an impression.

Dessert here has matched organic maple cream cookies (since maple syrup is our featured Wild ingredient here) with two types of ice cream. First offering: Wild man Stephen Colbert’s ice cream with chocolate covered crushed waffle cones and a caramel is surprisingly not too sweet. The second offering  is everyone’s favorite—vanilla—but this one is topped with Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup.

If you like the idea of using wild ingredients, see our WILD PARTY PLAN containing recipes with foraged ingredients, and items from the exotic end of the spectrum.


HOBNOBMAG store bought desserts


DeLish Organic Maple Cream cookies
Ben and Jerry “Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream” Ice Cream
Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream
Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup

Put 3 small scoops of ice cream in mini ramekins/bowls. Pour syrup over the vanilla ice cream, and leave out on the table for guests to help themselves. Line the cookies on a nice dish and place with ice cream.

Mini Desserts: Order A Table Full of Colorful Sweets for Your Party

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

It seems that everyone loves macarons nowadays, and if you are not up to baking those on your own, we’ve got a great suggestion on how to supply these mini desserts. This bakery features the colors of the rainbow, plus flavors from champagne and strawberries to peanut butter and jelly.

We added these two dessert option to include with our menu that features the colors of the rainbow in each food. The rainbow party has recipes in the six color tones, that will make your buffet pop! Click on the link to see the full menu.

Here are a couple of ideas for fulfilling the rainbow effect, or offer anytime: eye-candy mini desserts you can order to please guests’ taste buds and aesthetic sense.

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kisses For a super easy dessert in the color VIOLET, set out bowls of chocolate candy kisses, which come wrapped in bright purple foil. They have a mildly sweet, rich dark chocolate flavor at only 22 calories a pop. Order them in bulk from Candy Warehouse, each bag has 100 pieces. candywarehouse.com

Dana’s Bakery Macarons Just 30 minutes from NYC, in Hawthorne, NJ is a macaron bakery supreme. Order your own rainbow selection for this party in an array of tantalizing flavors. Just make sure if you are ordering more than 200 macarons, to place your order at least 7 days prior to the party. They even offer classes for macaron-making, so perhaps you can sign up for one and come up with a flavor of your very own. danasbakery.com

Tuna Poke on Red Tortilla Chips: A Red-Hot Sensation

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This bite will make you look like a top chef, yet is so simple to create. Tip: For the tuna poke, of course, you need to make sure to get the freshest sushi-grade tuna, by buying superfrozen—just remember you will need to start defrosting at least 5 hours before the party.

To add an interesting finish to the tuna, sprinkle hibicus salt from Junior Merino’s line designed for rimming cocktails, it adds even more red tones, and super flavor to the tuna. This recipe is part of our strategy for creating a buffet in the colors of the rainbow. We came up with this idea as a way to celebrate Gay Pride, but these recipes make for a beautiful display on a buffet, so anytime or reason is OK by me.

Rainbow Shortcut for the RED category: If you are nervous about making sushi yourself, order tuna sashimi from your local Japanese spot, chop and doctor with the spices in the recipe below.

Other red foods to consider for the rainbow effect: watermelon, apples, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, beets, red bell peppers, cocktail sauce, tomato chutney. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.



3/4 LB Sushi at Home Yellowfin Tuna
2 TB kosher salt

Set the tuna in a bowl with 1 quart of water and salt for 5 min. Rinse. Pat dry with a paper towel, then wrap in a fresh paper towel. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.


1/4 tsp harissa
1 LB sushi–grade ahi tuna, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
2 red chili peppers, small dice

Toss ingredients together. Refrigerate for 1 hour so tastes merge.


tuna poke
red tortilla chips
Junior Merino red hibiscus salt, for garnish (optional)

Place a small spoonful of the tuna mix on top of a tortilla chip. Finish with a sprinkling of hibiscus salt, if using.

Not-Too-Sweet Blue Cocktails & Grand Vintage Champagne

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Go natural. The color in this blue cocktail comes from iris flowers immersed into the artisanal gin. Make a pretty and unusual statement on your party bar.

In planning this month’s menu of rainbow colors, the most practical choice for representing the color BLUE turned out to be the cocktail. In order to keep things on an upscale note—and not offer a menu of sickeningly-sweet junk booze—we went on the hunt for more sophisticated and subtle flavors. Luckily, we encountered a light sparkling blueberry liqueur and floral gin deluxe, see the details below.

Offer both at your gathering to cover those who prefer light and fruity or demand a crisp martini.

And for those who prefer a little bubbly with their celebrating, offer a sip of a cellar master’s crowning achievement, see details on Moët’s 2006 vintage below.


[1] Touch of Cyan This month’s signature cocktail gets served up in a coupe glass, mixing slightly fruity flavors with lime. See the recipe with this post.

[2] Gin-Tastic The initial attraction of this gin was its show-stopping color. Upon tasting, we were pleasantly surprised to experience its soft, complex floral notes. Choose to serve either in a cocktail with lime accents or straight up for the martini-lovers in your crowd. Recipes appear with this post.

HOBNOBMAG Blue Cocktail for the Rainbow Party

[3] Blue Ice American Vodka
An honest pure vodka, made from russet potatoes, perfect for those avoiding gluten in your crowd. Mixed with water from deep within the Rocky Mountains, this vodka is distilled in five-stages and filtered through charcoal, garnet, and crystal. Blends perfectly in the cocktail. Nicely priced for parties. $20. blueicevodka.com

[4] LeSutra Sparkling Blueberry Liqueur This Blueberry liqueur announces itself in a pale turquoise tone with just a bit of sweetness and sparkle. Made in Michigan, the brand was inspired by hip hop artist Timbaland and is a blend of vodka, chardonnay, and fruit liqueurs. Sutra in Sanskrit means “a thread that is used to hold things together”. Perhaps this liqueur will stimulate conversation and relationships that will linger. About $30. NOTE: HAVING TROUBLE LOCATING THIS ITEM, PERHAPS HOBNOB HAS PURCHASED THE LAST BOTTLES OF THIS.

[5] Santa Cruz Organic Limeade
A go-to brand for building cocktails, Santa Cruz offers all types of all-juice blends ranging from apricot to white grape. They were the pioneers of organic practices in the early 70’s starting with founder John Battendieri’s efforts to revitalize orchards in the Santa Cruz mountains, an area known for its outstanding fruit. Lately, they have led in efforts to conserve water and pooled together organic growers to sustain the brand and the planet. About $4 for 32 oz. santacruzorganic.com

[6] Magellan Iris-Flavored Gin In the final part of the distilling process of this gin, iris flowers are immersed, thus lending a lovely blue tint. This also adds a distinctly floral taste, with beauty in its subtlety. Also in the mix: cloves, cinnamon, juniper berries, orange peel, cassia, coriander, licorice, grains of paradise, cardamom, and nutmeg. It works wonderfully in the cocktail or as a simple sip. About $30. magellangin.com

[7] Fee Brothers Blue Curacao Cordial Syrup A non-alcoholic version of a classic cordial, Blue Curacao is sweet with the flavor of orange. Add this to any clear cocktail to get a blue effect. For this party you might want to get the 32 oz bottle, about $15. feebrothers.com

HOBNOBMAG Blue Cocktail for the Rainbow Party

[8] Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2006 Every so often, Moët allows the cellar master free-reign in developing a grand vintage with charisma, ending up with a champagne that is unique and original. The last time this happened was 2006, the house’s 40th vintage rosé, and is a blend of the season’s most interesting grapes. Its flavor is designed to be paired with food of any persuasion. We sampled it at a tasting with spicy Korean fried chicken. Drink through 2019. $69. us.moet.com

Franky Marshall Mixes Up a Winning Carrot Juice Cocktail

Posted on: May 12th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This carrot juice cocktail is loaded with extra vitamins and takes on a super-hot color. Special thanks to mixologist Franky Marshall for sharing her winning recipe with adorable garnish.

World traveler, linguist, gourmande, and bon vivant, Franky Marshall has her finger on the cocktail pulse. If you follow this trendsetter, you will always be at the coolest spot in NYC. [Holiday Cocktail Lounge; The Dead Rabbit; Monkey Bar; Clover Club, to name a few!] I asked Franky to share a recipe for my party plan, whose theme is wild. When she suggested the carrot juice in the mix, I knew it was a winner, but little did I know…

hobnobmag Carrot Juice Cocktail by Franky Marshall

I was lucky to catch Marshall before she took off to France, as the winner of the Grand Marnier cocktail contest—with this very recipe. I urge you to make the Garnier, or sample it from Marshall herself. It’s quite an original mix, just like her! You can accomplish this at Le Bar at Le District near the World Trade Center Memorial.

hobnobmag Carrot Juice Cocktail by Franky Marshall

You can also catch her now at The Roof at Park South, where we did this photo shoot. This rooftop cocktail lounge boasts loads of comfortable seating areas situated around glass-front fireplaces and views. A 36-foot long bar sets the stage for bar director Ted Kilpatrick’s artisan cocktails. Delight in the ultra-thin vintage glassware selections that add to the cocktail experience, as seen in the photo.

David Nichols Shares His Recipe for Luscious Roasted Baby Carrots

Posted on: May 7th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Check out this “wild” looking dish from a new chef on the NYC scene, David Nichols. You may never think of vegetables in the same way. He definitely has a way with roasted baby carrots.

The roasted carrots are paired with whipped feta and zingy pistachio vinaigrette, almost making them a meal unto themselves. For party purposes, set out carrots on a platter, and use the whipped feta as a dip, with vinaigrette on top. I thought this was an excellent recipe to include in my party plan that features all thing wild and foraged.

HOBNOBMAG Roasted Baby Carrots Irvington

Originally from Washington State, Nichols grew up in a farm-to-table environment, encapsulating the soul of Irvington—which happens to be conveniently located across the street from the Union Square Greenmarket.

HOBNOB sampled some other dishes: roasted radishes in a bath of crème fraîche match zesty bitter tastes with a creamy accents; grapefruit and fennel accent scallops in the freshest way. I hope they never take this cocktail off the menu, Stramaro Never Dies (the name brings that hope to life) has a perfect blend of fresh strawberries, vodka, amaro, and lime with a salty accent on the rim. Makes for an ideal, summer cocktail offering in color and taste. Go try one! irvingtonnyc.com

HOBNOBMAG Roasted Baby Carrots Irvington


Roasted Carrots with Whipped Feta and Pistachio Vinaigrette



2 bunches baby carrots
s + p

Season carrots with s + p. Roast for 10 min.


1 CUP feta, crumbled
2 TB heavy cream
4 TB créme fraiche
juice of one lemon
s + p

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.


1/2 CUP pistachios, chopped
zest and juice of 2 limes
zest and juice of 2 lemons
zest and juice of 1 orange
4 TB parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch chives, chopped
4 TB mint, chiffonade
1/2 CUP olive oil
s + p

Whisk together all ingredients.


mint leaves (for garnish)

Place the whipped feta in a bowl. Top with roasted carrots, then the pistachio vinaigrette. Garnish with mint leaves.

Vegan Party Bite: Fresh Cranberry Bean & Barley Wraps

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Some people might thing being vegan is boring. Well , this vegan party bite might change your mind. Have you ever seen lettuce in a light citron yellow with pink stripes? We chose to incorporate this lettuce as an ingredient in our “wild” party theme based on looks alone. Known as RADICCHIO CASTILLO FRANCO, they work as wraps—so no need for utensils. Their slightly bitter taste contrasts nicely with the cranberry bean and barley filling.

When I spotted the fresh cranberry beans at the market in matching color to the lettuce I thought I struck gold. Though the beans start out as pink and yellow, after cooking the color is lost (darn!). But, the benefit of using fresh beans is that they cook a lot faster than dried, and there’s no soaking involved. If you love surprising guests with new taste sensations, then check out the other recipes in our Wild Party theme’s menu.

hobhobmag Vegan Party Bite Cranberry Bean



1/4 CUP pearled barley
1 CUP water
1 tsp salt

In a medium pot, combine barley and water, bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, about 25 – 30 min, till soft and chewy, and liquid is absorbed (add water if barley is not soft enough). Let sit covered for 5 min. Fluff with fork.


1/2 LB fresh cranberry beans in the pod, shucked
1 bay leaf

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add beans, simmer about 35 min, till beans are soft. Drain.


3 TB EV olive oil
10 fresh sage leaves, cut into strips
cooked beans
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced

juice from 1/2 lemon
salt, to taste

EV olive oil

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sage, fry for 1 min, till starting to crisp. Add beans, saute for 2 min. Add the garlic, saute for 1 min, till golden. Remove from heat, toss with lemon juice. Season with salt. Combine the beans and barley. Drizzle with a little olive oil.


4 TB vegenaise
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp parsley, minced
1/4 tsp ground coriander

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.


radicchio castillo franco, separated into leaves

beans and barley mixture

fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

Remove 28 medium leaves from the center of the radicchio. Place a teaspoon, or so, of the bean and barley mixture into each leaf. Add a small dollop of the sauce and garnish with parsley leaf.

Wee & Wry: Rye and Jasmine Unite in this Mini Cocktail

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

In this issue’s mini cocktail, the rye and jasmine liqueur complement each other like a match made in heaven. Lime tones down the sweet factor, and the touch of lavender in the bitters add a touch of complexity.

I developed this cocktail as part of my party plan which features everything mini, as in mini ingredients. Stay with the mini theme with your choice of glass: either a mini wine glass, mini martini glass, or cordial glass. Here are the details on the ingredients:

[1] Templeton Rye

Get ready to experience an exceptional spirit, born during the time when spirits were banned. Inspired by stories told by his uncle and grandfather, Scott Bush sought to resurrect the rye that his family was famous for making during prohibition time. Though the recipe was lost among his kin, he was able to track down a nearly 100-year-old recipe, handwritten on a small scrap of paper, through the Kerkhoffs, a rival bootlegging family. They joined forces and found a distiller who would honor the independent methods that created the legendary rye, and eventually built a distillery in the original town of Templeton, Iowa.

Today the Templeton Archive Project is currently documenting the lore of their product with interviews of the area’s oldest residents, preserving unique memories of the Prohibition era and the role it played in this small town. TASTING NOTES: hint of caramel, butterscotch, toffee and allspice. About $40. templetonrye.com

[2] Fruitlab Organic Jasmine Liqueur

Floral and exotic, this rich liqueur does a number with the rye, almost as if they were designed to be a couple. This liqueur is brought to you by the Greenbar Craft Distillery, who represent the world’s largest portfolio of organic spirits. Husband-and-wife team Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew began making spirits in 2004, and hooked up with local organic farmers, leading to award-winning spirits. They consider the environment with the packaging as well, with lightweight bottles and 100% recycled labels. A tree is planted for every bottle sold. About $30. greenbar.biz

HOBNOBMAG mini cocktail

[3] Junior Merino Cachaça Intesive Bitters Yuzu & Lavender

Just a couple of drops of this intense bitters will do the trick. Made with a base of cachaça it adds a light citrus with floral notes of French lavender. Keep it on hand to add not only to cocktails, but food—salad dressings, marinades, ceviche, soup, stew, desserts or seafood. $17. Junior Merino

[4] Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Get out your juicer and a big batch of limes. If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend the Cuisinart Pulp Control Citrus Juicer. This baby gets every drop out of lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, and cleans up with just a rinse. Turning the top allow you to control how much pulp you want in your juice—none to every bit of pulp. About $30. amazon.com

HOBNOBMAG mini cocktail ingredients

[5] San Pellegrino Mineral Water

This cocktail gets an addition of water spawned from the earth. San Pellegrino flows from the foothills of the Italian Alps and surfaces as perfectly sparkling and naturally enriched with mineral salts. TASTING NOTES: The immediate impression on the taste buds is one of tingling freshness, followed by moderate acidity that stimulates salivation, while the high mineral content leaves a pleasant aftertaste. sanpellegrino.com

Shannon Stiggins of Cosme Treats Us to a Potent Dessert Cocktail

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Our guest mixologist this month is a breath of fresh air behind the bar at NYC hotspot Cosme. This Mexican City -influenced restaurant is featuring a large selection of unique, artisanal tequilas, rums, and mezcals—which find their way into her refreshing cocktails, including this fab dessert cocktail.

Stiggins started bartending in college and worked the country club scene around Long Island before landing in Manhattan at Vero Uptown and Downtown, STK, and American Whiskey. I asked her to come up with a cocktail for our party with a Mini theme, which features ingredients that are all miniaturized.

HOBNOBMAG Shannon Stiggins of Cosme Treats Us to a Potent Dessert Cocktail

Her cocktail, Montegato Coke Float is born out of a dilemma of a couple of guests with conflicting interests: one wanting coffee and dessert, the other a cocktail. She pleased them both with this intense ensemble. Be forewarned, though, the espresso and ice cream will keep you awake for hours—or maybe that’s what you already planned.

HOBNOBMAG Shannon Stiggins of Cosme Treats Us to a Potent Dessert Cocktail

Stay tuned for Stiggins’ take on the new cocktail menu at Dylan’s Candy.

HOBNOBMAG Shannon Stiggins of Cosme Treats Us to a Potent Dessert Cocktail

Behind the bar, a breathtaking selection of unique, artisanal tequilas, rums, and mezcals beckon.

Andrea Montobbio of Asellina’s Addictive Bar Bite: Stuffed Olives

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Here’s a mini appetizer that’s delivers big. Stuffed olives are delectable with a meaty-cheesy-truffle oil concoction that no one can eat just one of.

Our guest chef Andrea Montobbio developed a passion for cooking and all things culinary in the small town of Capriata d’Orba in Northern Italy, where he grew up in a family who made their own wine and grew bountiful produce in their garden. (ASELLINA HAS SINCE CLOSED, BUT YOU CAN CREATE A SPECTACULAR DISH BY CHEF ANDREA MONTOBBIO WITH RECIPE BELOW)

hobnobmag stuffed olives asellina

He landed his first job in picturesque Il Fattore, a Michelin restaurant known for its impressive selection of specialty wines. He learned pasta making at Il Archivolto, and at prestigious Albergo Ristorante de Corona, he became Head Chef after only six months. It was here he received the opportunity to travel to Atlanta where he honed his skills further, opening one fine restaurant after the other.

At Asellina at the Gansevoort Park Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City you can savor all that talent and experience. The fresh pastas on the menu are truly transcendent. The agnolotti with short ribs is a flavor-packed taste sensation, with meat juices and vegetables that mix together in a sauce reminiscent of a rich pot pie. Squid ink linguini is laden with a bounty of perfectly done lobster and shrimp. You will have trouble deciding what to order here, but, rest assured, every dish is stellar.

hobnobmag stuffed olives asellina

For the mini party, a plan featuring a menu of miniature bites, we were able to snag the recipe for stuffed cerignola olives from Andrea Montobbio, which may just be the most luxurious bar bite ever. A tangy, rich veal mixture gets stuffed into fresh cerignolas, which are then breaded and deep fried. Serve these at your next gig and I guarantee, people will go absolutely crazy. asellina

hobnobmag stuffed olives recipe



makes 20 olives


1/2 onion, minced
2 TB carrots, minced
2 TB celery, minced

1/2 LB ground veal shoulder
1/2 LB ground chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, caramelize onion, carrots, and celery. When golden brown, add the ground veal and chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, or till browned thoroughly.


1 slice mortadella, minced
1 1/2 TB parmesan, grated
3/4 CUP bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp truffle oil

Empty the pan into a large bowl and allow to cool. Add the mortadella, parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg, and the truffle oil. Mix well.


20 large Cerignola olives
1/2 CUP all-purpose flour, in bowl
1 egg, whisked in a bowl
breadcrumbs (for coating the olives), in bowl

parmesan, for sprinkling
herbs, for garnish

With a very sharp knife, cut a slit down one down one side of the olive, cut around the pit, and remove. Open carefully and add stuffing. Once stuffed, close, then dust in flour, and soak in the egg. Lastly, roll them gently in breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 inches of olive oil in a large saucepan to fry. Once oil becomes hot, fry stuffed olives until golden brown. Make sure to cook both sides.

Remove from oil and transfer to a paper-towel-lined dish. To plate, sprinkle with more parmesan, add herbs and serve.

Check out our other recipes featuring mini ingredients in the PARTY OF MINI PROPORTIONS issue.

Aphrodisiac Recipe from Fork Me, Spoon Me: The Sensual Cookbook By Amy Reiley

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Learn the basics of seduction in this informative cookbook. Amy shares an aphrodisiac recipe for Chocolate Smothered Brie to get things started.

Use the power of aphrodisiacs to seduce your loved one with this cookbook by leading aphrodisiac authority Amy Reiley. She’ll show you how to incorporate twelve ingredients for amorousness—almonds, vanilla, rosemary, mint, chocolate, chile, ginger, mango, peaches, saffron, and figs—to turn the night into a magical one.

Enjoy this recipe from the book for Chocolate Smothered Brie, and plan to serve for your next date. lifeofreiley.com

featured recipe



2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp butter

6 oz wedge of ripe brie
1 pint strawberries, washed with stems on

1 1/2 CUP dark chocolate chips
1/2 CUP heavy cream

1/2 French baguette

Put garlic on a baking tray and sprinkle chunks of butter on top. Toast under the broiler until just brown. (Adult supervision recommended.) Remove from broiler and toss the hard, golden chips in the melted butter and set aside to rest.

Arrange the brie and strawberries on a serving platter.

In a double boiler or a metal mixing bowl fitted onto a small pot of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate chips with the cream over low heat, stirring steadily with a gentle motion. When chocolate reaches a smooth, creamy texture, remove from heat and fold in the hard garlic chips.

Smother the cheese with the hot chocolate and allow the sweet topping to drench a few berries. Serve immediately with a hunk of French bread and a total lack of inhibition.

—from Fork Me, Spoon Me: The Sensual Cookbook by Amy Reiley

Feed Each Other: Sexy Steamed Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Steamed artichokes provide a unique eating ritual. No other vegetable comes close to the interaction you get here. That’s why I thought this recipe would be a fantastic part of our Aphrodisiac theme. Ancient Greeks and Romans considered artichokes a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. I envision this dish shared by 2 people romantically connected. Choose which sauce works for your lover—or serve both—sultry & buttery or creamy & spicy. The idea: dip and feed each other individual leaves.



2 large artichokes

Peel off the leaves near the stem. Cut off the thorns at the top of each leaf with scissors (2 rows). Chop an inch off the top. Wash artichoke thoroughly, get in between the leaves to remove any hidden dirt. Trim the stem.

HOBNOBMAG artichokes trimmed


prepared artichokes
bay leaf
juice from 1 lemon

Set up a pot for steaming, toss in bay leaf. Position artichokes, squeeze lemon juice over them. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Steam for 45 min, flipping the artichoke at 20 min. The artichoke is done when leaves pull off easily. While artichokes steam, make the sauce.


Herbed Butter Dipping Sauce

Serve this sauce to the person who likes rich things.



5 TB butter
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
pinch of cayenne

Add ingredients to a small bowl. Melt butter in the microwave (start with 11 seconds). When butter is mostly melted, stir to finish. Serve immediately.


Spicy Mayo Dipping Sauce

Serve this sauce to the person who likes things spicy.



1/2 CUP mayonnaise
1 TB dijon mustard
2 tsp sriracha
juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sugar

Mix everything together in a bowl.

Romantic Dinner for Two: Filet Mignon in Cherry Port Reduction

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Filet mignon is a most special cut of steak, and will show your lover you care! Here’s a simple dinner for two: filet mignons are dressed in a hot dose of reduced port infused with cherries—and a touch of butter whisked in at the end. Serve with mashed potatoes and fresh greens.

See other romantic recipes in our  Aphrodisiac-themed menu,



1 1/2 CUPS port (we used Ramos Pintos Collector Reserve Port)
1/2 CUP balsamic vinegar
1/2 CUP dried cherries
1 TB tamari
fresh mint bouquet
1 large shallot, minced

Combine ingredients in medium saucepan; simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 25 min. Set aside, covered.


2 filet mignon, at room temperature
s + p

Get a grill pan hot. Generously s + p both sides of the steak and place on the grill. Do not move the steak for 4 to 5 min, so you get a nice grilled crust. Flip steaks with tongs, grill another 5 min. Let rest for 5 min under a foil tent.


1 TB butter

While steaks are resting, reheat sauce. Strain sauce through mesh into a heatproof bowl, whisk in the butter. Season with salt. Plate the steaks and spoon the sauce over each and serve.

HOBNOB Magazine