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Posts Tagged ‘artsy’

Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Toasted Breadcrumbs

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you’ve never tried squid ink pasta, then this is the recipe that will make you fall in love with it. Not only does it have a captivating look, it lends a flavor all its own.

We thought it would be a great dish to serve at a Halloween or Day of the Dead party, and paired it with toasted breadcrumbs and shrimp to adhere to an orange and black menu that we developed especially for Halloween entertaining. This dish is truly spectacular, and so simple to make. It ranks as one of my top recipes on this website, when I see the photo, I just crave it. Do not leave off the breadcrumb mixture, they complete the dish beautifully.

MAKES ABOUT 20 SMALL BOWLS

COOK THE PASTA

1 LB Filotea La Pasta Originale Spaghetti Chitarra al Nero di Seppia (squid ink pasta)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 3 min. When draining pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for the sauce.

TOAST THE BREADCRUMBS

2 TB EV olive oil
1 CUP panko breadcrumbs
1/8 CUP thyme, roughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon

Heat olive oil gently in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in breadcrumbs, herbs and lemon zest, saute for about 3 min, till the crumbs have browned. Set aside.

MAKE THE SAUCE

1/2 CUP EV olive oil
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 CUP white wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 min. Add garlic, saute for about 1 min (do not let it brown). Add wine, crushed red pepper, and salt and let reduce by half, about 5 min.

ADD THE SHRIMP

1/2 CUP pasta water
1 LB shrimp, shells removed

Add water and shrimp, bring to a boil, cover and let shrimp poach for 2 min, stirring once. Toss with cooked pasta, and let flavors meld another 2 min.

To serve individually, use small bowls or cups and top with 1 shrimp apiece, with a sprinkling of breadcrumb mix on the top. Place dessert forks in each serving.

Marinated Black Olive Bruschetta: Back in Black for Halloween

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Bruschetta is a fun party offering, where you can set our pre-made toasts, or just let your guests make their own. We chose crinkly Moroccan olives for this Black Olive Bruschetta, because of their intense taste, and the ability to hold up to the marinade without getting mushy. They lost a little of their leathery texture and soaked up the flavors nicely. The orange slices and curls add to the orange and black theme, in addition to giving the olives an additional level of taste.

Halloween and Day of the Dead parties are getting spookier by the minute! See the full menu in our party theme Spooky Harvest: a squid ink pasta, roasted carrots, and tomato soup—to name a few recipes in the party mix.

MAKES ABOUT 30 BITES

MARINATE THE OLIVES

2 CUPS black olives
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp orange zest
3 slices orange
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 TB parsley, chopped
EV olive oil

Lightly crush the olives, and transfer to a glass jar with a lid. Add the spices and cover with olive oil. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 to 3 days, shaking the jar occasionally.

MAKE THE BLACK OLIVE BRUSCHETTA

crusty baguette, cut into thin slices
EV olive oil
orange curls, for garnish
thyme, minced, for garnish

Drizzle olive oil onto bread. Take marinated olives and crush 3 onto each baguette slice. Top with orange curls and a touch of thyme. Or just leave out the ingredients and let guests make their own toasts.

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese: A Halloween Treat

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Soup is a super easy way to get copious bites onto your party buffet. We paired tomato soup with grilled cheese to tie into a Halloween theme of black and orange hues, The bright orange tones of the soup and dark rye bread create a nice, spooky presence, much like the other recipes from our Halloween party plan.  Check the link to see the entire repertoire.

Serve this soup warm or cold. Guajillo pepper, avocado and cilantro add to the flavor mix.

MAKES 40 SHOOTERS & MINI GRILLED CHEESE BITES

ROAST THE TOMATOES… PREHEAT OVEN 375°F

2 LB heirloom tomatoes, quartered
EV olive oil
s + p

Spread tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with s + p. Roast on the middle shelf for about 1 hour, till the skins are blistered and the tomatoes have shrunk in size.

PREPARE THE CHILE

1 whole dried guajillo chile

Simmer for 10 min to soften. Let sit in water for 10 min more.

START THE SOUP

3 TB EV olive oil
1 med onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 guajillo chile, soaked
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over med heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 min. Stir in the garlic and pepper, sauté another 4 min. Incorporate crushed tomatoes, simmer covered for 10 min.

FINISH THE SOUP

2 CUPS organic chicken broth
roasted tomatoes
1/4 CUP cilantro, minced
1/4 CUP turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Add ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, then continue to simmer covered, about 30 min, stirring occasionally. Remove guajillo chile. Let soup cool slightly, then transfer to a blender in batches. Blend until smooth.

MAKE THE GRILLED CHEESE

1 stick butter, room temperature
10 slices rye bread
1 LB extra sharp cheddar cheese, room temperature

Toast the bread, then butter one side of each slice of bread. Into a heated skillet, place bread buttered side down, top with cheddar, and 2nd slice of bread with butter on the outside. Press together. Heat for 4 to 5 min, flip and heat another 5 min. Move to a cutting board and let cool slightly, cut in half, then each half on the diagonal, into 4 triangles.

TO SERVE

1 avocado, cut into small cubes, for garnish
sprigs of cilantro, for garnish

Pour soup into shooter glasses about 3/4 of the way, top with a cube of avocado and sprig of cilantro. Insert grilled cheese triangle into the top at an angle.

A Cognac Cocktail from Gregory Buda of The Dead Rabbit

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Enjoy this exquisite sipper from the bar voted “best in the world”. This cognac cocktail includes a touch of rye, madeira, and amaro, a trifecta of smooth, intense notes.

This party’s suggested  cocktail comes from the renowned bar located all the way downtown, NYC. The Dead Rabbit models itself on a traditional Irish bar from the 1800s, where a shop selling pantry favorites would be located on the ground floor. There are two more floors boasting truly excellent cocktails, some served in tea cups, and all in a boisterous atmosphere. The second floor is where you want to be for the full-service exoerience.

See more of my tips for hosting a five-star sports viewing in the UP YOUR GAME party plan. You’ll see recipes for upscale small bites, and more. Serve this potent cognac cocktail sipper to your fellow fans at the end of the game, to drown your sorrows, or celebrate!

Read our interview with Gregory Buda, and his take on working at this extremely popular establishment.

The Dead Rabbit was just awarded “World’s Best Bar” at Tales of the Cocktail. Has there been an increase in customers? Is the pressure on?
I would say that there has definitely been an increase in volume resulting from the press about our awards, which is great, especially in the summer. As for the pressure, it’s always on! Being the best means being dynamic, and we recognize that we can always do better and always improve. We have an awesome staff that constantly brings new ideas to the table on how we can up our game. We won that award not because our drinks are better than everyone else’s, but rather because we offer a really cool and unique experience when you come in.

hobnobmag Cognac Cocktail The Dead Rabbit

What is the most asked for spirit at the bar?

Dead Rabbit is known for having one of the most extensive Irish whiskey selections in the world, and a lot of people come in curious to try something new. It is also one of our goals to promote Irish whiskey as a category, which we do through cocktails, education, and tastings. However, in terms of other spirits, I have been thrilled that more and more guests come in asking about Japanese whisky, mezcal, and Armagnac, three categories that I am very excited about and that have been under people’s radar until recently.

hobnobmag Cognac Cocktail The Dead Rabbit

You are a photographer as well as mixologist. Are you influenced by how the drink looks as well as tastes?
Without question! Your experience of a drink has many facets to it. The obvious ones are aroma, taste, and texture, but presentation and glassware play a huge part as well. The visual appearance of a cocktail is the first part of your experience, so if I make sure it is spectacular, it sets your expectations appropriately for how the drink will taste. A normal comment that I get when I am behind the bar is “What is THAT drink over there?! I’ll have one of those.” And this is said without the guest having any idea what is in the cocktail or how it tastes. Personally, I prefer drinks to be presented in a classic but elegant way. Overly extravagant garnishes and glassware make me question whether the cocktail can speak for itself.

hobnobmag Cognac Cocktail The Dead Rabbit

How many cocktails at The Dead Rabbit can be credited to you? What’s your favorite ingredient that can improve almost any mix?
Currently, 12 of the cocktails in our third edition book menu are my creations, and I have come up with another seven or so for our seasonal menus. My secret ingredient is sherry, and I use different styles of sherry in almost all of the drinks I come up with, whether for menus, competitions, or articles. Before coming to Dead Rabbit, I worked at a beautiful sherry and cocktail bar called The Beagle (now closed) on the Lower East Side, and fell in love. As a bartender, it is a personal mission of mine to promote sherry as a category, and my favorite way to introduce people to its beauty is with a good sherry cocktail. I find that sherry really is a magical ingredient, and if I just can’t get a cocktail to taste the way that I want, adding a little sherry is usually the answer.

deadrabbit.com

Health-Conscious Party: Sesame-Crusted Tuna in Miso Ginger Sauce

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Not every party dish needs to be corruptive to your normal focus on nutrition. Health-conscious party fare can be just as delicious as the junk. These barely-cooked tuna bites will provide a gourmet bit. Tip: Make sure to buy sushi-grade tuna, (here’s a great source) since it will be only seared. Your health-conscious and dieting sports fan friends will be duly impressed when they see this on the roster. The lettuce leaf not only makes a pretty wrap, it makes it easy to pick up and eat.

If you love to entertain in style, I’ve come up with a whole menu for impressing your favorite sports fans, see it all here. Forget hotdogs and chili.

MAKES 10-12 BITES + ABOUT 3/4 CUP OF SAUCE

MAKE THE MISO GINGER SAUCE

2-inch pc fresh ginger, chopped
3 TB brown rice miso
juice of 1 lime
1 TB tamari
1 TB grape seed oil
2 TB brown sugar
3 TB sesame oil
3 TB white balsamic vinegar

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until creamy. Refrigerate overnight for more intense flavors.

PREPARE THE TUNA

10 oz sushi-grade ahi tuna steak (if frozen, defrost overnight in the fridge)

Pat dry. Cut tuna into elongated cubes (about 1 1/2 inches square).

COAT THE TUNA

2 TB black sesame seeds
2 TB white sesame seeds
salt

In a flat bowl, add the sesame seeds and salt. Coat tuna on all four sides.

COOK THE TUNA

1 TB grape seed oil
tuna

In a warm skillet, heat oil. Sear tuna about 30 sec each side, using tongs to turn.

MAKE THE BITES

seared tuna
baby bibb lettuce leaves
miso ginger sauce

Cut tuna into 1/2 -inch slices. Place each slice on a leaf of bibb lettuce, top with sauce.

Wellness Cocktail: Pam Wiznitzer’s Low-Alcohol Sipper

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Wellness cocktail, that may be an oxymoron, but there are certainly different degrees when it comes to imbibing. Pam Winitzer, of Seamstress, NYC, shares a recipe for her bright cocktail with low-alcohol, and her thoughts on mixology trends.

This month’s cocktail recipe, by the lovely Ms. Wiznitzer, is a lightly-sweet blend, with low-alcohol content, ideal for daytime parties.

You just attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and were busy giving seminars and classes. What are you focused on right now?
Right now my focus is on Seamstress and our team at the venue. We have a busy fall coming up and a killer team behind the bar and on the floor that keeps expanding and making every night really memorable for our guests. With menu changes on the horizon and some fun tricks up our sleeves, Seamstress keeps me pretty busy. Beyond the bar I have our amazing USBGNY chapter programming that keeps me attached to my emails and phone, some incredible projects with brands, travel and cocktails weeks, and just leading healthy lifestyle by keeping to a workout regiment and eating well.

Did you see any new trends that intrigued you?

The most outstanding trend that is sweeping our country right now is a focus on the health and wellness of bartenders. There is a stronger emphasis on not only eating well and working out, but also taking social responsibility by drinking less and keeping the “partying” to a more appropriate level. I felt that this year at Tales was and exemplary one with many bartenders and industry professionals really honing in on their behavior and enjoying the week without getting overly intoxicated. In fact, there are loads of people who are cutting out alcohol altogether!

For cocktails, there is a shift towards low proof/session drinks and also incorporating more unique spirits onto a cocktail menu. Vermouth and sherry were stars of the show and incorporated into many of the cocktails currently on menus across the country. As well, the appearance of spirits such as applejack, pisco, Raicilla, Sotol, Eau de Vie, Cognac and other more obscure liquors are finally getting their chance to shine at bars. It’s an exciting time for the smaller spirit producers from these categories because consumers and bartenders are both seeking our new flavors for their programs.

hobnobmag Wellness Cocktail

You’ve switched bars from way downtown (The Dead Rabbit) to the upper east side…how would you say the clientele compare?
New York clientele are the best! I love that the majority of guests who come to Seamstress are locals from the UES, as well as many doctors, nurses, teachers and some other business individuals who work uptown. A phenomenal part of our guests happen to be other industry personnel who work in restaurants and bars above 59th street and love to join us post shift for a great cocktail. As well, many of my guests from the Dead Rabbit (along with my old co-workers from the bar) have traveled uptown to visit, which means the world to me. I really love the people who come to eat and drink with us every night and love to see the returning faces week after week!

hobnobmag Wellness Cocktail

There’s a wee store in the entryway of Seamstress, with a great selection of handmade items, how do you choose who to include?
Steve Laycock and Josh Mazza help to curate the store. We focus on American goods that are of the highest quality and reflect the same ideals that we have at Seamstress (craftsmanship, attention to detail). We currently have syrups from Max Messier’s company Cocktail & Sons, Original drawings from artists Meredith Wing (@moomooi on instagram), Lotuff leather bags, Shinola watches from Detroit and Pendleton Blankets. You can check out our store online to see all of the updates:

seamstressny.com

Greek Flavors Through the Eyes of a Preeminent Chef: Smashing Plates by Maria Elia

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

In this cookbook review, we show a top international chef who relies on the Greek flavors of her childhood, and turns them into the most artistic and interesting plates.

Raised in a restaurant owned by her Greek Cypriot father and English mother, Maria Elia knew from the early age of four that she wanted to be a chef, to surround herself with the excitement of the kitchen she had grown up in. After years working in world-renowned professional kitchens such as El Bulli and Arzack, Elia found herself returning to those flavors of Greece, saying, “They are the ones that are most emotive to me; the ones that make my heart sing.”

BACK FULL CIRCLE

She rediscovered those flavors by spending a summer cooking with her father in the Troodos mountains of Cyprus, embracing the rural life as much as the villagers embraced her in return, sharing recipes old and new. There in Cyprus with her father she rediscovered Greek ingredients through her eyes as a professional chef, and found that they were inspirational on a whole new level. Smashing Plates represents the fruits of that rediscovery, Elia’s contemporary twists on the elevated, yet still rooted in the iconic flavors of Greece.

hobnobmag Greek Flavors Smashing Plates

A SHARED PLATE PHILOSOPHY

As is traditional, dishes in Smashing Plates are meant to be shared rather than individually plated, with 120 recipes divided into mezze-like small plates, more filling shared plates, salads, sides, and desserts that are all meant to be mixed and matched to enjoy amongst friends and family.

All the traditional, essential flavors and elements of Greek cooking remain—briny olives, bright lemon, luscious olive oil, vibrant herbs, juicy tomatoes, succulent lamb, and fresh seafood— but have been reimagined in creative, modern ways by Elia’s skilled touch in dishes such as Slow-Roasted Paper-Wrapped Leg of Lamb, Kalamata Olive Gnocchi, Zucchini-Coated Calamari, Carrot Tabbouleh, Sumac Flatbread, Honeyed Fried Feta, Rabbit Baklava, and Wild Greens Macaroni and Cheese.

Elia’s food is simple yet elegant, light yet lush, and absolutely belongs on your table. About $17. Enjoy this recipe from the book for a light and beautiful dessert, a twist on a traditional milk pudding.

hobnobmag COOKBOOK smashing plates Greek flavors

recipe

WATERMELON MAHALEPI

This is the only way I eat mahalepi, flavoured with one of my favourite fruits, the watermelon. Traditionally, mahalepi is made with water and cornflour – not the most enticing dessert, even when it’s served sprinkled with sugar and a glug of rose syrup! I’m in a minority, though, as the Greeks love it.

Variations: You can try various flavours – grape would be interesting, as would orange, scented with fresh basil. Just make a purée of the fruit, pass through a fine sieve and then make up to the required volume with water.

Serves 4

FOR THE ROSE SYRUP

5 oz [150ml] water
1/3 CUP [250g] sugar
2 TB rose water, or a few drops of rose essence
juice of 1/2 lemon
red food coloring

To make the syrup, place the water and sugar in a pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil for 3 minutes, then take off the heat and stir in the rose water and lemon juice and taste for strength. Add a tiny drop of food coloring and pour into a sterilized jar or bottle. Once cooled, seal and refrigerate.

FOR THE MAHALEPI

4.4 LB [2kg] watermelon, cut into small pieces (discard the rind)
1/4 CUP [60g] cornflour
1/3 CUP [75g] caster sugar

Place the watermelon pieces in a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a large jug or bowl. Do this a little at a time as you’ll need to push the purée through the sieve with a spoon. You should end up with around 600ml watermelon juice in total – make up with a little water if necessary.
Whisk the cornflour with a little of the juice to make a smooth slurry, then whisk with the remaining juice and pour into a saucepan. Whisk over a low heat until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and whisk in the sugar until it dissolves.

Pour the mixture into four shallow bowls that have been sprinkled with a few drops of cold water – this will make turning out the mahalepi a lot easier, as it stops them from sticking. Allow to cool before refrigerating overnight or for at least 3 hours.

TO GARNISH

8 strawberries
around 16 chopped pistachios
rose petals or violas (optional)

Turn the mahalepi out of their molds (they should easily slide out – add a splash of water if they don’t). Serve in deep dishes, topped with a glug of rose syrup, and garnished with strawberries, pistachios and rose petals or violas if you have them.

Buy the book: Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined>

Photo/Publisher: Credit: Taken by Smashing Plates by Maria Elia. Published by Kyle Cathie, priced £19.99. Photography by Jenny Zarins

Summer Grill Delight: Skirt Steak Teriyaki Roll-Ups

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Warm weather beckons to prepare your summer grill for all the festivities to come. And steaks on the grill are a special treat. I’ve come up with a different way of serving skirt steak to guests: in little bites at a time with fresh vegetable accompaniment. Tip: Choosing skirt steak, as opposed to flank steak, adds more fat, thus more flavor.

Here’s the basic idea: pound steaks into ultra thinness. Sear both sides. Cut into long strips to create the rolls—make sure to roll so the grain of the meat runs parallel to the roll. We cooked the steak on a skillet, but a grill pan or bbq would work just as well. See more recipes in our Summer Grill party for entertaining in the great outdoors.

MAKES ABOUT 50 ROLLS

MAKE THE TERIYAKI SAUCE

1/2 CUP San-J Organic Shoyu
1/4 CUP water
5 TB sweet rice wine
1 TB honey
1/4 CUP raw turbinado sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

Heat ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 min, to reduce.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Cut Carrot Strips with Peeler

PREPARE THE VEGGIES

3 TB safflower oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, cut into thin strips, matching the length of the peppers
1 TB thyme, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oil and add all ingredients to a large skillet or wok. Stir fry for 5 min.

PREPARE THE STEAK

1 3/4 LB skirt steak
safflower oil
s + p
—-
Pound steaks till about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Brush oil on one side of steak, season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a little safflower oil in a large skillet. Place sections of steak into pan seasoned side down. Sear for 2 min. Flip, and season other side, sear for additional 2 min. Set aside to rest.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe How to Steak Roll Ups

ASSEMBLE THE ROLLS

steak
veggies
5 scallions tops, cut into 4-inch strips
teriyaki sauce

Cut each steak into half lengthwise, so that you have long, skinny pieces. On steak, lay 2 strips each of pepper, carrot, scallion. Roll tightly. Secure the ends with 2 toothpicks, stabbing straight down. Cut the roll in half in between the 2 toothpicks, so that you have 2 pieces that sit flat with veggies sticking out of the top. Set on a serving dish and spoon teriyaki sauce over.

Mini Portions of Dessert: Walnut-Pecan-Raisin & Cream Cigars

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Phyllo dough comes in handy for creating these mini portions of dessert. Some tips for working with phyllo: It’s very important to keep them under a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out while you are working with the sheets. Also, covering the finished rolls as you go will ensure a proper result. These can be made a day ahead, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want to maximize numbers, cut each phyllo sheet into 9 rectangles instead of 6, and you will have 90 rolls.

I developed this recipe as part of a Greek food party menu. If you love Greek food, see more of the plan for hosting a Greek-themed party.

MAKES 60 CIGARS (6.5 INCHES)

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…TOAST THE NUTS

3/4 CUP walnuts
3/4 CUP pecans

Toast nuts in a heated skillet for about 2 min, set aside to cool. Roughly chop.

PREPARE THE FILLING…GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR

6 TB brown sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch s + p

1 CUP golden raisins
toasted nuts
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature, cut into chunks

Pulse dry ingredients together. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Put into a piping bag and set aside.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Walnut Pecan Raisin Cream Cigars

MAKE THE CIGARS

20 sheets phyllo pastry
2 sticks salted butter, melted
brown sugar

Lay a sheet of phyllo out and brush lightly with butter. Dust with sugar. Lay another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with butter again. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 6 rectangles.

Pipe a line of filling near the bottom of each rectangle. Roll the pastry over the filling tightly, squeezing gently. Brush the seam with melted butter to seal, then all over. Place cigars on a baking sheet lined with parchment, seam side down, under a damp paper towel till ready to bake.

Bake the cigars on the oven’s middle shelf for 17 min, till they are flaky and a light golden brown. Serve stacked geometrically or vertically in a tall glass.

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.

DEPRIVATION IS NOT THE THEME HERE

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.

LIGHTER, FRESHER, SEASONAL RECIPES

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.

recipe

CUCUMBER AND YOGURT SOUP WITH WALNUTS AND ROSE PETALS

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.

10 Stellar Foodie Gifts to Bring to Your Next Party

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

It’s summer party season, and if you are headed away for the weekend, or just next door, treat your host to something more imaginative than a standard bottle of wine. HOBNOB gives you the foodie gifts to impress and delight even the most snobby host.

Make sure to include the background story with your gift—they are SO inspirational, admirable and plaise-worthy.  We found stellar examples in the foodie realm that really stand out from the crowd to include in this roundup.

[1] Bumbleberry Farms Honey Creams

Tell your host to put down the Nutella because a new sweet spreadable obsession has arrived. Bumbleberry Farms’ honey creams are as deliciously decadent as they sound. Spread, stir, and drizzle into a honey frenzy with flavors like Lovers’ Leap Sea Salt Caramel, Squirrel Crazy Maple, Molten Lava Spiced Chocolate, and Sticky Buns Cinnamon.

It’s almost impossible to decide—so we recommend the Honey Cream Gift Set which includes all 4. Each is made from small batch honey carefully collected from hand-spun honeycomb. Though their bees may travel up to 55,000 miles, visiting more than two million flowers, Bumbleberry keeps things local with the addition of high-quality, all-natural ingredients in their honey creams, hand-selecting and sourcing the dairy and maple sugar from operations just down the road. Bumbleberry Farms, based in the foothills of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountains, is led by owner and “Queen Beekeeper” Karen Mosholder, who has gone from making 18 jars of her golden delicious spread at a time on her honey-house stove to now cooking up to 100 gallons a batch. $40. bumbleberryfarms.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[2] Savannah Bee Company

Tupelo is a supreme honey, collected for two weeks every spring, while tupelo trees in the Southeastern swamps bloom globe-shaped clusters that glisten with nectar. Savannah Bee Tupelo Honey is very unique and only produced in the threatened tupelo ecosystem of the Altamaha and Apalachicola River Basins of Georgia and Florida. Gold Reserve Tupelo Honey comes in a limited edition, and gorgeous package—and the contents are just as special. $112 for an 80 oz bottle. savannahbee.com

[3] Tonewood Maple Syrup Cubes

Tonewood’s products are made with pure, premium maple syrup that is single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives. The Maple Cube, housed in a sleek black gift box, can be shaved over oatmeal, fruit, ice cream, and more—anything that could use a touch of golden sweetness. What a revolutionary concept.

Get your Maple Cube in two varieties: try Golden Delicate, which features a lighter, buttery maple flavor, or the more intense Dark Robust. Like wine, Tonewood’s artisan sugarmakers pay deep attention to their maple syrup’s terroir. Their trees grow in Mad River Valley, VT where the combination of rich soil, southern facing slopes, and high elevation allows them to produce a syrup with incredible flavor, clarity, and color. Raising the bar for maple products, Tonewood is also dedicated to preserving small-scale maple production and involved in funding climate research, local farming efforts, and sustainable, forest stewardship. $17. tonewoodmaple.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[4] Hella Bitters

After years of obsessing over the perfect bitters, the team at Hella Bitters decided to hand craft its products in New York in small batches, using classic age-old techniques and only the best ingredients. With upwards of 130 botanical ingredients (yes, that’s 130) used in highly secretive formulas, their bitters are vibrant and complex.

For the DIY-ers, the Craft Your Own Bitters Kit includes essentials tools such as glass infusion jars, apothecary style dropper bottles, and a custom steel fine mesh strainer and funnel, plus their proprietary mix of herbs, spices, bittering agents, and dried fruit peel. Bring this to your budding mixologist hosts. $65. hellabitters.com

[5] La Tourangelle Artisan Coconut Oil

You might ask, why coconut oil? How does thus qualify as an artisanal pleasure? With its numerous health benefits, coconut oil is all-the-rage in certain crowds, but La Tourangelle takes their product to the next level with their 100% Fair Trade practices, extruding organic, extra virgin oil made from fresh coconuts—never dried.

La Tourangelle uses organic coconuts picked right off the tree to produce the freshest oil possible. The oil is processed by their revolutionary centrifuge technology, producing an oil with a unique light texture, while retaining all of its natural antioxidants and nutrients. With its super high quality, you can even use your coconut oil outside of the kitchen as a soothing moisturizer for dry hands and lips, deep hair conditioning treatments, and face masks. Perhaps a spa weekend is in order. $14. latourangelle.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[6] Caravel Gourmet’s Infused Sea Salt

Salt is indispensable. These samplers with different flavor profiles are a thoughtful gift for that person who loves to dabble. The themed samplers offer six different salt varieties in each set. Choose from Spicy, French, Infused, Natural, and Smoked. From rosemary to Hawaiian bamboo jade, every dish can taste like something new, with just a flick of the wrist. $22. seasaltsuperstore.com

[7] Back to the Roots Herb Kits

Maybe your host has imagined dreamily snipping fresh herbs from a garden, but the closest thing to Eden is a rusty fire escape. Well, we’ve got their green-thumb fancies covered. Not much beats the satisfaction of nurturing a plant from seed, and Back to the Roots makes it incredibly easy with their line of ready-to-grow cans for small-space windowsill gardening. Just pop open the can, plant the seeds, water, wait patiently for nature to do its thing, and harvest. The Garden-in-a-Can Gift Set includes four organic herbs (basil, cilantro, oregano, and sage). Also nice to bring to those with kids, so they can have a fun summer project. backtotheroots.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[8] Bittermilk Old Fashioned Mixer Gift Set

Channeling your inner master mixologist and crafting speakeasy-level cocktails has never been simpler. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Bittermilk produces small batch, hand bottled, all-natural, non-alcoholic mixers inspired by classic cocktails.

The Old Fashioned Set, perfect for lovers of strong, serious cocktails, includes the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned, the New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge, and the Oaxacan Old Fashioned. Enormous amounts of attention is paid to the techniques used to prepare the unique ingredients in each mixer, creating complex, incredible layers of flavor.

Aged in Willett bourbon barrels, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned mixer is made with burnt sugar, a touch of orange peel, and classic old fashioned bitters spices like gentian root and cinchona bark.

Inspired by the traditional and beloved Sazerac cocktail, the New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge has strong Absinthe-like notes from spices like wormwood, gentian root, and cochineal, a Peruvian red beetle that imparts the original red coloring of Peychaud’s bitters.

The Oaxacan Old Fashioned, packed with complex chile, chocolate, and dried fruit notes, is made from a base of dried Mexican chiles and raisins and a syrup aged in drums with cocoa husks. All you have to do is add your favorite booze and enjoy. $45. shop.bittermilk.com

[9] Red Rocker Candy Chocolate Bark

Simple but deliciously satisfying, Red Rocker Candy’s rich chocolate treats bring back the nostalgic flavors and sentiments of times-gone-by. Handmade using only the highest quality ingredients, owner Sue Charney is committed to old-fashioned values.

Keep it classic with her amazing chocolate bark, available in four flavors: Crispy (using crispy rice cereal), Marshmallow Coconut (a fun take with fluffy marshmallows and toasted coconut), Nonpareils (a grown-up version of the mini snow-capped chocolates of yesteryear), and Roasted Almond—all available in both milk and dark chocolate varieties. $12. redrockercandy.com

honobmag foodie gifts to bring to your host

[10] Brooklyn Slate Co.

From a family-owned quarry in upstate New York, Brooklyn Slate Co. offers a natural platform for displaying cheese, hors d’oeuvres, and more. Use the accompanying soapstone pencil to inscribe a personal message to your host—and also to label what’s being offered. Also nice to send as a thank-you gift after the weekend—with pickles, cheese, or the makings for gourmet s’mores. $28 for the cheese board. $65-$80 for food/slate packages. brooklynslate.com

These ingredients are part of our weekend BBQ party plan. Whether you are showing up at a party, or preparing to host a fun BBQ, see my other details that will get the party flowin’.

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)

COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS:

[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.

IN ADDITION TO THE 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

Sweet Paul Eat & Make: Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You Will Love by Paul Lowe

Posted on: June 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Hobnob gets their hands on Paul Lowe’s cookbook/craftsbook Sweet Paul Eat and Make and finds lots to admire. Especially a quick and easy recipe for bruschetta that looks like a party on a plate.

Raised in Oslo, Norway by his great-aunt Auntie Gunnvor and grandmother Mormor, Paul Lowe, otherwise known as Sweet Paul, wasn’t your average child. Obsessed with cooking, crafting, and decorating since he was a wee one, Paul’s bewitching sense of whimsy and fun has stayed with him through his successful career as a food and craft stylist and has certainly made his blog, magazine, and now book, irresistible to millions.

MORE THAN JUST A COOKBOOK

Part cookbook, part craftbook, Sweet Paul Eat & Make bursts with sheer joy and love of life. With handwritten typography and bright watercolors splashed across its pages, it’s hard not to be taken in by its simple yet stylish recipes and projects. You’ll very quickly find yourself imagining inviting your own friends over for easy entertaining recipes like Bruschetta with Peas Pancetta and Ricotta, Fish Tacos with Salsa and Red Cabbage, and Lemon Tarts with Almond Crust.

hobnobmag book review Sweet Paul Eat and Make

Paul has adopted his grandmother’s motto “perfection is boring,” which imbues his work with an easy, breezy simplicity while remaining impressive and chic. Sweet Paul, full of lovable charm and affection for all that surrounds him, makes you feel like you can conjure this domestic magic too—and with this book, now you can. Please enjoy this recipe from the book next time you have guests over. Especially in Spring, when you can get fresh peas.

recipe

BRUSCHETTA WITH PEAS, PANCETTA & RICOTTA

I love making bruschetta and often try out new topping combinations on my partner and guests. Other possibilities are prosciutto and figs; blue cheese and nuts; cream cheese and roasted vegetables; and, for dessert, Nutella with baked strawberries.

Serves 4

4 oz pancetta, cubed
1/2 CUP peas, fresh or frozen, thawed
Salt
1/2 CUP whole-milk ricotta
12 baguette slices, toasted
Fresh basil leaves (torn if large)
About 2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

[1] Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the pancetta until golden, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
[2] Have ready a bowl of ice water. In a small saucepan, cook the fresh peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then dunk them into the ice water. Drain on paper towels. (If using frozen peas, cook for 30 seconds, rinse under cold water, and drain on paper towels.)
[3] Spread a layer of ricotta on the baguette slices and top evenly with the pancetta, peas, and basil.
[4] Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and serve.

Photos © Alexandra Grablewski; Excerpted from SWEET PAUL EAT & MAKE, © 2014 by Paul Lowe Einlyng. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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.

SERVES 16

HOBNOBMAG store bought desserts

SET OUT THE DESSERT

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.

MAKES 30 BITES

DEFROST THE TUNA

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.

MAKE THE TUNA POKE

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.

ASSEMBLE THE BITE

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.

Pork with Mango Nectarine Salsa: Meat Meet Sweet

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

We added a little twist to this one bite pork with mango nectarine salsa dish: Serving it on edible spoons. This is one of the best party tricks I’ve seen. Order the edible spoons from FoodieSpoon.com and they can be kept frozen for parties all summer long.

The original inspiration for this recipe comes as part of our party plan for doing a buffet in rainbow colors. You might choose to do this to celebrate Gay Pride, or just for fun. This dish fits into the ORANGE category, of the six colors of the rainbow. To give it extra orange hue, we added Bijol, a coloring and condiment from Latin America, that does not add any extra flavor.

Rainbow Party Shortcut for the color ORANGE: Get an order of Orange Chicken from your local Chinese restaurant, set out bites on ceramic spoons.

Other orange foods to consider: butternut squash, salmon, oranges, cheddar cheese, sweet & sour sauce, vodka cream sauce, pizza. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.

MAKES 28 SPOONS

MAKE THE MANGO NECTARINE SALSA

2 mangoes, diced
2 nectarines, diced
1 orange tomato, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 CUP cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to merge.

PREHEAT OVEN 425ºF… COOK THE PORK

1 1/2 LB boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick
s + p

bijol

Season pork chops on both sides with s + p. In a heated ovenproof skillet, sear pork 4 min each side. Finish in the oven, 10–12 min. Remove from oven, let rest 5 min. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Move to a bowl and sprinkle bijol to coat.

ASSEMBLE THE BITES

edible spoon (chili pepper & lime)
pork cubes
mango nectarine salsa
sriracha

Place one pork cube on each spoon, top with salsa. Dot sriracha for extra color burst and heat.

To see the rest of the rainbow recipes, go to this link: Rainbow of Food party menu