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Posts Tagged ‘clients’

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

Greek Pantry: Authentic Olive Oil, Sweets, Sauces and More

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are cooking Greek food, you need to gather a few essentials. Here are a smattering of high-end products that are the must-haves for your Greek pantry.

Support Greece in the most fun way: by eating their products. We’ve gathered a selection of goods imported straight from the homeland, plus products made with handed-down recipes by second and third generation Greek Americans. Kali orexi! [Bon appetit!]

[1] Five Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This super design-y bottle stands for an excellence you can sense before even tasting it. Using hand-picked, sustainably-grown Koroneiki olives from Finiki Lakonias, Greece, the oils have no additives and are produced using a method of cold extraction at low temperatures, resulting in very low levels of acidity. The packaging, in matte black, allows it to be displayed prominently on the counter or buffet. Check the entire line for other extraordinary olive oils, in matte white bottle, and special edition Swarovski crystal Five. So giftable. $24. fiveoliveoil.com Available online at hellenicfarms.com

[2] Navarino Icons Spoon Sweets

Start a Greek tradition in your household: offer a sweet preserve to arriving guests, along with a glass of cold water to kick off the gathering. These flavor-packed “spoon sweets” are made by gently boiling seasonal fruit for hours—or even for days (as the tomato version is), resulting in sweet gem-like delights that are a perfect accompaniment to strong cheeses, Greek yogurt, or even atop ice cream.

Choose from three varieties: tomato, olive, and the limited edition orange. The olive variety is made by simmering Kalamata olives, pitted and stuffed with almonds, and brewed in an intoxicating syrup of fresh orange juice, wine, honey, herbs, and spices. The tomato variety is simple but sweet, using only three ingredients: sugar, lemon, and fresh tomatoes picked in August.

Navarino Icons is an incredible company committed to distributing authentic products created by small-scale producers on the coastal region of Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese. Their food products are all prepared using recipes handed down for generations, and always with respect for local traditions. $16-$18. navarinoicons.com Available online at hellenicfarms.com

[3] Olympia Provisions Loukaniko Sausage

Based in Portland, Oregon, Olympia Provisions (formerly Olympic Provisions) is making America’s best charcuterie, and though it’s almost impossible to choose, one of their best products is their loukanika, a traditional Greek salami boldly flavored with garlic, cumin and a touch of orange zest. The recipe itself was passed down by “Old Man Cairo,” the father of head salumist Eli Cairo.

Cairo, who is a first generation Greek American, grew up with his father making charcuterie from scratch at home, where doing things the old fashioned, handmade way was the norm. Lucky for us, Cairo has taken up his father’s craft, and now he and his fellow salumists at Olympia Provisions are taking charcuterie in America to new heights, using nearly extinct old world techniques, aging his salumi naturally and slowly, and using hand-butchered antibiotic-free Pacific Northwest pork. olympiaprovisions.com

hobnbomag Greek Pantry

[4] Kaldi Greek Cooking Sauces

Kaldi’s line of all-natural cooking sauces make recreating your favorite long-simmered Greek specialties simple and easy—all you need is to add beef, chicken, shrimp, or your favorite vegetable.

Choose from sauces based on traditional Greek dishes: the hearty veggie-packed PLAKI, perfect with beans or fresh vegetables; the sweet and savory PORTOKALI made with blood oranges, olives, ginger, and tomatoes on seafood or fish; SAGANAKI, woven with quintessential Greek flavors of anise, black olives and capers; and the deep rich STIFADO made with red wine, onions, and allspice over beef, lamb, or chicken. There’s no limit to the scope you can bring to these one-pot creations—just think of these sauces as an amazing base to jump off from. amazon.com

[5] Ariston Wildflower Honey

This month’s Halloumi and Ham bites were highlighted by a lime-honey-lemon verbena sauce, in which we featured this delicious honey. Bees have a field day in Messinia, an untouched area of Greece, where wildflowers bloom in glorious profusion. Add a jar of this to your cheese board, or tea service. $6. aristonspecialties.com

hobnbomag Greek Pantry

[6] Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese

Halloumi, traditionally made with goat and sheep’s milk, is the most famous cheese of Cyprus, Greece. The name Halloumi is derived from the Greek word “almi”, which refers to the brine solution that is used to preserve the cheese. Salty, tangy, and with a very elastic texture, Halloumi’s high melting point makes it perfect for grilling, as it can magically brown without devolving into a melty mess.

Since the name Halloumi is a protected product of Cyprus, this American brand calls their version Idaho Golden Greek Grillin’ Cheese, which is made using a traditional halloumi recipe but with 100% Jersey cow’s milk, which has a higher butterfat content.

Ballard’s award-winning version is not your everyday squeaky, vacuum-packed variety. Cooked to crisp, golden perfection and with a rich bouncy bite, we daresay Ballard’s American-made cheese is a mighty rival to its Greek counterpart. The Ballard family started their small dairy nine years ago with the strong belief that loving care and a healthy diet would create not only higher quality milk, but also happier cows. $16.50 ballardcheese.com

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.

Party Food for a Scorcher: Cod with Greek Yogurt in Lettuce Wraps

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When thinking about party food for a scorcher, the idea is choosing food that is not too heavy and filling. The fish has a refreshing, lemony bent that goes well with the cool yogurt. Make more of the yogurt mix to serve on the side or put it out for dipping thick slices of cucumber.

We developed this dish with Greek cuisine in mind, and developed a whole menu for entertaining. See more Greek recipes for a hot summer party at this link.

MAKES 28 BITES

MAKE THE ZESTY GREEK YOGURT

1 CUP Greek yogurt
2 TB mint, minced
1 TB oregano, minced
1 TB basil, cut into thin ribbons
1 TB lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF… MAKE THE COD

1 1/2 LB cod fillet, 1-inch thick
salt
zesty greek yogurt

EV olive oil

1 lemon
bibb lettuce, leaves separated

Cut fillets into bite-sized pieces that will fit on the lettuce leaves. Season with salt. Cover the tops with a smear of the yogurt. Place in pyrex baking dish, lightly greased with EV olive oil, do not crowd. Bake for about 18 min, till cooked through. Remove from oven and squeeze lemon over the fillets. Add a dollop of the yogurt and place in a lettuce wrap.

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’.

Healthier Cookies: Chewy Coconut Raspberry Macadamia

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Of course everyone loves a good, chewy cookie. But some are healthier than others. In this healthier cookie recipe, we cut back on the sugar by substituting pomegranate powder, made from freeze-dried pomegranates, which also adds a nice, tangy sweetness. We also got our hands on some coconut flour to see how it would bake up, and, by golly, it came out soft and chewy, just as you’d like a cookie to be. The chewiness of these cookies might become addictive to your crowd. Two batches may be in order!

MAKES 22 COOKIES (3” DIAMETER) OR 32 COOKIES (2.5” DIAMETER)

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350°F… COMBINE DRY INGREDIENTS

1 CUP coconut flour
1/4 CUP pomegranate powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Sift ingredients together in a bowl.

GET OUT THE MIXER

10 TB salted butter, softened
1 CUP natural sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

dry ingredient mix

At medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar, about 2 min. Add vanilla, combine. Add egg, combine. Switch mixer to low speed. Add dry ingredients in batches. Do not over mix.

ADD SOME TEXTURE

1/2 CUP macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 CUP sweetened coconut flakes

Incorporate into mixture.

SHAPE THE COOKIES

2 TB turbinado sugar
the dough
raspberries

Put sugar into a small bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop portion dough, and roll into a ball. (To make more cookies, only fill the scoop about 3/4 of the way.) Roll the ball lightly in the turbinado sugar. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment. Gently push dough ball into a disk shape. Make an indentation in the center, place raspberry there.

GET IT IN THE OVEN

Place on middle rack in the oven. Bake for 7 min, flip baking tray around, and bake an additional 7 min. (for the smaller cookies do 6 and 6). Remove from oven, let cool on pan 2 min. Transfer to wire rack until totally cool.

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

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

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

Hot or Cold Soup: Asparagus & Potato with Toasted Pepitas

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I like the idea of serving soup at a party. You can set out cups and allow guests to serve themselves, whenever they get the urge to nibble. We created this recipe to work in our rainbow of foods party menu: A YELLOW-GREEN dish, which makes a cool color statement in between your yellow and green slots. This soup can be slurped either hot or cold.See the other six recipes in our party theme:  a rainbow menu.

Some other yellow green foods to consider: zucchini, celery, granny smith apples, limes, lima beans, kiwis, pears, gooseberries, and wax peppers. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.

MAKES 10 SMALL CUPS

START THE SOUP

2 TB EV olive oil
1 onion, minced
5 sage leaves, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt

In a large pot, heat oil, add onion and sage. Saute 5 min. Add the garlic and cook another min.

ADD THE VEGGIES

2 LB asparagus, woody ends trimmed, chopped
2 CUPS russet potatoes, peeled, chopped

4 CUPS chicken broth

Add the asparagus and potatoes. Cook 3 min. Add the chicken broth. Cook about 20 min, until the potatoes are soft. Allow to cool. Puree in batches.

MAKE IT CREAMY

pureed soup
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 CUP pepitas and pistachios, toasted, for garnish

Stir ingredients together. Pour soup into small cups, garnish with toasted pepitas.

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.

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.

DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:

[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.

Mini BLT: Speck, Micro Greens, Cherry Tomato & Spicy Mayo

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

We took the winning flavors of a classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and turned it into a gourmet mini BLT, perfect for serving as a passed hors d’oeuvre at a party. Each of the ingredients got special consideration.

In this BLT, speck from northern Italy is substituted for the bacon. Its flavor is slightly more robust than prosciutto. Speck is cured, then lightly smoked over the course of a few months, allowing the smoke to penetrate the meat thoroughly. Make sure to lightly crisp the speck, it should still be pliable, so it can be folded to fit into the mini sandwich. The softness of this ingredient makes it ideal for these mini BLTs.

Instead of just mayo, we added a little spice to ratchet up the flavors. For the lettuce, micro arugula greens were the right size to go into these, and added a bit of extra bitterness and spice themselves. Of course, for the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, which tend to be sweeter than most tomatoes, added their bit. For the bread, focaccia was sliced into cubes, then cut in half.

Tip: Buy your micro greens day of the party, they do not last more than two days, and you want them to be ultra fresh. To see more ideas on hosting a party with all dishes “mini” check out this link, Mini Party Theme.

MAKES 24 BITES

CRISP THE SPECK

spray oil
8 slices speck

Spray coat a heavy pan with oil. Fry strips briefly, about 1 min each side, to just crisp. Cut each slice into 3 pieces.

MAKE THE SPICY MAYO

1/2 CUP mayonnaise
1 TB sriracha
1/2 tsp lime zest
1/4 tsp organic garlic salt

Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl.

HOBNOBMAG mini blt focaccia

CREATE THE BLTS

focaccia (12-inch square)
spicy mayo
arugula micro greens
cherry tomato, sliced into rounds
crisped speck
toothpicks

Cut focaccia into 1-inch squares, then slice in half horizontally to create the top and bottom. On each half slather the spicy mayo then top with arugula and a slice of tomato. Fold the speck to fit bread, fit in between the two halves and secure with a pick.

Small Bites: Baby Blue Potatoes with Caviar

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Every time I am in the supermarket and see the bags of baby potatoes, I think, “ooh, how cute.” Well, these can come in really handy for creating small bites at your next gathering. And the blue ones add a bit of mystique to the dish, though the tri-color potatoes would be lovely as well. Tip: Monitor the potatoes when boiling, so they do not overcook, they should not be mushy. Pierce one with a knife, and when it can go through easily, they are done. To plate, cut a tiny bit off the bottom which creates a flat base.

To add more delight to hosting guests in your home, I created an entire party menu of little bites which you can view in my Mini Party theme.

MAKES ABOUT 30 BITES

COOK THE POTATOES

1 bag blue baby potatoes

Boil potatoes for 7-8 min. Run under cold water to cool, drain. Let cool.

PREPARE THE POTATOES FOR STUFFING

When cool enough to handle, cut a slice off the top and bottom, so potato will sit upright. With a sharp knife, core out the centers of each potato, maintaining the shape.

MAKE THE STUFFING

1/4 CUP Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, room temp
3 slices lox, minced
1 TB dill, minced

Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
dill, minced
John West Black Lumpfish Caviar

Mix the Tofutti cream cheese with lox, and dill. Using a small spoon, stuff each potato with the mixture. Top with a small dollop of Tofutti sour cream, a sprinkling of dill, and a little pile of the caviar.

Fresh Pea Pods Stuffed with Shrimp Dip

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

These are a refreshing mix to your party bites. The snap of the pea pods adds a nice contrast to the creamy shrimp dip. It’s a little bit fussy to plate, but worth it for the freshness of these flavors meld together. I used an Xacto blade to carefully cut a slit across the tops of the pea pods and a pastry bag with fancy tip to fill the pea pods and make them extra pretty.

Hack Tip: If you don’t have the proper pastry bag, you can put the shrimp dip into a plastic sandwich bag and cut one of the corners off. You won’t get the pattern, but you can squiggle it in for the artistic effect.

Everybody loves mini ingredients, they are just extra cute. See my other MINI recipes and party plan at this link.

Makes about 40 bites

STEAM THE SHRIMP

24 shrimp (51-60 count)

Steam the shrimp for 2-3 min. Finely dice.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE SHRIMP DIP

1 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
6 TB Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
juice from 1 1/2 lemons
2 tsp lemon zest
2 TB dill, minced
1 tsp thyme, finely monced
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp coarse black pepper
diced shrimp

Pulse together all the ingredients. Move to a bowl, refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours.

STUFF THE PEAPODS

40 pea pods (on the large side)
shrimp dip
dill, cut into tiny fronds

With a sharp knife or xacto blade, slit open the pea pods on the top. Pipe in the dip. Garnish with dill fronds.

One-Bite Mini Pies with Blueberries, Lavender & Hibiscus

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When entertaining, I love the idea of one-bite morsels. No need for plate or utensils, just pick up and munch. This adds to the mobile energy of the scene. Hence, these adorable mini pies.

I used a mini-muffin tin to form these mini pies. You can leave off the decorative top, but I think that’s what makes them that much more fetching. To create the decorative pastry tops, I pulled out my a diamond-shaped cookie cutter, but whatever design you have that’s about 2 inches would work. See more one-bite recipes in our party theme: Mini.

MAKES 24 mini bites

THAW THE CRUSTS

Immaculate Ready-to-Bake pie crusts

Remove both crusts from the box and let thaw for 25 min.

MAKE THE BLUEBERRY FILLING

1/2 CUP natural sugar
2 TB cornstarch
1/2 tsp dried lavender

3 CUPS frozen blueberries, defrosted
2 TB unsalted butter, melted
1 TB Fruitlab Hibiscus Organic Liqueur

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and lavender in a large bowl. Mix in the blueberries, butter and liqueur.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Mini Pies Blueberries Lavender Hibiscus2

PREPARE THE CRUSTS

When crust has thawed, carefully unroll on a lightly floured surface. Using a round 2-inch cookie cutter (or glass) cut 24 rounds. Grease a mini-muffin pan, and insert the rounds into each cavity. To create the tops, use a decorative cutter, cut one shape for each.

PREHEAT OVEN 350ºF… BAKE THE MINI PIES

powdered sugar

Fill each crust with the blueberry filling. Top with decorative shape. Bake for 25-30 min, till golden. Let cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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

recipe

STUFFED CERIGNOLA OLIVES

makes 20 olives

START THE STUFFING

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.

FINISH STUFFING

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.

STUFF THE OLIVES…SET UP BREADING STATION

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.