family - HOBNOB Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘family’

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Extra Pizazz: Greek to Me

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The staple accompaniment to Greek salads all over NYC: stuffed grape leaves. These stuffed grape leaves with extra pizazz take the flavorings up a few notches. To enhance the rice filling we added tangy feta, crunchy pine nuts, and a bunch of spices and let them work their magic. Before working with the grape leaves, make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove excess vinegar flavors. Leftovers are great in a Greek salad, of course.

See more Greek recipes in our party menu, for a full repertoire for entertaining.



1 jar grape leaves (16 oz)

Gently remove the leaves from jar and thoroughly rinse each one. Let drain in a colander covered in a damp paper towel while you make the filling.


2 TB olive oil
1 med red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 CUP Amira Organic Basmati Rice, uncooked
2 CUPS water

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and, saute 5 min. Add garlic and saute for 1 min. Incorporate rice. Add water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 min. Turn off heat, let sit for additional 10 min. Move to a bowl. Allow to cool slightly.


1/2 CUP pine nuts, toasted, chopped
1/2 CUP feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TB thyme, chopped
1 TB mint, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Combine ingredients with rice. Allow mixture to cool before making the leaves.


torn leaves
6 lemons, cut into 1/4-inch slices
rinsed leaves

In a large Dutch oven, line bottom with torn leaves, then top with a row of lemon slices.

Start rolling: Lay one leaf flat with the veiny side face up. Remove stem. Place a tablespoon, or so, of the mixture (depending on leaf size) just above the cut stem. Fold the two bottom sections of the leaf over the filling, then fold the sides in, and roll tightly.

Place in Dutch oven with seams down. Fit rolls in snugly around the circumference working your way in. Add a second level, if needed. Top with more torn leaves and lemon slices. Pour water until it reaches the middle of the top row. Place a heavy plate on top so rolls do not move around and come undone.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then simmer for 1 hour and 10 min. Remove from heat, and let rest undisturbed for 20 min more.

Arrange rolls in lines on a plate and garnish with lemon slices. If you like, cut them in half to maximize amounts and show off the rice filling.

Vegan Appetizer: Artichoke Hearts with Black Pepper-Lemon Dip

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Something light and easy for summer entertaining, this vegan appetizer packs a lot of flavors in its small bites. Lemon, herbs, and a touch of sour cream bring it all together. I found myself loving the flavors in the dip and think it could work well in many dishes. Think about pairing it with all sorts of things: pouring it over broiled fish, tossed as a salad dressing, or dousing string beans with slivered almonds.

Hints of oregano and thyme in the breading of the artichokes allude to the tastes of Greece. Check out our other recipes from the Greek party theme, if you like that idea, we have a whole menu of Greek dishes that you can serve at a party to great applause.



zest of 1 lemon
juice from 2 lemons
2 TB brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1 TB Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1/2 CUP EV olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk ingredients together.


2 cans artichoke hearts (14 oz), quartered

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 CUP nutritional yeast
1 CUP breadcrumbs
2 TB thyme, minced
1/2 TB dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne

Rinse artichokes, allow to dry on paper towels. Prepare dipping stations in two bowls: one with eggs, the other with dry ingredients combined. Drench each heart in the eggs then cover with the breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 min, flipping halfway through.

Cucumber Cup with Healthy, Refreshing Raita

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Nothing like a tasty raita in the summertime, which the chilled yogurt and fresh cucumbers offering a cool, refreshing bite. We’ve taken the traditional recipe and served it party-style: in a little cucumber cup you make by slicing up a cucumber and scooping out the middle. Also, would look cute as a side dish.

These cucumber cups make a nice statement plated in rows. See our other recipes for summer entertaining at this link.  We love the idea of plating in stripes, and using striped patterns on the table. So orderly.



2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, grated
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red onion, minced
1 jalapeño, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 TB dill, chopped
1 CUP Greek yogurt

Toss grated cucumbers with rest of ingredients. To get rid of the excess liquid, push through a mesh strainer in batches.



2 english cucumbers

Peel cucumbers and slice into 1-inch rounds. To create the hollows: insert a small knife at an angle into the top of the slice, and spin with the other hand. Discard the center.


dill, for garnish

With a small spoon, fill each cavity of the cucumber cups first. Then add a small dollop on top of each, and garnish with a small sprig of dill.

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!



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.


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.


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

Incorporate into mixture.


2 TB turbinado sugar
the dough

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.


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.

Vegetable Ribbon Tart in Colorful Stripes

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

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



1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

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


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

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.


2 large carrots, peeled
2 zucchini
1 eggplant

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


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

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

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

Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

My Brazilian friend Shirlei is a fantastic cook, and has taught me a trick or two. When she lived in NYC we hosted many a gathering together. Whenever she made this potato salad I loved it so much, I prayed there would be leftovers—which I would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I could not get enough of Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad.

It might seem like an odd combination of things, but it totally works, and is almost a meal in itself. The parsley is essential for the proper flavor, as is regular mayonnaise. As for the things you boil, to simplify things when cooking, I saved the boiling water from the potatoes, then cooked the string beans in it, then cooked the carrots in it.

See more recipes that are great for summer entertaining in the Stripes party theme.



5 large russet potatoes, peeled

Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices, then cubes. Bring to a boil in covered pot. Boil 7 to 8 min. Monitor the pot, as the bits cook quickly and you do not want them to overcook. The texture should be firm, keeping its cubed shape. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon—save the water for boiling the veggies. Place potatoes in cool spot or refrigerator.


1/2 LB string beans, cut into 1/4-inch bits
5 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch bits (about 2 1/2 CUPS)

In the water used to boil potatoes, boil each for roughly 5 min, till they are soft but not mushy.


cooked potatoes, string beans, carrots
3/4 CUP golden raisins
20 green olives, cut into tiny bits
1 apple, diced
1 CUP mayonnaise
1 CUP parsley, minced
1-2 TB salt
freshly ground black pepper

potato sticks (optional)

Mix together all the ingredients, except the potato sticks. Refrigerate at least a few hours to allow flavors to meld. Cover the top with the potato sticks when ready to serve.

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.


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.



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
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.

Store Bought Dessert: Maple Cream Cookies and Ice Cream

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

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


HOBNOBMAG store bought desserts


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

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

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.



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.


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.


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.

Raw Party Dip: Zucchini and Cauliflower Curry

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

In order to get an intense yellow coloring on this raw party dip we relied on a mix of curry spices, which includes turmeric. This refreshing dish that stars as the color YELLOW is part of the six colors that we used  in our party theme for create a buffet in a colorful  rainbow menu.

Tip: Make sure to remove all the water from the zucchini, so your mix will be dry enough to eat without messy drips. Best to prepare day of the party.

Rainbow Shortcut for the color Yellow: Order a curry dish (one with lots of turmeric, and very yellow) from your favorite Indian restaurant, chop into small bites, mix with rice and set out in small cups.

Other yellow foods to consider: mango, curried rice, yellow bell peppers, plantains, yellow squash, lemons, pineapples, yellow soups. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.



2 oranges, peeled, separated into quarters
2 carrots, peeled, cut into chunks
1 yellow tomato
1 avocado
1/4 CUP basil
1/2 TB turmeric
1/2 TB curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt

Process ingredients together till fully combined.


3 large zucchinis, grated in food processor

1/2 head cauliflower, grated in food processor
1/8 CUP sesame seeds, toasted w salt
curry sauce

Place the grated zucchini in a shallow platter, sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain, move to a strainer and press out as much liquid as possible. Transfer to bowl, add cauliflower and sesame seeds. Toss with curry sauce. Set out in small bowls with yellow tortilla chips for dipping to stay with the yellow theme.

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 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.



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.


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


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.


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

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

Not-Too-Sweet Blue Cocktails & Grand Vintage Champagne

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

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

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


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

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

HOBNOBMAG Blue Cocktail for the Rainbow Party

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

[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.

[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.

[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.

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.

Learn How to Pioneer—In Style—with Georgia Pellegrini’ Modern Pioneering

Posted on: May 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

It’s always good to have skills and honor nature. Modern Pioneering takes you outside in the city and rural areas and shows you how to survive in style.

Whether you’re an urban city slicker or have the great outdoors at your fingertips, Georgia Pellegrini’s Modern Pioneering will show you how to live off the grid and get connected to nature in style. In this independent spirit, you’ll learn earth-to-table dining at its best: grow your own garden even if your patch of land is only your fire escape or a windowsill; create a modern-day larder and build a self-sufficient pantry with the tried and true techniques of pickling, smoking, curing, jamming, and fermenting; and learn to live off the land by foraging, camping, and other survival techniques for both rural and urban dwellers. With recipes, hand-drawn illustrations, and guides for adventurous tasks big and small, Modern Pioneering will empower you to get your hands dirty and embrace your strong, self-sufficient side.

Enjoy a recipe from the book for making dandelion wine. We chose this recipe to include in Hobnob’s party plan with a focus on wild things and foraged ingredients. See the entire plan at this link.



Dandelion Wine

Dandelions bloom for only a few weeks in early spring, with a few stragglers throughout the summer. They look like bright yellow suns and have a particularly good supply of vitamins A and C, calcium, and phosphorus, some of which will remain even when you dry the flowers. Pick them from an open field far from any insecticide spraying, and if you can, pick early in the season when the leaves of the plant are still tender. Newly bloomed flowers are ideal. Dandelion wine is traditionally sipped from very small glasses. I have also combined it with seltzer water for a spritzer, or you could do as my godfather does and pour it over a roasting chicken for a caramelized skin. Some people prefer to make dandelion wine with just the petals, but I use the whole flower bud. The reason is that fermentation can sometimes get stuck before it is complete. This can happen when there aren’t enough micronutrients for the yeast. You increase the chance of success by using whole buds because they contain more micronutrients, but you will have a slightly more bitter wine.

8 CUPS whole dandelion blossoms, washed well, stems removed
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
peel of 1 large orange, coarsely chopped
peel of 1 lemon, coarsely chopped
16 CUPS water

2 1/4 tsp brewer’s yeast
1/4 CUP warm water

6 cups sugar
8 whole cloves
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced

1. Wash the dandelion blossoms well in a colander. Place them in a large pot with the orange juice, lemon juice, the orange and lemon peels, and 16 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and allow to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Let it sit, covered, for 24 hours.

2. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes.

3. Add the sugar to the dandelion liquid and stir. Next, add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.

4. Fit a large jug with a funnel and set a small fine mesh strainer in the funnel. Ladle in the liquid one spoonful at a time, pressing down onto the dandelions to ensure all of the liquid is extracted. Dump the dandelions and peels into an empty bowl to allow each new batch of liquid to strain easily.

5. Add the cloves and ginger to the jug.

6. Place an airlock on the jug, so that the CO2 can leave the jug but bad yeast doesn’t enter. This can be done with a deflated balloon—poke holes into the latex, then fasten the balloon around the neck of the jug. Alternatively, you could use plastic wrap. The airlock is used instead of the lid; if you screw the lid on tightly, you run the risk of having the bottle explode. Shake well and let it rest for 1 week in a cool, dark place as the fermentation begins.

7. Using a funnel and fine-mesh strainer, strain the liquid into bottles. Add an airlock over each of the bottles and allow the uncorked bottles to sit in a dark, cool place for 3 to 6 weeks. Then cork the bottles, or use bottles with screw-on tops, and store them in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months and up to a year. This kind of wine is best consumed while it is young, about 6 months after you cork it.

Reprinted with permission from Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini (Clarkson Potter, 2014).

Wild Ingredients: Colorful Lettuce, Alligator Sausage, Foraged Foods, & Wild-Caught Fish

Posted on: May 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Your guests will be wowed when you take them off the beaten track and treat them to tastes of wild, unexpected ingredients that they wouldn’t find in their regular grocery aisle. Whether it’s foraged food, wild-caught, or just simply wild in its taste and appearance, we’ve got the goods.

Elevate your party food to adventurous, daring, and bold new heights with these extraordinary selections. It will get the conversation flowing.

[1] I’ll Take My Lettuce in Pink, Please

This gorgeous fuschia-flecked yellow lettuce, radicchio castillo franco, looks like it came from a blooming field of fresh flowers, but we found ours at Eataly, a great source for specialty produce. Vibrant colors don’t just belong in your flower vases—get inspired by nature’s palette and visit your local farmers’ market or specialty grocer for veggies that pop. See our recipe for Fresh Cranberry Bean & Barley Wraps that will make your table pop.

hobnobmag MAILLE wild ingredients

[2] Maille Dijon Mustard Boutique

Maille, the Cadillac of mustards, recently opened its first mustard-only boutique in New York City featuring dozens of incredible flavor combinations. Try mustards infused with some of our favorite wild ingredients such as Roasted Onions, Wild Thyme & White Wine and Shallots, Chervil & Chanterelle. Your picks will be freshly hand-drawn into beautiful earthenware pots and carefully sealed with cork stoppers on the spot. Feeling overwhelmed by too many good choices? Don’t worry—their in-house mustard sommelier is there to assist. See a great party recipe for Gougères with Mustard.

hobnobmag sausage wild ingredients

[3] Exotic Meat Sources

Get adventurous with all-natural, farm-raised game and exotic meats from Fossil Farms. Their combo packs are perfect for bold party-goers to try a range of exotic offerings. The sausage pack includes varieties such as Venison Sausage with Blueberries and Merlot Wine and Wild Boar Sausage with Cranberries (see our recipe featuring these exotic sausages paired with two dijon dips in this month’s issue), while the daring should go for the wild game assortment that includes alligator, antelope, elk, and more. Other great sources for exotic meats include: Belmont Butchery, Marx Foods, and

[4] Foraged Finds at the Union Square Greenmarket

Support your local farmer’s market. In NYC the Union Square Greenmarket has foraged finds at: Lani’s, Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, Berried Treasures, Bodhitree, Gorzynski Ornery Farm, Yellow Bell, Deep Mountain Maple, Lucky Dog. Union Square Greenmarket


[5] Wild-Caught Fish

Do your best to avoid farm-raised fish and support amazing wild fish purveyors such as John Dolan’s World Wide Direct Seafoods at the New Fulton Fish Market in New York. Get the best, freshest wild-caught seafood, including black cod, wild arctic char, American red snapper, wild Atlantic striped bass, Pacific pollock, and much more. Worldwide Direct Seafoods

Franky Marshall Mixes Up a Winning Carrot Juice Cocktail

Posted on: May 12th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

hobnobmag Carrot Juice Cocktail by Franky Marshall

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

hobnobmag Carrot Juice Cocktail by Franky Marshall

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

David Nichols Shares His Recipe for Luscious Roasted Baby Carrots

Posted on: May 7th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

HOBNOBMAG Roasted Baby Carrots Irvington

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

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

HOBNOBMAG Roasted Baby Carrots Irvington


Roasted Carrots with Whipped Feta and Pistachio Vinaigrette



2 bunches baby carrots
s + p

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


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

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.


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

Whisk together all ingredients.


mint leaves (for garnish)

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

Macadamia Crusted Halibut Fish Tacos with Sweet Sour Mayo

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I had this idea to do a party menu featuring wild ingredients of all sorts. So, in keeping with the Wild theme of this party menu, we are featuring wild-caught halibut in these tacos. But not just plain old fish!  The macadamia crusted halibut coats the fish with buttery macadamia nuts and panko breadcrumbs—which will impress your guests even further, and make the bites a bit more substantial and succulent. If you don’t want to put the fish into tacos, you can just serve the fish bites with the dipping sauce, they are sensational.

In this recipe we made our own mini taco shells from large wraps, using a glass to cut the circles. Adding the frisee not only presents a cool, citrus-y green color, but the bitterness cuts through the sweetness of the chutney in the sweet sour mayo. This is really an exceptional trio of tastes wrapped in a tortilla shell.



1 1/4 LB halibut fillets, remove skin and cut into 1/2-inch slices (you should end up with 32)

Set up a breading station, 3 bowls:
1 cup spelt flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/4 CUPS macadamia nuts, finely chopped (process in food processor for the quickest results)
1 1/4 CUPS panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Dredge fish in flour, then eggs, then macadamia-breadcrumbs mixture. Place fish on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake about 15 min, flipping once mid-way through baking, till breading is golden.

HOBNOBMAG macadamia crusted halibut tacos


1/2 CUP Stonewall Kitchen Old Farmhouse Chutney
1/4 CUP mayonnaise
2 TB sriracha
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

HOBNOBMAG macadamia crusted halibut tacos


4 wraps (11-inch) Aladdin Gourmet Sandwich Wraps
6 wraps (9-inch) Toufayan Hearth Baked Wraps Whole Wheat

Create 3.25-inch taco shells from the large wraps. Take a sturdy glass (or cookie cutter), and starting at the very edge, press down and rotate glass to cut. Pull up the wrap while glass is on top to help separate. Work your way around the edge of the circle. You should get 9 taco shells from the 11-inch, and 5 perfect shells from the 9-inch (plus 2 with a little missing on the side). Keep these in a sealed container until ready to use so they don’t dry out.


32 mini taco wraps
Sweet Sour Mayo sauce
cooked fish

Slather sauce generously onto the taco wrap, lay a bed of frisee lettuce over one side, and top with a slice of fish (you can cut the fish pieces in half to maximize your taco offering). Fold taco shells over and press to seal. Line the tacos in a row to help keep them closed.

Exotic Sausage Bites with Two Dijon Dips: Explore New Tastes

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are a sausage lover, as I am, then these four exotic sausage varieties will be a tempting lot. We matched the four kinds: Venison, pheasant, wild boar, and rabbit with a couple of dipping sauces. Serve this at your next party to introduce new tastes to your friends.

The two sauces fall into very different categories, and are super simple to make. Tangy Dijon Beer Sauce infuses German reduced wheat beer into the dip, and the Creamy Old-Style Mustard Sauce is a lush, slightly sweet alternative, whose plump mustard seeds pop in your mouth. This dish can be made a day ahead. Reheat the sausage just before the party in a microwave. They’re great eaten at room temperature.

We’ve discovered a great source for healthy, and unusual, meats in Fossil Farms, located in NJ. Order this sausage sampler online, and be sure to check out their other offerings. Like this recipe? See other exotic recipes made with wild ingredients at this link.



12 oz Venison w Blueberries and Merlot
12 oz Wild Boar w Cranberries
12 oz Pheasant w Hazelnuts
12 oz Rabbit w White Wine & Dijon Mustard

Place each variety of sausage in a separate baking pan with a little water on the bottom. Bake 20 min (make sure there is space around each sausage so they cook thoroughly. Sausages should be firm to the touch).

In a cast iron pan, brown each sausage variety separately. Allow to rest before slicing.


1 CUP Paulaner Hefe-Weizen Natural Wheat beer

1/4 CUP Maille Dijon mustard
1/4 CUP mayonnaise
2 tsp Breitsamer Honig Forest Honey

Reduce the wheat beer: simmer in a small pot for 15 min (the end result will be about 1/4 cup). Allow beer to cool, then whisk with rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.


1/2 CUP sour cream
1/2 CUP Maille Dijon Old-Style mustard
4 TB Maille Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Breitsamer Honig Forest Honey

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.


Slice the sausages and place in bowls. Serve with small bowls of the dipping sauces. Add labels, so guests know which is which (swipe image below and print).

hobnobmag exotic sausage ID tags

Vegan Party Bite: Fresh Cranberry Bean & Barley Wraps

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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

hobhobmag Vegan Party Bite Cranberry Bean



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

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


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

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


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

juice from 1/2 lemon
salt, to taste

EV olive oil

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


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

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.


radicchio castillo franco, separated into leaves

beans and barley mixture

fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

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

Wild Recipes: Mustard Gougères & Venison with Ramp Pesto

Posted on: April 5th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

As part of our recipe plan for hosting a wild and foraged themed party, I’ve included these 2 spectacular wild recipes perfect for entertaining. The first came after doing a tasting at the new Maille Mustard Boutique that opened on the Upper West side of Manhattan, where I was totally wowed by the possibilities of dijon mustard—and more. The photos (at the top of this post) show two of the items we sampled at the tasting, which also included a Beef Tartare, Spring Root Vegetable Roulade, and Lox, all with mustard as the surprise ingredient. Executive Chef of Tastings NYC, Cedric Duran has generously shared his recipe for gougères with us, which includes a White Wine Mustard with Fine Herbs as the surprise ingredient.

If you prefer adventures of the meatier kind, then take a look at the recipe for Venison, that pairs perfectly with the ingredient of the Spring season, ramps! Fossil Farms, which we featured on our website this month for exotic meat sources is located in Boonton, NJ and offers weekly samplings every Saturday. You might have just missed the Cinco de Mayo Emu Tacos wrapped in lettuce that were on their menu!


Comte Gougères with Fine Herb Mustard Sweet Onion Cream


Make the Gougères…Preheat oven 350º

9 oz water
7 TB of butter
3 tsp salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch nutmeg

7 oz all-purpose flour
5 whole eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 CUP aged Comté cheese, grated
1/2 CUP heavy cream

Mix water, butter, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg together in a pan over heat till it boils.
Add flour and stir for 5 min. Put the dough into a mixer bowl with wire whip and mix it for 3 min to cool down. Add the eggs one by one to obtain a nice, sticky dough. Add baking powder, Comté cheese, and heavy cream. Mix again.
Spoon the dough into a pastry bag and pipe the gougères onto a sheet pan. Bake them in the oven for 10 min.

Make the Onion Cream

5 Spanish onions
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 TB Maille White Wine Mustard with Fine Herbs
s + p

Thinly slice the onions, cook them with butter for 15 min. Once cooked, blend in a blender with the mustard for 2-3 min to obtain a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble

Pipe the mustard filling inside the gougères with and serve warm.

—Recipe by Cedric Duran, Exec Chef of Tastings NYC.


BBQ Venison Flank Steak, Ramp Pesto, and Smoky Mushroom Potato Hash

Make the Ramp Pesto

8 oz fresh ramps
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt (to taste)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Place in a food processor and puree.

Make the Smoky Mushroom and Potato Hash

1 oz applewood smoking chips, soaked for 1-2 hours
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 oz chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
1/2 oz morel mushrooms, sliced
1/2 oz shitake mushrooms, sliced
8 oz yukon gold potatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 bunch chives, thinly sliced, for garnish

Add soaked wood chips to coals (ideal temperature is 325º). Heat cast iron pan on grill. Add all the mushrooms, potatoes, and garlic to the pan. Allow to cook and hot smoke until potatoes are tender. Season to taste and finish with chopped chives.

Make the Venison

2 venison flank steaks
s + p

Season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until medium rare. Allow to rest a few minutes and slice thin. Top with pesto, and serve with mushroom potato hash.

—Recipe by Ben Del Coro, Executive Chef, Fossil Farms.

HOBNOB Magazine