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Posts Tagged ‘something substantial’

Roasted Cod in Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce: Quick & Decadent

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

You can definitely place roasted cod in the comfort food category if you add a rich sauce to it. That’s where this lemon beurre blanc sauce comes in, with its buttery goodness.

I created this recipe to go with a plan for hosting weekend guests, which includes extra sauce to use with the next day’s lunch. Do not refrigerate the sauce, as it will separate. Keep out in a cool spot, covered.



4 shallots, minced
16 oz prosecco
zest and juice (about 1/2 cup) of 2 lemons
bay leaf
big sprig of thyme on the branch

3 sticks cold salted butter, cubed
s + p

Combine first five ingredients in a non-reactive deep saucepan over high heat. Reduce liquid to 1/4 cup, about 20 min. Lower heat to med, remove thyme, and whisk in butter, one cube at a time until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Season with s + p. Serve sauce with fish, and keep extra out on the counter for crepes the following day.


4 cod fillets (6 oz each)
2 TB organic sunflower oil
s + p

Get a large skillet hot over med-high heat. Add the sunflower oil and heat, then add fillets skin side down. Sear 5 min till golden. Flip fish, then move skillet into the oven. Roast about 10 min, till the center is opaque, and fish flakes easily. Serve with sauce on the side, and Roasted Winter Vegetable Medley (see recipe).

Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Toasted Breadcrumbs

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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



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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Lamb Ribs Elevated: Classic Recipes for Modern People by Max and Eli Sussman

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This cookbook’s food is fun and creative, with recipes extremely crowd-pleasing and party friendly. Enjoy this recipe from the book for lamb ribs with touches of honey and lavender.

When a cookbook’s introduction tells you to “crank up the Stairway to Heaven, pop on some Ray-Bans, strip down to your underwear and socks, and slide into the kitchen,” you know you’re in for some fun.

Back with their fourth cookbook, Classic Recipes for Modern People, Brooklyn-based chefs (and brothers) Max and Eli Sussman take on beloved classic dishes, re-imagining them with a modern twist while bringing the same irresistible high energy and humor that imbued their previous titles. They tell us that recipes “should be ever expanding and evolving. We believe that a dish—no matter how classic and iconic—has the ability to morph into something new and fantastic.”

All the flavors you crave and remember are still there, but just heightened, bolder, bigger. The results are recipes that are adventurous yet doable, fresh and modern yet shaded with comforting nostalgia. With dishes “reinvented, re-jiggered, reordered, and re-created,” this means a classic TV dinner of ketchup-topped meat loaf and mash becomes Lamb Meat Loaf with Curried Potatoes, tuna casserole turns into Linguine Tonnato, and their Franks ‘N’ Beans becomes creamy white beans, sweet caramelized onions, spicy chorizo, and even kale, with no chopped-up hot dogs in sight.

hobnobmag review-Classic-Recipes1


Mining from their own childhood growing up outside of Detroit with their “vegetable-loving, always-cooking-from scratch,” junk-food-free parents, also means contemporized classics that are more veggie-forward and Jewish-influenced, including Crispy Artichokes with Miso Aioli, Salmon with Chermoula & Sautéed Vegetables, and dishes like a crispy layered Brisket & Potato Kugel and a “Gefilte” Fish Terrine that seems just as much at home at a French bistro as it would on a Passover table.

Crowdsourcing from friends and their diverse childhood food memories yields dishes like an Italian Sunday Pasta any nonna would be proud of and Arroz Con Pollo re-imagined into breaded, deep-fried balls, arancini-style.


The Sussmans even delve into “Future Classics,” as in “spankin’-new Sussman bros dishes that one day will be classics,” where we get a collision of bold, brash flavors in recipes like sticky-hot-sweet Lamb Ribs with Hot Honey & Lavender (recipe follows) and the ingenious Corn Bread & Brisket Patty Melt. If we learn anything from the Sussman brothers’ raucous headnotes, it’s that they sure know how to have fun—and eat fantastically as well.

We’ve included a recipe from the book that’s ideal for serving while watching the game, as part of a party theme for hosting an 5-star menu for sports fans.


Lamb Ribs with Hot Honey and Lavender

Serves 4-6

2 large shallots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 TB extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup (6 oz/185 g) honey
2 1/2 TB kosher salt
1 TB freshly ground white pepper
1–2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending how hot you like the ribs)
1/2 tsp dried lavender

2 racks lamb ribs, about 2 lb (1 kg) total weight
Fresh mint for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
In a bowl, toss together the shallots, garlic, ginger, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until browned, 15—20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F (120°C).

Let the shallot mixture cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor, add the honey, salt, white pepper, cayenne, and lavender, and purée until smooth.

Rub the honey mixture evenly on the lamb racks. Place the racks, meaty side up, on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, 3—4 hours. Remove from the oven, cut the ribs apart, and eat immediately. Or let the racks cool, scrape off the excess rub, and rewarm the racks under the broiler or over a hot grill until the outside is crispy and the inside is warm, then cut apart just before serving. Garnish with the mint and serve right away.

Classic Recipes for Modern People by Max and Eli Sussman (March 2015; Publisher: Olive Press; Photographer: Erin Kunkel

Richard Caruso of Javelina Shares his Recipe for Habanero-Glazed Spicy Chicken Wings

Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Looking for a more upscale, tongue-tingling recipe for spicy chicken wings? Try this Tex Mex combination from a NYC chef know for his bbq creds.

Those looking for a taste of Tex-Mex in NYC have been gathering at Javelina, which is known for its boisterous vibe and melty, goo-ey fare. Perhaps it’s their selections of tequila that gets the place all riled up (see our post) but we like the bar bites too.

For this month’s party theme for hosting an upscale party event,  Chef Richard Caruso shares his recipe for creating the most juicy and spicy chicken wings on the planet. A plate of these at your next sports viewing party might have you hosting your own fan club.

Only for the consummate host, these are not your Tabasco-infused, finger-staining wings, but a lively mix of hot and sweet proportion, with fantastic side dips. Caruso comes to Javelina from the BBQ world, so really knows how to keep meat flavorful and perfectly cooked.


Habanero Glazed Chicken Wings


(for 12-18 wings)
2 TB chili powder
2 TB salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 TB paprika

Mix together in a bowl.


1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TB chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped jalapeño chili
1 TB cider vinegar

Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate (will last 1-2 weeks).


1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 habanero chilies (finely diced with seeds)
1/4 cup honey
1 TB corn starch
2 TB water

In a pot, bring all the ingredients except the corn starch and water, to a boil, then lower to simmer.
In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and water together. Slowly whisk in the mixture into the glaze until there are no lumps and the glaze becomes thicker. Set aside and cool. Note: you can set aside some of the glaze for a spicy dipping sauce.


1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

In a large bowl toss the wings with the vegetable oil, then add the spice mix and toss until evenly coated.
Place the wings on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 min.

Remove from oven, move wings to a clean bowl and coat with the habanero glaze. Bake for an additional 5 min, remove from the oven and let stand.

Place wings on a platter, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with celery and carrots and jalapeño-ranch dressing.

hobnobmag recipe spicy chicken wings

See more tips for hosting a five-star sports viewing in the UP YOUR GAME issue.

Stuffed Pork Loin with Caramelized Plantains for a Party

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Make this party-perfect pork for serving during game breaks. It will be a welcome slice of hearty meat-and-side-dish in-one. This stuffed pork loin looks great, with its swirling pattern, and definitely tops serving chili or hot dogs.

One of the recipes that’s part of our upscale game plan for game watching—keepin’ it classy. Make sure to select plantains that are yellow, just starting to turn black, which are sweet but not overly so.

As for butterflying the loin, you could ask a butcher, or give it a shot yourself. You will need a very sharp, long knife. Watch this video by Chef John on the FOOD WISHES channel, on YouTube and you may become hypnotized by the chef’s very pleasant, amusing and informative voice as he explains the steps.



1/2 TB vegetable oil
4 yellow plantains, peeled, cut into ½ inch slices
salt, to taste

1 1/2 tsp powdered sugar

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the plantains. Sprinkle salt. Brown both sides, about 3 min each. Move to dish. Sprinkle with sugar and a little more salt.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Caramelized Plantains


5 LB pork loin, butterflied
chili powder

cooked plantains
1 small red onion, cut into thin rings
fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp honey

Season the meat with salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Line the plantains in rows, leaving about an inch on the left, bottom and top. Leave about 2 inches clear on the right so when you roll the pork it will seal at that end. Toss onion rings, parsley, and honey over the stuffing. Roll pork. Tie with string every 1 1/2 inches or so.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Stuffed Pork Loin


1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings
stuffed pork
Sweet Hot Sauce
parsley leaves for garnish

Place intact onion rings at the bottom of a roasting pan with some water. Place stuffed pork on top. Move to oven, middle rack. Cook for about 1 hr (internal temperature should be 135ºF).

Move roast to a cutting board, top with an aluminum foil tent. After 15 min, cut strings with scissors, slice into 3/4-inch slices. Line slices on a plate, drizzle pan drippings, top with Sweet Hot Sauce, garnish with parsley leaves. Serve with a small bowl of Sweet Hot Sauce and another bowl with the onions from the bottom of the pan.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Stuffed Pork Loin2

Summer Grill Delight: Skirt Steak Teriyaki Roll-Ups

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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



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

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

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Cut Carrot Strips with Peeler


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

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


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

HOBNOBMAG Recipe How to Steak Roll Ups


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

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

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.

Healthy and Phenomenal: A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

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


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

hobnobmag cookbook review A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

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


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

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



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

Serves 8

For the soup

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

To serve

handful of raisins (optional)
pink or red rose petals

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

Gourmet Sliders with Balsamic Onions & Avocado Cream

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Sliders are a welcome treat at any gathering, they provide a nice-sized portion: something you can sink your teeth into, but not be overwhelmed. Our gourmet sliders are extra special due to the great mix of ground meat, and a duo of toppings that will set them apart. The balsamic onions adds a tangy sweetness, and the avocado cream offers a creamy base that holds the whole thing together.

To conserve some money, we  bought hot dog buns and cut then up  to act as the slider holders. No need to worry about custom buns in mini portions. FYI: this recipe is part of a really cool party scenario: all items on the menu  are mini versions of things, so check out the rest of the menu for a bevy of mini delights.



2 LB ground angus beef
1/2 LB ground veal
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 CUP panko breadcrumbs
1 TB thyme, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a bowl, mix all ingredients gently. Roll into 2-inch balls. Transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate.


3 TB grape seed oil
2 large sweet onions, cut into 1/4-inch rings

1 CUP balsamic vinegar
3 TB ponzu
2 chipotles, chopped
1 tsp salt

2 TB butter

Heat a large saucepan, add oil. Heat oil over med high heat, add onions and saute for 10 min, till onions have browned slightly. Add balsamic, ponzu, chipotles, and salt. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half, about 25 min. The liquid should by syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Allow to cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.



1/2 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 avocado, cut into chunks

Mash ingredients together.

Preheat oven 375ºF… MAKE THE SLIDERS

trays of sliders
2 pkg organic hot dog buns
Avocado Cream
Balsamic Onions

Bake sliders for 15 min. Meanwhile, prepare the rolls. Cut off the ends of each hot dog bun, then cut into 4 sections.
Smear the creamy avocado spread on the bottom bun. Place one slider on each, top with onions. Top with other bun half, push down and skewer together.

Romantic Dinner for Two: Filet Mignon in Cherry Port Reduction

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

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

See other romantic recipes in our  Aphrodisiac-themed menu,



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

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


2 filet mignon, at room temperature
s + p

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


1 TB butter

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

Make it Quick Ravioli Sauce: Hazelnut Brown Butter

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I developed this quick ravioli sauce to include as part of my aphrodisiac theme of recipes, due to the rapidity of preparation. That is, this dish can be ready in SIX minutes. So you don’t have to slave over the stove.

As for the aphrodisiacs? Well, I can’t guarantee anything, but the ravioli, In addition to being bathed in brown butter, is topped with hazelnuts—a rich source of vitamin E, associated with sexual function. Hmmm. In addition to that, in pagan days the hazel bush came to represent fertility because it is the first to flower in spring. The pagan’s tradition to “bless” fertility? Hazel bush twigs were entwined into whips to stroke—or strike—[ahem] the private parts. This dinner is much tamer, though, lol. And the creaminess of this dish alone will make for sensual eating.



butternut squash ravioli

Follow directions on pasta, but usually, boil for 6 to 8 min. Drain.


1/8 CUP hazelnuts, chopped

4 TB salted butter
10 fresh sage leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne

juice of 1 lemon

Toast hazelnuts with a sprinkle of salt on a heated skillet, about 3 min. Add butter, sage, salt and cayenne. Stir constantly, until butter is melted with golden brown color and nutty aroma, about 3 min. Squeeze in lemon juice. Pour over ravioli. Garnish with small sage leaves.

Unusual Pesto with Pecan & Parsley: Pasta Buffet Sauce No. 3

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

With pesto there are so many variations you can play with, as long as you have some sort of nut, a green, olive oil, and grated cheese. In this unusual pesto, we chose to replace pignoli with pecans, and basil with parsley. Try it!

If you are creating a pasta buffet, as mapped out in my party theme Comfort Pasta, you can choose to offer this recipe as one of the two you will be serving. There will be extra sauce which you can put out so guests can add more to their plate, or save it for future. To store, put in a glass container, cover with oil so it will not turn dark.

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS (enough for 1 lb of pasta with extra)


1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
sprinkle of salt and hot pepper flakes

Toast pecans on a heated skillet, about 3 min. Add pine nuts, toast another 2 min, shaking pan frequently so as not to burn. Move to a small bowl.


toasted pecans and pine nuts
2 TB oregano, minced
3 CUPS parsley
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 CUP EV olive oil
3 – 4-inch piece of Olieman Gouda cheese, grated
2 tsp salt

In batches, pulse together all the ingredients.

The Pasta Buffet’s Veggie Toppings: A Colorful Trio to Dress Up Your Dishes

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Pasta is one of the easiest hosting tricks on the planet. Here are some ideas for including vegetables into a pasta buffet. Caramelized onions and peppers add a nice sweet component, as do the squash cubes. Best to balance with salty and meaty items.

See all the other pasta buffet components in my party menu Comfort Pasta for the full key to hosting a party in style. I’ve included recipes for three sauces, meat toppings, and some nice finishing touches.


Caramelized Onions & Peppers

This adds a nice pop of color and a touch of sweetness. I had a bottle of prosecco already open, which worked nicely in this dish—and in my glass while I was cooking.



2 TB olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 large red onions, cut in half, then into thin strips
2 tsp salt

1/2 cup white wine (or prosecco)

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add peppers, and onions, saute for 5 min. Reduce heat, cook another 15 min, stirring occasionally, till the onions brown and the peppers are nice and soft. Stir in the wine and cook until the it evaporates; about 6 – 7 min.



Cutting the squash is the tough part. If you have a very sharp knife, use this method for peeling and dicing the squash. I started with this technique and switched to a very sharp peeler, which made it easier to get around the curves.



3.3 LB kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TB EV olive oil
s + p

harissa (optional)

Toss squash, oil and s + p together in a bowl. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast for 30 min. While still hot, sprinkle with harissa, if you would like a little more flavor.


Offer steamed green peas, for a quick and simple addition to the buffet.


Add a bowl of one or more of baby arugula, sea beans (briny and crunchy accent), or watercress.


HOBNOB Magazine