Category Archives: 8.ate@eight

A Whole Lotta Goodness @Everything Whole is New Again

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On a lazy Sunday afternoon two friends hatched a plan to trade one’s newly bottled homebrew for the other’s freshly caught stream trout. And they drank and they ate and they said it was good. So good, in fact, that they decided to share these fine things with 8 unsuspecting guests who knew not that they would be asked to eat frog legs and fish eyes, but who simply signed up for a dinner celebrating all whole foods. Everything Whole is New Again was on the calendar and the seats were full.

And so for the past six weeks, I was brewing, fermenting and bottling a 4 gallon batch of Yerba Mate Wheat, while Keith grabbed his fishing pole — and  frog net — and stockpiled our bounty. The rest of the menu was filled in with local, seasonal fare, a lot of handmade goodness, and, as always, an abundance of chilled beverages.

The Menu {use of hands encouraged}:

Local Market Bounty
w/  Bagna Cauda

Brown Butter Pond-Caught Frog Legs
Caught by Keith Gibson, Ghent, NY

w/ Yerba Mate Wheat Homebrew, NY

Balsamic-Drizzled Watermelon Steak
Topped with Feta, Rooftop Mint and Pistachios

 w/ 2012 Reichsrat von Buhl Pinot Noir Rose, Germany

Homemade Wheat and Spent Grain Bread
w/ Homemade Grass-Fed Milk Ricotta 
and Hand-Churned Salted Butter

Grilled Stream-Caught Wild Trout
w/ Lemon Butter and Green Garlic
Caught by Keith Gibson, Ghent, NY

w/ 2010 Blanck Pinot Gris, Alsace

Market Blueberry-Lemon Tart

w/ Banfi Sparkling Rose Regale, Italy

While the rain clouds loomed overhead, I poured the beer and tried to add a little brightness to the evening with an array of colorful market veggies — purple carrots and zebra heirloom tomatoes, oh my!

A Yerba Mate Wheat is born

A Yerba Mate Wheat is born

Local Market Bounty w/ Bagna Cauda

Local Market Bounty w/ Bagna Cauda

Remember that fancy side burner on the new grill? Well it got used. Keith’s prized frog legs, caught in upstate New York, did a little al fresco dance in a hot pan with a generous amount of butter and garlic scapes. The 8.ate@eight crew looked suspiciously over my shoulder as the delightful smell of brown butter wafted in their direction. All were good sports and took a tentatively tiny sampling on their plates. And then they tasted them. And quickly the platter was passed around the table for seconds leaving nothing but a pile of happily cleaned bones. It’s hard not to like something cooked in butter, but these little guys were beautifully browned and crispy on the outside and tender {dare I say like chicken} on the inside.

Brown Butter Pond-Caught Frog Legs

Brown Butter Pond-Caught Frog Legs

And because it was 90 and humid and we couldn’t rely solely on chilled wine to keep us from sweating, it was time for one of my absolute favorite summer salads. I discovered this genius whole preparation of a “watermelon steak” from the Umami Mart blog and then adjusted for a combination of flavors that I think were made to go together — a little salty feta to counter the sweet melon, the pistachios add a crunch to each bite that would otherwise dissolve in your mouth, a drizzle of aged balsamic for a touch of acidity and a sprinkling of fresh mint because mint and watermelon belong together.

Watermelon-Feta Steak

Watermelon-Feta Steak

Ok and now it’s going to start to sound ridiculous. While I heated the BBQ to grill our other Keith-caught prize — the main event, the stream-caught wild trout — I brought out the homemade bread {which used spent grain from our beer and sage-rosemary-thyme from the rooftop garden}, served with homemade butter and homemade ricotta. Amazingly, it was the homemade butter that threw people for a loop — seemingly difficult to many, I had to explain it’s really just overwhipped whipped cream. The key is excellent ingredients — I used Keith’s 100% grass-fed heavy cream from his farm, Grazin’ Angus Acres {@Union Square greenmarket on Saturday, @79th st greenmarket on Sunday}, and deliciously flaky Jacobsen Sea Salt from Portland.

Whole Wheat & Spent Grain Bread + Two Best Friends: Butter & RIcotta

Whole Wheat & Spent Grain Bread + Two Best Friends: Butter & RIcotta

And now the drum roll…an early morning trip to the market to pick up the prized trout

Our man Keith and one lucky fish

Our man Keith and one lucky fish

Please, please notice the amazing pink flesh shining through the beautiful skin. These fish are beauts! So happy together…

So happy together

So happy together

Even happier with some fresh garlic scapes.

Even happier with some fresh garlic scapes

Even happier with some fresh garlic scapes

A peek inside — pretty in pink! Simple seasonings — lemon, butter, garlic scapes and scallions.

A sneak peek

A sneak peek

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Nothing but the bones remained. Even a dare to eat the eyeballs was met openly and with great confidence {perhaps this had something to do with the amount of wine that had been consumed.}

And we're done

And we’re done

Oh, and dessert. The simplest celebration of sweet seasonal blueberries in a savory tart shell.

Sara Moulton's Blueberry Lemon Tart

Sara Moulton’s Blueberry Lemon Tart

Thanks!

Thanks to Keith Gibson for wading through the stream and ponds to put dinner on the table. And for also raising amazing grass-fed everything that makes everything taste the way nature intended. Thanks to Ryan and Angela for helping with the brew process and storing a whole lotta beer at your apartment. Thanks to Allison and Kristin for all the help clearing our many empty dishes — and washing them {best roommates ever}! Thanks to Kristin for also snapping some pics while I was worrying about the rain. And I of course want to thank everyone who grabbed a seat at the table — it was lovely to have you all!

I’m ruminating on some future  events for the fall and winter, so stay tuned. If you aren’t on the dinner distribution list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com to be added. See you at the table!

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Dinners:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

The crew

The crew

8 Ate at Eight 2013-9

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Announcing 8.ate@eight dinner #6 | Everything Whole is New Again | @7.13.13.8:00pm

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the things worth remembering. The beauty of a whole tomato, fresh off the vine. A newly baked loaf of bread, its sweet aroma expanding to the walls and seeping through cracked doors to the neighbors delight. A whole fish presented with pride by the very hands that caught it on a lazy day off. To celebrate nature’s bounty and that food doesn’t need to be fancy to be memorable, this 8.ate@eight gathering will highlight each bite in its uncut form. Use of hands encouraged.

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Dinners:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

Reservation policy is first come, first serve. When I reach 8 guests, the list is closed for the evening. Please feel free to invite guests or forward to friends. A mixed crowd is encouraged!

8.ate@eight #6: Everything Whole is New Again
Saturday, July 13th, 2013, 8:00pm
4-course dinner menu — use of hands encouraged

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com

Enjoy and hope to see you at the table!

Christina

Whole Foods

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Dang It’s Cold Out. Cool Things To Do, To Keep You Warm.

Finally, snow last weekend — confirmation that Winter is not extinct {although I’m starting to second guess that assessment this week}. If you’re anything like me right now then you’re looking for a cold weather distraction. If you can’t leave the city like I just did, then here’s some wintry stay-put inspiration:

Warm with Scotch | Host a Robert Burns Night Party:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata 

Let Cute Bartenders Warm You | Spend the Evening at Highlands:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails

Slurrrp & Snuggle | Ramen + Crowded Hot Spots Warm the Bod:
NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar 

Stay Warm With Man’s Best Friend | Dine & Drink @TheBeagle:
The Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To 

Go Off the Beaten Track | Sign Up for a Sidetour
Take an Underground Sidetour to Get You Through the January Blues 

Stick it To Your Ribs | Eat Soul-Warming BBQ:
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau 

Escape the City From Home | Host an Easy-Prep Dinner Party:
French-Inspired
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot 
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

Italian-Inspired
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Bursting Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother 

Hunker Down and Stir it Up | Cook From Scratch {eat Leftovers!}:
Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta
Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

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Testing Bon Appétit’s New HSN Cookware Line. Verdict: Trés Bon

HSN Bon Appetit Cookware Collection

I spent the afternoon at Bon Appétit’s test kitchen getting a sneak preview at their new line of branded cookware launching on HSN January 31st and sampling some culinary creations from Top Chef alum and collection spokesman, Ryan Scott and Bon Appétit Chef, Mary Nolan. The highlights: I’ll start with the deliciousness of the North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork prepared in their new 7-quart electric pressure cooker. While it’s important to share it made for a darn tasty lunch, you may care more about knowing that it was prepared in only 45 minutes — that is quite a feat when typical low and slow pulled pork is a daunting day-long project. Even more attractive than the short cooking time? The adorable citrus-inspired color selection that somehow makes a pressure cooker look fresh and cool.

Bon Appetit 12-inch Saute Pan with a Finger Ledge

Bon Appetit 12-inch Saute Pan with a Finger Ledge!

What also caught my eye was a basic tool everyone should have in their kitchen — the 12-inch saute pan. As I sidled up to Chef Ryan Scott, who was pan-searing some bursting brussels sprouts that would rival mine {recipe here}, I asked him what could possibly differentiate this pan from any other on the market {other than the deliciousness he was personally dishing out}.

He was quick with an answer that I could totally get behind {he’ll do great as the spokesman on HSN}. Each pan is a tri-ply of stainless steel/aluminum/stainless-steel — the aluminum core evenly distributes heat throughout the whole pan not just the base, while stainless steel makes for easy clean-up {now you’re speaking my language}. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seared brussels sprouts, inevitably creating a brown crust on the bottom that takes hours to soak and scrub off.

Ooooooh metallurgy — but way, there’s more! Ryan pointed out a little feature on the handle that I like to call the finger ledge {see photo above}. It seems so simple, but I can tell you not a single pan I own {prior to the loot I scored from the event} has this thoughtful feature. It’s a minor, but brilliant touch that makes carrying a hot, heavy pan with one hand actually feasible. The handle is also stainless steel, making it easy to go from stovetop to oven and out again without getting first-degree burns through your towel or pot-holder. Smart design.

Home-Tested, 8.ate@eight Approved

Home-Tested, 8.ate@eight Approved

So naturally after leaving the sneak peek event, I was inspired to dirty my new Bon Appétit pan and put it to the test. On the way home I picked up the makings for a bolognese sauce and sweated the veg for a good 20 minutes. That whole tri-ply bit lived up to expectations as the veggies happily tenderized evenly without browning or burning — and when it was time to transfer to a large stock pot, my new friend the finger ledge lent a comforting hand.

If you’ve read this far then you must be interested in learning more and getting your hands on some sweet new merch. Bon Appétit’s new culinary line launches on HSN, January 31, 2012 at midnight. Tune in to see Chef Ryan Scott explain the wonders of the new Bon Appétit culinary world and see the full line from super sonic immersion blenders to dishwasher-friendly griddles.

Bon Appétit!

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Holiday Recipe Inspiration: Small Bites and Seasonal Sippers

‘Tis the season to stock the bar. While it’s a time for tradition, it’s also a time for surprises. So if you’re looking to spice up the table with a few new twists as well, I hope you find inspiration in the list below.

Happy Holidays from 8.ate@eight! 

BREAKFAST {energy for gift deluge}

Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
Royal British Cranberry-Almond Breakfast Scones

How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
Southern Breakfast Egg Casserole

DRINKS {we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet!}

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}

Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

Stand-Out Spanish Sangria

SNACK’EMS AND SWEETS {can’t resist ’em}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts
Millionaire’s Shortbread Worth a Billion Bucks
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie 

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Do This!: Summer Cheese Extravaganza!

Jessica Wurwarg Shares Some Great Pairing Information

Summer Cheese Extravaganza!

When: Saturday July 23
7:30 p.m. until the cheese runs out…

Where: MikNic Lounge
200 Columbia St. between Sackett and Degraw
phone: 917 770-1984

What: Free Cheese Tasting {yes, FREE}
Learn about a selection of amazing cheeses and how to pair  them with wines, beers or spirits
Did I mention it’s FREE? So get there early before the supply runs out!
Local artist, Chris Mancuso, will also be doing an on-the-spot painting.

Jessica Wurwarg (Cheese Guru)
Miki Mosman (Miknic proprietor)

RSVP to wurwarg@gmail.com so they can make sure to have enough good curds on hand.

Public Transit Directions: Take the B61 Bus or the F to Bergen or Carroll.

See Amazing Past Cheese Events with Jessica:
Historic India House Shares Spectacular Cheese and Space
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!

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recipe goodness :: the ultimate summer slaw

The ultimate slaw

The ultimate slaw

Creamy cole slaw {you know, the kind you see at delis} is a dish that sneaks its way into one too many BBQs. It’s soggy. It’s flat. It’s so easy to improve on. The thing about cabbage is you can feed A LOT of people with one shredded head and very cheaply too. So if you get a little creative, you can actually create a spectacular side on a budget. I love using red cabbage — it’s purple for pete’s sake and you can’t get much cooler than that! I also love using thinly sliced radishes for a peppery bite and running a few carrots through the food processor sideways so you get thin rectangles and not just shredded carrots. So much color, so many textures and a mix of crunchy, vibrant, flavorful goodness. Two important notes: 1) I highly recommend making this with a food processor — it comes together in a matter of minutes with all the chopping that needs to be done; and 2) make this 24 hours in advance if you can — it softens the cabbage a bit and really lets the flavors come together. Plus it’s one less thing you have to worry about on party day.

The Ultimate Summer Slaw

1 cup mayo
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2-3 jalapenos or red chilies
1 head of red cabbage, chopped thinly
1 bunch of radishes, sliced
2 carrots, quartered then sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients except cabbage, radishes and carrots in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Shred cabbage in food processor by cutting the head into quarters and feeding through the tube using the shredding attachment. Add to a very large bowl.
  3. Wash radishes and remove tops and roots. Feed through food processor tube using the slicing attachment to get 1/8-inch thick slices. Add to the cabbage in the bowl.
  4. Peel and remove tops of carrots. Depending on length of carrots, cut the length into thirds or quarters so you get 2 inch long pieces. Feed through the food processor tube horizontally with the slicing attachment so you get 2-inch long rectangular slices. Add to the cabbage and radishes.
  5. Pour mixture from step 1 over the top and mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add to large zip lock bags or cover the bowl and let chill out in the fridge for 24 hours if you can to really get a great mix of flavors.

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recipe goodness :: strawberry chamomile tea

Strawberry Chamomile Tea

Strawberry Chamomile Tea

It’s strawberry season! And when life gives you strawberries, make strawberry chamomile tea, of course! We gave this tea to all our freshocracy customers for mother’s day and I fell in love. The main ingredient is Berried Treasures Farm’s tristar strawberries that were frozen to preserve through the winter. After boiling them in cheesecloth with some chamomile you get this spectacularly red and sweet all natural drink that tastes just like summer. It’s the perfect thing to give your kids or enjoy yourself on a scorching day. And while it makes for a perfectly delightful refresher on its own, top it off with some seltzer, champagne or even tequila to jazz up your glass. Go to Ikea, buy some inexpensive bottles with rubber stoppers and show off your new concoction. This also makes a fantastic party or *just because* gift to share with friends.

Makes 6 quarts {if you don’t want to stock up, cut in half}

Courtesy of Chef Rick Jakobson 

2 lbs. frozen tristar strawberries
8 chamomile tea bags
6 quarts cold water
6.5-8 oz honey
2-3 lemons
generous pinch of kosher salt

  1. Wrap frozen strawberries and chamomile tea bags in cheesecloth and tie tightly to ensure no strawberries can get loose.
  2. Place cheesecloth in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add 6.5 oz honey.
  3. Bring to a boil and let simmer until strawberries release their flavor. Once water begins to boil, use a wooden spoon to squeeze the cheesecloth against the side of the pot to release the juice of the strawberries.
  4. Turn off stove and let steep for ~10 minutes. Squeeze cheesecloth one last time to release all the juice and remove from the pot.
  5. Add juice of 2 lemons and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Stir and taste. Add more honey or lemon as desired.
  6. Let cool and pour into bottles or pitchers.
  • Variation 1: Serve with a sprig of mint, topped off with a little seltzer
  • Variation 2: Serve with champagne {one part strawberry chamomile, 2 parts champagne}
  • Variation 3: Mix with white tequila and fresh of lime {2:1:1 tequila:strawberry tea:lime}

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recipe goodness :: celebrate with stand-out spanish sangria

Sangria "Fruit Punch"

I made this recipe for an 8.ate@eight dinner party and the pitcher was emptied before I could get the ice cubes out of the tray.  Ok thirsty party people, I guess we don’t need ice. I take that to be a sign of an outstanding concoction.  And since Memorial Day is this weekend {one of my favorite holidays since it signifies the start of BBQ season} I wanted to share this stand-out sangria recipe — very easy to throw together and nice to have something done ahead of time for a party! This is one of the best sangria recipes I’ve made, if I do say so myself.

Spanish Sangria!

1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup orange juice
1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
1/2 cup triple sec
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
8 maraschino cherries
2 cups carbonated water (optional)

In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec, and sugar. Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor. For a fizzy sangria, add club soda just before serving. Ole!

And something to go with that glass of good grouse:
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa {also good as an entree side}
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon{double duty bites}

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Freshocracy {and yours truly} Featured on Good Food Jobs

Freshocracy

 I met Taylor Cocalis and Dorothy Neagle, the Gastronomes behind GoodFoodJobs, at an event a few weeks ago. It was not long before we were chatting about food, blogs, and their brilliant gastro-job site that was designed to connect passionate foodies with job opportunities with farmers, food artisans, purveyors, retailers, etc. With everyday centered around bringing these two sides to every good food story together, they also started a blog to feature intresting stories of people who have pursued what they love and landed that ultimate good food job.  After a few glasses of bubbly {and I think a slice of pie from Martha Stewart’s pop-up shop} they suggested writing a profile on what led me to launch freshocracy with my two co-founders and how I came to find my Good Food Job. Here it is…

What attracted you to a good food job?

Good food has never been a job. For me, it is a stress reliever and a way to relax around a table with friends and family, share a meal, a few drinks and inevitably good conversation. I get a great deal of satisfaction from those moments. After working almost 10 years in a corporate non-food job, I started a food blog and private supper club called 8.ate@eight to inject a little more good food into my professional life. I quickly realized that I put more heart into that venture than anything I had done previously. With a new awareness of knowing what it means to do what you love, I found myself on a year-long “good food job” path, that eventually led to launching my new business freshocracy.

How did you get your current good food job?

freshocracy largely started because of my supper club. For the 8.ate@eight supper club dinners, I prepare 4-course meals for at least 8 people in a very small New York City kitchen. Undeterred by the lack of counter space and mini appliances, I realized the size of your kitchen is not a valid excuse for not cooking in New York. Our busy lives often demand we take shortcuts, which may mean ordering take-out, buying pre-cut vegetables or relying on packaged meals – often at the expense of flavor, quality and our health.

With my two freshocracy co-founders, we were inspired to make it easier for busy New Yorkers to put better meals on their table. With this shared mission, we launched freshocracy – a NYC local farm-to-table grocery and delivery service. Each week we plan amazing recipes for 3 dinners (entrées and sides) and source the best seasonal ingredients from the local greenmarket (you’ve never tasted a tomato, until you’ve had one from Kernan Farms). We also provide all the pre-measured pantry items and seasonings. In a nutshell (well, actually a recyclable bag), we deliver everything you need to make a fantastic meal, while eliminating the least fun things about cooking (planning, shopping, prepping). We’re committed to supporting local farms and local kitchens (our customers!), and making it fun to get a few pots and pans dirty along the way.

READ MORE HERE

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Freshocracy On Fox News Live!

Wow, what a week! After launching Freshocracy under the radar just a few weeks ago, we somehow got picked up by Fox News Live {Video: HERE}! One week later, I’m riding the subway down to News Corp. with two bags of fresh greenmarket ingredients, recipes and pre-measured seasonings to show the entire world how easy it is to get back into the kitchen and cook from scratch {seriously, we’re taking all the hard work out of the equation!}

We’re small, but growing and our goal is to make it really easy for busy New Yorkers to put better meals on the table. We do all the planning, shopping and some of the pre-measured prep to deliver everything you need to make dinner easily. The best part about it {well there are many things} is that we source the absolute best ingredients from the local farmers’ market — you just can’t get quality and flavor like this elsewhere. All you have to do is pull out a few pots and pans, follow our easy directions and enjoy!

So if you know any busy working urbanites, new moms or just lovers of good food who are looking for an exciting cooking experience to be apart of, spread the word about Freshocracy! Ramp butter, green garlic, 100% grass-fed beef, 100% Berkshire Pork, mustard greens — are all part of next week’s delivery. Oooooooh!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and see all the amazing things we’re doing!

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Announcing the Launch of Freshocracy!

Freshocracy

NYC’s Local Farm-to-Table
Grocery and Recipe Delivery Service

Quite Simply: The tools to put better meals on your table.

  • The best local, sustainably-farmed greenmarket ingredients – handpicked by us!
  • Our favorite recipes – inspiring new flavors and improved cooking skills
  • Pre-measured pantry items to reduce waste, saving you time & money
  • Delivery to your door every two weeks

After a year of exciting new food ventures — launching my blog and the 8.ate@eight supper club, attending countless foodie feasts and meeting so many food-loving friends along the way, I’m starting a very exciting new greenmarket grocery and recipe delivery service called Freshocracy.

So many people ask for advice and recommendations about how to make a delicious meal without a lot of effort. Undeterred by the lack of counter space and mini appliances in my own kitchen, I realized all people really need is good products and a little guidance.

Quality Local Greenmarket Ingredients

{fresh, local and sustainably-farmed greenmarket goods is a great place to start — you really can taste and see the difference, I promise}.

Local sustainably-farmed greenmarket goodness

Awesome Recipes!

{And then it helps when you have a great recipe to follow. How do you know it’s great? because I’ve tried it and recommend it much great ooompf! We’ve integrated the instructions for the entree and side, making it extremely easy to get a complete meal on the table at once using all the ingredients we deliver. Each recipe can be made in 30-45 minutes}.

Pistachio-Crusted Lamb with Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Conveniently Pre-Measured!

{And of course it doesn’t hurt to have some conveniences that save you time — we’re all busy New Yorker’s after all. The Freshocracy team pre-measures everything you need for the recipe. Right down to the 1 TBS of worcestershire sauce you need so you don’t have to go out and spend $9.99 for an entire bottle that you will never use again}.

Freshocracy does all of recipe and ingredient planning, shopping and packaging — and then delivers it right to our customer’s door. We take the least fun parts about cooking out of the equation. All you have to do is Join, turn on the stove, chop a few fresh ingredients and enjoy a meal made from scratch in the same amount of time it would take you to review a menu, place an order and wait for take-out.

Follow Freshocracy and stay updated on how to put better meals on your table!

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This Week’s food52 Wildcard Winner: Grandma DiLaura’s Ricotta Gnocchi

Grandma's Ricotta Gnocchi

Photo: Sarah Shatz

My Grandma’s Ricotta Gnocchi just won this week’s food52 wildcard prize for the best ricotta recipe. If you haven’t made it yet, it’s time to buy some fresh, creamy ricotta and give this recipe a whirl.

Homemade Gnocchi: Channeling My Italian Grandmother with Food52

Pair that with a lovely homemade loaf of bread {it’s easy, I swear!}

Breadmaking 101: How to Make Bakery Quality Bread @Home

Looking for other inspiring home-cooked meals? There are endless amazing recipes to choose from on food52. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can whip up your best recipe with horseradish this week and see if you might just take home a prize and some bragging rights. I feel an evening of killer bloody marys coming on…

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Breadmaking 101: How to Make Bakery Quality Bread @Home

Homemade Bread

Yes, you too can achieve these results. No, you don’t need a bread machine or fancy mixer. Just your two hands, and the recipe below. This is the week of generously sharing family secrets to put excellent handmade food on your table.

A good meal is not complete without a great crusty bread that is also soft and chewy on the inside. I never thought this was something that could be accomplished at home, but after spending the day with my highly talented cousin, KimNora, I learned differently and a new bread baker was born! KimNora has been perfecting her bread for many years, experimenting with technique, ratios and environment, to create a bread that would give even Daniel Boulud a run for his money!

Homemade Crusty Whole Wheat Bread {Stretch & Fold Method}

Makes 1 Loaf | Total Time: 4 hours

2 cups unbleached bread flour {~305 grams}
1.5 cups whole wheat flour {~213 grams}
50 grams dried spent grain {optional}
2.5 teaspoons kosher salt {~14 grams}
2 teaspoons (scant) rapid rise dry yeast
Optional: 1 Tablespoon (scant) barley malt powder {~14 grams}
1 tablespoon each of fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, finely chopped
450 milliliters room temperature filtered water
corn meal for dusting proofing basket

  1. If you want to flavor your bread {ideas: thyme-rosemary-sage, thyme-meyer lemon, rosemary-meyer lemon, raisin}, add the zest and herbs to the water and let sit for 15-20 minutes to infuse with the flavors. Raisins are best when they are plump, not totally dry, so letting them absorb some of the water is key.
  2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk.
  3. Create a well in the middle and slowly add half the water, stirring  with a butter knife {tip: this is an easy tool to pull sticky dough from}. As the dough comes together add remaining water to the center and stir with the knife to bring in the remaining flour, working from the center outwards, so as to minimize the amount of dough that sticks to the side of the bowl. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not smooth at this point. If it is too sticky add a few pinches of bread flour.
  4. Cover the top of the dough loosely with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 10 minutes so flour hydrates and gluten bonds form.
  5. After 10 minutes, dip hands and bread scraper in olive oil to prevent dough from sticking. Loosen dough from sides of the bowl and gently work into a smooth ball.
  6. Lightly pour olive oil on counter or marble working surface and spread with hands to oil both your hands and surface.
  7. Grab the dough with oiled hands and  bring to the oiled counter to gently stretch the dough into somewhat of a rectangle shape. DO NOT pull or tear at dough — you just want to gently work it from the center to the outside to reshape.
  8. While gently stretching the dough by grabbing one end, pull it up and fold like a letter into thirds. Right side folded first, then left side over that {stretch and pull, but don’t let the dough tear}. Then take the opposite ends that were just folded and fold into thirds again — top to the center and the bottom over that, stretching and folding. In the end, you will have almost a square shape.
  9. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying out for 10 more minutes.
  10. Repeat steps 5-8 two more times, so you will have stretched and folded and let rest for a total of 3 times. After the 3rd stretch and fold, allow the dough to rise for 1 hour, covered with plastic wrap.
  11. After 1 hour rise, very lightly flour the surface and remove dough from the bowl to the counter. Spread and fold a 4th time and then start to form into a smooth ball by grabbing the edges and tucking the dough under itself, turning as you smooth and round the ball.
  12. Generously add corn meal to a bread banneton {or place a clean towel in a small bowl and flour the towel}. Generously flour your hands and pick up the ball of dough, adding it to the basket or bowl, smooth side down, so your tucking seam is facing up. Gently pinch the seam to smooth the top of the dough facing up.
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and let allow for a 2nd rise for 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile make sure your rack is in the center of the oven, with no rack above it and turn on your oven to 500 ºF with a metal baking sheet, pizza stone, piece of slate or terra cotta tiles on the rack to come to temperature with the oven.
  14. After rise is complete, work quickly {so you don’t lose your heat} to dump dough from your basket onto the hot slate or pizza stone and using your sharpest knife or a bread lame, slash a fairly deep cut across the center and in any design you would like. Cutting the dough will open it up to expand upward, giving you good rise and will also look beautiful!
  15. Turn oven down to 450ºF and cook for ~30-40 minutes.
  16. Around 30 minutes, be sure to smell for any burning — remove immediately if necessarily. When bread has a nice dark crust, remove to the counter and while holding with one hand (use an oven mitt) check the temperature of the bread by inserting a thermometer in the bottom of the bread. If it reads 200-205º, it’s done! Add back to the oven if any less than 200.
  17. The hardest part: resist the temptation to slice into your masterpiece right away, allowing it to cool for 1-2 hours as it completes its baking process on a wire rack on the counter.

The Art of Baking Bread:

Steps 1-4

Steps 5-7

Step 11: Smooth side down, pinch to close the tuck seam

Step 12: Final Rise

Step 14: Dump on cooking stone, slash, add water and close!

Step 16: Check Temp for 200-205 deg

Step 17: Leave it alone, admire from afar!

Enjoy Bakery Quality Bread at Home

The Rise on More Family Secrets:
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Homemade Gnocchi and Sauce: Channeling My Italian Grandmother
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries

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Homemade Gnocchi: Channeling My Italian Grandmother with Food52

Some of my first memories of food involve going to my Grandma’s house on Sundays for a meal with all the cousins. Sometimes it was a roast, sometimes she was cooking the handmade pasta that she dried on a rack in the basement, but on my favorite Sundays, Grandma was making her Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi.

She originally made this recipe with potatoes, which make for a heavier, denser gnocchi. In fact, we used to call them belly bombs {although I think that had more to do with the fact that she gave us very generous second and third helpings}. Eventually Grandma realized it was so much easier to make gnocchi with fresh ricotta cheese and these potato pillows and our bellies were lighter for it.

I credit my love and respect for hand-prepared food to these memories. I believe strongly that a good meal is a great meal when shared with friends and family — it’s why I started my blog and supper club in the first place. So when Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs asked me to film a recipe in the food52 kitchen, I knew Grandma’s Ricotta Gnocchi was the recipe to share. I hope you enjoy the simplicity of this traditional meal. Go on, channel your inner Italian Grandmother, and give it a try — I’d love to hear your stories, so leave me a comment if you do. Buon Appetito!

Grandma's Ricotta Gnocchi

Grandma DiLaura’s Ricotta Gnocchi

Serves 4 | Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
grated fresh nutmeg to taste
2 cups of flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling dough

  1. Add egg to ricotta cheese and oil and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add grated parmesan cheese to mixture and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
  3. Add sifted flour a little at a time and continue to mix thoroughly.
  4. Dump onto generously floured surface and work with hands to bring together into a smooth ball. Keep adding flour until dough no longer sticks to your hands as you gently knead it.
  5. Cut off slices of dough like cutting a loaf of bread and roll into ropes thumb size thick by spreading hands and fingers and rolling from center out to each edge of the rope.
  6. Line one rope parallel to another and cut 2 at a time into 1-inch pieces.
  7. Roll each gnocchi off the back of a fork to make imprints to help hold the sauce.
  8. Put gnocchi pieces on a lightly floured or non-stick baking sheet so they don’t stick together and put tray in the freezer while making the rest of batch.
  9. If not cooking immediately, let gnocchi freeze completely on baking sheet before transferring to ziplock bags or containers and keep in freezer until ready to make.
  10. When ready to prepare, bring large stockpot of generously salted water to a boil.
  11. Add gnocchi and gently stir once with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. As gnocchi rise to the top {a sign they are done cooking} scoop them out with a mesh strainer or a bamboo wire skimmer and immediately place in serving bowl shaking off excess water.
  12. Continuously scoop some sauce on top of each layer of gnocchi as they are placed in the bowl to eliminate the need to stir them with sauce in the end and risk damaging or smashing the pasta.Generously grate parmesan over the top and serve.

TIP: Gnocchi can be made ahead and completely frozen until dropped into water for cooking. Great for pulling a meal out mid-week without having to worry about defrosting. I always double this recipe when I make it and save some for later!

Grandma DiLaura’s Tomato and Meat Sauce

12-14 servings | 2-3 hours

1 28oz can tomato sauce
3 12oz cans of tomato paste
8 cups of water {fill each can used}
1 lb. of browned ground beef
2 teaspoons dried basil
salt & pepper taste
1 medium size yellow onion, peeled
1 teaspoon of baking soda

  1. In a large pot add the tomato sauce and paste. Fill each can used with water and add to the sauce with basil and salt & pepper and stir.
  2. Brown the ground beef, drain off the fat and set aside.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil on medium-high heat and then turn down to a slow simmer {caution: if you let the sauce boil too long it will burn}. Cook 2-3 hours until thick, stirring occasionally.
  4. After 1 hour, add browned ground beef and whole peeled onion.
  5. In last hour of cooking add 1 teaspoon baking soda to eliminate some acidity and stir.
  6. When ready to serve remove whole onion and cut in half or quarters to serve.

TIP: Sauce freezes well in small containers to pull out for mid-week dinner.

My Mom, Aunt Marilyn and Grandma DiLaura Making Gnocchi {Love the 70s!)

Read More About 8.ate@eight’s Supper Club:
Boozy Robert Burns Night w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park Scotch
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

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8.ate@eight Cupid Just in Time with Valentine’s Day Gift and Dinner Ideas

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

You’ve found that special someone who likes long walks on the beach too, but you’re late to the game planning Valentine’s Day? Never fear, if you’re in need of some good inspiration to show your love, here a list of a few of my favorite ideas — whether you’re looking for a romantic night in, a unique meal out or a gift of food that is the way to your love’s heart.

♥ Labor of  Love With Your Own Hands ♥

Cocktail Kick-Off: Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
When In Doubt, Roast a Chicken: Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Spice it Up: Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Bourbon and Flames to Heat Things Up: Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster
Bedtime Snack: Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Breakfast in Bed:
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg w/ Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

More 8.ate@eight Recipes HERE

♥ Wine & Dine ♥

10s Across the Board: The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
An Aphrodisiac’s Evening: Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Interactive Eating: Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Butt. ‘Nough Said: Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Slurping is Sexy: NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar
Smoked Meat is Sexier: 18 Meat Dishes for Men & BBQ Heaven @Fette Sau
Cozy and Romantic: August in April
Single and Looking for Love: Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

More 8.ate@eight Favor8 Restaurants HERE

♥ Gifts A Dozen Times Better Than Roses ♥

Ice Cream Gram: Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade
A Gift to Warm the Soul: Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Artisanal Meats, Cheeses & Chocolates! Artisanal Specialty Foods Digested
Cheese & Wine Classes: Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

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8.ate@eight is Filming with Food52 Today

After working with food52 co-founders, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs on whipping up lots of mean excel spreadsheets, we decided it was time to direct some of that energy to the kitchen — a place we all love to work.

For those of you who don’t know food52, the company grew out of the insight that some of the best recipes come from home cooks. Each week they host a contest focused on one ingredient, allowing talented home cooks to show their stuff. The food52 team then vets the recipes and presents the best selections for the community to vote on, choosing a winner that will be published in an annual cookbook. How brilliant is that!

So this week they’ve asked me to come by their kitchen and film a video about my favorite food: My Grandma DiLaura’s homemade gnocchi. Stay tuned for more photos, videos and the secret family recipe! In the meantime, think about adding your own favorite recipe to this week’s contest, with the potential to be published in a cookbook and win a whole slew of prizes from Williams-Sonoma, Viking, OXO and TinyPrints. And you thought Christmas was in December.

Your Best Recipe with Citrus & Olives – BOOK 2 — WEEK 24

SUBMIT BEFORE 12am ET 02/11/11

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Winter citrus is at its finest, and most welcome, right about now. And when you add salty, briny olives — well, that’s practically a dance party. For this contest, pair them in any way you like, just make sure that both co-starring ingredients shine through mightily.

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recipe goodness :: inside-out scotch eggs w/ ground lamb, harissa yolk & panko gremolata

Inside-out Scotch Egg

What is an inside-out scotch egg you ask? If you want to be a traditionalist, the scotch egg usually involves enrobing a hard boiled egg with ground meat, breading it and deep frying that sucker. As I prepared for 8.ate@eight’s Robert Burn’s night with the Tippling Bros., I knew I didn’t want to be deep frying, nor serving something that ends up being the size of your fist, so I took inspiration from these flavors, flipped them inside out and created an appetizer that is creamy, spicy and somewhat devilish — the perfect drinking companion. Serve this at your Superbowl party and you will be legendary!

Inside Out Scotch Egg With Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Makes 12 | Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

6 Eggs, two-weeks old

Lamb:
¼ lb ground lamb
1 teaspoon harissa paste
salt

Harissa Yolk:
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chives, chopped very fine
1 teaspoon harissa paste {add more for spicier kick}
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Panko Gremolata:
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped

For the eggs and lamb:

  1. Use two-week old eggs to allow hard boiled egg to separate from the shell more easily. The night before you plan to make, rest each egg horizontally in the carton with the lid open. This will help center the yolk for better presentation.
  2. Bring eggs to room temperature for 30 minutes {still resting on their sides}.
  3. Add eggs to a large pot and fill with water, covering the eggs by at least an inch. Salt the water and bring to a boil.
  4. When water is boiling, remove from heat and cover with a lid for 30 minutes.
  5. While eggs rest, sauté ground lamb, harissa paste and salt until no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain any excess oil.
  6. After 30 minutes, cool eggs in ice bath immediately and rest for 20 minutes.
  7. While eggs cool, make gremolata.
  8. Once cooled, roll each egg along the counter to crack shells and place back in cold water for 5 minutes to allow for easy separation between egg and shell.
  9. Remove the shell, cutting each egg in half and remove the yolk into a separate bowl.
  10. Mash the egg yolk till powdery and then add remaining ingredients. Taste mixture and add additional harissa if you prefer spicier flavor.
  11. When ready to assemble, use a small spoon to scoop lamb into the cavity of each egg half.
  12. Using a pastry bag and tip with a large opening, pipe the egg mixture on top of the lamb in each cavity.
  13. Right before serving, sprinkle the gremolata on top of the yolk and enjoy!

For the Gremolata:

  1. In a small sauté pan heat olive oil on medium heat and add panko breadcrumbs. Continue stirring until panko breadcrumbs are light brown in color.
  2. Add minced garlic and lemon zest and stir to release the flavors, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add to chopped parsley.
  4. Set aside until ready to serve {may get soggy if added to eggs to early}

You Might Also Like These:
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}

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8.ate@eight’s Boozy Robert Burns Bash w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park

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What do you get when you put 30 lassies and laddies in a room with an abundance of top notch Scotch and Tippling masters who know how to shake up a mean cocktail menu? A boozy bash celebrating Robert Burns with uninhibited poetry recitation and a memorable gathering of new friends.

Who is Robert Burns you ask and why are you throwing a party in his honor? In addition to writing many well-known poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing Auld Lang Syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots {and non-Scots alike} gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

So many splendid things from the evening to recap, so without further ado…

8.ate@eight + The Tippling Bros. + Highland Park & The Famous Grouse =
A Grand Robert Burns Menu:

The Menus

Scottish Inspired Bites

Inside-Out Scotch Egg
w/ lamb sausage & harissa yolk,
topped with panko gremolata breadcrumbs

Scottish Smoked Salmon
w/ sweet red onion crème fraiche

Chevre Devils
w/ thyme-spiked chevre & spiced pecans

Lamb Sausage Roll
w/ harissa aioli

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
Sautéed in Highland Park Single Malt 12 Year Old

Millionaire’s Scottish Shortbread
w/ Maldon salted caramel & semi-sweet chocolate

Food Prepared by: Christina DiLaura


Scottish Inspired Handcrafted Libations

Mother Club Punch
Hendrick’s Gin, blood orange, heather honey,
cranberry and ginger beer

Roberto Roy
Famous Grouse blended scotch whisky, vermouth,
Galliano Autentico, Averna Amaro, orange bitters

Hudson Highland Cup
Highland Park 12 year old malt whisky, NY State apple butter
and maple syrup, lemon juice, sparkling dry cider

Smoke in the Hills
Beefeater dry gin, Islay malt whisky, Yellow Chartreuse,
honey, lemon, smoked salt

Tam O’ Jerry
A Scottish take on the classic Tom and Jerry, made with Highland Park 12 yr., Drambuie liqueur, fresh organic eggs & exotic spices

Cocktails Prepared by: The Tippling Bros.
Sponsored by: Highland Park and The Famous Grouse

Behind the Food and Drink

The Famous Grouse and Highland Park Contribute to A Great Robert Burns Night

Departing from both a traditional haggis-centric Robert Burns menu and my typical 8.ate@eight four-course dinner, I wanted to create a bite-sized menu inspired by a range of Scottish flavors that would be easy to enjoy while moving about the room with cocktails in hand. One very obliging guest with an authentic Scottish accent blessed the bites, reading the traditional Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

Scottish Smoked Salmon w/ Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche

Inside Out Harissa and Lamb Scotch Eggs

 

As guests arrived, The Tippling Bros. packed a mean punch that quickly warmed the crowd, fresh from the wintry 15º wind chill. And they continued to pour one outstanding whisky cocktail after the next, heralding a new appreciation for an otherwise standalone spirit, each with unexpected flavor combinations that went down like water. Whisky, after all, means water of life. As each new drink was distributed, this dynamic duo provided an explanation as to what inspired the creative concoction, while also sharing some useful Tippling trivia.

  • Did you know Burns wrote a song about barley? An ingredient so important to Whisky making {and the Scots}, it warranted personification as the character John Barleycorn.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky – is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.

Tippling Bros. Making the Mother Club Punch

One Beautiful Block of Ice

Smoke in the Hills

Derek, our consummate venue host and true Scotsman, also regaled us with some previously unknown facts about Burns. Good ‘ole Rabbie apparently was a man about town, fathering twelve children by four different women, seven of which were illegitimate. That aside, his literary contributions were also abundant, warranting this day of national celebration and his depiction on the £5 banknote. Well I’ll drink to that!

Derek Shares His Robert Burns Knowledge

Tippling Bros. Trivia

After consuming this useful trivia and half the Tippling menu, we had arrived at the pinnacle of our Robert Burns night agenda: make guests read indecipherable Scottish poetry in their best Scottish accent. The prize for the best channeling of Robert Burns was a highly sought after bottle of Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky, aged 18 years and a roaring round of applause. It’s amazing how the competitive spirit will inspire sensational Scottish brogue. With everyone in good spirits {literally}, the collective participation in reciting verses from Tam O’Shanter, To a Louse, and two non-Burns toasts To the Lassies and Reply from the Lassies, ended the evening with much laughter and also a very passionate rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

 

Easier to Watch

Poetry Recitation Begins! {4 Cocktails In}

Colette Made An Impressive Run for the Highland Park Prize

Nervous Poetry Readers -- Get Them Another Drink!

In an effort to warm my guests before they headed back out into the dark and cold night, we opened up more Highland Park Single Malt 12-Year and 18-year, as well as the blended Famous Grouse for sampling neat. After enjoying several standout cocktails, it was also a treat to taste the complexity that exists even in a single pour of Scotch. The 12-year exhibiting a more gentle, lighter sip to the smokier, almost caramel-like 18-year. Not a bad way to end a full-on Scottish evening. To top it all off, the winners of the best poetry recitation and most impressive tartan garb also took home a bottle of Scotch to share the spirit of Robert Burns with friends.

 

Aaron Was Determined to Win the Highland Park 18 Year {and did!}

More Party Gifts -- Menus, Recipes and Stickers!

 

Tapadh Leibh {thank you}!

Thanks, as always, to my guests for participating in the 8.ate@eight evening {some traveling from as far as Chicago!} Thanks to Sarah and Derek for letting me takeover your apartment for two days and for all your help in seamlessly orchestrating a memorable Robert Burns night. To the Tippling Bros. teamTad, Paul, Gianfranco and Amanda for contributing the necessary liquid courage to a room of 30 people asked to recite poetry {!} – with your artful handcrafted cocktails and mixology genius, I’m certain we made Robert Burns proud. To Highland Park and The Famous Grouse, for so generously supplying that liquid courage and introducing a fine range of Scotch to the 8.ate@eight crowd. And to Kristin and Karen for capturing the whole evening on camera.

Full Album of Photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=42802&id=128649143836083&saved

Stay tuned for news of the next 8.ate@eight event. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateATeight@gmail.com to be added. Hope to see you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

 

Wild Mushroom Shepherd's Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year Old

Recipe Goodness ::

 

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year
Serves 8 | Cook Time: 45-60 Minutes | Preheat Oven 400º

Mashed potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Mushroom filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
1/2 pound white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Highland Park 12-Year Scotch
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
45 mini phyllo pastry cups

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  3. Move oven rack to top position and preheat the oven to 400º F.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  5. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until browned and tender.
  6. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, Scotch, vegetable broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  8. Add the peas to the mushroom mixture and remove from heat.
  9. Line up phyllo cups on a baking sheet and fill using a teaspoon with mushroom mixture.  Top with the mashed potatoes, using a pastry bag and large tip or a plastic baggie with the corner cut off.
  10. Place on the top rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.

Final Thoughts:

The horse and cow live thirty years,
And nothing know of wines and beers,
The goat and sheep at twenty die,
And never taste of Scotch or Rye,
The sow drinks water by the ton,
And at eighteen is nearly done,
The dog at fifteen cashes in,
Without the aid of rum or gin,
The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then at twelve short years it croaks,
The modest, sober bone dry hen,
Lays eggs for years then dies at ten.
All animals are strictly dry;
They sinless live and quickly die.
But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men
Survive for three score years and ten;
And some of us, the mighty few,
Stay pickled till we’re ninety-two!

 

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‘Tis the Season for a Truly Unique Gift: Adopt a Truffle Tree

Own Your Own Truffle Tree in France

A few years ago Santa was asking for my Christmas wish list. That year I was not feeling the need for anything in particular so told him to get creative. And creative he did. Upon Christmas morning I opened a truly unique gift — one that any food-loving Sally or Billy would jump for joy over. I was the proud owner of a newly adopted Truffle Tree in Gascony, France. So if you’re still scrambling to find that perfect gift for the gourmet who seems to have everything, look no further than the thrill of owning a Truffle Tree.

How it Works:
The adopter makes an initial payment reflecting a share of the cost of establishing the truffière, planting the tree and care for the first year. Then in subsequent years there is a minimal ‘care and maintenance’ charge to cover such items as irrigation, weed control, harrowing, pruning and ultimately harvesting. Click HERE to adopt.

Each adopter will receive a color photograph of their tree and an adoption certificate. Regular newsletters containing latest news of developments in the truffière and the world of truffles, will be posted on the website and e-mailed.

Adopters may choose between the evergreen Holm Oak, Quercus ilex, and the white, deciduous Downy Oak, Quercus pubescens. The adopted tree stands in a 20 sqm plot and each adopter will own all the truffles harvested in their area. You can elect to have your truffles mailed to you or to sell them and receive a check at the end of the season. If you want to spread your risk a little, you can choose to pool your truffles with others making the same election.

Over the last three seasons the wholesale price has hovered around €700 per kilo with retail prices in Paris, New York and London more than twice that — now that’s the gift that keeps on giving!

The Truffière also has a B&B so you can plan a trip over the years to visit the beloved tree and discover the wonders of Gascony, a region also known for its foie gras, wines and armagnac.

Here’s a look at my Truffle Tree from last year — let’s hope she starts producing some $1,500 per kilo truffles soon!

My Truffle Tree

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8.ate@eight Presents: A Robert Burns Night With The Tippling Bros. | @1.22.11.8pm

The Tippling Bros. Introduce Mixology 101

8.ate@eight Presents: Robert Burns Night with The Tippling Bros.
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011, 8:00pm
Handcrafted Cocktails, Scottish-Inspired Noshing and Scottish Lore

Location to be revealed just prior to event

What is Robert Burns Night with the Tippling Bros. you ask? First off, it’s an event NOT to be missed. It’s unlike any past 8.ate@eight — I’m opening up the evening to triple the fun with 24 spots and I’m switching up the itinerary. It’s an evening that will involve celebratory contributions of a traditional Robert Burns Supper (though it’s not a sit down dinner) mixed with a healthy dose of superb cocktails handcrafted by the Tippling Bros., renowned mixologists and perpetuators of libational enjoyment!

What’s a Robert Burns Supper? You may think you haven’t heard of the great Scottish poet before, but think again when the clock strikes midnight on 12.31. In addition to writing many great poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing auld lang syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots (and non-scots alike) gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and maybe a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

Tell me more about the Tippling Bros.? I met the Tippling Bros. at the New York Wine & Food Festival and since then we’ve been brainstorming a great evening to do together. The Tippling Bros. are world renowed mixologists who specialize in the art of the drink. They are planning 5 handcrafted, scottish-inspired cocktails for the evening, and will be slinging spirits in the midst of the other Scottish fun — they will not only teach you about the history of the cocktail, but will make this a hands on event so YOU too can become a master Tippler.

Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101

See here for a recap of past 8.ate@eight events:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
Big Southern BBQ Meets Small Northern Rooftop
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

Reservation policy is first come, first serve. When I reach 24 guests, the list is closed for the evening. Please feel free to invite guests or forward to friends. A mixed crowd is encouraged!

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com

Hope to see you in your finest plaids!
Christina

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Do This!: Holiday Cards for Every Appetite

food52 recipe holiday cards

Sharing your favorite food52 recipes has never been easier! This holiday food52 has partnered with Tiny Prints to bring you cards, recipe card inserts and custom gift tags so that your holiday cards keep on giving. With different food52 recipes to choose from {with beautiful photos!} and a myriad of card combinations, gift giving just became a piece of cake.

“Every recipe is better with a picture and a personal message!”

Go here to put your best food forward and save 15% on all Tiny Prints orders!

Recipe Holiday Cards for Foodies: Easy as 1-2-3

Happy Holidays 8.ate@eighters!

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FAVOR8: New on 8.ate@eight

Hungry for more inspiration from 8.ate@eight?

FAVOR8:
Now you can easily access 8.ate@eight’s Top 8 Favorite Restaurants from the new tab at the top called FAVOR8. When you’re looking for a great meal out, this list will provide a sure thing. I’ll continue to update the list as new meals inspire me to spread the love, so check back and Eat Up!

As always, you can access all restaurant reviews by clicking the Eat Here! category in the right column.

SUBSCRIBE:
Get email updates with new blog postsrecipes and supper club announcements by visiting the home page, entering your email and clicking the “FEED ME” button.

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Giveaway! Season’s Greetings Ghirardelli-Style

Ghirardelli Limited Edition Prize

The tree is up at Rockefeller Center, a certain coffee chain’s red cups are in everyone’s chilly hands and Ghirardelli’s Limited Edition Peppermint Bark has hit shelves — Christmas season is officially here!  I come from a family of chocolate lovers — my aunt and uncle own a restaurant in Michigan called the Chocolate Gallery Cafe {they often bake their award-winning desserts with Ghirardelli chocolate}, my sister-in-law works for Ghirardelli and my mom, well, she just loves to fill the candy bowls with it. One of the favorite flavors in our family is the Peppermint Bark — with a creamy milk chocolate bottom layer topped in white chocolate and flakes of crunchy peppermint, it’s chocolate that tastes like Christmas! But this treat is only available in November and December and I’m in the sharing spirit, so I’m giving one lucky winner a hefty supply of Limited Edition Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark! Use it as a gift this holiday season or keep it for yourself {it’s ok!}, but either way, enjoy the 8.ate@eight Ghirardelli holiday love.

How To Win:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite chocolate dessert is and why {recipes encouraged!}.
  2. For two additional entries: a) follow 8.ate@eight on twitter and b) tweet about the contest with a link to this post {be sure to reference @8ateATeight in your tweet so I can track}
  3. For two more additional entries: a) follow 8.ate@eight on Facebook and b) post a link to this contest on FB {be sure to leave a comment on my FB page that you’ve done so}

This contest will start today and end on December 3rd, 2010 at 6pm EST. Winners will be chosen at random using Randomizer.org and will be announced the next day, only people with United States shipping addresses are eligible. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Ghirardelli Peppermint Squares

‘Tis the Season!

Good Luck,
Christina

Need Some Chocolate Decadence?
Do This!: Vote for The Chocolate Gallery Cafe for Best Dessert

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8.ate@eight’s 100th Post

Whew! Has it really been 100 posts? That’s a whole lotta food and drink to digest. Check out the most popular posts of all time and a few that may have been written before you started reading…

Top 8 8.ate@eight Posts

recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunnyside-up egg
Brooklyn Fare Fares Well, Earning 2 Michelin Stars
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning
Do This!: Vote for The Chocolate Gallery for Best Breakfast
recipe goodness :: savory cauliflower fried rice
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants With Kicking Horse Coffee
recipe goodness :: orzo summer salad
recipe goodness :: whole-grain mustard and rosemary pork chop

8 Posts You Should Read Again

Wintry Wine & Whiskey Warm-up @ Vintry
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
Barney Greengrass: Long Live the Sturgeon King
barmarche: Some Clever Crudites

5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
Two Thumbs {Bouley} Up{stairs}

Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

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