Category Archives: Do This!

Do This!: Brewers PicNYC on Governor’s Island

Are you one of those people who gets excited when everyone else leaves the city for the weekend? “Be gone and leave us to enjoy some of the finer things this city has to offer — like good food and good beer on an even smaller island than we live on…with sand!”

Brought to you by Food Karma Projects (producers of Pig Island, Meatopia 2010 and Brewers 4 Brewers), Brewers’ PicNyc {how clever} is a two-day celebration {May 29-30/11am-5pm} of everything that makes NYC great: street food, craft beer and music on Governors Island’s historic Colonels’ Row.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Added Value Farm – a sustainable farm on Governors Island. This is Governors Island’s official 2011 kickoff, and the unofficial beginning of summer, so spend your Memorial Day weekend eating well and doing good. What a lineup!

Food Vendors: Asia Dog • The Bistro Truck • Cup Cake Stop • Desi Food Truck • East Village Meat Market • Familia Camarena Tequila • Gorilla Cheese NYC • Gotham Artisinal Sodas • Izze • Jimmy’s No. 43 • Joy Ride • Kimchi Taco Truck • Kombucha Brooklyn • Luke’s Lobster • Orwashers Bakery • PizzaMoto • Pizza Truck NYC • Sour Puss Pickles

Beer Vendors: Brooklyn Brewery,Goose Island, Sixpoint and Two Brother’s!

Free ferry to Governors Island from Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more directions click here.

Buy Tickets Here

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Cinco de Mayo: A Day to Celebrate Mexican Pride {and Drink}

The Fixins' for Fresh Lime Margaritas

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not the celebration of Mexican independence, but rather a day to celebrate Mexican pride and heritage. What better way than with a mariachi band and margarita. If you’re going all out and planning to have a party on your rooftop, then this is a recipe you definitely want to impress your guests with. Good grapefruit is still available at the store and, in my opinion, is a necessary component to a ‘rita rockin’ the citrus blend. Please oh please don’t buy the pre-made mix. If you’re going to make our Mexican compadres proud, get out your juicer and put a little squeeze into your spirits. Don’t be afraid, this is not that spicy, but the chili adds a depth to the drink that cuts through all that citrus and makes it truly tasty. By the way, did you know margarita means daisy in spanish? Doesn’t that just sound like a delightful name for a killer cocktail?

Ancho Chili Margarita with Fresh Lime-Orange-Grapefruit Juice

Recipe:
2 0z tequila
2 oz mixed juice {lime, orange, grapefruit, agave}
ice
kosher salt and lime slice for rim

What you Need {See below for proportions}:
1 Bottle Tequila Blanco {I find the white tequila is smoother}
1 Dried Ancho Chili
Raw Agave
Limes
Oranges
Grapefruits

Fresh Squeezed Lime, Orange, Grapefruit

People experiment with the proportions of tequila to lime juice all the time, so it’s just a matter of personal taste.  Since my recipe uses fresh squeezed juice and a little raw agave for sweetness, you don’t need to add any triple sec or cointreau. And because of the fresh juice, I like to make this one with a 1:1 proportion of tequila to fruit juice. Here’s what you can expect to get from all that squeezing {approximately}.

8 limes=8 ounces
4 juice oranges=8 ounces
1 grapefruit=7 ounces

Figure out how many total drinks you plan on making. You need 2 oz of tequila and 2 oz of juice for every drink, so multiply that to know how much you need in total of both. Here’s an example to figure out how much of everything you need to make 3 drinks for 4 people. Adjust to fit your crew!

  1. 2 hours before you plan to serve the margaritas, add one dried ancho chili to the bottle of tequila. Note: the longer this soaks, the less spicy it will get as the pepper actually breaks down in the tequila. If you don’t plan on using an entire bottle, you may want to pour the tequila over the pepper in a separate container and watch it turn a cool red hue!
  2. Juice all of your limes, oranges and grapefruits into a separate container. Add 1 tsp of agave for every 8oz of total fresh fruit juice.  Mix thoroughly and chill. Keep a few lime halves to run across the top of your glasses later to make the salt stick.
  3. Ready to drink? Run a leftover lime half around the rim of a chilled glass. Pour some kosher salt on a plate and dip the rim in the salt if desired. Fill the glass with ice.
  4. You can either use a cocktail shaker or just mix equal parts tequila and fresh fruit juice in a pitcher and pour over ice in each glass.
  5. Stir, sip, enjoy, repeat.

What’s A Cinco de Mayo Party Without Salsa?!:
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa

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Do This!: Support Japan Relief Through Keeprecipes

I love Japan — in fact it is one of my top 3 favorite travel destinations of all time. So when I heard about this support initiative that was organized and launched by a friend of mine that combines raising money for relief efforts with good food, I had to share with all of you. I hope you take the time to read and consider making a donation in exchange for some amazing Japanese-inspired recipes.

Some of the world’s most esteemed culinary masters, including Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Michelin Star Chef Anito Lo, and Madonna’s personal chef Mayumi Nishimura, have teamed up with KeepRecipes.com to provide Japan-inspired recipes to help the American Red Cross with their relief efforts in Japan.  The website www.donate.keeprecipes.com provides donors with a digital cookbook with 21 Japan-inspired recipes from an esteemed list of top chefs for any donation made of $10 or more.

With more than 530,000 citizens relocated, 73,000 homes destroyed, and a death toll that now tops 10,000, the estimation for reconstruction is expected to top $300 billion and take over five years.

Recipes are featured from culinary icons like Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s (Braised Black Cod), Madonna’s long time personal macrobiotic chef Mayumi Nishimura (Wakame Soup with Snow Peas and Ginger), New York Times columnist and Best Selling author Mark Bittman (Baked Mushroom-Sesame Rice Balls) and “Breakaway Cook” author Eric Gower.  KeepRecipes will donate $0.86 cents for every dollar of revenue generated through the sale of the “KeepRecipes for Recovery” digital cookbook sold from April 6th until June 30th to the American Red Cross.  On the site, there will also be photos of final dishes, chef information, and tips that are helpful when grocery shopping and cooking.

Charitable giving, delicious recipes — that’s something I can get behind!

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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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Barcelona Digested: Food for Foodies

And so comes the end of my Barcelona digestion. The recap of everything there is to love about Mercat de la Boqueria, how chocolate is central to Catalonia and where to go when you want to eat like a local, can only be ended with a summary of the places you must visit if you’re someone like me. Someone who takes more pictures of her food, than any 15th century painting or statue. The best thing about Barcelona is its astounding mix of traditional and avant garde — for that reason, it might just be one of my top 10 favorite cities to eat in.

Tapac 24 {Tapas and Great Breakfast | L’Eixample}
Tapas bar of acclaimed chef Carles Abellan, owner of Comerc 24. Great place to grab a full breakfast if you’re craving more than a typical croissant or boccadillo. It’s just off Passeig de Gracia, so an easy stop in this area before or after you check out the block of discord and Gaudi’s famous architecture. I had the most delightfully crispy edged egg, with a gooey yolk that ran all over a pile of roasted potatoes and chorizo. Um, yes. Why don’t they eat more breakfasts like this in Barcelona?

Breakfast at Tapac 24

Federal {Australian Farm-Fresh & Great Breakfast | Poble Sec}
Poble Sec is a new up and coming area, and is home to some of the best new restaurants {Ferran Adria of El Builli fame just opened Tickets and 41º here}. Federal is Australian-owned and serves an amazing full breakfast, which is hard to find in Boccadillo-loving Barcelona. The kitchen closes at 4pm on Sunday and there is always a wait, so plan to get there no later than 3pm. I had the most amazing coconut-banana bread w/ honey labne and a free-range egg with a yolk the color of a setting sun. Amazing.

Coconut-Banana bread with labne honey

Free range eggs straight from heaven

ABaC {High-End Dining |Tibidabo}
ABaC is the Per Se of Barcelona. Very quiet dining, inventive cuisine, extremely attentive service.  This should be on any high-end dining list and is worth every penny. I’d tell you everything I ate, but would ruin the surprise — just know that there was frozen “lipstick” involved.

ABaC: Maresme peas royal with Iberian consommé and citrics, barnacles and sea cucumber

La Botifarreria de Santa Maria {Spanish Meat Market | Born}
If you’re looking to smuggle some acorn-fed Iberico ham, Serrano ham or sausages in your suitcase, this is your place. If meat is what you’re looking for, come here and take in all the varieties — there’s even a Coca-Cola infused sausage.

Cured Meat!

Honey and Cheese Market {Market}
Stop by this market every other Friday and Saturday outside the Santa Maria del Pi church. Another great place to pick up some local goods for gifts — sample honey from eucalyptus, thyme, oranges, lavender, you name it and pair it perfectly with some delicious local goat and sheep’s cheeses.

Hone and Cheese Market

Other previous written-up foodie favs:

Cacao SampakaArtisanal Chocolates to die for

Mercat de La Boqueria The best market on the planet. Clearly, since it’s in every Barcelona Digestion that I wrote.

Everything you want to read about Barcelona:
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style

Barcelona: Where the locals go

When I travel, I want to know where the locals hang out.  What’s the best bite in town?  Where do they go to grab a drink?  How do they spend their Saturday afternoons.  Of course I’m sure there is some overlap with where the non-local, tourist types visit as well, but in an effort to sum up the recs I got, tried and loved, here’s a list of favs to get your cava and cafe con leche Catalonian style.

El Xampanyet {Cava & Tapas Bar | La Ribera}
Must do. A fantastic cava and tapas bar, serving the bubbly in ‘50s style champagne glasses. Hang out with locals standing at the bar for a few bites before going out. Family-owned since 1929, it has both good energy and an historical air that makes trying a bite of this and a bite of that, that much more enjoyable. Its bright fluorescent lighting gives it the feel of an old-school NYC Jewish deli, serving up great food in an unpretentious setting. And since the Catalonians like to come and go frequently, the people watching never stops.

El Xampanyet

Mercat de La Boqueria {Food Market | Barri Gotic}
It’s on every list. Stop here to eat what you see. Mounds of beautiful fruit, roasted nuts, chocolates galore. Also fun to admire the fresh seafood, chickens with their crown still on and even a few lambs heads w/ eyeballs – no prepackaged grocery store cuts here. Go early and enjoy watching the owners set up shop or eat at two of the best food counters in the market before it gets too crowded with tourists {Pinotxo or El Quim}.

Piles and Piles of Sweet Goodness

Pinotxo {Coffee & Tapas Bar | Barri Gotic, in La Boqueria}
A tiny family run bar, but the owner is one of the most well known in Barcelona. Go early for breakfast (9am), ask for the specials and hang with the owner and other market locals who stop in for a quick coffee and bite before the rush of the day begins.

Pinotxo

Meson del Café {Coffee Bar | Barri Gotic}
Tiny 100-year old café with delicious picardia (coffee w/ condensed milk and whiskey). It’s small and kitschy, which makes it a great place to perch and people watch while reenergizing.

Meson del Cafe Picardia {mmm}

Cal Pep {Seafood Tapas | Born}Great tapas bar known for their fresh seafood. Cal welcomes his patrons with his raspy voice and personal recommendations. It’s diner style seating with an impressive line-up of waiting patrons along the wall, but the distraction of watching the excitement behind the counter will keep you entertained.

Cal and his team

Fresh Clams from Cal Pep

Quimet y Quimet {Tapas Bar | Poble Sec}
Small little tapas bar where you rub elbows {literally} with the locals in a small, standing room only space. The walls are attractively lined with bottles of wine and spirits and the bar showcases all the tapas basics. Inventive combos still rely on the traditional canned food items, but stack up bites like roasted pepper, cream cheese, canned crab, langoustine, caviar, drizzled in balsamic, olive oil for a sensational snack. Also try the dried beef with truffle oil and olive tapenade.

Um, Yes Please. Thank you Quimet y Quimet!

How could you say no to these tapas?

Can Manel la Puda {Paella Outdoor Cafe | Barcelonata}
Excellent paella along a café strip in Barcelonata. This is the perfect Saturday afternoon destination to enjoy a glass {or bottle} of cava and some of the most delicious, fresh seafood paella I have ever had. This is how the locals spend their weekends — a lifestyle I could get used to rather quickly.

Outdoor Paella Cafes in Barcelonata

The right way to spend a Saturday afternoon

More Barcelona Digested:
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central

When you hear the phrase “spanish cuisine,” it’s likely your first associated thoughts are about tapas, paella, or maybe even Iberico ham. But you should not discount how central chocolate is to the Barcelona food scene. Almost every cafe and even several bars I visited prominently displayed churros and hot chocolate on their menu {a tempting departure from bar nuts}. Artisanal chocolate shops can be found on nearly every winding road. One of my favorite stands at La Boqueria had no less than 100 different bite-sized chocolate confections to savor. And one of the main architectural must-sees, Casa Amatller, was once home to a wealthy family that made their money in the chocolate business. Heck, there’s even a museum dedicated entirely to chocolate. If you are a chocoholic, Barcelona is your city — xocolata bites below…

Cacao Sampaka {SHOP & CAFE | L’Eixample}
Albert Adria
{brother of El Bulli legend, Ferran Adria} may be known for his newly acclaimed Tickets and 41º restaurant and bar combo, but his passion is actually chocolates and Cacao Sampaka is his workshop. It’s only a short walk from the “block of discord” {Casa Amatller, Casa Batllo, Casa Lleo Morera, La Pedrera} and definitely worth the visit, whether you’re looking to pick up a gift or just savor some of the best chocolate bites from cocoa nibs to handcrafted truffles. There’s a cafe in back, but I couldn’t even make it past the walls and tables that allured me with beautiful packaging and inventive flavors. I would have taken some pictures, but I got my hand slapped when I tried. Next best thing: buy some for yourself, be delighted by each perfect little square and then take a picture of the box.

Cacao Sampaka

Casa Amatller {SITE | L’Eixample}

Chocolate Carvings

To the left of Casa Batllo {a Gaudi must-see}, this house has equally as interesting modernist architecture to check out {and it’s free in contrast to the hefty entrance fee at Gaudi’s Casas}. The stonework of this house alludes to the chocolate business and hobbies of the original owners and a small museum inside tells the history of their chocolate trade. When you first walk in, be sure to check out the stonework depicting a monkey making, eating and, ahem, digesting his chocolate {photo to the left}.

Casa Amatller

Mercat de La Boqueria {SHOP | Barri Gotic}
Amongst all the amazing fresh fruits and vegetables, there are also several chocolatiers displaying truffles and chocolate candies in practically any flavor combo you can dream up. I counted over 100 different handcrafted specialties at this stand, which is the first one you’ll see when you enter La Boqueria. Grab a bag, a set of tongs and start nibbling.

Chocolate at La Boqueria

Escriba {SHOP & CAFE | Barri Gotic}
Right outside La Boqueria, this pastry shop sells artisanal chocolates and is known for its Easter cakes and chocolate sculptures. There’s also a small cafe in back, where you can snack on any number of their delights {by now you may be in need of a savory bite to offset all this chocolate — try their outstanding Jamon Iberico croissant}.

Escriba

Cal Pep {RESTAURANT | Born}
One of the best meals I had in Barcelona was at this tiny diner-style, small plates casual seafood restaurant. But it wouldn’t be a complete meal without dessert — Cal’s version of churros and chocolate take the form of doughnut-round churros drenched in a liqueur-spiked, warm chocolate sauce. Delish.

Churros and Chocolate

Museu de la Xocolata {MUSEUM & CAFE | Born}
If you really have your heart set on seeing large sculptures entirely made out of chocolate, add this to your list. I did not find it entirely worth the trip, but for a mere 4euro and a free chocolate bar as your entrance ticket, there’s not much to lose in planning a quick 30 minute stroll through the exhibit. Yes, that is a chocolate version of Sagrada Familia.

Chocolate Sagrada Familia

More Barcelona Digested:
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style

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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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Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade

Valentine’s Grams are back! Make someone’s day this V-Day by surprising them with a pint or two (or three or FOUR), of our seasonal ice cream delivered right to their home or office. So much better than red roses!

Each Valentine Gram includes a handcrafted pint of one of Milkmade’s seasonal flavors and a personalized handwritten card. Grams are $15 each with a $5 per location delivery fee. Orders must be placed by Thursday, February 10th and Grams will be delivered on Monday, February 14th to any home or office in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

How to Order:
First, select from Milkmade’s seasonal flavors.

Milkmade's V-Day Flavors

Then, choose your delivery preference.
Milkmade’s delivery zone includes offices and home residences in ALL Manhattan and Brooklyn zipcodes (well, within reason). Delivery is scheduled for Monday, February 14. Delivery options include between 10am and 2pm, between 2pm and 6pm, or between 6pm and 9pm. Please note that someone MUST be home to receive the delivery (or they can leave it with front desks with freezers) because delivery does not include a cold pack.

Orders may also be picked up at Milkmade’s East Village “headquarters” on Sunday, February 13 between 6pm and 10pm. The delivery fee will (obviously) not be charged for pick-up orders.

Grams are limited. To place an order, please click here.

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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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Winter Fancy Food Show: San Fran Specialties Digested

There were no shortage of snacks to sample at the specialty food show in San Fran this weekend. Much like the Summer show I attended in New York, the spread ranged from candies, cheeses, chocolates and coffee to fine meats and preserves from over 1,300 exhibiting food producers from around the world.

Straight off the flight from the Big Apple, I made my way to the food show, with an empty stomach and press badge in hand to see what new discoveries could be found and to pay a visit to a few favorites I savored last time.

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My Favorite Specialty Foodies and What to Love:

Bella Cucina {Salts, Spreads, Oils and Preserves from Atlanta}

The packaging will catch your eye immediately – beautifully jarred and labeled, these products will delight any gift recipient and your kitchen counter alike {hence the name}. More importantly I sampled several of what’s inside Bella Cucina’s jars – aromatic savory salts, artichoke lemon spread {their best seller accounting for 17% of all sales}, mint pistachio pesto, roasted sweet peppers grown especially for Bella Cucina – and wished I could buy several of them on the spot. As someone who can appreciate unique flavor combinations and beautiful packaging, Bella Cucina won me over immediately.

Justin’s {All Natural Nut Butters from Boulder}

I love peanut butter period. But give me a spoon of chocolate hazelnut butter, honey peanut butter or maple almond butter and you have just upped the ante on a simple snack time favorite. I always loved the day my mom made me a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch, so it just makes sense to bring these flavor combos together in one jar, except it’s not always in a jar. Justin’s sources high quality organic California nuts and has brilliantly packaged their product both in a jar and in a squeeze packet to take these delights on the road. I think it’s time to move your old friend Skippy aside for a spread or squeeze of Justin’s premier PB product.

Poco Dolce {Chocolate from San Fran}

So much chocolate in this world – is it possible to create a new and BETTER chocolate? Apparently yes. I was guided through aisles of food booths to Poco Dolce with assurance that these chocolates were the best around. I concur. With flavors like burnt caramel, sesame toffee tiles {winner of a sofi Gold award}, and super chile, owner, Kathy Wiley, elevates chocolate squares to new levels exciting your taste buds with both sweet and savory flavor combinations. Also try her toffee squares — bite sized toffee covered in bittersweet chocolate. If you’re not an SF local, fear not, see here for places to get your hands on those bites.

Fra’Mani Handcrafted Foods {Artisanal Cured Meats from Berkley}

Just take a look at the picture of this beautiful mosaic of head cheese.  And beside this well-photographed delicacy, Fra’Mani was generously tasting a range of their other flavorful cured meat products – little ham, rosemary ham, roasted turkey galantine. Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching – why not replace those roses with a fragrant bouquet of artisanal cured meats? It’s the way to say I love you in 2011.

Beehive Cheese Co. {Handcrafted Cheese from Utah}

I first had Beehive’s Barely Buzzed by chance when it was paired with a wine at a tasting up in Livermore, CA. The cheddar cheese is hand rubbed with a Turkish grind of Colorado Legacy Coffee Company’s, lavender buds and olive oil, which makes your head spin in delight — perfectly named I would say. At the time we were with a group of eight people, who were all commenting more on the cheese than the wine and we made note of what we were sampling in an effort to find this delightful slice again. Previously it was not easy to come by, but distribution has expanded to many Whole Foods Markets, so next time you are rolling down the aisle looking for an exciting addition to your cheese plate, pick up Barely Buzzed for a deep caramel flavor or Big John’s Cajun Rubbed for something with a little kick.

Creminelli Fine Meats {Artisanal Cured Meats from Salt Lake City}

I first discovered Creminelli at the New York Wine & Food Festival in October. With a glass of cabernet in one hand, I sampled some of their finest salumi – lacy thin cut mortadella, hot sopresata, dark & rich wild boar sausage and their award-winning Barolo-infused salumi {winner of this year’s Good Food awards). So imagine my delight to stumble upon them next to the Beehive Cheese Co. Good cheese & meats hanging out together {both from Utah} – all I needed was a glass of vino and a comfy chair to make my day.

Kicking Horse Coffee {Coffee from Canada}

One of my all-time favorite coffee producers of the year – if you haven’t tried it, you must. Not a new discovery for me, but I had to stop by to say hello and for a quick cup of joe to rejuvenate my jetlagged, sampled-out self.

  • Great Brew: most importantly, this cup of joe was delicious {and just what I needed after a lot of walking, talking and sampling}. It’s just making its way down from our friendly northern neighbor, so check their website for a retail store near you.
  • Great People: Buying only Fair Trade coffee, the company supports its farmers, regardless of the world market. As the largest cash crop in the world, this really does make a Kicking impact.
  • Cool Names: Kick Ass {dark}, Three Sisters {medium}, 454 Horsepower {dark}, Z-Wrangler {medium}, Decaf {dark}, Cliff Hanger Espresso {medium}. Clever coffee, what’s not to love.
  • Cool Packaging: 100% recycled cans {surprisingly most coffee cans are not fully recyclable — yeah, that little plastic top is no bueno}. Black cans with primary color tops catch the eye and look cool hangin’ out next to your coffee maker.

The Skim: If you haven’t caught on to the specialty food trends, then wake up and smell the artisanal hand-pressed coffee. 63% of American consumers purchased specialty food in 2010, up from 46% in 2009 and farmers markets have grown to become the fourth most significant source of specialty foods. Knowing where your food comes from and passionate support for the creativity and handcrafted quality that goes into small scale specialty foods, is driving the emergence of new food entrepreneurs to historic levels.  Mark your calendars, the Summer Fancy Food Show will be held in Washington D.C. July 10-12, 2011.

Dolled Up Delicacies:
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening
New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats

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In a Holiday Foodpickle? Your Answer is Seconds Away

We all stumble upon questions mid-prep. What’s the difference between heavy and whipping cream? How do I make homemade whipped cream? How long do I cook shrimp? Usually, my mom is at the ready to answer all my cooking fire alarms, but if you find you need an instant answer or don’t want to ask the woman who raised you, foodpickle from food52 is a real-time food q&a service supported by a community of passionate and knowledgeable foodies at the ready to share their expertise and set you on the right preparation path.

And if you’re the one with all the answers, you could win a up to $150 prize from Viking for the being the best foodpickler each week! That’s better than Santa!

TEXT MESSAGING
You can now text your questions to foodpickle! Just send an SMS text msg to 803-380-FOOD (3663) and foodpickle text you back the responses right away.

FOODPICKLE ON TWITTER
Tweet @foodpickle a question from anywhere — your stove, the grocery aisle, a dinner party. foodpickle will @reply or d.m. you the responses.

Follow @foodpickle on Twitter to see questions and answers as they come in.

Read more: http://www.food52.com/foodpickle#ixzz164cxUUNs or see Foodpickle coverage on ABC News: http://bit.ly/eLkuEW

Holiday Dinner Fail? Eat Out at One of 8.ate@eight’s FAVOR8 Instead:
8.ate@eight’s New Top 8 FAVOR8 Restaurant List

The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi

Rustic Space Features Really Good Wood-Burning Oven Pizza
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
August in April

‘Tis the Season from 8.ate@eight!

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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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Water of Life Whisky Wednesday With The Macallan

The Macallan Whisky Wednesday

Admittedly I’m not much of a Scotch drinker. I have previously thought of it as the kind of thing that puts hair on your chest — and well, as a woman that’s not so attractive. But on Wednesday night I went to The Macallan Single Malt Scotch tasting and may have discovered a new love.

The evening opened with a welcome reception, some passed appetizers and The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year Old, the lightest and easiest to drink of the line-up. If you’re new to the Scotch drinking world and want to ease your way in, this is the perfect starting point — it’s extremely smooth and delicate and makes for a simple sipping companion.

The Macallan 10 Year Old Fine Oak Scotch

As our glasses were drained, we headed to a seated set-up for a schooling on Scotch tasting and Scotland 101. With The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Year Old pour in hand, a lovely smooth selection with a hint vanilla that Macallan is known for, we learned that this mahogany hued Scotch is exclusively aged in Sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks for a minimum of 12 years.

We also learned what makes a Scotch Whisky and the difference between “blended” and “single” malts — interesting trivia facts to keep in the back pocket:

  • ‘Scotch Whisky’— In order to be classed as a ‘Scotch’ Whisky, the spirit, must have been matured in an oak cask in Scotland for a minimum of three years. It must also be bottled at a minimum strength of 40% alcohol.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Blended ‘Malt’ Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery entirely from malted barley.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.
  • You will also notice that Irish and American Whiskeys have an “e”, whereas Scotch Whisky does not.
  • Whisky or Whiskey means “water of life” — of course it does!

If only every class we took involved note taking and spirits, we might all be better students. After The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old Scotch arrived we started to enter the zone of more viscous and impactful flavors. 60-70% of the flavor in a Whisky comes from the wood, so it’s not surprising to learn The Macallan spends $20M each year to create their casks, which amounts to ~$1,400 per cask. Now here’s an interesting fact — the 70+ other distilleries only spend $10-15M collectively and the bourbon industry only spends an average of $200 per barrel.

Given those kind of numbers, it’s not surprising to also learn that The Macallan’s premium quality spirits just broke a record, selling a rare 64 year old whisky at auction for $460,000 {read more HERE}. The good news is, all proceeds go to charity: water, an organization that provides access to clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. And so “the water of life” comes full circle.

Kick off 2011 in Good Spirits…

And so I am a convert. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the tastings and could see how all that investment in the casks pays off in the bottle. I’ve been inspired so much by our Scottish friends, that I may just have some news to share about an upcoming winter 8.ate@eight event. I won’t reveal anymore now, but it will be an event not to be missed and will kick off 2011 in good spirits. Stay tuned…

More Good 8.ate@eight Drinking :
Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
8.ate@eight #3: Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

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Historic India House Shares Spectacular Cheese and Space

Cheese Spectacular at The Indian House

So if you didn’t make it out last night for the FREE cheese event presented by Jessica Wurwarg at the India House Club, this is what you missed. Inside the historic NYC landmark building, a crowd of cheese lovers and freebooters gathered in the warm red room beside a roaring fireplace, cozy seating and a table full of some of the most delicious cheese Jessica brought to share. Typically this club is private {although the Blue Bar is open to the public} but sometimes we luck out and events such as this come along, providing an opportunity to not only learn something about cheese, but gain access to a significant city space. The India House Club was built in 1837 and used for banking and trade purposes, but became a private meeting house in 1914 {don’t you just wonder what sort of wheeling and dealing took place here???}. It currently houses the largest and most valuable collection of maritime art in NY — you can feel the historic significance just standing there.

So what kind of cheese was shared? A delectable selection of sheep’s, cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses. Any of these would be great additions to your holiday cheese platter. The Camembert was like butter, it was so rich and creamy and the Hoch Ybrig is not only fun to say, but is a great nutty swiss that anyone is sure to like. All can be purchased at Artisanal Cheese, except the Seal Cove Pyramid that can be snagged at Saxelby Cheesemongers in Essex Market. The evening was a fun post-work getaway and it was FREE {yeah, yeah, I know I already mentioned that, but stay tuned for more great free events you don’t want to miss.}

Generous Cuts of Spectacular Cheese

Hudson Valley Camembert. Sheep and Cow’s Milk. Old Chatham Sheepherding Company; Old Chatham, NY.
This is a luxuriously creamy and buttery young cow and sheep’s milk camembert-style cheese with a bloomy rind.  The creaminess comes from the sheep’s milk. The Hudson Valley Camembert pairs well with a sparkling wine or a light crisp white.

Seal Cove Pyramid. Goat’s milk. Seal Cove Farm; Lamoine, ME.
This is a young, slightly tart but rich pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from talented Maine cheese makers.  The vegetable ash on the outside makes the cheese less acidic and allows it to age slightly but remain soft, delicate and creamy.  The Seal Cove Pyramid will pair well with light floral and crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blancs.

Hoch Ybrig. Cow’s Milk. Canton Schwyg, Switzerland.
Hoch Ybrig is an alpine cheese, a typical finely crafted hard cheese made in the mountains of Switzerland.  The cheese’s washed rind adds a heartiness to the creamy, nutty and sweet flavors of this robust yet delicate cheese.  This cheese pairs well with a variety of beers and red and white wines alike.

Blu del Mencenisio. Cow’s Milk. Turin, Piedmont, Italy.
This is a soft slightly creamy blue cheese with spicy notes.  It is from the Moncenisio Pass, mountains in Piedmont, near the French border.  With this cheese, as with many other blues, the saltiness tends to be more pronounced.  This cheese will pair well with sweeter or dessert wines or heavier stout-type beers.

Another Cut of Cheese Please:
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

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In a Thanksgiving foodpickle? Your Answer is Seconds Away

We all stumble upon questions mid-prep. How do I defrost this turkey quicker? What do I mix with the juices with to make gravy? How many pounds per person should I plan for? Usually, my mom is at the ready to answer all my cooking fire alarms, but if you find you need an instant answer or don’t want to ask the woman who raised you, foodpickle from food52 is a real-time food q&a service supported by a community of passionate and knowledgeable foodies at the ready to share their expertise and set you on the right preparation path.

And if you’re the one with all the answers, you could win a up to $150 prize from Viking for the being the best foodpickler each week!

TEXT MESSAGING
You can now text your questions to foodpickle! Just send an SMS text msg to 803-380-FOOD (3663) and foodpickle text you back the responses right away.

FOODPICKLE ON TWITTER
Tweet @foodpickle a question from anywhere — your stove, the grocery aisle, a dinner party. foodpickle will @reply or d.m. you the responses.

Follow @foodpickle on Twitter to see questions and answers as they come in.

Read more: http://www.food52.com/foodpickle#ixzz164cxUUNs or see Foodpickle coverage on ABC News: http://bit.ly/eLkuEW

Turkey Fail? Eat Out at One of 8.ate@eight’s FAVOR8 Instead:
8.ate@eight’s New Top 8 FAVOR8 Restaurant List

The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi

Rustic Space Features Really Good Wood-Burning Oven Pizza
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
August in April

Happy Thanksgiving from 8.ate@eight!

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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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Do This!: Cheese Basics @Artisanal

Artisanal Cheese Classroom

 

Whew — all these fantastic cheese events, so little time. Grab a friend and start the holiday season out with some fun at this unique, hands-on exploration of the world’s finest artisanal cheeses is the perfect overview for any beginner. From the history of its accidental creation to its intricate styles and complexities, cheese is back, and no one knows it better than Jessica Wurwarg.  Follow Jessica as she unravels the intricacies of milk types, ripening processes, flavor profiles, and wine pairings.

What: Artisanal Center Cheese Basics Class
When: Tuesday Nov 23 at 6:30-8:30 PM
Price: $75 per person {SIGN-UP HERE}
8.ate@eight Discount: $10 off with code JESSICA
Where: Artisanal Cheese Center
483 Tenth Ave between 36 and 37th Sts.

Get Cheese Inspired:
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

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Do This!: Exclusive 8.ate@eight Early Invite to A Cheese Spectacular at an Historic NYC Venue

India House, a landmark NYC building, is an exclusive private club that is opening its doors to all cheese lovers for this special event. If that’s not reason enough, Captain Kidd was a frequent visitor at this home. He lived at what is now 56 Wall Street, in a dwelling that he bought from Governor Dongan when the wall on Wall Street was torn down {yes, there really was a wall!} Freebooters and pirates on the high seas were a constant source of anxiety and loss to the merchants who lived in Hanover Square, so in the spirit of FREEBOOTING, come check this historic venue out, eat some FREE cheese and learn a thing or two in the process.

The Blue Bar at India House Presents:
A Cheese Spectacular

Please join us at the India House Club at
One Hanover Square on
November 30 from 6 p.m.
until the cheese runs out for a

Cheese Spectacular

The cheese tasting is free, (yes, it’s FREE!).

Fromagere Jessica Wurwarg will provide some information on the cheese selection as well as tips for paring the cheeses with wine, beers and spirits.

RSVP: to wurwarg@gmail.com by Nov. 27th

Map: One Hanover Square
Directions: 2/3 to Wall St., 4/5 to Bowling Green, R to Whitehall or 1 to South Ferry

Cheese Plating in Progress

 

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Do This!: Vote for The Chocolate Gallery Cafe for Best Dessert

You may remember back in July when The Chocolate Gallery Cafe was up for Best Breakfast in Detroit.

Do This!: Vote for The Chocolate Gallery Cafe for Best Breakfast

I wrote about it. You voted. They won!

And now this sweet little cafe, my Aunt and Uncle’s gem, has been nominated for Best Dessert in Detroit by AOL’s City’s Best and I’m asking you to vote again. Just because you haven’t eaten there {why haven’t you?} or don’t live in Detroit, doesn’t mean you can’t cast a vote and support their family run business from afar. They have been nominated for and won countless local and national awards, which speaks volumes for the love and passion they pour into their family run business. This year, The Chocolate Gallery Cafe has been nominated again for AOL’s City’s Best Dessert award, so read on, drool over the pictures of their food, vote and then tell any friends or family you know in Michigan to stop by for a sweet bite they are sure to enjoy! {Also makes for a crowd-pleasing treat to bring to holiday parties}

Here’s a cyber taste:

The Chocolate Gallery Cafe opened its doors over 16 years ago, but got its start even earlier when a love for chocolate and hours of experiments in a home kitchen resulted in the recipe for their famous award-winning Chocolate Buckingham Torte. So rich it has royalty in its name. The award-winning Chocolate Buckingham Torte is layered to perfection, with a chewy brownie bottom, creamy chocolate mousse center all topped off with crunchy English toffee and whipped cream florets that provide the ideal contrast to its other rich layers. The answer to every chocolate lover’s quest for the perfect dessert, this torte is the jewel of my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Chuck’s boutique cafe.

Chocolate Buckingham Torte

Chocolate Flourless Decadence Torte

Hopefully you live close enough that a visit to The Chocolate Gallery Cafe can be a reality, but if not, for now you can support this sweet cafe with a click of a button and a vote to win Best Dessert in DetroitThe Chocolate Gallery Cafe is also available for Full Service Catering, Chocolate Fountain Rentals and custom sweet treats, including Truffles and Molded Chocolates.

Map: 3672 Chicago Road, Warren, Michigan
Reservations: Not Taken (Open Thurs-Sun 8am-2pm)
Phone: 586.979.1140
Photos: John Martin Photography

Want Something For Your Effort?

Giveaway! Season’s Greetings Ghirardelli-Style

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Giveaway! Win the New Barefoot Contessa Cookbook How Easy Is That?

Ina Garten’s new cookbook Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? has hit shelves and I’ve got an autographed copy to share with you! The focus of her new cookbook is creating simpler yet delicious meals with few ingredients that save time and stress in the kitchen — every now and then we all need a little help don’t we?

How To Win:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Ina Garten recipe is and why.
  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 and make note in your comment on my blog if your twitter name is different, so I can give you credit}
  3. For two more additional entries: a) follow 8.ate@eight on Facebook and b) post a link to this contest on FB

This contest will start November 1st, 2010 and end on November 5th, 2010 at 6pm EST. Winners will be chosen at random using Randomizer.org and will be announced the next day, only people in the United States  are eligible. Winners will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address or an alternate winner will be chosen.

How Easy Is That?!

Good Luck,
Christina

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