Tag 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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recipe goodness: aw nuts! darn good roasted rosemary nuts for the holidays

Roasted Nuts

It’s the holidays and that means we’re all running from party to party or even planning our own. We never want to show up empty handed and we’re often looking for a way to put out a great spread, without a lot of work. This recipe is your solution to both dilemmas. The recipe comes from the long-standing popular Union Square Cafe in New York City and it takes beer nuts to a new level. Hitting on every taste-bud, I guarantee the bowl will be empty faster than the mini-hot dog platter. This salty treat will also make any gifted bottle of wine extra special when you walk through any guest’s door on your party route. Gifting Tip: buy cellophane bags from a party or paper store and tie the bag with a red ribbon that you can hang around the neck of a wine bottle — easy, inexpensive and extra impressive.

Coating Goodness

Roasted Rosemary Union Square Bar Nuts

Cook time: 10 minutes

2 1/4 cups unsalted mixed nuts
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread nuts out on cookie sheet and toast for 10 minutes or until just turning golden brown.
  3. In a bowl combine all other ingredients and combine with nuts while warm.
  4. Toss thoroughly until well mixed and let cool before adding to an air tight container or gift bags.

Aw Nuts, I Need More Party Ideas!
Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post} 
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

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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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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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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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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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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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A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite

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Apologies for my absence for a few days, but I have been busy shopping and chopping for what was the last 8.ate@eight supper club of the outdoor season. You wouldn’t think preparing “cafeteria” food would be such a distraction, but when you’re hand selecting figs and prosciutto from Italy for your pizza, catching red snapper off the east coast for your tacos, hunting bison out west for your mini sliders and hand frying potatoes for your truffle-rosemary chips, then there isn’t much time for blogging. Well maybe I wasn’t actually doing all of those things {except the hand frying – look out Frito Lay!} but the menu is accurate. As several friends had kids heading back to school, I thought it would be fun to relive the nostalgia of new sneakers, trapper keepers and the best of school cafeterias — only better! Here’s the full report card…

The Syllabus:

Starter
3 Grilled Pizzettes:
{1} Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese
{2} Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil
{3} Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella
w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil

Mini Lime-Chili Red Snapper Tacos
w/ “Fruit Punch” Sangria

Salad
Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley w/ Chipotle Bacon & Queso Fresco
w/ Bodegas Valdesil Godello Valdeorras Val de Sil Montenovo (Spain)

Entrée
Mini Bison Sliders w/ Buffalo Mozzarella and Olive Tapenade
Homemade Truffle Rosemary Parmesan Chips
w/ “P.S.” Local 2 Brooklyn Dark Ale

Dessert
Coconut “Twinkies” w/ Lemon Curd Filling
w/ Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk”

It was just like showing up to a new classroom — some old friends and some new faces to get to know. This is why I started 8.ate@eight and what I love about my table. People can come together to enjoy good food and drink and easily fall into conversation with an unfamiliar group.

Pablo is the Principal at his own school he started -- how awesome is that!

As the 8.ate@eight-ers filed in, I was busy at work grilling pizzas on the BBQ. Not an entirely new concept, but a new twist on school lunch favorite — wasn’t pizza day a must?! With dough and toppings on hand, I grilled up three different versions: an Arugula, Fig & Proscuitto w/ Grated Parmesan Cheese Pizza, a Greek Olive Tapenade, Pickled Red Onion & Feta w/ Lemon Olive Oil Pie and a crowd-pleasing favorite, Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Fennel & Fresh Mozzarella w/ Grandma’s Sauce & Fresh Rooftop Basil.

Fresh Figs

Served alongside the pizza were some Red Snapper Tacos with a Lime-Chili Marinade and Avocado Sauce. I’m pretty sure the lunch ladies didn’t fill our shells with anything better than greasy ground beef, but I wanted to keep it light. Both of the appetizers were served with an adult version of fruit punch: sangria! With a winning combination of spanish vino, brandy, triple sec and lemonade, I soaked a combination of lemon, lime, orange slices and cherries overnight and topped each cup off with a little club soda — every party is better with bubbles!

Red Snapper Tacos

Sangria "Fruit Punch"

Probably the least eaten items on those styrofoam trays were the vegetable medleys and fruit cup cocktails, so I decided to do a combination of both with a modified version of my friend Nora’s delicious corn salad. There are several things that are great about this salad and its a recipe for success that I have written about before: sweet, spicy, citrusy, savory and salty. I roasted several ears of sweet jersey corn, removing the kernels and adding to a combination of grapes {strange, but sweet and amazing}, red bell peppers {peppery and colorful}, red chilis {that subtle spicy kick that I love}, cilantro {a polarizing ingredient for many, but even I converted a hater at the table}, scallions and lime. So that’s the regular combination, but I also decided this salad would do well with a few bits of chipotle bacon crumbled on top with some queso fresco — if only school veggies were always this good.

Roasted Corn & Vegetable Medley

Roasted Corn Salad

It’s not only important to eat your veggies, but a good healthy protein also tops the food pyramid. I keep speaking the praises of bison to anyone who will listen {recipe here}, so I thought if I put them in slider form I could win the hearts of my table too. So let’s reiterate some important facts — please take notes.

Bison tastes very similar to beef, but is slightly richer, so I complemented that flavor with a spread of salty olive tapenade on the mini buns and melted some creamy buffalo mozzarella on top for a better take on a kiddie craving.

Mini Bison Sliders

And just like PB&J is a match made in heaven, so are burgers and chips. So I carried out the dutch oven, a few pounds of potatoes and got to work slicing, rinsing, drying and frying the makings of my Homemade Truffle, Rosemary Parmesan Chips. A lot of work, but there is something very satisfying about putting Frito Lay to shame from your own kitchen {recipe to follow}.

Toss in corn starch to remove moisture and create crispier results

Toss in 375 degree oil 4-5 minutes until golden blond

Strain and Season with Fresh Rosemary and Truffle Salt

Season with Rosemary, Truffle Salt, Parmesan Cheese and Try Not to Eat Too Many

While everyone settled in for the Ferris Bueller classic, Naerim also made a guest appearance and served her Coconut “Twinkie” with Lemon Curd filling and I blended up some Kahlua-Rum Chocolate “Milk” just in case  everyone didn’t have enough to drink.

Coconut "Twinkies" with Lemon Curd

As usual, we cleared the plates, handed out some blankets as the night started to cool and fired up the projector for our guest visitor: Ed Rooney. No better end to another memorable 8.ate@eight supper club.

Ed Rooney Was Our Guest Visitor

Thanks!

Thanks to Naerim again for all the help serving drinks and food and ending the evening with a great new take on an old lunchbox treat! Thanks to Kristin for snapping some pics while I was manning the grill. 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 indoor 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!

Recipe Goodness:

Homemade Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Cook Time: 20-30 Minutes
Serves 4

2 1/2 # russet potatoes  (about 4 large)
3 QT. peanut or canola oil

Peel and cut potatoes into either long sticks or 1/2-inch thick circles for fries or use a mandolin to thinly slice flat or waffle cut circles {using the waffle blade} for chips. Rinse cut potatoes in large bowl under cold running water until water turns clear. Cover with cold water and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.

Pour off water,spread potatoes onto towels, and thoroughly dry {important for crispiness}. Transfer to large bowl and toss with cornstarch until evenly coated. Transfer to wire rack set on rimmed baking sheet and let rest until fine white coating forms, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large, heavy bottomed dutch oven, fitted w/clip-on candy thermometer, heat oil to 325.  Add half of potatoes a handful at a time and increase heat to high.  Fry, shirring with mesh spider until potatoes start to turn from white to blond, 4-5 min.(oil temp will drop). Transfer fries to paper towels to absorb oil and cool. Return oil to 325 and repeat with rest of potatoes. Let potatoes cool.

Heat oil to 375. Add half of fries or chips, a handful at a time, and fry until golden brown, 2-3 min. Transfer to paper towels & repeat with remaining fries. Season immediately with chopped rosemary, truffle salt and shaved parmesan.

Read About Past 8.ate@eight Events:
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!

What are you still doing here? It’s over. Go home.

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Announcing 8.ate@eight dinner #4 | Back to School Nite | @9.18.10.8:00pm

Labor Day is fast approaching and that means it’s time to head Back to School. So let’s celebrate the nostalgia of things like new sneakers, trapper keepers and most importantly, a new lunch box, with a meal that highlights some of the old time cafeteria favorites…only better.

See here for a recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
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 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 #4: Back to School
Saturday, September 18th, 2010, 8:00pm
4-course dinner menu, followed by
Post Dinner Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Suggested Donation: $70 per person

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com

Enjoy and hope to see you at the table!

Christina

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8.ate@eight #3: Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ

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It was a dark and stormy night {almost}. The orange and yellow radar covered the eastern seaboard. The dark, cumulonimbus clouds loomed overhead. And the wind blew….but it DID NOT rain. Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then. Good thing, because this 8.ate@eight BBQ took two full days to prep and I was fixin’ to have me a party. All those dixie flavors like to hang out over night, so the kitchen was in full swing from the moment the roosters crowed Friday. Here’s the scoop ya’ll…

The Menu:

Starter
Creole Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa
Margarita Soaked Watermelon
w/ Fresh Agave-Lime Margaritas with Ancho Chili-Infused Silver Patron

Salad
Oven Roasted Avocado Tortilla Salad
w/ ’08 Basa Ruedo Blanco (Spain)

Entrée
Slooooow Cooked Pork Ribs
Lime-Chili Cornbread
Red Cabbage, Radish & Carrot Slaaaw
w/ Abita Amber, Purple Haze and Strawberry Lager Beer (Louisiana)

Dessert
Banana Puddin’ Served in Semi-Sweet Chocolate Cups
w/ Crios de Susana Balba ‘09 Torrontes (Argentina)

It wouldn’t be an 8.ate@eight without a kickoff cocktail and since I was spicing things up with the food, I also decided to throw together an Ancho Chili-Infused Fresh Lime Margarita to warm things up {thanks to inspiration from my wine friend, Mike}. A smoked Ancho Chili went into the bottle a few hours before serving and I got to work juicing more limes, oranges and grapefruit than a minute maid. But since Top Chef contestants always like to do things “two-ways” I also sliced a watermelon into finger sized pieces and soaked those in fresh lime margarita over night {careful, they’ll get ya when you’re not looking!}

The Fixins' for Fresh Lime Margaritas

Margarita Watermelon ready to chill out for a day

And what better app to serve with fresh margaritas than salsa? I rubbed the corn in Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning and roasted it on the grill before adding to vine-ripened grape tomatoes with more fresh lime, cilantro, scallions and some red chilis from my neighbor’s rooftop garden {thanks Julie!}

Creole Roasted Corn-Tomato Salsa and Chips

Before people had one too many watermelon slices, we all grabbed a seat and I served a Roasted Avocado Tortilla Salad. This was a new experiment inspired by Jamie Oliver — oven at full whack, sliced avocado on a tray tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin seed and roasted for 15 minutes. The result: warm, roasted, lightly charred avocado slices served over crispy tortilla chips, fresh greens, sprouts and a simple lemon-olive oil dressing. Refreshing and unique.

Roasted Avocado-Tortilla Salad

Now for the main event. St. Louis Spare Ribs went for a swim in apple juice and apple cider vinegar before being rubbed with love in a dry blend of spices, garlic and orange zest and left in the fridge for a day to take it all in. Everything is slower in the South, so I also made the slaw a day before so the flavors would mix and mash and come out really tasty. The secret to good cole slaw is time. With red cabbage as the base, I added thin radish and carrots slices, all of which are pretty sturdy veg, so the longer they get to hang out in the vinegar-mayo dressing, the more they soften up and take on the flavor of the marinade. This also means you don’t have to over do it with the mayo — I was pretty light handed, contrary to what you may be used to in the cole slaw department. And it wouldn’t be a BBQ without cornbread, in my opinion. Somewhere along the line I started making my cornbread with creamed corn to make them less dry and add some actual bits of corn to the mix. This time I also took this recipe a step further and added grated neighborly-red chili and lime zest to throw in a little kick.

Carrot, Radish and Red Cabbage Slaw

Chili-Lime Cornbread Cups

Rubbin' the hog ribs

On day 2, I fired up the oven about 5 hours prior to show time and got the ribs into slow-cook mode. While they were doin’ their thang, I got to chopping, sauteing and simmering away to make one of the most unique BBQ sauces I have ever had. Again, thanks to inspiration from Jamie Oliver this blend was a combination of fresh herbs, spices, more red chili, and generally accepted BBQ sauce condiment contributions {horseradish, ketchup, worcestershire, etc.} to add the needed kick and sweetness that any finger-lickin’ BBQ sauce requires. But what stood out amongst the 8.ate@eight crowd as the most distinct and crowd-pleasing flavor was the fresh orange juice and zest — not a common flavor found on the grill, but OH so fine. All this paired quite well with a selection of Abita brews from Louisiana — Amber, Purple Haze and Strawberry Harvest. Do not be afraid of the fruit flavored beer gentlemen — it is subtle and the perfect complement to the spicy red chilies that found their way in to many of the dishes.

Makin' the BBQ Sauce

Abita Beer Selection from LA - Save the Sea!

8.ate@eighters Diggin' In

When I polled my southern friends about their favorite desserts, there were many — cobblers, pies, hand churned ice cream, but one that stood out was banana pudding. Borrowing some more inspiration from a delightful dessert blog I read, Bakerella, I decided to make chocolate cups to serve this somewhat simple, but delicious banana pudding in. Armed with 3 pounds of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate and water balloons {sans water} I got to dipping. My eyeballs nearly popped out of my head trying to blow up the tiny water balloons, but they are necessary to use to get the right size shell. Ultimately these were very easy to make and really jazzed up the puddin’, so the next time you’re looking for a unique serving option for anything that goes well with chocolate {fresh berries, ice cream, pudding, etc.} you should give these a try.

The makings of the banana puddin'

Setting the Chocolate Cups

Pop!

Banana Puddin' Cups

So with full bellies and licked fingers, it was time to sit back, relax and welcome the 3 Amigos into the evening. After so much finger linkin’ food and a large selection of beverages, it was good to have a lively movie to keep the night going and a few guttural laughs to help with digestion. And with still no rain in sight, the evening carried on into the wee hours — I reckon it was another successful and fun 8.ate@eight supper club!

Laughter Helps with Digestion

The 3 Amigos Rode in for the BBQ

Much Obliged:

Thanks, as always, to my guests for being part of the evening. Thanks to my lovely neighbors for the tent and red chili contributions and thank you to my roommate Haley for introducing me to the wonders of Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning.

Stay tuned for news of the next dinner party. Everyone I know and love is getting married in August, so the kitchen is closed until September. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateATeight@gmail.com to be added. See you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink
Silencing of the Spring Lambs

Recipe Goodness ::
Banana Puddin’ Chocolate Cups

Pudding recipe courtesy of Cindy Lee

Makes 8-10 servings in one 8×8 pan {9×11 pan if double recipe}

Pudding:
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ cups cold water
1 (4 serving size) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whipping cream, lightly whipped
1 box vanilla wafers
4 bananas, sliced

In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk & water.  Add pudding mix, beat with whisk until well blended and chill in refrigerator about 5 min.  Then fold in the lightly whipped cream {still liquid, but aerated to make thicker}.  Spoon pudding mixture (about 1 cup) into bottom of glass dish, then layer with vanilla wafers, then banana on top of wafer, pudding mix, wafer, banana,  pudding mix, wafer (you want to end on wafer). You will have plenty of pudding mixture, especially if you double the recipe so use the pudding mixture generously on the bottom of the dish and throughout.

Tip: Always best to make this the day before so the flavors will marry.

Chocolate Cups:
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate per 8 cups {I like Ghirardelli}

Blow up 8 water balloons with air, not water {careful not to bust a gut!} Get a cookie sheet ready, lined with a piece of parchment paper. Melt chocolate in a small metal bowl on top of a boiling pot of water or in a double boiler. Continue stirring and once fully melted, remove bowl and move to the counter, letting the chocolate cool slightly so as not to pop your balloons. Take a small spoon and put a dollop of chocolate, evenly spaced on the parchment paper, for the foot of each bowl you will create. Start dipping! I found that it was difficult to get an even edge by dipping the balloon straight down, so I took an angled approach and continued to turn and dip, turn and dip at an angle, creating what looked like a tulip bowl. Once you have covered the base of the balloon, place it on one of the dollops, standing upright and repeat. Let the chocolate harden for about an hour and then pop each balloon with a pin and enjoy!

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EAT@HOME: New on 8.ate@eight

New 8.ate@eight Features

Hungry for more inspiration from 8.ate@eight?

EAT@HOME:
Now you can easily access 8.ate@eight’s favorite recipes from the new tab at the top called EAT@HOME. I hope this page inspires you to try new things at your table. I’ll continue to test and share recipes I love to eat and prepare, so check back as this section will continue to grow with new ideas. Eat up!

SUBSCRIBE:
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Announcing 8.ate@eight dinner #3 | Big Southern BBQ Meets Small NYC Rooftop | @7.10.10.8:00pm

I may be a girl from the Midwest, but I love me some good BBQ.  In honor of Fourth of July and celebrating all things American, let’s roast up some hog, chill down some beer and have a proper BBQ with all the fixins of a good meal and a good time. After we lick our lips and wipe our fingers {or vice versa}, Three Amigos will be projected under the stars and a memorable, intimate social gathering amongst new friends will ensue.

See here for a recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
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 #3: Big Southern BBQ Meets Small NYC Rooftop
Saturday, July 10
th, 2010, 8:00pm
4-course dinner menu, followed by
Post Dinner Movie: Three Amigos
Cost: $70 per person

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com

Enjoy and hope to see you at the table!

Christina

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Haiku Hint: Daisy Mae’s BBQ Beef Brisket

Daisy Mae's BBQ Beef Brisket

food haiku: daisy mae’s bbq beef brisket
contributor: sarah whiting

Beef Brisket sammy
So pretty and delicious
Now my tummy hurts

Thanks to a friend’s lovely looking lunch, I decided to send out a hint as to what the next supper club may entail {sans aching tummy}. I’ve had Daisy Mae’s BBQ and it is delicious, but probably not the ideal mid-day lunch when you’re a victim of confined corporate computing with no nearby nap nook. However, BBQ IS the perfect summer saturday spread and this just may be a hint of what’s to come at the next 8.ate@eight Supper Club dinner. I’m basting the details — stay tuned…

What did we eat at past 8.ate@eight dinners?
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

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8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!

8.ate@eight #2: who cut the cheese

The rain held off and there was a perfect summer breeze in the air, which set the scene for another memorable evening with new and old friends. Lots of cheese, wine, beer and hand-prepared food to share, so without further ado…here’s the scoop>>>

Farm Fresh Cheese was the feature fare for the evening. To lighten things up to follow, I prepared a few citrus-centric dishes, including a grilled fishus delicious. I paired the movie with the setting instead of the food this time around. Our new friends gathered terrace-top overlooking the NY skyline and our lovely neighbors across the way, so it seemed only appropriate to roll tape on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

Welcome!

Cheese Menu:

Cheese & Wine Paring
Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert (Old Chatham, NY)
Buy: Artisanal
w/ Delapierre Brut Cava (Spain)

Beringse Witte (Hamont-Achel, Belgium)
Buy: Formaggio Essex
w/ Brooklyn Local 1 Pale Ale

Ardith Mae Dairy’s Begelo (Hallstead, PA)
Buy: Union Square (Fri), 77th St & Columbia Univ. Greenmarket (Sun)
w/ Shaya ’08 Verdejo

Monte Enebro (Avila, Spain)
Buy: Artisanal
w/ Shaya ’08 Verdejo

Roncal (Navarra Region, Spain)
Buy: Artisanal
w/ Perrin & Fils ’07 Cotes du Rhone

Valley Shepherd Farms Crema de Blue (NJ)
Buy: Union Square & Borough Hall Greenmarkets (Sat)
w/ Muscat de Saint Jean de Mineverois

Accompaniments:
Grandma Wilklow’s Homemade Berry-Berry Jam
Buy: Borough Hall Greenmarket (Tues & Sat)
Tremblay Apiary Creamed Honey
Buy: Union Square Greenmarket (Fri & Sat)

Dinner Menu:

Soup
Chilled Lemon-Rice Soup
w/ Cousiño-Macul Sauvignon Gris

Entrée and Sides
Grilled Wild North Atlantic Halibut w/ Chili-Lime Dressing, served over a Lentil, Orange & Feta Salad
Carrot Ribbon & Arugula Salad w/ a Lemon-Ginger Dressing
w/ Cousiño-Macul Sauvignon Gris

Dessert
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake w/ BBQ’d Summer Berries
w/ Tourangelle Touraine Rosé

Movie
Rear Window

Jessica Wurwarg, friend and Artisanal cheese expert {discount code and more about her cheese&wine classes here}, kicked off the evening with a beautiful array of local and artisanal cheeses. Each was paired with a selection of wines and a local Brooklyn ale to complement the flavor profiles and bring out the best in each cut. The cheese was also accompanied by locally produced Grandma Wilklow’s berry-berry jam and what I like to call semi-solid gold, Tremblay creamed honey, to add a contrasting sweetness to some of the more salty, earthy notes.  If you haven’t had creamed honey before, run, don’t walk to the Union Square Greenmarket or check it out here. This isn’t your typical honey-bear liquid gold — creamed honey goes through a controlled granulation process, which results in a finely crystallized form that spreads like butter, melts in your mouth and takes on creamy characteristics.

Jessica Cutting the Cheese

Cheese Plating in Progress

Jessica Shares her Cheese & Wine Knowledge

Cheese & Jam & Creamed Honey, oh my!

8.ate@eighters

While everyone was finishing off their cheese and multiple glasses of wine, beer and more wine, I served up a small bowl of chilled lemon rice soup to cleanse the palate. Conversation ensued and I fired up the grill to get the rest of the meal prepared. I wanted to keep things simple and light to cut all the creamy proteins we just enjoyed, so I grilled up a North Atlantic Halibut that had been hangin’ out in a lime, red chili, olive oil and herb marinade for a few hours. The fish was grilled in a tin foil pouch to lock in the moisture and infuse the fish with all the fresh juices. On the side I served two salads: the first was a lentil, red onion, feta and orange salad that had a bit of a mediterranean flare to complement the fish, and the second was a very simple arugula and carrot ribbon salad with a fresh lemon-ginger-sesame seed dressing that really kept things light and not too filling.

Chilled Lemon-Rice Soup

Grilled Wild North Atlantic Halibut w/ Chili-Lime Dressing, served over a Lentil, Orange & Feta Salad

Everyone seemed to be quite relaxed after all that wine and food, so while the conversation carried on, plates were cleared and the projector was set-up to bring a little Hitchcock into the evening.

8.ate@eighters After Sunset

It’s never a bad dinner party when Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart Show Up.

Grace Kelly and James Stewart Showed Up for Dinner

While the movie rolled, I got to work plating mini cheesecakes {my grandma’s recipe} and BBQ’ing a selection of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries to serve over the top.

Summer Berries ready to be BBQ'd

Violet's Lemon Cheesecake w/ BBQ'd Summer Berries

Midway through the movie, dessert was served, some caught a little shut-eye and we closed out the evening with the suspenseful Rear Window.

Settling in for the Rear Window Viewing

Thanks:

Thank you to Jessica for selecting wonderful cheeses & wines to kick off the evening and for sharing so much knowledge with the 8.ate@eight table. Thank you also to Kristin for helping to set-up and do dishes — my least favorite thing to do was completely eliminated by the graces of a good friend!

Stay tuned for news of the next dinner party. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com. See you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
Silencing of the Spring Lambs

Recipe Goodness:

Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries

Makes 20 Cupcake Sized Mini Cheesecakes or one 9″ Spring Form Pan
Bake 350° for 25-30 mins.

Crust:
1 1/4 C  Ground Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 C  Finely Chopped Walnuts
1/2 tsp  Cinnamon
1/2 C  Melted Butter

Filling:
16 oz
Cream Cheese
2 TBS  Heavy Cream
1 tsp  Vanilla
2 Large Eggs
3/4 C  Sugar
1 Lemon, Juiced (reserve for after prior ingredients combined)

Berry Topping:
1 Pint Strawberries
1-6-oz Container Blueberries
1-6-oz Container Raspberries
1-6-oz Container Blackberries

Chop graham crackers and walnuts in a food processor until medium to fine crumbs form. Mix in a bowl with cinnamon and melted butter. Press crumbs into the bottom of foil muffin wrappers placed in a muffin pan or into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan if you prefer one cake. {Tip: Foil wrappers are better than paper to prevent any chance of leaking or absorption}

In a separate mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients {except for the lemon juice to avoid curdling} and blend. After the ingredients have been creamed thoroughly, add the lemon juice and blend to combine. Pour filling into each cup until 2/3 full to leave room for oven rising {or pour entire mixture into spring form}. Bake at 350° for ~25-30 minutes. Filling should be firm and a toothpick should come out clean when tested at the center. Let cakes cool completely before putting into the fridge for at least 5 hours to chill and rest before serving.

To serve with BBQ’d berries, rinse and dry fruit and place in a foil pouch to place directly on the grill. Let berries cook over low heat about 3-5 minutes, or until some of the juice is released to create a sauce and the berries are softened. Remove pouch from the grill and place on a sheet or plate to avoid leaking. Remove each cheesecake from the wrapper and place upside down so the crust is on top. Scoop berries over the cheesecake and serve warm.

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Announcing 8.ate@eight dinner #2 | Who Cut the Cheese | @6.12.10.7:30pm

Round two of 8.ate@eight supper club is scheduled for 3 short weeks from now and we have something really exciting in store for the June 8.ate@eight table. Jessica Wurwarg, fellow 8.ate@eight-er and Artisanal cheese expert is going to be kicking off the evening sharing her knowledge of a selection of delicious farm fresh artisan cheeses, jams and a specially paired wine tasting. Come ready to taste, drink and ask questions! A 3-course dinner, featuring a lighter fishus delicious entrée {that’s a technical term!} will follow. After we all cut the cheese {and other hand prepared dishes} Rear Window will be projected under the stars and a memorable, intimate social gathering amongst new friends will ensue. We’re starting this one earlier @7:30 for more cheese and wine time — who would pass that up?!

See here for a recap of the last 8.ate@eight dinner.

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 #2: Who Cut the Cheese
Saturday, June 12
th, 2010, 7:30pm {early for more cheese time}
cheese & wine tasting, followed by a 3-course dinner menu
post-dinner movie: Rear Window
Suggested Donation: $70 per person

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com {note: number attending in your email}

Enjoy and hope to see you at the table!

Let's Cut the Cheese!

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8.ate@eight #1: Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

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What can I say, the inaugural 8.ate@eight supper club was lambtastic! Perfect weather (mid-70s) and perfect company set the scene for a great evening of fresh, hand-prepared food, deliciously paired wine and good conversation shared amongst new and old friends. Here’s the scoop >>>

Naerim, my friend and French Culinary Institute-trained pastry chef, showed up around 11am to start throwing around some cake flour and gettin’ down to business preparing her superbly delicious Panna Cotta Tartlets with Balsamic Strawberries. Meanwhile, the prosecco was chillin’ and I was chopping, grinding and whizzing away to to get all the elements together for each course of the meal, organized to complement our post-dinner flick, Silence of the Lambs.

The Menu:

Starter
Minted Fava Bean & Spring Pea Puree with Fresh Italian Ricotta on Garlic Rubbed Toasts
w/ Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Mimosas

Salad
Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pancetta Vinaigrette, Michigan Dried Cherries & Candied Pecans
w/ 2008 Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais

Entrée
Pistachio encrusted Spring Lamb with Cumin Yogurt & Pickled Red Onion
w/ 2001 Cataregia Gran Reserva

Dessert
Panna Cotta Tartlets w/ Balsamic Strawberries

Movie
Silence of the Lambs

Everyone grabbed a Fresh Blood Orange Mimosa, introduced themselves and settled in for some good food and drinks.

Fresh Blood Oranges Being Squeezed for Blood Orange Mimosas

Fava Bean and Pea Puree

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pancetta Vinaigrette, Dried Michigan Cherries and Candied Pecans

While the salad was being served, we were off in the kitchen orchestrating all the elements of the entrée. The lamb (and Jessica’s sea bass) was encrusted with a spice blend of thyme, chilli pepper, cumin, lemon zest and pistachios, pan-seared and finished in the oven. Each was topped with freshly pickled red onions and a cumin yogurt sauce. The white asparagus was steamed and topped with a melted smashed mint, lemon butter sauce. Pans were flying and the kitchen mercury was rising as we had all the burners fired at once, but with the help of Naerim, we got everything cooked and plated before anyone pulled a Hannibal Lector.

Pistachio Spring Lamb w/ Cumin Yogurt & Pickled Red Onion; White Asparagus w/ Smashed Mint & Lemon Butter

After the plates were cleared, we rolled the movie, opened more wine and Naerim got to work finishing dessert.

Naerim Plating Dessert

Panna Cotta Tartlets w/ Balsamic Strawberries

Hannibal Lector showed up for a bite too.

Hannibal Lector Shows Up After Dinner

Click here to see the full album.

Thanks:

I want to thank Naerim for preparing such a beautiful and delicious dessert and for all the help in getting the 8.ate@eight-ers fed. Thanks to Kristin for snapping some candids while I was off in the kitchen and for doing dishes late night {tisk tisk!!} And I of course want to thank everyone who grabbed a seat at the table — it was lovely to have you all!

Our next dinner will be announced shortly {very shortly} so if you aren’t on the list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com. See you at the table!

Recipe Goodness:

Pistachio-Encrusted Spring Lamb w/ Pickled Red Onions & Cumin Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4

Chops:
12 lamb chops, ~ 1 1/2 inches thick
2 TBS fresh thyme
1 TBS ground chilli pepper
1 TBS ground cumin
2 TBS fresh lemon zest
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup shelled pistachio nuts

Pickled Red Onion:
1 red onion
1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

Thinly slice the red onion and put into a container that will seal. Pour the juice of one lemon over the onion, add a dash of salt and a crank or two of black pepper. Set the container in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The lemon juice will pickle the onion and soften the flavor for a nice addition to your chops.

In another bowl add the 1/2 tsp of cumin, salt and pepper to the yogurt and stir thoroughly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, mix all the dry spices and lemon zest in a bowl. In a zip lock, smash the shelled pistachios to smaller bits that will stick easily to your lamb. Pour the nuts into a separate bowl. Lightly drizzle a little olive oil over the lamb chops and gently press each side of the chops first in the spice bowl and then in the pistachio bowl, making sure both sides are generously covered in pistachios.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large oven safe pan on the stove {no need to add olive oil as the fat from the lamb will be enough to cook the chops}. Add all the of chops to the pan and push firmly down to create a good sear. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and put the pan into the oven for 4 minutes. {Note: If you don’t have an oven safe pan, you can preheat a cookie sheet in the oven and transfer the chops to the sheet to finish}.

To serve, top the lamb chops with a few rings of the pickled red onion and a drizzle of the cumin yogurt. Enjoy!

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