Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Non-Thanksgiving Recipe

Thanksgiving is probably the "biggest" holiday in the USA and it is beyond any religion or culture. I truly respect it and celebrate it each year with all my heart. But I don't still get the obsession of Americans with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pecan pie. I realize the importance of a successful Thanksgiving Dinner but I can't relate to this turkey-mania....

That's why I will post today a fun, easy to make recipe just for a snack to start your day. Even better, the recipe is from my favorite cookbook Cooking with Friends (from the famous TV series). As I feel that I grew older with Friends and remember their fun Thanksgiving episodes (apparently popular with the cast), I publish below the Spiced Pecans recipe taken from the book (page 9). Enjoy!


1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon salt
6 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Makes 6 cups, enough for 15 people


Preheat the oven to 325F. Combine the spices and salt in a small bowl. Toss the pecans and oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the nuts out in a single layer over 2 large baking sheets. Toast until the nuts are fragrant, about 10 minutes. Cool the nuts to room temperature. (The nuts can be stored in an airtight container for several days). Serve a little at a time, or otherwise you'll find your guests have devoured all of the nuts in just minutes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winner announced for the PALM Trivia Giveaway

Thank you for your was a challenging trivia but there are a few PALM beer pros. It was difficult to pick the winner --- the best answer goes to the person who posted as Unknown (I need your name and address to be able to have the gift sent to you as soon as possible).

Here are the winning answers:

1. Speciale Belge
2. It's a tulip-shaped chalice, which helps with head retention and directing the aroma to the drinker's nose.
3. Top (ale) fermentation, bottom (lager) fermentation, spontaneous (lambic/gueze) fermentation and (this is a guess:) secondary (bottle) fermentation.

Congrats again!

Thanks to the PALM beer that sponsored this giveaway!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PALM BEER Trivia Giveaway

Palm Beer and partnered for a Trivia Giveaway. The successful reader will receive a ‘Taste of Belgium’ Gift Set from PALM Beer. 

The giveaway is open until Friday, 11.18 at 5pm EST. If there is no winner at that time, it will be extended to Monday 11.21 at 5pm. Just leave your answer at the comments box below. Only US residents!

You have to answer CORRECTLY in 2 of the following 3 Questions:

1. The Belgian Brewing Guild challenged its brewers to create an ale that was true to Belgian tradition but was lighter and had refreshment. What is the name of this style?

2. In Belgium, every beer has its own glass. What is the shape of the glass used for PALM and why?

3. PALM is the only brewery in the world that brews all four fermentation styles. What are those four fermentation styles that PALM brews?

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good Food Awards

It was a wonderful breakfast when this year's Good Food Awards Finalists were announced and they kindly and generously presented their products at the Il Buco's New Alimentari in Noho. I didn't have the stomach to taste everything - 71 in total!- but I did pretty well tasting at least one third of those amazing food creations. Even better, I tried the entire list of finalists in the Preserves "section", something that brought memories from my childhood. My favorite, the American Spoon Heirloom Tomato Preserve and Wild Thimbleberry Jam, perfectly balanced in sugars and fruit, reminded of my grandmother, a master in marmalade and preserve making. One bite was just for exploring, the second stayed in the mouth for a few minutes, enough to make me nostalgic, nearly a Proustian experience, this time without Madeleines.

Here is the entire list of the finalists, the winner will be announced in January 2012 in San Francisco! 

Ricco/Mare​sca Gallery Opening Reception

Ricco/Maresca Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of ceramic sculptures by Toni Ross. 

Informed by vessel vernacular, my work explores shape, surface, containment and the relationship between outside and in. The work is predominantly East Asian wedged coil built stoneware. Shino (shee-no), a traditional Japanese style glaze, is applied either to the entire piece or to the interior alone where it is encouraged to seep through the clay wall. Patterns emerge on the surfaces, often creating the effect of the piece being illuminated from within. In other instances, the shino has been abraded to expose the grayed, fire-touched clay underneath, a reminder of process and a sense of time passed.

These sculptural vessels are at once methodic and intensely personal; both in surface and in form they are rhythmic and yet unpredictable. Viewed as a group, the sculptures seem engaged in conversation, their restrained, almost ascetic sense of form radiating a subtle, powerful current. Singular pieces provide a counterpoint to this still reflection on form, as their vibrant surfaces demonstrate a sense of directness, almost urgency, instilled over time by various elements: fire, water, salts, minerals, and artist’s hand.
Each vessel contains, and emits, a strong sense of emotion, at times held powerfully within variations of form, elsewhere raw and exposed by the visceral surfaces. Ross’s concentration on containment is abstract rather than functional, each vessel inherently brimming with its own process of creation: a body of memories as well as possibilities.

Where: 529 West 20th Street, 3rd Floor, Chelsea, New York
When: Thursday, 11.17 from 6pm to 8pm

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chocolate Show in New York

Made from Chocolate!

The Chocolate Show, an annual New York "institution" ended yesterday but flavors and smells are still with those who attended the event. There was no bacon chocolate nor chili chocolate chips as seen in the previous years. High quality bars mixed with nuts and dried fruit, elegant pralines and ganaches, champagne truffles and 100% cacao bars were a few of the highlights. I strongly felt that this year's trend was the covered "everything" chocolate: pretzels, almonds and even goji berries. Additionally, top pastry chefs showed off their skills using chocolate making from chocolate pasta (an Italian Christmas Eve specialty) to chocolate quiche for breakfast. Look below and don't be too jealous....

Chocolate Quiche and Creamy Toast

Pasta with Chocolate and Walnut Sauce

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Kitchen NYC

The festive cocktails took place early this year at The Kitchen NYC, where guests gathered in the interactive event space while watching Executive Chef John McAllister & Sous Chef Dan Sanchez create handcrafted seasonal hors d'Oeuvres right in front of them. Tuna tartare, eggplant tapas, chicken bites, meatballs, dates wrapped with ham, fish cakes and plenty of cheese with dried fruit and delicious nuts were the delicacies all of us had the chance to taste. 

The Kitchen NYC, now renamed as FoodPop Studios, is 7,500 square feet and divided into fully customizable spaces including a separate state-of-the-art kitchen studio, tasting room and raw event space. In addition to the kitchen studio, the space includes a beautifully designed Tasting Room ideal for intimate gatherings such as food and wine tastings or private dinners prepared by your favorite chef.
A unique venue for events, tasting and cooking!

Where: 146 East 44th Street, New York, NY 10017

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pickle Festival at Amsterdam Market

The first annual Peck Slip Pickle Festival is finally here! This Sunday, November 13, over 20 pickle and fermented food producers will join nearly 50 regular New Amsterdam Market vendors for a day of briny fun. Regular hours have been extended by one hour so stop by anytime between 11am and 5pm, and don't miss out on these special highlights:

In a Pickle about Bialys

At 12 noon, join Mimi Sheraton, acclaimed food writer and author of The Bialy Eaters, and Jessamyn Waldman, founder of Hot Bread Kitchen, as they discuss the elusive authentic bialy, a classic Jewish bread from Eastern Europe that's often eaten with pickles. This free event takes place at Pasanella & Son Vintners, located across the street from the Market. Please RSVP to

Beer Tasting

Local restaurant Fresh Salt will be pouring a selection of 3 regional beers for $5 per beer. Purchase an advance tasting ticket and get all 3 beers plus a bialy from Hot Bread Kitchen for only $13! 

Worksongs and Klezmer

Beginning at 3:30pm, the Sylvester Manor Worksongers -- a group of talented workers who tend the Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Shelter Island, NY -- will perform traditional work songs, accompanied by Klezmer fiddler Jonathan Cannon. The Sylvester Manor Worksongers will also be selling produce from the farm so be sure to visit their stall.