Category Archives: Special Events

Fork and Scissors: A Sneak Preview of COREY and Northern Indian Delights at Tamarind

Corey: Corey Lynn Calter FW13

My picks from the Corey presentation at the Jane Hotel in NYC for the FW13 collection

I love the 60′s and 70′s. Anything that reminds me of that era in time, whether it’s the music, the iconic styles, everything from paisley prints to laced collar silk blouses- I dig. Corey reminds me of my fave era. The new line by designer Corey Lynn Calter exudes everything I love at the moment: gold buttons, check; paisley, check; fedora hats, check; make me look rich silk jumpsuits, check, check, check. I can’t wait to see what Corey conjures up next season- but at least for the rest of 2013- we’ll know what to wear.

Corey FW13 Presentation at the Jane Hotel in NYC

Shag-a-delic and very wearable.

The collection was presented at the Jane Hotel, a hipster- boutique hotel neatly tucked away at the end of Jane Street in the West Village. No- sorry folks, it’s not typically open to the public. You kinda have to know the right people to get in- or at least look the part, or be somebody. Lucky for me, I knew someone who sent me an invite to preview the new collection last night. I gasped at the first sight of Corey’s paisley prints. After all, it was only a week ago that I rummaged through an old lady’s fabric closet, in an undisclosed location (since I’m not sharing my source of goodness, for the time being) and brought home an array of vintage paisley silk fabrics. Yards and yards of the goodies.

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs by Dining with Outlaws

My Silk Dyed Eggs from Easter

I used some of mine to make these wonderful easter eggs. Silk printed paisley eggs finished with gold leaf. Not too shabby egh?

Our wonderful evening ended with this amazing dish at Tamarind, my all time favorite Indian restaurant in NYC. I haven’t stopped thinking about this dish since my first time having it. All night- that’s all I talked about at the fashion show. I’ve probably convinced People magazine’s style director to try it out sometime- she would’ve come with- but had to retreat home. Oh well- it was her loss, and more food for me! The Raj Khatori is priced appropriately at $8.00, it’s meant to be shared by two lovers. In my case- it was shared by two BFF’s. It’s spicy, it’s sweet, a bit of yogurt with chick peas welcome your taste buds as you neatly deconstruct the poofy fried bread. Ours disappeared within minutes. (Yes, we can turn into savages when food’s this good, and nevermind that I was dressed to the nines in a silver brocade jacket by Moschino, beaded skirt by Elie Tahari, sequined sweat shirt by Forever 21, Alice and Olivia maryjane platforms).

Raj Khatori at Tamarind

The Raj Khatori at Tamarind

Tamarind has two installments of their signature Northern Indian Restaurants in NYC, both by the same ownership. Located in the Flatiron district and Tribeca. It’s a bit pricier than your usual Little India (on 6th Street) restaurants and unless you’ve frequented a bunch of the sitar playing traditional joints- you may not appreciate the superb quality and flavorings Tamarind has to offer. You’ll find a glassy window displayed right in the middle of the Flatiron locale, along with two tandoori ovens accompanied by a chef making naan and grilling (is it called grilling?) some meat on the skewers. We ordered the Raj Khatori, Chicken Tikka Masala (are you surprised?), Vegetable Pillau- a mixed vegetable basmati rice, and the Tandoori Mixed Grill. If Koreans are making soju cocktails with asian pears, don’t be surprised to see Northen Indians making theirs with a bit of Tamarind and fennel. Delish, delish, delish. I can’t wait to go back again.

Tarmarind
41-43 E 22nd St
New York
(212) 674-7400

99 Hudson St
New York
(212) 775-9000

 

 

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Filed under April 2013, Dining with Outlaws, Fashion Smashion, Fork and Scissors, Hot on the Blog, Special Events

Blender Bender: Sights and Sounds from the 6th Annual Starchefs.com International Chefs Conference

At the International Chefs Congress last week I got to attend live cooking demos with way-noteworthy chefs exhibiting the new technologies used in food science stuff. I even learned how to distill beer into heavily concentrated liquor. The Inventor, Polyscience President Phillip Preston, brought with him a portable laboratory for super food enthusiasts, including gadgets as out there as a smoking gun.

Maybe I’m just a bit of a kitchen-tech nerd, but I recognized the gun. A few years ago there was this show where chefs competed for a top prize, and one year this guy showed up with all sorts of astral-looking equipment, and then whopped out liquid nitrogen and made instant ice cream.

For my daily breakfast I consumed Nespresso’s macchiato and stopped by the Emmi Roth USAcheese folks to grab me some aged gruyere every morning.

It all ended, three days later with the 2011 Vitamix Challenge being judged in a pseudo iron chef style competition. And let me tell you, the dishes were phenomenal! Last year one of the contestant’s managed to steam a fish, in the blender machine, using only boiling water and speed. Pretty neat, eh?!

The entire competition took no more than an hour from start to finish. Each contestant had some additional time to prepare mise en place ahead of time.

I saw glimpses of sausage casing and pigs blood at one end; neither my favorite ingredient, but amazing to see what looked like a vampire’s meals on display. Others brought in vacuum-sealed steaks, fine cuts of dry aged prime sirloin.

The winning dish this year came at the hands of chef Asbel Reyes of SideBern Restaurant in Tampa Florida, who made Pumpkin Banana Pie using N20 (liquid nitrogen) in the mixing process. His set up reminded me of my line cooking days: everything labeled, packed, organized and separated into steps. I remember browsing through the ingredients before the start of the competition and a nerd alert light bulb firing up.

Finally, after all that cooking, freezing, blending and plating…the dishes looked absolutely stunning:

Earth and Turf by Adam Hegsted – Coeur d’ Alene Casino and Resort, Spokane, WA

Unagi and Foie Gras Terrine with Pickled Eel, Hibiscus, and Frozen Uni Powder by Seth Siegel-Gardner – Kata Robata, Houston, TX 

Pumpkin Banana Pie by Asbel Reyes of SideBern’s Restaurant Tampa, FL 

Idiazabel Soup with blood sausage, acorn squash, apple butter, and Urfa pepper by Jamie Bissonnette – Coppa & Toro, Boston, MA

Roasted Loin of Cervena Venison, Liver Mushroom Croquette, Brussels sprouts, Woodland Mushrooms, Berries, and Vadouvan Curry Reduction by Dirk Flanigan – The Gage / Henri, Chicago, IL

Final say was up to judges, who deliberated over their many tasty bites…

And announced their winner, none other than Asbel.

The 2011 Vitamix Challenge Winner
Pastry Chef Asbel Reyes of SideBern’s Restaurant
Tampa, FL
Dish: Pumpkin Banana Pie

The winner was announced in the main stadium mid afternoon- something like half an hour after they finished the competition (Pretty short deliberation). Wyle Dusfrene, chef at WD-50 in New York, NY participated as a judge. Here’s the key reason why Asbel won: He poured N20 directly into the blender, used it multiple times during the hour-long competition, he was over prepared (chefs like this a lot), and he worked fast. I think pouring the N20 directly into the blender did the trick however. And his dish looked very pretty and tasty too. Here’s how the judges broke down the score:

Judges based the challengers on plating technique, uniqueness utilization of equipment and of course how the whole thing tasted.
Equipment use: 50%
Taste: 30%
Plating: 20%

Before I said my farewell to the amazing Disneyland of gadgets, food science and newly attained knowledge, I managed to squeeze in a visit to the main stadium and watched a video of El Huevo Roto as Andoni Luis Adruiz himself explained. The video demo of his egg shell project, made with vegetarian based powders and potions. It looked like a real egg shell. The plating technique requires “cracking the egg” in front of the customer, served tableside (are we attracting Michelin Stars?-hmmm). I was blown away and in awe. Rethinking food is the least we can say about what I witnessed. This my friends was how I spent a fun-filled three day adventure at the Starchefs.com International Chefs Conference, amazed by all the gadgets and space food that will indeed tickle the sixth sense (this year’s theme) out of you. I can’t wait to go back next year and see what the chefs are up to again. Since it wouldn’t come soon enough- I’ll spend some time experimenting on my own until then.

More info on El Huevo Roto HERE

Cheers to the geek squad for inventing all the toys a chef and foodies can dream about!

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Filed under Food2, Hot on the Blog, Molecular Gastronomy, Special Events, Starchefs International Chefs Conference, Uncategorized, Vitamix Blender Challenge

Tequila Tasting: Two Tequila Cocktails, with Class

Last Thursday night I went to Irving Plaza for a 901 sponsored FreeSol concert. I got a glimpse of Justin Timberlake and watched the band rock out Irving Plaza. I sampled a few tequila drinks before and during the show. And after tasting the natural sweetness blue weber agave affords a margarita at the Sidebar, I sat down with 901 Tequila president Kevin Ruder to pick his brain about this new silver spirit.

I asked Kevin if he’s visited Mexico with Justin Timberlake and if they’ve had a chance to meet the agave growers. Surprisingly they’ve visited Mexico several times, tasting various versions of the distilled agave before developing a unique flavor for 901. Check out JT’s trip here. Tequila has always been JT’s favorite drink so naturally he opted to create his own when he couldn’t find a favorite after trying at least 300 varieties.

901 is a triple distilled spirit that deserved a little extraordinary attention. I first tried this tequila in a classic margarita. Then I tried it straight up in a shooter glass. My first pour was smooth and clear. It left lovely fruit notes lingering on my taste buds.

I took the muddled strawberry concept to the next level thinking about how much I dislike a watered-down version of the original cocktail (halfway through, when the ice starts to melt). So I opted to blend my fruit, and then turned it all into strawberry ice cubes. Next, I mixed the rest of the ingredients, which include home made sparkling lemonade (thanks to my new SodaStream machine), 901 tequilla. And then finally, I garnished the finished product with fresh basil and voila! a drink that only gets better the longer it sits.

Strawberry Rock recipe:

Ingredients 
1 pound of strawberries
½ cup water
1 liter of home made sparkling lemonade
6 ounces of tequila
basil as garnish

Directions
In a blender, pulse strawberries with a few tablespoons of water at a time until mixture is smooth and creamy. Strain. Transfer mixture into ice cube trays and allow to freeze overnight.

Pour tequila and sparkling lemonade into a rocks glass. Stir. Add strawberry ice cube and garnish with basil. Allow cocktail to sit for a few minutes until ice starts to melt to fully enjoy the flavors of this drink. An occasional stir will enhance the flavor.

Next, I took the strawberry cocktail to the next level. This version I devoted to all you gastronomic geeks out there (I’m one of them!). I used lime instead of lemons, clarified it with some agar to make it crystal clear without losing any flavor.

A straight up version of strawberry purée didn’t work the first time around. It was too acidic and too thick, so I watered it down using a ratio of 1/3 water to strawberries, and then added balsamic vinegar and honey to sweeten it up. You can also use simple syrup, or even better, just more tequila.

To that mix I added xanthan gum and calcium gluconate. I waited a day, and then dropped the happy mixture into a sodium alginate bath, rinsed the pebbles in a water bath and finally they were immersed into the cocktail!

My mission was to create a unique and subtle cocktail that looks nice and is fun and exciting to drink. So there you have it: my Strawberry Bomb cocktail made with tequila, clarified lime juice, home made carbonated water, simple syrup, and faux caviar strawberries with balsamic vinegar. Next time you’re entertaining at home, whip this out and you’ll be sure to get some brownie points from your buddies. Enjoy!

Strawberry Bomb recipe:

For the reverse spherification, I went online and used Bob Stanton’s recipe.

For the lime clarification, I used Dave Arnold’s Agar Clarification Made Stupid-Simple technique found here.

Ingredients
1 pound fresh strawberries, blended, strained
½ cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon calcium gluconate
2 teaspoons sodium alginate and 500ml water (about two cups)
500ml water for water bath
12 limes, juiced and clarified with 1 teaspoon of agar (about 1.5 cups of clarified lime juice)
½ cup simple syrup
1 liter carbonated water
6 ounces of tequila
2 bunches of basil

Other tools and gadgets recommended
Blender
Cheesecloth
Strainer
Plastic tube bottle or syringe
Mixing bowls
Ice
Small saucepan to boil agar solution

Directions
In a blender, pulse strawberries with water, balsamic vinegar, honey, xanthan gum and calcium gluconate for about a minute. Strain and pour into a squeeze tube bottle and refrigerate overnight.

Juice limes, strain. Boil 1/3 of liquid about 250ml (1 cup) with agar on the stovetop.

Mix with refrigerated agar to bring to room temp. Place over an ice bath and allow agar to jelly up. Break agar curds with a spatula. Place over strainer with cheesecloth beneath and gently massage mixture. Your resulting liquid should be crystal clear. Add simple syrup to the clarified lime juice. Carbonate water, add lime syrup.

Whisk in sodium alginate with water, strain and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Drop strawberry liquid into sodium alginate bath. Allow to sit for about 2 minutes, transfer to water bath using a slotted spoon. In a martini shaker, pour 1 ½ ounces tequila, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces carbonated water and 1 ounce of simple syrup. Shake in martini shaker with ice. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out strawberry caviar and place into drink.

Pour into martini glass. Add strawberry balsamic caviar. Garnish with basil, and enjoy!.

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Filed under Food2, Hot on the Blog, Molecular Gastronomy, September 2011, Special Events, Uncategorized

National 901 Day: Get Your Tequila On!


Tequila cocktail recipe coming right up - above: the ingredients.

Today is National 901 Day (That’s 901 tequila day!) And in celebration of 901, there will be a free concert at Irving Plaza performed by the band FreeSol co-hosted by 901 President Kevin Ruderand CEO and founder Justin Timberlake. We’re celebrating the arrival of the premium tequila made with 100% blue weber agave, water and yeast. Over 500 accounts across the US are offering drink specials all night. I’ll be personally attending the FreeSol concert tonight which starts at 9:01pm. That’s right, 9. 0. 1. pm. I also managed to get my hands on a bottle of the silver tequila in the meantime to conjure up my own version of the premium blue weber.
If you’re out and about in NYC today, stop by for a free concert at Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place and East 15th Street in Union Square, New York, NY. I suggest getting there a bit early as this is a free concert and it’s first come first serve type of deal.

And if you’re out and about anywhere else in the US, drink specials featuring 901 Tequila will be available at the following venues (just to name a few!):

Tico – Boston
Cutting Room – LA
Spanish Kitchen – LA
Pink Taco – LA
Ed’s Lobster Bar – NY
SideBAR – NY
Southern Hospitality – NY
Masa Azul – Chicago
Depot Nuevo – Chicago
Justine’s – Austin
All House of Blues nationwide

In the meantime here is my buffet of ingredients. Tequila, strawberries, lemons, limes, ginger, basil, simple syrup, and a few magic potions to make an interesting & adventurous cocktail recipe… Stay tuned for some high tech home made cocktails coming your way!

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Filed under Food2, Hot on the Blog, Molecular Gastronomy, September 2011, Special Events