Busy October Random Bites & a Giveaway!
When it rains it pours.
October has been a busy food month with so many fun events.
To start off the month, I was invited to lunch with some of my favorite readers from Washington, DC and Albany at ABC Kitchen in NYC.
It's always fun meeting readers and making new friends. I feel like I know most of them already from their comments and facebook posts over the last 7 years!
Thanks Marty and Bobby for a great day.
The NYCWFF events kicked off (NYC Wine & Food Festival to profit the NYC Food Bank) was a great, sold out success.
Great chefs and great food for a great cause.
Of course, we went to the Ottolenghi dinner. His new vegetarian book PLENTY MORE was just released.
(Click here for last year's Ottolenghi's dinner).
He is one of my favorite chefs/restaurateurs.
He is such a warm, funny person, very approachable and friendly. I look forward to this dinner all year. He mingled with the guests all evening and we had a delicious dinner and a great time.
Next stop, dinner prepared by April Bloomfield (Spotted Pig & The Breslin) and Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery & Mozza in L.A.).
The food was AMAZING.
We had pig trotter on lentils (everyone loved it but me..... not my cup of tea, it's a texture thing); an oozy stracciatella with a celery leaf pesto (recipe in the Mozza cookbook); and amazing passed hors d'oevres with fantastic wines to match.
The dessert was probably the BEST dessert I have ever eaten.
It was a Torta della Nonna (Grandmother's Cake), made by Nancy Silverton, with a Tuscan honeycomb on each plate. I went to her cookbook Mozza and found the exact recipe to try and recreate it at home.
This is not your usual grandmother's cake.
Forget all the butter in the crust and egg yolks....the filling was Philadelphia cream cheese, goat cheese and mascarpone! No wonder it was so damn good.
Needless to say, I will NOT be recreating this at home.
A Monday night brought us to Jersey City (move over Brooklyn) to a Madame Claude Wine dinner for a Pinot Noir tasting and French meal, hosted by the lovely sommelier LouLou.
We were transported to Paris for the evening and tried an array of Pinot Noirs from France & Oregon just in time for turkey dinner (Pinot Noir is the #1 wine sold during Thanksgiving.....it is the most food friendly wine).
Next stop, a book launch party for author, Laura Zinn Fromm, a clever Huffington Post writer, for the release of her new book Sweet Survival, Tales of Cooking and Coping.
We were treated to a lovely luncheon and a book reading.
(I only took a pic of the beautiful fruit salad in front of the Chinese soldier, sorry).
Laura writes about family, mental illness, food, cooking and life in the suburbs (isn't that about your life and mine?).
It's a great, funny read, with lots of great recipes to go along with the stories (and I am mentioned on page 224, and it's not about mental illness!).
And because I love you, I am giving away 2 copies of Laura's new book, Sweet Survival, Tales of Cooking and Coping.
Please leave a pleasant comment about anything you feel like (no anonymous comments please, unless you leave your name), and I will announce a winner on a rare Saturday post.
You mean there's more? I promise to do nothing in November (because I can't eat anymore!!!).
I haven't talked about pizza in a while, so I was due.
A solo lunch at Arturo's Osteria & Pizzeria in Maplewood, NJ was just what the pizza doctor ordered.
A seasonal farm pie w/ cauliflower, garlic, fresh mozzarella and capers and a local kale caesar salad.
Yes, I ate it alone, yes I took some home.
To die for.
Next stop, a very special Fiorano Wine Dinner at L'Artusi in Greenwich Village, hosted by Alessia Antinori (daughter of Marchese Piero Antinori of the Antinori wine legacy), and one of Italy's oldest noble families.
Alessia is a 26th generation Italian winemaker (over 600 years of wine making), considered one of the 5th oldest family businesses in the world (there is a Japanese sake family that is the oldest!).
In 2005 she inherited her grandfather Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi's (Prince of Venosa) fallen Fiorano vineyard that had been abandoned and almost barren since 1995, when the vines were cut down and the last vintage was produced.
She has committed herself to restoring the property back to it's original beautiful productive farm that it once was and creating a beautiful wine once again. It's in her blood!
The property is back to growing olive trees for olive oil, raising sheep for cheese; growing wheat for farro and beehives for honey; and she has started producing Fiorano wine once again, under her label Fioranello, for now, only selling to collectors and old customers of Fiorano mostly in Lazio and around Rome (she oversees all of the sales and export as there are a very limited amount of bottles produced so far).
Read about the Fiorano estate here, interesting and fascinating stuff.
This dinner was off the charts (it's one of my favorite restaurants in NYC), and the wines were spectacular.
I think knowing the long sorted past and history of these vines and learning about the families made the evening even more special for us.
We had the great pleasure of trying Alessia's grandfather's hard to find wines from the 1990's (only 1 store in the US sells them, Italian Wine Imports), and boy what a treat.
The food was the perfect match to the wines, starting out with beets and burrata......then on to a risotto w/ shaved truffles, ending w/ an amazing osso buco on polenta. A cheese course and dessert followed with a wine to match each dish.
Each sip of wine got better as the evening went on.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Lazio outside of Rome, do visit Fattoria di Fiorano.
Last stop: Canal House Cooks for the holidays at Kings Cooking Studio in Short Hills, NJ.
I finally got to meet Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer. I have all of their books, and they are cult figures here in NJ.
They have a beautiful cooking studio in Lambertville, NJ and have a great daily blog called Canal House Cooks Lunch
The menu was a carb fest.
They made 3 types of stuffing (cornbread with sausage; chestnuts in Port; and sourdough w/ tons of celery & butter); cheese straws; a pecan pie w/ lard crust; and a pumpkin chiffon pie w/ gingersnap crust.
It was a great kickoff to the holidays and the feasts that are coming up.
Ok, I'm done. Really.
Stay tuned for only recipes this month (and I will try and make them healthy).
On an ending note, PLEASE don't invite me to any food related events in November.
I am definitely on a diet!