{Appetizing Event} Taste 15: Come with an Open Mind, Part I

Strawberry Pecan Galette

“Come with an open mind.” It was one of the few requirements Best Food Facts requested when they emailed an invitation to take part of their Taste 15 program: Unearthing the Art and Science of Food. I approach their program with skepticism. Their sponsor is The Center for Food Integrity, and their membership include brands and organizations to support and boycott. Here’s the disclosure: My recent trip to Sacramento, California and two additional trips in the future including all expenses are paid for by Best Food Facts, and all opinions in this series are my own. Follow the hashtag #Taste15 to read about other food bloggers and farmers participating in the same program. Read more

The Year of Maple Syrup

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

2014 was the year that failure was recognized as an attribute towards the journey of success. That’s if the lesson was learned from the act of failure. This recipe was a difficult dish to develop. It was perfect the first time. The second attempt was too sweet. The third try lacked a flavorful taste. And, when the dish was finally successful, it was perfect.

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Mom Said to “Eat Less, Exercise More”

A forkful of pancakes

Some time ago, I noticed extra weight gain. A panicked call was made to Mom. In a harsh and sweet tone of a voice, she said, “You know how to eat healthy. Now eat less and exercise more,” she continued with the reality of my dilemma, “…if you gain weight now, it’s difficult to get it off… You’re older and the weight doesn’t come off like it use to. There’s no excuse for being fat.”

Some may view the advice as insensitive. Personally, I appreciate the seriousness of it. Why cry about it when the solution is simple: Eat less and exercise more. The following morning, I was up at 6 am for a quick two-mile run. A food diary was started to find potential problems, which revealed large portions of food and too much sugar.

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Appetizing Events: Eatwith.com’s Private Chef Shuchi

Appetizers to Start the Evening: Cauliflower Frittatas with Green Chutney Cream Cheese

Appetizers to Start the Evening: Cauliflower Frittatas with Green Chutney Cream Cheese

Appetizer to Start the Evening: Curried Eggplant Toasties

Appetizer to Start the Evening: Curried Eggplant Toasties

Chef Shuchi for EatWith.com and Food Blogger at 29calories.com

Chef Shuchi for EatWith.com and Food Blogger at 29calories.com

Flowers

Flowers

NYC Skyline from Shuchi's apartment

NYC Skyline from Shuchi's apartment

The view of NYC's new World Trade Center

The view of NYC's new World Trade Center

For more of Shuchi's recipes, visit 29calories.com

For more of Shuchi's recipes, visit 29calories.com

Elegant libations

Elegant libations

Chef Shuchi working her stove.

Chef Shuchi working her stove.

Dal Mushroom Soup: Cumin Roasted Mushrooms, Red Lentils and Cilantro

Dal Mushroom Soup: Cumin Roasted Mushrooms, Red Lentils and Cilantro

Chef Shuchi presenting Chickpea Fritters

Chef Shuchi presenting Chickpea Fritters

Chickpea Fritters: Curried Chickpeas, Quinoa, Sriracha Aioli

Chickpea Fritters: Curried Chickpeas, Quinoa, Sriracha Aioli

Shuchi preparing the Chicken Chaat

Shuchi preparing the Chicken Chaat

Chicken Chaat: Spiced Chicken, Carom Flatbread and Kale Slaw

Chicken Chaat: Spiced Chicken, Carom Flatbread and Kale Slaw

Green Biryani: South African Mint Curry, Basmati Rice and Raita

Green Biryani: South African Mint Curry, Basmati Rice and Raita

Cardamon Pot de Creme: Cardamon Custards, Chocolate Ganache and Biscotti Biscuits

Cardamon Pot de Creme: Cardamon Custards, Chocolate Ganache and Biscotti Biscuits

Date Ginger Tea to quietly end the evening

Date Ginger Tea to quietly end the evening

Appetizers to Start the Evening: Cauliflower Frittatas with Green Chutney Cream CheeseAppetizer to Start the Evening: Curried Eggplant ToastiesChef Shuchi for EatWith.com and Food Blogger at 29calories.comFlowersNYC Skyline from Shuchi's apartmentThe view of NYC's new World Trade CenterFor more of Shuchi's recipes, visit 29calories.comElegant libationsChef Shuchi working her stove.Dal Mushroom Soup: Cumin Roasted Mushrooms, Red Lentils and CilantroChef Shuchi presenting Chickpea FrittersChickpea Fritters: Curried Chickpeas, Quinoa, Sriracha AioliShuchi preparing the Chicken ChaatChicken Chaat: Spiced Chicken, Carom Flatbread and Kale SlawGreen Biryani: South African Mint Curry, Basmati Rice and RaitaCardamon Pot de Creme: Cardamon Custards, Chocolate Ganache and Biscotti BiscuitsDate Ginger Tea to quietly end the evening

The expansive floor to ceiling windows of Shuchi Mittal’s apartment yields a swiping sunset over New York City. Cars in traffic look like toys from far above as their red lights signal a rush for uptown and the fading white lights signal a race for the Manhattan bridge. Closer to the apartment building, but still far below is a wintery landscape of barren trees and brownish-grey grass surrounding New York City’s judicial buildings. The almost completed World Trade Center’s windows reflect fading lights of pinks, purples and oranges of a setting sun. Across the river, a Brooklyn skyline emerges between Manhattan’s tall buildings. By the time the sun takes its final bow for the day, all of the guest have arrive at Mittal’s apartment for EatWith.com’s “Indian Tapas: Curry Bowls to Creative Bites.”  Read more

Appetizing Event: Celebrating Pampano’s 10 Year Anniversary

Pampano Restaurant, NYC

Pampano Restaurant, NYC

Pampano Bar

Pampano Bar

Stairs leading to upstairs dining room

Stairs leading to upstairs dining room

Herradura Tequila for Pampano's Margaritas

Herradura Tequila for Pampano's Margaritas

Pampano's staff prepares for the evening

Pampano's staff prepares for the evening

Pampano's Hisbiscus Margarita

Pampano's Hisbiscus Margarita

Pampano's Fish Tacos

Pampano's Fish Tacos

CAZUELITAS DE CHILORIO

Cazuelitas de Chilorio: Plantain cups with black bean puree, adobo pulled pork and guacamole

Pampano's upstairs dining room

Pampano's upstairs dining room

Appetizer at Pampano

Appetizer at Pampano

Halibut Ceviche with mango, mint, red onions and cilantro

Halibut Ceviche with mango, mint, red onions and cilantro

Taco de Filete: Filet mignon, corn tortilla, green salsa and guacamole

Taco de Filete: Filet mignon, corn tortilla, green salsa and guacamole

Tacos de Langosta: Lobster, tortilla, black bean puree and arbol sauce

Tacos de Langosta: Lobster, tortilla, black bean puree and arbol sauce

Pampano's Mango Sangria

Pampano's Mango Sangria

Empandas

Empanadas

Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses

Pampano Restaurant, NYCPampano BarStairs leading to upstairs dining roomHerradura Tequila for Pampano's MargaritasPampano's staff prepares for the eveningPampano's Hisbiscus MargaritaPampano's Fish TacosCAZUELITAS DE CHILORIOPampano's upstairs dining roomAppetizer at PampanoHalibut Ceviche with mango, mint, red onions and cilantroTaco de Filete: Filet mignon, corn tortilla, green salsa and guacamoleTacos de Langosta: Lobster, tortilla, black bean puree and arbol saucePampano's Mango SangriaEmpandasYellow Roses

The recently hired coat check hostess said most of the opening day staff are still working at Pampano of New York City (there’s another location in Qatar). The evening celebrating the launch of Pampano’s ten year anniversary tasting menu of popular dishes, guests murmured about the friendliness of the staff based on their past visits. Before the event started, the staff finished preparations by placing small vases full of yellow roses on various tables. The bartender stood behind a table expertly arranged with wine, tequilas, fruit purees and garnishes. The evening was an unusually warm Tuesday in March, in between two frigid, cold days. As the event started, the waiters carried out trays of food. I carefully balanced my mango sangria in one hand, made sure the camera was securely around my neck, and tasted Pampano’s empanadas.   Read more