Monday, May 18, 2015

A Modern Speakeasy & The Wasabi Deviled Egg

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of working with the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation to produce a fundraiser that raised money for pediatric cancer research.  It was a whirlwind project that we completed in January and it was a TOTAL success!  The event raised more than $600k to help kiddos with cancer.  In addition to giving back, this event was a grand party to celebrate the NHL team, the city of Columbus and to blow people away.  And it did.

It all took place at the Columbus Athenaeum where we created a pop-up speakeasy called The Crease, where Being Bad Does Good.  Guests entered a dark, empty lobby and gave a password to a stoic bouncer, who surreptitiously ushered them in.  Guests navigated through the backstage entrance where performers readied themselves in front of giant mirrors, vocalists warmed up, dancers practiced their moves.  There were even a few sharks playing cards before their debut on stage.  This greeting was definitely not what guests expected.  It set the perfect stage for a night of wonder, disbelief and whimsy.

Guests were invited into the actual party by none other than Johnny DiLoretto, The Crease's proprietor for the evening.  The lights were low, the music was loud and guests were immediately catapulted into full swing party mode.  The decor was a purposeful hodgepodge of glitz and glamor and rustic, comfy chairs.  A golden dance floor reflected the moody lights and a giant bar flooded guests with unique and old-fashioned libations inspired by Columbus' own Logan Demmy.

Creative talent sang and danced the night away.  From Maiya Sykes, to dance performances choreographed by Leigh Lotocki, to... wait for it...yes, even a fire eater, this event had it all.   Oh, and Sara Bareilles showed up for a surprise concert at the end of the night.  All in all, this event was a huge success.  It unveiled the creative side of Columbus' philanthropy that I think has set a new bar for future fundraisers and good-doers.

Now, no party that I've ever been to is complete without food.  This was no exception.  I had the pleasurable task of working with the chef at the Athenaeum to create the menu at The Crease.  Inspired by the 1920's, Moulin Rouge and a little bit of Circus, the food at The Crease was marvelously fitting.  We opted to go with heavy appetizers and finger foods, much like you would have seen at cocktail parties back in the day.  Deviled eggs and artisan toasts were given a modern twist.  Exotic curries and Peking wanton cups brought intrigue. Even London broil lollipops made a whimsical appearance.  This party had so much to offer.  The food was the cherry on top.

Wasabi Deviled Eggs

All of the food at The Crease was top notch, but I thought it only fitting to share the recipe for our client's favorite dish:  the Wasabi Deviled Egg.  Who would have thought that wasabi would taste good in an egg?  Well, trust me.  It does.  These deviled eggs are easy, impressive and over the top, with a modern, spicy punch.  Bon Appétit.  

6 Eggs
1/4 C. Mayonnaise
1 t. Wasabi Paste
Pickled Ginger (like you'd find at a sushi restaurant)
Toasted Panko, for garnish
Parsley, for garnish

Place 6 eggs in a pot and cover them with water.  Turn on the heat to high and bring the water to a rapid boil.  Boil for 15 minutes and remove the pot from the heat.  Let it cool for 5 minutes.  Run the eggs under cool water until they can be handled.  Crack and remove the shells and slice the eggs in half.

Pop out the yolks into a medium bowl. Add the mayo and wasabi. Season to taste with more mayo and wasabi.

Fill each egg white with a tablespoon of the wasabi mixture. Top with a piece of ginger and sprinkle with panko and parsley.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quick Cashew Slaw

This weekend, the weather was so pleasant that Christian and I spent the day cleaning up the backyard and planting a plethora of herbs, flowers and other greenery.  By the end of it, we wanted to enjoy our sprucing, but couldn't handle grilling a feast.  So, we kept it simple with good old wieners, green beans and coleslaw.  Stupidly, we forgot to buy coleslaw dressing.  So, we pivoted and got creative in the kitchen with on-hand ingredients.  And what do you know - the coleslaw turned out better than most of the ones I buy in the store anyway.  Below is our concoction for Quick Cashew Slaw.  It's bright and tangy, with a hint of sweet heat and a satisfying crunch.

Quick Cashew Slaw

1 Bag of Shredded Veggies (cabbage, carrots, etc.)
1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
2 T. Cilantro, chopped
Handful of Salted Cashews

1/3 C. Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 Lime
2 T. Brown Sugar
2 T. Asian Sauce such as Szechwan (or, pinch of red pepper flakes)
Extra cilantro and cashews, to garnish

Toss the shredded veggies, onion, cilantro and cashews.  Set aside

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lime juice, brown sugar and heat.  Taste and season accordingly.  If you like more heat, add more spice.

Spoon half of the sauce over the veggies.  It's better to toss as you go so you don't end up with a slaw that's too wet.  Use as much sauce as you want.

To garnish, sprinkle with extra cilantro and cashews.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Irish Colcannon & Apple Cupcakes with Whiskey Glaze

This weekend, we celebrated St. Patty's Day with a number of close friends. It started as a casual afternoon get-together and somewhere throughout the course of the evening, the living room exploded into a raging dance floor. Leave it to us to help the Irish celebrate with some damn good song and dance. Luckily, we had filled up on Irish favorites earlier in the day, including bangers and Colcannon, and apple cupcakes with whiskey frosting. Give these recipes a try for an easy jump start to your St. Patty's Day! 

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes stuffed with cabbage. My version uses kale and green onions along with thyme butter. It's hearty and comforting and a perfect way to kick off St. Patty's day. 

8 Russet Potatoes, skin on
1.5 C. Kale, stems removed
1 T. Olive oil
6 green onions, diced
3/4 C. Sour cream
1 stick of Butter, at room temp
1/4 C. Milk
2 T. Thyme

Place the potatoes in a large pot filled with enough water to cover the potatoes. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. When a fork can easily be inserted into the potatoes, carefully remove them and transfer them to a large boil. 

Bring the pot of water back to a boil and add the kale. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the kale is a bright green. Remove from the heat and drain. 

In a small boil, combine the butter and thyme. Set aside until ready to serve. 

Using a potato masher, crush the potatoes until they are a smooth consistency. (Don't use a hand mixer or you'll end up with gummy potatoes). 

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil and when it glistens, add 3/4 of the green onion. Sauté until lightly browned. Add to the potatoes, along with the sour cream and kale. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. 

To serve, form a nest with the colcannon with a well in the center. Add a tablespoon of thyme butter into the well and allow it to melt. Garnish with the remaining green onion. Serve with bangers. 

Apple Cupcakes with Whiskey Glaze

Your favorite white or yellow cake batter (shh...I used a box)
1.5 apples, cored and diced
1 T. Cinnamon
1 pinch of nutmeg
2 C. Powdered sugar
3 T whiskey

Preheat the oven to 350.
Add the apples, cinnamon and nutmeg to the cake batter. Toss to combine.
Fill the cupcake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing the cupcakes from the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and whiskey. Stir with a fork until smooth. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar or whiskey. Just remember, a little bit of liquid goes a looong way!
Drizzle the cooled cupcakes with the glaze.