Category Archives: Cooking Events

Dinner at ABODE: A Pop Up by Sarah Ashley Schiear & Gregg Drusinsky

Sarah Shiear The Taste

When I found out my friend Sarah Ashley Schiear would be a contestant on the ABC cooking showing The Taste, I couldn’t have been more excited! I have been watching  and cheering for her each week on Tuesday nights as she advances to the next round, one bite at a time.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit Sarah in NYC at her latest undertaking; ABODE,  a pop up restaurant opened in a renovated subway station with fellow team Ludo teammate Gregg Drusinsky.

 ABODE combines the talents of a trained chef (Gregg) and a home cook (Sarah)who share a vision for a new type of dining experience: Homestyle meets fine food.

The atmosphere in this supper club style pop up is casual and chic, with subway tiled walls and communal tables shared by guests; lending a true dinner party feel to the experience.

Debi Shawcross and Sarah Shiear

I was seated at the bar, which I later found out was made from recycled bowling alley floor (how cool is that?) which provided the perfect view of the open air kitchen and the chefs at work.

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The menu, with complimentary pairings:

Crostini to Start

smoked dungeness crab, avocado

butternut squash, ricotta, pistachio oil

mushroom conserva, quail egg

Winter Salad

cauliflower, tangerine, marcona almond

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 Roast “Bobo” Chicken

Truffle Sauce

Fingerling Potatoes

Romesco Sauce

Brussels Sprouts  

crisp-roasted with herbs, bacon and lemon

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 Buttermilk Cakes

Peanut Butter Buttercream

Chocolate and Toasted Almond Topped

 

I found the menu very approachable. The simplicity of the roasted chicken with perfectly crisp skin (Sarah’s home cook approach) combined with the  luxurious truffle sauce (Gregg’s Le Bernardin saucier pro skills definitely at work there!) kind of summed up exactly what Sarah and Gregg are all about in the kitchen at ABODE.

Catching up with Sarah, meeting Gregg (who btw is quite charming in person) and enjoying an amazing evening of food & wine made for a memorable experience.

Grab your chance to reserve a space in their upcoming events here on Eventbrite. In the meantime, here’s a quick video for a look at ABODE. –And don’t forget to keep watching Sarah and Gregg on The Taste; they are among the remaining 10 to compete!

Abode Teaser from Abode Popup on Vimeo.

 

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Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts: Recipe from an Edible Mosaic

If you are anything like me, the photo on the cover of this book made my mouth water as soon as I saw it.

The book,  An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, was written by my friend Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic . This new release is Faith’s first cookbook , and  I’m excited to be participating in her virtual book launch party and sharing a recipe from the book!

The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. Faith has a pretty unique story…after getting married Faith spent six months living in the Middle East, where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region. Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. If you didn’t grow up eating Middle Eastern food, it can be a difficult art to master; Faith understands that, and explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way. The book is available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

 After you check out the recipe below, please head over to Faith’s blog to check out her virtual book launch party to see the other bloggers who are participating. Also, as part of her virtual book launch, Faith is hosting a giveaway of a fabulous set of prizes. Be sure to head over and enter!
 The recipe from the book that I’m sharing with you today is for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, along with a variation for Mixed White and Yellow Rice. The recipe is actually vegan so you won’t have any trouble incorporating it into a vegan or vegetarian meal, but it is just as delicious served with chicken, beef, lamb, or seafood, and it would be really fantastic with just about any curry dish. (In the cookbook, Faith recommends pairing Shrimp in Aromatic Tomato Sauce with this rice dish.)
I made this rice dish to go with one of my family’s favorite Middle Eastern dishes, Shish Taouk (chicken kebabs marinated in a yogurt/tomato/zataar mixture).
Faith’s rice dish was quick to put together, and complemented the kebabs beautifully. I can’t wait to work my way through the other recipes in the cookbook!

 

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

ROZ MLOW’WAN

 

Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

 

Serves 4 to 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

 

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1 onion, finely diced

4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)

1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

 

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

 

OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

 

VARIATION

Mixed White and Yellow Rice

 

Serves 4 to 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

 

1½ cups (325 g) uncooked basmati rice, rinsed

2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, finely diced

1 bay leaf

2 whole cloves

2 pods cardamom, cracked open

2 whole peppercorns

¾ teaspoon salt

1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water

1-2 pinches saffron threads or ½ teaspoon turmeric dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

 

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan, cover and place over moderately high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the rice, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the boiling water to the rice, turn heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil. Give it a stir, cover the pot, turn heat down to very low, and cook 10 minutes (don’t open the lid during this time).
  4. After the rice is cooked, let the pot sit with the lid on for 15 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer 1/3 of the rice to a separate bowl.
  5. Stir the saffron or turmeric-colored water into 1/3 of the rice (the rice will turn yellow). Mix together the yellow rice and white rice; serve.
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Welcome to Ciao Fiore!

Che piacere vederti! How nice it is to see you!
Benvenuto Amici!
Welcome Friends!

Welcome to the Grand Opening of Ciao Fiore! An enchanting outdoor ristorante on the Mediterranean Coast featuring alfresco dining in an ambrosial garden. Chefs Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me!, Debi from Table Talk, and Lori Lynn from Taste With The Eyes are collaborating and cooking together in a virtual Italian cucina to create a captivating five-star four-course meal enhanced with edible flowers and herbs dal giardino.

Il Menu

ANTIPASTI TAVOLA
Ricotta Fresca, Arugula Flowers
Roasted Vegetables
Italian Sausages and Prosciutto
Assorted Breads and Focaccia
Giardiniera – Pickled Vegetables and Olives
Mixed Greens with Nasturtium Flowers

RISOTTO
Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto

PRIMO
Pan-Seared Branzino with Cucumber Salmoriglio
Over a Wild Arugula Salad with Cannellini Beans & Feta
Garnished with Borage Blossoms

DOLCE
Lavender & Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Strawberry Caviar
Chocolate Arancini and Pistachio Creme Anglaise
Garnished with Micro Flowers

(please click on the menu heading for complete recipes of all the menu items)

Relax and Enjoy the View

To begin your experience here at Ciao Fiore! we’d like you to offer you a glass of Prosecco infused with our wild hibiscus flowers. Then, at your leisure, help yourselves to the fabulous offerings on the antipasti tavola. Don’t miss our ricotta fresca, try this fresh cheese on the homemade bread with roasted peppers, sprinkled with peppery arugula flowers. Please have at seat on the terrace at the seaside table and enjoy the view of the sparkling blue Mediterranean while you relax and savor the first course.

Antipasti Tavola
Seaside Table
Arugula Flowers
Ricotta Fresca
Nasturtium
Prosecco Infused with Wild Hibiscus
Blue Hibiscus

We hope you enjoyed the first course with-a-view at Ciao Fiore! Now if you’ll please follow me to your table in the garden area where we’ll be serving the primo and dolce courses. Watch your step. As we stroll through our gardens you’ll notice all the various flowers and herbs that grace our menu. Chefs Norma, Debi, and Lori Lynn are passionate about using the beautiful color, texture, and flavor of edible flowers to enhance every dish.

To the Garden...
Garden Table
Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto

For the risotto our Chef says that the aromas of citrus plus floral make for a heady perfume. She adds just a hint of rose water plus a chiffonade of “passionate kisses” rose petals to transform this creamy citrus risotto into a blissful dish.

Our Meyer Lemon Tree
Pan-Seared Branzino, Cucumber Salmoriglio, Borage

Fresh from the sea pan-seared fillets are served with salmoriglio, a Sicilian fish sauce made with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs. For our Grand Opening, this particular version of the classic sauce is enhanced with Meyer lemon confit, red chiles, cucumber, and Castelvetrano olives.

Fishing Boat off the Coast

Our Chefs feel fortunate to have fresh-caught fish delivered to our restaurant daily. It’s simply not possible to get branzino any fresher than here at Ciao Fiore!

Borage Blossoms to Mirror the Color of the Sea
Borage & Lavender
Maso Canali Pinot Grigio

Our Sommelier at Ciao Fiore! recommends enjoying the primo course with a crisp dry white wine. She suggests a Maso Canali 2009 Pinot Grigio from Trentino’s finest hillside vineyards. It’s well-balanced with light citrus aromas, fresh acidity, and a long clean finish.

Ciao Fiore! Edible Gardens
Dessert Plate

Our Pastry Chef adds frozen chocolate ganache to the center of a risotto ball before rolling it in bread crumbs and frying. Once out of the oil, these arancini are rolled in a mixture of cocoa powder and sugar. The warm chocolate center spills out like lava with the first bite. They are pretty amazing.

Lavender
Lavender & Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Strawberry Caviar

By employing molecular cooking techniques our Pastry Chef transforms her strawberry sauce into strawberry caviar, tiny micro pearls that burst in the mouth. She flavors the creamy mascarpone panna cotta with the bountiful lavender in our the garden.

Micro Flowers
Chocolate Arancini and Pistachio Creme Anglaise

The Pistachio Creme Anglaise gives the plate a nutty warmth which brings the dessert elements together. It is really nice with a spoonful of the panna cotta, and equally enjoyable as a dip for the chocolate arancini.

Would you care for a cappuccino to sip alongside your dessert course? The garden setting at Ciao Fiore! is tranquil, here we hope you will savor all that the Mediterranean Coast has to offer. Feel free to linger just a little while longer…

Arrivederci! Thank You for Visiting Ciao Fiore!

Ciao Fiore! is a Virtual Restaurant
participating in
The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group “Restaurant Wars” Competition

Links to all the competing restaurants will be posted Friday (here).

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