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Mood Board Monday – Halloween Edition.

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Things I Learned In my High School Art Class and The Art of Plating

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My Favorite table creation, EVER.

When I was in High School, I took every Art class that I possibly could. I love Art.  I’ve always loved Art and being a chef, a lot of times, allows me to tap into some of those skills that have developed from this love. People often ask me where it is that I’ve learned to create such visually pleasing dishes, and while I have been thankful enough to have the ability to have learned techniques from some very accomplished chefs, I more often than not reply, ” In my 10th grade Art class.” A lot of the basic principles of art that you learned as a teenager (in between passing notes to your High School crush and staring at the clock on the wall, of course) will serve you well in the pursuit of becoming a master-plater.

Food, believe it or not, is not just about taste. We eat with our eyes just as much as we do with our taste buds and there’s nothing better then when a well-prepared and flavorful dish collides with stunning presentation. Suffice to say, it’s not as difficult or complicated as some of you may think.

When I first really started getting into cooking – I must admit, I wasn’t overly worried about the presentation of my food as much as I was worried about the fact that all of the components of my dish were prepared properly.  This is somewhat of a golden rule that I still keep to this day and you should too. Before you worry about presentation you must first worry about acquiring the ability to cook and prepare all of your dish’s components properly and also the ability to understand which ingredients are the best to use.  Remember: Even if you are the Picasso of peaches and pears, putting a rotten or ill-cooked piece of fruit on your plate will not leave your client with a fond memory of your dish and will only lead to disappointment upon consumption. You must Learn to enhance colors and not destroy them by the cooking process. You must learn how to create a nice crust on your proteins. You must learn to season well. I could go on forever. Remember: There isn’t a single soul who learned to run before they knew how to walk. Start with the small picture. Pay  attention to your individual ingredients and how they look and taste as a singular item before  treating them all as a unified dish. This will help your dish come together more cohesively. After you do this, plan ahead! I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes I still quickly sketch out what it is i’m hoping to achieve in my finished product and while, more often then not, I don’t exactly finish with the product I initially planned, I find that having an end goal helps to keep focus and keep me on the right track. With my individual ingredients and what i’m striving to achieve in mind – I feel that much more organized and focused.

Cooking isn’t brain surgery. It’s just cooking and we all do it. All you have to do is keep it simple and keep your focus. The same goes when you’re plating. Function is also a serious factor to consider. In catering and in restaurants, plating is about visualization, organization, and rapid execution. You MUST know your audience. First, you wouldn’t create the same dish for Grandma’s 90th birthday party that you would for a dinner party of four New York Socialites. It just doesn’t happen. You also wouldn’t create a dish that takes seven, eight, or nine, steps to plate when you are required to plate the same dish quickly 250 times for a client’s wedding reception. Three would suffice. The dish MUST function well to be executed well. Especially if you are working with other chefs in your kitchen.

Taking function a step further, there are a lot of questions that you can ask yourself pertaining to your garnishes. I am not a big fan of inedible garnishes. I don’t care how pretty they are, there is no function to them. Ask yourself these questions: What is the reason this garnish is on the plate? Is it necessary? Why? How does this tie into the dish as a whole? Adding more to a dish doesn’t necessarily make it better. Remember what I said before about keeping it simple? I meant it.  This means please, please, please, pleassseeeeee keep your tree-like sprigs of rosemary and thyme out of my potatoes and hold the sprinkle of parsley that looks like lawn trimmings. You’re just embarrassing yourself by showing your age with your early 90’s garnishing techniques. I miss Boy Meets World, The Spice Girls, and my Trapper-Keeper, just like the rest of us…but the 90’s are over and it’s time to move on. Keep the dish simple. Keep your garnishes simple and always have a reason for everything that you do.

Most human beings will recognize unity and good composition and most don’t realize how much the human eye as well as the human palette appreciate contrast. Utilize contrast in your dish. Everything should not be a puree just like everything on your plate should not be crunchy. Letting your textures play off one another will enhance your dish just as having different elements of sweet, spicy, hot, cold, etc will. Utilizing odd numbers also helps. I’ve worked with a lot of chefs that swear by the “rule of odds”, and mostly I do too. The rule of odds basically states that objects in odd numbers brings unity to a composition. For example: When plating scallops – use three or five instead of four or six. When there is an odd number of objects one object tends to look framed by the others which in turn looks harmonious and pleasing to the eye. Achieving Unity will always lead you to successful results.

Just because you are done cooking, it doesn’t mean you are done using good technique! Always use good plating technique. For example: when plating fresh greens, “Fluff! Don’t Squish! Be Graceful!” You want to build height and make them look light and airy not big and flat. Working with the right tools and techniques will always help. There are so many different tools that you can use and most of them are common kitchen items. A common ring mold can help you achieve height, a simple paint brush can help give you beautiful strokes of color, a squeeze bottle can help give you precise lines for direction in your dish or just to add a few dots of color. I could go on forever about tools and toys in the kitchen (Any type of Chef store is my proverbial candy store).

While all of this may seem like a lot to take in, I hope that you can take this information and work with it to produce some killer results! Don’t be afraid to experiment! Success never comes without failure. Get in your kitchen and see what works best for you and your style. Start creating dishes that YOU love before you try to please anyone else and the rest will follow, I promise! (Oh, and don’t forget to use clean plates!)

I’m Ten Times Happier When it’s Grill Season….

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There’s no better feeling then trading in your winter jacket for a pair of shorts and your mittens in for a pair of grill tongs. Grilling is the simplest, humblest, and most basic method of cooking food that their is. And it’s just plain awesome. While you don’t have to be a pro to get great results, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tips to help you reach that level.

1. Season your food early. In fact, season your food before you even think about heating up your grill. Giving salt a little time to dissolve onto your food instead of falling off onto the grill will do wonders for your flavor.

2. Get your grill hot!!! Let it warm up for about 15 – 20 minutes. Patience is a virtue. A hot grill will sear meat on contact creating more flavor through carmelization and will also keep things nice and moist inside.

3. Give yourself enough room to work – nothing is worse then trying to have a relaxing time while grilling then having to run around for tools or ingredients or not having a place to put anything.

4. Keep a reasonably clean grill. Last years food doesn’t make for great additional seasoning to this years food. A grill brush can be your best friend. Use it when the grill is hot not cold, it will be easier that way.

5. Oil up your rack. To prevent sticking and to also help with cleanup later, trying using an oil soaked paper towel and rubbing it over the rack with a pair of tongs. You should even oil a clean grill.

6. Leave an unheated place on the grill. Even if you’re cooking over a single-level fire, leave a small space unheated so that you have somewhere to move food if you have a flare-up or if something is cooking too fast.

7. Remember when you’re mother told you as a kid not to play with your food? Well Mommy was right. When you put food on the grill DON’T PLAY WITH IT. LEAVE IT ALONE. Give it a chance to naturally come away from the grates and not get stuck. If you try to move food before it is seared on the bottom I guarantee you that it will stick. And that’s just not fun for anybody.

8. One of the best 25 dollars I have spent is in purchasing a grill basket. Use it for foods that might fall easily through the cracks or are harder to turn over one by one: Ie Vegetables and even fruit. Even Target or Walmart carry some decent ones. No need to splurge a lot of money on one.

And last but not least…..

9. One of the biggest mistakes that most make is not letting their meat rest before cutting into it. Let your meat rest on a clean plate, covered with foil for about 5-7 minutes so that the juices can redistribute evenly. Trust me, your food is not “getting cold”, you just took it off of a large amount of heat, it is still cooking. I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “well then, how do I know if its done?”. The best way is to learn what your product feels like when it is done. The “longer it cooks, the firmer it gets” is a good rule to go by. The more experience you get, the more you’ll be able to tell exactly what your favorite food should feel like when it’s done and it is an important thing to learn. But, while your still learning, remember: When in doubt, you can always throw undercooked food back on the grill, overcooked food doesn’t have the same luxury. Use the above pictures to show you exactly what meat should feel like through the stages of doneness.

Happy Grilling! We expect an invite!

(Photo credit: http://www.simplyrecipes.com)

The Wedding Coordinator

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Whenever I tell people that I am a wedding Coordinator the immediate question to follow is, “What do you do?”

With wedding season freshly upon us I find myself encountering this question more frequently, and I also find that I have a fairly difficult time explaining my job in a simple, one or two sentence answer like someone in an office, or a restaurant manager, or a babysitter may be able to do.

So what does a wedding coordinator do and why may you need one?

Getting married is certainly a monumental and important moment in your life. The day is all about you!

You get to choose the food you are eating (buffet, or sit down dinner?)

The music you listen to (band, or DJ?)

The dresses your bridal party wears (all the same? Different?)
Your bridal party!
Your photographer (How many do you need? How much money is too much?)
Your videographer (Same as above…hm…)
Your venue (Grandma’s backyard? A hotel ballroom? A golf course?)
Your cake (Chocolate or Vanilla? How many tiers? Multiple flavors?)
Your florist and flowers (How many? Where? What are my colors?)
Your linens (Do you want chair covers? Are you renting chairs? Does the venue have linens?)

While all of these questions probably seem exciting to many, it may also be overwhelming. How do you know that you are choosing a reliable vendor and getting the most back for the money that you spend?

On such a special day, you probably don’t want to leave much up to chance, and THIS is where the Wedding Coordinator comes in.

Most of us have seen our fair share of vendors.

We have seen those that charge you an arm and a leg for one person and 4 hours worth of photography, or those that charge you an appropriate amount, while not cheap, for 3 photographers and some of the best pictures you have ever seen.

We have seen DJ’s who read the guests and play great music, and those who mispronounce the Bride and Grooms name.

A Wedding Coordinator can help point you in the right direction and find you some really great people to help share your special day with.

Furthermore, on the day of the wedding,  the Wedding Coordinator can be your eyes and your ears and your timeline, so that you can sit back, sip champagne, and enjoy the day with your friends, family, and husband to be.

The Wedding Coordinator will help to plan the time slots for you and your bridesmaids hair and makeup, will ensure that the hair and makeup artist arrives on site on time and gets set up in the appropriate area.

The Wedding Coordinator will line up your wedding party in the appropriate order and cue their entrance into the ceremony, as well as cue the start of the music, all while ensuring this is occurring on time.

The Wedding Coordinator will lead your wedding party to the appropriate area after leaving the ceremony for pictures, and ensure that the photographer arrived on site on time and know where people are coming from to get the best shots.

The Wedding Coordinator will make sure the venue is doing their job and that you and your wedding party get beverages or food, while the rest of your guests adjourn to the reception. Your Wedding Coordinator will lead them to the reception if on site or be sure they know where they are going if it is off site.

The Wedding Coordinator will time and line up your party for the entrance into the reception, be sure to cue the DJ and ensure he knows how to pronounce your names….make sure the videographer and photographers know where you are coming from.

Furthermore before even arriving to the reception the Wedding Coordinator will ensure that the florists, linens, and any other vendors arrive on time and set things up the way that YOU want them set up, so that when you walk into the reception you see what you imagined you would see without so much as lifting a finger.

The Wedding Coordinator will get you when it is time for your first dance,  cutting of the cake or toasts, or mother/daughter or father/son dances, so that you can just sit back and relax until told to do otherwise. (As if cutting cake isn’t relaxing enough!)

So how can I sum this all up when someone asks, “So, what do you do?”

I suppose I ensure everything that is supposed to be at your wedding is at your wedding in the way that you want it, as well as time the flow of the day and ensure that the bride has no worries other than keeping her champagne full for the entire day. I am your eyes, your ears, and your voice, so that you can sit back and relax as everything you dreamed unfolds around you.

Wedding Tips: The Rehearsal Dinner

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The rehearsal dinner is probably the second most important day in the slew of monumental events surrounding your wedding. Others may include the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, but the rehearsal dinner is the beginning of the main event.

Traditionally, the Rehearsal dinner is held (as the name suggests) after the wedding rehearsal with the wedding party the day before the wedding.

Many who are planning their wedding are often stressed about following traditions and doing everything by the book.

I often have people asking while they begin to plan their weddings and rehearsal dinners, “Is it okay if I do that?”.

The answer is an overwhelming YES!

It is YOUR wedding and YOUR wedding rehearsal dinner, so if you want to step away from the tradition, by all means, go for it!

Here are a few modern ideas to consider while planning your rehearsal dinner:

First of all, do not feel as though you have to only invite those in the wedding party.

Invite your friends, family, significant others, anyone you would want to your rehearsal dinner! Do not feel obligated one way or the other. I once planned a rehearsal diner for 80 guests. Nothing is too big or too small.

Next, while most people tend to choose to have their rehearsal dinners at a restaurant, you could consider having it catered at your home, or the home of one of your family members as well.

This is a good idea if you want to keep your rehearsal dinner personal, intimate, and really focus the guests on chatting and getting to know one another over a glass of wine or a cocktail. By eliminating other restaurant diners, it really focuses everyone on the couple, and each other, which is important when you are bringing two families together as one.

In addition to feeling at ease in a setting you are used to, there are even more opportunities available to personalize you evening, from pictures, to your favorite music rather than the restaurant soundtrack, to the availability of outside and inside mingling, weather permitted.

There are some great caterers out there (ourselves here at KMK Creatives being one of them!) Who can create the ease of going out to a restaurant in the comfort of your own home.

Consider a low-key buffet style dinner, or a three course sit down meal, maybe a dessert buffet for you chocolate lovers out there, or even come up with a signature drink for you and your sweetie to make your night stand out–and ease some of the pre-wedding nerves. Believe it or not, the bride isn’t the only one stressing! I guarantee the parents and the best man and maid of honor are right there with you!

Another tradition surrounding the rehearsal dinner is that is should always be the night before the wedding and after the rehearsal.

This means you better be careful about just how much alcohol you are drinking!

Chances are the big day will start very early, and if you are anything like me, those circumstances are not conducive to getting rid of a hangover.

Recently, I find that guests are coming to plan their rehearsal dinner two days before their wedding, leaving one day of rest and relaxation (and time to milk a hangover) in between the rehearsal and the wedding.

Anything goes!

Prepare your bar! Cinco De Mayo is coming!

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Yum!

Cinco de Mayo. May 5th. Cinco de drinko. National Margarita day (actually that’s February 22nd…I know this because my birthday is the same day). Regardless, whatever you happen to call it, Cinco de Mayo is a great day to kick back and enjoy some delicious food and drink.

What is it, exactly, that we are celebrating, you ask?

 In regions of Mexico, May 5th is called “El Dia de la Batalla de la Puebla” (English translation: The day of the battle of Puebla) and is observed to commemorate the mexicans surprising victory over french forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. To celebrate, many special events are held highlighting mexico’s culture, especially in food, music, and dancing.

But lets be real. Cinco De Mayo is a day synonymous with mass amounts of alcohol consumption just like St Patrick’s Day. However,  instead of green beer and car bombs, we’re here to share with you some other delicious treats to help you liven up this Saturday’s fiestas!

Here’s a few of KMKCreatives Bar must-haves for Cinco De Mayo:

The Paloma Cocktail

I love this cocktail. It’s like a margarita with bubbles and it’s super simple to make.

  • 1 1/2 ounces of reposado agave tequilla
  • Juice from half of a lime
  •  grapefruit flavored soda (Try the brand squirt)

Fill a glass with ice, pour in tequilla, lime juice, and top with the grapefruit soda.

Tamarind-Chili Syrup

For for a sweet and spicy tequilla shot or drink alternative – Try mixing in a little tamarind- chili Syrup.

The syrup itself will take you about ten minutes to make and can be stored up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Mix it with tequilla over ice or as a shot for a little sweet heat this Cinco de Mayo! Here’s the recipe for the syrup:

  • 4 dried arbol chiles, stems removed and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup seedless tamarind paste

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan on the stove and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally

until the mixture is consistent throughout and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool,

strain, and use!

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a sweetener produced in South Africa and Mexico. It’s less viscous than honey, just a touch sweeter, and doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste that most artificial sweeteners do. It’s an easy to find product in your local grocery store. Try it in this Reposado Old-Fashioned cocktail this Cinco De Mayo:

Muddle the cherries, nectarines, and agave nectar in a glass. Fill the glass with ice, pour in your tequilla, give it a stir, and garnish.

Bohemia Obscura Beer

Yes, Coronas are nice. But they are standard at any bar all year round. This is a holiday, dammit! It demands something special. Something like Bohemia Obscura. It’s a malty beer with cherry and nutty notes and hint of hoppy bitterness.  Perfect for a tequilla shot chaser! The only downside is that it may be a little difficult to find, but you can try some online specialty beer stores or it’s counterpart, Bohemia Clasica, is a little more common in local retail stores.  

Happy and Safe Cinco De Mayo Everyone!

Korean BBQ on the Verge of Spring.

Chef Sunny Lee is from Seoul, South Korea. She came to the United States with her son to ensure that he would adjust well to his first year as a high school freshman in a foreign country. To occupy herself in her spare time, she began taking recreation cooking classes at the local culinary school where she found she had a passion for cooking. It wasn’t long before she enrolled herself as a full time student in the Cambridge School of Culinary Art’s professional chef program.

After graduation she remained dedicated to mastering every dish that came her way and took a job working long hours as a pastry chef at one of Boston’s critically acclaimed fine dining restaurants, L’espalair. Sunny is planning on eventually returning to South Korea soon where she hopes to open up an “American style cooking school”, but before she does that we had the privilege of her instructing us on some of the traditional dishes from her home country.

Kimchi is a dish that is synonymous with Korean culture. It is a fermented dish that can be made with different types of vegetables but is mainly made with baechu (or more commonly, nappa cabbage). Typical the cabbage is brined in water and salt first and then is left to ferment in a mixture of garlic, salt, vinegar, chili peppers, and other spices. While some prefer kimchi fresh others prefer an aged kimchi which can age well close to a year. While the preparation of kimchi varies from region to region, traditionally in the southern area, it is spicier and does not consist of any fish product.

Kimchi – Approximately a month old. 

It is typical for women to gather in the home at the beginning of winter and make mass amounts of kimchi in preparation for the cold weather. Growing up, Sunny recalls having a dedicated refrigerator in her home just for kimchi. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into many different dishes such as stews, on top of a pizza, or as a side dish, to name a few, which isn’t all that bad considering that it is loaded with vitamins and contains the same time of “healthy bacteria” that one can find in yogurt.

Another delicious dish we prepared was La Galbi (or Korean BBQ).

In Korean, Galbi means “rib” and more often than not refers to short ribs. Typically when we think of short ribs, we think of big beefy chunks of slow cooked meat that is “fall off the bone” tender. In this version the short ribs are treated a little different. They are sliced lengthwise in thin strips before being marinated. The typical marinade for this dish consists of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, pear, pepper, honey, sugar, and water.

La Galbi marinating.

After cooking is complete, usually on the grill, the small amount of bone is sliced away from the meat which is then wrapped in either a lettuce leaf or sesame leaf with a little gochuijang or hot chili paste and eaten as an accompaniment to rice. In a lot of homes in South Korea, rice and sometimes kimchi, is served with every meal.

A Sesame leaf. From the leaves of the perilla plant.  

Gochuijang

Korean is a cuisine that is noted for its side dishes. It would not be odd to see someone dining with many assorted bowls in front of them. Each meal is, more often then not, served with rice.  Unlike in China and Japan, the person dining is given a spoon, so the bowl is not lifted from the table. While using spoons, culture dictates that the spoon should never make a noise or touch the plate. It is also custumary when drinking to hold a glass with both hands for someone to pour a drink into your glass. One is never to fill their own glass and is to never fill a glass that is half empty. The Korean culture is rich in drinking tradition. The most popular non-alcoholic drink in South Korea is tea or what they call “cha”. Alcoholic beverages are also very popular, especially during business meetings. Koreans believe that you reveal your true self when you are drinking and therefore if you are drinking during a business meeting it is a sign that you can be a trusted business partner. Their major crop in Korea has been rice, therefore, most alcoholic beverages have been made from rice of both the glutinous and non-glutinous variety. Yakju is an example of a rice wine that is made from steamed rice that has gone through several different stages of fermentation.

Sunny’s LA Galbi Marinade:

Serving: 4-6 (about 3.5 LB of LA style beef short ribs).

Ingredients:

1/3 cup Soy Sauce

1/3 cup of water or cooking wine

1/4 cup of Honey or 1/3 Cup of Brown Sugar

8 Garlic Cloves

1 Medium Onion

1 tsp Ginger, chopped until liquid

1 Korean Pear (if you can’t find Korean pear, us 2 bosac pears)

2 tsp of Sesame oil

sesame seeds, black ground pepper.

La comida en Espana!

Event planner extraordinaire, Marisa Barr, recently took a well deserved vacation to the South of Spain where she visited her brother, Phil, who is studying abroad. Here she shares with us their foodie adventure and the differences between eating in Spain and The USA.

*Jamon Iberico hung like this above all of the bars. They take it down and slice it to order!

One of the first things I noticed upon my arrival to Sevilla, Spain is that Spaniards really do “live in the streets”. And why wouldn’t you? With the sun shining it was a beautiful non-humid 70 degrees for every day of my trip.

The next observation I immediately had, was that everyone drank and ate at any and all times of the day. Meals were not simply limited to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From the woman who was sipping a glass of wine while holding her baby, to the elderly man smoking a pipe with a beer, to the businessmen in their suit jackets huddled around an elevated table with their scotch, whether it be 10:00am, 2:00pm, or 11:00pm, drinking and eating seemed to be the center of their lives in Spain, and more importantly what drinking and eating created: being surrounded by family and friends. It was not simply treated as a necessity, but more as a way of life.

I instantly knew I was going to like this place.

I started each day with either Jamon Iberico (Ham from an Iberian Pig) on a toasted bagel doused with olive oil, or a toasted bagel with olive oil and a tomato spread. Along with a café con leche and an orange juice I was all set. I’m a little disappointed to admit I was not on the Spaniards level of having a glass of wine or a beer with my morning meal and was instantly overcome with a wave of guilt over my exasperation towards my foreign guests at the restaurant where I worked who seemed so perturbed by our American coffee with a side of cream. Café con leche, or coffee with milk in Spain—is really espresso, and they take the liberty of steaming and adding the milk to it for you themselves.

One of the greatest things about wining and dining in Spain is that they make it very easy for you to do so.  With much smaller portions than what we are accustomed to in the United States, it is possible to drink and eat many times throughout the day without getting uncivilly drunk or outrageously full. Three course meals are available for lunch (the biggest meal of the day) for anywhere from 7-12 euro at a restaurant. Many people choose to go home and eat in front of the televisions with their families during lunch time, anywhere from 2:00-5:00pm when most local businesses are closed for siesta. (it is socially acceptable to eat, drink, and sleep during these hours…amazing, right!?)

These portion sizes give the luxury of being able to taste many different things and spend time with many different people throughout the day. I can honestly say I did not get drunk or full once throughout my excursion in Sevilla. I was constantly contented.

One of the mini meals my brother and I indulged in was tortilla Espanola, a delicious creamy potato pie of sorts, espinaca con garbanzos, which is essentially spinach (sometimes creamed) and chick peas, albondigas in a gravy of sorts with potatoes, and pork that literally crumbled to the touch, again in a gravy of sorts with a hint of spice.

All of these dishes are local to the area, and my brother warned against signs advertizing paella “a typical tourist trap!” he said, as it really wasn’t very popular in the South of Spain.

The tortilla would be heavier in some places, creamier in others. The spinach more creamy in some, more pureed or whole, spicy or wet, but all of the ideas were the same. Fresh, untampered with local ingredients in delicious food.

And the correlation of each meal is the same: to bring together people you love. Whether it be friends on the streets over a pitcher of sangria or cousins and aunts and uncles and sons and daughters and mothers and fathers at home in front of the television with a steaming bowl of soup, Spaniards are always eating, drinking, and TALKING with one another!

They live in the moment, and as a bonus, with all the walking in the city (it is nearly impossible to fit a car down many of the old streets) I found I lost three pounds during my eating and drinking escapades!

I’m telling you, Spain has the right idea!

Now if only I could find a traditional gazpacho, followed by a luscious flan and a glass of vino tinto on a patio in Boston at noon…

-Marisa Barr is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, MA and is a writer, food lover, function coordinator and event planner.

Things That Stay the Same, Things That Change.

Part of growing means being able to accept the changes that go along with this process. As you grow, you are constantly learning faster and more efficient ways of doing things. You learn new tips and tricks that make your day and life, in general, easier. In the case of our business, this is no different. Over the last couple of months we have grown rapidly which means we’ve made a lot of exciting changes! Our social media presence and blog have been part of these changes. So, if you happen to stumble upon us on the web in the next couple of weeks and realize that things are looking a little different from the past, don’t be alarmed!

Even though growth does mean an exorbitant amount of change, it doesn’t necessarily mean that EVERYTHING has to change.  There will always be things that stay the same and things that remain constant. I like to think of these things as the salt and peppers of life.  No matter what changes you makes, you will still always need your salts and peppers. Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, our staff was treated to a salt and pepper tasting. While it sounds simple, it actually was an experience that blew our minds. To find out that there were so many different types of salt and peppers, it left our foodie minds all giddy with possibility.

In the next couple of weeks, we will be blogging in installments about the different types of salts and peppers that we’ve tried, about how we’ve incorporated them into our dishes, and especially about our favorites.

In our first installment, i’d like to highlight what has seemed to be the fan favorite of our staff; Viking Smoked Sea Salt. I was thrilled to be able to take a sample of this home to share. Trust me when I say, this particular salt has a STRONG flavor. If you open the container and take a good whiff you’d swear that you were at a bonfire. A Salty delicious bonfire!!! We can thank the vikings for devising the style in which this salty treasure is obtained. It’s made by evaporating seawater in a vessel over an open and smokey fire that contains juniper, cherry, elm, beech, and oak.

My favorite application has been using this salt to season sauces. It definitely adds a different depth that you wouldn’t be able to obtain with your more generic salts. Heed my warning though, A little bit goes a long way!!!

Mood Board Monday: January Edition

Mood Boards for two of our upcoming events: