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A Trip Through Italy

 

This is a Guest post by Coral Sisk, author of Curious Appetite  a food blog of Italian travel and enogastronomy. Coral is currently in Seattle starting a business of Italian travel consults and gourmet tours. Thanks to the networking power of Foodportunity, she is now collaborating with the Pike Place Market this fall for a market tour and cooking demo in late October. This culinary event at the Pike Place Market will demonstrate farm-to-table cooking with Tuscan Gnudi while tasting though the Pike Place Market. You can connect with Coral on facebook as Curious Appetite and twitter as “Curious Appetite.”

 

gnuddi


How to make Italian Gnudi

 

Part of my job in Italy was to occasionally assist cooks during cooking classes and we made an array of traditional Tuscan recipes. As a result, one of the recipes I mastered was Tuscan Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi dumplings. Let me start by explaining what exactly are Gnudi. In Italian, nudo means naked. And in Tuscan, gnudo (pronounced like gnocchi) means naked as well. Gnudi are what I like to call “naked ravioli,” after all ricotta and spinach are a common filling for ravioli. Essentially- gnudi is a peasant food! Can you believe it? Velvety ricotta, nutty aged sheep’s milk cheese and spinach…poor man’s food? Why yes! Ri-cotta means “re-cooked.” It is the leftover whey from making more noble cheeses like mozzarella and fior di latte. This is part of the reason why the Italians are genius. They found delicious ways to sneak in every part of food so nothing would go to waste.

 

Gnudi are made by mixing various quantities of ricotta, grated sheep’s milk pecorino, chopped cooked spinach flour, egg (to glue it all together!) plus salt and pepper. The secret ingredient in this is: fresh, ground nutmeg. The mixture is portioned out in small rounds and rolled in flour to give it a protective coating for cooking.

 

Here are more details for a recipe:

 

Serves 6-8 people

  • 8oz (1 cup firmly packed) of cooked, chopped spinach
  • 16oz fresh sheep’s ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz (¼ cup) grated pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese
  • fresh, ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • ¼ cup “00” flour for both the mixture and additional for the coating

Gnudi Sage and Butter Sauce:

  • 12 sage leaves
  • 160g (5 3/4 oz)  butter

grated pecorino or parmesan cheese for final topping

How to:

  • Cook the spinach in lightly salted boiling water for 5 minutes. OR thaw out some frozen chopped spinach. Drain spinach well and once cooled, chop spinach pretty finely.
  • Prepare a bowl to make the cheese mixture. Combine ricotta, parmesan, chopped (cooled) spinach, sifted “00” flour, eggs and some nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork. The mixture should be pretty smooth.
  • Sprinkle your work surface or a large plate with some flour and start to mold out some gnudi by hand! Make sure the rounds are about 2 tablespoons big- think goldilocks here. Not too big, not too small.
  • Prepare a pot of salted water and bring to boil. Lightly drop the gnudi into your pot. The gnudi need 5 minutes to cook. In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan with the sage leaves. If overcooked, the butter will turn brown and the sage leaves will burn.
  • When your 5 minutes have passed, toss the cooked gnudi with the melted butter and sage sauce and add some grated pecorino cheese to each plate of gnudi. Gnudi are also tasty with your favorite tomato based sauce.

 

Gnudi are quite filling- don’t let the portion size mislead you! I would say about 4-6 gnudi a person is a good portion to aim for. Remember- these are pure cheese balls! If you are like me and believe that a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine, I recommend pairing gnudi with a light Tuscan Chianti red wine or a rich, dry Chardonnay, Viognier…otherwise a dry prosecco would also be just fine if you are also like me and look for any reason to sneak in bubbly.

 

If you will be in Seattle this Fall, I will be offering a Market Tour and cooking demo of Tuscan Gnudi at the Pike Place Market. In Late October, I will be taking folks to taste through the markets and meet its best purveyors of the Pacific Northwest bounty and follow up with a hands-on cooking demo (and light lunch) of these Tuscan Gnudi! Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/870711 10% of the ticket proceeds goes towards the Pike Place Market Foundation. Hope to cook and taste with you this Fall at the market!

 

 

 

 

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Tejava Ice Tea Now in the Northwest

Last month, I got invited to a dinner at Staple & Fancy in collaboration with Tejava  teas. Yes, I went to two media dinners in one week at Staple &Fancy.  I love Staple & Fancy and love tea. I confess, I am not a big coffee drinker anymore, it just doesn’t do it for me.  But tea, I love tea and just about every time I go to a cafe I order tea so I was eager to taste the Tejava tea and have a full dinner infused with tea.   The event was held in the private dining room hidden downstairs known as ” The Cellar”.   The room is a hidden gem for events or private dinners with a warm, woodsy feel, the perfect atmosphere for a candlelight dinner party.

I got to sit next to the dietician, Jennifer Adler, who was hosting the event. She was just so gracious, ambitious and inspiring and is coming out with a book soon.   I made the mistake of reading an exerpt from her book right when I got home and my kids found me bawling on the stairs,my mascara running down my face.  When you meet Jennifer, all you see is someone who is beautiful and genuinely happy but there is a deeper story behind this. She comes from a background of poverty and neglect, her parents barely called her by her first name, she was just a kid to them. And her story, tells it all about how she battled so many demons and grew into a healthy, beautiful person who didn’t let her past hold her back.  I found myself slowing down as I read it, to make sure I could savor some more of her words, if I had her book in my hands, I would have not put it down until it was done.  Now I can not wait until her book comes out!

The food was incredible, salmon that melts in your mouth, house-made burrata with figs and every dish infused with just a bit of this tea.   I love this product because it has a bold, black tea flavor with no sugar, just the way tea should be. I am hooked! They just moved into the Northwest Market and can be found at Whole Foods.

Tejava atmosphere

 

dinner

dates and cheese

 

SALMON

ICED TEA

 

beautiful RF

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Crave Urban Campfire Party – Aug 21 Giveaway for Tix

Jumping Woman Outlines

I want to tell you about a wonderful event that is coming up  next week called Urban Campfire Party. This event is coordinated by Melody Biringer, one of the most inspiring women around. Melody is known for bringing together the most creative and life-changing people into events and giving you new perspectives on life. She is also the lady behind the Crave books that you see in all the stores, events all over the country, an author and just so much more. 

If you are looking for some inspiration, to connect with smart and interesting women or just to have a good time. You are not going to want to miss this event.  Giveaway: I have two tickets to the event for a lucky winner. To win, just tell me how you like to eat your S’mores in the comments ( Melody loves S’mores). Read her interview here The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, the 19th. Don’t hesitate to purchase tickets because if you win, she will reimburse you.

Buy tickets here

The schedule: 

Urban Campfire is designed to engage women in authentic conversations about business, relationships and life. We are kickin’ it old school with a powerful and time-tested form of connection – storytelling.

August 20th – 7:00pm | Urban Campfire Pre-Funk: The Night Before (Mingling and S’more Making)August 21st – 10:00am-6:00pm | Urban Campfire: The Main Event, Happy Hour and Dance Music

Here’s the down-low on the day’s flow:

10:00am – 11:00am Register and prepare to be inspired – come early to get in on the Girl’s Lounge

THE IPSOS GIRLS’ LOUNGE ZEN TENT 10am – 6:30pm
10:00am – 10:15am Meditation
10:15am – 11:00am Yoga & Stretching
10:15am – 11:00am Discover Your Confidence Signature
 
 
 

11:00am Melody Biringer kicks off Urban Campfire
By sharing her own story, Melody Biringer invites attendees to get personal. Revealing her own vulnerabilities and desire to be inspired, she spearheads the erasing of barriers that ensures the formation of deep connections. This simple but transformational idea continues to be the trademark of her success.

11:15 – 12:30 Guest Speakers – TED Talk style
Kick the “shoulds” to the curb. Throw the five-year plan out the window. Define your own life and own your style. You too can learn how to thrive in challenging times.

12:30 – 1:30 Campfire Stories and Lunch
Facilitated breakout session on the topic – “What in our lives has influenced us the most? Who and what has made us who we are?”

1:30 – 2:30 Guest Speakers – TED Talk style
Our speakers share their superstar secrets on owning your worth, and following your inner barometer in order to lead a more fulfilling life.

2:30 – 3:30 Campfire Stories and Dessert
Facilitated breakout session on the topic – What do you CRAVE? We will identify what we love and why, to Own Your Style.

3:30 – 4:30 Guest Speakers – TED Talk style
Our last group of inspiring speakers take the stage.

  • Tory Johnson – “No Pill, Potion or Plan Trumps Patience and Perseverance: Why Giving Yourself The Luxury of Time (in a ‘right now’ world) Can Be The Best Gift”
  • Shasta Nelson – “Reclaiming My Identity Through A Calling from Left-Field”
  • Dondeena Bradley – “#silversurfer”
  • Andrea Scott “I Own My Style”
  • Shelley Zalis  “Confidence is Beautiful”

5:00 – 6:00 Happy Hour, Dance Music and S’mores
Meet and greet speakers, get your hair chalked or braided, join us in the girl’s lounge for meditation, yoga and stretching and discover your confidence signature, enjoy bites from our special kitchen surfing chefs and sample cypress cheese, make a S’more and bust a move.

Join us for making genuine “off line” connections.

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Kathleen Flinn’s Book Release Party on August 14 and a Giveaway, Win VIP Tickets

burn toast makes you sing good

Author Kathleen Flinn  of “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry” ( a New York Times bestseller) is releasing her second book this month and throwing a party  to celebrate!  We are giving away a VIP package here, including ( the book), admission for two and a special bag!To win, just leave a comment below telling us what your favorite restaurant in town is or just leave a comment. I will choose the winner by Wednesday afternoon. Good luck. I hope to see you there. The link to purchase tickets is below.

 

Here is the insider foodie invite from Kathleen herself:

Join me for a fabulous party to celebrate the launch of my third book from Viking Press/Penguin Books. Not your usual book launch party, the night will feature live music, and all kinds of surprises, plus door prizes including kitchen gear, private cooking lessons and more. The event is this Thursday and details are below.

Special Facebook ticket price: $10 + purchase of a book includes food, drink, select beer and wine. Type in the password “Facebook”

Seattle’s legendary Elliott Bay Book Company is the official book partner.

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/748900

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AAJA Chef’s Showcase and Kaisho, Asian Street Food

Last Monday, the Seattle Chapter of the Asian American Journalist Association hosted the first Chef’s Showcase event. The event was held at the Columbia Tower Club and showcased some delicious bites and the best view in town. Local celebrity chefs shared their favorite recipes and cooked for the crowd. There was wine pouring, tasty nibbles and lots of networking.

The line up…

Tyler Hefford-Anderson, who has shown off his culinary skills at Salish Lodge and Spa and Opal and is now executive chef at the Columbia Tower Club.
– Lisa Nakamura, an alumna of The French Laundry and Allium who has delighted Seattle foodies more recently with her sold-out pop-up gnocchi bars.
– Rachel Yang, a James Beard-nominated chef and co-owner of Joule and Revel restaurants in Seattle.
– Prometheus Brown & Chera Amlag, purveyors of pop-up Filipino food venture Food and Sh*t. Brown is also known as Geo, one half of the Seattle band Blue Scholars.
– Steven Ariel, formerly of Canlis and now executive chef of TRACE at W Seattle

columbia tower

chef na

Chef Lisa Nakumura showing the crowd how to make Hijiki rice balls. You can learn more  about her upcoming Gnocchi bar here .

 

After the event, we stopped to check out the newly opened Kaisho , which serves Asian Street food with Northwest Flare in bustling Capitol Hill. The name, which means a gathering place is the perfect place to go for drinks and some bites with friends in a hip evening vibe. The menu has items like Bao burger, Green Curry Daikon Noodles, Dim Sum and Papaya Quinoa Salad. The fried chicken was a good choice with a nice kick to it and some waffles on the side.

fried chicken

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Kitchenbug Launches New Mobile App at Foodportunity

With  Foodportunity event just around the corner, we are prepping for a fun-filled, tantalizing and delicious time!

This year’s premier sponsor is Kitchenbug.  I joined the Kitchenbug team last year as soon as I realized that there was a smarter way to collect recipes and that this company marries her two favorite things, food and innovation. I am really excited to share what we do at Foodportunity!

Create-Recipe

 

 

Luxury food and drinks on wedding table. Shallow DOF

With Kitchenbug being the premier sponsor, you are guaranteed to get personal in our awesome Seattle Photobooth with crazy props, selfies galore and loads of surprises.  We are teaming up with Chef Wayne Johnson of Shuga Jazz Bistro. After 30 years in the restaurant industry, Chef Wayne Johnson has Seattle jazzing at his new hot spot,  serving upscale and classic southern cuisine. Having earned many accolades for his contributions to the food industry, Chef Johnson still humbly continues to give back. His contagious love and passion for food, as well as his recognized dedication and mentoring to his community synergize into the perfect combination of excellence.

chef wayne

We have surprises including a booth for photos from Seattle Photo Booth. We promise to bring funny and crazy props so we can take photos with our friends and remember this night in photos. After lots of food and wine, it will be so much fun to take all those photos.

seattle photo booths photo

 

And a little more about Kitchenbug!

KB Logo - W600

Just What You Have Been Waiting For 

Kitchenbug is also excited to announce the launch of their new mobile app available for iPhone. This app will get you a cool recipe analysis that makes cooking healthy, fun and easy. Kitchenbug’s algorithm analyzes recipe content, calculates nutritional facts and shows you all the recipes’ “pros and cons”. This cutting-edge and innovative app can be your daily companion with everything food and dietary related. Just what you have been looking for, right?

Are you coming? Get your tickets here

 

Foodportunity 2013 Chocolate

Photo credit: Jackie Donnely Baisa

 

 

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Apps I Love- Buffer

 

 

Do you want to manage your social media better? Buffer is the answer to that.  Say you want to post something to Facebook but you want it to be up at a certain time, Buffer is how you do it.  I know there are plenty of ways to schedule Facebook posts but I found Buffer to be the easiest and smoothest for me.

buffer

You download the bookmarklet to your desktop and then just click on the image and Buffer takes the image and puts it into your feed to be posted at the times you scheduled ( in advance)  or if you prefer, the times that Buffer thinks are best.

You can Buffer with many of your social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Groups, Linked In, Google +.   A limited and free account is avalable but for  $10a month,  you get the  Buffer “Awesome ” Plan which lets you connect another user, posts up to 200 posts and put in 12 social media profiles. There is also Buffer for Business with lot of other features which I have not used because the Awesome plan has been enough.

Buffer also gives you analytics for each post, which is also helpful when you need a quick view of the stats. At the end of the day, the most awesome part of Buffer is how awesome the staff are.  In the beginning, when I was figuring it out, I had questions and guess what, I got instant answers, right away. If you have a question for the people at Buffer, you get responses almost instantly ( or maybe it was my luck). Really, I use them as an example of a company that does things right!

 

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