Official Invitation to the Common Threads Cook-Off

Hot off the press – this is the official invitation for the Common Threads Cook-Off. Isn’t it beautiful? And don’t you want to come? Look at all of these amazing restaurants!

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You Are Invited to Common Threads Cook-Off 2013!!

I’m happy to announce that tickets to the third annual Common Threads Cook-Off are now on sale! It is a fantastic event targeting Chicago’s young professional foodie elite, a fundraising competition of sorts showcasing the city’s finest food and mixology. Chefs create and serve their favorite cookout-themed dish either in a glass, on a bun, in a shell, or on a stick, and guests have the opportunity to try it all, vote on their favorites, and take part in the silent and live auctions.

As a Common Threads Associate Board member, my hope is that you’re inspired by Common Threads’ mission to educate underprivileged children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. It has been such an important part my life and I would welcome the opportunity for you to see a little bit more of what we do.

The value for this event is amazing; the crowd is ideal, the cocktails are bottomless, and you’ll eat ’til your heart’s content courtesy of the most noteworthy restaurants in Chicago.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at
http://events.commonthreads.org/eventDetails.aspx?eventId=117

Below is a video invite of what to expect:

Let me know if you plan on purchasing a ticket – I would love to have you!Image

Below is the link to my recap from last year’s event – Don’t miss it!

http://tastebuddiaries.com/2012/09/29/rave-review-for-the-common-threads-cook-off-event/

Sweet Winter Treats: Homemade Marshmallows and Chocolate Spoons

Season’s Greetings!!

Below are a couple of sweet winter treats that I made over the holidays that I wanted to share:
– The first is a mint marshmallow recipe by Martha Stewart. A lot of people tell me that they didn’t know that they could make marshmallows from scratch – and you can…and they taste WAY better than anything that you have ever purchased on a grocery store shelf. I was inspired to make my own marshmallows after visiting a delicious restaurant called Hot Chocolate in Chicago. They include a homemade marshmallow in their hot chocolate creations, and I decided to give it a try. After one failed attempt at making vanilla bean marshmallows, (they ended up being too rubbery), I came across this delicious and fluffy recipe from Martha Stewart. It’s not hard, but it does require you to pay attention and move quickly. It also helps to get a candy thermometer:

Mint Marshmallows

Below is the link to the recipe:
http://www.marthastewart.com/355781/candy-cane-marshmallows

I served these marshmallows at a party as a part of my hot chocolate bar and they were a hit! I highly recommend that you try them and experiment w/other flavors.

– The next item is extremely easy to make, and can serve as a nice touch for any winter party. These are chocolate spoons, which can be used for stirring into hot chocolate or coffee for an extra chocolate boost. They are incredibly easy to make, and could also be wrapped in cellophane w/a ribbon for a gift. I also included these in my hot chocolate bar. I had both milk chocolate spoons and white chocolate spoons, and drizzled the alternate color on top of each by putting the warm chocolate into a sandwich bag, and cutting a small corner of the bag to drizzle chocolate over the spoons. Very nice presentation, if I must say so myself.

Chocolate Spoons

Below is the recipe:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-spoons/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=chocolate%20spoons&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

These are great recipes to add a special touch for any occasion.

Enjoy!

The HOTTEST Foodie Event in Chicago

Hey Foodies! I wanted to invite you to an event that I’m hosting with the Associate Board of Common Threads. Common Threads is an organization started by Art Smith where they teach low income kids how to cook healthy, affordable meals. I volunteered w/them last fall, and it’s a pretty awesome organization because in addition to cooking, kids learn about different parts of the world, math (through measurements), and science.
 
This event is going to be the hottest Chicago foodie event of the year. Mark my words. It’s a cook-off between some of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, and the chefs can choose to compete to cook something on a bun, on a stick, in a glass, or in a shell. There will also be a whiskey tasting. 
 
The event takes place on Thursday, September 27th at 6:30pm over at Fulton’s on the River in Chicago. Tickets are $75 until August 31st (this Friday), and after this Friday, they go up to $85. (This donation is tax-deductible). There will also be a silent auction with some amazing prizes.
 
Click the below link if you are interested in attending. When it asks how you found out, just click other and type in my name.   
 
 
Below is a listing of just some of the restaurants that will be participating, along w/their categories:
 
Participating Chefs & Mixologists

IN A GLASS 
William Hewitt, Bin 36 
Lynn House, Blackbird 
Ben Schiller, BOKA 
Mike Trow, Bridge Bar 
Elizabeth Samples, Nacional 27 
David Blonsky, Public House 
Sarah Kosikowski, Sixteen 
Lee Guidry, SUSHISAMBA rio 

ON A STICK 
Erik Freeburg, Bar Toma 
Kevin Schulz, Fulton’s on the River 
Bill Kim, Belly Shack/Urban Belly/BellyQ 

IN A SHELL 
Mike Bellovich, Paris Club 
Table 52 

ON A BUN 
John McLean, Burger Bar 
Rah Shabazz, C-House 
Kristine Subido, Pecking Order 
Brad Alexander, The Grillroom 
Curtis Hawk, ZED451 
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Also Attending:

KOVAL Whiskey Distillery
Sparrow Coffee Roasters
KIND

 

Flavors – A Culinary Experience: Event Recap

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of attending Flavors – A Culinary Experience, which was a fundraiser to benefit the American Liver Foundation. The event was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago (my first time visiting this hotel), and it was very well organized with over 80 silent auction and raffle items, however this event was all about the food.

The concept was quite unique with over 15 restaurants crafting table side meals with a custom menu from each restaurants. Featured Chicago restaurants included Browntrout, Frontier, Tavern on Rush and Bread and Wine. 

I was seated at the Chicago Renaissance Hotel restaurant table which featured a 5-course dinner with Executive Chef James Samson. Usually when I think about restaurant food from a hotel, I think “eh…just ok. Rubber chicken” – it just reminds me of the countless business meetings and weddings that I’ve attended that have “just ok” hotel food. This was quite the exception. Chef Samson had some very thoughtful and flavorful dishes, each of which were paired with wine. 

We started off with an Asparagus Salad, and my favorite part was the fried brie. There is nothing like some good fried cheese. Tuna Tartar was the second course, and the highlight of this dish was a compressed watermelon, which was put into a special machine overnight to make a large piece of watermelon fit into the palm of your hand. It was much like a dehydrated mini watermelon. Very interesting. The third course was the Beef Fheek Pierogi, which was very tasty – I don’t believe that I’ve eaten beef cheeks before, and now I won’t hesitate to try it again. Next was a perfectly cooked Lamb Porterhouse with a chic pea mint ragu. We finished off our meal w/a chocolate dessert that looked like a masterpiece. 

As I mentioned previously, this event was a fundraiser to benefit the American Liver Foundation, and we heard some touching stories about people that had been affected by Liver Disease, and it really put faces and names with a cause that does not get a great deal of exposure. One of the speakers almost had me in tears as she talked about her two babies that she lost to liver disease shortly after their birth. This is truly a cause worth supporting. 

The American Liver Foundation has these events every year, and they take place all over the country. Below is a link to the website for more information. Definitely check it out if you have the chance:

http://go.liverfoundation.org/site/PageServer?pagename=2012_flavors_localevents

I would also highly recommend Chef Samsons food – you can experience it yourself at Bar Novo at the Renaissance Hotel. The menu looks good, and it has 4 stars on Yelp. I’ll be visiting to try the bacon-wrapped dates. You can’t go wrong w/Bacon-wrapped dates!

So delicious