Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I arrived a bit after the start time and they were only a few warm and familiar faces present. I began to question the turn out, but soon those thoughts vanished. Within minutes we all found ourselves snacking on fruits, wheat thins and hummus and socializing. Then the festivities kicked off! Maggie and Aliyah each presented a slide show. The first were photos and facts about a Mali, Africa. The slideshow focused on the people, the food, and their way of life. The photos were raw and proved that a picture speaks a thousand words. The other slideshow focused on facts concerning food, nutrition, African Americans and how the migration to America has influenced many of the flavorful cuisines we have today. "Soul food" being one that immediately comes to mind, but that serves as just one of the many examples.
Soon after we were teased with delicious scents of food, but before we could indulge we had to work for it! The deal? We had to dance first! No one dared to complain. Chances are if you heard the sounds coming from those drums you too couldn’t help but move. It was vibrate, upbeat and soulful if you will. I must confess, I started off with intentions to dance, but I have problems moving my feet and hands at the same time. So while Ms. El, the dance instructor and drum player, made the moves easy to follow, I sort of moved to the side and watched as the energy filled the room. Then it was time to eat!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Lastly, dessert again! This time at Cannelle Patisserie—an excellent pastry shop offering a large variety of French pastries. Think child in a candy store! Definitely worth the trip to Queens. Did I mention it’s owned by the former pastry chef of the Waldorf Astoria?! Price of 3 almond croissants, 2 cheese danishes, 1 chocolate mousse cake, one mini chocolate mousse cake, a small tiramisu, a mini pear tart and 3 cappuccinos? A bit under $52 and of course we had dessert for 2 days after!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
In my case my mother-in-law was dropping by and would be here shortly. Fortunately I had thawed a store bought puff pastry sheet earlier in the day. I honestly don't recall what I had originally had in mind for that dough, but on the flash I decided to caramelize some onions which is one ingredient I always have on hand. A little thyme, butter and a little love and 20 minutes later sweet caramelized perfection! I proceeded to taking my puff pastry, lightly rolled it out (don’t want to over work it or the buttery goodness will start to melt), cut the edges about 1/2 inch width to form borders which I glued onto the remaining puff pastry with a little egg wash. Next, I used a fork to poke some holes in the center to prevent it from rising and then added the caramelized onions and thyme. Hmmmm, delicious. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the dough is puffed and golden. Then slice into squares. By time your company arrives and begins to settle in, they would be welcomed with a great comforting dish that looks like it took a lot of effort to make, but only you know the truth of its simplicity!
FYI, this dish is nice warm, but can easily be served at room temp. You can easily make this a quick dinner by adding mesclun tossed with a simple vinaigrette on the side. Either way it's a great dish to have in your back pocket for those planned and unexpected visits!