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Foodie Friday: Need A Break from Cooking? 7 Days of Food Events!

This week our resident Foodie is taking some time off to spend with his family so I’m filling in on Foodie Friday. Normally, Patrick shares one of his many delicious recipes with you but this week, after Thanksgiving,  I figured all you Foodies out there would want a break from cooking, and a break from Thanksgiving leftovers.

I scoured our site for some cool food-related events happening pretty much in every corner of the country over the next seven days that simply require you to show up and chow down. With Christmas fast approaching, you need the rest. Take the week off. Also, some of these events might just give you inspiration for your Christmas meal. Get out there and eat someone else’s cooking for a change. You deserve it.

TODAY! Friday, November 23

Alt Eats TourColumbus, Ohio  Travel the world while without leaving Columbus – this tour’s itinerary will introduce you to some of the best and most interesting ethnic food in the city. You’ll eat Vietnamese sandwiches, sample Somali food, experience West African food and hospitality, learn about Southern Indian delicacies and visit a Mexican Bakery.  Join Columbus Food Adventures in their comfortable 14 passenger van, and learn about the cuisines and cultures of some of Columbus’s finest immigrant kitchens. They can also accommodate vegetarians on this tour.

Saturday, November 24

Go West – New York, New York  To experience a culture one must experience their cuisine and since New York is the melting pot of the world, its vast array of cuisines is its shared culture. Food on Foot Tours takes visitors beyond the tourist attractions to the largest buffet in the world, New York. You’ll see the neighborhoods where New Yorkers live and eat. You’ll share their passion for all things New York and you’ll travel the way New Yorkers do, by subway and foot. This is a midtown neighborhood tour away from the tourist areas with multiple cuisine stops including at least one sweet stop. This week’s tour focuses on Manhattan’s far west side and its delicious cuisine.

RITUAL BREWING CO. LAUNCH CELEBRATIONRedlands, California  Come out and enjoy some brewery fresh beer, live music and tasty food from local purveyors. There will be two sessions: Session 1 is from 10am to 1pm and Session 2 is from 2pm to 5pm.

Taste of Philly Food TourPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania  Philly is famous for its cheesesteaks, hoagies and pretzels. Learn the story behind these and other local food favorites, and the vibrant and historic Reading Terminal Market where they’re sold during this 90-minute Market-based walking tour. Also see pretzels being twisted, hear the story behind the Breyers Ice Cream logo and find out where Milton Hershey got the idea for Hershey’s Kisses — in other words, fun history that has nothing to do with government!

APHRODISIAC WINE & DESSERT PAIRING TOURRaleigh, North Carolina  Life is short, EAT desert first! The Aphrodisiac Wine & Dessert Pairing Tour has been created & designed for guests seeking an exceptional tasting, educational and FUN experience. Your guides have discovered and sourced the absolute best that Raleigh has to offer regarding chocolates, deserts, wines and atmosphere.

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Foodie Friday: French Onion Soup

As a chef it is important to keep your skills honed and knives sharp.

I recently had the pleasure of stepping back into a high volume fine dining kitchen to cook a dinner service. Going into the evening I was a little nervous since the chef had told me that we had over two hundred diners on the books. I can tell you that working in a high-volume professional kitchen you will get burned and you will push yourself to the absolute limits of your physical and mental ability.

Most commercial kitchens or “lines” are broken down into “stations” each being responsible for certain items or dishes. Tonight I was working the middle, or the “wheel.” I was responsible for three complete dishes, the plate up and timing of the other two cooks on the hotline, sauté and broiler. I definitely had my work cut out for me. The tickets started pouring in. I call the first ten that printed out, grouping things together for each cook so they could focus on cooking. Also making sure I staggered the calls so the dishes would come up together. Eventually we got into a zone and I was able to steer the ship in the right direction. It went on and on for what seemed like forever relentlessly pushing us with larger and larger quantities of each menu item in each wave. I remember wondering if we would run out of anything since I had not been there to set things up. I also remember thinking “at least we don’t have French onion soup on the menu.”

You see although I love French onion soup I most certainly dread having to push out two hundred of them in a short amount of time. Balancing that screaming hot soup bowl back and fourth from the broiler to the line is quite nerve racking to say the least. I am glad I didn’t have French onion on the menu that night. That being said I really do love it! Gooey cheese pushing through the deep and complex flavors and textures below. Well that just makes me want to have some right now. So I present to you my take on French onion soup. Bon Appétit!
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Foodie Friday: Mise-en-place Part 1

With the holidays rapidly approaching it is very important for a Foodie to be prepared in the kitchen. When working professionally there are many tips and secrets that we use to make the sheer volume of cooking easier to manage. This allows you to pay more attention to the small details and, of course, your guests.

Mise-en-place [miz on plas] is a French term that simply means “putting in place.” This term is used in the industry to describe all the components you might need during the course of your shift to create a variety of different menu items. This same concept can be easily used in your kitchen at home when you are preparing a large meal and or several large meals for a lot of people.

Chopped vegetables such as onions, garlic, celery, and carrots should be prepared in batches. This is a very efficient way to process your recipes ingredients and will save a great deal of time. For instance If you take all of the recipes you plan on making and add the ingredients together you might find that you need 10-12 onions peeled. The same theory can be applied to potatoes, carrots, and garlic.

From there, you can process each respective vegetable in the various manners needed such as diced, minced, julienned, etc. This does not only work for veggies. You can certainly apply this method to other ingredients such as herbs, roasted garlic, stocks, and spice blends. This week I will try to share a few tips and ideas for optimizing your time this holiday season so you have more time for family and friends. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
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Foodie Friday: Hummus, Bagel Chips, and Veggies

The exciting light of summer is rapidly giving way to fall. As the weather cools, BBQ’s turn into quiet evenings on the couch. The foodie in me feels obliged to snack while I’m being entertained but I try to pay close attention to the snacks I choose to munch on while I watch my favorite movie or team. The question is, what snack could take the place of chips and dip while remaining at least somewhat healthy? For me it’s bagel chips and hummus and maybe some veggies to dip too. This recipe will satisfy your snack craving without the regret and guilt of a bag of chips and some store-bought bean dip. Enjoy!
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Foodie Friday: Brunch and Pickled Rhubarb at Skelly and the Bean

A couple Sundays back it was Fathers Day and this proud papa was lucky enough to check out Skelly and the Bean, a spot I have been wanting to check out since reading through their event posts on Brown Paper Tickets.  After a quick tour of the kitchen from Chef Zephyr Paquette, I was able to sit at the bar and soak up the homey, eclectic atmosphere.

While snacking on assorted house made pickled veggies, bread, and butter, I asked the incredibly friendly staff members and regular customers what they recommended. It soon became clear to me that I was going to try the Ham and Eggs. Knowing I was looking forward to a big steak dinner at home I was a little reluctant at first, but let me tell you it was worth every calorie. I cleaned the plate! The plate featured three soft boiled eggs each wrapped lovingly with thinly sliced ham with the perfect amount of slightly chewy crust filled with the lightest fluffiest deviled egg filling I’ve ever tasted. Slightly tangy, the filling offered a perfect counterpoint to the salty ham. A lovely micro green salad in the middle of the plate also got an invitation to the party, giving a crunch and a slightly-bitter-yet-refreshing cleanse to the palate between bites of the delicious eggs (which I frankly attacked with a one-bite method after a quick taste of the filling).
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