Dinner for one

Heirloom tomatoes are the perfect homage to summer. They offer a pungency of color and flavor. They are juicy, palpable, light and luminous like a September sunset. In other words, heirloom tomatoes are exactly what you should be eating right now!

When I’m cooking for myself, I tend to experiment more on ingredients and flavor pairings, but anything “en croûte‘” is an At Home Soigné favorite.

So, I decided to make myself a galette – my friend brought me heirloom tomatoes from Kitchen At Stone Ridge that looked incredible!

Dinner for one, I thought to myself would be classic, simple and completely satisfying.

Tomatoes and goat cheese are a match made in heaven.  I decided to enhance my galette by adding red wine caramelized onions and honey. I also egg washed my galette to add that extra crunchy sensation.

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Edible Favors Your Guests Will LOVE!

Either you’re planning a soirée for your best friend’s wedding or hosting a casual Sunday brunch at your place, sending guests away with an edible favor will make an impression and keep your guests on the look out for your next invitation!

Choose something that can be easily packed, or opt for a favor that can be enjoyed night-of, like individual batched cocktails or even pashmina scarves if you’re hosting a chilly outdoor gathering. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve listed a few of my favorite edible favors below:

Candy Bark

Make a bark and share with your nearest and dearest (just be sure to keep it chilled until right before you hand it out). Simply brush a 9-by-12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with oil and line with parchment paper. Melt 3/4 of a pound of chopped white chocolate in a double boiler, then pour onto the sheet. Sprinkle with whatever toppings you like, from dried fruits, to nuts, to herbs.

Spice Blend

Share your love of cooking by doling out some seasoning. Either gift a blend that you created yourselves or repackage a favorite from the store.

Candied Nuts 

Treating your guests with cinnamon sugar-glazed pecans or almonds is a unique and delicious midnight snack for those who are not allergic. Simply mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk egg white and water together in a separate bowl until frothy. Toss pecans in the egg white mixture. …

Bake in the oven at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes. The Container Store has fun bags for creative packaging.

Rosé at Alderton House

Rosé wine has become inseparable from summertime soirée’s. The alluring pink drink, which has captivated us all (wine professionals & novices) comes to us in many hues of pink from all over the world!

Marketing and branding ploys such as #Roseallday and #Yeswayrose have assisted in popularizing Rosé wine and has even turned this beverage into lifestyle. Learn more about our little pink friend on June 1st at Alderton House.

Rosé at Alderton is a fundraiser for Harambee U.S.A. – a foundation dedicated to supporting education and development in Sub-Saharan nations. Taste through a variety of Rosé wines from different areas of the world with a brief seminar by…me. Food will be included!

Join me on June 1st from 7pm to 8:30pm by clicking here.

Cheers!


#athomesoigné

Turning Wine Into Hope: Wine on Wheels

Turning Wine Into Hope

 


Each spring since 2012, New York City’s finest hospitality professionals gather for what is now known as one of the most anticipated wine events of the year. Wine on Wheels is the main fundraising initiative of Wheeling Forward, a substantial contributor in assisting individuals with spinal cord disability obtain a proper support system, resources, and services needed to continue active and fruitful lives. Wheeling Forward has earned a reputation of understanding first hand how each disability impacts every person’s life uniquely.

Founders Alex Elegudin and Yannick Benjamin met after sustaining spinal cord injuries in the same month. At the time, Alex was 19 and Yannick, 25. Both young and determined to persevere, Alex returned to school and became an attorney. Yannick went to college while becoming an esteemed sommelier. After years of volunteering in the disability community, Alex and Yannick decided to use their experience, talent and individual networks to tackle challenging, underserved areas of need. In 2011, Wheeling Forward was manifested with the assistance of several committed board members.

For the last 8 years, Wheeling Forward has provided many with the motivation and resources to resume active lives!

This is why Wine on Wheels is so important!

In February of 2012, Yannick and Alex hosted the first ever Wine on Wheels Grand Tasting. Yannick, always motivated to serve others invoked his peers from the restaurant community to join the cause! Each year since, more and more budding Sommeliers, Chefs and wine enthusiasts have gathered at the Wine on Wheels Grand Tasting to display hospitality in true definition: the virtue of caring for others.

The grand tasting, is a day when wine aficionados and wine novices alike can gather together to learn and enjoy – for the benefit and support of those in need.

From the support of the restaurant industry’s best, Wheeling Forward is now recognized as hospitality driven, innovative and consists of a constantly growing and effective group of self giving advocates dedicated to enrich the lives of the disabled community.

There are many way to become apart of the Wine on Wheels tradition. You can assist in changing the lives of many! Visit Wine on Wheels to learn how!

Feast your eyes & your appetite: Toronto 

Anticipation is an emotion I have always associated with traveling. My imagination runs wild when I begin to fantasize of adventures that may come about while exploring new city streets. My appetite grows when I wonder how other communities offer and enjoy hospitality. After all, good food, good wine and pleasant company is what unites all cultures and civilizations! With an additional dash of architectural design and style, we are ready for a weekend well spent! 

Toronto is a culturally rich city, as one would expect. It is full of youth and beauty and clearly evokes a certain standard of living. Not only is this prominent by the amount of Audi’s and Porsche’s on the roads; but the restaurants and rooftop bars have an attention to detail which tailors to Toronto’s vibrant millennial culture. For the first time in my career I have been more delighted by the atmosphere and design of Toronto eateries than I was impressed by the food. I experienced no terrible meal of course, but I found myself more in awe at color schemes and fabric choices than at flavor combinations. I am looking forward to returning and experiencing the internationally acclaimed Canoe and Aloe, but for an introdutory visit, feast your eyes and your appetite on the following:                                                                                                                                              

Make it a point to visit Colette, a more than French Bistro located on Wellington St. The interior is designed by Gianpiero Pugliese and boasts of full Parisian-style throughout the bakery, café, bar and library. The dining room and wrap around terrace decorated with topiaries and scalloped valances are beyond regal. The chandeliers which hang from a high ceiling will have you question if you are dining at Versailles. Join for Saturday brunch and begin your Toronto adventures at Colette. Savor French favorites such as a croque monsieur or madame and sip your coffee with pinkies up. 

Art Deco meets Italian Renaissance at Oretta. Located on the see and be seen King St., Oretta’s clashy pastel, jewel toned interior paired with stiking accents of gold inspire pure dolce vita. Their menu is designed for anytime of day (oretta translates into any hour) and offers seasonal Italian favorites that will please anyone. Pizzas are thin crusted and delicious, their pastas are flavorful and plentiful. Their mostly all Italian wine list is impressive. Though, nothing is more impressive than Oretta’s airy sophistication. 

For Soigné ingredients and a direct view of the CN Tower, visit Lavelle. This rooftop bar also located on King St. may give off Jersey Shore nightclub vibes at first, but those vibes will quickly turn into luxe sophistication. Chef Romain Avril helms the kitchen, and though Michelin has yet to arrive in Canada, Chef Avril is serving up Michelin quality. Cocktails are inventive and certainly pack a punch for your buck. Spend your day at Lavelle and enjoy the Canadian breeze with a view! 
 

Seared Foie Gras

Foie Gras is without a doubt one of my favorite foods. The first time I had Foie Gras was at this little French Bistro in Chicago called The Red Rooster. Located on the corner of Halsted and Armitage in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, The Red Rooster was steps away from legendary Charlie Trotter’s and Alinea. The quaint bistro has since closed, but I have fond memories that my taste buds thank me for! 

Perfectly seared Foie Gras should be crisp and well brown, and seared to a medium well. The texture is smooth and almost custard like. A common pairing for Foie Gras are figs. Their sweet jammy quality cuts through the richness, and provides a mouthwatering sensation. Any fruit compote is delicious. I used my homemade strawberry vanilla jam. 

Foie gras is grown on only three farms in the United States. American Foie Gras ducks are amongst the most well-treated farm animals in the country. Choose grade “A” lobes from Bella Bella Gourmet, who sells Foie produced by La Belle Farms, a small-scale poultry farm in Ferndale, New York. 

There is no technical reason to score your Foie Gras. Unlike Duck skin, Foie Gras will not curl when heated up. Most Chefs score their Foie Gras for appearance. 

Make sure your pan is sizzling before you add your piece of Foie. It is normal for smoke to appear as soon as you add your Foie to the pan. Each side of Foie Gras should take no more than 30 seconds to cook. 

Don’t forget to let it rest! 

#athomesoigne 

Fideuà! 

Friday’s during Lent have always been a challenge for me. I’m a huge meat eater, and my days blur together so much, it’s often hard for me to remember when Friday even is. 

For a culinary and hospitality professional this should be a delightful challenge! Well, Lent 2017 is when I decided to embrace my faith (even more) and indulge in Lenten Friday’s. After all, fasting is all about sacrifice. Lent is precisely the time when we should not let go of ourselves or our standards. 

Truly one of the over looked glories of Catalan cuisine is the poor cousin of paella. Assembled from noodles and seafood, Fideuà has been sustaining Valencian fishermen, (and upper east side enthusiasts) for generations!