Food & Wine
Food, Event and Recipe Reviews
by I AM Modern
for Northern Virginia
One thing that puts a party in the “best parties” category is top-notch food and drinks. On May 3rd, this year’s Phillips Collection Gala – in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy’s 2013 “Year of Italian Culture in America” – raised around $700,000 for The Phillips Collections’ nationwide education programs. To celebrate America’s first museum of modern and contemporary global arts, a spectacular black-tie dinner was curated by Italian chef and food guru Lidia Bastianich. The La Dolce Vita after-party, hosted by Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, included antipasti, with Fiats and “paparazzi” stationed outside. A tent with bocce ball (a popular Italian ball sport) was accompanied by Peroni and gelato mini-cones from Dolci Gelati. Entertainment included the high-energy band, Amaretto, a DJ and plenty of dancing. Guests indulged on decadent desserts, including a lemon torte with salted meringue, mousse-like tiramisu, chocolate cream bon bons and a few different panna cottas. Mini pizzas, cured meats from Olli Salumeria, and a variety of antipasti topped off the savory bites. Guests sipped on made-to-order espresso drinks.
The gala was attended by high-profile guests, including two U.S. Supreme Court Justices and the Ambassadors of Israel and France. The auction showcased a 12-carat diamond bracelet by Italian jeweler Roberto Coin, a villa rental and a Ducati.
2 oz Charbay Green Tea Vodka
2 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz simple syrup
Lemon wedge for garnish
Pour the vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup into an ice filled highball glass.
Top with soda water.
Pour the contents into a shaker to mix.
Pour back into the glass.
Garnish with the lemon wedge.
Amy Sherman is a San Francisco-based cookbook author, food writer and recipe developer. She launched the blog “Cooking with Amy” in June of 2003, and it quickly earned recognition as one of the top five food blogs by Forbes and a top food blog by The Guardian (UK). Additionally, it was featured as the "blog of the day" on the critically-acclaimed Julie & Julia movie web site.
Here is a great holiday recipe of Amy’s called Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Leaving out the calorie-filled brown sugar and marshmallows, Amy adds a dash of sweetness and a squeeze of lemon juice for refreshment to the diced morsels. Keeping things healthy, Amy uses a T-fal ActiFry as a speedy crock to cook the potatoes with pulsating hot air, which lessens or eliminates the need for oil altogether.
Who doesn’t like bacon!? If you must, this appetizer blends savory bacon with nice, healthy sweet prunes, producing an edible nugget of holiday cheer. The Lapostolle Residence in Chile pairs Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 with Prunes Wrapped in Bacon to enhance its rich and smoky flavor, making it a perfect addition to any holiday menu. Add this to your holiday menu!
12 each strips of bacon, uncooked
12 each prunes, dried and pitted
12 each toothpicks
Lay six pieces of bacon onto a sheet pan or cutting board. Place one prune at the end of each strip. Roll the bacon around the prune, pulling gently to make sure the bacon fits tightly. Secure the pork with a toothpick. Repeat the steps to prepare the remaining six prunes. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat, and place the prunes into the pan. When the prunes are ready to be flipped, the bacon will release itself from the pan. Gently swirl the pan throughout the process, allowing the bacon fat to distribute evenly. When the bacon is golden on all sides, remove the prunes and place onto paper towels.
On a midweek night, Ronald Flores is running around Art and Soul Restaurant’s packed Art Bar serving up artisan drinks for a thirsty post-work crowd. As Art Bar’s mixologist, Flores has been a fan favorite and critic’s choice winner at Corcoran Gallery of Art’s ARTINI event for two years in a row. It’s no surprise. Flores has a knack for crafting unique and artistic cocktails, with tinctures and syrups only his imaginative mixology mind could concoct.
Figs are known to be sexy fruits and often thought to have psychoactive properties. The ancient Greeks associated figs with love and fertility. Of course, everyone knows these aphrodisiac elements can make cocktail mixing extra fun.
Flores’ fig and whiskey cocktail is sure to satisfy two very different palates. Not too sweet and not too bitter, the finish is smooth and warming. Allspice Dram complements smooth white whiskey, and a dash of lemon and ginger marries it all together.
Talkative, friendly and outspoken, a seemingly always-smiling Art Smith is chef/owner of one of Washington, D.C.’s most prestigious restaurants. He is one of the first chefs on Capitol Hill to “put fried chicken in fine dining” at southern-style Art and Soul Restaurant in the Affinia-owned Liaison Hotel.
As former personal chef for Oprah Winfrey, Smith’s resume is impressive–having cooked for some big names as diverse as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the Dalai Lama and President Barack Obama–and is a partner with Lady Gaga’s father for southern-Italian restaurant (yes, that’s southern as in America’s south and Italian as in Italy) Joanne Trattoria in New York City’s upper west side. Smith proudly owns his public personality and is anything but quiet about his LGBT stance. He and husband Jesus Salguerio (a professional artist and vice president of Smith’s charity Common Threads) married at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 2010.
Just in time for the holiday baking season, renowned Magnolia Bakery paid a visit to Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" show and unveiled a brand-new recipe they created especially for the show. Pumpkin is a mainstay of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie being the traditional confections to feature the seasonal squash, but Magnolia Bakery has a new dessert recipe that offers a fresh twist on this holiday classic:
PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE BARS
1 tbsp. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/3 C. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
5.5 oz. Callebaut semisweet chocolate chunks
5 oz. butter, softened
4 large eggs
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/3 C. Hecker's AP Flour
Julia wrote that she learned to make this cake after seeing waiters strolling by with slice after slice in restaurants in the South of France. She would order a piece, only to be told the cake was sold out and that next time she would need to order a piece ahead of time.
The cake is made using a spiced brioche dough and is filled with rum flavored buttercream. The beehive effect comes from the toasted walnuts scattered on top. Julia suggests doubling the brioche recipe, but I found the single recipe that follows more than enough. The cake serves 12-15 people.
In one of her cooking programs, Martha gave a whole new meaning to “baby food.” It showed her conning some poor attention-starved parents into allowing her to “dress” their babies just in time for Thanksgiving – literally. Who needs turducken when you can smother a poor baby laying under hot lights with fancy felt cutouts and feathers attached with a sizzling hot glue gun? Where are social services when you need them!?
- Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert Shots
- Tasty Ron Abuelo Rum Cocktails Created by Local Mixologists
- The New Cupcake
- Blackberry Whiskey Hand Pies
- Dark Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cake Balls
- Bourbon-Cinnamon Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Ham It Up!
- Holiday Cocktails by VOGA Italia
- Easy And Delicious Holiday Recipes
- Let the Pros Cater Your Holiday Party
- Thanksgiving Sangria
- Halloween Cocktails
- VOGA Italia’s Late Summer Sangria
- QUINOA – “Gold of the Incas”
- Eat Like A Champ
- Drink Like A Pro
- Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavors
- Favorite Fruity Drinks
- The Best Seafood Appetizers
- Bite Me!