November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey cupcake from Hello Cupcake's website.

I'll take one of those adorable bird cupcakes over pie for Thanksgiving dinner any day. Because as much as I enjoy pie, there's just a cuteness and creativity level that cupcakes bring to the table. Then again, perhaps I'm just biased. ;)

My flight home is later this afternoon, so I'll be MIA for a bit... although I generally tend to be anyways I suppose. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

November 10, 2009

Greek food and wine with Michael Psilakis

I'm still recovering from the flu, so forgive me for the lapse in posts. Of course, I haven't been idle either, having nibbled on goodies from Cook.Eat.Drink.Live this past weekend, and The 12th Annual Chocolate Show the week before. With that in mind, I've chosen to focus on a food event I attended tonight that really encapsulates what food is meant to do: be accessible.

What do I mean by that? I mean that despite differing backgrounds, food can be a unifying medium that we use to communicate culture, emotions and memories.

Tonight's event was a cooking demonstration with Chef Michael Psilakis, owner of the popular Greek restaurant Anthos in NYC. Each attendee received a copy of his new cookbook, How to Roast a Lamb. Chef Psilakis regaled us with personal stories and down-to-earth home cooking tips while he prepped each dish of our four-course dinner. We, ever the attentive students, listened riveted while we sipped at wine pairings provided by the Astor Center. At $85, the class seemed like an incredible deal. It was all that and more.

The menu is reposted below:

* Roasted Octopus with Salami, Apple and Anchovy Vinaigrette

* Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Dumpling with Spicy Lamb Sausage, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato, Pine Nuts and Feta

* Braised Lamb Shank with Orzo and Root Vegetables

* Yogurt with Quince Spoon Fruit and Jordan Almonds

( Photos can be found at my Flickr set here )

There is a reason why Greek cuisine is the healthiest out of the Mediterranean diet, already known as one of the healthiest diets in the world. Each well-proportioned dish had so much depth from all of the bountiful ingredients. Not to mention,seeing the preparation, smelling the food cooking, and hearing the narration from the chef added many more sensual dimensions to the overall pleasure of the event than taste alone could provide.

I think what made this event even more accessible to me is that I can relate with other children of immigrant families who consider food a pervasive element of the culture. To this day, my mom still cooks two to three meals a day, usually from scratch, and never measures out her ingredients. It's in their bones. So as much as I enjoyed the meal, the meeting with Chef Psilakis, and the personalized cookbook, I think what I got most out of the experience is a desire to go reconnect with my mom.

I'll end this post with the message that Chef Psilakis wrote in my copy of his cookbook, which I'm sure will become my new supply of bedtime stories:

"To a lifetime of extraordinary meals and the memories spawned from them"

November 2, 2009