The Superbowl and Avocados
Two thirds of all avocados sold in the US are purchased within three days of the Superbowl!! That is over 50 Million Pounds of Avocados.
Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable. Avocados are sodium- and cholesterol-free and have only five grams of fat per serving, most of it the monounsaturated kind. California produces about 90% of the nation’s avocado crop. About 43% of all U.S. households buy avocados. And…………….
they make great guacamole for the Superbowl.
Recently, we had the opportunity to spend time with some of the movers and groovers of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau. It was great to hear about all their work and all the projects they are working on. This organization entices, pursues and pursuades groups (mostly corporations and associations) to bring their people to Saratoga Springs.
Also known by the name, Saratoga Experience, they are dedicated to bringing people and dollars to the downtown Saratoga area and making the town more of a year round destination place. It is safe to say Saratoga is well on its way to being a Destination Place for weddings already. We cater quite a few Saratoga Destination Weddings every year. Couples come from all over the country to be wed in this town.
One of the events organized and executed by Saratoga Experience is the ChowderFest. This event has become very, very popular. It promotes the great restaurants Saratoga offers and it’s always quite fun. So, if you have February 2 open……….go!
If you’re not familiar with Saratoga Experience or want to learn more details about Chowderfest 08, check out their website at:
New York Wedding Affair at Universal Preservation Hall
If you haven’t heard of Well Wed Magazine you are probably not in the market for a wedding. But if you were……..you would definitely want this magazine. It is a perfect size, it has high quality photos, great articles, lots of suggestions and unlike most bridal magazines it is not 90% ads. It focusses on Eastern Upstate NY which is very nice. Here is the website to get one or you can pick one up at many local bookstores.
Why do I bring this up? Because on Saturday, tomorrow January 19th, they are at Universal Preservation Hall in downtown Saratoga Springs with a bridal show called New York Wedding Affair. We will be at this show and we expect it will be a very nice day for everyone attending. There has been a lot of thought and care put into this show to benefit the bride and groom in as many ways possible.
And if you haven’t checked out Universal Preservation Hall you absolutely must. It’s a large, beautiful, old cathedral church that many people have vested in over a number of years to save it from a bleak future. A large wedding could not find a better venue.
Just a quick note!
WNYT (Channel 13) has posted the video footage for the food segment I did for them of Sushi. Check it out here and try it! I roll a California Roll for you. Watch it over and over until you get it. You may fail at first but you will get better and you will be so pleased. If you have questions please ask.
Adirondack Regional Chambers of Commerce
Last night at the fantastic Wood Theater in downtown Glens Falls (and just off the new round-a-bout) the Adirondack Regional Chambers of Commerce (ARCC) held their Annual Meet the Board Mixer. The new board members were all present as was a large crowd of Chamber members. Michael and I were one of three sponsors for the event and when we sponsor something it is generally directly translated into FOOD!!
We made loads of food, our great staff served and everyone enjoyed themselves completely. The wine was flowing and even though I’m not sure anyone heard any announcements over the roar of the crowd I want to thank the Chamber for allowing me to speak about our business.
We’ve belonged to ARCC since 2001. Since then our business has grown trememdously. A large portion of our catering events take place in the Glens Falls/Lake George/Queensbury area. We also support more non-profits in these areas than we ever have. And with each passing year we’re sure our catering and support will grow with the help of this most helpful chamber.
Eating the season ………..in January?
Once January hits our catering business slows down a bit but that does not translate into leisure. We have a huge increase in client meetings and tastings. This year, more than ever, our brides are asking for local foods to be served at their receptions. This is great. But the problem arises when they arrive in the dead of January for a tasting and I’m cooking …………..what? I’ve done pretty well working with this but I became curious what exactly is available in upstate NY at this time. I found this chart. Check it out.
So here’s some suggestions using the list:
French Onion Soup- some stale, good bread and aged Gruyere…….. and yum! it’s dinner!
Roasted Cabbage – grab a pound or two of your favorite sausage (get a really good quality one and it’ll be a treat. German, Polish or Spanish), chunk up two onions and two apples. Chunk up your cabbage and toss it all in a roasting pan with a bit of water. Place the lid on and place in oven for two hours at 350F. Check for salt and pepper seasoning. Serve with mashed potatoes and a great mustard!
Spaghetti Squash- there is no easier squash to work with. Take it out of the fridge and place it in a 375F oven (you don’t even have to remove the sticker) until the skin is browned and a bit crunchy. Allow it to sit on your counter for 5-10 minutes. Cut it in half and using a large spoon scoop out the insides into a large bowl. Toss and break up the chunks with a little butter, salt and pepper. Top it with a good Pasta Sauce of any kind. Serve! It’s amazing.
Sushi on WNYT
On Thursday, January 10, I will be on the Channel 13 (WNYT) Noon News once again. This time I will be teaching how to make sushi for entertaining. Sushi is so good and so fun and so beautiful that it’s hard to not love it. And let me add you don’t have to use any raw seafood or eel or octopus or caviars. But if you like it then by all means ADD IT!
Check out the recipe I posted on the WNYT website here. It’s listed under the “Let’s Eat” catagory and will not be posted until 1/10:
If you have questions…….just ask!
Make your sushi about an hour before your guests arrive or if you want to add fun to your party you could wait and involve your guests in the sushi making.
Decorate your table and counter tops with bamboo in vases. Display your sushi on beautiful Japanese platters with small Japanese plates for each of your guests. Add gorgeous chopsticks and you have a fun party.
Go to a good wine store and purchase a nice sake to go with your sushi. I once participated in a sake tasting. I have never been a big fan but when I tasted the different brands I could not believe how great a good sake could be. Do some research, go to a store you trust and serve a great sake with your sushi. When dealing with Sushi and Sake think quality.
YMCA and First Night Volunteers
I never realized what it took to pull off the very successful First Night event in Saratoga Springs. I’ve always been too exhausted (from cooking or carving ice scultures, more of this story to come) to attend this event.
Here in Saratoga Springs the YMCA is the power behind this evening. I’m not sure if it is a fund raiser for them or if they break even and it’s just part of their contribution to this community. Either way, it’s fun, it’s done right and it’s hard to not find something to do at any time. What I didn’t realize is just how many people gave up their evenings to volunteer and make it all happen. It takes 300 to be exact.
For the last few years, myself and several other talented chefs donated ice carvings that were displayed in front of the Visiter’s Center. Once they were all up and the back lighting was added they all looked very impressive.
Now, to say I’m accomplished at this is to say I am accomplished at chicken wings (see last posting!). OK, I’m better at ice carving than chicken wings BUT that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I don’t have a great place to carve and it’s not something we really offer in our day to day catering so I typically end up in the back of my Dodge Ram pick-up with my chain saw, dremel and chisels. Are you visualizing this yet? If so, add wind, sub-zero temperatures and snow. Now you’re getting the picture.
This year my supportive husband kindly asked if there was possibly something else we could do to help with First Night. They mentioned they needed to feed their volunteers and we jumped at it. THAT we can do and I won’t get frost bite. It was our first time doing it but we came up with a bagged meal for all 300 volunteers and we hope they enjoyed them. Now that we know how the whole evening works we’ll do an even better job next year and really get a food program down. We have some great staff who volunteered themselves to help assemble the bagged meals.
I want to thank all 300 of the incredible volunteers who donated their entire evening to make First Night so successful and if I could forgo the ice carving next year I’ll feed you all again.
My daughter cries out, “Step away from the chicken wings Mom!” Yes, that would be me, Mom. It seems there is a food I am banned from making in our house. Chicken Wings.
Let me explain. I’m not a huge fried food person. Don’t misunderstand me…………… I love a good platter of real fish and chips and the thought of authentic Pommes Frites (which if you haven’t had them at Ravenous on Phila Street you are missing out!) served with aioli could send me into nervana. I guess it’s the entire cuisine from a fryolator I don’t get. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say I’ve been to weddings/events where I’ve been served hors d’oeuvres, appetizer and entree all served from a fryolator. Ask any Sysco executive what drives their business and I’d bet it’s items supplying the fryolator including the vats of oil to fill them. I pick Sysco because, right or wrong, I feel they are one of the power houses behind the monster machine pushing processed, fried, adulterated foods into our lives on every level. They are the ones who find the sources to sell all these foods to.
Back to me and my family. I tried to do something nice for my children on Christmas so I made them chicken wings. You might be thinking why? My two girls don’t get many “junk” foods although the one in college is making up for it. I baked fresh chicken wings in the oven, poured off all the fat, made a sauce of tabasco and margarine, poured it over and served them. I was met with looks of amazement. Evidently, I somehow made soft, moist, fall-off-the-bone wings with a slight glaze of orange.
They wondered how they could put any difficult recipe in front of me and I could make it with no issues but put a simple chicken wing recipe in front of me and I make a mound of anemic meat with runny sauce.
I’m not sure I’m insulted.