Lucky Taco Giveaway (!!!!)

Know what’s great? Tacos. Know what’s also great? Hartford.

Now that that’s cleared up, try your  luck and enter my giveaway for some tasty treats at Hartford’s awesome Lucky Taco truck.

Although I never rarely do blog giveaways, I was approached by the fine folks at Lucky Taco to give away a package of three free lunches at their food truck along with a selection of Muir Glen products. GUYS, TACOS! So I couldn’t decline because, tacos.

Chefs Dave and Erin Emmons of Lucky Taco Truck, voted Hartford’s Best Food Truck in 2013, have created a number of recipes using Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes and it’s time for you to follow their lead. The tomatoes are great, and, as a bonus, thrown in the giveaway with some other Muir Glen products.

If you’re unfamiliar with the truck’s offerings, they’ve got everything from funky twists on comforting Tex-Mex tacos to inventive ‘around the world’ variations.

ENTER TO WIN BY LEAVING A BLOG COMMENT: You must tell me 1) your favorite Lucky Taco on the menu OR 2) why tacos are the best food ever. 

Photo courtesy of Nick Caito for The Hartford Courant

My highlights:

-Island jerk pork: Slow roasted pork with spicy, truck made jerk seasoning and mango pico de gallo

-Shaved rib eye steak grilled with peppers, onions, and mild white cheddar

-Marinated portobella fajita

-Thai chicken taco with red curry peanut sauce topped with carrot, cabbage and cilantro slaw.

Take a look at the rest

Good luck!

Who says you can’t play with your food?

Ok, seriously, have you guys seen this?

Photographers Create The Tiniest of Dramas On Your Dinner.

Definitely the best part of the new year so far.

Here’s a link to the whole gallery.

I leave you with this:

And this…

 

Small Plates, Big Flavor

Since I know you’re looking for some new reading material to ring in the new year, I thought I’d help you out with the most shameless of all the shameless plugs.

That said, check out my most recent column for Seasons Magazine! From traditional Spanish tapas to upscale small plates, the article highlights some of the best spots around greater Hartford – Vinted, Costa Del Sol and Tapas. Here’s the link.

Fall Flavors With An Italian Twist – Spotlight on Billy Grant

Yeah ok, it’s been some time since I’ve blogged. Rest assured, I’ve been writing all along.

Let’s face it. November is chilly as hell. We all need a little comfort and the best form is food.

Take a look at the column I wrote for Seasons Magazine - Fall Flavors With An Italian Twist, focusing on restauranteur Billy Grant and his West Hartford and Glastonbury eateries. Here’s the link.

 

Beyond the interview, Grant was also nice enough to provide a few recipes for dishes you can make at home – including my personal favorite, lamb meatballs with goat cheese, pine nuts, grappa soaked raisins, and mint. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, maybe the recipe for tiny penne with sausage, charred brussel sprouts, pecorino and cracked pepper will. You can find these at the end of the article.

Stay tuned for the winter column, all about upscale small plates and tapas-style dining. I’ll post it when the issue is published.

Seasons Magazine is a quarterly publication that distributes to readers in West Hartford, Glastonbury, Farmington Valley, and the Litchfield Hills.

 

Operation Wedding Cake

I like to think that each of us has at least one crazy, brilliant friend who somehow makes everything seem to work out seamlessly.

Like when she recruits you into helping create her wedding cake the night before the ceremony.

Maybe that’s just me.

A couple weeks ago, I flew out to Cleveland to celebrate the marriage of one of my oldest friends. Emily (yes, there’s two of us) and I went to elementary/middle/high school together but the most hilariously memorable times were working together in a chocolatier at age 17, then thinking we could recreate the beautifully crafted truffles at home. We couldn’t. But we did make a huge mess with our sad attempts at ganache.

In the end, I kept making my sad, mishapen confections while Em went off to the Culinary Institute of America to actually focus on baking and pastry.

And here we are today.
So, ten years later, when Em told me that we’d be making and assembling a lovely wedding croquembouche when I was in town for the weekend, I didn’t really bat an eye. I would, of course, be on ganache duty…we had to fill 900 cream puffs, after all.

What I didn’t expect was a room full of friends, relatives, and bridal party in an assembly line flurry of activity – chopping pounds and pounds of chocolate, melting it for ganache, filling creampuffs, making caramel (for the glue that holds all creampuffs together in its glorious tower), and piping chocolate tuxedos onto hundreds of strawberries. With plenty of pizza and wine in the background, of course.

With all the chaos, loved ones and chocolate in one place, it was pure magic.

At least in my mind, this is everything a wedding weekend should be. Informally gathering all of your favorite people in one place and creating magnificent desserts in the process.

As you can see, though my shoddy instagram photos don’t do it justice, everything turned out beautifully.

And to think, my skills in the kitchen have improved in the last decade! Who knew?
So thank you, my dear friend and beautiful bride, for one hell of a sweet time.

Farm to Shaker Cocktails – CT Bartender Challenge

The Coventry Farmers’ Market is hosting their Farm-to-Shaker Bartender Challenge this coming Sunday, August 11th.

I attended last year and not only is it full of farm-fresh libations, but ticket costs are extremely reasonable. $25 gets you food, cocktails and the opportunity to watch some of the area’s most talented mixologists work their magic with local ingredients (not to mention RIPE Craft Bar Juice and Onyx Moonshine). Even better, it benefits the Coventry Farmers’ Market.

Chion Wolf from WNPR is emceeing and you’ll find me on the judges panel with JD Altobello (RIPE), Adam VonGootkin (Onyx Spirits) and David Brogan (mixologist extraordinaire). Bartenders from Firebox, A Thyme to Cook, Cavey’s, Eli Cannon and Max’s Oyster Bar will showcase their skills by mixing together some killer cocktails…which you’ll get to sample.

Anyway, it’s a wonderful event and I’m excited to be a part of it after enjoying myself so much last year.

So, you should come. Here’s the ticket info and purchase page: http://farmtoshaker.eventbrite.com/