Posts from December 2013

Tofu Based Comfort Food for Snowy Day, Flying Buffalo Dip from 'Cheesy Vegan'

Snow falling outside my window makes me crave comfort food.

This recipe from The Cheesy Vegan More Than 125 Plant-Based Recipes for Indulging in the World's Ultimate Comfort Food by John Schlimm (Da Capo Lifelong, October 2013) could do the trick. 

Flying Buffalo Dip

Yields 6 TO 8 SERVINGS


Buffalo dip

Game day is calling and it wants a Buffalo “wing” dip everyone can enjoy! In addition to serving this blazing dip alone with toasted pita triangles, another option is to serve it alongside homemade Blue Cheese Dressing (page 41) or Blue Moon Dip (page 136) with celery sticks for dipping.

In a large bowl, combine the tofu, Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Mix well, and serve warm or at room temperature with toasted pita triangles.

(*Recipe from the book The Cheesy Vegan by John Schlimm. Reprinted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2013, Photo by Amy Beadle Roth)

Oyster Bar Brooklyn Set to Open in Park Slope at Noon on December 18

Outpost of Grand Central Oyster Bar is set to open in Brooklyn Park Slope on December 18 at 12 Noon.

Located at 256, Fifth Avenue, it is brought to Brooklyn by franchise owners Jonathan Younga longtime Brooklyn resident, and Bruce Fox.

"There will be a light fare menu for several weeks with a raw bar featuring oysters and clams on the half shell, New England clam chowder and appetizers including: shrimp cocktail, oyster shooters, smoked salmon, fried oysters, fried calamari, popcorn shrimp, fried clams, mussels, crab cake, fish tacos, caesar salad, caesar salad with shrimp or crabmeat. Sandwiches will include oyster po boy, lobster roll, fried clam sandwich, and crab cake sandwich, all served with French fries and coleslaw.  
The menu will ultimately include traditional oyster bar core recipes such as classic pan roasts, stews and chowders, with a focus on shellfish: from oysters and clams to lobster, crab and shrimp. Sixteen varieties of oysters - 8 from both the east and west coasts - will be on the menu. In addition, pasta seafood specials will be served daily. The accent will also be on local produce from area farmers’ markets."
Location will also include retail seafood market.

Nashville in London, Hatch Show Print Exhibit at Chelsea Space, Closes December 14

Fans of Vintage Posters (and more recent ones) who might also like country music and happen to be in London this week will want to check Hatch Show Print Exhibit at Chelsea Space between now and Saturday as the show closes on Saturday, December 14, 2013.

"CHELSEA space presents the very first UK exhibition dedicated to the American letterpress art of Hatch Show Print based in Nashville, Tennessee. This exhibition will represent a rare opportunity to view archive material and stunning posters from one of the world's greatest producers of letterpress design and explores the importance of the art of the poster in the history of communication.


Originally established in 1879, in a world before TV advertising and the internet, Hatch Show Print used strong design to convey information to the widest possible audience – a visual ‘shout’ across the American landscape.

Hatch Show Print is owned and operated by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum."

Besides country music artists, Hatch Show Print created posters for Elvis Presley, Neil Young, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and Aretha Franklin to name a few.

Event is FREE

(* Image of Exhibit Poster from Chelsea Space Twitter Page)

Life on 2 Wheels around the World in One Book, from Healthcare Delivery to Bicycle-Train Match

From Carlos Felipe Pardo of Despacio (Columbia) to Jeppe Mikél Jensen, "a Social Geographer and Communication Consultant currently working as a sustainability and mobility consultant for the Union of the Baltic Cities Commission on Environment (Turku, Finland)" and Esther Anaya (Catalonia) "doing research about public bicycles, cycling mobility history in Spain and bicycle mobility integration in schools", 25 authors contributed one chapter each to a book, Cyclists and Cycling around the World documenting how to create liveable and bikeable cities.

Where in wealthy countries, riding a bike is often a lifestyle-evironmentally minded choice, in Africa for example, groups like Coop Africa (cycling out of poverty) help people generate income (fruit bars on wheels, garbage collection, deliveries), education with rides to school and healthcare (bike4care, bike ambulances and bikes for healthcare workers so they can reach patients as shown below). 


I heard about the book via Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize who was in Lima for book launch (he took photo of his copy of book as shown below)


Life on 2 Wheels around the globe in 1 book for Green Day # 264

Previously: From CSA to CSF, Dock to Dish brings Community Supported Fisheries to New York

(* Bike4Care image from Coop-Africa Facebook Page)

Sipping Prosecco at Revel, Enjoying Company of Soave lady Francesca at Giovanni Rana

You could call this short post, the tale of the 2 Francescas.

I am more comfortable behind camera than in front of it, yet here I was captured in a few snaphots by Francesca at Move the Passion (wines from Veneto) event in New York (December 3, 2013).

First, i am sipping Prosecco at Revel, not sure if it was AnnoZero Extra Dry from Valdellovo or Sanguefreddo Extra Dry from his brother Sebastiano Ricci at Degli Ultimi (Italian only site for now)


Then enjoying the company of Soave lady Francesca (not the same as the one who took picture) at Giovanni Rana (Chelsea Market) whose location right across from Google must be beneficial.


I would like more of these human sized evening tastings.

(* Thanks to Francesca of Whales comunicazione for sharing pics)

Slightly Chocolaty Southern Coca Cola Cake from Annie Bell's Baking Bible

After Brooklyn Blackout Cake, here's a slightly chocolaty recipe from Annie Bell's Baking Bible (Kyle Books USA, Fall 2013).

Coca-Cola Cake 

This Southern cake is slightly chocolatey, and it is almost impossible to guess the Coca-Cola—although if you can lay your hands on some gummy Coca-Cola bottles to adorn it, they might just provide a clue.

Makes 1 x 1 0 - inch Bundt cake

For the cake

1 cup Coca-Cola

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

¾ teaspoon baking soda

2 cups self-rising flour, sifted

1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted

1½ cups superfine sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing

3 tablespoons Coca-Cola

3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


10-inch nonstick bundt pan

Little Extras

Unsalted butter for greasing

All-purpose flour for dusting

Chocolate sprinkles for decorating (optional)


Bring the coke to a boil with the butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the baking soda, which will fizz, and set aside for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325°F convection oven/375°F conventional oven, and butter and flour a 10-inch nonstick bundt pan.

Combine the flour, cocoa, and sugar in a large bowl, add the cola mixture, and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. Pour in the flour mixture and beat everything to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and give it a couple of taps on the work surface to bring up any air bubbles. Bake for about 40 minutes until risen and set and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of the pan and set aside to cool for about 30 minutes. Place a cake stand or plate on top of the pan and invert it, and leave to cool completely.

To make the icing, place the cola, butter, and cocoa in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking until smooth. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar, which will set very quickly, and without delay trickle it over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides—these don’t need to be completely covered.

Decorate with chocolate sprinkles if you wish. Set aside for about an hour for the icing to set. 

(* Recipe from Annie Bell's Baking Bible -Kyle Books USA, Fall 2013- reproduced with permission, Photography by Con Poulos)

Dress Up your Luggage with Dandy Nomad Suitcase Covers

Whether you want your luggage to look like a totem or sport the Eiffel tower, Dandy Nomad, a French company founded in 2012, can help you dress your suitcase.


It will make it that much easier among the many anonymous ones on the baggage carousel at the airport.


Great gift idea for Christmas and the Holidays 2013.

(* Photos Credits: top from Dandy Nomad website, bottom from Dandy Nomad Facebook page)


Qutub Minar in Backdrop for Sunday Brunch, Indian Terracotta at Sanskriti Museum, New Delhi 10 Do's and Don'ts

Previous 10 do's and don'ts took us to Charleston...

We take a giant leap across the globe for today's pick, New Delhi.

It is offered by Deepak Goel, founder and CEO of Drizzlin (a social media marketing agency) who currently splits his time between New Delhi and Mumbai.

Delhi 10 Do's and Don'ts


1. A walk in The Lodhi Gardens is one of the most pleasurable ones to take. Specially on winter afternoons or evenings any time of the year. 
Lodhi gardens
2. A look at the Visual Arts Gallery at The India Habitat Centre is always a good one to get a sense of contemporary Indian Art. 
3. The India Habitat Centre also opens avenues to some interesting plays, classical music concerts and more art exhibits. 
4. The India International Centre is a good catch if geo political issues catch your fancy from India's foreign policy perspective. The occasional classical performances and broader scope lectures are also a delight. 
5. Well the latest buzz in town is Hauz Khas Village, a place like no other in India. Cafe's, Restaurants, Boutiques selling fashion, interiors and other trinkets are a delight. Well the amazing backdrop of the fort and a lake is totally worth the visit. 
6. Paharganj near the New Delhi train station is a good walk to take for its food and roof top restaurants. The place has undergone massive renovations (that has taken away the old world charm) but still a good view of the buzzy city. 
7. Olive Bar and Kitchen near Mehrauli is a great Sunday brunch location, good food even better location in the backdrop of the Qutub Minar makes the leafy surroundings superb. 
8. Purani Dilli (Old Delhi) near Jama Masjid takes you to Karim's - one of the best places for Mughal Cuisine. It can be really greasy but very tasty. 
9. How can I not talk about one of the best places to eat at Gung The Palace in Green Park. If you're looking for a break from Indian food, there is no place as wonderful as this Korean restaurant. 
10. In Anandagram, Sanskriti Foundation with its great Indian terracotta collection, Museum of Everyday Art and beautiful huts is a hidden treasure on the Gurgaon Mehrauli road.  
Sanskriti foundation
1. Late nights aren't very exciting in the city. So if its past 11pm, you better know your way and company. The city is not as unsafe as its made to believe, but there isn't much fun around. 
2. Don't visit the popular markets of South Extention, GK 1, Defence Colony etc - they all look the same and are chaotic beyond belief. Unless thats what you're seeking. 
3. Street food in summer - just be careful. Lack of good storage makes it a bit tricky. 
4. Palika Bazaar - a market worth seeing but not buying. 
5. Rickshaw / Taxis - know your way, be with a local if possible. Trust the radio taxis otherwise. 
(* Photo credits: Lodhi Gardens via $umit, Olive Bar and Kitchen from from Olive at the Qutub Facebook page, Indian Terra-cotta from Sanskriti Museums Facebook page)

Mushroom Meringues crowned Buche de Noel, Christmas Centerpiece from Beekman 1802 Dessert Cookbook

Not all Buches de Noel (Yule Logs) are equal.

Some like this one from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook (Rodale, September 2013) stand out. It will be worth the time you put in.



Think of dessert as the centerpiece of your holiday table. Yule logs are traditionally served at Christmastime. Decorated with Mushroom Meringues (page 60), they look like a log in the forest. Using this bûche de Noel (the classic name for this dessert) as a centerpiece saves you time. You can give the hot glue gun a rest. 


Softened butter and all-purpose flour for the pan 

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar 

3 large eggs 

3 large egg yolks 

11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

1/8 teaspoon salt 

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

1/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned into cup and leveled off) 

1/3 cup cornstarch 

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 


2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur (such as crème de framboise) 

2 tablespoons cold water 

1 envelope (1/4 ounce) plain unflavored gelatin 

1 package (10 ounces) frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed 

1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam 

1 cup heavy cream 

1/4 cup sugar 


4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter 

2 tablespoons honey 

Mushroom Meringues (page 60), for decorating 

Confectioners' sugar for dusting, optional 


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10 × 15-inch jelly-roll pan. Line with waxed paper. Butter and flour the paper. Place a large kitchen towel on a work surface. Dust the towel with the confectioners' sugar. 

In a large metal bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt until combined. Gradually whisk in the granulated sugar. Place the bowl over, not in, a pan of simmering water and whisk (by hand) until the mixture is warm (about 115°F on an instant-read thermometer). 

Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until thick, light in color, and about tripled in volume. 

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. With a strainer, sift one-third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and gently fold it in by hand. Repeat two more times. 

Scrape the mixture into the jelly-roll pan and, with a small offset spatula, evenly spread the batter in the pan. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately turn the cake onto the kitchen towel and carefully peel off the waxed paper. Starting at one short end, roll up the cake and towel together. Let cool on a wire rack. 

To make the filling: In a small bowl, combine the liqueur and cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and let stand for 5 minutes, or until softened. 

In a food processor, combine the raspberries and jam and puree. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the seeds. Transfer the puree to a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Add the gelatin mixture, stirring until melted. Let cool to room temperature. 

In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in the raspberry mixture. Refrigerate, whisking occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until it's beginning to set up but still spreadable. 

Unroll the cake and spread the raspberry mixture over the cake, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Starting at one short end, roll the cake up jelly-roll fashion. 

To make the chocolate glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate, butter, and honey and cook over low heat until melted, stirring until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and let cool until of a spreading consistency. 

To assemble the cake: Cut off about 11/2 inches from each end of the cake on a shallow angle and set the pieces aside. Spread the glaze on the cake. Place the reserved pieces of cake on the top of the "log," angled side down and spread with the glaze. Refrigerate until set and decorate with Mushroom Meringues. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired. 

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell-published by Rodale-September 2013- Photographer:Paulette Tavormina)

Berlin Snowflake, Duck, Brussels Sprouts, Preview of 25th Anniversary of Fall of Berlin Wall

The library room at Soho House in New York was a cozy setting for Visit Berlin and Air Berlin Christmas bash on Tuesday, December 3rd.

I rarely drink cocktails yet went for the Berlin Snowflake.

While enjoying a plate of duck, fresh carrots, brussels sprouts and string beans served buffet style, we were given an update on upcoming celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in 2014.


One of the main highlights around the official November 9 date:

"Along the former course of the Berlin Wall a new temporary Berlin Wall will be built with thousands of white balloons. It is going to run right through the city centre and it will be illuminated. If the weather is good enough this wall can even be seen from outer space.
Visitors to Berlin have many choices to experience the history of the wall and what it meant to the city and the people of Berlin. These include a GPS-guided walking tour on the trail of the Berlin Wall, guided or self-guided bicycle tours on the Wall path, visits to underground Berlin, former watch towers, Wall memorials, The GDR Museum, or a drive into the East of the city in an original GDR Trabant car."

We also learned that Berlin is home to more than 160 museums and 6 symphony orchestras.

Because of its relative affordability, the city is now also home to thousands of artists and creative types.

Guests at the party could choose from a selection of cookie hearts with a message. I had to pick the one above even though i am not on my way to Berlin anytime soon. Wish I had a chance to visit its Weinachtsmarkt...

More highlights of 2014-2015 events can be found here...