Archive | November, 2011

Snowflake Social at Margaret Fuller House & Contest

28 Nov


The Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House is a nonprofit community center in Central Square, Cambridge, MA. They’re hosting an open house fundraiser on Thursday, December 8 and you’re invited!

Local bakeries and cafes will share delicious samples in rooms throughout the house (including Café Luna, Crema Café, Mariposa Bakery, Toscanini’s, and Veggie Galaxy). There are also fantastic raffle prizes (including Sebastians and Flour Bakery). You can’t miss this!

You can register here and pay at the door (a $10 donation) for this fun event. The Margaret Fuller House makes a huge difference in the families of Area IV and Cambridge through their food pantry, after-school program for youth, computer lab and classes, health support groups, and other resources.

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And…EatingPlaces is giving away two Snowflake Social tickets!

How to enter (one entry for each option, for a total of up to two entries):

  1. Comment below, answering this question: What do you like most about winter/holiday parties?
  2. Follow @EatingPlaces, tweet the following, and leave a comment below saying you did: I entered to win @MFNHouse #SnowSoc tix from @EatingPlaces! http://bit.ly/qGtXvb #Boston #nonprofit

The contest will end Friday, December 2, at noon (EST). The winner and one guest will attend the Snowflake Social (located in Cambridge, MA) on Thursday, December 8 (6-8pm).

One winner will be chosen at random using an online generator. I will contact the winner via email on 12/2 and if there is no response within 24 hours, an alternate will be chosen.

Good luck!

EatingPlaces visits America’s Test Kitchen!

27 Nov

Earlier this month Boston Brunchers organized a blogger tour of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK). Since moving to Boston I’ve watched hundreds of ATK and Cook’s Country tv episodes and Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook is my go-to guide for kitchen recipes. So you can understand how I felt like a 10 year-old waiting for this awesome field trip to Brookline.

Steph Yiu, the ATK Social Media Manager (above explaining the ‘Wall of Awesome’), was our headquarters guide. The wall is full of website comments and image submissions that change weekly to reflect reader experiences. Steph shared ATK history, was patient with all of our necessary food blogger photography, and even let us in on a few secrets.

Our first stop was the library. ATK has thousands of cookbooks and other food-themed literature. Steph explained the reason for having so many books: before a new recipe is developed in the Test Kitchen, there’s a ‘Five Recipe Test’. Five versions of the same dish are made to compare options for the future ATK recipe. Test cooks can easily find variety with so many books.

After the library we visited the photography rooms where photographers use natural light. This is how they achieve the stunning ATK images that you see on The Feed and in their magazines and cookbooks (and why I’ll wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to cook and take photos).

Ever wished you had a few more napkin options for the kitchen table? Not a problem at ATK! These bins are full of fabrics and accessories for photos.
We’re going in!

The most well-stocked kitchen I’ve ever seen (although, as you can see, many of the items are for photography purposes). We learned that ATK buys kitchen items from local stores and everything is home-size with the exception of the hoods and an industrial refrigerator and dishwasher. This allows cooks to test the true quality of items as if they were home cooks. Similarly, they purchase ingredients from markets at home kitchen-size portions (no industrial orders!).

There are about 25 test cooks (and 10 test cook interns) at ATK and editors bring together their work for publication. Two posed for a quick photo op in the kitchen.

If you’ve seen the ATK tv series you’ll recognize this room. I had no idea they film an entire season over a three week period in May (that means those thick winter stews are made in the summer!). The majority of cooks leave the main kitchen during filming because of constant activity in the room. Throughout the rest of the year the kitchen is busy with activity and ovens are on for over 40 hours each week.

I also learned that recipes are made six months in advance, so sometimes you’ll find test cooks grilling outside in the snow with a space heater. That’s dedication!

It was such a privilege to tour America’s Test Kitchen and have a behind-the-scenes look at the dedicated and enthusiastic team. It’s amazing how much work is produced behind these Brookline doors – now whenever I watch ATK shows on PBS I have a completely new appreciation. It was a wonderful experience!

Saturday Short List: Nov 26

26 Nov

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to spend time with my family and eat delicious food – two things to be very thankful for! We also took a short trip to the Cape and spent a day in Provincetown, one of my favorite towns.

  • Bakerella is where edible treats meet design. Angie Dudley, its creator, made cake pops of the adorable Target dog. Find them on the store’s blog, A Bullseye View.
  • Simple Bite’s 2011 Top 10 Cookbook Picks will inspire your holiday shopping. Technology is great, but there’s nothing like a beautiful cookbook.
  • Ten Steps to Coffee from the US National Coffee Association. It’s great to be excited about informed consumption and the coffee industry is fascinating.

Saturday Short List: Nov 19

19 Nov

Did you have a chance to read the first ever EatingPlaces Saturday Short List last week? I received wonderful feedback and I’m excited to have this list be a weekly fixture. Feel free to email me if you have a suggestions.

  • Grab your calendars! Next Saturday (11/26) is Small Business Saturday, so exercise some restraint on Black Friday and save a few purchases for your local stores. Or, make your own using…
  • Last night I watched Black Gold, a documentary film about coffee farmers in Ethiopia and coffee trading around the world. If you drink coffee or know of anyone who drinks coffee (I think that covers everyone…), this film is a must-see. We hear terms like ‘fair trade’ thrown around all the time, but once you understand the coffee trade process, it will shift the way you pour (or order) that delicious drink.
  • So we’re now five days away from Thanksgiving. I’m not hosting, so no pressure there, but I’m excited to bring my tres leches (three milk) cake to our family Thanksgiving. I need your help, though: any favorite fruit toppings for tres leches? I’ve used pineapple and mango in the past, but I want to mix it up this year!

Thanks for checking out another Saturday Short List!

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