Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Drink up: Epicurean class teaches nuances of vodka

What vodkas taste best in a Cosmo? A seasoned mixologist will explain at the Epicurean Thursday.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 8:46 AM

  • TheCulinaryGeek via Wikimedia Commons
From 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Vodka Distilled author Tony Abou-Ganim, known as the Modern Mixologist, will lead the Epicurean Theatre's latest class, "A Fresh Look at Vodka & Vodka Based Cocktails," in Tampa.

Appearing on television shows such as Iron Chef America and Today, Abou-Ganim has taught bar industry professionals across the globe. 

Throughout the evening, experts and amateurs will learn the differences between rye-based vodkas and corn-distilled variations, the types of vodka that suit cocktails like a Cosmopolitan or Bloody Mary and more.

Cocktails and Élevage food pairings are included with a $45 ticket, which may be purchased in advance or at the doors.

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Deliciously decadent: Chocolate macarons for the holiday

A French macaron recipe to tempt chocoholics on National Chocolate Macaron Day.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 2:15 AM

  • Dana's Bakery
Dana Loia of Dana's Bakery, based in New York City, shared this recipe for 40 chocolatey macarons with CL in observation of June 3 as National Chocolate Macaron Day. This French delicacy and its dark chocolate ganache filling are only reserved for the most dedicated chocoholics.

Chocolate Macarons
Makes 40 sandwiched 1-inch macarons (80 halves)

1 1/4 packed cups almond flour
1/4 packed cup cocoa (dutch process)
Pinch of fine sea salt
3/4 packed cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup aged egg whites (from 4 eggs)
4 drops (gel) brown food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse almond flour, salt and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a food processor 4 times for 4 seconds each time. sift.

Whip the powdered egg whites in an electric mixer bowl with 1 tablespoon the granulated sugar, cream of tartar and aged egg whites on medium-high speed until glossy stiff peaks form.

Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until you reach the unique macronnage stage (and add food coloring, if using, when the dry ingredients appear to be just incorporated). It is important to fold the different components just enough, but not too much or the macarons will crack. To make sure that you have reached the right point, once the ingredients appear combined, lift some of the mixture about 1 inch above the bowl with the spatula. If it retains a three-dimensional shape, fold it again. When folded just enough, the mixture should fall right back into the bowl, with no stiffness, in one continuous drip.

Pipe the macarons 1 1/2 inches apart on a parchment- or silicon baking sheet-lined (double) sheet pan. Slam the baking sheet down to remove extra air (slam 6 times, 6 inches above the table). Let macarons sit to get a skin for 15-30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes, until the macarons just come off the baking sheet when you lift them (the centers will have risen, and will not have any dark indentations). If the macarons darken too quickly, put a wooden spoon in the door of the oven to prop it slightly open. Cool completely before removing and filling.

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
408 grams chocolate
234 grams heavy cream
24 grams light corn syrup
2 grams vanilla extract

Place chocolate in bowl, then pour hot heavy cream over chocolate. Let sit for 4 minutes. Stir with whisk from center toward outside of bowl mixing chocolate. Once combined (with no breakage), add corn syrup. Let sit to cool or place in fridge. Whip until light and fluffy before using.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Vinoy goes Throwback Thursday with Day of Discovery

Don your finest 1920s attire for this year's Global Day of Discovery at the Vinoy in St. Pete.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 5:19 PM

Downtown St. Pete's Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club will throw its annual Global Day of Discovery gathering, now in its fourth year, at the on-site Marchand's Bar & Grill from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 11.

More than 150 Renaissance hotels scattered around 35 locales will accompany the Vinoy in the daylong celebration that urges guests to get out and experience the cities they're staying in.

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Fuhgeddaboudit: Get Dinner with the Mob this month

WiseGuy Kitchen dinner show will hit the region with food, comedy and more from June to October.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 11:42 AM

The WiseGuy Kitchen's Dinner with the Mob cast, with Fiore dressed in white. - WISEGUY KITCHEN
  • WiseGuy Kitchen
  • The WiseGuy Kitchen's Dinner with the Mob cast, with Fiore dressed in white.

A spin-off of the locally filmed WiseGuy Kitchen television show from New York chef-turned-actor Vincent Fiore, the touring Dinner With The Mob show will be showcased at Florida venues from June until October. The first dinner theater performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Spring Hill's Palace Grand.

Like the TV segment, Dinner — which Fiore created, produced and wrote alongside Orlando-based actor-director Phil Card — is a live cooking show that features Broadway-style vocals and entertainment, Fiore's New York-inspired Italian recipes "with wiseguy flair," according to a news release, and audience participation. 

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Monday, June 1, 2015

On the menu: Annual Sarasota restaurant week returns

Cross the Skyway to get your grub on at 50 restaurants during Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 6:14 AM

  • Visit Sarasota County via Facebook
While the yearly culinary celebration in our neck of the woods doesn't kickoff until Thursday, June 11, the 10-year-old Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week begins Monday. Diners have until Sunday, June 14, to experience a range of fare from 50 local restaurants.

The eateries, a mix of annual favorites and eight newcomers, plan to offer three-course dinner lineups for $29 and $15 multicourse lunch menus.

Mozaic, The Blue Rooster, Café Gabbiano, Ophelia's on the Bay and Darwin's on 4th are among this year's participants. A full list of restaurants is available online, along with each spot's restaurant week menu.

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Food meets art in MFA 50th Anniversary cookbook

More than 100 Bay area cooks' recipes to be highlighted in a new kitchen keepsake, Food + Art.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 5:05 AM

  • Story Farm
From pastas and soups to vegetarian entrees and tastes fit for entertaining, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Margaret Acheson Stuart Society's new cookbook — Food + Art: Cooking around Tampa Bay with the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg — will feature 120 food formulas by more than 100 local cooks when it's released in fall.

Community leaders, artists, professional chefs and others have contributed to the recipe collection that commemorates the museum's 50th anniversary. Readers can expect Crispy Shrimp Wontons from Jeanne Houlton, Wayne Atherholt's Raspberry Martini and way more.

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Win with gin: Cucumber Mint Fizz

Serve this variation on a favorite at your next outdoor soirée.

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2015 at 10:53 PM

  • Angelina Bruno
Simple with refreshing hints of sweet and cool, this take on a gin fizz combines fresh ingredients to create a great warm-weather cocktail. It's best enjoyed with your feet up, and sure to be a hit during all your summer porch parties. Bottoms up!

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Harbor Dish celebrates summer with dinner, ladybug release Saturday

On Saturday, say hello to summer through a Harbor Dish feast, music and hundreds of ladybugs.

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 6:04 PM

Harbor Dish plans to serve up pulled pork and more this weekend. - THE HARBOR DISH VIA FACEBOOK
  • The Harbor Dish via Facebook
  • Harbor Dish plans to serve up pulled pork and more this weekend.
Help the nonprofit Harbor Dish Community Cafe, based in Safety Harbor, ring in summer during its latest free community dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Guests, who are encouraged to relax under the cafe's shady trees with their own chairs, will chow down on chipotle orange chicken, kale salad and smoked pulled pork, along with desserts and drinks, before hundreds of ladybugs are released at 7.

Live sounds, chalk art and games will be showcased as well. The gathering is kid- and pet-friendly.

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LocalShops1 opens nominations for Best in Biz Awards

Best in Biz Awards will recognize eateries, nonprofits and other spots making Tampa Bay awesome.

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 4:15 PM

  • LocalShops1 via Facebook
Regionites have until midnight Saturday to nominate their favorite Bay area nonprofits and businesses (restaurants and drinkeries included) for LocalShops1's annual Best in Biz Awards, taking place 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, at downtown St. Pete's Museum of Fine Arts.

Six categories — Best New Business, Best at Grassroots Marketing, Most Community-Minded Business and Best Nonprofit among them — are up for grabs.

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Only in Tampa: Gaspar's, Dough make local edition of new series

What the Fung?! TV show to feature conch fritters, doughnuts and more in June 4's Tampa episode.

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 2:49 PM

Brothers Andrew and David Fung nosh on the cheap in their new food series. - FYI TELEVISION NETWORK
  • FYI Television Network
  • Brothers Andrew and David Fung nosh on the cheap in their new food series.

At 9 p.m. Thursday, the Tampa edition of Andrew and David Fung's fresh FYI network show, What the Fung?!, will showcase local grub from Gaspar's Grotto in Ybor City, South Tampa's Dough and others.

In the series, the comedy-hip-hop-and-food-lovin' brothers, who already have a strong YouTube following, eat their way around U.S. cities like New Orleans and Asheville with $50 each, discovering each destination's most iconic, wallet-friendly dishes. Restaurant owners and chefs demonstrate how they craft their signature cuisine as well.

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