Appetizing Events: Say Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, Please

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese made in 2012

A few weeks ago, Whole Foods Market organized a private event, “Parmigiano Reggiano, The King of Cheese,” in which we nibbled on Italian hors d’oeuvres, antipasti and wines. The featured chef was Massimo Bottura of the award-winning Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena, Italy. His restaurant is listed in the top five of The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards since 2010. Read more

Serving Roasted Asparagus and Lemon Chicken Pasta at a Vegetarian Potluck

Roasted Asparagus Lemon Pasta
Roasted Asparagus Lemon Pasta

Learned about a last minute invitation to a potluck on the same day as the event.  Luckily, it was in the morning, but the week’s menu was already planned. Our dinner became a gift to the host. When we arrived, it was discovered it was a vegetarian affair. Needless to say, this dish had all the sinful pleasures: cream, chicken and cheese.  The roasted asparagus and the fresh herbs were the only honest ingredients. It was also the first empty bowl amid the other righteous dishes.

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Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce, Peas, Zucchini and Chicken

Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce, Peas, Zucchini and Chicken
Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce, Peas, Zucchini and Chicken

Promptly exiting the office at 5 p.m., I had to make a choice between two important tasks causing scheduling conflicts: going grocery shopping or working out. The local gym, free to the neighborhood, is open for two hours on three weekdays. Although, I’ve recently discovered running in cold weather is a refreshing activity, the gym is still needed on snowy days when the streets are icy. That free gym saves the budget from a yearly membership expense, because it is not needed in the summer. The recent snowstorm had enough power to close the gym, in which a few days of running were missed. It also delayed grocery shopping, and the fridge is looking bare. The eggs and the flour are gone, the pale bottoms of the drawers in the fridge are visible, and eating out is beginning to take a toll on the budget. Read more

Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce over Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce over Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Tomato Sauce over Penne Pasta

In an effort to control our weight, we’re trying to eat dinner earlier in the day. After a couple hours of freelance work, I started grocery shopping at 4:30 p.m. to purchase a few vegetables and wine. Prepping dinner started close to 6:00 p.m. The evening’s schedule was to fix dinner, go to the gym for 30 minutes, return home to take a shower, reheat dinner and end the day with a glass of red wine. In reality, an Argentinian bottle of red wine was opened at 7:00 p.m., the coat was hung for the night and we sat down to a bowl of garlicky, roasted vegetable sauce over penne pasta. Lesson learned for the day: go grocery shopping earlier. This is a sauce that tastes better the next day when the flavors marinate over night.

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Sweet Corn and Cheese Pasties

Sweet Corn and Cheese Pasties

Sweet Corn and Cheese Pasties
Sweet Corn and Cheese Pasties

I decided to make these mini cheese explosions as my gift to the coworker who invited us to her Astoria, Queens apartment for a holiday party. Don’t get intimated by the “one to many” steps. They’re not complicated. Even if the pastry has a few tears in it, it only adds to the drama of the final piece. It took 15 to 20 minutes to make the filling. An hour to fill, fold and twist all the cheesy treats. It’s a quick, impressive gift for a hostess greeting you a Merry Christmas. Read more