Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1) On Tuesday, November 12, at 7:30pm, Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro is hosting a dinner inspired by personal chef and author Karen J. Covey and her book, The Coastal Table: Recipes Inspired By The Farmland and Seaside of Southern New England, a collection of dishes that represent beautiful Coastal New England, from beach day lunches to easy outdoor entertaining.

Executive Chef Josh Lewin will serve a four-course dinner using fresh seafood and produce that are unique to the coasts of New England and are detailed in Covey’s book. For $60, guests will enjoy the special four-course dinner, a signed copy of the book and the opportunity to meet and converse with the author herself. Covey is the former Creative Director of food magazine, Intermezzo, and has written for publications like The Boston Globe Magazine and Edible South Shore. She is also the creator of Gourmet Recipes for One, a blog full of delicious single-serving recipes, and teaches in-home cooking classes. Covey spent a majority of her career in design and within the publishing industry.

The Coastal Table is not only full of Covey’s unique dishes, but features recipes from other celebrated chefs throughout New England as well, including Chef Lewin, Matthew Varga, Barbara Lynch, Aaron DeRego, Matthew Jennings, and Champe Speidel.

Amuse Bread and Garlic Soup (page 35)
Red Fire Farm Beet Salad, Goat cheese, Candied Pistachio, Eva's Garden Beet Sherbet (page 51)
Seared Four Star Farms Polenta, Brooks Cloud Farm Bolognese, Parmigiano-Reggiano (page 153)
Shy Brothers Farm Hannabels, Peace Field Farm Tomato and Lemon Jam, Sesame Cracker (page 56)
Vanilla Panna Cotta, Shortbread Crumble, Lemon Granita (page 204)

Cost: $60 per person (not including tax & gratuity). Includes signed copy of the book and four-course dinner. $25 for optional additional wine pairing.
Reservations are required by calling 617-723-7575.

2) In celebration of Halloween, The Beehive is resurrecting the dead on Thursday, October 31 at its annual blowout bash. This year the space and staff will be transformed into a “Zombie Prom” featuring food and libation specials from Skyy Vodka, a costume contest and live music from 80’s cover band, SAFETY!

From 9pm-1am, SAFETY will bring The Beehive back to the ‘80’s, as their five lead singers perform spot-on renditions of everything from the Bangles to the Pretenders, Cindi Lauper to David Bowie, Michael Jackson to The Cure, The Clash and Billy Idol. Led by Brian King from "What Time is it Mr. Fox," SAFETY combines the tunes with the theatrical for what’s sure to be an all-around electric performance.

In addition to their regular menu, chef Marc Orfaly will be offering dinner specials from 5:30pm-1am, and the servers will be dishing it up decked out in full Zombie makeup and attire. Costumes are encouraged and there will even be a prize for the best-dressed! From 5pm-2am, The Beehive’s bar team will be shaking up festive cocktail specials featuring Skyy Vodka, and an early performance from artist, composer and guitarist Jamie Stewardson will set the mood from 6:30pm-8:30pm. All are welcome, with or without costumes, dead or alive!

Dinner reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling (617) 423-0069.

3) For a full decade now, Flavors of Fall, sponsored by and City Square Associates, has been bringing chefs from restaurants in Cambridge and Somerville together for delicious food and drink, lively music and generous philanthropy - and this year's event, scheduled for Monday, November 11 is no different, just bigger.

As has become the custom, thanks to event co-sponsor The Charles Hotel, Flavors of Fall returns to Regattabar on the hotel's second floor from 6:30-8:30pm. Guests will get to enjoy seasonally-inspired bites from restaurants like Amelia's Trattoria, Belly, The Blue Room, Garden at the Cellar, Harvest, Henrietta's Table, Park, Rialto, Russell House, Sandrine's, UpStairs on the Square and West Bridge as well as craft cocktails from Noir, and beer and wine from Brooklyn Brewery and Dreyfus Ashby, respectively. The Jane Potter Trio will set the mood in the room and a silent auction will entice attendees with unique items like a Sonos PLAYBAR wireless stereo system, their very own raised-bed organic vegetable garden courtesy of Green City Growers, or a rock climbing tutorial for two at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville.

This year's event, which will bring the total of funds raised to well over $100,000, features a swanky, oyster-and-hors d'oeuvres-filled VIP hour from 5:30-6:30pm with an array of cheese from Formaggio Kitchen, freshly shucked oysters from Island Creek Oysters and a few tasty morsels from Harvard Square newcomer Alden & Harlow. As they sip on bubbly, guests will have the chance to mix and mingle with beneficiaries from previous years, many of whom will be available to chat about their current undertakings and how their organizations have grown.

Proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction will all be donated to Community Cooks, an elaborate network of volunteers who donate their time and their kitchen skills to prepare and deliver home-cooked meals to the vulnerable populations in Cambridge, Somerville and beyond. Community Cooks Director Daniele Levine says "We're so excited to be a part of this milestone event, which has benefited so many great local non-profits - including some of our partners in the community. It seems fitting that for its tenth year Flavors of Fall is supporting an organization that not only impacts Cambridge and Somerville but reaches even further into surrounding communities like Medford, Waltham and Lowell."

Cost: $75 per person or $125 per VIP, order online using any major credit card Tickets, $75 for the main event and $125 for VIP which includes a champagne reception to start the evening, are available online.

4) Cheesemaking in America began in Boston in the early 1600s, when the earliest settlers developed a “revolutionary” way to preserve the milk produced by their dairy cows. Today in Massachusetts, 21 artisan and farmstead cheesemakers, who collectively make more than 100 types of cheese, have recently forged the Massachusetts Cheese Guild.

MA Cheese Guild’s multiple goals are:
· to educate each other, as well as consumers, retailers and distributors, about the exceptional cheeses being made in Massachusetts
· to encourage and support the production of farmstead and artisanal cheeses made from Massachusetts milk, including cultured products like yogurt
· help cheese artisans promote their products and their achievements to draw the attention of the cheese-loving public to the wealth of varieties available throughout the state, which represent almost every type of cheese, from alpine to blue, from Nubian goat to Ayrshire cow, from fresh and soft to cave-aged and hard.

MA Cheese Guild president Barbara Hanley and a 10-person Board of Directors are also actively planning a 1,000 sq ft retail cheese shop at the proposed Boston Public Market in downtown Boston. The official launch of the Massachusetts Cheese Guild will take place at 4 PM on Tuesday, October 29 at Verrill Farm (11 Wheeler Road, Concord) in the form of a gala cheese tasting until 7:00 PM. The public is invited.

The MA Cheese Guild is comprised of three distinct branches. Artisan members are commercial cheesemakers who certify their use of Massachusetts milk. Trade members (retailers, wholesalers, distributors, journalists) and Enthusiast members may join online with a nominal annual membership fee. The MA Cheese Guild’s website is now live, and contains a wealth of information about the Guild, its artisans, how and where to buy MA cheeses, who’s appearing at what regional markets, and how to cook with MA cheeses. It also describes the factors that can affect cheesemaking, and weighs in on the smartest cow on the planet (the Jersey).

The MA Cheese Guild is funded by its members and supported by the MA Department of Agricultural Resources and the MA Dairy Promotion Board. Its artisan members range in location from Topsfield to the north and Martha’s Vineyard to the south, and from Somerville to the east and Williamstown to the west.

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