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Quirky: making really cool things by really cool people – just like you and me

Posted by on Nov 8, 2013 in Eggs, Food and Drink Events, Holiday, Kitchen and Home, Lifestyle, NYC, Product Reviews, Things I Love, Uncategorized | 0 comments

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“Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability to form new images and sensations that are not perceived through sight, hearing, or other senses. Imagination helps make knowledge applicable in solving problems and is fundamental to integrating experience and the learning process.”


Ever since I was a little kid, I have kept a sketchbook full of ideas and dreams, stories and drawings, songs and poems – things that inspired me or of places, people and things I wanted to go, be or do. Being a creative person, this has been an outlet for the million ideas I have running around in my head – some private, some shared, and some that I conjured up in a crazy dream and had to journal because I thought it was brilliant, but maybe never shared with anyone.


I’ve always admired and have been inspired by creative people and their work – whether it’s a soulful painting, a heartfelt song, a beautiful photograph, an inspiring story, or a culinary masterpiece for dinner.

food sketches

I’ve always been a creator, an adventurer and dreamer,  and have admired the people who make their ideas come to life.

steve jobs

People like Steve Jobs. Einstein. Henry Ford. Benjamin Franklin. Michelangelo. Julia Child. George Eastman. Giorgio Armani. Any many more creative geniuses that have made a mark on this world.

george eastman kodak camera

Just simply creative and talented people who had a passion to create, design, invent or change the world somehow and dared to dream and take the steps necessary to bring it to life.

QuirkySpeaking of creative geniuses, there’s a really cool new company called Quirky, here in NYC, that I was recently enlightened and inspired by. Quirky is a simply brilliant idea in itself – it’s an incubator for cool, new product innovations and ideas that are designed by real people – just like you and me. Anyone can come up with and submit an amazing idea online and have it brought to life and out into the market within 30-90 days. For real.

lens cap holder sketch

It’s really a simple, genius, yet speedy process – you sign up on the website and create a profile. You submit an idea. Other Quirky community members get to view your sketches and ideas and vote on them – which helps your idea bubble up to the top. Then Quirky will vote internally with their team each week along with the help of the community online to select the products that will be chosen to come to life and then the design process begins.

egg cracker

The community and the inventors design the products along with the help of Quirky’s team of designers, engineers, business and marketing strategists and producers.


You get to brainstorm together to create a name, a tagline, select the materials, refine the design and create a prototype for testing, which then is finalized, becomes manufactured, packaged and distributed to the shelves of retail stores such as The Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond.



The coolest part of it all – is yes, the inventors make money and royalties on the product and even get their name and photo branded on the packaging, which is all designed and printed and produced in the NYC Quirky office.


But everyone who also voted, contributed, and helped roll out the product to completion online also get a slice of the pie, and make royalties off the product too. Crowdsourced invention, if you will. How cool is that?


I had the opportunity to visit the Quirky offices to see what all the buzz was about and check out some of their cool new ideas and products they’re whipping up in their genius labs. The office has areas full of designers and engineers buzzing about brainstorming and creating cool things with passion. They are smart and tech savvy and work around the clock to get these ideas to the market as quickly as possible so the inventors can start reaping rewards as soon as possible.


The products we saw and sampled were simple, smart, technologically inclined, and cool as hell. And designed by people like you and me, all over the world.


Smart kitchen gadgets that tell you how old your eggs are (the EGG MINDER) and synched to your iPhone to tell you how many you have left.


Or the Nibble, a cake pan and cupcake pan all in one cool design.

Piggy Bank

A smart piggy bank called Porkfolio that is hooked up to a mobile app and keeps track of all the pennies you’ve saved and notifies you on your phone if someone stole it.

Mocubo Cutting Board

Or the Mocubo bamboo modular cutting board that has storage containers built right in. (Love this!)

Nimbus Alarm Clock

The Nimbus alarm clock that pulls real time information from your smart phone. It’s a customizable, personalized dashboard for your digital life – how many new Facebook likes you have, the weather, the traffic ahead and new emails, all on interchangeable and programmable screens.


These are creations on shelves, in stores, that were birthed by a small seed of inspiration by your next door neighbor or the little kid running down the street. The inventors are the new Steve Jobs, Michaelangelos, Henry Fords and Julia Childs – backed by a company that believes in creativity and genius and that everyone can be an inventor and change the world just a little bit, with one really cool idea.

Quirky process

All you have to do is Submit Your Big Idea on online. Or, get your creative juices flowing and sign up to be an influencer to help design the next cool whirligig from your laptop at home. And who knows? Maybe your face and name will be on the next package on the shelf at The Home Depot too. I know I’m scribbling away in that journal of mine right now.

dare to dream

All you really need is to dare to dream, have a little confidence and get a little help from your friends to be the next big inventor and meet some really cool creative people – just like you and me. 

Check out and vote on some of the cool kitchen ideas that are incubating online and Quirky’s online shop for more cool stuff – you’re gonna love it.

Quirky Facebook page

Quirky Twitter page

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Blue Hill New York – a well deserved James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant

Posted by on Jun 4, 2013 in Chef Interviews, Food and Drink Events, Gourmet Food and Drinks, Guest Feature, Lifestyle, Markets, NYC, Restaurant Reviews, Things I Love, Travel, Uncategorized, Veggies | 0 comments

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Blue Hill NY

Blue Hill NY

I had the recent opportunity to have an intimate conversation with Trevor Kunk, Chef de Cuisine of Blue Hill New York about their history, philosophy, cuisine and thoughts on their recent James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant 2013.

Trevor Kunk, Chef de Cuisine

Trevor Kunk, Chef de Cuisine

We sat in the charming back patio garden room as he told me the story of the Barber Family, Blue Hill Farm, his Southern Florida upbringing and Culinary Institute of America training, and how he found his culinary calling at of one of New York’s most premiere farm-to-table restaurants. When I asked him what he thought made Blue Hill win this most distinguished and notable award, he simply stated, “we consistently produce delicious, fresh food.” After our conversation, it’s clear to see why.

Blue Hill NY

Blue Hill NY

Blue Hill New York is B-owned and managed by award-winning Executive Chef Dan Barber, and Co-Owners David and Laureen Barber. Dan is a long time supporter of local farmers, agricultural policy and artisanal food producers, and has created a consciousness around everyday food choices and bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table. He has preserved this philosophy and brought it to life through his restaurants, the Blue Hill Farm and the Blue Hill Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

Blue Hill Farm Barn

Blue Hill Farm Barn


With over 138 acres in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Blue Hill Farm has been in the Barber family for three generations and served as the inspiration behind both Blue Hill restaurants. Blue Hill Farm was originally a dairy, and was converted into a cattle farm by the Barber’s grandmother Ann Marlowe Straus, in the 1960s. She believed strongly in preserving land and connecting great farming and delicious food, which she passed on to them. Dan began farming and cooking for family and friends at the farm, and it is there that grew passionate about locally grown and seasonal produce.

Blue Hill Farm

Blue Hill Farm

In 2006 the brothers decided to redesign Blue Hill Farm back to its original form, and brought in local farmer Sean Stanton to manage the land. The farm is home to chickens, pigs, dairy cows, and laying hens, supplies the restaurants with vegetables and grass-fed meats.

Blue Hill New York Outside Menu

Blue Hill New York Outside Menu


In 2000, Blue Hill New York opened in Greenwich Village, New York City. A small intimate space, the restaurant occupies a historical “speakeasy” near Washington Square Park. It is both elegant and casual, serving seasonal American cuisine that celebrates the delicious offerings from the Hudson Valley.

Blue Hill’s menu highlights local food, cocktails, beer and wines from regional Tri-State artisanal producers. The majority of the ingredients come from nearby farms, as well as Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, located in Pocantico Hills, NY.

Blue Hill Fresh Organic Food

Blue Hill Fresh Organic Food

In addition to Blue Hill’s a la carte menu, they also offer a 5-course Farmer’s Feast and a 7-course extended Farmer’s Feast, both inspired by the week’s harvest, and have a regular seasonal menu that changes depending on what produce, poultry, meats and seafood are in season to offer the freshest foods possible. Asparagus, Rhubarb, Radishes and Fiddlehead Ferns are abundant on the current Spring menu, which will change as soon as the weather warms up to Summer months, bringing in a flux of new seasonal fruits and vegetables to feature.

They offer a variety of fresh and locally sourced Farm Snacks such as Blue Hill Farm Yogurt, Parsnips, Beets and Oats or the “Farm Bar” served with Goat Cheese and Strawberries. There are plenty of gorgeous, creative appetizers to start the meal too: Chilled Asparagus Soup with Pickled Green Garlic, Walnut Bread and Sorrel; Emu Egg Pasta; or Stone Barns Butterhead Lettuce Salad with Fiddlehead Ferns, Pickled Cauliflower and Hazelnuts.

They serve Raven and Boar’s Pig year around, but their Hudson Valley Chickens are only served from May through November when their pasture raised chickens are in their prime and able to run around and feed outside. They serve local shellfish such as Shrimp and Squid with Spring Vegetables and fresh Tarragon; Grass-Fed Lamb with Asparagus, Knotweed and Alliums; and Rotation Risotto with 12 local grains and seeds made with Brassica Puree and Chocolate Wheat. Desserts are also made with fresh fruits and ingredients from surrounding farms –Olive Oil Cake with fresh pears, brown butter and toasted almond ice cream and a Chocolate Bread Pudding made with salted caramel, pine nuts and cocoa nib ice cream are a few house specialties.

Their cocktails and bar menu mimic the culinary program and support local farms by using NY State and domestic distilleries, wineries and ingredients from Blue Hill Farm and local Hudson Valley farms. They make their own bitters and sweet vermouth in-house, and have a ‘bartender garden’ where they grow their own herbs and plants, including wormwood used to infuse vodka, which is then muddled with fennel and chartreuse to create their own absinthe.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Blue Hill at Stone Barns


Blue Hill at Stone Barns opened in Spring 2004, within the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. The Barbers created the Stone Barns Center, a farm and educational center, to help carry through their mission for local and sustainable food.

Sourcing from the surrounding fields and pasture, as well as other local farms in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is an elegant restaurant that highlights the abundant resources of the Hudson Valley. There are no menus there, instead guests choose from a variety of fresh daily ingredients from the field and market.

Blue Hill Stone Barns Dining

Blue Hill Stone Barns Dining

Blue Hill Café offers light snacks, farm-fresh lattes and other locally grown and baked goodies, available to eat in the courtyard or take on a walk around the farm.

Blue Hill Cafe

Blue Hill Cafe

Shop for seasonal jams and pickles, rhubarb jam and pickled sunchokes in the Spring or apple butter and pickled cucumbers in the Fall. You can also shop for Blue Hill Farm Market items online.

Blue Hill Sheep

Blue Hill Sheep

The non-profit Stone Barns Center offers plenty of cooking classes and demos using local seasonal ingredients taught by well-known chefs and food artisans.  You can also try your hand at some of their fun farm activities such as hands-on egg collecting, ice cream making, foraging for wild plants, making natural herbal remedies or maple tapping on the farm.

Stone Barns Center

Stone Barns Center

Visitors can also get a behind-the-scenes insider’s tour of Stone Barns, or attend one of their special events centered on farming and agriculture, such as the Sheep Shearing Festival in April or the Young Farmers Conference held in 2012. Check out this great video about Stone Barns Center’s mission to support a healthy and sustainable food system.

Blue Hill New York

Blue Hill New York

Blue Hill New York is open for dinner 7 days a week, and also hosts elegant events and private parties at its two restaurant locations and off-site venues. Whether it’s a trip to the farm or an elegant dinner in the city, Blue Hill certainly has earned its James Beard title for Outstanding Restaurant without a shadow of a doubt.

Blue Hill is a longstanding member of the NYS Restaurant Association (since joining in 2000), and is grateful for all the positive work NYSRA does to support their restaurants and businesses.


Blue Hill New York

75 Washington Place
New York, New York 10011
T 212 539 1776 (reservations and general information)
F 212 539 0959

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, New York 10591
T 914 366 9600 (reservations and general information)
F 914 366 7920

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Blue Hill Farm Online Market


Photo Credits: Kristen Hess, Jen Mulkvold, Thomas Schauer, Blue Hill. Please do not share, use or distribute any photographs without expressed permission. Feel free to share this post, but please include a link back to my original post on my website with credit to © 2013 Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet.

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Beyond Sushi NYC: An Artful Approach to Vegan Sushi

Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Asian Food, Chef Interviews, Food Reviews, NYC, Restaurant Reviews, Things I Love, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies | 2 comments

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Chef Guy Vaknin

Chef Guy Vaknin

On a recent visit to BeyondSushi,  a Japanese Vegan Sushi restaurant in the East Village in NYC, I had the opportunity to meet the Founder and Chef (and Hell’s Kitchen Finalist!) Guy Vaknin, to discuss his innovative and artful approach to traditional Sushi. Chef Guy came up with the idea for his vegan Sushi concept while he was the Executive Chef of Esprit Events, a Catering company in New York. Focusing on Kosher, healthy vegan and vegetarian food, they opened a Vegan Sushi station, and the idea grew from there when Chef Guy saw the potential and demand for healthy vegan food in the New York market. Two years later, BeyondSushi (The Green Roll) was born.

Sushi Artwork

Sushi Artwork

The Sushi is not only artfully crafted and colorful, but super healthy, fresh and totally vegan, while keeping the Asian flavors true to traditional Sushi by using natural ingredients such as sliced nori, red, black and six-grain rice, toasted sesame, chili flakes, and gourmet imported sea salts to punch up and balance the flavors and textures of their Sushi.

Rice Bed Salad

Rice Bed Salad

They have a variety of delicious and creative sushi rolls, sushi pieces, as well as Vegan wraps and salads, and they make all of their own custom sauces such as Carrot Ginger, Sweet Soy Mirin, Shiitake Teriyaki, White Miso, and more, using grapeseed oil and all natural, dairy free ingredients.

Chefs at Work

Chefs at Work

They take a variety of colorful, seasonal ingredients and combine them into gorgeous works of art – and the best part is, they really do taste like traditional sushi, but are pure Vegan. Crunch ‘n Munch, Pickle Me, La Fiesta, Green Machine and Mighty Mushroom are just a few of their catchy roll names – all made with tasty, healthy vegetables, rice and seasonings. They also do a custom roll of the month, which Chef Guy creates based on whatever he feels like dreaming up that day, using  local produce from vendors at the Union Square Farmers Market.

Vegan Baked Goods

Vegan Baked Goods

Their Pastry Chef, Tiffany Louie, has created a new line of Vegan pastries and baked goods available in the store – Parsnip Cakes with Orange Almond Creme, Seed and Dried Fruit Almond Bars, and Carrot Bars are a few of their sweet healthy treats. Their juices are squeezed fresh each day and made in house.

Nutty Buddy Vegan Wrap

Nutty Buddy Vegan Wrap

I sampled the Nutty Buddy wrap, made with Buckwheat noodles, crushed peanuts, cilantro, jalapeno, peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, carrots, baked tofu and romaine – a delicious combination and explosion of Asian flavors!

Vegan Sushi Rolls

Vegan Sushi Rolls

For a sushi sampling, I devoured the Spicy Mang Roll, made with Black Rice, Avocado, Mango, Cucumber and spicy veggies with a delicious Toasted Cayenne sauce. I also had the Pickle Me, made with Six Grain rice, Gobo, Carrot, Pickled Daikon and Avocado with a Carrot Ginger Sauce. YUM!

Dining Area

Dining Area

Their space is casual, cozy and inviting, and in a great location on 14th Street near Union Square. Their prices are reasonable too, ranging from $5.00 to $8.50 for Rice Paper Wraps and Salads to $6.50 for an 8-piece roll, or $7.50 to $13 for a combination plate of rolls. They also do custom catering for private events, weddings and parties with a variety of sushi rolls, salads and wrap platters.

Beyond Sushi Sign

Beyond Sushi Sign

They’ve been written up by Oprah and the NY Times and have plans to open up a second location in the near future, so stay tuned for more. There definitely isn’t any other restaurant around like it, so kudos to Chef Guy for pioneering this healthy, delicious concept. With Vegan Sushi this good – who needs the fish?!

229 E 14th St
New York NY 10003

Check out their online video and Facebook Page for more info

Check out their menu online

Beyond Sushi NYC

Beyond Sushi NYC

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Top 10 {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2012

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Food Reviews, Gourmet Food and Drinks, Holiday, Product Reviews, Special Occasion, Things I Love, Uncategorized | 0 comments

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I have to admit, I have been a bit slack about keeping up with my Top 10 lists the past few months. Mainly due to lack of time from external projects and cookbook photo shoots (which isn’t a bad thing), but I felt it’s time to get this monthly feature back up and running – especially around the holidays with so many fun and cool things I’ve discovered that would make great holiday gifts for the home and foodie in your family! So here’s my Top 10 Things I Love for Holiday 2012…these should keep you and your loved ones happy all year ’round.


1. The Spice Lab Gourmet Salts

One of my good friends bought me a set of these amazing gourmet salts for my birthday and I have to say they not only taste great but come in these cool little lab tubes that fit perfectly on my crowded countertops in my tiny NYC apartment. These are some of the best, rare and unique gourmet sea salts in the world; and they even come with reference cards with detailed descriptions and suggestions on which salts go with which dishes, making it easy to create the perfect combination of flavors. Some of the salts you’ll find in their sets include: Chili Pepper Cyprus Flake Finishing Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus, Pink Himalayan Crystal Sea Salt from Pakistan, Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt, and Viking Oak Smoked Mountain Salt from Denmark.


2. Corkcicle Wine Chiller

I discovered this fun little gadget at the NY Wine and Food Festival this year. It’s a sleek icicle/cork topped wine chiller that you freeze in the fridge and then place inside your wine bottles to keep your wine chilled. They come in classic cork, a variety of colors and they even have festive topped designs to celebrate the season. Talk about a cool holiday gift!

Jan Burtz Pottery

3. Jan Burtz Pottery, ABC Home

This beautiful handmade pottery and ceramic line is something I found at ABC Home in New York City a few weeks ago and all I can say is it’s gorgeous. Organic shapes with a simple design, her ultra-thin tableware is artistic and elegant all at once, making your holiday table one to remember or a unique gift for a friend.

Read the interview with Jan Burtz from Handful of Salt

Michel Design Works

4. Michel Design Works

I discovered this lovely collection of glass plates, serving trays, napkins, kitchen towels, soaps, candles, shower gels and creams at Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester, NY and fell in love with their beautiful design and luscious holiday scents such as Au Chocolat, Fleur de Noel, Snowman, Christmas, Nutcracker Sweet and Balsam Fir. Love this line! You can find their products at any upscale gift shop (such as Parkleigh Pharmacy) or order online.

Nespresso Lattissma+

5. Nespresso Lattissma+

I already have an obsession with Nespresso coffee and machines, but now there’s a new kid on the block that I’m in love with! The new Lattissma+ is the ultimate coffee brewing machine that’s compact and sleek in design. In addition to its quick start up time and auto-off functions for energy-efficiency, this machine boasts a milk frother as well and can make perfectly portioned espressos, cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of a button. It comes in 4 elegant colors (Silky White, Ice Silver, Passion Red and Midnight Blue) to match every style and personality with a moderate price at $399.You can find them at, Nespresso Boutiques (New York, Boston, Miami) and in select fine retailers such as Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel. Don’t forget to buy some of their colorful Grand Cru coffee capsules that come in a variety of coffee strengths and flavors. Once you have a coffee machine this cool and easy, you’ll be hooked for life – I promise.

Tea Forte

6. Winter Spice Collection, Tea Forte

There’s nothing better to warm you up on a chilly Winter night than a cozy mug of hot tea. Tea Forte has several tea collections of aromatic herbal and black teas, but my favorite is the Winter Spice Collection with delicious flavors such as Harvest Apple Spice, Sweet Ginger Plum, Winter Chai, Sweet Orange Spice and Hazelnut Truffle. The tea comes packaged in individual mesh infusers, and you can also get a brewing infuser mug or teapot to go with it. Other than that, all you need is a warm fuzzy blanket, some cozy slippers and a crackling fire to make it a perfect night in from the cold.

Pottery Barn Jewel Cut Barware

7. Jewel Tone Cut Glass Cocktail Collection, Pottery Barn

Who can resist a little bit of bling around the holidays? Pottery Barn has a lovely bar collection that comes in brilliant jewel tones (red, purple and gold) with etched cut glass in gorgeous designs that will fancify any holiday cocktail party or soiree. The cocktail shakers and set of 4 martini glasses run $39.50 each. GORGEOUS!


8. Zingerman’s

This is the ultimate go-to destination for hand-curated artisan and gourmet foods: they have gourmet and imported Coffees and Teas, Baked Goods, Candy, Chocolate Figs, Cheese, Chartucerie, Hand Pies, Fruitcakes, Olive Oil, Smoked Ham, Freshly Baked Breads, Pickles, Condiments and a whole boatload of other cool goodies you’ll want to get your hands on. You can join one of their Monthly foodie clubs: Bacon Club, Olive Oil Club, Baker’s Club, Forbidden Foods Club. Lots of fun DIY Kits including a Reuben Sandwich-making Kit. How fun! Order a Christmas gourmet goodie gift box, filled with a Zzang Original Handmade Candy bar, a mini Hot Cocoa Coffeecake, Spanish Chocolate-covered Figs, a half pound of their own Nor’easter Cheddar, a small Zingerman’s StollenSpiced Pecans and a loaf of Chocolate Sourdough Bread. If you want to get really fancy, you can sign up for a Zingerman’s Artisan Food Tour with your sweetie and travel to Italy, Hungary and Spain. Not only is their gourmet food delicious, but quirky and fun and created by a community of small artisan food producers in the Ann Arbor MI area. LOVE.


9. Decorative Lacquered Trays, iomoi

Founder Irene Chen worked at Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before teaming up with co-founder Matthew Grenby to create this luxury lifestyle brand with beautifully designed products for the home with a modern twist. Their lacquer trays are sleek and colorful and add some festive fun to your holiday table and cocktail parties. They also carry ice buckets, paper and glass coasters, gift tags, petite matches, stationery, handbags and accessories that reflect their bold geometric designs.

Williams Sonoma DIY Kits

10. DIY Kits, Williams-Sonoma

For your ultimate DIY-er/Foodie in the family, Williams-Sonoma has an array of homemade kits including cheesemaking kits, herb gardens, sprouters, vinegar pots, kombucha making kits, butter, mustard, mushrooms, cider and wine presses. With all this fun stuff you’ll never have to leave home to make your own delicious homemade gourmet goodies for family and friends.


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Good Irish Food for a Good Cause: Good Food Ireland makes a U.S. Debut with Authentic Irish Food Products

Posted by on Nov 13, 2012 in Appetizers, Breakfast, Breakfast Food, Ethnic Recipes, Fall Recipes, Food and Drink Events, Food Reviews, Guest Feature, Lifestyle, Markets, NYC, Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews, Savory Dishes, Seafood, Seafood Recipes, Things I Love, Travel, Uncategorized, Winter Recipes | 1 comment

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Good Food Ireland Website

Good Food Irelandthe first-ever, all industry network driving food tourism in Ireland, kicks off its international debut in the U.S.. Seeking to promote innovations in contemporary Irish cuisine and the country’s commitment to sustainable, authentic products, the organization also hopes to inspire Americans to travel to Ireland to experience and engage with its citizens and culture.

Good Food Ireland was established by Margaret Jeffares to link the agri/food sector with the hospitality industry. It was her philosophy that by supporting Irish farmers and producers, she could establish a healthy business environment where commercial opportunities for agriculture could be promoted through tourism and visa-versa.

“It is my mission to grow Ireland as a food tourism destination and to establish the ‘Good Food Ireland’ brand as the brand of choice for good food lovers everywhere,” says Jeffares. “One of Ireland’s greatest secrets is its locally produced ingredients and Good Food Ireland aims to set the standard for quality across a variety of industries – agriculture, food, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality.”

The premise is that by creating trusted and authentic Irish food experiences, Good Food Ireland will drive business to the hospitality sector and that, in turn,

inspires consumer purchase of more Irish food from farmers and purveyors,

contributing greatly to the local Irish economy.

Good Food Ireland’s U.S. launch includes:

They have kicked off the debut of Good Food Ireland Approved Provider foods at Dean and DeLuca’s flagship store in NYC, featuring the highest quality food the island has to offer. The foods available for sale in the Dean and DeLuca Store include:

Kilbeggan Porridge

Good Food Ireland’s Kilbeggan Organic Porridge,

Dittys oatcakes

Ditty’s Oatcakes,

Irish Farmhouse Cheese

Irish Farmhouse Cheese,

Ballymaloe Relish

Ballymaloe Relish,

Burren Smokehouse Salmon Plate

Burren Smoked Irish Salmon,

Seymour's Traditional Irish Shortbread

Seymour’s Traditional Irish Shortbread and more. For those living outside the NYC area, there is the opportunity to purchase products from Good Food Ireland’s online shop.

In addition to bringing both providers and products to New York City, Good Food Ireland seeks to increase awareness for its hub at

Hayfield Manor Hotel

Here consumers can book a food journey via “My Food Trip,” a feature that is supported by a host of information including locations and details about Irish tours and holidaysfarmers and producerscooking schoolsrestaurants and cafesfood shopsfestivalsmarketsand Irish bars and pubsas well as an ongoing calendar of events.

In addition, there’s the opportunity to meet the people behind the products. Special offers and recipes are also available online, and I’ve included a few below.

Salmon Fishcakes

Salmon Fishcakes


2 shallots finely chopped
1 lb salmon, filleted and skinned
1 Tablespoon Kerrygold butter
5 fl oz dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Mashed Potatoes – no cream no butter

For the Coating:

2 tablespoons plain flour
2 eggs
2 oz soft white breadcrumbs


Pre-heat oven to 200c/400fgas 6

Butter and season a tray.  Sprinkle with the shallots and sit the salmon on top.  Drizzle with white wine and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 8- 10 minutes – the salmon should be firm to touch but still pink in the middle .

Sit the salmon in a colander over a pan to collect all the juices.

When all the juices have drained, place in a small pot and reduce on a stove to a nice syrup consistency.

Break up the salmon into flakes, add the syrup and chopped parsley, then fold in the potato until you have a binding texture. Check for seasoning and roll into 12 to 18 ball shaped cakes.

To Breadcrumb – Lightly pass through the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs, repeat the process again.

To Cook – Deep fry at 180c/ 350f for 4-5 minutes drain well.

Serving suggestion: Serve 3 per portion on a bed of steamed baby spinach and lemon butter sauce.


Irish Porridge

Porridge Oats


2 oz Porridge Oats
7 fl oz Milk

Heat the milk, add porridge oats and cook for 1 min serve with honey or salt.


Bircher Muesli made with Irish Porridge Oats

5 oz porridge oats
1 oz Irish honey
20 fl oz milk
14 oz natural yogurt
4 oz sultanas (raisins)
1 whole Banana, chopped
1 apple, grated
4 oz blueberries

Combine ingredients and devour!!


Good Food Ireland sets strict criteria for Approved Provider status based on a core commitment to using local Irish ingredients and operating at a standard that is “best in class” and its branding on packaging of authentic Irish products is already recognized as the standard bearer of the industry. Beyond food products, the Good Food Ireland brand can also be used by hotels, restaurants & cafes, cookery schools and markets that meet Good Food Ireland standards. To date there are 450 Approved Providers that ensure consumers that all products and services bearing the brand meet the strictest “best in class” standards. All products and service standards are independently assessed.

Since Good Food Ireland was founded approximately five years ago, almost 70% of its Approved Providers have increased their business profile or heightened their awareness of local food. As a result, 92% have increased their purchasing of Irish food over the last 3 years, directly contributing close to 50 million euro to the local economy. (Source: Grant Thornton Survey – April 2012).


The Good Food Ireland Food Experience Awards celebrates excellence in food experience, the Food Lovers’ Choice Award lets you have your say. Simply vote for your favourite shortlisted GFI Approved Provider from the list below. The provider that gets the most votes will be announced on November 20th in the Shelbourne Hotel and presented with an award from An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.

Good Food Ireland logo

About Good Food Ireland:

Good Food Ireland is a grassroots industry network aimed at promoting innovations in Irish food, the country’s commitment to sustainable, authentic products across food, hospitality and travel industries – incorporating farmers, chefs, hoteliers and outposts of cultural interest. The organization seeks to promote its authentic products in the U.S. and to inspire Americans to travel to Ireland to experience the contemporary cuisine and engage with its citizens and culture. The cross section of agriculture, food & culinary, production/manufacturing and tourism industries seek to grow and sustain the Irish economy.

Visit Good Food Ireland on Facebook
Follow Good Food Ireland on Twitter
Visit Dean and Deluca on Facebook
Follow Dean and Deluca on Twitter

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It’s all about U (& Me!) :: Nespresso U-Launch Pop-Up Party NYC

Posted by on Oct 6, 2012 in Food and Drink Events, Lifestyle, NYC, Product Reviews, Things I Love, Uncategorized | 0 comments

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Gosh I’m a lucky girl, but it’s not just all about me – it’s all about U, too. I recently attended a Nespresso Pop-Up party in the trendy Meatpacking District in NYC, to celebrate the launch of their new U machine.

I mingled with the Nespresso team, Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef, and several other tastemakers and food influencers

under a big grand tent brightly lit in pink, while sipping wine and champagne, tasting delicious chocolates and hors d’oeuvres and sampling their luscious espressos and hearing all about this amazing, shiny and new coffee machine.

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a coffee snob. I fell in love with espressos and cappuccinos when I lived in Australia because they don’t actually have coffee machines or go to Starbucks due to the European influence and coffee culture over there. I got a Nespresso Pixie and Aeroccino Milk Frother earlier this year and absolutely love them. So easy and convenient and I can get my coffee fix in about a minute flat.

But the U Machine is even cooler! It comes in four different colors: Pure Orange, Pure Cream, Pure Grey and Pure Black. It’s a handsome little devil, with a sleek design and tactile interface and this machine is quite the smarty pants, too – it actually remembers your coffee preferences (Ristretto, Espresso or Lungo) and there’s no programming needed.

All you do is pop one of their colorful Grand Cru capsules in the top, fill up the water tank (which swivels around to the side to save space on your counter), press go, and voila! – you’ve got a delicious, home-brewed espresso or cappuccino ready to enjoy in about a minute. This is one classy little machine – and quite the catch, if I may add.

They have over 16 coffee blends with a variety of flavor notes to choose from ranging from citrusy, spicy, woody, flowery, winey, cocoa, to honey, and they come in Espresso, Lungo or Ristretto capsules. They also have a ton of cool accessories to go with your new U Machine too – glasses, containers, spoons, stirrers and more to compliment your awesome coffee experience at home. It’s retails for about $199, and the coffee capsules run about .68 cents a piece, which you can get online through their Nespresso Club. Who needs Starbucks when you can make your own delicious coffee creations at home?

With a coffee machine this cool and smart, it really IS all about U now, isn’t it? 

Click the photo gallery below to view a slideshow of all the event!

Enjoy a couple of Nespresso Cappuccino recipes below, compliments of Padma Lakshmi, Nespresso’s celebrity spokesperson.

Nespresso Iced Chai Cappuccino 

Spice Mix:
2 parts cinnamon
1 part ground cloves
1 part ground cardamom
1 capsule of Indriya from India Grand Cru
8.5 fl oz of milk
Sugar to taste
Cinnamon Stick
Pour the brewed Indriya from India Grand Cru into a cappuccino cup.
Add about 1/8 teaspoon of the spice blend.
Froth milk using the Nespresso Aeroccino or the steam function of your machine.
Fill the cup with the prepared frothed milk and add sugar to taste.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Nespresso Cardamom Cappuccino


1 capsule of Indriya from India Grand Cru
4 fl oz of milk
1 tsp of natural brown sugar
1/4 tsp of powdered green cardamom
Pinch of crushed raw unsalted almonds
Grind of nutmeg


Pour the brewed Indriya from India Grand Cru into a cappuccino cup.
Mix the milk of your choice with the natural brown sugar and powdered green cardamom.
Froth milk using the Nespresso Aeroccino.
Fill the cappuccino cup with the prepared frothed milk over the Espresso.
Top cappuccino with the crushed raw unsalted almonds, grind of nutmeg, and a pinch of cardamom.


Below are a couple of links to the Nespresso coffee recipe sites and their Coffee Recipes book so you can create your own Nespresso coffee recipes:

Nespresso Ultimate Coffee Creations (Nespresso Global coffee recipe site):

Nespresso’s Padma Lakshmi’s Recipe Page (US only page):

Download a copy of the Nespresso Coffee Recipe Book

Hanging with Padma Lakshmi

Hanging with Padma Lakshmi

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