A Squared: Recent Happenings

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recent Happenings

As I mentioned to you last week, things are busy around here. And I'm not just talking about work, weddings, and puppies, but my blog life is getting busy too. Today I wanted to share a few updates on recent happenings with you.

Last month I attended the In Good Taste Magazine relaunch party. If that sounds familiar, you may recall that I featured Maris Callahan in The Tastemaker Top 10 earlier this year. We gathered at Nellcote in Chicago's West Loop to toast The big relaunch of this fabulous online magazine. Cheers to Maris and her team!

Kit hosted Blogging & Brunching recently with a totally genius theme: a make your own avocado toast bar! If you read other blogs or spend any time on Pinterest, you know that bloggers love some avocado toast. She mashed up avocados and put them out with a spread of various toasts and toppings like bacon, goat cheese, tomatoes, and more. So fun!

I've been spending a lot of time at Kit's place lately, but since she loves to host fun food parties I definitely can't complain! Most recently, She hosted a dinner for a few bloggers and their +1's to try out a cool service called KitchenSurfingKitchenSurfing makes the in-home private chef experience accessible for anyone by allowing you to go on their website, inputting your criteria like price, cuisine, and number of guests, and then matching you up with a ton of private chefs in your area that will come to your home and cook in your kitchen for you-- whether you're hosting a party, a small get together, or just a date night in. Oh, and they clean up the mess when they're done!

Since it was late September, Kit decided on the Last of Summer Produce BBQ menu and it was a phenomenal choice! Chef Kristin Koury put together a really delicious spread for us with beautiful freshly baked breads and fruit pies, an tomato & avocado salad, and the main event: a spicy Texas-style bacon-wrapped brisket with Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce! The whole group raved about one appetizer that she served, which was so simple and delicious: mini sweet peppers stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. I will definitely be adding these to my entertaining recipe arsenal! This was such a fun and tasty way to bid farewell to summer with friends.

Parmigiano Reggiano 101. P.S. Disregard my terrible posture. Photo via Galdones Photography

Now let's talk about cheese. Parmigiano Reggiano, to be exact. Last week I went to La Scuola di Eataly to attend Parmigiano Reggiano Academy, an evening dedicated to learning all about (and tasting!) this wonderful cheese. We had the opportunity to do a more formal cheese tasting (like you'd do with wine) where we compared the tastes, textures, and smells of Parmigiano Reggiano aged for differing amounts of time. A few takeaways: the cheese gets more pungent and flavorful with age. Also, because it's a hard cheese it is also safe for lactose intolerant folks. So, eat up!

The cheeses were paired with a variety of Lambrusco wines-- a sparkling red that's one of my current favorites. And in addition to the sit down tasting, we also had the opportunity to taste the cheese in a few preparations. First, the cheeses were simply served whole with condiments to compliment their different tastes: 14-month cheese with a fresh apple mostarda, 24-month cheese with Lambrusco-roasted figs, and 36-month cheese served with a tangy balsamic vinegar. Chef Adam Weisell also created some delicious passed hors d'oeuvres highlighting Parmigiano Reggiano as well. My favorites were the gnocco fritto-- warm fried dough wrapped in lardo and sprinkled with fresh rosemary and grated Parmigiano Reggiano and this amazing butternut squash polenta topped with a Parmigiano Reggiano zabaglione and fresh sage leaves. These combos were so delicious and so seasonally appropriate!

Last, but not least: I have been spending some time on other blogs lately! Check me out in Friday Feature Foodie on Honey & Birch and in What I'm Reading Now on Project Soiree!

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