Daily Cookie

Tastings: The Ingredients to a Great Event
February 18, 2016, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Career, Events, Feast | Tags: , , ,

tastingAfter each event, we meet with the client to debrief on all aspects of the project: the successes, the areas for improvement and the highlights.

We prepare for the debriefs by listing the ingredients to a great event.

Food has a starring role and plays an integral part in just about every event. Who is at your table is key, but what you serve on that table is just as important.

Enter tastings.


Yesterday we sampled some good old southern comfort food at Loretta’s Last Call in Boston.  This tasting was significant because the event is a themed event which our guests are not all accustomed to, nor is it a popular cuisine here in the city. We asked the Chef to come up with a menu that showcased the venue’s flavors and that would appeal to the masses.

There were only two of us at this tasting so a wooden platter was presented with 4 different appetizer sized items for us to try. And of course we had to try the various moonshines to wash down all that fried yumminess.

Besides enjoying a fun afternoon with my client, we were able to make some educated decisions about what and how to serve both our food and beverage for this March event.

When doing your own tastings, make sure your menu is not only delicious but also is easy to consume (is it better passed, plated or buffet), presents or sets up well (how is it passed or will it hold up on a buffet), has enough of a variety and options for all (vegetarian items, gluten free items and/or options for any allergies etc.), represents your event theme and is pleasing to the attendees (is this something you would order yourself).

Good food is always a recipe to success.


#frontrowassociates, #NEVYs2016, #tastings, #gonecountry, #country, #comfortfood, #moonshine, #friedchicken, @LorettasLastCall, @NewEnglandvc, @cococd2014, @CDFRAEvents

The Science Project
February 15, 2016, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Career, Events, Feast, Friends, Personal | Tags: , ,

Valentine’s Day, like almost every other holiday we celebrate, is really just another event. This year I decided to bake cakes to celebrate the day.

Martha Stewart proudly posted a perfect, super styled photo of a hidden heart pound cake on Instagram. It caught my eye and I thought how fun and what a great way to bake my love and recognize this event. Plus after my self inflicted Christmas gift wrapping project, I figured I could easily tackle a ton of butter and some pink food coloring. After about two minutes of thinking how and when, I decided to make one for Mike, one for my parents and one for my in-laws and visited Amazon to see how fast they could deliver a loaf pan and heart shaped cookie cutters.

I love learning new things and always pick up a few pointers from all my events. Below is what I learned on February 14, 2016:

  • I am not a baker.  I love to cook, but have my own way of doing things and following recipes. Let’s just say, I am not precise. Everything else I tackle in my life has been pretty spot on, baking. . . not so much.
  • Organic food coloring from Whole Foods might be slightly better for you, but does not work.  You need gel food coloring when you want the colors to actually look like colors. Thanks JoeDee.
  • I am a pretty determined control freak. I made 8 cakes to get it right. And micromanaged my poor Valentine and our friend Marcelene on their respective tasks. Truth be told, I didn’t really just learn this – but it is applicable here.
  • Events are a labor of love. See above, I did succeed.

And last but not least. . .

  • Baking is a science project.

#MarthStewart, #PieBox, #cakes, #VDay, @CDFRAEvents, @CocoCD2014, @JoeDeeHess, #FrontRowAssociates 


















A Holiday Feast
December 29, 2009, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Feast


This year my commander and chef and I put out quite the Italian spread for our guests.  We started our day with some delicious salumi and cheese from our favorite shop Salumeria Italiana in the North End.

Our primi course was Fusili Lunghi  Con Pomodorini al Forno compliments of  Lidia Bastianich. Translated this is long fusili with roasted tomatoes.  This pasta dish requires a lot of prep work and time, but it is absolutely scrumptuous.  Simple ingredients (panko crumbs, chopped capers, freshly grated pecorino romano, fresh basil and garlic, dried oregano and EVOO) that make every bite unbelievable. You roast the tomatoes first topped with the bread crumb mixture and then set them aside to cool, slice into quarters and later add to the cooked pasta.  The only sauce for the pasta is a garlic infused EVOO that you do yourself earlier in the day. The little grooves and spirals in the long fusili capture it all when mixed – truly genius. We feasted on this for lunch the next day too.

Our second course was a slow roasted tenderloin that can be found in Barbara Lynch’s new book Stir.  Cooking classes and this book were two gifts to Mike. Key ingredients here are thyme and time – you need a lot of both to properly cook.   We ordered 8.25 pounds of meat from Sulmona – a little butcher shop in the North End.  It was by far the biggest and best piece of meat we have ever had. Oh and they only take cash.

With the tenderloin we served  sautéed green beans with tomatoes and basil and a butternut squash gratin with pesto – both recipes from one of our favorites to watch and try, Giada de Laurentiis.

An Italian caesar salad (its made with sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts) finished our meal.

We served a champagne punch made with champagne (hence the name), pomegranate juice, simple syrup, white rum and garnished with lemons, cranberries and mint.  And then with dinner some Veuve for our holiday toast and two delicious wines – a Forman Cabernet and of course a 2005 Barbaresco.

Tradition in our home calls for a huge dessert buffet that is devoured by our ten and then many more family and friends.  This year’s highlights were home-made cookies – my Moms charmelles and pizelles and Ms. Lynch’s assorted chocolate and sea salt, shortbread and sugar cookies, my favorite bow ties and macaroons from Jube’s little hot spot and a few cakes and pies. And much more champagne punch and wine.  I think I blew out the candles and cleaned the last glass at around 11:30PM. We started at 2. . .great effort.

Mom, Dad, Jubes, Jodi, Hal, Emery, Lila, Henri, Tom and June – thanks for coming and sharing our full day and to everyone else, hope you too enjoyed a feast like ours.

p.s. – today I went back to pilates and completed day 2 of my cleanse. LOL.

April 20, 2009, 12:55 am
Filed under: Feast


My new drink debuted with the spring menu last week at Sonsie on Newbury Street in Boston.  This is my third “guest drink appearance” at this trendy, neighborhood eating and drinking establishment.  Last year, they came up with the idea to ask some local and almost famous Bostonians for their favorite drink recipes and to then see who and what was the most popular with the patrons and the cash registers.  Well three seasons later and three drinks in, and I am still going strong. 

Vodka is the main ingredient of  all my drinks.  Other than wine, it is only what I like to drink.  This is my first martini though.  Figured I just celebrated a birthday and it was time to put out a real ladies drink.  But guys, don’t let it fool you.  This is no pansie colored candy drink.  The Christini (got to love the name) is potent enough they already put a limit on these bad girls. 

Go to Sonsie and order my latest custom cocktail.  Take two Advil when you get home and call me in the morning with your feedback and hopefully fun Christini induced stories.  Have more than three, and I guarantee you feel a lot more shaken than stirred. 


Kurant Vodka (made from a black currant berry) 


Fresh lime juice

Shake all above ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass

Add a champagne topper and garnish with edible flowers or a lime wheel


Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey. . . YUM!
January 5, 2009, 12:56 am
Filed under: Feast, My Cookie Jar


Just about a month ago I had to take a business trip to Atlanta (seems like a lifetime ago now, but so does Christmas for that matter). Being a bit stressed to travel before my vacation and the holidays, I decided to maximize my time and do some holiday planning on the plane ride down south. I brought along a few magazines for inspiration and guidance and found one of my new all time favorite recipes.  I love to cook but have never been the baker.  This year, I set out to conquer a dessert.  

I found a great recipe  for a delish caramel and chocolate bread pudding in the March ’08 issue of Bon Appetit.  The recipe was from Jill O’Connor’s latest cookbook “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.”  I added and can testify to the YUM!

This recipe serves 8 – 10.  I almost doubled it and recommend using an even larger baking dish.  It gets better the next day – you just need to reheat a touch and make some extra sauce too.  Mom, here is the recipe for you and your friends. 

Dulche de leche and chocolate chunk bread pudding:

8 1/2 inch thick egg bread ( I used egg rolls and just peeled off the shell.  I bet Challah bread would be amazing here too)

4 tablespoons unsalted  butter, melted, divided.  (leave it out on your counter – it does the trick)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup dulce de leche topping or caramel sauce (I got the Whole Foods caramel topping – it is made  for ice cream)

4 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons dark rum (spiced works too)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

3 oz (about 1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons sugar

powdered sugar

Preheat over to 350.  Place your bread in a large bowl.  Drizzle with 3 tablespoons melted butter and toss.  Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake until bread is golden or about 12 mins (you can do this ahead of time).  Then cool.  Brush an 11x7x2 inch glass baking dish with butter.  

Stir whipping cream and 1 cup dulce de leche sauce in medium saucepan over medium heat until blended and bubbling.  Remove from heat.  Whisk eggs and yolks in karge bowl.  Add rum, vanilla and salt.  Gradually whisk in warm dulce de leche mixture and then stir in the bread cubes. Let this soak for 30 mins and stir it occasonally (smell it too occasionally too – it is amazing).

Mix chocolate chips into custard mixture.  Pour into your prepared (the buttered one) baking dish.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and bake for about 35 mins (you want it puffy and set in the center).  Let it cool 15 minutes and then dust with powdered sugar.  Serve it warm and pass with more warm dulce de leche.

Eat just a small bit to satisfy your craving and then sit back and relish in the compliments from your soon to be a wee bit fatter, but oh so happy friends.

Home for the Holidays
December 28, 2008, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Events, Feast


Happy Holidays! To quote a very good friend of mine, ” Holy food and social coma!”  We fed and entertained 28 people (family and friends) and 4 dogs at our home for Christmas.  Our menu consisted of shrimp and crab claws to start, a deep fried turkey (a first for us and I so missed not being at home for Thanksgiving), gravy, biscuits, mushroom and ground beef stuffing, cranberry relish, carmelized brussel sprouts and pancetta  and acorn squash with apples and walnuts.  Dessert was a buffet of yummy treats with all kinds of cookies (thank Jubes!) and highlighted by my Mom’s famous gazadella (home made espresso and ricotta Italian pie) and my dulce de leche and chocolate bread pudding (new recipe I found and it was a hit).  All enhanced by an amazing assortment of wines.  Our first guests arrived at 2PM and the last left after midnite.  Now that was a spectacular effort and day!

Once again the holidays, and 2008 for that matter, have flown by.  All the shopping (although recognizably less this year), wrapping, prepping, holiday visits and events, washing wine glasses, dining, socializing, washing more wine glasses and running around have finally come to a halt.  And I am the first to admit, I now need the rest and relaxation. I have been totally nesting since Christmas.  In fact, have only left my house twice – both times to work out and off the abundance of food and wine I consumed.   

We always fly off to Miami right after Christmas, but this is the first year in many that we will be home to ring in the New Year.  And again, someting I will also admit, I am happy to be staying in one place and not having to run to the Cape to grab my summer clothes and then to pack a suitcase.   Sure the warm climate and sun tan (much needed now too – my derm would be happy, but I am not) are very appealing, but the weather today almost reached sixty degrees in Beantown and I made the most of it by going for a long, powerwalk  along the river. 

Tomorrow starts the second week of my self imposed and stay-at-home two week vacation.  I will get caught up on a few work things, go to the gym, schedule some beauty maintenance appointments, see more friends, and get ready for the upcoming months of work.  We have a great new event scheduled for this spring in NYC that will keep us very busy and shuttling back and forth to the Big Apple yet again.  We also have plans to go to a great New Year’s Eve celebration at a friend’s new home and look forward to ringing in 2009 with friends – some old and some new.    This week I will try to extend my R & R as much as I can.  2009 is going to be a great year filled with more change.  I know it will bring me many new opportunities and I can’t wait for the adventure to begin.    

But for now, I am just happy to be home for the holidays.

August 27, 2008, 2:05 am
Filed under: Feast

I am now 5 days into my “extended week” end-of-the-summer vacation.  And not much has changed.  In fact Walshy is over, Mike is in the kitchen being drink mix master extraordinaire, Grover is on Walshy’s lap, the music is playing throughout the house and outside and I am barefoot in the kitchen.  Tonight however, I am here on the computer as opposed to whipping up dinner.  5 days in and it is the first night I have not cooked for either a gaggle of people or just the two of us in my newly named Cape Cod Pizza Kitchen.

The weekend was absolutely gorgeous.  We spent Saturday at the beach and did not feel like showering or getting dressed for dinner.  I had just flipped through one of my favorite cookbooks (Barefoot Contessa Parties!) and decided I wanted to make grilled pizzas. 

I have never made my own dough and do not own a pizza wheel, pizza peel or pizza stone.  Or dry yeast for that matter.  So bikini still on, I headed to my second most frequented place in the area Williams Sonoma (Starbucks scoring number one slot) for a pizza peel and then to the grocery store for the dry yeast and all my toppings.   

The recipe told me to put all the ingredients into the electric mixer with a dough hook.  Oopsie.  Do not own either of those.  Don’t even know what a dough hook is or what it looks like.  Who knows maybe I do have one floating around.  I do however own a very old Betty Crocker hand mixer and two good hands.  So I hand mixed and then kneaded away.  My whole wheat flour dough turned out just fine. And bonus this dough only needs to rise for a half an hour.  I made 3 balls and then rolled them out.  Cornmeal (had to purchase that too) on the pizza peel is key here.  Throw your circle of dough down on top of the cornmeal and grill for about 2 minutes.  Now the fun begins.   

You can basically add any toppings you wish or whatever is hanging out in your fridge.  We made 3 pizzas that night.  1. Tomato (I made my own sauce), ricotta, chicken saugage (I cooked it before) and basil. 2. Tomato, mozzarella and basil (classico) and 3. Red and yellow peppers, sliced prosciutto and goat cheese.  Add your toppings and then fire them up on the grill again until your cheese starts to melt.  All delish!

So delish that we are going to do it all again this coming weekend for a houseful.  This time I plan on making 6 to 8 pizzas.  And for dessert . . . cupcakes for my cousin Susie’s birthday and Wide Eyed Vinny’s! Stay tuned for that explanation in my next post.

Cape Cod Pizza Party!