#FeastlyinSpain Summer Contest

intagram contest

#FeastlyinSpain Summer Contest

Join Feastly for a 7-day culinary tour to San Sebastian, Spain!

1. Follow @eatfeastly on Instagram

2. Upload a video of why you should join the Feastly team in Spain

3. Tag your video: @eatfeastly #FeastlyinSpain #summercontest

Travel to San Sebastian, Spain–a food capital of the world. Meet world-renowned chefs. Cook at the Basque Culinary Center. Eat top-quality food from local producers. Connect with players of the global food scene. Improve your culinary skills. Eat, breathe, sleep Spain!

Our lucky winner will:

  • Spend a week in September with the Feastly team and top culinary talent
  • Receive transportation to and from San Sebastian (airfare – and train if necessary)
  • Stay in a furnished and centrally located apartment with Feastly team
  • Meet amazing figures in the international culinary scene
  • Eat some of the best food in the world

Suena bien – sounds good! Be sure to show us your passion for cooking, how you build community through food, why Spain and Feastly? Sing, dance, cook, bake, draw–anything that will make you stand out!

Deadline to apply is August 21st, 2014, and best submission will be selected and announced August 22, 2014 on Instagram.

 

Restrictions: Open to international residents with valid passports and a level of native English speaking proficiency. Must be 21 years or older as of September 1, 2014. Must be following Feastly on Instagram and be a user of www.eatfeastly.com. Submission must include #FeastlyinSpain on Instagram to be considered for entry.  Applicant must be available for a trip lasting 7 days and 6 nights during the month of September. Confirmation of travel, and then a negation of participation up to 7 days before program start date will result in a fee of $500. If the winner is unable to attend, there will not be an exchange for a prize of equivalent value. Entries will only be eligible from August 1, 2014 to August 21, 2014 at 11:59PM. Please see the full Terms and Conditions for other details.

 

Bringing Back the Family Dinner

Today we share with you a blog post from Shikha Kaiwar of Shikha la Mode, a self-proclaimed San Francisco pastry fiend. Read on to discover how she connects to the original social network – the dining table!

Photo Credit: Olivia Bodzin

Photo Credit: Olivia Bodzin

When you think of “family dinners,” images of awkward conversations and repetitive entrees spring to mind; it’s not the most glamorous way to describe a meal. But at its core, the dinners present a notion of communal dining and a gathering of like-minded people who come to know each other a little bit better.

In college, my friends and I sought to bring back that inherent concept by creating our own family dinners. Once a month, the lot of us met at the apartment of the friend with the largest kitchen and dining room (this friend didn’t really have a choice, but we made up for it by doing all the set-up and cleanup).

To jazz it up, each dinner had a theme. They ranged from American, for 4th of July, to beginning with the letter “A.” Once the theme was decided, every part of the meal – from appetizer to dessert to even drinks – had to fit in, and each person attending had to contribute something. Sticking to these rules allowed for everyone to be on the same page and lead to some challenges that we collaboratively solved – the Vietnamese-themed dinner took us on a chase around the city to find appropriate beer…and we ended up making Vietnamese coffee.

More than enough of this summer favorite to share. Photo Credit: www.shikhalamode.com

More than enough of this summer favorite to share.
Photo Credit: Shikha Kaiwar

But that was college, when friends lived mere blocks from each other and any night was an excuse not to study. In today’s environment, the circumstances are slightly different. Friends live one neighborhood, two hills, three bus stops, or four times the price of a car ride away; there are multiple friend groups rather than the core college crew; and everyone is on the “grind.”

Given these less-than-ideal situations, I present some pointers to circumvent all that and assure that you can still have a family dinner complete with the traditions and fun that I had in college:

1) Plan Ahead: People love to commit to everything and subsequently nothing at all. They like waiting for “the next best thing,” so be that next best thing. Send out invites and emails at least 2-3 weeks in advance so friends can mark their calendars.

2) Assign: Not to take it back to college, but giving people homework will not only lessen the burden on you, but it holds them accountable. Plus, the dinner becomes much more interesting when individuals have something to contribute and can share their own story of why they chose their dish.

3) Themes: If you haven’t noticed, I’m a sucker for anything with a theme, whether that is a onesie night or a Beyonce dinner (Crazy in Lentils, anyone?). Eating is supposed to be fun, so get creative with it!

4) Feastly: A key aspect of communal dining is meeting new people and exchanging ideas. Feastly does a great job of connecting cooks (and diners!) from many different places and lets them embark on a culinary adventure at each meal. They help you plan appropriately, scale accordingly, and highlight your passions for whatever type of dinner you choose to host. Through a few clicks, you meet people as curious and hungry as you and everyone walks away satisfied.

From the family dinners in college to the meals I plan today, the friends I eat with are some of the closest I have had. We live in a world of communal affairs, and eating should be no different. After all, there is something about sitting at the same table and reveling over dishes that begin with the letter “A” that can’t quite be duplicated without the notion of sharing.

Launching to new heights: Ice Cream Jubilee

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We’re ecstatic to congratulate one of our Feastly Cooks on her growing success! Victoria, while maintaining her law career,  began making ice cream in 2009 and started hosting Feastly tasting events in 2012.  Pursuing her interest in cooking left her inspired: “I decided to deliberately add passion, creativity, color, and flavors to every aspect of my life.” Just this month she’s opened the Ice Cream Jubilee shop in Washington D.C., only 2 years after the first Feastly tasting event.

Victoria's first ice cream tasting event in 2012.

Victoria’s first ice cream tasting event in 2012. Photo from Ice Cream Jubilee’s Facebook Page

Feastly is thrilled to have helped Victoria in her pursuit to “celebrate love and togetherness” through the sweet pleasure of ice cream. You can read the inside scoop on Victoria’s journey below along with details of an exclusive event and discount code just for Feastly!

Inspired flavors: sweet potato pie, Thai iced tea, chocolate orange and strawberry black tea

Inspired flavors: sweet potato pie, Thai iced tea, chocolate orange and strawberry black tea. Photo from Ice Cream Jubilee’s Website

Why are you a food entrepreneur?

I have always loved making ice cream and sharing it with others! Though I have long loved helping start up political campaigns, I wanted to bring that energy to ice cream and build a space where I could create new flavors and invite DC to try them.

What is most rewarding about your current role?

Being able to be a part of people’s lives and really just make their day. It’s hard to be upset or angry when you’re grabbing a friend and getting some ice cream, and I’m so grateful to be a part of that. My greatest compliment is seeing a five-year-old kid with Chocolate Chocolate smeared all over their face.

How did you land in this industry and what inspires you about working with ice cream? (as if that’s a hard question : )

Ice cream has always been a happy memory for me. My dad would work late nights when I was growing up, and so if we couldn’t have family dinner he always made sure we shared some ice cream before bed. It was our time to talk about our days and connect. Even when working at Homeland Security and making ice cream as a hobby, I found that I always had energy for it.

How did you make the decision to leap from full-time work to your food business?

Deciding to open my own business has been the most challenging – but also the most rewarding – thing I’ve ever done. I found that I always had the energy and creativity to work on ice cream as a hobby, and I eventually found it rewarding in so many new ways.

What is the most influential piece of advice you’ve received and from whom?

“Invest in yourself to learn what makes you happy and force yourself to create. If you love music, squeeze time into your day to create music. If you love science, challenge yourself to understand it better and take your appreciation of it to the next level. Dreaming takes discipline, and you’re the only one who prioritize your dreams for yourself.”

 


Feasters’ Tasting Party
Hear about Ice Cream Jubilee’s special flavors and journey, sample Zeke’s coffee served in-shop, and taste-test their newest exclusive flavors!

1 hour tastings: July 31 @ 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
301 Water Street, SE  Washington, DC 20003

Reserve your spot today!

Use our special socialsummer discount code before July 31st for 25% off

 


 

Social summer and social connections on Feastly!

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Did you know that with Feastly’s relaunched social connection features you can check in to see who’s going to the same meals as you? Log in with Facebook and see for yourself (encourage your friends to do the same); you’ll see all meals your attending, have craved, or have attended in the past.

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You’ll also view through social connections:

  • Friends who have craved the same meals (so start craving!)
  • People you know who are also friends with the Cook
  • Friends who’ve feasted at the meal you’re interested in
  • Feastly meals your friends have attended by the same Cook

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We believe firmly that community is the key to delicious experiences, and we want you to stay connected with fellow Feasters.

Social dining is hot, hot, hot and we’re all in for a #socialsummer! Let us know on what you think of the social connections relaunch, email me directly lauren@eatfeastly.com.

Feast On,

Lauren (Community) & The Feastly Team

Summerfeast Contest Wrap-up

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Thank you to all the participants that entered our Summerfeast contest! We received many beautiful entries depicting summer and food. It was hard to choose just one person for the prize of 2 free seats since each picture had its own unique vision.

Here are some of our favorites from the contest.

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Clockwise from top left: farmer’s market strawberries (@catwood10), green bean soup (@chowtownstudios), stove-top berries (ryan_ochsner), Italian gelato (@oliveoilsweetpea).

And our winner is from @elliesf:

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There will be upcoming contests both on Instagram and Twitter in the coming weeks so stay tuned to win a great Feastly prize!

Feast on!

5 Reasons to Attend a Feastly Meal

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  1. Explore familiar or new food cultures
    While one of our hosts, Mei N., typically cooks Asian-influenced fare she prepared a Turkish feast following a trip abroad where she fell in love with its flavors.

    Mei_TurkishMeal

    Photo by Mei N.

    For other explorations check out what another cook, Eric P., offers guests interested in sampling Filipino cuisine at his home in Emeryville, CA.

  2. Meet new friends
    Just a few weeks ago, Samantha C., delighted guests with an authentic home-style Chinese dinner. Independent diners quickly became acquainted across the dinner table– it was tough to end the night.

    Meeting over the table Jenya Chernoff

    Photo by Jenya Chernoff

    Previously, Feastly was lucky to have Ana of Fluxi on Tour detail her night with Feastly in San Francisco with Salt & Pepper Club. She highlights the Feastly experience complete with how crucial it is to slow down and meet fresh faces.

  3. Enjoy a unique date
    Last Friday’s event was the perfect setting for mingling with a loved one or someone new!

    Photo by Olivia Bodzin

    Along that line, over at Swimmingly, Georgette Eva shares her relationship altering experience at a Feastly meal. Check out her post where she reveals not only a new appreciation for cheese and beer, but for her boyfriend as well!

  4. Get to know hidden gems in your city or some place new!
    Feastly isn’t only in Washington DC, NY and SF… search for your city on our site and discover something new near you!

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    Photo by Jessie Yoh

  5. Try exotic new food
    We’re fortunate to have an inspiring and diverse cook community! Adventurous diners interested in stepping out of their usual meal routines can always find something unique on Feastly.DSC_0020With new options showing up all the time, check our site so you don’t miss your chance to try something new like pig face prepared by Don S.

 

Traditions and Rituals: Results Are In!

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Feastly asked, and YOU answered!
It’s no surprise that our community members see the dinning table as more than just a piece of furniture– It’s a space to connect, share and nourish our lives! A mindful meal shared, or on our own, makes each bite tastier– linking moments and flavors to make our most powerful memories.
Table setting flower

Here at Feastly, we unplug during lunch, soak in some rays, and taste each others’ food. Recharging together over a meal keeps us focused on our goal to make social dining accessible again.

We were honored to read through your dynamic traditions, here is the winner’s story:

My most memorable tradition around the dinner table is…
“My mother and grandmother are both very superstitious and would never set a table for an odd number, but especially 13. An extra plate would always be set at the table even if it was crowded. No matter the number of times I gave my mom that, “Really?” look, she would shrug and say, “I can’t help it” and the table setting would be placed. The irony is that no matter how many times we have an extra plate, it has NEVER been empty. We have such an open door policy for our family dinners that stragglers and extra are always welcome.   -Rachel

Thank you for sharing your memorable meal traditions with Feastly! More than ever, time spent around a shared table can preserve community traditions — We look forward to sitting across from you at your next Feastly meal.

Summer Contest!

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Is it mid-June already? It certainly seems like it here at Feastly HQ. With 70-degree weather and sunny skies we’ve been enjoying backyard BBQs, ice cream socials, and watermelon. To celebrate the coming of this summer season, starting today we are hosting a contest through the rest of June. One lucky member of the Feastly community will win a pair of tickets to a Feastly meal of their choice!

Here’s the deal:

- Post an original food-related picture to Instagram or Twitter that reminds you of summer. Caption or tweet the photo with why it’s your ideal imagery     of summer. Use the hashtags #feastly and #summerfeast

- Make sure you are following us on Twitter and/or Instagram (@eatfeastly) and mention us in your post so we can find it!

- This is only open to those located in the San Francisco Bay Area, DC metro area, Chicago, Los Angeles or NYC city regions.

- Contest ends June 27th and a winner will be announced on June 30th 12pm PT.

That’s it! We’re excited to see what you guys come up with. #FeastOn

 

Here’s a look through our eyes:

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Fried Olives: A Quick and Easy Italian Appetizer

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It takes one to know one, and our community expert on Italian cuisine Chris Atwood spent years living and soaking up the food culture of many regions of Italy. While there is a whole lot of pasta on his agenda (he teaches classes in San Francisco), he is also focused on introducing more esoteric dishes to the local table, and proving that they are in fact simple to prepare, tasty to enjoy and easier on the pocketbook than one might think.

He joins the Feastly blog today to share a recipe for fried olives, an appetizer and crowd pleaser served at his Roman Ristorante meal June 25th. Read below for his insight on this time honored celebration of the olive, and also check out his blog for more easy to cook at home meals.

Sicilian cooks bake them until the flesh has softened.  Neapolitans make a pasta sauce out of black ones, tomatoes and anchovies.  Bars in Italy serve bowls of them alongside boozy drinks. They are olives.

Grown from regional varietals, Italy’s olives differ in color, shape and size. Some are large and emerald green. Others are almond-sized and eggplant purple. While canned olives in the U.S. tend to taste like brine, Mediterranean varietals are cured in herbs and extra virgin olive oil. In the latter form, you can still taste the inherent qualities of the olive.

Fried olives are a classic appetizer in central Italy.  Some recipes call for stuffing the olives with grated cheese and prosciutto.  Others keep things simple — dredging them in breadcrumbs and frizzling the crusted olive in hot oil.

INGREDIENTS

* 1.5 – 2 cups pitted green Mediterranean olives

* 2 eggs, whisked

* 3/4 cup of bread crumbs

* 1/4 cup of grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese

* Oil for frying — olive or sunflower oil

Whisk the 2 eggs in a bowl until frothy.  Pour the breadcrumbs into another bowl. Then, mix the 1/4 cup of grated cheese into the breadcrumbs.  Dip the pitted olives in the egg and then dredge in the cheese-breadcrumb mix.  (Personally, I pour the breadcrumbs into a ziplock bag and then shake it once the egg-coated olives have been added).  Repeat this process a second time to ensure that the coating sticks to the olives during frying.

Heat 3 cups (at least) of oil over medium high heat in a large sauce pan. Olive oil begins to burn at 375F. So, if you want to fry in olive oil, be sure it hovers around 350F.  For frying, it is better to use a lower grade — ahem, cheaper– olive oil. Keep your extra virgin for another time. (For more on frying, see this New York Times piece).

Using a candy thermometer, test the oil’s temperature. When it reaches 350F, it’s ready.  Fry the olives in batches until golden brown: 2-4 minutes per batch.  Each batch should have 8-10 olives.  If you add more than that, the oil will get too cold and the olives won’t brown.  Remove the fried olives to a paper towel with a slotted spoon.  Serve immediately.

fried_olivesThe finished product: Italian Fried Olives. Learn more about Chris and his tasty home cooked meals from his Feastly portfolio of menus.

 

Feastly Recipe: Spring Rabbit by Chef David Yusefzadeh

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Learn to cook like a pro – Feastly’s series of #kitchenhacks and home dining success is brought to you today by Chicago Cook David Yusefzadeh, a professional chef who has traveled the world and worked in top restaurants. David will host a Persian Feast May 8th in Wicker Park, and he has graciously provided this guest post and spring recipe for our community. Read on and feast on! 

Choosing a healthy source of protein is a central part of many adults’ diets. Most Americans typically choose chicken over pork or beef but a very small amount of them have ever been as daring as to try rabbit. Rabbits are extremely lean animals with very healthy fat. They are not the easiest animals to break down but the reward is well worth the effort. Most rabbits purchased in a butcher shop will have all of their skin removed – if you can get your hands on one. A specialty butcher might be the best option for you, unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where rabbits are commonly eaten. Once purchased, you’ll receive a cleaned whole rabbit and there will be a few organs detached but left inside (i.e. kidneys, liver and heart-which can be used for many other delicious things). Be sure to submerge the organs in olive oil first to allow them to purge all of the liquid (blood) during 2-3 days. In my opinion, the kidneys and hearts are best served grilled on skewers. The liver can be cooked with mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) garlic, brandy (red wine if you prefer) and pureed into a pate – the recipe is below.

Because the muscles of the rabbits are so complex, they require detailed attention, and therefore each part of the rabbit needs to be treated differently. The back legs are large and tough; most commonly they should be cured (lightly coated in equal parts salt and sugar plus other fresh herbs and spices of your choice – recipe also below) for 24 hours. Another option would include battering the legs in buttermilk and deep-frying – outstanding!

rabbit_ChefYusef

The remaining loin, tenderloin and trim can be used in various ways. The best way to utilize the remaining meat is to debone the saddle (torso) and fan it out into one flat piece. Season the loin with chopped herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper and place the tenderloins inside of the loin. Roll the loin into a cylinder and tie with butcher’s twine. The loin can be seared, grilled or roasted in the oven. Bacon/pancetta can be added inside of the loin before it is rolled to add moisture and fat to the rabbit. If you decide to roast in the oven you should sear it first and then lay bacon on top of the loin so that the fat will drip onto the meat. In short, rabbits are as versatile as any other protein, and I cant attest that when treated with proper care their flavor will surpass any steak or piece of chicken.

Rabbit Confit with Baby Vegetables and Liver Toastrabbitdish_DavidYusefzadeh

For the confit:
6 rabbit hind legs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup kosher salt
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bunch thyme
2 T. black peppercorns

In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients thoroughly being sure to completely coat the rabbit with the salt/sugar mixture. Once coated, lay the rabbit legs in a single layer with the herbs on top and underneath the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove the rabbit and rinse off all sugar and salt. Lay the rabbit on paper towels and allow to air dry for 30 minutes. Place all of the rabbit in a shallow baking dish and completely submerge them in olive oil and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place in a 225F oven for 4 hours. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the foil and allow to cool at room temperature for an hour.

Once the meat is cool, you can pick the meat from the bones or leave it whole (if you want to serve it as a main course).

For the vegetables:
10 each Thumbelina/baby carrots
10 each baby turnips
2 Cups Cipollini onions
2 sprigs of thyme

Peel and blanch both the carrots and turnips. Then cut each piece in half. Peel the Cipollini onions and sauté them in butter and thyme until golden. Once they are cooled you can cut them in half or into four depending on the size.

For the liver:
6  rabbit livers
¼ cup minced shallots
¼ cup minced celery
1 clove minced garlic
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup Brandy

Submerge the livers in olive oil as soon as they are removed from the rabbit and keep them there until you’re ready to work with them. In a medium pot, sauté the livers for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and herbs and continue to sauté for 2 more minutes. Add brandy and reduce completely. Remove the mixture from heat and cool to room temperature. Remove the bay leaf and puree the mixture in a blender until completely smooth. Pass through a fine mesh chinois and cool over ice.

To Finish:
Place the picked rabbit meat and baby vegetables into a small sheet tray. Season with salt and place in a 350F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a serving bowl (as shown in the photo), the rabbit goes in the middle and baby vegetables scattered around. Spread the liver mixture on a small piece of toasted bread (garnish with fresh chives). Pour the following sauce over the vegetables.

For the sauce:
¼ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
2 egg yolks

Bring the wine and a pinch of salt to a simmer. Add the chicken stock and simmer for another minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the egg yolks. The sauce will thicken.

Follow Chef Yusefzadeh on Twitter and Instagram @chefyusef.  Photos and text courtesy of David Yusefzadeh 2014. 

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