Stonewall Kitchen, The Home Show, and Pad Thai

Today was demo day at the Boston Home Show, for (and with!) the folks from Stonewall Kitchen. It was so well run, I’m still giddy with excitement. I arrived two hours before my demo. All of the ingredients for my dish, Shrimp Pad Thai, were already prepped and ready to go. There was enough set aside for the actual demo, and then a separate tray to make samples for the 50-70 people who were going to watch. Hmmm. Is my life supposed to be this uncomplicated? But wait. It gets better. Helping with the prep were two students, Karen and Jimmy, from Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge. So, the three of us made the Pad Thai for the post-demo sampling. Then, there were people to clean the pots and pans afterwards. Have I done something right to deserve this royal treatment? Patty Roche, the Stonewall Kitchen cooking school chef and manager, and her assistants, including Linda and Lisa, were nice and calm. Just how I like my kitchens.

So then, there was the actual demo. Karen (my wife, not the above-mentioned culinary student) sat through the demo, taking pictures and sampling the Pad Thai. She liked it all, I didn’t spill anything on my chef coat, and everyone in the audience had a good time.

Yes, this is what every Saturday should be like.

The Boston Home Show

My week in the public eye is coming to a big close on Saturday.  Last week, I did the Jimmy Fund event in Agawam, then the Boston Wine Expo.  Both went well.  On Saturday and Sunday, at the Expo, I made over 20 pounds of a warm-smoked salmon and pasta salad.  I sautéed somewhere around 75 pounds of wild-caught Alaska Salmon and cod. Yup.  Alaska cod in Boston. It was a huge hit too, mostly because it’s such a flavorful fish.  Oh yeah.  The chef and his cooking technique helped, too.  Between the two events, somewhere between  two and three thousand people sampled my food!  The only downside is that I think I’m still a wee bit tired.

But this Saturday will be the big finale for a while.  I’ll be doing a 30 minute Pad Thai demo for the folks at Stonewall Kitchen at the Boston Home Show at the Bayside Expo Center at 3:30.  I’ve been working with the Stonewall folks this week to make sure it’s fun, informative, and tasty.

So come on down to the show!  And come see the demo!  And stop by to say hi!

Crab and Avocado and The Jimmy Fund

Tonight, I’ll be at the Chefs for Jimmy event at Chez Josef in Agawam.  This is the big fundraiser for the Jimmy Fund, part of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Last year, over $100,000 was raised at the event, all for cancer research.  I participated last year for the first time, and am kind of goose-bumpy at going back again.  Last year, I made Pad Thai for the 800 attendees.  Yes, there was lots of other food, from a bunch of great chefs and restaurants, so I didn’t have to make mine in a wok the size of a bathtub.  The host location for the event, Chez Josef, is a really cool, 60’s-looking banquet facility.  And I say that in a retro-Rat Pack, Frank and Sammy and the boys kind of way.   It’s a setting right out of Mad Men.  And their food is excellent.  If I do my bar mitzvah again, I’m having the party at Chez Josef…

This year, I’m making three variations on crostini, which is Italian for toast.  Okay, it actually means little toast, which isn’t to be confused with big toast, which you slather with butter and more butter.  My three crostini are my world-famous (at least in my world) smoked trout spread with brandy, crab with avocado, and what I cross-culturally call Mexican Crostini, with a cumin-flavored toast, black beans, corn, and roasted red pepper. I’m adding the crab recipe to my website’s recipe because it’s soooo good.  While it has crab and avocado, it also has the subtle flavors of lemon and Tabasco.  Yeah, I know.  Tabasco and subtle don’t often go together.  But this time, they do.   Plus, it’s fast and easy.  And, since it goes a long way, it’s also not that expensive.  But the big thing is, it tastes great.

If you go to Chez Josef tonight, don’t forget to stop by for some crostini.  And to say hello…

Happy New Year!

It’s just a few hours late, but my New Year has finally begun.  In a holiday week unlike any other in the eight-plus years of Chef Bill (that is, Chef Bill the business.  I’m much older than eight-plus years), I did three events, including two cooking lesson parties, since Monday.  Usually, this is a very quiet week.  I don’t like quiet weeks.

Monday started with a cooking lesson pizza party.  We had some pretty wild pizzas, including one with pears, goat cheese and aioli, the  Italian homemade garlic mayo.  It was a great pizza  .One of the daughters even mastered flinging and spinning her dough into the air.  It was a very fun night.

Wednesday night was a Dinner for Two in Cambridge that morphed into an impromptu cooking lesson.  It was a nice menu that had caviar and oysters for appetizers, and a main course with rack of lamb, scallops piccata, and risotto.  Yeah, that was nice menu.

And New Year’s Eve?  A dinner for 14 in Andover, with appetizers including crab and avocado on crostini, and my crazy-popular smoked trout spread.  Plus a winter pesto in the entrée.  We finished with bananas Foster flambé.

And now?  Well, maybe I’ll sleep until noon, or whenever the greyhounds wake up, whichever comes first.  And then, I get to plan January, which includes cooking appearances at the Boston Wine Expo, the New England Home Show, and Stonewall Kitchen.  And planning for Michael Palmer’s HUGE book–launch party in February at the Paradise Club in Boston.  This one is going to be HUGE.

Until then, good night, and Happy New Year.

p.s.  I can’t go to bed yet.  Dexter the 90 pound hound is sound asleep in my lap.  I don’t have the heart to wake him up…