"Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate." ~ Alan D. Wolfelt
I was in Washington DC last month for a benefit for the two largest soup kitchens in the country; DC Central and Martha’s Table. This is an annual trek for me and I have been involved for the past 7 years. Here, I share my unique experiences this year: Washington DC-2015. These are organizations that combat hunger and create opportunities that bring about real change in people’s lives. At the brunch for the visiting chefs, I created a Chestnut Polenta. The ground chestnuts were delivered to me from our dear friends at Anson Mills.Mixology - Valentines Day SpecialOne morning I met up with mixologist Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen who was working on her presentation for showing her newest creations for Valentine’s Day. Gina was creating a cedar board to serve the drinks on by saturating it with the alcohol that would be used in the drinks, along with some of the flavors, and then igniting the board. Gina mixed up four full-sized cocktails (at 7 AM in the morning when I visited!), with each drink to tell the story of most relationships. The progression goes light and breezy, fiery and passionate, a little bitter, and finishes with lasting sweetness. Each flight to be served on a keepsake wooden plank with cocktail stain artwork. Such inspiration in cocktails!I enjoyed a Smokey Bourbon Thyme Sidecar made by Chef Dan O'Brien's Mixologist Jeremy from Seasonal Pantry. During the trip, I saw so many variations on several menus, including this Lemon-Ginger Infused Bourbon Cocktail.It’s a busy time of year for me. The phone is ringing daily with potential clients looking to book events this coming season. It seems everyone is looking for a country vintage look. I have been meeting with rental companies and florists to create the look and feel. I am also busy developing my own recipes inspired by my friends and my haunts in DC. You can be sure Thyme-Infused Bourbon will be served along side the Gin Gimlets and a variation of a Moscow Mule will be served in copper mugs as well. For food, there will be Polenta Fries, Mermaid Farm Quark Fritters, and most likely Scallops Japanese Style with Watermelon Radish, White Soy Ponzu and Sweet Drop Pepper inspired by Jose Andres.Here on Martha’s Vineyard, the snow is still piled high as we brace for another storm. My chickens actually flew the coop today and landed on my porch. To me, this is sign that they are tired of the snow. They are ready to scratch and dig. They really don’t like cold feet - I watch them fly from one small patch of grass to another, passing over the piles of snow. My kid was sick last week and I made him chicken soup with floating ravioli pasta. It was so very nourishing and I have included the recipe.John Bagnulo and I are at it again this Spring, offering two workshops - always about eating and living close to our food sources (and why it is so important to our health as well as the planet’s). We are offering two retreats on Martha’s Vineyard this April. Check out Finding Your Food Map & Defining Food Quality and join us! I promise it will be a remarkable experience! Because it is Valentines Day, we have included a few links to desserts below. These are tried and true recipes that we have tried from websites we follow. As most of you know, I am not big on sweets, but these raw, vegan, low in sugar recipes are worth a try!