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Entries in Just Food (3)


John and Elana Benefit Dinner at Co. Restaurant for Just Food

If you've been paying attention, you probably know that we published our first cookbook. It's a pizza cookbook with 8 topping recipes, a dough recipe and additional tips and tools. It's fun stuff, if you like that whole pizza thing.

I wanted to donate the proceeds of this book to a deserving food charity, which I found in Just Food, a non-profit organization that connects communities and local farms with the resources and support they need to make fresh, locally grown food accessible to all New Yorkers.

A while back, Just Food announced their Harvest Dinners, an opportunity to bring friends and family together, raise awareness (and funds) for Just Food and eat some good grub.

I approached my favorite NYC pizzeria, Co. Restaurant with the idea of hosting a Harvest Dinner there on December 12th, and they obligingly agreed. I worked with the managers Anna-Lisa and Darren to put together a family style menu with wine pairings. This was our final menu:

Seventeen people signed on and took their place at the table as we began our feast with sparkling white wine and Pizza Bianca's.

One of my favorite things about a Co. pizza is the crust. With the Pizza Bianca, you really get to experience that crust in it's finest, fluffy-crispy form. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with just a touch of sea salt, it's the perfect starter for a meal.

We then moved on to the soup - a seasonal Squash Soup that was perfectly creamy with a hint of tanginess from pickled shiitake mushrooms and crunch from some walnuts.

At this point, the diners had moved on to the Roter Veltliner (2008  Leth  Wagram, Austria). With just a touch of sweetness, the Roter paired well with both following salads, the Endive and Radicchio....not to mention everyone's favorite – The MEATBALLS:

These little veal masterpieces are like candy, just small enough to pop in your mouth like a chocolate truffle, but soft and savory and swimming in a tomato sauce that you can (and should) eat with a spoon.

Next up: PIZZA! We enjoyed four with a Bardolino (2009  Le Fraghe  Veneto, Italy).

Pictured above is the shaved Brussel Sprout pizza accented with lardons, pecorino and gruyere cheeses, and a little kick from crushed black pepper. This pizza was a huge hit with the crowd.

We also enjoyed the Stracciatella. I've spoken about this pie before - the magic of this pie is in the cheese. Stracciatella is the ooey-gooey center of Burrata mozzarella. So creamy and smooth and salty, it's an event in itself, but paired with tomato, arugula and Co.'s fine crust, you have the KING of PIES. Really.

But no dinner at Co. would be complete without experiencing their classic Margherita:

Or the Popeye, with it's softly charred spinach atop softly melted gruyere cheese...

But we're not done yet! Co. really out-did themselves with their desserts. They offered us two: the Chocolate Tart, and the Toffee Pudding (which was brought out of retirement for the evening). The toffee bread pudding had a dollop of toffee-caramel glaze. Moist and sweet and topped with a tangy apricot and crunchy pistachios, it was the perfect sponge to soak up the Lambrusco that we finished the meal with.

We all had a fabulous dinner, and a wonderful time stealing meatballs from each other's plates and arguing for the last piece of Stracciatella.

I would first and foremost like to thank Co. Restaurant, Anna-Lisa and Darren (and Jim Lahey!) for allowing us to host this dinner at Co. and for going above and beyond in terms of hospitality and generosity. You truly made my night.

I would also like to thank everyone that came out for the event...some of you travelled across the country (not specifically for this, but still). Members of my Full Throttle triathlon team mingled with family members, old friends, new ones, and my boss Alysha, who has been incredibly supportive of my extra curricular activities.

So thanks to ALL!

And let's not forget that Co. was one of our Bathroom of the Month winners....



A Birthday Give Away!

Monday is my birthday. It's the big 3-5. Unlike some other people on this blog, I enjoy celebrating birthdays. Particularly my own. People say nice things to me. I think they feel obligated. So I let them. Some of them even buy me gifts. Go nuts. No complaining here.

This year for my birthday, I bought myself a gift: A trip to San Francisco. I haven't been to San Fran since I lived on the West Coast, and when I lived on the Westerly side of the country, I was in SoCal not NoCal, so I didn't get up there much.

My friend Kaz who lives in L.A. is obligingly meeting me there, so we are going to have a little Foodie weekend. I promise you pictures! I promise you food reports (especially from this place)! I promise you all kinds of nonsense!

In return I ask for not much. Except.....

Well, I decided to run a little give away. Perhaps you heard that we have a pizza cookbook? I'd love to encourage you to buy it, as it's for a good cause. However, I will be giving away a copy of the cookbook PLUS a little treat (yet to be named) from San Francisco.

What do you have to do?

Please comment on this blog post. Send me some birthday wishes. Tell John to get his hair cut, whatever (I'd prefer the birthday wishes).

I will pick one commenter and award the prize to that person. Sound good?

You have until midnight of November 7th to post your comments.


Top Your Pizza Cookbook!

I'm very excited to announce our first cookbook. I ate A LOT of pizza to produce this here book, yessiree, I did.
I personally tested each and every one of these recipes, making sure that they are not only edible, but 100% delicious.
I also wanted to give back. Not only a few calories, but a few dollars. That's why 80% of the proceeds from this book go straight to the non profit organization Just Food.
Are you familiar with Just Food? They are a local New York City organization with the mission to unite local farms and city residents of all economic backgrounds with fresh, seasonal, sustainably grown food.
It's a good mission. One I would like to help out with, and if you'd like to help too you can by buying this book. Plus, you'll get a bunch of amazing make-at-home pizza recipes.
What say you?
The book includes 8 pizza topping recipes, plus a recipe for dough and tips, tricks and tools! I'm hoping that this will be the first of more books to come.
Price: $18.00 (USD) Includes shipping and handling.