Chefs for Obama Highlights, Cyclorama, Boston

Chefs for Obama, a group of 14 cooks, held a private cooking competition and tasting, at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, on the evening of January 31st. The competition was judged by Governor Duval Patrick, First Lady Diane Patrick and award-winning Chef Ming Tsai (BMH Review of Blue Ginger). Each chef had an individual table set up with their food and guests were allowed to taste as much as they please.

Ryan Fleury did an amazing job organizing the event. The event raised $135,000 and the majority of it will go towards the Democratic National Party, as well as the President’s 2012 campaign.

Jody Adams, Rialto and Trade served spiced chicken ravioli, figs and orange. Freshly made pasta surrounding tender chicken and greens were bathed in a light orange cream sauce and dressed with grated cheese and fig. Suprisingly the pieces of dried fig were not too sweet, but semi-tart.

Jamie Bissonnette, Toro and Coppa (BMH Review of Toro) served oysters escabeche using moonshell oysters from the Cape with cava and vinegar. The oyster were chilled, fresh and had a nice mouth feel from the cava.

Chris Coombs, Deuxave and DBar served seared Maine diver scallops over black quinoa, delicata squash and maple aioli. Underneath you found  a sliver of roasted pork belly and tart apple. On top, there were thin slivers of crispy lardons. The scallop was executed well and the aioli and quinoa and a great texture. This dish was aesthetically pleasing and complex with multiple layers of flavors and textures.

Evan DeLuty, Stella served slices of a quattro funghi whole wheat pizza. There were shiitake, oyster and crimini mushrooms, drizzled with white truffle oil. The various flavors from the three types of mushrooms and truffle oil were delicious.

Tiffani Faison, Sweet Cheeks (BMH review of Sweet Cheeks) served a farm salad of brussel and farro. It is similar to a dish she currently serves at her barbeque restaurant.There was raw and roasted brussel sprouts, candied chestnuts, hazelnuts, and farro. This would make a great starter.

Will Gilson, The Herb Lyceum served parsnip hummus, fried chickpeas, and crispy parsley. It was a healthy twist on a great appetizer using produce from local farms.

Gordon Hamersley, Hamersley’s Bistro was very warm and charismatic and served a fresh duck salad with wheat berries. The texture of the grain was fantastic, the duck was juicy and a classic Hamersley-style dish.

Barbara Lynch, No. 9 ParkB&G OystersStirThe Butcher ShopDrink and Sportello (BMH Review of SportelloDrinkNo. 9 Park) poured spicy tomato soup topped with a crispy grilled cheese. The soup had a nice spicy bite and the grilled cheese added a lovely crunch.

Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother served a fresh catfish taco with a collard green kimchi. The collard green kimchi was something unique we had never had before and paired wonderfully with the lightly sauteed catfish.

Seth Morrison, The Gallows (BMH Review of The Gallows) served a vegetarian delight of mushroom bordalaise on top of roasted spaghetti. It was served in a bamboo spoon. This was a comfort food type of dish that was perfect for the winter evening.

Rebecca Newell, The Beehive paid homage to her beloved grandmother by serving potato and cheese pierogies with truffled creme fraiche and housemade salmon. The pierogies were filled with the truffle scented cream, however a bit limp, but the homemade salmon was fresh and had a great flavor.

Marc Orfaly, Pigalle and Marco plated dishes of healthy mac’n’cheese made with roasted butternut squash, whole wheat pasta, gruyere cheese, greek yogurt and herbed panko breadcrumbs. The mac and cheese was quite tasty and light.

Brian Reyelt, Franklin CafeThe Citizen and Tasty Burger (BMH Review of Tasty Burger) served up a homemade s’more. The graham cracker and marshmallow were homemade and tasted wonderful drizzled with chocolate sauce. The soft marshmallow was the best part of the dessert.

Oishii (BMH Review of Oishii) served 3 pieces of sushi, Kobe beef with spinach, salmon topped with a slice of strawberry and tuna. Our favorite was the melt-in-your-mouth kobe beef. Chef Ting Wen was greeting attendees and helping add soy sauce to plates.

The participating chefs  created a cookbook featuring original recipes titled “Massachusetts Chefs for Obama.”

The winner was Chef Evan DeLuty of Stella, who will have the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Obama. Judge Ming Tsai announced the rankings were as follows:

1st: Evan DeLuty from Stella

2nd: Jody Adams from Rialto

3rd: Ting Wen from Oishii

Our tastes did not follow the judges’ exactly. We thought Chris Coombs from Deuxave, Gordon Hamersley from Hamersley’s Bistro and Ting Wen from Oishii had some of the best dishes of the night.

All leftover food from the campaign event was donated to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Boston-based food recovery program. The Lovin’ Spoonfuls’s team are very passionate about their work and partners with supermarkets such as Trader Joe’s to feeds about 40,000 people a day at crisis centers.

Please note we received complimentary tickets for BakingMeHungry. All opinions are our own.

Broccoli Casserole

Inspired by Sweet Cheek‘s broccoli casserole, we made a version omitting the cream mushroom soup and replacing it with sour cream. The sharp cheddar cheese, bits of broccoli, melty onion and the texture of butter panko crumb is a great side dish or even a quick brunch item.

Adapted from Paula Deen and AllRecipes

  • 1 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups crushed crackers (Town or Ritz)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumb
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • dash of paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place frozen broccoli into a very large mixing bowl. Break up the frozen broccoli. Dice onion. Using a rubber spatula, scrape sour cream and  mayonnaise, chopped onion, egg crushed crackers mixture on top of broccoli, and mix well. Sprinkle in cheese, and mix well. Season with paprika.

Spread mixture into prepared baking dish and smooth top of casserole. Melt butter and combine with panko bread crumb. Sprinkle additional cheese to the casserole and sprinkle melted butter and panko mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

Sweet Cheeks BBQ, Fenway, Boston

Top Chef competitor and former chef of now defunct Rocca, Tiffany Faison recently opened Sweet Cheeks. The amount of buzz in the food community indicates how it popular it has become and a new hit in the Boston area.

Redbones, Blackstrap BBQ and Darryl’s are some of the Boston area restaurants who offer ribs and Southern fare. Dare we say it? Sweet Cheek’s BBQ ribs are some of the best in town.

The bar has large screen televisions and the dining area has a lot of wood. Many tables had the bucket of four biscuits with honey butter for $10. I’m sure they are unbelievable, but sometimes $3 for a canister of six Pillsbury biscuits and homemade honey butter sounds good too.

Wood in front of the kitchen area with a pile of blue camping trays.

The Sweet Cheeks menu includes pork, ribs, chicken with a choice of hot or cold scoops or sides ranging from $6 to $12 such as bbq beans, collard greens, mac n’ cheese and coleslaw and carrot and raisin salad. The fried items includes hush puppies, fried green tomatoes and fried okra.

Patrons can order meat as sandwiches ranging from $10 to $12 or by increments of 1/4 lb, as well from $16/lb for the pulled chicken to $19/lb for the berkshire pork belly.

The little design additions were vintages pieces, as if they were freshly picked from Antique Archaeology.  I really loved the details of the antique scale and glass bottle Coca Colas in the fridge. Frank and Mike would be proud.

After checking out the menu and vibe one afternoon, we decided we would order take out another time. On our evening visit to the restaurant, the signs were vibrant all lit up.

Although Rocky Top cocktail with smokey apple cider moonshine, carriage house apple brandy, spiced apple cider, vya sweet vermouth ($10) looked awesome, but what caught my eye more was the beer selection, especially the Crispin and Hoss beers.

It was difficult to decide what to order for take out, so we decided to grab suggestions from the hostess and she suggested we get the ribs with broccoli casserole and the farm salad. Although she estimated we would wait 15 minutes our take out bag was ready in ten. Underpromise and over deliver.

We got the Berkshire half rack for $19 with our two scoops. Our rib tray was served with two slices of soft white bread, to sop up the sauces and slightly tangy pickled cucumbers and onions.

The high quality, dry-rubbed smoked ribs were lip smacking good. The thicker sweet barbeque sauce and North Carolina style vinegar sauce enhanced the flavor of the meat.

We would go back to the restaurant for the two sides, Cita’s Broccoli Cheese Casserole and the Farm Salad alone.

The salad had arugula, tiny brussels sprouts, halved red grapes, roasted hazelnuts, and a sprinkling of Pecorino Romano cheese. The broccoli casserole tasted like a broccoli and cheese quiche and made me want to try to recreate the recipe right away.

We will be back and make sure we make room for desserts. The cleverly named white trash fruit salad for $6 or the Giant Nutter Butter for $8 caught our eye.

Sweet Cheeks Q on Urbanspoon

Obama Victory Fund 2012 – Cooking Competition & Food Tasting Chefs for Obama, South End

Getting ready for another Tuesday night curled up on the couch with a glass of wine watching NCIS, Glee and the Biggest Loser simultaneously? (Oh, that’s just us? Awkward…)

Can you think of any better way to spend a Tuesday night then sampling food from some of Boston’s best restaurants while enjoying a libation or two surrounded by Boston’s food-loving community? No? I didn’t think so.

Come out next Tuesday to support the President’s re-election efforts! Chefs for Obama, a group of 14 cooks doing a private cooking competition and tasting, will be putting their best plate forward just for you. The competition will be judged by Governor Deval Patrick, First Lady Diane Patrick and award-winning Chef Ming Tsai (BMH Review of Blue Ginger). Each chef will have a table set up with their food and guests will be able to peruse/taste as much as they please. Which chef do you want to win?

The fundraiser will be held at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. It is a beautiful historic venue in the Boston’s stylish South End and more than appropriate for this fun foodie event. Check it out, we promise it will be a great time.

Chefs for Obama, next Tuesday, 1/31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Boston Center for the Arts. This competitive cooking fundraiser will feature dishes from these local celebrity chefs:

Jody Adams, Rialto and Trade
Jamie Bissonnette, Toro and Coppa (BMH Review of Toro)
Chris Coombs, Deuxave and DBar
Evan DeLuty,  Stella
Tiffani Faison, Sweet Cheeks
Will Gilson, The Herb Lyceum
Gordon Hamersley, Hamersley’s Bistro
Barbara Lynch, No. 9 ParkB&G OystersStirThe Butcher ShopDrink and Sportello (BMH Review of SportelloDrinkNo. 9 Park)
Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother
Seth Morrison, The Gallows (BMH Review of The Gallows)
Rebecca Newell, The Beehive
Marc Orfaly, Pigalle and Marco
Brian Reyelt, Franklin CafeThe Citizen and Tasty Burger (BMH Review of Tasty Burger)
Ting Wen Yen, Oishii (BMH Review of Oishii)

The 13 participating chefs have also created a cookbook featuring original recipes to raise cash for President Obama’s 2012 campaign, titled “Massachusetts Chefs for Obama.”  It features handy-dandy pull-out recipe cards, which you can perch on the unique cookbook box that folds into a stand. The cookbook is being sold for $100 by OFA will be available for sale on the night of the event.

All leftover food from the campaign even will be donated to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a Boston-based food recovery program.

Ticket Information:
$1000 — General Admission plus a Chef Cookbook, a chance to guest judge, and a pre-reception
$500 — General Admission plus a Chef Cookbook and a chance to guest judge
$250 — General Admission
Or if you can’t attend, just donate to a good political cause.
Buy your tickets here. Buy your cookbook here.

Please note we received complimentary tickets for BakingMeHungry. All opinions are our own.

Images: Cookbook from Barack Obama website, Lovin’ Spoonfuls website, Cyclorama from the Boston Center of for the Arts website.