The Diva That Ate New York

Pie Party Potluck LIVE! Parade of Pies 2015

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Pie Party Potluck LIVE! Parade of Pies 2015

Leave your skinny jeans at home, it’s time to eat pie!

When I saw the slew of pies at the first Pie Party Potluck LIVE! we hosted back in 2011, I thought to myself, “This is the BEST EVENT EVER!”. Now, four years later, I love it when the food bloggers say it’s the best event ever. What’s not to love about making, bringing and eating pie with fellow pie enthusiasts? Feast your eyes on the pies we’ll be eating at Pie Party Potluck LIVE! 2015.

Pie Party Potluck LIVE! is an exclusive event for food bloggers and culinary professionals only. Each attendee will bring a homemade pie to share. If you fit this category and would like to come to Pie Party Potluck LIVE! please get on the waitlist for this sold out event.

We are especially excited to be hosted and sponsored by the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) at their brand new facility. The sea of pies will sparkle in the gorgeous, sunlit event space overlooking the Hudson River. We want to thank ICE and our other sponsors: WÜSTHOF, Anolon, Cabot Creamery, King Arthur Flour, Dub Pies, and Tovolo for supporting this event where food bloggers and food professionals come together for the simple joy of STUFFING our faces full of pie!
Cocktail sponsors are Reyka Vodka, Tromba Tequila and Mizu Shochu.

The Parade Of Pie Party Potluck LIVE! Pies

The Parade Of Pies

Mississippi Hazelmud Pie (sweet) - Ken / Hungry Rabbit NYC
Cupboard Harvest Pie (sweet) One Meat & Three Veg Whole 30 Pie (savory)  - Jackie / The Diva That Ate New York
Baked Brie Apple Pie (sweet) Blueberry Cardamom Galette (sweet)  -  Kate / Food Babbles
Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Cheese Pie (savory) Pumpkin Cheesecake (sweet) -  Melanie /  Melanie Underwood
Peking Duck Pie (savory) - Kathy / The Experimental Gourmand
Spicy Chicken Empanadas (savory) - Rodney / Rodney Bedsole
Atlantic Beach Pie (sweet) - Emily / Emily Hanhan Nomnivorous
Heirloom Tomato Pie (savory) - Judy / The Judy Lab
Key Lime Gimlet Pie (sweet) Rogan Josh Pot Pie (savory) - Renee & Aaron / Kitchen Conundrum
Rosehip Pie In A Ginger Crust (sweet) - Lora / Diary Of A Mad Hausfrau
S’more Pie (sweet) - Ellie / The Hobo Kitchen
Asparagus Gruyere Tart (savory) - Jenn / Jennifer Baker
Leek and Bacon Pie (savory) - June / Feastivals
Caribbean Cattle Tail Tatin (savory) - Margaret / Savory Sweet Living
Earl Grey Chocolate Pie with Caramel Drizzle. (sweet) - Tracey / The NYC Kitchen
Blueberry-Purple Yam Pie (sweet) Asian Egg Tarts (sweet) - Betty Ann & Elphi / Asian In America
Blueberry Pie (sweet) Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart (sweet)  - Colleen / Souffle Bombay
Chocolate Pecan Pie (sweet) - Beth / Highbrow Magazine - Food
Gilded Truffle Foie Pie (savory) - Daisy / Cool Cook Style
Spicy Mala Chicken Hand Pies (savory) Apple Pie (sweet)  - Kian & Warren / The Red Cook
3 Cheese Tomato Basil Pie (savory) - Lisa / Jersey Girl Cooks
Beef & Chorizo Empanadas (savory) - Susan / Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chicken Curry Pot Pie (savory) Aloo Gobhi Pie (savory)  - Malini / Restaurant Fairy’s Kitchen
Uncle Simon’s Meat Pie (savory) - Simon
Fall Fruit Cheesecake Pie (sweet) - Renee / Flavors Of Light
Passion Fruit Guava Pie (sweet) - Sonya / Bacchanal Sauce
Grape Pie (sweet) - Sunny / For Your Pies Only
Cottage Pie (sweet) - Yvo / Feisty Foodie
Piggy Pot Pie (savory) - Stephen
Lobster Pot Pie (savory) - Ron
Cauliflower Gruyere with Potato Crust & Parmesan-Bacon Breadcrumbs (savory) - Lisa / Panning The Globe
Pear Crumb Pie (sweet) - Anita / Hungry Couple
Mango Mousse Pie (sweet) - Sonali / Leaf And Lemon IG
Tourtière (French Canadian Meat Pie) (savory) - Keith
Thomas Keller Quiche (savory) - Vicki / Vicki Winters
Cinnamon Maple Pumpkin Pie (sweet) - Irene
Bourbon Pumpkin Pie (sweet) - Carrie / Poet In The Pantry
Italian Easter Pie (savory) - Renee
Salted Caramel Pear Galette with Pecan Streusel (sweet) Empanadas (savory) - Abby / Abby Dodge
Wild Mushroom Empanadas (savory) - Nancy / Elements For Kitchens
Red Bean Pie (sweet) - Mariko
Chocolate Caramel Mousse Pie (sweet) - Angela / Mind Over Batter
Chocolate Truffle Mixed Nut Pie (sweet) - Gwynn / Swirls Of Flavor
Pear Bacon Pie with Pecan Blue Cheese Streusel (savory) - Michael / The Kitchen Gaily
Kabocha Squash Pie (sweet) Roasted Tomato, Zucchini Blossom & Cheddar Galette with a Buckwheat Crust (savory)  - Roopa & Matt / Raspberry Eggplant
Salty Honey Pie (sweet) Ground Beef Pie (savory) - Joanne / Fifteen Spatulas
Beef and Guinness Pie (savory) - Kristen / The Artful Gourmet
Pecan Pie (sweet) - Wendy / La Phemme Phoodie
Shoshi’s Magick Pie (sweet) - Yolanda / Bruja’s Blog
Lemon+Pistachio Tart Pie (sweet) - Jeff / Foodmento
Spicy Cubanita Cottage Pie (savory) - Irina / Healthy Latin Food
Raw Chocolate Truffle Tart (sweet) - Brian
Caramel Apple Galette (sweet) - Lara / The Tasteful Scribe
Caramelized Garlic Spinach and Cheddar Tart (savory) - Jackie / Jackie Ourman
Maple Bourbon Custard Pie (sweet) - Kelly / Kelly Bakes
Apple Pie (sweet) - Justine / Little Miss Local
Crunchy Caramel Nut Pumpkin Pie (sweet) - Urvashee / Dessarts

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My Potato Salad Never Weeps, But I Do.

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - My Potato Salad Never Weeps, But I Do.

I call my Southern-style potato salad, confetti because it’s colorful and tastes like a parade is happening in my mouth! My taste buds are like little cheerleaders marching, screaming with delight and doing cartwheels with every bite! There’s something about the combo of potato chunks, mayo, American mustard, sweet relish and hard boiled eggs that comforts me and makes me feel cozy and loved. Plus, you get a good dose of veggies, so it must be healthy-ish.

The 4th of July screams potato salad, but did I make it this year? No. My host and co-party chair made German potato salad for our Independence Day 2015 barbecue. I shelved this recipe until our Labor Day “End Of Summer” celebration. We threw a small shindig for eighty guests. We had so many people we made two different potato salads because we could!

I’ll admit I felt a twinge of sadness as I prepped this salad. I hate summer so I was not verklempt over the end of the hot, humid weather because I HATE IT. GOOD RIDDANCE!  I had a bit of a pang over the tater salad. When you live in a place that has four clear seasons like New York, the end of summer means the end of making potato salad at what some might call a sensible, reasonable time of year. It’s the end of the time when making and eating potato salad with abandon goes unquestioned, unchecked. People might look at you funny if you make potato salad in the dead of winter, but if I ate it every day in the summer, nary an eyelash would flutter.

Cry Me A Liver: Chopped Liver

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Cry Me A Liver: Chopped Liver

The lyric for the song “Cry Me A River” should be, “Cry Me A Liver”?  “I cried a ‘liver’ over you.” I have shed a tear over a big bowl of raw chicken livers because, let’s face it, chicken livers are pretty gross to touch and deal with. Yet, they are delicious. So delicious that I must delve into the bloody, gooey bits and prepare them.

Faced with a hankering and a need to make chopped liver for my nephew, Kaden’s baptism party, I decided to devise a recipe where I handled the chicken livers the least.

I skipped the deveining and defatting of the raw livers. I find it’s much less off-putting to sink my hands into cooked livers. After slow cooking the onions, I removed them from the pan and cooked off the chicken livers. Once they cooled, I pulled them apart and removed the grisly bits. Then, I chucked them in the food processor with the other ingredients, seasoned them to taste and it was done. The garnish of gribenes, chopped hard boiled egg and dill makes for a striking presentation on an otherwise unattractive dish, but you could skip them.

Call It Whatcha Like: Hibiscus Mint Limeade

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Call It Whatcha Like: Hibiscus Mint Limeade

Since my Trinidadian sister-in-law was amongst the family visiting sweltering New York City this week for my nephew Kaden’s baptism, I decided to make her favorite beverage, Sorrel. It’s an iced tea made from hibiscus flowers. I added mint and lime to give a bit of a mojito treatment and am now calling it Hibiscus Mint Limeade.

Depending on where you are from the name changes. According to Wikipedia, the drink is called Rosella in Australia, Agua de Jamaica and/or Flor de Jamaica in Latin America, Arhul ka phool in India Karkadé in Egypt, Sudan, Italy and Russia, Chai Kujarat in Iraq, Chai Torsh in Iran, Gumamela in the Philipines, Bissap, Tsoborodo or Wonjo in West Africa, Sorrel in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, Red Sorrel in the wider Caribbean, and other names in other regions, including the U.S., where it is sometimes known as simply Jamaica.

Sexy + Hummus: Who’d Have Thunk It?

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Sexy + Hummus: Who’d Have Thunk It?

Is it lazier to use dried split chickpeas to make hummus so you don’t have to slip the skins off each whole chickpea? Or is having to soak and boil the split chickpeas considered more work? What if you have a pressure cooker?

Whatever method you use to get skinned chickpeas, do it. Your hummus becomes downright sexy when you do.

Lora Wiley inspired this recipe when we had caramelized onion hummus at her place. Here is her recipe. Paul fell in love. She uses butter to caramelize the onions, he said it tasted like meat. Meat dip is dude heaven.

I made mine with crisped onions instead so it’s a little less rich, but quite tasty and vegan. I added fried sage on top and some sumac powder to add color and a citrusy zing!

Wake Up and Eat Dessert: Pudim Molotov with Matcha Cream & Black Sesame Almonds

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Wake Up and Eat Dessert: Pudim Molotov with Matcha Cream & Black Sesame Almonds

“Stuff ‘em” is my usual stance when I invite guests over to a meal at my house. You will never leave hungry. You will be fed to the point of bursting. You may need to nap between the meal and the dessert. Lately, I’ve been easing up at tad when it comes to dessert. My guests are usually ready-to-explode from the appetizers and main course. To keep them from running, screaming, “I can’t! I just can’t!”, from my house, I’ve been making much lighter desserts.

This past Saturday, Marlena Spieler and I whipped up a brunch of epic proportions. The menu is below. A couple of guests took between-courses naps. They woke up to this ethereal and light Pudim Molotov with Matcha (Green Tea) Cream and Caramelized Black Sesame Almonds. I’d had a version of this dessert for the first time at a Meyer Corporation press dinner at the new, hot Portuguese restaurant, Lupulo, that Julia Stambules invited me to. It was love at first bite. I’d never heard of an egg white flan! So lovely and light. It reminded me of Ile Flottante, but baked in a mold as opposed to in freely formed shapes or quenelles.

Who Wants To Invite Me To An Indian BBQ?

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Who Wants To Invite Me To An Indian BBQ?

Do Indians host BBQ’s like Americans do? I feel like I should know the answer to this question, but I honestly don’t know. I will find out and give you an update.

I’ve only ever been invited to a BBQ where my hosts cooked on a tandoor once in my life. It was in the 90’s, in Australia. They were not of Indian descent or even Aussies. They were from New Zealand, but they loved to cook so they had a tandoor built in their backyard and their tandoori chicken was pretty damn good. They did not serve coleslaw of any kind.

Recently, I was looking for suggestions of dishes that work well at a BBQ and can sit outside in the heat. My taste buds perked up when my friend George told me about this Indian Spiced Coleslaw.

Fancy Food Picks: Nine Items That Caught My Eye And My Taste Buds At The Summer Fancy Food Show

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Fancy Food Picks: Nine Items That Caught My Eye And My Taste Buds At The Summer Fancy Food Show

Going to the Summer Fancy Food show is like taking your taste buds on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride—Tasting The Globe Edition. The Javits Center is packed with 2500 vendors from all over the world all vying for you to try and buy their specialty food wares. You can go from the finest Venezuelan chocolate to oddly delicious blue cheese infused salami to dried African baobab fruit to black garlic vinegar to camel milk. Yes, this year I had camel milk! You cannot taste everything or you’ll be disgusted, bloated and miserable in no time.

My system is to go all three days for a few hours and eat only savory things for first part of the day and then switch to only sweets. I don’t waste my limited stomach real estate on too many carbs either. This year, I ate my weight in fine pork and even finer cheese products. It was GLORIOUS! Often it’s the same old stuff from year to year, but there are always a few items that stand out:

Uh Oh the Ro Ro’s… The food snob in me did NOT want to even like Ro Ro’s Baking Company’s Cinn-A-Rolls, but D-Zamn!!! They were the cinnamon buns of my dreams. Often they’re too hard, too dry and made with cheap ingredients, but these were standouts especially for a frozen product. You pop them in the oven and you get soft, buttery, syrupy, divine cinnamon rolls. I understand they’re available at Whole Foods — we definitely did not need to know that… They also make dinner rolls that rocked too.

Outdoor Friendly Dish: Potato, Cauliflower & Green Bean Salad

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Outdoor Friendly Dish: Potato, Cauliflower & Green Bean Salad

Last Saturday’s weather report was not good. Rain was looming and I kept vacillating about what to cook for a friend’s birthday picnic in Riverside Park. I asked my Facebook hive for outdoor friendly portable dishes and upon seeing their suggestions and noting the contents of my fridge, I made a Potato, Cauliflower & Green Bean Salad. It wasn’t water-proof, but it would not be ruined by a few droplets of rain.

By the time I got to the upper west side, Momma Nature was already spitting. As I struggled to get all the food and rain gear out of the car, I dropped my cell phone, unbeknownst to me, in the street, face-down on the sidewalk. My daily paranoia of thinking I’d lost my phone or it’s been stolen at least ten times a day, finally paid off. I’d barely crossed the street when I stopped to frisk myself and found out this time I really was “phone-less”. WHAT??? I re-searched my four bags and roller cooler and yes, my phone was GONE! I left all my crap in the drizzle and retraced my steps or missteps as it turned out. Having a red case on my phone also paid off because I saw it immediately. I was very happy that it was raining and that I was on Riverside Drive because the street was deserted. I ran over, grabbed it, kissed it, thanked my lucky stars and went back to the picnic.

Need A Picnic Dish? Pick Pickled Beets

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Need A Picnic Dish? Pick Pickled Beets

I picked pickled beets. Finding the right savory picnic foods in summer is a challenge. It needs to be not-too-much work-to-make because it’s usually too hot to cook. It needs to be good “siege” food as in easy to serve and eat while sitting on the ground and being attacked by ants and wasps. It needs the resilience to hold up well in the heat. Pickled beets tick all the boxes and they may improve with heat. The only thing you have to watch out for is spillage and “splashage”. They are not forgiving if you wind up wearing them, but who wears nice clothes to a picnic?

Garlic Chives Two & Ten Ways

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Garlic Chives Two & Ten Ways

Whenever I’m in Chinatown or in an Asian market, I take a grab a bunch of garlic chives now and ask questions later approach. The question is usually what am I going to do with all of these garlic chives? You can get a quite a decent sized bunch for just a buck. I snap them up because I can’t buy them in my neighborhood.

I love cooking with them since they are more substantial than traditional chives and can handle some heat. Gau choy fa, or Chinese flowering chives have a garlicky flavor that’s more powerful than chives, but not as powerful as actual garlic. My last bunch made it into two dishes recently, Garlic Chive & Chinese Mushroom Potatoes and a dish I’m calling Garlic Chive Garlic Chard.

Follow The Five P’s: How To Organize A Food Crawl

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Follow The Five P’s: How To Organize A Food Crawl

Go on a food crawl! There’s nothing like getting together with a bunch of “food-minded” people and gorging on delicious food all day. You get fresh air, exercise, and STUFFED.

The air and the exercise balance out some of the over-eating so you feel less guilty that you might be if you were parked on the sofa, stuffing your face for the same amount of time. My friends and I organize food crawls all over New York City. People wonder why I’m not five hundred pounds. Eating with a crowd is my secret. Many mouths make for lots of little tastes. It’s much less filling than having to eat EVERYTHING myself.

Here are my Popularity, Planning, People, Politesse, and Purchasing tips for organizing a food crawl with your favorite foodies. If you have more tips to add, leave a comment.

Oh, if you don’t have the energy for a putting together a food crawl, you could go on a food tour. Check out my friend Joe DiStefano’s Queens food tours. All the organizing is done. You just show up and chow down.

I made one of the dishes we had on the crawl, Miang Kana, that inspired my interest in going to check out the Thai food scene in Queens. My boyfriend’s daughter had this dish in Thailand and we decided we had to find it in Queens. That led to a visit, which led to our food crawl.

Pick a delicious theme so people will want to come. Can you imagine folks signing up for a rocky mountain oyster food crawl? Neither can I. We choose our food crawl themes by type of food like our recent Thai Food crawl (#farangfeast) or by neighborhood like our numerous Flushing (#crushingflushing) food crawls or by a combination of the two, as was the case with our Downtown-ish Brooklyn Wing Crawl (#wingingitbk).

At times, our crawls are more of a quest, like this week’s upcoming Dessert Quest which will travel over several neighborhoods in two boroughs.

Pick out places that are known for having the best food because you want to avoid duds — no one likes duds. Check out websites that food enthusiasts frequent for ideas. In New York, we use Eater, Grub Street, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, etc. Ask food professionals, food lovers, food bloggers, etc, where they would go? I’m friends with many food people on Facebook and Twitter, so I ask them. I also see what’s popular on Instagram by searching hashtags or the location. You can read online reviews too, but I only truly believe what’s good by listening to people who like the same foods as I do.

How To Host A BBQ in Brooklyn Bridge Park

 Best View For A ‘Cue in New York City

Best View For A ‘Cue in New York City

If you haven’t been to Brooklyn Bridge Park, what are you waiting for? I’ve been watching the park evolve from nothing over the past five years and now it’s glorious. I’d been wanting to have a barbecue in the park ever since they popped the grills on the foreshore making it the Best View For A ‘Cue in New York City. I admit, whenever I’m strolling in the park I slow to a turtle pace as I pass folks who are barbecuing. I take my time to drool or be horrified over what they’re cooking, mostly the former.

We finally had a BBQ in the park at the Picnic Peninsula, last fall, but I didn’t write about it then because it was going to get cold and that would just be a big tease. Now it’s BBQ season again and the park is jumping. If you decide to host a barbecue, you have to be prepared so here’s some tips and a checklist for organizing one, that I gathered from our experience.

The good news is you don’t have to reserve a space for your barbecue. The bad news is you can’t reserve a spot for your barbecue. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Be aware of the official park rules before you start planning since there are limits to the size of your group, how long you can use the grills and more.

I whipped up some meatloaf sausages based on ćevapčići, a skinless sausage that originated in the Balkans, for the barbecue.

How To Make A Make Your Own Profiterole Bar

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - How To Make A Make Your Own Profiterole Bar

The words “empty cream puff shells” almost sound sad and lonely, but not when they’re the centerpiece of a Make Your Own Profiterole Bar! They become catalysts for excitement and “profiterole-abilities” when paired with ice cream and whipped cream for filling and chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, and caramel sauce for drizzling and all sorts of sprinkles, nuts, candies, etc. for dazzling.

On Memorial Day, we put up a Make Your Own Profiterole Bar for dessert and the guests at Lora’s BBQ were pretty damned excited.

I was excited because I was in the house of the Disco Dust Queen, Lora Wiley, who writes the dessert blog Diary Of A Mad Hausfrau and is famous for not only making endless combos of macarons (be sure to check out her Macaron Monday posts), but making fun, shiny, colorful desserts, pastries and cookies.

You must exercise caution when opening her “toppings” cupboard. You could be temporarily blinded by the glints and sparkles from her arsenal of sanding sugars, dragees, sugar pearls, luster dusts, edible glitters, pearlescent sprinkles and more. She likes pretty, shiny things and she also collects lots of props so I was thrilled we could have fun gussying up and styling the Make Your Own Profiterole Bar too.

We managed to control ourselves by only putting out five kinds of sprinklings for the Make Your Own Profiterole Bar along with:

  • Cream Puffs
  • Ice Cream
  • Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Raspberry Sauce
  • Toasted Almonds


Open Sesame Insert Chocolate Bark

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - Open Sesame Insert Chocolate Bark

You have to make chocolate bark at your cafe a friend said before I opened Divalicious Chocolate Cafe, on the edge of Chinatown, in the neighborhood of NOLITA. I said, “Sure”, but I had no idea what she was talking about.

I envisioned a chocolate confection that resembled bark from a tree. It seemed fascinating and complex. How is it made? Did you have to pump air into the chocolate? How does that even happen? Perhaps it would look like a Cadbury Flake bar since it resembles layers of peeling. A Flake bar would be challenging to make without a machine. I seemed hard in my imagination.

Later, when I found out that chocolate bark was just thin sheets of chocolate with dried fruits, nuts, cookies, etc on top, I realized I’d really overthought this. I wondered “Is bark too easy to make and sell at my chocolate cafe?” Absolutely not. It turned out to be a hit and my Salted & Toasted Black and White Sesame Chocolate Bark was best-seller.

I always had at least eight varieties of bark on hand at the cafe. When one of my oldest friends, Marcel would visit the cafe, he always bought the sesame one. I only make bark on special occasions even though you could make it anytime since it’s so easy to make. The downside would be having to eat all that bark. Some of you will not see the downside of that, but I know bark only leads to more bark. When Marcel’s birthday came around last week, I whipped him up a batch.