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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rogues' is addicted to Chopped!!!

I don't watch a lot of TV since I work evenings and have a million other things I'd rather be doing. But late at night when I'm too tired to do anything else- Chopped is the best! I'm not even a fan of the food network: Cupcake Wars, Bizarre Foods, Grillin' and Chillin', 30 Minute Meals...I hate them all. I'm more of an Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations type of foodie and yet I find Chopped quite addictive.
I am not alone in my Chopped addiction (the best way to be really). Most of the staff at Rogues' loves the show. Chefs and servers, aka the back and front of the house, agree that it's a blast- and they generally don't agree on anything in any restaurant. We all commiserate on the impossible ingredients of market baskets and the brilliant or disasterous way in which they are utilised. And let's be honest, even with double the amount of time allotted to prepare each course, we still would struggle with merely identifying some of the ingredients...never mind creating something edible and delicious. I remember one basket in particular for an entree round which had creamed cod, scotch, candy coated fennel and some odd root vegetable. Really... and the chef that won that episode made a truly ingenious entree in 30 minutes. I love the odd combinations that they get: octopus and animal crackers, grape jelly and smoked herring....feta cheese and a strong herb for dessert....The gross uber packaged foods are amusing as well: hard lemon candies, Kraft mac and cheese, soda, icky packaged cookies...But, the best are the ingredients that stump me- and I know my food. That's what I do. How many folks know that the beautiful red skin of a dragon fruit is inedible? How many chefs have prepared duck testicles in their restaurant? The answer is none. I'm certain. In fact, a duck testicle special would never be a big seller. Selling just one would be nothing short of miraculous. The judges are a wee harsh too. I enjoy criticizing their scathing comments. Even better, I like patting myself on the back for picking the winner early on. Many of the chefs have inspiring personal stories. It seems the greater their struggle in life, the better chef they become. When life gives them lemons, they make rosemary lemon sorbet or when Chopped gives them Scotch, they use it as a pickling agent. Clever and tough as nails- my kind of folks.
Our Chef, Luke, wants to audition and I think he should. He comes up with some striking flavor combinations. But, Chopped loves their organ meats, weird processed ingredients and uber strange combinations... good luck with that. It definitely takes a whole lot of talent and a little bit of luck to win and that's why I love it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wine & Chocolate for Claws & Paws- a Tompkins County SPCA Benefit

It's time to announce our third annual fundraiser for the Tompkins County SPCA. Save the date Thursday, February 23, 6 - 9 pm. We call it Wine and Chocolate for Paws and Claws for obvious reasons. We have 10 local wineries and a chocolatier come and offer tastings right here in the historic ballroom at the Rogues' Harbor Inn. We offer dessert samples from our own kitchen as well. All ticket proceeds ($20/person) are donated to the SPCA and we also offer an extra incentive to stop by. We will donate 10% of our dinner sales from that evening as well. Last year in 2011 we raised over $2,000! That's a lot food and medical supplies for a shelter that prides itself on their "no kill" policy. Every healthy, adoptable pet stays till they are adopted. Makes me tear up just thinking about it. So many dogs and cats waiting...thankfully, they are very well cared for while they wait.
Some of the generous participants for the event are: Sheldrake Point, Dill's Run, King Ferry Winery, and Americana. Along with several other Cayuga Wine Trail members they will be offering tastings of their world class wines. Life's So Sweet Chocolate brings the very best chocolate truffles on earth. One of their dark truffles and a glass of Americana Baco Noir and I'm in heaven...
We think the SPCA is so important, that my family adopts all of our pets from the shelter. The beagle, Daisy, was adopted 9 years ago and the boxer, Jazzy, was adopted 3 months ago. They've become good friends and beloved family members.

Please join us for a wonderful evening- dinner then wine and chocolate for dessert in our 19th century ballroom-all to raise funds for an urgent cause.