Oyster fest at Wholey's

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

oysters

Love oysters?

You're in luck. Wholey's in the Strip District is celebrating the briny bivalves in a big way in the days leading to Thanksgiving.

Oyster Fest kicks off Friday at the Penn Avenue fish market with sales and offers on oysters, along with recipes for everything from oyster stew and fried oysters to a New Orleans-style oyster po-boy.

There also will be samples, along with demonstrations on how to shuck the hard-shelled mollusks without slicing your fingers or stabbing yourself in the thumb or hand in the process. (Hint: It involves a kitchen towel.)oyster2

That includes an "oyster training class" at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23, with PG garden writer Doug Oster.

Varieties available for sale during the fest will include all the favorites: James River, Chesapeake, Connecticut, Delaware Bay, Blue Points and Well Fleets. 

An added bonus: For every freshly shucked oyster sold from the market's oyster bar, part of the proceeds will be donated to The Children's Institute, a rehab center in Squirrel Hill. 

The fest runs through Nov. 26. 

Post-Gazette (top) and Gretchen McKay photos

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Sharpen those knives

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

fingers cut

Sure, you can slice and dice with a dull knife. But the question is: Do you really want to?

As anyone who's ever tried to cut through an old tomato with a worn-down blade can tell you, dull knives put you at greater risk for injury -- having to press harder while you're slicing increases your chance of slipping and having the blade end up where you don't want it to.

As in your finger. Owie! 

Dull knives also make it more difficult to evenly dice veggies (which assures even cooking) and tend to smash food rather than slice it. 

There is a solution, and it doesn't involve digging deep into your pockets for a new set of Wusthofs or Henckels.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, Crate Kitchenware/Cooking School in Scott is hosting a knife-sharpening event. Cooks can get up to three knives sharpened at just 2 bucks apiece. All while donating to a good cause -- proceeds will benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a global organization funding Type 1 diabetes (T1D)  research.

And if you're in the market for a few new knives, too? There will be special deals on aforementioned Wusthof products. 

Crate is located at 1960 Greentree Road. More info: 412-341-5700. 

Wonderhowto.com photo

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At the intersection of artisan food and tableware

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

cup

The Society for Contemporary Craft is at it again, bringing together edibles and art.

The Strip District center announced its latest annual CRAFTED exhibit like this:

"Dining is a daily part of life, and is often treated as a routine of physical necessity rather than a culinary experience. In our modern world of microwave dinners and take out styrofoam boxes, Society for Contemporary Craft (SCC) invites people to slow down reexamine the ritual of eating, through a celebration of artisan made food and tableware."

CRAFTED pairs handcrafted food with handmade ceramics to encourage visitors to reflect on "the relationship between the food we consume and the objects that hold it."

This year's showcases mugs, cups and tumblers by artists across the country, including, the one depicted above by Greg Cochenet of New Haven, Conn., and the one below by Anderson Bailey of Chattanooga, Tenn.

From 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 24, SCC celebrates the opening reception with food and drink by Bar Marco, which guests are encouraged to enjoy out of the cups they purchase from the more than 150 in the exhibition. Tickets $30 (there were some $20 early-bird ones and a few $40 VIP ones, too, giving early access and a 10-percent store discount and a cup made by BJ Watson). Get tickets here.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 29.

More good stuff from the society's announcement: "Through this exhibition and event, SCC hopes to draw connections between the maker and the user. The drinking vessels exhibited are artifacts of the potter’s hand, and are enriched by usage. Each time we drink from a cup, we add to that cup’s history. The mug becomes a vessel not only for the drink it contains, but also for the memories of all of the times it has been used before."

anderson.bailey.image1

Society for Contemporary Craft photos

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Coming soon: The world's largest pierogi

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

PierogieFeature

Pittsburghers love their traditional dishes, especially when it comes to comfort food such as as pierogies.

If last year's attendance at the first-ever Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest is any indication -- more than 7,000 pierogi-lovers attended the inaugural event at South Shore Riverfront Park, completely depleting supplies -- we're absolutely crazy about the potato- and cheese-stuffed dumplings. 

How crazy? 

On Wednesday, in honor of National Pierogi Day, Rivers Casino Executive Chef Richard Marmion and his staff will attempt to establish the world record for largest pierogi. The colossal, potato-stuffed pocket of doughy goodness will go in the oven between 4 and 5 a.m. and weigh at least 110 pounds. Made with 60 pounds of potatoes, 16 eggs and 5 pounds of cheddar cheese, it will take some three hours to cook. [UPDATE: For those of you who claim a baked pierogi isn't a pierogi at all, it should be noted that after casino chefs assemble, season and roll out the dough, the dumpling will go into a giant machine to boil before being popped into the oven.]

Pierogi-raceA representative from Guinness Book of World Records will verify the record at a press conference at 10 a.m. attended by the Pirates Pierogies. Afterwards, casino guests will be able to enjoy a free tasting of Mrs. T's pierogis from noon to 1 p.m., while Rivers Casino Rush Rewards members will get the chance to win a year's supply of Mrs. T's pierogies with "hot seat" drawings from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Look for a story on the record-setting event in Wednesday's PG.

[Oct. 15 UPDATE: They set the record. Read the full story here.]

Mrs. T's, in case you're wondering, served its first pierogi in Shenandoah, Pa.,  on Oct. 8, 1952. Sixty years later, the family-owned business is still going strong to the tune of 600 million pieogies sold each year across the U.S. and beyond.

Hungry for more? pierogi web

There's still time to buy tickets ($12.50)  to the second-annual Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest on Oct. 18 at Stage AE on the North Shore. It runs from noon to 5 p.m. and will include live music, a pop-up pierogi marketplace with pieorgi-inspired wares, arts and crafts,  and pierogis from more than 12 local restaurants.  For example, Oh My Grill will be serving a pierogi grilled cheese while Franktuary will wow the crowd with its Pierogi Dog.

You can read more about the fest in Thursday's Food & Flavor.

Photos, from top: Imaginepittsburgh.com, Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest

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Preview Tako and 4121 Main at tomorrow's Trade Union trunk show

Written by Melissa McCart on . Events

tradeunion1At this Saturday's Trade Union event, Tako and 4121 Main will give visitors a preview of food and drink they'll serve when the taqueria and coffee destination open later this fall.

The free event on the Mon Wharf, Downtown, will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and will feature a line-up of local vendors, as the Post-Gazette's Sara Bauknecht reported last week

With a menu of small plates, tacos and tortas that borrow from international cuisines, Tako will open in November at 214 Sixth St., Downtown.  It's a work-in-progress next-door to Butcher and the Rye and will be the latest restaurant from Tolga Sevdik and Rick DeShantz.

For the trunk show, they'll be serving a smoked brisket torta with a pastrami rub paired with a creamy-sweet Memphis-style slaw, bread-and-butter pickles and a Swiss version of Cheez Whiz. 

Nearby, Kira Hoeg of the soon-to-open 4121 Main in Lawrenceville will run a pop-up espresso bar for the event with pour-over coffee from Heart Roasters in Portland, Ore. The former head barista at Marty's Market in the Strip District will work in partnership with Thommy Conroy and Quelcy Kogel. The location has been the gallery for Mr. Conroy's work. 

Trade Union graphic


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Canning and cocktails

Written by Rebecca Sodergren on . Events

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Pittsburgh Canning Exchange and Wigle Whiskey team up to present "Canning for Cocktails" at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse on Spring Garden Avenue in the North Side.

You can learn to make apple jelly, get your hands in on the jelly-making process, sip a few cocktails made with said jelly, get your canning questions answered and take home a jar of jelly for your toast -- or for whipping up a few cocktails of your own.

The Canning Exchange quartet -- Gabe Tilove, Chelsea Burket, Sara Blumenstein and Rob Burrows -- dropped off some samples of the apple jelly at Wigle, and Wigle created two cocktails (see recipes below) that will be featured Wednesday.

Penn State Master Food Preserver Susan Marquesen will be on hand to answer any tough canning questions.

Mr. Tilove said his group has been hoping to team up with Wigle for awhile because they like the way the distiller supports local agriculture. The Canning Exchange tries to do the same, obtaining produce for its events locally. When we talked to him, he was on his way out to the East Liberty Farmers Market in search of apple cider for the jelly.

He also mentioned that he hopes this event will teach people that canning isn’t only about drudging your way through a bushel of tomatoes -- it can also be about making a small batch of something and having fun.

Tickets for the event are $25. To order, click here.


THE DANDY APPLE

1 tablespoon apple jelly

1/4 ounces simple syrup

3 ounces Earl Gray tea (cold)

1/4 ounces lemon juice

1 ounce Wigle Aged Rye whiskey

Aggressive dashes of mole bitters

Serve in a rocks glass over ice.
-- Wigle Whiskey


SKY-HIGH APPLE CHAI

1 tablespoon apple jelly

5 ounces chai tea (warm)

1/4 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce Wiggle Aged Wheat Whiskey

Aggressive dashes of pomander orange bitters

Dash of cinnamon

Serve in a rocks glass warm.
-- Wigle Whiskey

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