Tuesday, March 27, 2012

April Eats

I don't normally post about upcoming events (because there are plenty of sites that do, and do you really need to hear about them yet again from me?) but some of my favorite Boston food events are coming up, and you really should be there for them.

Taste of the Nation Boston
This is THE greatest food event in the city, hands down. Held at the Hynes Convention Center, it's table after table of little bites from some of the best restaurants in the area, as well as wines and cocktails. In fact, it's easy to get full before you've tried everything, but it's still worth giving it a go. It seems a little perverse to raise money for Share Our Strength, dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America, by eating copious amounts of food, but that takes away the sting of the $95 ticket price (I'd recommend going for the $150 VIP ticket, though - you get in an hour earlier, and you have access to the VIP room with additional treats and comfy seating, plus giving a little more to SOS will help balance out all the eating). This year, the event will be held on April 19th, from 6pm (VIP tickets)/7pm (regular tickets) until 9:30. Now through March 30th, use the code "restweek20" for a 20% discount on the ticket here (so you really have no excuse not to splurge on the VIP ticket). (Want more info? See my 2009 and 2010 recaps!)

Chocolate Madness
A food sampling event that is all about CHOCOLATE! What's not to love? Some of the area's top bakers and chocolatiers try to wow the crowd with their confections. You'll leave wanting a slice of pizza to take the edge off the sugar rush, but man, is that sugar rush worth it. The event is sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and this year's event will take place on April 24th from 7:30pm to 9pm at the Cyclorama in the South End. Buy your tickets here. (Want more info? See my 2010 recap!)

PAX East
No, I know this isn't a food event. PAX is a huge gamer convention, now in it's third year in Boston (PAX Prime is held in Seattle in the fall). This is the first year, however, that I have joined the Cookie Brigade. The Cookie Brigade is one of the many groups which raise money for Child's Play, an awesome charity that brings toys and games to kids in hospitals. They bake cookies of all kinds and give them to fellow PAXers in exchange for donations (you don't have to donate for a cookie, but most people at least scrounge up some change). Post-PAX, I should have at least one new recipe to post here (and that will give me a reason to bore you with all my PAX stories as well). (I was first introduced to potato chip cookies through the Cookie Brigade. Make them, they're amazing!) (Also, see photos from PAX 2010 here. Apparently I didn't take photos last year?)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day for Ron

Pi Day (or March 14th for the 3.14 in Pi) never meant much to me. In school, I had a number of math teachers who tried to make it fun, but math was never my favorite class.

My brother Ron, however, loved it. At his last job, he had instituted Pi Day festivities, sending out invites months ahead and rallying everyone to join in on a silly mid-week celebration. In fact, he loved anything quirky or odd or just plain stupid like Pi Day. That's just the kind of guy he was.

Ron passed away suddenly last year, and pretty much nothing has been right since. He was one of my best friends, and I think he was finally starting to see me as an adult and not his stupid kid sister. He was the one who was constantly finding things to share with me - YouTube videos, new TV shows, weird catchphrases - and this past year has been awkward trying to find and enjoy these things on my own. I've been left with a lot of sad memories, which I know he would have hated.

Pi Day, though. That's a thing he loved for no real reason other than it was quirky. It's something I can be damned sure I'm going to celebrate for the rest of my life because it made him happy. And if pie can't fix things, even just for a little while, then I don't know what else can.

Because I'd much rather remember Ron on a day like today, for reasons like pie.

Bacon Chocolate Cream Pie
1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos (about 15 cookies broken in a food processor)
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 pint heavy cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 package chocolate pudding, prepared as directed
5 pieces candied bacon, chopped

Mix together crushed oreos and butter until all the crumbs are moist. Gently pat into the bottom and sides of a pie dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a mixer, whip heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Don't overwhip the cream. Gently fold half the whipped cream into the pudding and pour into the prepared pie dish. Top with the remaining whipped cream and decorate with the chopped bacon. Chill before serving.