Food, Recipes

What I did at Fancy Food Show Summer (Camp) this year

My sixth consecutive Summer Fancy Food Show working Chronicle’s booth left me feeling for the first time like it was a mini-version of the sleepaway summer camp I went to as a kid. Like setting off for Camp Takajo way back when, I anticipate it greatly, get to see lots of old friends, and get to make new connections—without camp’s strenuous sports activities—all around insanely delicious foods!

Every summer this huge trade show hosts tens of thousands of people. It features countless specialty and gourmet food products from, no exaggeration, all over the world. Non-edible products like Chronicle’s food and drink books and gift items are also present since retailers look for cool items to sell in their stores alongside the latest cheeses, vinegars, chocolates, etc…

The show’s always taken place in New York until this year (due to New York’s convention center being under renovation). Instead, over the past three days, Fancy Food (what “regulars” call it) was held in Washington DC (and it’s in DC next year too).

I was lucky enough to have two cookbook authors, Domenica Marchetti (@domenicacooks) and Mark Klebeck (@Toppot), come to our booth on Monday to meet show attendees. They made their visits extra special by offering a sampling of foods taken from their respective books.

Domenica made the recipe from The Glorious Pasta of Italy featured below just before arriving (she’s a local). It was absolutely delectable—I must make it when I get home.

And Mark went above and beyond—flying in from Seattle the night before with 80 decadent treats to celebrate the upcoming release of the Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts cookbook (check out preview recipe below!).

If you leave me a comment or question about all this fancy foodishness, or what you think about the recipes below, you’ll be eligible to win one of the copies of these two books that I’ll be giving to two randomly selected lucky posters next week (+ the Top Pot book isn’t even out til September!).

Another year’s Fancy Food “Camp” is over and now I’m back to “school” (work). But, just like when I was a kid, I’m filled with perfect memories.

Master Recipe: Basic Spice Cake Doughnuts

We think the best way to eat cake doughnuts is plain, as soon as they’re cool enough to enjoy, but everyone has their favorites. Try tossing them in sugar or cinnamon sugar when they’re still piping hot, or cool, them, then transfer them to a small paper bag filled with a few cups of confectioners’/icing sugar and coat them a few at a time. Glaze them when still warm, but make sure they’re cool before applying any icings.

Time: 1 hour active time, plus glazing or icing
Makes: 1 dozen doughnuts and few holes
Equipment: Doughnut cutter (or 2 3/4 in/7 cm and 1 1/4 in/3 cm round cutters)

2 3/4 cups/315 g cake/soft-wheat flour, plus more for rolling and cutting
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp iodized salt
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup/130 g sugar
2 tbsp shortening/vegetable lard (trans-fat-free preferred)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup/165 ml whole milk
Canola oil, for frying

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together into a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and shortening/vegetable lard for 1 minute on low speed, until sandy. Add the egg and egg yolk, then mix for 1 more minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary, until the mixture is light colored and thick.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the milk, mixing until just combined on low speed each time. The dough will be very sticky, like very wet cookie/biscuit dough.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and refrigerate, covered directly with plastic wrap/cling film, for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).

Using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, heat oil (at least 2 in/5 cm deep) in a deep fryer, large pot, or high-sided frying pan over medium heat to 370°F/185°C. Gently roll the chilled dough out on a counter or cutting board floured with about 1/4 cup/30 g cake/soft-wheat flour to 1/2 in/12 mm thick, or about 8 in/20 cm in diameter, flouring the top of the dough and the rolling pin with another 2 tbsp flour, or as necessary to prevent sticking—this is a soft, wet dough. Cut into as many doughnuts and holes as possible, dipping the cutter into flour before each cut. Fold and gently reroll the dough to make extra holes (working with floured hands makes the dough less sticky), and cut again.

Shake any excess flour off the doughnuts before carefully adding them to the hot oil a few at a time, taking care not to crowd them. Once the doughnuts float, fry for about 60 seconds per side, or until deep golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels/absorbent paper.

Gemelli with Fresh Herbs and Chopped Olives

I like to use an earthy mix of garden herbs in this sauce. You can choose your favorite mix, or even a single herb that you are particularly fond of; just be sure to use lots of it.

Makes 4 servings

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed
3 tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs (I use oregano, rosemary, and thyme)
1 cup/115 g coarsely chopped pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, plus 2 tbsp brine from the olives
21/2 lb/1.2 kg plum tomatoes, seeded and grated
Kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly black pepper
1 lb/455 g gemelli, fusilli, or other short, sturdy pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously.

While the water is heating, warm the oil and garlic in a large frying pan placed over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the garlic releases its fragrance. Sprinkle in the herbs and the olives and brine and raise the heat to medium. Stir to combine and sauté for about 1 minute, then pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have been reduced to a creamy sauce. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to separate, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1 cup/240 ml of the cooking water.

Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce until thoroughly combined, adding a splash or two of water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Transfer the dressed pasta to warmed shallow individual bowls and serve immediately.

Peter Perez
Senior Marketing Manager

Purchase The Glorious Pasta of Italy and Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts.

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16 Comments

  • Tara K July 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Both of those recipes look fantastic, and a nice light pasta seems like a great way to redeem yourself if you have too many doughnuts in the morning. Of course I'd love a couple doughnuts with a cup of coffee for a nice afternoon snack too.

    Honestly I don't think I've ever gone wrong with a Chronicle Books cookbook.

    Is the event a vendor only sort of thing, or can you get in as a mere "mortal"?

    Reply

  • Food processor July 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    the pasta looks yummy and my beloved donuts!!! nuts about donuts! i am going to try the recipe.
    thanks

    Reply

  • Peter July 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

    You do indeed have to have some food industry professional affiliation to attend the show…

    Reply

  • Lorraine July 14, 2011 at 8:31 am

    What a great post! Glad you had a good time at Fancy Foods!

    Reply

  • Naomi July 14, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Delicious! I think I need to try both. I have a latent fear of frying but I might need to bite the bullet and try some donut crafting…

    Reply

  • Chris July 14, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I’ve never tried to make donuts. Now I’m curious.

    Reply

  • Rhonda C. July 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    What type of interesting looking foods did you see there?

    Reply

  • Jenny July 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

    My mouth is watering! That pasta looks absolutely delish!

    Reply

  • Katie July 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    OK, pasta and doughnuts are my two favorite foods to make. I need these cookbooks for my kitchen library!

    Reply

  • Betsy July 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Going to have to check out Top Pot donuts the next time in Seattle, both recipes look amazing.

    Reply

  • Faye July 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    The pasta recipe looks perfect for summer! I got to go to a local food expo once and it was a lot of fun!

    Reply

  • Lisa July 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    That pasta looks and sounds delicious. The photo is gorgeous. I can't wait to see the rest of the book. Chronicle always has such beautiful cookbooks.

    Reply

  • Christy July 15, 2011 at 7:15 am

    These recipes sound DELICIOUS and both of the books are just gorgeous! I'd love to win!

    Reply

  • ReneeComet July 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    So nice meeting you at SFFS11and great seeing all the fabulous Chronicle books there! You always have really interesting titles with great production values. Mark's pretty doughnuts were very hard to resist, but my hands were full w/a sample of Domenica's Marchetti's pasta. It was really fun seeing my fellow DC food person at your booth w/her beautiful book, "The Glorious Pasta of Italy." BTW, I did a blog post on the event also, including a photo of Domenica w/her dish, and links to Chronicle's page for her book: http://cometphoto.com/blog/?p=3234 . Hope to see you again if/when you get back to DC!

    Reply

  • Kerri July 20, 2011 at 11:46 am

    What an awesome show! I didn't even know such a thing existed. I have put it on my calendar for next year. Pasta and donuts…good combo! I didn't think I could make donuts in my kitchen…will have to give it a try. Thanks for a good post!

    Reply

  • Peter July 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    'Food processor' – you won The Glorious Pasta of Italy, and Betsy, you won an advance copy of Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts. Congratulations! And happy pasta and doughnut making to all. Thanks for your fab posts.

    Reply

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