Cooking gets spooky at Doby Elementary

Recently, I visited with Aubrey Hoishik's second grade class at Doby Elementary. Ms. Hoishik ties hands-on cooking activities to her weekly lesson plan. During my visit, the chefs-to-be decorated "creepy" cupcakes - there was a lot of finger licking going on - to go with the spooky stories they had written. It's featured in today's South Shore News & Tribune. Click here for the complete story.


Sara Moulton at the Rolling Pin in Brandon

Here is a pictorial essay of my visit with Sara Moulton at the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium in Brandon this afternoon. I will be writing about Sara, and the Rolling Pin, in my Table Scraps column in The South Shore News & Tribune on Oct. 27:

2080 Badlands Drive
Brandon, FL 33511
(813) 653-2418


Tis' the season for mouth-watering Oktoberfest

I didn't have to cross the Atlantic for Oktoberfest. In fact, I didn't even have to leave the neighborhood.

This morning, as I was eyeballing a can of sauerkraut that's been sitting in my pantry, a strong desire for sauerkraut came over me.

Several hours later, Beanie's Family Sports Grill posted this message on Facebook: "October Fest at Beanie's! Bratwurst, red cabbage or sauerkraut and a choice of side.... Come on down!!!"

So we did!

The dinner included two grilled brats, on a bed of homemade sauerkraut, roll and a choice of one side. I chose potato salad. I can't even describe this dish without my mouth watering.

What to drink? Are you kidding? What's Oktoberfest without a beer? In fact, what's a brat without a beer?

Beanie's Family Sports Grill

2002 S U.S. 41 S.

Ruskin, FL

(813) 649-1700


Pie-baking throwdown!

Hey, all you pie bakers. Yes, I mean people like you, Larry Brooks! The challenge is on!

Freedom Plaza is hosting its Fall Festival and Craft Show on Friday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Along with a variety of crafts, hidden treasures, hot dog, chips and soda for $2, there will be a pie baking contest! This event is to support Hillsborough County Sheriff's Emergency Services.

I'm in!

For more information, call (813) 634-1824.

Freedom Plaza
1010 American Eagle Blvd.
Sun City Center, FL


A tip for potato chip lovers

Personally, I can plow through a bag of chips before it has time to get stale.

But, this is a brilliant way to fold down the top of a chip bag without using a clip. The air stays out and the chips stay fresh.

A fondness for herbs?

Colorfield Farms Fall Garden Festival

This weekend, learn all kinds of great tricks for outsmarting South Florida's problematic growing conditions at the annual Colorfield Farms Fall Garden Festival.

The event will include the tasting of recipes using herbs as well as educational demonstrations on growing herbs and commonly used veggies, container gardening, low-volume irrigation, and pests, bugs, sap suckers and other undesirables.

When: Oct. 16 - 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Colorfield Farms, 8221 State Road 674 in Wimauma

Cost: Free

Information: (813) 833-2545


Surreal Brunch 2010

This is a not-to-be-missed experience for foodies and their friends, featuring a culinary demonstration by the Food Network's "Surreal Gourmet," and an elegant four-course brunch, all aboard Holland America's finest ship, the ms Ryndam.

The Surreal Brunch is hosted by the Dali Guild and is a benefit for the new Dali Museum.

The pairing of food and surrealism is an enjoyable way to honor Dali and the grand new building that will house the largest collection of his work outside Spain.

Bob Blumer, "The Surreal Gourmet," has been a frequent guest of the Museum, and his wow-inspiring dishes, whimiscal presentations and unusual cooking methods would make Dali proud.

* When: Sunday, October 24 Guests aboard the ms Ryndam at 10 a.m. sharp. Brunch is served at 11 a.m. and Bob Blumer's presentation is at 12:30 p.m.

* Where: ms Rydam, Port of Tampa, Terminal 3

* Tickets: $125.00, that includes an autographed copy of Bob Blumer's cookbook, The Surreal Gourmet.

* Information: You may reserve a seat at the Surreal Brunch by contacting Leigh Winkler at (727) 823-3767 x3043 or by email at lwinkler@thedali.org. Be advised that boarding the cruise ship involves paperwork required by Homeland Security. Please reserve by October 18.


Pineapple upside-down cake. The liquid version.

I was at Beanie's tonight to hear Bill Floyd sing AND I was craving Beanie's chicken wings. The bartender, Angela, breezed by carrying three glasses filled with exactly the same pretty, red drinks.

"What were those?" I asked.

Angela said they were pineapple upside down cakes, as she nudged the remaining drops in the shaker my way.

WOW! It was good! So I ordered one. (Smart bartender!)

Vanilla vodka, pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine mixed together; this drink smells and tastes exactly like its name! Try one...


A perfect puree makes a fine soup

From this week's Table Scraps column, Bobby Flay's Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup - with a spicy relish... oh, how decadent can you get?

This is a simple soup recipe, too - a mesh of sweet potato, coconut and fresh ginger, but it includes a wee bit of heat - just enough to give this more depth than the usual puree.

Go here to read about it.