Slow Food $5 Meal Challenge in Ruskin

In my Table Scraps column this week, look for a flavorful recipe for Kate Hamilton's Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad and a recap of the Ruskin Slow Food $5-Meal Challenge event.

Find them both online at the South Shore News & Tribune.

Here are a few photos I took during the evening:


Community leaders cooking for charity

On Monday, Oct. 3, community leaders Tanya Doran, Annabel Lennard and Cindy Sofarelli will be cooking up cheese-filled ravioli, strawberry feta salad, garlic bread and "The Pink Cookie" at
the Copper Bell Cafe, 11228 Boyette Road, Riverview.

The special event meal will be prepared from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost to partake is $12. Compliments of Takeout Butler, there will be free local delivery if you can't make it to the cafe.

All proceeds and gratuities from the entire day will go to the Susan G. Komen "3-Day for the Cure."
For more information, call (813) 671-1100.


Nescafe' Dolce Gusto comes to Tampa for coffee talk

While a steaming cup of anything isn't the usual drink of choice for Floridians in 90-degree weather, we make an exception when it comes to coffee. So when Nescafe' Dolce Gusto came to town Monday night and invited local food bloggers to a complimentary menu and coffee tasting at Restaurant BT, it wasn't hard for me to "make the sacrifice."

Six other enthusiastic diners joined me at this beautiful restaurant and did our food blogger thing: snapping pics and tweeting while we "oohed and aahed" over the fabulous food.

This was my first visit to Restaurant BT. Owner and chef (she prefers cook) B.T. Nguyen uses organic ingredients; small farm meats and poultry; wild, fresh-caught seafood; and local Florida produce.

Some of those fresh ingredients are grown here in Ruskin literally around the corner from where I live. Two of the items showcased on the menu is a 3 Boys Farm Squash Blossom Soup and chilled Japanese hydroponic cucumber salad.

One of the highlights of the evening was an invitation into the kitchen, where we watched B.T. prepare Shaking Beef, one of the restaurant's most popular featured dishes.

Shaking Beef is a Vietnamese classic. Filet mignon is marinated in a rich brown sauce and quickly browned and stir-fried over intensely high heat. The result? Tender, robust flavored cubes of beef, served on a bed of watercress. Ah, lovely.

When cooking, B.T., a Vietnamese-American, draws on her Asian roots and classic French techniques. After five mini courses of fresh and fried spring rolls, octopus carpacio, vegetarian samosas and a crustacean bisque, I was feeling deliciously satiated.

Then came dessert. Perking up my sweet tooth was a delicious trio of toasted coconut ice cream, banana tapioca and chocolate mousse. Bring it on!

Hey, how can you have dessert without coffee?

We were treated to a demonstration of The Nescafe' Dolce Gusto, a brewing system by Nescafe' and DeLonghi. It combines a DeLonghi-built, simple-to-use one-cup brewer with a capsule-based beverage system by Nescafe'.

As I found out, it's a user-friendly way to make a cup of coffee-house java, minus the barista or danger associated with espresso machines, milk foamers, coffee grinders, etc.

It also made some kick-a** coffee! Yummy.


1 pound filet mignon steak
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 vine-ripe tomatoes
2 cups watercress
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon cognac (Courvoisier, optional)

Cut steak into bite-sized cubes and place in a bowl with garlic, soy sauce, red onion, fish sauce, sugar and pepper; mix well.
Heat a large, heavy-based pan until very hot, add oil or butter until brown. Add beef cubes and toss by shaking the pan. Turn meat with tongs until brown and seared on the outside but still pink in the center (cook more if you prefer).
Add cognac and toss beef before removing from heat.
Slice tomatoes and arrange on plates to make a decorative base. Arrange watercress around or on top of tomato slices. Place the beef in a mound on top of tomatoes and watercress. Serve with jasmine-scented steamed rice.


International Curry Festival debuts this weekend

Curry will be the superstar this weekend at the International Curry Festival in Westchase.

Saturday's all-day, family festival begins at 10 a.m. at the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center. The curry competition kicks off at 11 a.m. Admission is free until 3 p.m; $10 from 3 to 9 p.m.

The festival will include more than 50 vendor booths, curry tastings, children's activities and live entertainment. Afternoon concerts featuring a variety of artists and bands begin at 3 p.m., topped by headliner and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.

For information, call 855-588-2874 or visit tbicf.com/site/.


Raw Fusion workshop coming to SouthShore!

Join cookbook author LindaJoy Rose for a workshop that will fuel your passion to eat healthier.

Mabry's Market will host the event on Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

LindaJoy will demonstrate Sweet & Spicy Cashew Spring Rolls and pair them with a mouth-watering dipping sauce. The recipe is from her book "Raw Fusion Recipes, Better Living through Living Foods."

Raw, vegan, dairy & gluten free never tasted so good!

You'll also get to sample her new line, SuperSnacks, including Chocolate Sesame Kale Chips, Mounds of Joy, Onion Crackers and Pimento Nut Cheese. This 90-minute class is only $10. Seating is limited, so reserve your spot now by calling Susan Bishop at (813) 957-3148.