Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Recap, Part 4: September & October

A look back at 2014 and the events that made it special.

- - September & October - -

Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen

To kick off our 10th anniversary season the Xhibition Kitchen welcomed master griller Steven Raichlen to campus. He captivated the audience with his professional talent for cooking and demonstrating how to cook. Steven made use of our magic oven and fridge joking that these wings only took four minutes and they multiplied in quantity! The audience’s mouths and eyes watered with excitement for a chance to taste Raichlen’s famous Fire eater chicken wings. Only those willingly to “man up” tried these spicy spicy wings, tackling a feat of strength. Steven’s Lemon soy London broil was a huge hit, these perfectly cooked juicy pieces of lean meat were decadent and beautiful to boot. The audience was left wanting more. Inspired by the display of local produce on the counter Steven decided to showcase a simple recipe from his other cookbook, asparagus rafts; taking toothpicks to hold the asparagus together and “grilling” them, making an attractive and tasty treat. Belgian beer brownies were the parting dish – students snacked and chatted with Steven while they waiting patiently in line to get their books signed. Five lucky students in the audience won a personally signed cookbook. This was only the first of ten events in our semester-long celebration featuring ten cooking events with ten celebrated chefs & authors.

Fall Food Fest 2014

A perfect New England fall day with free food fun and giveaways kicked our semester off right at our Annual Fall Food Fest outside of Stetson East. Every year we invite some of our food vendors to campus so that students are able to directly interact with the companies that provide us with the food we serve them every day. For two hours the crowds enjoyed our free fun food extravaganza by trying samples from our local food vendors including Monster Energy, Hormel fire braised chicken, Deep River snacks and much more. No one walk away empty handed! Northeastern Dining had a table of free refillable coffee mugs, 18 of which had a prize inside – a pair of Red Sox tickets to tomorrow night’s game!! Another successful event, we are already looking forward to next.

One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero

A rainy day in Boston was brightened up by Claudia Lucero, whose inviting presence which filled the Xhibition Kitchen with warmth and the sweet smells of fall. She welcomed the crowd proclaiming “Do It Yourself cheese is a great rainy day activity”. Claudia is the entrepreneur behind and DIY Cheese Kits, which she used as inspiration for her cookbook. Claudia demonstrated Chevre French Kisses, infused with Herbes de Provence this cheese is layered with flavor. She taught us how easy it can be to be creative noting “Cheese makers are creative people, there is a lot to discover by accident. Many of my accidents ended up being some of my best recipes”. Claudia never imagined that she would be the one to write the ideal cheese book, which five lucky audience members won.

Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

The creator of the wildly popular blog How Sweet It Is, Jessica Merchant, was welcomed to the Xhibition Kitchen by her large following of "invisible internet friends." By the huge crowd in attendance, it was clear her friends were quite real and not invisible. Jessica showed the audience how to prepare two incredible recipes: Whipped Goat Cheese with Warm Vanilla Berries; Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup. These recipes are featured in Seriously Delish along with 148 other imaginative recipes that are tasty and original and bring readers to a place where cooking becomes adventurous and food becomes fun. Five lucky audience members won signed copies after correctly answering what recipe Jessica posted in her blog the previous day. The audience enjoyed Jessica’s White Cheddar Apple Crisp while waiting in a line that wrapped around the room, all just to get their book personally signed. Jessica certainly made our Friday "Seriously Delish!"

Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks by Priya Krishna

Before becoming the "DDS Detective" in a recurring Dartmouth College campus newspaper article, Priya Krishna was a typical Dartmouth student stuck with the very limited dining options available in Hanover, NH. Instead of sinking into a pattern of boring meals, Priya became creative and began to piece together different ingredients and menu items in her dining hall into seemingly complex composed dishes. This led to her popular newspaper column and, eventually, her new cookbook Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks. She emphasized that being creative was the key to maximizing her meal plan and the cookbook sets out to provide guidelines for current college students to do the same. In the Xhibition Kitchen, Priya demonstrated how salad bar vegetables and a few condiments could become a delicious panzanella while sliced grilled chicken, cucumbers, and yogurt make a versatile tzatziki chicken salad. The audience then sampled bruschetta made simply with sliced tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon wedges on slices of toast. It was a great bite to end on and hopefully will inspire those in attendance to get creative in the dining halls!

Truly Texas Mexican by Adán Medrano

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Northeastern Dining and The Latino/a Student Cultural Center welcomed Chef and food writer Adán Medrano to the Xhibition Kitchen for our semiannual Cocinar con Gusto (Cooking with Pleasure). Upon arrival Chef Medrano proclaimed via twitter “Hello, Boston! brought my Molcajete for the cooking demo & book signing!” In a celebration of Latin cuisine, Chef Medrano demonstrated his intellectually delicious recipes; Gorditas with Cactus and Shrimp bathed in red chile and Watermelon Canapes with Serrano, Avocado & Grapes. When asked what his first memory of cooking was, after some thought Chef Medrano responded “I have memories of eating my mother’s cooking”. Chef Medrano knowledge on Culinary Arts and History came together for a view and tasting of his people's culinary heritage. Ten lucky audience members won signed copies of Truly Texas Mexican.

14th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest

The annual Pumpkin Carving Contest occurs each October in the days before Halloween. This annual contest pitted thirty-four teams of two students against each other to carve, scrape, and decorate a pumpkin worthy of the Northeastern community’s votes. While we provide the students with the hollowed out pumpkins and carving utensils, some teams bring their own props for an added level of uniqueness.

The finished pumpkins are displayed the next day in the Xhibition Kitchen, where the Northeastern community casts their votes on their favorite pumpkins. Online voting via Facebook and Twitter also allows friends and family at home to take part in the voting. The prizes consisted of $100 for first place, $75 for second and $50 for third. This year’s contest featured many creative designs including R2D2, "Frozen", and even a President Aoun pumpkin.

First place: Katherine Liu & Preema Patel Pumpkin Number 1 "Mike Wazowski"
Second place: James Gonsalves & Sophia Tsanotelis Pumpkin Number 11 "BEDO - BEDO -BEDO!"
Third place: David Solomon & James M Pumpkin Number 10 "Leonardo"

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Recap, Part 2: March & April

A look back at 2014 and the events that made it special.

- - March & April - -

Cocinar con Gusto with Guest Chef Marcos Sanchez

The Latino/a Student Cultural Center and Northeastern Dining welcomed Chef of Tres Gatos, Marcos Sanchez, to the Xhibition Kitchen. Tres Gatos is the first full-service restaurant/ book and music store in Boston. The audience learned more about Chef Sanchez, Latino recipes and his cooking styles. Chef Sanchez dished up some delicious Fideua de camarones (Shrimp Noodles). Two lucky students in the room won gift certificates to Tres Gatos.

Lobstah Night

For the first time ever Northeastern Dining brought “Lobstah Night” to campus on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. More than 1,000 students gathered in the line at Stetson West Eatery, which led out the door, around the corner, and up to the next block, just to be the first to get inside. As students entered the dining room, they were presented with “Keep Calm and Lobstah On” t-shirts. With a high demand for seating, students began to have a “family meal” by sharing tables with students they didn’t know or even standing around our Xhibition Kitchen counter!

Armed with lobster crackers, forks, bibs and “LOBSTAH NIGHT 101: HOW TO EAT A LOBSTER” instructions, our Hungry Huskies tore through whole, shelled lobsters. Students showed us their success throughout the event via our Twitter and Instagram pages using the #LobstahNightNU hashtag.

Northeastern Dining paired the lobsters on the menu with a little taste of Boston, including Cod Cakes, Boston Baked Beans, Twice Baked Potatoes, Lobster Bisque, Pesto Tortellini, Roasted Corn on the Cob, Roasted Potato Salad, and Boston Cream Pie – just to name a few!

Our first Lobstah Night was a phenomenal success and a great time was had by all who attended!

The New England Diner Cookbook by Mike Urban

Xhibition Kitchen Alumna Mike Urban returned to campus with his new cookbook "The New England Diner Cookbook". Mike Urban is an editor, writer, and book packager who specializes in travel, outdoor recreation, sports, food, and business/career books. Since the last time Urban visited the XK in October 2012, with his cookbook “Lobster Shacks”, he has gained many new experiences and stories which he gladly shared with the audience. Foodie Friends braved the cold windy weather to warm up with some delicious American Chop Suey, who’s recipe originated from Agawam Diner in Rowley, MA. Urban took the audience through a brief tour of some of New England’s best diners; his mouthwatering tales left the audience begging for more. Ten lucky audience members won a signed copy of his cookbook "The New England Diner Cookbook".

Teeny's Tour of Pie by Teeny Lamothe

Lead by pie connoisseur Teeny Lamothe, "Eat pie. Be happy. Eat more pie" was the motto for the last Xhibition Kitchen event of the semester. Teeny flew in from Washington, D.C., where she runs her wholesale and custom pie-baking business, Teeny Pies, to heat up the XK with her bright smile, warm personality and delicious pies. Not only does Teeny own her own pie business but she has written about pie for—and been featured in—the Huffington Post, Relish, CakeSpy, Refinery29, The Kitchn, you could say she is a pie expert. Teeny demonstrated how to make pie dough, roll it out and turn it into a Strawberry basil beauty. Northeastern Dining served up her sweet treats for our Foodie Friends while they hung on Teeny’s every word. Ten lucky audience members won a signed copy of her cookbook "Teeny's Tour of Pie".

EYP: A Spoonful Of Spring

Northeastern Dining's Educate Your Palate, or "EYP," event brings a complete transformation to the college dining experience to broaden the culinary tastes of our students for one night. The 13th annual event, held on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, was entitled "A Spoonful of Spring" and featured springtime menu items from around the world.

Northeastern's International Village Dining was made over in just a few short hours with the help of the entire dining services team. To transform the service area from its typical appearance, decorations, including large country tables, wheeled carts, and wooden privacy walls from New England Country Rentals, were brought in to bring the rustic, country feel to the modern space. Posters featuring food definitions and foodie quotes were pinned to the privacy walls as educational accent points throughout the servery. Exciting lighting design by Boston Uplights provided splashes of color throughout the dining hall by hanging illuminated paper lanterns in springtime colors from the ceiling. Smaller versions of these colored lanterns were also used to decorate tables and countertop spaces throughout the venue. Finally, entertainment is always an important piece of EYP and this year's event was no different as we worked with Boston Event Works to bring in local pianist Jim Chubet who delighted the crowd on a baby grand piano for almost two hours straight.

The star of each EYP, however, is always the food. The menu, featuring foods not normally found in any university dining setting, kicked off with a seafood and raw bar including oysters on the half shell and scallop ceviche shooters. A trip to the country farm followed as guests tried four varieties of deliciously deviled eggs, from roasted pepper & thai chile to avocado, anchovy & caviar. As guests made their way down the ramp to the main servery, a buffet line of foods from around the world awaited. Action stations featuring our chefs freshly sautéing mussels, carving grilled leg of lamb, and pan-frying kimchi & tofu dumplings excited the guests as they made their way through four unique cuisines of the world. Menu items from Portuguese grilled sardines and Mediterranean potato salad to fire roasted Mexican corn and bacon-infused buttermilk battered fried chicken were all huge hits with the students. Mason jars were distributed as drinking vessels for the night and guests were able to fill them up with their choice of a cucumber-infused water or green tea ginger twist before taking the jars home with them. As our diners were leaving, they were given a parting gift, a strawberry-rhubarb galette, inside a mini mason jar.

From seeing our entire team wearing t-shirts with the theme's springtime colors to watching the amazing responses from students flood in on social media (don't miss our Storify of the event!), we couldn't be happier with EYP 2014 and are already looking ahead to EYP 2015!

Educate Your Palate: A Spoonful of Spring was featured in Food Management Magazine's article Choose Your Own Springtime Food Adventure

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 Recap, Part 1: January & February

A look back at 2014 and the events that made it special.

- - January & February - -

Northeastern University’s 716 Columbus Place is a major administrative building on campus that houses an array of university departments. For years, the only food and drink offered within the six-story building was a small café in the first floor lobby, discernible only by an unmarked doorway in one corner of the space. During the fall of 2013, an opportunity to renovate the building lobby included plans to significantly expand the café’s presence and the new, rebranded café716 opened in January 2014. Many of the building’s employees were counting down the days until café716’s reopening and their patience was rewarded with complimentary sampling events in the days leading up to launch.

Chocolicious Valentine's Day Desserts with Guest Chef Amie Smith, Northeastern Alumnae '87

For the love of cooking we welcomed owner of Lulue’s Patisserie and NU Alumnae Amie Smith back to the Xhibition Kitchen, which was full to capacity. The crowd was greeted at the XK by the sweet smell of cinnamon and piping hot homemade hot chocolate, adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart. Amie spoke to the crowd about her journey through her Culinary Education in New York City. One recipe Smith demonstrated she has dubbed as “The Lazy Truffle”. Amie told the audience that chocolate is a messy business and when she doesn't have a lot of time but wants to really impress someone, she makes these truffles. Amie also demonstrated a velvety chocolate mousse recipe by Nick Malgieri and how to sweet talk with 3D chocolate roses. Modeling chocolate can be used to make various shapes, Smith noted “it looks so hard to make but you’ll see how easy it is to impress your friends and loved ones”.

Aphrodisiac Cooking with Chef Fed

In collaboration with RSA Sex Week, Chef Fed came all the way from NYC to the Xhibition Kitchen.  The audience was eager to watch chef fed live, up close and personal in the XK after having seen him sweeten it up the previous night on Food Network’s CHOPPED “Chocolate Competition”. Fed’s mission is to tantalize his guests’ senses with every dish he prepares. The crowd agreed with an overwhelming consensus “Mission accomplished!” He taught the audience the use of texture to create the right feeling and he incorporated plating techniques that seduced the eye. Fed noted that “the goal is always to perfectly combine the four basic tastes to achieve that ‘Aaahhh’ effect called Umami.”

Cooking with RSA

In collaboration with Northeastern RSA we welcomed Hungry Huskies to the first Cooking with RSA class this semester. Our Executive Chef Tom Barton and Chef Sam showed the audience how to take the chills away with a few healthy soup recipes. The chefs shared their culinary passions while demonstrating a Five Bean Soup and White Bean and Kale Stew with Corn Bread. One lucky student in the room won a NUDining bag of swag!

For the second Cooking with RSA class this semester, our Executive Chef Tom Barton and Chef Sam showed the audience how to make homemade hot pockets. The chefs demonstrated a caprese, chicken parmesan and caramel apple pocket. One lucky student in the room won a NUDining bag of swag!

For the third and final Cooking with RSA class this semester, our Executive Chef Tom Barton demonstrated some "Green" cooking in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. Idaho Potato Cake, Irish Potato Blintzes, and to put a different twist on the traditional, Irish Soda Bread Donuts were all on the menu.  Yum! One lucky student in the room won a NUDining bag of swag!

13th Annual Mardi Gras Celebration

This was the 13th anniversary of this signature event and the Northeastern Dining team worked closely with Student Affairs and the University administration to make this the phenomenal success it was. Levine Marketplace inside Stetson East was transformed into Bourbon Street, New Orleans. As students entered the dining room, they were greeted by university administrators and the Northeastern Dining team with Mardi Gras beads and novelties. Staff interacted the entire evening with students at this non-stop Mardi Gras party which included contests, the Hot Tamale Brass Band, beads, masks, photo booth, caricaturist, and a menu consisting of King Cakes, New Orleans Specialties and Traditional Cajun Fare. New this year—the EGGSpert YOLKer Contest; contestants had one minute to transfer egg yolks from one plate to another using only a water bottle. Participants won swag including a coveted Mardi Gras t-shirt. The grand prizes for the contests were cash prizes of $100. All attendees received tons of novelties and giveaways including hats, fancy glasses, beads, horns, and feather boas during this festive event. New this year—Bayou Jessi’s Alligator Alley, where students tried to pick a winning duck from the swap in order to win a jumbo plush Gator. A great time was had by all who attended!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

14th Annual Gingerbread House Construction Contest

For the fourteenth consecutive year, Northeastern Dining provided students with a much needed respite from studying for their upcoming week of final exams with the Gingerbread House Construction Contest. More than 300 students entered online via for the chance to be one of the lucky contestants chosen to participate in this year’s contest.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Five Tips for Healthy Studying During Finals

It is that time of year again – finals week. Now that you are right in the middle of final exams, papers, and projects, keep in mind that during this time it is even more important than usual to get enough sleep, stay physically active, and make healthy food choices.

Many people find that when they are stressed they eat more than planned. In 2010, a study from the University of Michigan found that when levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) increased – even in healthy, non-stressed adults – they tended to eat more snack foods. Here are five tips to keep you healthy as you head into winter break!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Northeastern Dining's Xhibition Kitchen, or "XK," and as the signature dish of the semester-long celebration we welcomed Food & Wine Magazine editor-​in-​chief Dana Cowin along with three nationally-​renowned Boston chefs: Joanne Chang, the chef/​owner of four Boston-​area Flour Bakery loca­tions; Ming Tsai, an Emmy Award-​winning TV per­son­ality and chef/​owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon; and Kristen Kish, the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 10, to Blackman Auditorium. The Homecoming Red & Black Day event, held on Thursday, November 13, 2014, featured a private Meet & Eat with culinary icons, free signed copies of Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, a live cooking demonstration, and cookbook signing.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Mason Jars

The end of the fall semester also brings the holiday gift-giving season. What better way to thank a professor or staff member on campus or someone special back at home than with a stylish mason jar filled with all the ingredients for freshly prepared cookies or brownies. Holiday mason jars are available starting today at On The Go and will only be around while supplies last!

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