Thursday, July 5, 2007

Spin Cycle - a Unique Fundraiser - Bill Clinton Campaigning for Hillary

In March CuisinEtc, a boutique NYC caterer, had a very exciting and prestigious opportunity to cater a small private fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on the upper West side of Manhattan, where Bill Clinton was the featured guest and speaker.

You may have read about this unique event in the news as it was all over the NY Times, The Post, Newsday & the Daily News as well as all the major metro area channels, since it was a pretty unique venue for a fundraiser. A spin studio (stationary bikes) donated their space and our client organized the event called "Exercise Your Vote" by inviting 40 people to contribute to the campaign (2,300 each max allowable) to hear Bill speak, take a spin class and enjoy some CuisinEtc specially designed spa and healthy indulgence hors d'oeuvres and non alcoholic shots.

An exciting opportunity for any caterer.

this blog article is a combination of articles published online in
and a write up in Catersource MagazineJuly/August 2007 page 70

and Lisa Teiger's own notes

Creative CuisinEtc specialize in what they like to call “transglobal fusion cuisine” incorporating both food ideas and décor items from their extensive travels around the world. In their 20 plus years of designing menus and catering for clients from New York to California, Connecticut, the Jersey Shore, Martha’s Vineyard, D.C., Tennessee, Florida and Baltimore, as well as across the pond to London, France, Turkey, Morocco and Israel the premise is always the same, custom designing the menu to the event and attendees is key. Asked if they enjoyed designing healthy hors d'oeuvres and healthy appetizers for President Bill Clinton. Their wide smiles gave us the answer.

But now CuisinEtc was cooking for President Clinton whose diet went from junk-food to healthy.

The event was a unique fundraiser held at Soul-Cycle, an upper Westside NYC Spin Studio and was limited to a small audience of 40 dedicated supporters of Hillary Clintons 2008 campaign for President.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke to a “spinning” exercise class on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, talking about health care policy and reform to a group of 40 women and men dressed in tee shirts that read “Exercise your Vote” “Be counted, be heard”. The event raised almost 100k and lasted about 2 hours including Clinton’s speech, question and answer session with the former President, photo ops,spin class and hors d’oeuvres. One participant commented that she had never seen so much makeup in an exercise class.

It was really exciting, fun and interesting to hear him speak in person. Bill is even more charming and uber intellegent. Clinton looks great by the way, having shed all those extra pounds he put on in the White House years.

Although he declined to get on a bike saying he had already taken a run that morning. William Jefferson Clinton is my favorite President to date and it really was a honor and a priviledge to meet him. Even our son was more impressed by this event than the time we catered for Fifty Cent or Fiddy as his "friends" call him.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey with "Exercise Your Vote" Organizers

“Our spa hors d'oeuvres menu, designed especially for this event was guilt-free, yet didn't scream health food. Healthy indulgences and appetizers need not be bland and tasteless

and healthy indulgences certainly can be beautiful."

Our challenge as NYC boutique caterers was to figure out a menu of hors d'oeuvres and appetizers would be healthy, yet not unappealing, and that would entice guests to partake in the offerings both before and after exercise which was part of the program. Healthy indulgence was our guiding light."

Describing the challenge of presenting healthy appetizers and healthy hors d'oeuvres, Lisa Teiger, owner and creative designer of CuisinEtc said, "In recent years folks have become more health conscious and we’ve been called upon to create and execute all vegetarian and vegan weddings, have produced vegan boxed lunches for a huge animal farm rights conference that Peter Max sponsors, and incorporated healthy indulgences into elegant upmarket social and corporate menus offering rich indulgences such as foie gras, filet mignon, portebello oysters rockerfeller stuffed mushrooms and petit beef wellington bytes."

"Because we eat with our eyes before we even touch a morsel, creative presentation tailored for this event was paramount. And let’s face it, as boutique caterers, we always want to impress our clients and their guests, but in this case, the bar was raised to a new level !!! The guests were there for the President, not the food, however it was important for the array of spa hors d'oeuvres aka healthy indulgences, to compliment the theme of both fundraising and health, as well as to enhance the experience for the President and the contributors while serving as a showcase for our catering talents.

Super healthy foods are often naturally beautiful,but often relegated to the side.

The CuisinEtc spa menu design gave healthy vegetables a "Starring Role" one that took full advantage of their vibrant colors and shapes.

Like magicians creating smoke without fire, we used dry ice to produce smoke under a swinging Moroccan lantern platter which held the smoking chicken.

The guests' and President Clintons responses to the CuisinEtc presentations and offerings were so enthusiastic that we felt we had achieved our goals.

Mr. Clinton was given a token gift of jelly beans by Lisa Teiger of CuisinEtc with the slogan, “Democratic Jelly Beans”, They’re for Everyone "Hillary in 2008” He laughed and said he’d be sure to share them with Hillary.

Wanting to offer guests some refreshing natural beverages, the idea of a shot bar offering

soy honey lime lassis,

virgin mojitos with fresh mint

and sparkling housemade orangeade

seemed the perfect solution.

Of course, everyone's favorite was
the chocolate dipped strawberries with amaretto pipette shooters

and what we called Cherry Tomato BLT Poppers, a dish of stuffed cherry tomatoes that carried a hint of bacon- just enough for taste.

And Andrew Crossan, the Executive Chef of CuisinEtc

suggested honoring President Clinton with a gesture of patriotism,

so he concocted a special salute to the President with red-white-and-blue fruit salad in mini espresso cups

Those items fit the Yin Yang of healthy indulgence.

As is the rule at events where there is no seating, our offerings were designed so that everything was easy to eat in just one or two bites or to eat while standing,

(e.g. the asian crab coleslaw in cute little red Chinese to–go containers)

and something not only Bill Clinton, but the other health conscious guests

would want to eat before or after an exercise program.”

Individual Crudité Bundles in Veggie Shot Glasses
with Spa Watercress Dip

Recipe below

Crazy Smokin’ Chicken Satay

Crab Coleslaw with Julienned Vegetable Salad
In Petit Red Chinese Containers With Chopsticks

Cherry Tomatoes BLT Bytes

Asparagus Spears Wrapped in Smoked Salmon & Wasabi Pate
Recipe below

Tuna Tatare with Wasabi Crème in Petit Cones

Fresh Strawberries Dipped in Belgium Dark Chocolate
Infused with Amaretto Pipette

Tropical Minted Fruit Salad
Served In Mini Espresso Cups
Recipe below

Shot bar:
French Sparkling Orangeade Shots

Soy Honey Lime Lassi Shots Click For Recipe

Recipe below

Virgin Mojito Shots– with Sparkling Limeade and Mint

Sparkling Water

As catering professionals, Lisa Teiger and Andrew Crossan, co-owners of Creative CuisinEtc., enjoy food presentation so much that their work becomes play for them. When the challenge of pleasing the tastes of President Clinton presented itself, Lisa and Andrew pulled out the all their “trucs” , and using both their culinary repertoire skills and their food presentation artistry to create a memorable spa cuisine menu. This crudité presentation is one that a home cook can emulate guaranteeing an elegant first impression that will have guests talking as soon as they walk through the door. You can read about how in the recipes below.

Smoked Salmon Spears
50 medium width or fat asparagus spears – blanched briefly and immediately shocked in ice water
use only the top part of the spear, about 3" and used the rest for another application.

1 pound good quality sliced smoked salmon (depends on size of slices- reserve extra for another use)
½ pound cream cheese - softened to room temperature for 20 minutes
½ Tablespoon wasabi paste (more or less to taste)
2 stems of chopped scallions or spring onions: optional
1 oz black sesame seeds for garnish

note: you could substitute smoked turkey, proscuitto, or serano ham for the smoked salmon.

Wasabi Cream Cheese Pate
Beat softened cream cheese with wasabi paste in food mixer with paddle. Add more or less wasabi depending on how strong a horseradish taste you like.
Possible substitutes for wasabi
Fresh Dill
Dried Basil
Fresh Basil finely chopped
Honey Mustard
Colemans dry mustard

Cut smoked salmon slices into strips that are approximately 1 " inches wide by 2.5 " inches long. Reserve scraps and excess for another use.
Spread softened cream cheese pate lightly on the strips of smoked salmon.

Place the blanched Asparagus Spear with the tip exposed on one end of smoked salmon and roll up, the cream cheese makes it self sticking.

Spear on 10” bamboo skewers through the middle of the smoked salmon, garnish with sprinkling of black sesame seeds and stick the arranged spears into a bed of wheatgrass. You could also lay them out on a round or oblong platter in a decorative pattern.

Individual Crudités Vegetable Bundles in Veggie Shot Glasses
with Spa Watercress Dip

makes 18 -20 individual cups

2 hot house seedless cucumbers to make 18-20 shot glass cups

40 green haricot vert string beans (2 pieces per cup)
20 yellow string beans (2 pieces per cup) if your string beans are very long you may be able to cut into two pieces and thus half the amount needed

or 2 yellow squash 1 or 2 pieces for each one cut out seeds use middle
20 baby carrots with tops (not the peeled bagged type)
or 18- 20 carrot sticks (1 piece per cup)

1 red pepper (1 piece per cup)
1 orange pepper (1 piece per cup)
cut off top 7 bottom
1 pakage enoki mushrooms - use small bunches with 3-4 heads only per cup
if you try to use the individual ones rather than bunches, the stems may break or bend.
20 baby cherry tomatoes-the smallest you can find (1 piece per cup)
package of micro sprouts such as sunflower sprouts (2-3 steams per cup)

Watercress Dip with Basil
Makes approximately 3/4 cup

1/2 cup watercress, stems removed and finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
2-4 T good quality olive oil
1/3 cup yogurt
2-3 T minced green onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine watercress, basil, garlic, olive oil in a food processor or blender cheese; blend to form a paste. Add yogurt and blend until only mixed, do not over blend. Transfer to a bowl, stir in onions and season with salt and pepper. Mixture will thicken as it stands (can thin down with milk or water if desired).

Method and Prep
cucumber shot glasses
peel lines down the side of the cucumber skin to form grooves.
Cut into 1.5 inch sections and using a small melon baller,
scoop out some of the inside, leaving wall and bottom to form a shot glass.

Guidelines for other vegetables besides the baby carrots and the cucumbers

Using the haricot vert string beans as your guideline, the most of rest of the veggies should be between 1.5 – 2.5 inches high and not much wider than the haricot vert,, with the exception of the baby carrots, enoki, sprouts and the cucumbers cups. If you are able to get baby carrots in a bunch with the greens still intact, peel them and leave about a ¼ of the greens attached to the carrots. Most likely you will not be cutting down the baby carrots, but if you feel you should do it from the bottom, not the top. If you can’t find baby carrots with the greens, then buy the fattest regular carrots you can find and follow the size guidelines for other veggie sticks

The idea is similar to a flower arrangement, you want to have some variations in height and color, so have fun playing with this. Make sure your veggies are long enough to stick out of the cups but not too long to topple them.

Putting together the individual crudités
Place veggies in shot glass except the cherry tomatoes, the sprouts and enoki mushrooms, which will be place last and used as the garnish. The idea is to fill up the cucumber cup so that everything stays in place.

Then place the enoki mushrooms and sunflower sprouts in at the front, and nestle the cherry tomato in a crevice towards the front of the cucumber on top of dip. Once you’ve found a spot that works for the baby cherry tomato, lift it up and dab a pea sized amount of dressing using either a piping bag, a ziplock with the corner cut off or a squeeze bottle. Replace the cherry tomato on top of dip. The cherry tomato now should stay better or if you like you can also put a toothpick through it.

Honey and Lime Soy “Yogurt” Lassi –
good for you but tastes good too - “healthy indulgence”

32 oz Silk Brand Cultured Soy with Live Cultures
or Stonybrook Farm Yogurt with live cultures
3 oz honey
1 oz key lime juice
8 oz soy milk or milk ( or less) to thin out.

Convert to Vegan: This Recipe Can be converted to a full Vegan recipe by using Suzanne’s Specialities’ Just Like Honey Rice Nectar which is just like honey except for one thing—it is bee-free. This sweetener made from brown rice, chicory, and maple syrups, reigns as the new taste of vegan.

Depends on how sweet and tart you like it. You could also use yogurt and this would be really delicious with the Greek Style thick yogurt but again might want to thin out more with even more milk. Mix together with whisk – can be made the day before.

We actually use a fantastic product called
Kalamansi Pick & Squeeze
Phillipine Lime Concentrate which is available in the Hong Kong Asian Supermarket in Elmhurst Queens. We love to shop in the Asian markets, so many interesting products from ather parts of the world.
So instead of mixing honey & lime use 4 oz of the Kalamansi Pick & Squeeze.

Kalamansi is a Philippine Lime that is quite similar to our Key Limes here America & is very aromatic and delicious. This product is a natural concentrate with mostly honey, and the lime, a touch of sugar and some purified water.

You can buy Key Lime Juice on line from the Manhattan Key Lime Company
or call Jeanette Richards directly at 646 260 8181

Red White and Blues Fruit Salad
Makes 20 shot glasses

1 lbFresh Strawberries,
1/3 Ripe Honeydew tossed with OJ and Fresh mint
2 pints Blueberries
20 small fresh mint leaves for garnish

Cut fruit into bite size pieces
Layer in glass cup,
Starting with Red on bottom if using strawberries
Then white
Then blue berries
Top with mint leaf

Other fruit options

raspberries – if you use raspberries put them as the top layer to prevent squashing.
Dried cranberries mixed with strawberries
Red plums

Peeled Apples tossed with OJ to prevent discoloration
(can only do a few hours in advance)
Peeled Pears – can toss in lemon juice to prevent discoloration
Bananas – not quite white but close – toss with oj to prevent discoloration

pints Blackberries – not quite blue but close.

As you can see from the photo, we served them in individual mini glass expresso cups to highlight the colors and used small expresso spoons – alternatively you can use a tumbler glass and toothpicks. We have also served fruit salad in shot glasses which don’t require any spoons and can be knocked back to eat. We call them “fruit shots” and served them at a pool party in disposable hot pink shot glasses when we didn’t want to have glass by the pool or utensils that would easily get lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment