A Very Special Celebration

'Ramune,' Japansese "marble sodas" for the kids' bar.  Adults enjoyed them too!  (How could we not?"

‘Ramune,’ Japansese “marble sodas” for the kids’ bar. Adults enjoyed them too! (How could we not?”

This past weekend Herbnpeach got to cater my first post-camp event with Camp Scatico campers.  The Newman family hired me to cater their daughter Miko’s bat mitzvah.  It was a very special celebration, as bat mitzvahs often are.  I am so grateful to the Newmans for bringing Chef Ally on board before they had a chance to get to know me!  (Dr. Jessica, you should consider moonlighting as an event planner!)

On another note, it was amazing to see the campers all spiffed up and out of green and white uniform.  Only two months has gone by and already they seem so grown up!  Oy vey, I sound like a Grandma.  Enough of that!

Everyone enjoyed mini-matzo ball shooters, pigs in blankets, and a mac-and-cheese station with mini -chicken parmesan and meatballs. Sushi rolls were made to order!

Everyone enjoyed mini-matzo ball shooters, pigs in blankets, and a mac-and-cheese station with mini -chicken parmesan and meatballs. Sushi rolls were made to order!

Another #Scatico staffer, Cory Schwartz, was hired to photograph the event.  I look forward to posting some of his professional shots, but for now I will just share mine…

A grand entrance at the Helen Mills Theatre for Miko and her guests!

A grand entrance at the Helen Mills Theatre for Miko and her guests!

The Chew

Needless to say we were SO THRILLED to participate with anything having to do with The Chew.  Unfortunately, we will not be featured on the show.  Sorry, our SM person got a little carried away…

Food stations throughout the store

At the Time Warner Center Williams Sonoma

Dessert, anyone?

Some of the chefs stopped by!

But here’s what we DID do.  We were hired by ABC Daytime to do four major events for clients and advertisers for the show.    This means we won’t be coming to a small screen near you, but we’re still happy to be chosen to work with the show in any way.  We got to hang with creative geniuses behind the show, rub elbows with some famous chefs, and meet the people who make it all happen.  The ABC and Williams Sonoma staff were terrific to work with.  We did four events in total.  Check out our pictures below!

Camp Scatico: The Final Week

The umbrellas are gone!

The umbrellas are gone!

The end of camp was amazing!!  I made sure to see every group twice before the end of the summer, and I even squeezed in “optionals,” whereby the campers get to choose which activities they want to do most.  Not to brag, but in my case the counselors had to draw names because cooking was so popular.  (Actually, I guess that’s bragging, but I don’t care.  I love Camp Scatico, and Camp Scatico loves me.  Proud!)

Here’s a rundown of the last week.

Saturday, 8.9

The boys got a hold of my iPhone and took a panoramic of the kitchen.

The boys got a hold of my iPhone and took a panoramic of the kitchen.

Last day of classes!  I had the boys that day, and some stayed for lunch.  We had a pizza feast with homemade lemonade and s’mores brownies.  My last group included my nephew Matt, and we made a bunch of foods that he and his friends had requested earlier in the summer. Everything from chicken parmesan to French toast and mini muffins in between! The final day of cooking!

Sunday, 8.10

Day off for me.  Took advantage of my last weekend out of the City by staying at a bed and breakfast with a special someone.  ;)

Monday, 8.11

Wrote end-of-camp letters, typed out some recipes.

Tuesday, 8.12

Begin clean-up and breakdown.  It was emotional and a decent amount of work, but I packed so that I could easily UNPACK because… drum roll, please… I want to make this happen again in the summer of 2015!  However, it was still very sad.  I cheered everyone up by taking my cooking team, Chef Chase and Chef Emma, out for Mexican!  They worked very hard and I couldn’t have asked for a better team this summer!

Wednesday, 8.13

Finished cleanup, which ended with an inspection. I managed to sneak out for a few Color War activities.  My friends and their kids competed in Green and Grey teams.

Thursday, 8.14

LAZY MORNING!  Everyone slept in; no activities scheduled until the afternoon.  I ran a part of an upper hill (older campers) co-ed day. My friend Mike (who ran the wood shop) and I hosted Scattergories– or in our case, Scatico-gories! :)

 

Friday, 8.15

candles

Kerri, Melissa and I prepping candles to send our wishes across the lake.

I helped the younger girls pack their trunks and packed a bit of my own bunk. Friday night was end of camp festivities. Boys and girls are separate for this. There was a banquet, awards, end-of-summer slide shows, and then a closing camp fire, with wishes and candles on the lake. This all went on past midnight, and then we went to a late-night snack in the girls dining hall. It was a lovely close to an amazing summer!

Blueberry Crumb Bars!

Blueberry Crumb BarsAs requested by loyal Herbnpeach followers, here is the recipe for blueberry crumb bars.  Celebrate the summer by indulging!

BLUEBERRY CRUMB BARS

Recipe makes 1 9×13-inch pan

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions
1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2.In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon, if desired. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3.In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4.Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

The Kitchen Name Revealed!!

This pizza is not Sal's, but it is the best pizza IN camp!

This pizza is not Sal’s, but it is the best pizza IN camp!

Drum roll, please….

 

So many good suggestions that we just couldn’t decide!  In the end we picked two: one for the inside of the cabin and one for the porch.

The actual cooking cabin is called The Cook Shack.  It was selected by an 11-year-old boy.  An 11-year-old girl chose the name of the porch, Scaticafe.  Don’t you love it?  It just so happens the two who gave the names were the same age. :)

I still need to reward them! I think they both want pizza from Sal’s, the best pizza near camp!

Carnival at Camp Scatico!

Pie Eating Contest at Carnival!

Pie Eating Contest at Carnival!

Forgive my delay in blogging about carnival.  Such a fun day!!

My Nephew in the Dunk Tank!

Carnival is an afternoon of co-ed activities where every group runs a “traditional” carnival booth.  This year we had a dunk booth, a kissing booth, a marriage booth, and a whole bunch of killer games.  There are prizes for winners, of course.  This year there was an ice cream truck!  These kids don’t know how good they have it… I mean, in my day… JK. ;)

My nephew in the dunk tank from another angle.  You can bet I got a lot of pictures of this!

My nephew in the dunk tank from another angle. You can bet I got a lot of pictures of this!

I helped decorate.  There was a World Cup theme.

I helped decorate. There was a World Cup theme.

“Mini” Camp Scatico

Mini Camp Spread“Mini-camp” is the Camp Scatico tradition whereby each camper gets to pick his favorite activity and do it all day.  The good news:  cooking was in high demand!  I have to admit this stoked my ego, at least until I figured out how much extra work that would mean for me.  Not that I mind, though!

For the ladies, we had two sessions:  one in the morning and one at night.  Props to Emma, my right-hand “Gal Friday” from the girls’ side.  We decided to do a tea party!  We made fun hats out of plates and ribbons and served finger sandwiches, scones, cookies, iced teas and mini berries and cream. The little girls were in heaven.Mini Camp Scones

The "after" picture of the boys' buffet.  No time to do a "before!"  Too hungry.

The “after” picture of the boys’ buffet. No time to do a “before!” Too hungry.

For the boys I chose a New Orleans theme!  Chef Chase, my main helper from the boys’ side, was away for the day (missed you, Chase!), but I was assigned four fabulous counselors in his place.  I had the boys all day long.  We started with a southern style breakfast of biscuits and gravy, eggs, cheese grits, chicken sausage and turkey bacon. (Camp Scatico keeps kosher.)  In the afternoon we made roast beef and turkey po’boys, and then for dinner we made a chicken gumbo, dirty and white rice, skirt steak (’cause the boys wanted steak), and beignets with caramel and chocolate sauces and bananas foster with a vanilla cream. Oh, wait– I almost forgot crowning touch, the faux-hurricane fruit punch! We all wore beads and during cleanup the boys played some poker. I loved how into it they got!  We were really living it up.

Beignet with toppings!

Beignet with toppings!

A great time was had by all.  Chalk up one more amazing Camp Scatico memory!

Me in action at Mini Camp!

Me in action at Mini Camp!

Camp Scatico Highlights!

Oh my gosh where do I begin?  It’s been super, super, SUPER busy at #CampScatico, which is how it should be!  July is FLYING by, and so much happens so quickly it’s hard to document it all.  Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of my favorite camp moments.

1.  The first tribal campfire!  What a day that was.  It brought back so many memories of when I was a camper.  (In many ways it felt like I had never left!)  The campfire kicks off a 3-week competition of four teams:  Flying Eagle (green), Blazing Arrow (red), Racing Wine (yellow) and Thunderbolt (blue).  FYI:  In my day it was a 4-week competition, but camp is a week shorter now.  :(

2.  The Girls’ NAT tournament!  There are tournaments for many sports, but the basketball tournament has always been a big deal.  My friend Patti’s daughter won MVP, which made it extra special.  #nextgeneration

3.  Camp visiting day.  Okay, so this day was really stressful for me, but so memorable and worth it.  David asked me to prepare samples of what the kids had been making.  Needless to say, this involved a lot of prep and a lot of cleanup, but it did allow me to show off a bit!  It was cool to meet the campers’ family, too– the ones I didn’t already know!  #nextgenerationagain

4.  The 4th of July BBQ, talent show and fireworks.  Feel free to disagree with me here, but 4th of July in New York City is no fun.  Even if you make it to a really awesome party, say, at Top of the Garden right in midtown, the crowds make this holiday totally overwhelming.  Getting anywhere is a nightmare.  The streets are full of drunk people, it’s way too hot, there’s no place to picnic… ugh.  This year the 4th was fun again.  I loved being surrounded by campers, reveling in old memories and creating new ones.  My Bed

5.  My cabin, or more specifically, my bed.  Every night.  ‘Nuff said.

 

Camp Scatico Recipe: Homemade Ricotta Cheese!

Ricotta Cheese

One of the biggest hits for the Camp Scatico kids was our homemade ricotta cheese.  I love it when the kids say they don’t like something, then we make it and they try it and they love it.  That means they’re growing!  Homemade cheese is easier than you think!  All a girl needs is a cheese cloth.  Read on…

Homemade Ricotta

Total Time: 43 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 23 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: about 2 cups
Level: Easy

Ingredients
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions
Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.

Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the lighter side, but some prefer it thicker.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

 

 

Camp Motto: Be Prepared!

Strawberry, mint and lemon-infused water!

Strawberry, mint and lemon-infused water!

Anyone who’s spent any time at a summer camp will tell you that one of the lessons you learn is to be prepared.  A day’s mean sunburn will teach you to wear sunscreen.  A leg covered in bug bites will teach you to pack Off.  And seven weeks of cooking for hundreds of children means you have to prep, prep, prep!  I tested over 40 new recipes before I even got to camp!

Luckily, I had the help of Chef Derek, who caters part time with Herbnpeach.  Over five three-hour sessions, we tackled 42 different recipes (some multiple times) before coming up with a menu/syllabus for Camp Scatico.  I’ve shared pictures of some of our projects below.  Check back to see how all our hard work went over with the campers!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.  99.9% sure the kids'll love these!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. 99.9% sure the kids’ll love these!

Mini S'more Brownie Bites:  the ultimate camper treat

S’mores Brownie Bites: the ultimate camper treat

Flourless chocolate cookies.  #yum

Flourless chocolate cookies. #yum

Homemade Pasta-- thanks Chef Derek!

Homemade Pasta– thanks Chef Derek!

Kale chips, pita chips and tzatziki

Kale chips, pita chips and tzatziki