The 9th Annual Stamford Charity Chili Cookoff is just a couple of months away and slots for competitors are slowly bubbling away. If you’re interested in cooking up some chili and going up against other chili experts, email the organizer Joe Gonzalez. Continue reading
Okay, we know. We saw your Facebook pictures of 3 snowflakes in the air on Saturday, freaking out because of the snow. Yeah, how crazy, right? Snow when it’s cold out! So crazy! But, you know what’s not crazy . . . do you know what is freaking awesome? The Stamford Charity Chili Cook-Off! Continue reading
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably fed-the-heck-up with this winter. Scraping your car windows, plowing the driveway, wiping out on icy walkways, spine-tingling cold, traffic jams . . . ugh, it all just sucks. Okay, well, not all of it. See, while we’ve been freezing our butts off, the beautiful maple trees at Stamford Museum and Nature Center were hard at work producing the sweet, sweet goodness we all love to pour on our pancakes on snowy Sunday mornings. Yep, we’re talking about the nectar of the gods better known as maple syrup, and you can celebrate it in all it’s glory at their Maple Sugar Festival Weekend on March 7 and March 8 at Stamford Museum & Nature Center. The activities go on from 11AM – 3PM both days, and with tickets costing just $5 for members or $10 for non-members, there’s plenty to get your money’s worth:
Whether you want to take your kid to Stamford Museum & Nature Center or you just want to check out all the cute animals, we’ve got a great weekend event to share with you: Spring on the Farm Festival
Weekend! This two day farm and food party goes from 11-3 pm on both May 17 and May 18 and costs $5 for members or $10 for non-members. Check out all the cute baby animals and your favorite farm friends, too. You’ll also be able to see the SM&NC sheep get sheared, then see how that wool becomes felt and yarn. And, there are a whole lot of other things going on too including “llama trekking” (we don’t know what this is, but we SO need to do this), face painting, crafts, live music, and even a plant and herb sale. Oh, and…what? Where’s the food? Pssshhh, you know we won’t leave ya hanging…
On Saturday, check out these food trucks:
Finally, it’s just about time for Maple Sugar Weekend at Stamford Museum & Nature Center! A full weekend of sweet family and maple syrup-loaded fun on March 1 + 2 from 11-3 pm. And, while many of the activities and events that you love are the same, there are some nice changes this year, too.
First up, you’ll be able to pick up some lunch and dinner at SM&NC just by stopping by for some grub at two food trucks on Saturday. On hand will be the ooey gooey goodness of Melt Mobile and the classic American staples from Cowabunga!
What makes up a great chili? Beans, peppers, onions, spices, veggies, beef, or even venison? Sure, we all have our likes and dislikes in this perfect fall and winter dish, but at the Sixth Annual Stamford Chili Cook-off, over 300 hungry visitors had the final say.
Held on Sunday, 11/3, the Stamford Chili Cook-off had bigger digs, usually held at the Stamford Unitarian Universalist Church. This year it was part of the Touch a Truck event at Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Organized by Joe Gonzalez, the contest was an amazing hit, bringing people in from all over to vote in their favorite chili. By the end of the day, there were hundreds of votes and lots of money raised for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. We’re talking about just around $1,700 raised as well as countless bags of groceries to help feed the hungry.
The competition was definitely heated (except for Joey Kuntz’s dessert chili which was served up cold), but all the contestants went around, talked with each other, and tasted each other’s chili. This was a great event and there was some awesome chili. We look forward to the 7th Annual Chili Cook-off next year…and so should you!
Here are the winners:
1st: The Benzaken’s “Three Bird Chili” – (Alain and daughters Casey and Jordan)
2nd: Wakeman Town Farm –Chipotle Veggie Chili with Cornbread
3rd: Rama Kumanduri and Cristina Romero –”Chili con Pasion”
And here is the description of each chili:
A) The Benzakens – “Three Bird Chili” – Inspired by the Thanksgiving season, former champs Casey and Jordan have created a special chili that includes smoked duck, chicken and turkey. A spicy blend that includes chipotle peppers and white beans, this chili will make your senses soar high, even though none of these birds can actually fly. Well…maybe the ducks. In any case, stop by our table and enjoy our unique chili!
B) Joe Kuntz – From the “transplanted Texan gone crazy”, we have a Vegetarian dessert chili! No meat, some sweet, and some heat! Served on corn tortillas.
C) Brian Cronin – “24 Hour East River Couch Chili” – The East River has often been referred to by the NYC Police and Fire Rescue teams as “Deep, Dark and Dangerous”. I just added Delicious to that identity, and you now have my chili! Simmered for a minimum of 24 hours with no less than 16 ingredients. Fresh white corn and a secret smoke component are the standouts in this Deep, Dark, Dangerous and Delicious three meat batch. Brother Sean has concocted his rich cornbread to accompany this tummy bath to soothe any heat that may linger too long.
D) Wakeman Town Farm – “Chipotle Veggie Chili With Cornbread” – This chili is made from organic vegetables harvested from Wakeman Town Farm in Westport as well as Sport Hill Farm in Easton and several other Fairfield County farms. Made with an all vegetable stock, homemade smoked jalapeno, organic veggies and topped with a cilantro cornbread. It will have a mildly smoky flavor with a slight spicy kick. Our recipe will be available to take home!
E) Robin Skidmore – “Mighty Bruin Tex-Mex” – Take a walk on the “Wild Side” with this rare chance to try wild bear – a rich red meat much like beef, all flavor, no gamey edge. You’ll be amazed how delicious it is! But while bear is the heart of this chili, the Mexican spices are its soul. Hot peppers are paired off with fresh cilantro and Mexican oregano for a flavorful slow burn that will have your taste buds begging for another spoonful!
F) Bill and Jean Marie Warncke – “Buffalo Bill’s Southwest GRILLED Chili” – This year we have a new take on a chili cook-off classic! Buffalo Bill has taken his formula of savory meats, peppers and spices to the next level by incorporating grilled ingredients sure to win over even the toughest chili judge! A little bit of smoky-ness, a little bit of heat and a lot of flavor is packed into every bite!
G) Chef Hunter Zampa (competed on Rachael vs. Guy) – Venison Chili with a unique twist of Asian inspired flavors sure to warm your heart and soul!
H) Shawn Carlson – Do you feel like a Sam Adams? Do you love chili? Who does not love bacon? Well come one, come all, and enjoy…”Sam Adams Cowboy Beef and Bacon Lager Chili”! Beans, beef, peppers, spices, Sam Adams, and BACON!!!!! Enjoy, and vote for the Cowboy!
I) It’s Getting Chili In Here! – HEAT and SWEET! Long, slow simmered meat, spices, tomatoes and 3 chile base with a secret ingredient for a flavorful finale!
J) Stamford HS Marching Band – “Rancher’s Spicy Pinto Bean and Chicken Chili” – Pinto beans, chicken, onion, garlic, tomatoes, green peppers, chili powder, salt, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
K) Bold for the Gold – Dan Tewes and his daughter Sarah make a chili that is bold and spicy, rich in beef with fresh veggies. The chili up front heat is not overpowering, which allows you to enjoy all the flavors. However, the heat builds as you eat more and is best consumed with a cold beverage of choice!
L) Rama Kumanduri and Cristina Romero– “Chile con Pasión” – A unique balance of fresh and dry Chiles (roasted and smoked, hot and flavorful) combined with peppers and spices from around the world to pleasure your palate!
One of our favorite places in all of Connecticut Stamford Museum & Nature Center. And, this coming Spring on the Farm Festival Weekend it’s about to become our more most favoritest place! All the action is going down on 5/18 and 5/19 from 11 am to 3 pm. Yes, their annual party is getting bigger and badder than ever with the addition of seven, count ‘um seven, food trucks. On Saturday you can get the Caribbean flavors of Maddy’s Food Truck, good ol’ fashioned American fare with Cowabunga, hot pies from Victoria’s Wood Fired Pizza Catering, got your hands on some meatballs from The Local Meatball, and cold and creamy goodness from Skip’s Ice Cream Co. Then, come back for more on Sunday where you can try the awesome fries and sandwiches of Fryborg, the awesomely organic and oven-to-table pizzas of Skinny Pines, and get more of that ice cream from Skip’s Ice Cream Co.
But, this weekend isn’t just about food. Okay, it’s a big portion of it, but there’s other reasons why you’ll love coming by:
1) Check out the baby goats. It’s all about the baby goats…but there are lots of other animals to ooh and ahh over.
Giovanni Gentile waited intently by Chef Massimo Stecchi at the Bar Rosso table. While you have probably seen owner Giovanni at Bar Rosso, Volta, and Capriccio, you might not have seen Massimo in action. They were there as first time competitors at the First County Bank Chef’s Challenge where local restaurants must craftily use Stamford Museum & Nature Center Maple Syrup. Joining them as newbies was Nicole Straight from Festivities Catering. While they have always been very popular, their food has gained a bigger audience since opening a spot at the SoNo Marketplace. Joining them were two veterans: first we had EOS of Stamford who always puts together some nice Greek food, and we had defending champions David’s Soundview Catering. David’s has always “broughten it” and was definitely a force to be reckoned with this year.
So what mapely goodness did this team of all-stars serve up?
Bar Rosso created an Orange Panna Cotta prepared with candied oranges and maple syrup. The orange flavor was great with this panna cotta and we enjoyed how a little pool of syrup was at the top. We took a little bite of panna cotta and made sure we had some of that luscious syrup, too. The flavor was right on, but the texture was just a bit too watery. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try their Eggplant Relish Crostini with whipped ricotta and maple syrup because they went very quickly!
Next up was David’s Soundview Catering who first offered us a Butternut and Apple Bisque with maple baked chopped pecans. So many great contrasts going on here between the rich, sweet, tart, and nutty and with textures. An excellent bisque that we really enjoyed. We talked with Chef Erik Anderson who was eagerly confident about retaining the crown this year, but was still a bit unsure because the other competitors had put out some great food. And, of course, we talked with Melissa DeSousa and David Cingari himself. From the pic you can tell how much fun they have doing their jobs! Then we tried their Maple Glazed Jumbo Shrimp with white cheddar grits (and bacon, yay). This was a killer dish and was one of our favorites of the day. The shrimp was cooked nicely and had a slightly sweet taste from the maple glaze, bits of bacon added saltiness, and the grits were cheesy and silky. Again, great contrasts in flavor and texture. Our favorite of the day!
Maple Syurp, Pancake Brunch, Chef’s Challenge, + More @ SMNC Maple Sugar Weekend 2013 – Stamford, CT20 Feb
UPDATE: OmNomCT will be guest judges for the Chef’s Challenge, so make sure to stop on by, eat up, and say hi!
A tradition in the Del Ferraro household is hitting up Maple Sugar Weekend at Stamford Museum & Nature Center. It’s a tradition that we’re not willing to part with and it’s something that we look forward to every single year. Really…we’re talking about a weekend long ode to real maple syrup here. It is what fuels our weekends and brightens our mornings. We’re talking ’bout the real stuff…no fake syrups with weird flavoring. Maple syrup: pure, rich, sweet, oh so good.
Just a brief refresher course:
You can come by Saturday (3/2), Sunday (3/3), or both days! Tickets are $5 for members, $10 for non-members. Family Plus members or above and children 3 and under are free. Buy at SM&NC or make things speedy by buying tix online for 3/2 or 3/3.
Click here to purchase tickets for Saturday, March 2.
Click here to purchase tickets for Sunday, March 3.