by Olee Fowler
The feeling of Fall filled the air at October’s Third Thursday cooking series hosted by Macy’s and Chat Chow TV. For the October edition of the event, The Federal Food Drink & Provisions Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata showed the crowd how to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner filled with seasonal, Fall-favorite ingredients, along with special guest host Mandy Baca, author of “This Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine: Cortaditos, Stone Crabs & Empanadas,” sharing her fun historical insight of Miami’s food culture.
Naturally breakfast was up first and Zapata made his Fall twist on The Federal’s French Toast with Pumpkin Butter. First he cut a loaf of challah bread into thick pieces and laid them in a pan and then covered them with a rich custard made of eggs, half and half, orange zest, vanilla, nutmeg and and a splash of bourbon to “make sure you’re happy.” He let the mixture sit overnight until the bread absorbed the custard and then baked the french toast until golden brown. To make the pumpkin butter, Zapata combined pumpkin puree, apple cider, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a medium sauce pan and simmered until the mixture was thick and spreadable. He then spread the pumpkin butter on the french toast and finished the dish by sprinkling ginger snap cookies, dried cranberries and maple syrup on top.
To pair with the meal, Meinhold made her take on an Italian Spritzer appropriate to drink with any dish throughout the day. Instead of a traditional mimosa, she combined Grandy Poppy liqueur and prosecceco with baked apple bitters and oranges and poured the cocktail over ice for the crowd to enjoy.
Next up was lunch and for that dish Zapata prepared the restaurant’s popular Smoked Fish Dip. In a food processor Zapata combined house-smoked fish, mayonnaise, sour cream, greek yogurt, siriacha, worcestershire, lemon and Old Bay seasoning and blended until smooth. Meinhold pointed out to the crowd how easy it to make your own fish dip with just some basic ingredients and just a few minutes.
For the dinner course, they debuted a new dish from the Fall menu – a Venison Chili with Grit Fries. Zapata began by browning the venison meat, then caramelizing onions until translucent before adding garlic and cumin. Once these ingredients were combined, he poured in the house made chili puree into the mixture and cooked until very dark and thickened. Once thick he added chicken stock and his favorite dark beer to the mixture and let it simmer over low heat for an hour. After he removed it from the heat, he added a cinnamon stick and cilantro bundle and let sit for about 15 minutes to enhance the flavors. He served the hearty chili over crisped grit fries, which simply consisted of baking up leftover grits and then cutting them into the shape of fries. With the positive reaction from the crowd, this new dish is sure to be popular new addition to the menu.
Guests of the event didn’t go home empty handed, as they all received one of The Federal’s famous “jumbo biskits,” as a take home treat. The biscuits were recently named one of the “Best Biscuits in the US” by Food and Wine Magazine and made for a perfect breakfast the next morning.
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching you won’t want to miss the November installment of the Third Thursday cooking series on Thursday, November 21. The event will feature Danny Serfer from Blue Collar Restaurant who will be teaching the crowd how to make his crowd pleasing side dishes perfect for a holiday meal. The event is free and open to the public but fill up quickly so make sure to reserve your spot on the Macy’s Event page today!