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Ecclectic flavors match stunning presentations from a NY-based design/chef duo

Taking catering in a new direction is Pinch Food Design, a NYC-based catering company specializing in both presentation and culinary innovation that’s guaranteed to surprise and delight. Founded by industry veterans Tj Girard (head designer) and Bob Spiegel (head chef), the two work together seamlessly to make Pinch’s creations both pleasing to the pallet and the eye. A short while ago some of the CH team was invited to their Chelsea HQ to see and taste what the creative team has been working on lately. The following are four of our favorite appetizers and an in-depth look at one of Chef Bob’s finest works of culinary art.

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As a perfect example of Pinch’s focus on design, the serving dish has been cleverly created to use cabinet knobs to present the basil crusted filet mignon. Topped with shallot marmalade and tiny popover pastry, each bite sized piece is an absolute delight.

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What may be the most interesting appetizer that we sampled, this falafel adaptation was fun and flavorful. The pressed pita chips act as the ultimate vessel for the red olive, hummus, cucumber pickle and of course falafel meat. Pleasantly surprised with its canny taste, the moist little towers won the team over instantly.

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Drizzled in mustard oil and port, the chanterelle broccoli rabe sausage is literally balanced with a delicate piece of pequillo toast. Secured on both ends by Pinch’s custom toothpick design, the two sides to the appetizer play well off each other, allowing the holder to follow the savory sausage with a complimentary crunch.

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For dessert Pinch keeps its patrons on their feet with their suspension pastry galettes. The copper structure holds light and flaky pastries by free swinging hooks, allowing each piece to be picked by hand. Adding to the seasonal selection of peach, fig, berry, pear and strawberry rhubarb pastries are copper bowls of cinnamon, chocolate and regular whipped cream for dipping. These were hands down our favorite and the most creative way to serve dessert that we’ve come across yet.

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After a great deal of negotiations and bargaining we persuaded Chef Bob to give up the secret recipe for his amazing mini spaghetti and meatball appetizer. These were unlike any appetizers we’ve ever seen, and obviously worth a closer look. More on the recipe and his essential preparation techniques as told by the inventor himself after the jump.

Spaghetti Roll

3 Cloves Garlic, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups canned Plum Tomatoes, pureed with juices

1 cup tomato paste

Salt

Pepper

1/2 pound Angel hair pasta

Parmigiano-Reggiano, whole, not grated

Meatballs, rolled the size of a dime, recipe follows

Lightly brown garlic in oil, add the tomato puree, cook for 20 minutes until emulsified. Take out 2 tablespoons of the sauce and set aside for finishing later. Add the tomato paste and cook on a low flame. The key here is to cook this for a lot longer than you think, as the goal is to evaporate all the liquid, but not compromise the flavor. This is what makes the 'glue', the key to the whole dish. Meanwhile, cook the angel hair in salted water until al dente, strain—do not rinse off the starch—and add the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

With tongs or rubber gloves, pull out some of the dressed angel hair pasta. Place it on some plastic wrap and roll tubes about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate these for an hour or two until the pasta is set. The angel hair will continue to absorb the sauce and not be as al dente, this creates the illusion in your mouth as when you cut the pasta it feels more al dente than it is.

To serve, cut the pasta rolls 3/4 inch thick, lay them next to each other and microwave for 15 seconds. On a separate cutting board, micro plane the parmigiano, stack back up the angel hair roll and liberally roll the round sides in the parmigiano.

Meatballs

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1/2 cup, toasted breadcrumbs

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1 large egg

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

salt

pepper

Combine the beef and pork in a large bowl. Then add all the rest of the ingredients and mix well until the olive oil is completely absorbed. It may seem like a lot of olive oil, but this is what give the hors d’oeuvres its moistness. Refrigerate and roll into dime sized balls.

Sear the little meatballs in olive oil and finish with the reserved tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper. Spoon the meatball and some sauce on top of the pasta roll, micro plane some more cheese on top. Serve while still warm.


Source: Cool Hunting
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A state-of-the-art automatic juicer now available for home and commercial use
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Citrocasa, the Austrian juicer barons, have finally made their premier juicers available stateside. Having dominated the commercial juicer market in Europe, they’ve released a new, significantly smaller product intended for small businesses and residences. It is called the Fantastic, and it is one fine piece of Austrian engineering.

Sporting a rating of 30 OPM (oranges per minute) this juicer is three times as fast as any conventional one. It completely deconstructs for cleaning and features a patented cutting system which prevents any rind from getting to your glass.

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40% smaller than any other Citrocasa model (though still a hefty 55 kg/121 lbs), the juicer’s compact design makes for a dense but space-saving machine. Its sleek, stylish design will complement any kitchen counter. Contact Citrocasa USA for ordering inquiries.


Source: Cool Hunting
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An all natural “supercandy” ups your game with its performance-driven ingredients
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Recognizing that most people think about candy first and nutrition second, the just-announced line of SNAP Infusion Supercandy seeks to provide snackers with both. Each biodegradable package of candy contains a daily dose of B vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes delivered via patented “SNAP bead” microcapsules.

There’s no pretense that these are “health” food; the creators wanted to make candy, but candy that was healthier than most. SNAP’s launching with five classic candy varieties: gum, tarts, caramels, gummies and jelly beans. Each is naturally flavored, colored and sweetened. There’s no HFCS and no trans fats. And while they still pack a calorie punch, it’s around half that of most similar treats.

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SNAP is the latest project of Andover, MA-based husband and wife team Eric and Andrea Stoll, well-known personalities in the athletic industry. Eric previously worked as the Marketing Director of Finnish running brand Karhu, while Andrea had senior roles at both Converse Sport and Vans. This experience helped them form the concept, marketing strategy, design and packaging for the product.

SNAP will be available in August 2011 for around $2 a pack at sports stores and natural food markets across the USA. It will also be available online at Amazon and the SNAP site.


Source: Cool Hunting
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Blow your top with chocolates designed to mimic volcanoes
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If you’re looking for an unusual chocolate experience look no further than Icelandic product designer Brynhildur Pálsdóttir's Chocolate Mountains. Brynhildur created the molds and worked with Iceland’s premier chocolatier Hafliði Ragnarsson to develop and produce the complex confections. Each of the four multi-layered mountains is an edible model of a real geological structure, which Pálsdóttir details in adorably informative graphics.

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The Jökull chocolate represents Iceland's glaciers with white chocolate coating a dark chocolate and is filled with caramel “magma” and white coconut chocolate. Another oozing confection, the Eldborg milk chocolate (pictured at top) made with almonds, nut biscuit and caramel, is modeled after a lava ring crater that is “very rare outside of Iceland.”

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Drangar dark chocolate (below) is deliciously comprised of macadamia nuts and sugar-roasted coffee beans. Pálsdóttir explains that the stacks form when a cape erodes, and then over time they disappear as well—just like the chocolate once you have a bite.

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Filed with pistachio cream, pistachios and Icelandic tonka pepper, the Stapi dark chocolate is covered in white chocolate at the top, symbolizing its distinct volcano form.

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A chocolate this great deserves equally impressive packaging. Brynhildur designed these triangular boxes, which are similar in concept to the Microchips— box, another Icelandic product— that unfolds to reveal local information and drawings.

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The chocolate mountains currently sell from Mosfellsbakarí shops in Reykjavik and nearby Mosfellsbær. You can also contact Brynhildur directly, brynhildurp [at] simnet.is.


Source: Cool Hunting
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Nespresso introduces a machine small enough for desks and colorful “capsule” cups
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For no-fuss espresso, Nespresso’s straightforward operation and effortless cleanup make their machines the maker of choice for many homes and offices. The Swiss company recently made it even easier to get a fresh brew in just seconds with its Pixie machine, a compact version of the CitiZ that comes in six colors.

Its tiny footprint (just over a foot long) means its small enough to sit on a desk, and an improved heating system takes just 25 seconds to warm up. All that, and the Pixie is supremely energy-efficient too, using 40% less power than other makers like it. (Check out our complete guide to prosumer espresso here.)

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Perhaps even more appealing than the Pixie, Nespresso launched a collection of insulated cups designed to look like their essential espresso capsule. The cups come in two sizes and a rainbow of colors, and (unlike other Nespresso accessories) are free of obvious Nespresso branding.

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The Pixie currently sells exclusively from Williams-Sonoma in the U.S. for $250, but will sell through the Nespresso site later this spring, when the cups ($30 for a set of two) will be available as well.


Source: Cool Hunting
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An interactive cup that makes drinking sake even more heavenly
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Designed specifically for the opaque liquids of unfiltered sake or Korean rice wine, these new Moon Bowls put a cleverly beautiful spin on sipping your beverage.

The cups are designed with a small crescent-shaped shelf inside. Filling the glass starts you off with a full moon but—providing you sip and don't chug the milky potable—the liquid contents wane down to a crescent sliver.

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The glowing glory of a filled cup gives you more than the excuse of thirst for popping the bottle again. They come in white and black and sell from Compact Impact for $25 each.


Source: Cool Hunting
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