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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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(Netease) A Beijing drifter young man named Dai Haifei  built and placed this egg shaped house under the building he works at. He has been living in it for almost 2 months. According to Beijing News, the property sector where the “egg house” is at hoped Dai Haifei will move the “egg house” inside of his company. City Urban Management (Chengguan) of Haidian district said, the little cabin is an illegal construction which should be removed.

“There is someone living in there? I always thought it was just a model!” Yesterday, residents and workers of the courtyard where the “egg house” is placed at all knew about this “model”, but no one believed someone actually sleeps inside. They all liked the creativity, “You can see the grass growing on it during the day, I thought it was a model to grow grass.” a middle aged woman said.

“No way.” A security guard laughed, he did not believe the cabin can house someone.

The property company responsible person said, the company Dai Haifei works for is a design firm, they bought a lot of fresh ideas, and gave lots of energy to the compound. Residents and workers in the compound all like them, and also like their architectural designs.

“However, if staying in it overnight then this becomes a temporary building.” The responsible person said, all temporary buildings must be approved by the municipal sector. He said that he already called the office and hoping to move the “egg house” inside of the company.

Yesterday, Haidian Urban Management said, all construction on the streets, without approval by the relevant department are all illegal constructions which should be removed. If it is built inside of a courtyard, City Urban Management will contact the property management, allowing them to remove it.

“Today all the phone calls are from the media, Dai Haifei and the firm are under a lot of pressure. We will not make any response to the media anymore.” Miss Liu at Dai Haifei’s firm said.

Dai Haifei’s creative house was inspired by “egg of the city” series designed by his firm. The original design was to make people aware of the living environment under this high priced housing market, at the same time hoping to improve people’s living condition and appearance of the city, but it is not suitable to be popularized in the current conditions.

Yesterday, the firm spokesman said, “egg house” attracted media’s attention, we think Dai Haifei isn’t going to be able to live in the cabin any longer. “His career was just begun, and do not wish to be bothered.”

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Source: ChinaHush
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Dai Haifei (戴海飞), 24 years old form Hunan province, built and placed an egg shaped small house in a courtyard in Beijing, as his home. Inspired by his company’s design, Dai Haifei built the “egg” house with bamboo and it only cost him 6,427 yuan. Now he has been living in it for almost 2 month, rent free. The following is his diary on Douban describing how he builds the egg house.

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My father works at a construction site; mother is a cleaner of a company. Now they are older and their physical conditions are not as good as before. I tried many times to convince them to go back home to the countryside to farm a few acres of land to live an easy life, stop running around already. They said they wanted to save money for me to buy a house to get married in. But they don’t know in order to buy a home in Beijing with their salary will take 2-3 hundred years. I want to have a home of my own, no need to be too big, as long as it shelters me from the sun and the rain. Do not want to live like ants in the remote corners of the city, do not want to give hard-earned wages to the landlord, do not want to spend three hours each day on the crowded bus, but facing the reality of high home prices, all hopes are fading.

In 2009 when I was interning for Standard Architecture, I was honored to participate in “egg of the city” (城市下的蛋) design project. “Egg of the city” series includes KTV house (already completed), Bench house (already completed), small shop house, fruit stand house, recycler house, message pallor house, backpackers house… “Egg of the city” series provides movable small homes for struggling group of people in the city, the home is also a tool for them to make a living. The green plants on the surface of the house become urban landscape. After my internship at Standard Architecture, I went back to school to finish up my graduation design, but the idea of building a house for myself was lingering in my mind. After graduation, I talked to my teacher Tang Doudou about my ideas, he was very supportive and found a few friends to help out with my work. Later I also got the finical support from my cousin, then the building work was officially started. We worked from July to September for two whole months, not counting labor, material costs are as follows:

Wheels 160
Rope ties 125
Grinder 31
Water tank, pump 95
Steel 573
Drills 18
Bamboo 375
Tools 210
Glue 200
Waterproof fabrics 508
Solar Panels 970
Square rods 30
Screws 115
Paint 284
Welders 260
Spray gun 450
Gauze 600
Insulation 100
Grass seeds 110
Energy-saving lamps 36
Air support 50
Plexiglass 160
Washbasin 60
Steel mesh 240

Total 6427

After the house was built, shipping it from Hunan to Beijing cost 3500 yuan, so with less than ten thousand I got my own house in Beijing.

When the house arrived in Beijing I put it under the building of my company. I already lived in it for over a month. I can get to work within seconds, no need to be on the crowded bus. This is considered a luxury in the traffic congested Beijing. I used the money I saved up from not paying rent to pay for an annual pass of a swimming gym, so I can go swimming, also take showers and go to sauna there. I don’t have a kitchen in the house, so I became a frequent visitor of the local restaurants around work. No need to make meals also saved me a lot of time. In the weekends, I can go the local coffee shops with a book or I can ride my bike around the neighborhood alleys. When the house is simplified to just one bed, other than sleeping in it, other things are taken care of in public places, this is a free lifestyle.

The entire process of making the house on flickr

This design was nominated for the second annual China Architecture Media Awards

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“If you don’t pay rent by tomorrow I will throw your stuff on the street”

 

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Media coverage of the story by Beijing News on Netease:

Interview with Beijing News

In the interview, Dai Haifei said his house had been the target of eviction, but because he had no place to move to, eventually they let the matter rest. He had thought about having a real home to get married in, but for now, he enjoys life in an “eggshell”.

Beijing News: How is life after moving into your house?

Dai Haifei: No rent, I don’t need to consider to save money when eating everyday, I also bought an annual pass to a swimming pool. I go swimming after work everyday, then take shower or sauna after. In the weekends, I go walk around in the Beijing city, and hang out with friends.

Beijing News: Your cabin is placed here, will people try to move it away?

Dai Haifei: (Laughs) I was already told to move. The house is placed on the lawn of a courtyard, it is not even the company’s property. Some time ago, property owner came to tell me to move, but I have no place to move to. They could not do anything to me. Now they just let me be.

Beijing News: Have you thought about, one day you go down stairs and your house is moved away, all your possessions are gone?

Dai Haifei: The egg house is a place to sleep, my clothes are under the bed, nothing expensive. (pointed at himself) I only have these, the most expensive thing is the notebook, I leave it at work. (smile)

Beijing News: Your house charges electricity at work, and water is also from your company. Actually your company really supports a lot. Are they considered perks for being close to work?

Dai Haifei: The house doesn’t charge its battery from work, the solar panel charges the battery. My company is very tolerant as for my water and electricity usage, perhaps its part of the benefit. (laughs)

Beijing News: Beijing is so cold in the winter, in this small room you probably are freezing. Before you come here have you thought about such hard life?

Dai Haifei: I did not think so much, in fact, I do not feel very “tough”. The winder in Hunan is worse than Beijing, it’s kind of wet cold. So I think it’s no so bad here, I only sleep here, my blank is thick. I actually woke up last night because it was too hot. My parents also know my life. I called them and told them where I am. They also feel happy that I can save some rent money.

Beijing News: but they also wish you to get married and have children, live in a (real) house right?

Dai Haifei: Yes, they also said I should have a house, find a girlfriend, get married. But they do not know how difficult it is in Beijing. I used to rent, one of those huge rooms divided into many small rooms with wooden boards, only couple square meters cost 8-9 hundred a month. Before I graduated this year when I went home for my graduation design project I had to terminate the lease. They also deducted my deposit for various reasons. It was really helpless. So now I feel free, I don’t think so much any more.

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Source: ChinaHush
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