Coming soon: The world's largest pierogi

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

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Pittsburghers love their traditional dishes, especially when it comes to comfort food such as as pierogies.

If last year's attendance at the first-ever Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest is any indication -- more than 7,000 pierogi-lovers attended the inaugural event at South Shore Riverfront Park, completely depleting supplies -- we're absolutely crazy about the potato- and cheese-stuffed dumplings. 

How crazy? 

On Wednesday, in honor of National Pierogi Day, Rivers Casino Executive Chef Richard Marmion and his staff will attempt to establish the world record for largest pierogi. The colossal, potato-stuffed pocket of doughy goodness will go in the oven between 4 and 5 a.m. and weigh at least 110 pounds. Made with 60 pounds of potatoes, 16 eggs and 5 pounds of cheddar cheese, it will take some three hours to cook. [UPDATE: For those of you who claim a baked pierogi isn't a pierogi at all, it should be noted that after casino chefs assemble, season and roll out the dough, the dumpling will go into a giant machine to boil before being popped into the oven.]

Pierogi-raceA representative from Guinness Book of World Records will verify the record at a press conference at 10 a.m. attended by the Pirates Pierogies. Afterwards, casino guests will be able to enjoy a free tasting of Mrs. T's pierogis from noon to 1 p.m., while Rivers Casino Rush Rewards members will get the chance to win a year's supply of Mrs. T's pierogies with "hot seat" drawings from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Look for a story on the record-setting event in Wednesday's PG.

[Oct. 15 UPDATE: They set the record. Read the full story here.]

Mrs. T's, in case you're wondering, served its first pierogi in Shenandoah, Pa.,  on Oct. 8, 1952. Sixty years later, the family-owned business is still going strong to the tune of 600 million pieogies sold each year across the U.S. and beyond.

Hungry for more? pierogi web

There's still time to buy tickets ($12.50)  to the second-annual Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest on Oct. 18 at Stage AE on the North Shore. It runs from noon to 5 p.m. and will include live music, a pop-up pierogi marketplace with pieorgi-inspired wares, arts and crafts,  and pierogis from more than 12 local restaurants.  For example, Oh My Grill will be serving a pierogi grilled cheese while Franktuary will wow the crowd with its Pierogi Dog.

You can read more about the fest in Thursday's Food & Flavor.

Photos, from top: Imaginepittsburgh.com, Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Pierogi Fest

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Preview Tako and 4121 Main at tomorrow's Trade Union trunk show

Written by Melissa McCart on . Events

tradeunion1At this Saturday's Trade Union event, Tako and 4121 Main will give visitors a preview of food and drink they'll serve when the taqueria and coffee destination open later this fall.

The free event on the Mon Wharf, Downtown, will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and will feature a line-up of local vendors, as the Post-Gazette's Sara Bauknecht reported last week

With a menu of small plates, tacos and tortas that borrow from international cuisines, Tako will open in November at 214 Sixth St., Downtown.  It's a work-in-progress next-door to Butcher and the Rye and will be the latest restaurant from Tolga Sevdik and Rick DeShantz.

For the trunk show, they'll be serving a smoked brisket torta with a pastrami rub paired with a creamy-sweet Memphis-style slaw, bread-and-butter pickles and a Swiss version of Cheez Whiz. 

Nearby, Kira Hoeg of the soon-to-open 4121 Main in Lawrenceville will run a pop-up espresso bar for the event with pour-over coffee from Heart Roasters in Portland, Ore. The former head barista at Marty's Market in the Strip District will work in partnership with Thommy Conroy and Quelcy Kogel. The location has been the gallery for Mr. Conroy's work. 

Trade Union graphic


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Canning and cocktails

Written by Rebecca Sodergren on . Events

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Pittsburgh Canning Exchange and Wigle Whiskey team up to present "Canning for Cocktails" at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse on Spring Garden Avenue in the North Side.

You can learn to make apple jelly, get your hands in on the jelly-making process, sip a few cocktails made with said jelly, get your canning questions answered and take home a jar of jelly for your toast -- or for whipping up a few cocktails of your own.

The Canning Exchange quartet -- Gabe Tilove, Chelsea Burket, Sara Blumenstein and Rob Burrows -- dropped off some samples of the apple jelly at Wigle, and Wigle created two cocktails (see recipes below) that will be featured Wednesday.

Penn State Master Food Preserver Susan Marquesen will be on hand to answer any tough canning questions.

Mr. Tilove said his group has been hoping to team up with Wigle for awhile because they like the way the distiller supports local agriculture. The Canning Exchange tries to do the same, obtaining produce for its events locally. When we talked to him, he was on his way out to the East Liberty Farmers Market in search of apple cider for the jelly.

He also mentioned that he hopes this event will teach people that canning isn’t only about drudging your way through a bushel of tomatoes -- it can also be about making a small batch of something and having fun.

Tickets for the event are $25. To order, click here.


THE DANDY APPLE

1 tablespoon apple jelly

1/4 ounces simple syrup

3 ounces Earl Gray tea (cold)

1/4 ounces lemon juice

1 ounce Wigle Aged Rye whiskey

Aggressive dashes of mole bitters

Serve in a rocks glass over ice.
-- Wigle Whiskey


SKY-HIGH APPLE CHAI

1 tablespoon apple jelly

5 ounces chai tea (warm)

1/4 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce Wiggle Aged Wheat Whiskey

Aggressive dashes of pomander orange bitters

Dash of cinnamon

Serve in a rocks glass warm.
-- Wigle Whiskey

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Chuck's Eat the Street, Pittsburgh edition, airs Thursday

Written by Melissa McCart on . Events

chuckseatthestreet"Chuck's Eat the Street" filmed in Pittsburgh a few months ago and their findings will air at 10 p.m. Thursday on the Cooking Channel. 

Hosted by Montreal restaurateur, Chuck Hughes, "Chuck's Eat the Street" focuses on unusual dishes in cities around the world. Season three includes the Hudson Valley, Minneapolis, Austin, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Vancouver among others. In his Pittsburgh stop, he visits Meat & Potatoes, Penn Avenue Fish Co., Bar Marco and Salt of the Earth

Penn Avenue Fish Co. is celebrating the show tomorrow night at the Strip District location starting at 10 p.m. 

Cooking Channel graphic

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Spaghetti for breakfast

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

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Spaghetti breakfast?

That's one of Pittsburgh's quirky food traditions, now in its 31st year, started by the late KD broadcaster John Cigna.

The NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast will be served from 5 to 9 a.m. this Friday, Sept. 19, at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza at Sixth and Liberty, Downtown.

KD's Larry Richert and John Shumway will be broadcasting the morning news, which will be leavened with entertainment, including Jimmy Sapienza and his band. Other KD personalities and local celebrities will be serving the public free plates of penne pasta, sausage and bread.
 
If that doesn't sound like breakfast fare, Mr. Shumway points out that plenty of people take it back to their offices and have it for lunch.
 
And its not only hungry Downtowners who benefit. The Little Sisters of the Poor will be collecting donations of canned food and cash at the breakfast. They'll also get the proceeds of an auction of three prints by South Side artist Johno -- Johno Prascak -- including the lovely "Tomatoes," a copy of which graces the Post-Gazette food room. 09172014tomatoes
 
You can read more about the breakfast and its sponsors here.

KDKA photos

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A Prince of Porc Pig-Out

Written by Melissa McCart on . Events

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Last night Justin Severino of Cure hosted a Cure'ated dinner at his Lawrenceville restaurant, part of a series that incorporates the cooking of guest chefs from around the country.

Washington, D.C., chefs, Scott Drewno of Wolfgang Puck's The Source and Top Chef season 6 contestant Mike Isabella of the Italian-inspired Graffiato and the Greek-inspired Kapnos, displayed their cooking styles and humor throughout the night.

The James Beard-nominated chefs have both competed and won the D.C. title, "Prince of Porc," for Cochon 555, a ten-city tour that's a pimped out pig roast competition in which chefs show their skills through a multitude of dishes and wild thematic displays.

Their titles inspired Mr. Severino, with his pig-centric focus, to invite them to cook at his restaurant. Mr. Isabella invited Mr. Severino to cook in his Graffiato kitchen last year. 

The course above is a crispy pig ear from Mr. Isabella, with green tomatoes, pickled eggs and kale in a burnt-honey vinaigrette. 

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Bartender Colin Anderson's drink called The Brazil, with dry sherry, dry vermouth, absinthe and angostura was served with Mr. Severino's salumi board, below.

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The salumi course was served alongside Mr. Severino's baked Wellfleet, with nduja, giardiniera and pecorino Romano, below. 

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After the pig ear course, Mr. Drewno served a series of dumplings, one of many dishes that have earned him acclaim, paired with a Hitachino White Ale.

The first was a seared pork dumpling abd the second set was filled with pork and shrimp siu mai and "strange flavor eggplant," pictured. The third dumpling was a purse of boiled pork and crab wantons with a chili-shallot sauce.

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Dumplings were followed by a char siu pork bao, paired with a 2011 Trimbach Gewurtztraminer. Here's my before plate.
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A formidable pork crepinette from Mike Isabella was served as the savory finish, with sunchoke puree, grilled escarole and mostarda and a 2011 Domaine du Pas Saint Martin La Pierre Frite. 

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Dessert was a decadent, shared number, a prune and maple-braised bacon tart with bourbon paw-paw custard, paired with NV Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Boston Bual, a memorable Madiera. 

Melissa McCart photos

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