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Check out all the great things to see and do this October!

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A Night for the Cure

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We’re all family. Right? Well, we all share 99% of the human genome with each other at least. So, if we think about that for a second, we should always be there for our family. Families work together, experience hardship together and, of course, share in a lot of laughter together. So, as often as we can, in any way that we can, we need to support one another, give a helping hand, and share a smile.

I guess family can be used interchangeably with community.

A brave woman stood up a few years ago, wanting to change just one person’s mind. She didn’t know who that person was in particular, but she knew what she had to do. You see, Selina McHugh was marred in her own battle, realizing that until you’re fighting the fight you really have no idea what the fight is about. Thus, “A Night for the Cure” was born. The uplifting evening is about inspiration, support, and maybe most importantly, laughter and smiles.

This year, Woodloch Resort will host the 8th annual “A Night for the Cure,” a tricky-tray event designed to raise awareness, funds, inspiration, and hope in the fight against breast cancer. The doors open at 5 p.m. on the Nightclub at the award-winning resort on Sunday, October 18th, and as you step into the room, the energy can be intoxicating and positively pink!

The evening will feature over 200 items donated by local individuals and businesses, as well as wine and beer tastings, hors d’oeuvres, a dessert table, and a 50/50 raffle. Guests will enjoy live entertainment and have the chance to win overnight stay packages at the area’s leading resorts and hotels, a big-screen LED television, dining out gift certificates, unique gift baskets, and much more! This year will have some new, fun additions (as this night is ALL about having fun) like the NEPA Party Bike and Irving Cliff Brewery.

With over 400 attendees and nearly 200 prizes to be auctioned off to winners, the scene is full of energy, inspiration, and lots of laughter, especially when listening to the comedic quips of the evening’s emcee, Brad Kiesendahl, co-owner of the resort.

Last year’s event netted nearly $18,000, 100% of which benefits the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. 50% of the dollars raised stay right here in Northeast Pennsylvania for education, screening and treatment grants, and 50% goes towards cancer research.

“It gets better every year! It’s a great night to get together with friends, show support for survivors and caregivers, and raise money for a great cause,” said Bob Kiesendahl, co-owner of Woodloch Resort, co-founder of Hope Cures, and a leukemia survivor.

If you’ve been to this event in the past, you know, when you step foot in that door for the first time, you’re family. Family and community stick together. And Selina has changed the minds of thousands and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars in the process to help those who find themselves in the same situation that she was once in. So, if you’re looking for more information about Hope Cures and this October’s great event, you can visit www.bkhopecures.org/trickytray or call 570.685.8002.

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How To Make the Perfect Bowl of Pasta

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Sauce Expert Reveals Tricks of The Pasta Trade

Pasta is one of the staples of the American diet, but it need not taste like a staple.

“It is so much more than just grabbing a jar of generic sauce at the store, boiling some water and mixing it all up in a bowl,” said Dave Hirschkop, the namesake of the Dave’s Gourmet (www.davesgourmet.com) line of sauces and veteran pasta and sauce aficionado. “There are subtle secrets in every step of the process from choosing the sauce, boiling the water, and plating the finished meal, that can take an everyday dull meal and turn it into a gourmet dining experience.”

He should know. His sauces have been named tops in the industry by the Sofi Awards two years running, making him a recognized expert in designing the perfect bowl of pasta.

His tips include:

Choosing the Pasta

If you want a great pasta experience, choose a variety of pasta that receives the sauce and spices well. Thinner, more delicate shapes should pair with lighter, thinner sauces. Pick pasta made from durum wheat. A slightly rougher pasta or shaped pasta holds the sauce better.

Choosing the Sauce

Good marinara is made primarily from tomatoes, not tomato paste. If your sauce ingredients list paste, water or sugar as the first ingredient, then you need to put the jar down slowly and back away from it. Some sauces make a better base so don’t be afraid to doctor them with meat, cheese, or fresh veggies. Also, to keep your pasta love life interesting, experiment with different flavors of sauce (tomato cream, butternut, wild mushroom, etc.).

Boiling the Pasta

Use plenty of water, add salt to it, and never put dry pasta in the water until it has reached a rolling boil. Stir occasionally and, once the pasta nears the minimum cooking time on the package, start tasting it. Take the pasta out when it is al dente or a little firm. The pasta will continue to cook a little after you take it out.

Heating the Sauce

For an even more flavorful pasta dish, take the pasta out of the water a few minutes early and let it finish cooking in the sauce.

Plating the Pasta

When you strain the pasta, do not run water over the pasta unless you are making a cold pasta salad. Make sure to strain really well as nobody likes watery pasta. Place a ladle of sauce at the bottom of your serving bowl before dumping the cooked pasta in. Then, ladle generous amounts of sauce into the bowl, and toss the pasta so the sauce is evenly distributed. Then you can add extra sauce to each plate according to your dinner guests’ tastes. You might want to garnish each plate with some fresh basil or even parsley. Freshly grated Parmesan or Parmesan Reggiano is a great touch and tasty.

Preparing the Bread

The bread is important because at the end of the meal, a good textured bread can be used to soak up the excess sauce in the plate. To make the most of the bread, bake it for 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees. This will make for toasty nooks and crannies that will capture the sauce in your plate without letting the bread go limp or soggy. Garlic bread can also be a delicious alternative.

“A great pasta meal is all about the details and the creative flair,” Dave added. “If you take care to pay attention to those details and put forth a tiny bit of extra effort, every pasta meal at home can be a gourmet meal you can be proud of.”

About Dave Hirschkop

Dave’s Gourmet (www.davesgourmet.com) is the result of Dave owning and managing a small restaurant near the University of Maryland, which taught him a lot about preparing food and satisfying customers.

He uses that experience with Dave’s Gourmet, which after 18 years has grown into a maker of more than 70 award-winning gourmet food products.