Guys, Truffleberry are my people. They gave me my first big decorating break designing their space, and I am so proud of how they have grown into legit one of the most capable and impressive companies have I ever been involved with.
And it’s not just me, BHLDN and people think so too.
But look at what they did for Gracie’s 1st Birthday (Chicago Version) and hear Brittany’s party wisdom.
This is one of my favorite questions! I actually get it quite often: Parents want to have a party that rocks their kid’s world and they want to enjoy it too.First, it is always best to start with a theme, whether you go carnival, magic, safari, superhero, race car or princess, it is the first step in party design. I always think it is fun to have an interactive element that goes with your theme- like a face painter, a balloon twister, story teller, fairy princess or a magician. You can usually hire them for an hour or two, so it doesn’t have to break the bank and it is a great way to provide some entertainment for kids and adults. At Gracie’s party, the adults were having so much fun with the face painter and the gentleman with the giant flamingo across his face? Stunning.
Almost no one (maybe besides Gwenyth Paltrow) can resist the kid’s menu! So I say, don’t fight it. You can take some great kid’s cuisine and adultify it: Make french fries but serve with ketchup + truffle aioli. Have Kobe Beef hot dogs. Make pizzas, but make some with basil pesto, caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts, parmesan and prosciutto. Instead of chicken fingers, bread your chicken, cut into small pieces and skewer, sautee in olive oil and voila! Chicken finger skewers.
Signage! Adding signs with descriptions for drinks, food, and beverages is a nice touch. We put our signs in frames, but you can also do mini chalkboards or even make flags. I also love carrying a theme through the party with menu items, centerpieces, drinks and music. I think a well thought out playlist or pandora station is an important for ambience.Everyone loves a little entertainment, some interaction and of course- delicious food and cocktails. That said, the single most important part of any party is the host and hostess. If you are enjoying yourself and having a good time, your guests will follow your lead. It is important to know where your limit is before you stop having fun and start having anxiety- whether that means knowing your manageable guest count before you stress or your budget before you freak. The most successful parties are those that are enjoyed by the people having them.
A balance of save + splurge is great for any party and is necessary with any budget, no matter how large or small. It is important to decide what you want to delegate (splurge there) and what you want to take on yourself (save here) Take a minute to think about the things you enjoy doing and the things that really feel overwhelming. It is best to save on the things you enjoy and find fun and splurge in the places that can become stressful.
If you love to bake but can’t stand the pressure of pulling an entire meal together, have the party catered but do the desserts yourself.
Truffleberry Market’s Handmade Crispy Ravioli:Our “recipes” are more like “recipe-ish.” If you can begin to trust your own palette, you can really enhance your cooking. When people ask me “But how much salt?” they usually look at me like i’m insane when I reply “until it tastes right” instead of “three quarters of a tsp”. There are too many variables in cooking to be so exact. Will the cheese you are using be salty? How much lemon juice are you adding? Many factors contribute to how much of something you need for your cooking. My advice to anyone cooking: trust your tastebuds, taste your food often and train yourself to know what it needs more of. (the answer is usually salt, acid- like lemon juice/balsamic vinegar- or fat) yum yum and yum.
We make our handmade crispy ravioli completely from scratch- from the pasta dough to the filling to the tomato sauce. Pasta is one of the most beautiful things to make by hand and the result is always something far different than what we are used to from a box. It is softer, more delicate and so satisfying to bite in to. I always say go for it, but if you want to make “Almost handmade crispy ravioli”, just buy your pasta sheets. Someone handmade them…
Handmade Crispy Ravioli
Yield: 2 dozen ravioli
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (not pre shredded)
1 (16-ounce) container ricotta Cheese
2 (8-ounce) balls fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, drained and shredded
2 cups fresh sautéed spinach, chopped
1 large whisked egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few springs of thyme and oregano leaves, finely chopped
To make the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper, tasting occasionally. Then throw in one more pinch of salt :) Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to make the filling easier to work with.Beat one egg with a touch of water to make your egg wash. Dust your workspace with flour. Lay out one pasta sheet, and use a pastry brush to brush the edges with egg wash. This egg wash is going to keep your ravioli together like glue. Place tablespoons of filling (or fill a pastry bag and pipe filling) on the left half of the pasta sheet, about 2-inches apart and in the middle of the sheet from top to bottom. Once you have filled the sheet half way from left to right, Use your pastry brunch to egg wash between the filling. Fold the right side of pasta dough over the left side. Using your fingers, gently press out all air pockets around each mound of filling. This will ensure that you don’t have a leaky ravioli situation. Imagine how devastated you would be to bite into an empty ravioli! Gasp.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each pillow into squares and crimp the 4 edges with the tines of a fork to make a tight seal. Dust the ravioli and a sheet pan with semolina (or cornmeal) to prevent the ravioli from sticking to one another. Continue until all remaining ravioli has been made.
Making sure not to over crowd the pot, cook the ravioli in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. The ravioli will float to the top when cooked. It takes a lot less time to cook fresh pasta than dry pasta, so it should be only a matter of minutes. Gently remove the ravioli from water with a slotted spoon.
Line a sheet pan with cheese cloth (or paper towels) and place the cooked ravioli on top to dry. Once all raviolis have been cooked and are as dry as possible, you will three step bread them. Flour, egg wash, breadcrumb.Ingredients
Olive oil, for frying
Flour for dusting ravioli
3 eggs, mixed well
2 cups bread crumbs, Italian Style or Panko
A few springs of freshly chopped oregano
Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a Thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, place the flour, egg and breadcrumb mixed with herbs in three separate shallow bowls. Tip: keep one hand for dry and one hand for wet- this makes sure you end up with breaded ravioli instead of breaded fingers. Working in batches, dip each ravioli in flour with your left hand to coat completely. Dust off Gently. Move ravioli to your egg mixture and only use your right hand to coat well. Allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Place ravioli in the bread crumbs and switch back to your left hand to coat completely. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue breading the remaining ravioli.
When the oil comes up to temperature, fry the ravioli in batches until golden brown, rotating to make sure both sides are golden. Cook for about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain excess oil. You can either serve immediately or store to heat again later. If you plan to serve later, just pop these morsels into a 375 Degree oven for about 10 minutes to crisp up. We like to place a Tablespoon of our handmade Tomato Basil sauce on top of each individual ravioli so guests can just pick up and enjoy. Then, we garnish with micro basil (teeny tiny little basil leaf-lettes). You can also place the tomato sauce, handmade or store bought, in a small dish alongside the ravioli for personal dippage. Tomato, tomahto…
If you are in Chicago you are a FOOL to not use these bosses. They are fancy looking, and SO hardworking, but very reasonable and affordable. Not cheap, they value a dollah, and make your ‘shroom into a truffle.
Truffleberry Market, y’all.