Food Column: Go high- or low-class at this beer event

'Servants' get a period-style English mild ale


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You might have trouble deciding whether to use British English or Pittsburghese at this fun fundraiser.

Actually, despite the event's name -- Downton/Dahntahn Abbey -- the attractions will all be British; it's just a question of which class you feel you belong in.

There will be an upstairs and a downstairs at this event. The upstairs is for the upper-crusties, the downstairs for the servant class. But there will be yummy offerings for both, and unlike in true 1920s British society, classes will be welcome to mix and mingle.

Downton/Dahntahn Abbey is a fundraiser for the Renaissance & Baroque Society, an early music group, and the Pittsburgh Camerata, a professional chamber choir. This year's joint fund-raiser will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside.

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts staff had been encouraging the groups to use both its upper and lower levels for an event, organizer and Camerata soprano Susan Barclay said. So when Camerata Artistic Director Rebecca Rollett conceived the Downton/Dahntahn concept, everything fell very naturally into place.

"Downton," staged upstairs, will feature tea sandwiches, smoked salmon, scones, Welsh cakes, claret and sherry. "Dahntahn," downstairs, will feature a variety of snacks to complement an English mild ale that replicates the sort that might have been served in a Downton-style servant's hall.

Guests are encouraged -- though not required -- to wear 1920s-style attire.

Camerata and Renaissance & Baroque musicians not only will provide the entertainment, but also will be making the food. (See recipe for Candied Ginger and Rosemary Scones, one of the items that will be served.) Camerata singer Roy Matway brews beer as a hobby and developed the English mild ale in concert with Copper Kettle Brewing in Greenfield, which donated the bottles and labels for this event.

Tickets for Downton/Dahntahn Abbey are $50 in advance or $75 for patron level. Tickets at the door are $60. To order, go to rbsp.org or pittsburghcamerata.org, or call 412-361-2048.

Classes

Spring Foraging: Mary Menniti of The Italian Garden Project and Rosemarie Perla, Teach a Community to Cook leader, discuss the basic rules of foraging, focusing on dandelions and wintercress. Ms. Menniti will discuss optimal harvest time, plant identification, nutritional value and identifying good foraging spots. Ms. Perla will demonstrate preparation of an Italian frittata. 10 a.m. Saturday, April 12, at Fern Hollow Nature Center, Sewickley. $15 for adults; $5 for children; sponsored by Slow Food Pittsburgh. To register, e-mail stbarclay13@verizon.net.

Bread with Chef Voytish: Learn to bake Italian bread with Lidia's executive chef; then enjoy a four-course dinner of dishes created with bread as an ingredient, such as tomato and bread soup, fresh linguine with bread-crumb-toasted cherry tomatoes, toasted quail in pastry, and chocolate and bread parfait. 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at Lidia's in the Strip District. $95 per person. Reservations: 412-552-0150.

Holiday

48th Annual Ukrainian Easter Egg Sale: More than 1,500 handcrafted Ukrainian Easter eggs, crafts from Eastern Europe, Ukrainian foods, basket raffles, church and museum tours. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Carnegie.

Charitable events

Help Pittsburgh's Homeless: LeMont's event space is transformed into a nightclub for a formal dance party with hors d'oeuvres (crab cakes, beef kabobs, gorgonzola basket with cream cheese and toasted walnuts, bacon-wrapped scallops and more) and drinks. 8 p.m. April 18 at LeMont, Mount Washington. $75; benefits charities for the homeless. eventbrite.com (search "Help Pittsburgh's Homeless").

Outnumber Hunger Campaign: During April and May, visit General Mills' Outnumber Hunger Website (outnumberhunger.com) and enter the participating product codes from any products, such as cereals and yogurt, bearing the Outnumber Hunger logo. Entering the codes will trigger donations to anti-hunger organizations such as the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Contests

GoodTaste Pittsburgh Pretzel Recipe Contest: The annual food show happens this year on National Pretzel Day, April 26, so organizers are asking locals to put their "twist" on a favorite recipe using Snyder's Pretzel Bites. Snap a photo and post to GoodTaste Pittsburgh's Facebook page, share the photo on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GTPtwist, or e-mail to goodtastepgh@gmail.com. Photos and recipes will be compiled into a Facebook album, and the creators of the two recipes with the most "likes" by April 21 will be invited to present their recipes on stage at the show. For more information about the GoodTaste show, go to goodtastepittsburgh.com.

Pillsbury Bake-Off: The million-dollar competition is accepting entries in the "Weekend Breakfast Wows" and "Amazing Doable Dinners" categories through May 8 at bakeoff.com.

Candied ginger and rosemary scones

3 ounces candied ginger (recipe follows)

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon milk

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Finely chop candied ginger, reserving loose sugar from ginger.

Place flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor.

Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal.

Add yogurt, ginger, rosemary and milk; pulse a few more times until mixture just comes together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to form a ball.

Divide in 2 and form into 6-inch rounds.

Cut each round into 6 wedges and separate slightly.

Place on baking pan lined with parchment paper and brush each with egg mixture; sprinkle with reserved candied ginger sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Makes 12.

-- Giant Eagle Market District

Candied ginger

Candied ginger, also known as crystallized ginger, is sold in in the grocery store. But it's very expensive -- our store charges $12 for a single jar -- so we decided to make our own using this recipe.

-- Rebecca Sodergren

2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup peeled, sliced ginger

Mix together 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then add ginger slices. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Strain ginger pieces, then place on a rack and sprinkle with sugar. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. Makes about ½ cup.

-- "The Food Substitutions Bible" by David Joachim (Robert Rose, 2005)


Rebecca Sodergren: pgfoodevents@hotmail.com or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.

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