We asked the cast and crew of Valentine, our upcoming production, to tell us how bullying has influenced them. Here’s the first video!

Our Amahl (Emma Lewis) and Mother (Michelle Repella) break out the jewels and Sharpies to make some awesome snap bracelets, one of the fun activities kids can do after Amahl Friday night. Showing everyone how it’s done, Outcast-style. Don’t they make the perfect pair?

"It’s the final countdown!" Exactly one week to the show. Do you have your tickets yet? Amahl and the Night Visitors- at the Barrow Mansion Theatre, next Friday at 8 pm. Click on Gob for tix!

"It’s the final countdown!" Exactly one week to the show. Do you have your tickets yet? Amahl and the Night Visitors- at the Barrow Mansion Theatre, next Friday at 8 pm. Click on Gob for tix!

The Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated in cultures from New Orleans to Europe. You may have heard of it as Epiphany or Twelfth Night (“If music be the food of love, play on…”  was written for the occasion). It takes place January 6, twelve days after Christmas, and celebrates the day the three kings arrived to visit Jesus.

 

Traditionally, cake is a mainstay. The recipes vary (from Twelfth Night cake in Britain and King Cake in the American South) but they generally share these characteristics- round for the circuitous route the kings took to shake off King Herod, and inside some lucky eater will find a token symbolizing the Christ child. Whoever finds the bean, tiny plastic baby, coin or other little treasure gets a prize or to be queen or king for the day. (Some cultures add that the queen or king provides the cake for the following year.) In honor of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Italian heritage, the childhood memories of which were his inspiration for Amahl and the Night Visitors, we made a traditional Epiphany Italian Befana cake last night, with a hidden kidney bean. We wish we could give you a piece, but the recipe’s below.

 

Befana Cake

1 + 1/4 cups raisins

1/2 cup diced candied lemon peel
1/2 cup diced candied orange peel  
1/4 cup brandy

1 + 1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast*
1 + 4 cups flour, plus extra for flouring work surface
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
8 tablespoons (1 standard stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature

1 egg yolk (separate; keep in fridge until end)
1/2 cup warm milk (30 sec in microwave)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 large kidney bean or other token
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Nonstick cooking spray

Nonstick 10” round, 3” deep cake pan

2 large bowls

Plastic wrap

1 tea towel

*only 2 ¼ in the average yeast packet- will need more than 1 

Candied peel can be difficult to find. We shopped for ours at Economy Candy in NYC. If you don’t have a nonstick pan, just butter the pan you have.

 

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Put the raisins in a bowl, cover with 1 cup warm water to plump and set aside. In another bowl, combine the candied lemon and orange peels and brandy and set aside.

In another bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add 1 cup of flour and mix until a sponge dough is formed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the sponge dough rise in a warm place (like on top of the stove) for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Add the butter, 2 eggs, and milk. We prefer to mix with a wooden spoon. When the sponge dough is ready, add that and mix until well combined. It will be sticky at first, but gets easier to handle. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray, place the dough in and turn it once to coat both sides. Cover with the tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

While you wait, drain the water from the raisins, and, saving the brandy, drain the brandy from the candied lemon and orange. Pat the fruit dry with some paper towels.

When the dough is ready, punch it down in the bowl, then turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Pat and pull it out into a large rectangle. Take the raisins, candied lemon and orange peels, almonds and kidney bean, and sprinkle it evenly over the top. Begin the process of distributing these through the dough: roll this into a log, then form into a ball. You’ll be more easily able to knead now and work the fruit and nuts throughout. When satisfied, place the dough into your nonstick cake pan and cover with a towel. Leave it to rise in the warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.


When the dough is ready, add the egg yolk to the reserved brandy. Brush the top of the cake with the mixture and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake 45 minutes until golden brown. Wait for cake to cool before cutting (10-15 minutes).

Remember these gold chocolate coins from when you were little? We stocked up so our littlest audience members could take some home in these treasure boxes after they decorate them at Amahl and the Night Visitors post-show feast.
Of course, if you’re a grown-up and want to be a kid again for the night, we won’t mind if you pop a couple of these candies. (Erika from Outcast got them at Economy Candy on Rivington and man, did she feel like a kid again there.)
All three kings in Amahl have gold, but Kaspar’s the fun, childlike king with candy. Licorice, to be exact- that he sweetly shares with Amahl.
Amahl tickets all include our post-show tasting feast, and arts & crafts activities- and we have a discounted child ticket for $12- no code needed. Just go to http://amahl.brownpapertickets.com

Remember these gold chocolate coins from when you were little? We stocked up so our littlest audience members could take some home in these treasure boxes after they decorate them at Amahl and the Night Visitors post-show feast.

Of course, if you’re a grown-up and want to be a kid again for the night, we won’t mind if you pop a couple of these candies. (Erika from Outcast got them at Economy Candy on Rivington and man, did she feel like a kid again there.)

All three kings in Amahl have gold, but Kaspar’s the fun, childlike king with candy. Licorice, to be exact- that he sweetly shares with Amahl.

Amahl tickets all include our post-show tasting feast, and arts & crafts activities- and we have a discounted child ticket for $12- no code needed. Just go to http://amahl.brownpapertickets.com

Outcast had a celebrity encounter yesterday! We (Erika, Josh, Michelle and Shaun) were walking around Jersey City to get the word out about Amahl, and stopped into Soul Flavors on Grove Street. Where we got to shake hands (twice!) with “Chopped” winner Chef Wayne himself- one of the nicest guys we’ve ever met.
Before we called it a day, we did drop by Torico’s for some eggnog nice cream- forgot it was cash only, but we will not be kept apart. Soon we’re doing an Outcast meeting over Soul Flavors’ curried pumpkin risotto, smothered chicken, soul rolls, and Torico’s ice cream chasers.
Is it wrong that one of the most fun parts of planning this show has been getting the after-show tasting set up?
(I should mention this Chef Wayne photo belongs to urbanfoodprint.com; and you should check out http://www.soulflavors.com/)

Outcast had a celebrity encounter yesterday! We (Erika, Josh, Michelle and Shaun) were walking around Jersey City to get the word out about Amahl, and stopped into Soul Flavors on Grove Street. Where we got to shake hands (twice!) with “Chopped” winner Chef Wayne himself- one of the nicest guys we’ve ever met.

Before we called it a day, we did drop by Torico’s for some eggnog nice cream- forgot it was cash only, but we will not be kept apart. Soon we’re doing an Outcast meeting over Soul Flavors’ curried pumpkin risotto, smothered chicken, soul rolls, and Torico’s ice cream chasers.

Is it wrong that one of the most fun parts of planning this show has been getting the after-show tasting set up?

(I should mention this Chef Wayne photo belongs to urbanfoodprint.com; and you should check out http://www.soulflavors.com/)

In anticipation of our Amahl and the Night Visitors sitzprobe tomorrow (first run through all-together, with music!), and with two weeks now to go until opening night, we’re keeping an eye on the prize. Here’s a look at the very first broadcast of Amahl- the live Christmas Eve broadcast on NBC back in 1951, the first opera commissioned for television in America, and performed by the NBC Opera Theatre.

Chet Allen and Rosemary Kuhlmann star as Amahl and his mother in this clip.

Continuing Outcast’s talent show this week- we’re very lucky to have Christopher Michael Christiana in the Amahl cast as Kaspar, the hard-of hearing tenor King who carries the parrot, magic stones, beads and licorice.

Yes, that’s Chris KILLING IT on Billie Jean. Search for him on YouTube, and come see him Dec 14 in Amahl at the Barrow Mansion Theatre.

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/297561