CUP O’ JOE – Winter

Cup o’ Joe – 2017 Preview Edition

By Joe Passero, Chairman of KLAFFS

KLAFFS Lighting General Manager Candace Pereira and Joe Passero

2016 has been a great year here at KLAFFS, but we’re already planning for an even better year in 2017 for our extended family of staff, designers, architects, builders, brands and home owners (present and future)! Before I share some upcoming activities that will assure KLAFFS continues on the leading edge of products and design, I want to stay in holiday mode for a bit.

This past week, we hosted our first Designer/Architect/Builder Appreciation Night, a Cocktails and Conversation event in the flagship Norwalk showroom. It was the fantastic finale to our inaugural Designer Holiday Showcase. How terrific to welcome our professional partners for some socializing and holiday cheer, including endless, delectable hors d’oeuvres from Ripka’s Beach Café & Bulls Head Market Catering of Norwalk – served up hot from our working kitchen by their chef.

It’s always fun to watch the designers’ keen product and design eyes zero in on what’s new since the last time they visited. That’s really saying something in the lighting department where literally hundreds of lighted fixtures are suspended overhead.

The first resolution we’re making for 2017 is to expand this event and our efforts to use KLAFFStyle to shine a spotlight on these talented friends.

Staying in the holiday season for one more moment, be sure to try my recipe for linguini and clams – a New Year’s Eve tradition in the Passero household. In case you haven’t noticed, I love great kitchens because I love to cook! The recipe is party-sized so feel free to cut it down for a cozier celebration for two or a few. I’m happy to share it with you here.

Now on to 2017! Right after the New Year we’ll be heading to some key industry trade shows to check out what’s new in products and design and to do some trend spotting. We meet with the top manufacturers to gain their insights – and they ask us for ours. And we pick out the best of what we find to bring back to our showrooms for you.

Please don’t be jealous when you see the trade show locations. We’re hard at work from start to finish and feel lucky to get a moment or two of sunshine or to see a few palm trees on the way to and from the airport!

  • On January 9th, we’ll be in Orlando for the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. This show is held in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders Show. We really cover a lot of bases here.
  • The following week I’m travelling with our lighting manager Candace Pereira and her associate Rina Marie di Marte to the Dallas Buying Market. This most important lighting show of the year is held in the Giftware Building there.
  • Then in March – from the 14th to 17th – we’ll be in Palm Springs, California with our plumbing and hardware buying group Forte. Forte is comprised of about 100 members – the leading regional home improvement retailers from around the nation. We’re not competitors. We come together to negotiate regional line exclusivity and better buying opportunities with top brands. KLAFFS passes on the savings that result from this purchasing power to our customers – making us competitive with much larger retailers. Important for you to know.

I’ll be reporting what we find at the shows in future Cup o’ Joe columns and we’ll be writing in detail about the hottest product and design trends for 2017 here at KLAFFStyle.

If you worked up an appetite reading this, here’s the recipe for New Year’s Eve Linguini and Clams – one of my favorites!

(Serves 8 to 10) 


2 lbs linguini
10 cloves of garlic finely chopped
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 quart chopped shucked clams (I buy this fresh from my fish market)
2 bunches Italian parsley finely chopped
8 oz bottle of clam juice
6 dozen Manila clams in the shell
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Fresh crushed black pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large Italian plum tomato, finely diced (optional)
Hot Italian cured dry salami, like Soppresata, finely diced. (Optional)


Use an extra-large sauce pan.

Heat the olive oil, add the garlic and cook on medium until golden brown. Add the shucked chopped clams and turn off the heat.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil. Add the linguini and cook for 5-6 minutes or until al dente. Test for firmness so that you do not overcook. Pasta needs to be firm. Remove from heat. Reserve some of the pasta water in case you need extra liquid later and drain the pasta in a colander. Set aside.

Turn clam sauce on low heat. Add ¾ of the chopped parsley, black pepper, salt and crushed hot pepper and the diced salami (if using).

Add Manila clams and cover until clams start to open, 2-3 minutes. (Discard any clams that don’t open.)

Add the al dente pasta and mix thoroughly into the sauce. Add clam juice and/or some pasta water if you need more liquid.

Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium, mixing often. At this point add the diced plum tomato, if using, and mix through. It adds nice color. Sprinkle the balance of parsley over pasta and serve straight from the pan. Buon appetito!

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