Create

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Hello, dear readers! Wow, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last posted. I know I’ve promised you again and again that I would be better at this whole blogging thing. Truth is, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. My promise to you is this… when I have something exciting to share, I will do so here. Deal?

Now onto some exciting stuff… The Atelier Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending in NYC earlier this fall.  I first learned of it through the Instagram feed of Joann Pai of Slice of Pai. I discovered her feed while doing my research for our spring trip to Paris and instantly fell in love with her aesthetic {and her passport stamps}. After confirming I was free the first weekend of October, I signed up and counted down the minutes till the class. I was a little nervous as I’ve never taken a photography class in my life. But, my  little sis’ let me borrow her ‘fancy’ camera so I wouldn’t be the only one in the class with my trusty iPhone 6.

Although there were a few changes to our itinerary, I just had a feeling that this workshop was going to be everything. And I am pleased to say, IT WAS! The other teachers were Gabriel Cabrera, food stylist guru from Vancouver and Jodi Moreno, natural food chef and blogger at What’s Cooking Good Looking. Here they are… the best teachers ever!

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The workshop kicked off at Jodi’s apartment in the Village on Saturday morning. I, of course, was the first to arrive as I was a little nervous, but instantly felt at home when I walked through her door. Of course the breakfast spread was to-die for and her home, beautiful. There were seven additional students, who traveled much farther than Boston {San Francisco + Oklahoma} and they could not have been sweeter.

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The first day we talked quite a bit about light and composition. Two key factors to taking the perfect photo. After an amazing lunch by Jodi, we ventured to the Union Square Farmers Market, where our assignment was to pick some products that inspired us. My partner and I decided on the beautiful radishes and decided to make the traditional french bite of radishes, butter, bread and some sea salt. With a little style direction from Gabriel, I was quite pleased with the finished product.

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Our Sunday session was held at an amazing studio on the Lower West Side/Chinatown. The white walls, white brick, it was a dream. The morning focused on creating your own style. Gabriel and Joann both shared their personal styles and how they developed them over time. Their suggestion – start gathering images that you like and create your brand/vision. I’ll share my inspiration book with you shortly.

Next, it was all about styling a pie. With a few tips on using the ‘fancy’ camera, I was shocked by the difference in quality. Just take a look at the two images below. One taken with my iPhone and one with my sis’ camera.

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Clearly a new ‘fancy’ camera is on my Christmas list.

Here are a few more snaps from the workshop. I hope you like them!

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Not bad for a newbie, right? I can’t wait to see how my skills unfold and all that I’m able to create. Thanks for being part of my journey!

In the Kitchen

Kitchen

Happy Friday, sweet readers. We’ve made it through another week! And in anticipation of another beautiful weekend ahead of us, I thought I’d share another easy and delicious dish to highlight one of my favorite summer vegetables… tomatoes.

Have a last-minute BBQ to attend? I suggest you make this. I made it for my book club ladies a few weeks back and they all begged for the recipe before they left. I promise, everyone will love it!

Tomato and Cheese Tartlett

Ingredients

  • Frozen pie shell
  • 1 Tbs. whole grain mustard
  • 1 quart cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 1/4 cups Fontina cheese (shredded)
  • Handful of parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil/salt + pepper
  • 1 egg/water {for egg wash}

Directions

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Remove frozen pie shell from freezer and brush with 1-2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard. Place a layer of the shredded Fontina cheese over the mustard, followed by a layer of the quartered tomatoes. Repeat this twice and finish with another layer of cheese.

Make an egg wash by whisking together 1 egg with about a tablespoon of water and brush the pie edges with a pastry brush. Place in over and bake for 45 minutes till cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

While the tart is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one peeled clove of garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic infused olive oil to your mini food processor and add in a handful of parsley and salt/pepper. Pulse until it forms a paste.

As the tart cools, spread this parsley/garlic paste on top.

A special thanks to my Mom for this recipe. As the Office Administrator for Sustainable Nantucket, she works alongside farmers and growers who are working to build  a more locally based, self-reliant food economy on the island. This recipe was shared at one of her events a few years back. I know it will be in my recipe collection for years to come!

Places

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The dining scene in Boston just keeps getting better and better, which makes me a very happy girl. Last Friday, K and I were finally able to score a dinner reservation to Tiger Mama, Tiffani Faison’s second eatery in Boston. And let me tell you. She hit it out of the park with this one {pun intended as it is around the corner from Fenway Park}. I would describe the menu as Tiffani’s love letter to Southeast Asia, a region that she describes on the website as having “some of the most effortlessly brilliant food, the kindest people and the most beautiful sights the world has to offer.”

We started our dining experience with the red snapper crudo with puffed rice {with just the right amount of heat}, followed by the roasted beets, the crispy pork lettuce wraps and finished up with the chicken curry. Every bite was even more exciting than the last. Tiger Mama, like many these days, is adhering to the small plate trend. Our sweet server suggested 2-3 plates per person. We ordered 4 and I think it was just the right amount of food {knowing that we had SoCo ice cream in the freezer helped too}.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cocktail program, which is quite impressive and the living green wall. It’s amazing. Need a little more info to pull the trigger and make a reservation? Check out this review from the Boston Globe.

Tiger Mama. A welcome addition to the Boston food scene and one I hope will continue to shine for many, many years!

Jubilee

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The Cherry Bombe Jubilee was certainly the bomb! A full day surrounded by incredible women in a beautiful space talking about my favorite thing{s}. A special thank you to Farm & Fable for inviting me to tag along.

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I mean, look at this place. The High Line Hotel. A former Theological Seminary, apple orchard and cathedral all located on the west side of New York City on 10th Avenue. The Gothic brick reminded me of my days at Mount Holyoke. And while we weren’t able to secure a room for the night, I certainly know where I’ll be staying on my next jaunt to NYC.

The event itself began at 10:30 am with a kick-off by two of my favorite Brits Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley: sisters, home cooks, food lovers, health advocates and authors. Their newest cookbook Good + Simple was released in the states on Tuesday. Their fist is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it.

The sisters are full of energy and were the perfect start to the day. They shared their Top 10 list for creating a Good + Simple life:

  1. Follow your bliss.
  2. Dream and dream big.
  3. Grow slow and be ok with saying no.
  4. Get with your gut. Follow your intuition.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Detox your life.
  7. Fight for what you know is right. Love always gets you to where you want to go.
  8. Sleep more.
  9. Work with people greater than you.
  10. Make soup!

Don’t you agree this is a terrific list?!

The day continued with panel discussions on a wide range of topics, from how to be a boss, to farming, to the next wave of chefs in NYC. There were two incredible talks, one by Kat Kinsman on Feeding the Beast {a discussion on mental health issues in the restaurant industry} and one by Mimi Sheraton, the first female food critic for the New York Times discussing how it once was to be a woman in the restaurant business.

I was excited to learn of a late addition to the roster. Padma Lakshmi confirmed last week to do a reading from her new memoir, which I’m almost done with. A full Bo0k Club review will be on the site next week, I promise.

Jubilee concluded on a high note with the one and only Martha Stewart. Her greatest piece of advice “it’s hard to have it all but it’s very important to have as much of it as you can.” She talked about regrets of not having more children, her need to always drive in the front seat and her trick for the perfect scrambled eggs. And that trick will only cost you $5,000. Can you guess what it is?

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As you can imagine, one of the many highlights of the Jubilee was the food itself. Lunch bowls by Dig Inn, snacks created by some incredible female makers {including Amy Chaplin, Anita’s Yogurt, Eric McKenna, Fourt & Twenty Blackbirds, Hot Bread Kitchen, and Yossy Arefi}.

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I can’t wait for #CBJubilee 2017!

Photo credits: Photos 1, 3 and 4 (Cherry Bombe)

 

 

Tuesday Travel

Brooklyn

It’s official. I’ve fallen hard and fast for Brooklyn. I know, I know. You are thinking you guys were just there in December. Well, you are right. But we made a quick trip down this past weekend to attend the wedding celebration of two dear friends. Between the festivities, we were able to squeeze in a few amazing meals. I think today’s post should be called tasty Tuesday. How much food can May eat in 48 hours? Read on and I’m sure I’ll surprise you!

 

MaisonI was able to score a table at Maison Premiere for Friday night. A table that I’m told is quite hard to come by. Every detail of this spot {located a quick 15 minute walk from The Wythe, our hotel of choice in Brooklyn} is perfection. Maison Premiere is part oyster house, part cocktail den, reminiscent of what you would find in Paris or New Orleans. Their cocktail list features an impressive collection of premium Absinthes. My drink of choice was the Walcott Express and I must say, it went down a little too smoothly.  The oyster selection was impressive and their desserts were sinfully good. I highly recommend adding Maison Premiere to your Brooklyn to-do list.

Five Leaves

Saturday morning I woke up with a wee-bit of a hangover and thus a hearty breakfast was in-order. I had researched two options for potential breakfast spots: Cafe Colette and Five Leaves. Since Colette didn’t open till 10 am {and we were up at 8 am}, we decided on Five Leaves. Again, it was a short walk from The Wythe and we arrived right before the morning rush so were able to grab a table right away. K ordered the Moroccan Scramble and I ordered the Big Brekkie with a scrabbled eggs, toast, hash browns, avocado and bacon. Oh and a side of the bruléed grapefruit. This place does breakfast right!

Oh and they have the cutest take-out window for coffee.

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I think I’ve shared this with you but I really believe I could survive on pizza. Pizza is New anorak so it only makes sense that Brooklyn would have some incredible pizza spots. While perusing my Twitter feed, I saw an endorsement for Roberta’s in Bushwick by the one and only John Krasinski. And thus, after the wedding festivities, we grabbed an Uber and off to Roberta’s we went. There was a substantial line out the door but we decided we were all-in. Thirty minutes later, we were devouring the best margarita of my life. I’m sad that I won’t be able to enjoy this on a weekly basis. Maybe one day soon…

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We ended our weekend getaway on the highest note at the most romantic spot in all of Brooklyn. Vinegar Hill House, which has been on my to-go list for quite some time. And what a time we had. We grabbed two seats at the bar, opened up our Sunday Times and savoured the most delicious brunch from the tiny kitchen of chef Mike Poiarkoff, who incorporates sustainably farmed ingredient into his dishes. The omelette with squash, goat cheese and mint was light and perfectly flavored and K’s lamb tamale special was amazing! I can’t wait to go back for dinner in their garden and sit under the cherry tree.

Wow, what a food filled weekend. I can’t wait to head back to NYC in two weeks for the Cherry Bombe Jubilee. More on that soon!

 

In the Kitchen

Food

Is it really only Wednesday? I’m ready for the weekend!

Since making my award winning chili last week, I must be honest and say very little has happened in my kitchen. While catching up on my blog reading this am, I read this interesting piece on the five things in your kitchen you wouldn’t be caught without. So, I thought today I would add my five things to the list, which include:

  • A block of delicious cheese
  • Crackers (I could easily make a meal out of crackers and cheese)
  • Olive oil (I’m obsessed with Frankie’s 457 oil at the moment)
  • Eggs (I’m a huge fan of breakfast for dinner)
  • San Pellegrino (I think their glass bottle is one of the prettiest things on a table)

Do share yours too!

In the Kitchen

Chilli

Yesterday was my firm’s annual chili competition. And who doesn’t love a food competition?! I tell you, I’ve got a serious competitive streak when it comes to this stuff {explains my addiction to Top Chef, which is hours away}. After submitting my name, I knew the place to go for inspiration. Pinterest. My fountain of youth for all things, really. Knowing that I work with conservative, Type A’s, I knew I wanted to do something a little different. When I stumbled upon a buckwheat and chocolate chili, courtesy of heavenlynnhealthy.com, I knew I had found my winner. And while it wasn’t the prettiest dish I’ve ever made, it certainly was delicious. I followed the recipe to a T but have made notes below on a few modifications I will make next time. And the good news… I took home the prize for Most Creative!

Bean and Buckwheat Chili with Dark Chocolate 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 fresh chili (next time I will use two… needed a little more heat)
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground oregano
  • ½ teaspoon of dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 cup of buckwheat groans
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 cup  of walnuts
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas
  • 3 15 oz cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar (next time I will do 1/4 cup… very strong vinegar taste)
  • ¼ cup of red wine
  • ½ regular bar of 70 – 80% dark chocolate

Directions

Start by chopping the onion, crushing the garlic and chopping the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Remove the seeds from the chili and roughly cut it into strings. Finely chop the walnuts.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, chili, cumin, paprika, oregano, and marjoram and sauté for a minute or two until fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn.

Add the chopped carrots, bell pepper, celery and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Now add the buckwheat, beans, walnuts, canned tomatoes, tomato purée, water and salt and let it cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat.

After 30 minutes, add apple cider vinegar and chocolate and stir for another 5 minutes. Add more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

All in all, the recipe comes together in about an hour. I made it Monday night and served it on Wednesday and I think it really allowed it some time for the flavors to develop. I served it with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice. With the left overs last night, I made a burrito with it and added in avocado. Yummy!

 

 

In the Kitchen

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I’ll admit it. I skip breakfast from time to time. But I have a feeling those days are long over now that I have found this simple and easy recipe for Overnight Oats.

I was first introduced to overnight oats about a year ago while staying at a little b&b. I asked the inn keeper for her recipe. When I returned home, I gave the recipe a try and was disappointed. No bueno. Last week, Nectar and Green* included a recipe in their weekly email from Darling Magazine and I had to give it a try. Second time must be a charm as they were delicious and super easy.

Overnight Oats

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups of oatmeal
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbs. chia seeds (I opted for a little over 1 Tbs.)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • handful of yellow raisins
  • handful of slivered almonds

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar (I used my Wreck .5 L glass jars), stir well and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Next time, I’m going to add some fresh fruit to the top.

*I met Laurel through my dear friend Abby last year. Laurel is the creative genius behind Nectar and Green, a weekly distributor of small batch almond milk. Not only is her product delicious but the nutritional benefits are impressive. She has pick-up locations throughout the city (we pick up our milk at Urban Grape). Check out her website for more details.

 

 

Pantry

ILA

Hello from Boston on this rainy afternoon!

Are you still looking for some last minute gift ideas or just need a little something to make you smile today? Look no further than ILA, a wonderful new source for kitchen essentials, brought to you by the creative genius behind Sunday Suppers.

Much is in a name, no? And ILA is derived from Hindu Mythology and a woman whose beauty was irresistible and spirit was gentle, kind and grounded. In Sanskrit, ILA  means earth, beauty and prayer. I may just have a new favorite word!

Each offering is beautifully packaged and sourced from farms, purveyors and artisans around the globe. ILA’s mission is simple: inspire one to gather and feast together. What a delightful notion. I can’t wait to test their olive oil, a little treat for myself this holiday season.

Photo Credit: ILA website

Join

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A few weeks back, I volunteered at the Kendall Square EatUp. In addition to my time, I purchased a raffle box to give to this worthy organization. To my surprise, I won a yearly membership to Dinner Lab. I like to pride myself on being in-the-know about the Boston food scene but somehow, this one escaped me. Dinner Lab is a fascinating concept, which started in New Orleans. The founding team wanted to introduce their hometown to diverse cuisine and bring people together around the dinner table. Membership entitles you to an invite-only dinner, in a unique space (not a restaurant) by chefs who come from some of the world’s best restaurants. Pretty cool, right?

I received my first invite this week for a dinner on December 4th, which sadly I can’t make as we will be en route to NYC for the weekend. Take a look at the chef details below. Looks like I will be missing quite a night.

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I am hopeful the next invite isn’t too far off. I should note that Dinner Lab is available in cities across the country. Traveling for work or planning a weekend getaway, sign up for your destination to find out if a Dinner Lab is available. A worthy culinary experience to join. Happy eating!