Great Reads :: Top Cookbooks for Spring 2017

Great Reads: Top books for Spring 2017
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Hey guys, so happy Spring! I haven’t done a post on Great Reads in a while and i have soooo many great books and cookbooks that I’ve read that deserve a big shout out!

Here’s a few of my recent favs that are definitely worth a read:


Salmon: From Market to Plate

Salmon, From Market to Plate by Maureen C. Berry 

For all you salmon lovers out there, this is your book. Seafood advocate and cook Maureen C. Berry will show you how to be sustainable salmon shopper and conscientious cook.

The book goes over the basics of how and where to buy different varieties of salmon and the best tools and essential ingredients for your kitchen to do so. She has 20 easy and delicious everyday salmon recipes included and they’re grouped by “In the Oven”, “On the Stove” and “On the Grill”, making it easy to learn different ways to cook salmon. There’s also some more advanced recipes from chefs and organizations that support sustainable fisheries and ocean conservation at the end.

Some of my favorite recipes in the book are simple and use fresh ingredients..Salmon with Roasted Apples and Walnuts, Farmers Market Salmon Salad, Salmon Corn Chowder, Grilled Salmon with Roasted Beets, Blue Cheese and Pear Vinaigrette, Pan Grilled Salmon with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto…and there’s so many more!

You can find Maureen tweeting @maureencberry and on Instagram @maureenc.berry. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and their feisty wire fox terrier.

Get the book on Amazon

Cook's Country Eats Local

Cook’s Country EATS LOCAL, 150 Regional Recipes

So this is such a fun cookbook and a roadtrip across the country with some of the best regional recipes ever! It actually makes me want to jump in a car and eat my way through every state, just like Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Actually, when I was a kid, my whole family (me, Mom and Dad and my Sister) packed up our stuff into an RV hooked up to my Dad’s truck and drove across the country for five weeks from New York to California and back. We saw amazing things like the Salt Flats in Salt Lake City, the Badlands (we fed the prairie dogs “Twigs” on the side of the road!), Mount Rushmore in South Dakota,  the Redwood Forest in Northern California, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, the Geysers in Yellowstone National Park, panning for gold in an old deserted Western town in Montana..and the list goes on. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by travel and especially the food that comes from different regions of the country along with the history, culture and stories behind it.

The book breaks up the recipes into four regions featuring some of the top classical recipes in each: New England and the Mid-Atlantic, Appalachia and the South, The Midwest and Great Plains, Texas and the West.

The book includes anecdotes and stories on the history of the recipes and variations on some, along with colorful illustrations, side notes, cooking tips, photography and maps where you can find some of these recipes at popular hot spots across the country.

A few of my recipe favs in the book: Iowa Skinnies (a thinly cut fried pork chop sandwich with lettuce and tomato), St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake (need I say more?), South Carolina Shrimp Boil, Hoppin’ John (slow cooked Southern dish with rice, black-eyed peas and ham hocks), Rhode Island Johnnycakes (crispy corn cakes served with maple butter), Pittsburgh Wedding Soup (a Western PA version of Italian Wedding Soup with meatballs, kale, and orzo), Chicken Riggies (a classic chicken and rigatoni with tomato sauce baked dish from Utica NY), Prosperity Sandwiches (an open face sandwich melt similar to a Hot Brown from the Midwest), Texas Chicken Fried Steak and Chile Rellenos Casserole and Black Bottom Pie (chocolate custard, rum chiffon and whipped cream pie with a chocolate cookie crust) – OMG.

Check out the book on Amazon

Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies

Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies, Sophie Egan

This is a smart, funny and well-written book that delves into the American psyche of how we eat and why we eat, and sheds a unique light on the current food culture in America. Food writer and Culinary Institute of America program director  Sophie Egan examines the connections between our national values of work, freedom, and progress—and our eating habits (good ones and bad ones).

She explores many topics and questions such as why America is obsessed with healthy, GMO-free and gluten-free food; our obsession with having everything “our way” and instant gratification; our quick substitutes for real food while living such busy, scattered lives; and how American food is being influenced by global culinary trends and flavors. She analyzes workplace food experiences, fad diets, stunt foods, grandiose food marketing, and more.

Thought provoking and definitely worth a read! You can get it online here.

Here’s a few others worth a mention on the list (and all IACP Cookbook Award winners):

Scratch by Maria Rodale

Taste of Persia, Naomi Duguid

Deep Run Roots, Vivian Howard

Molly on the Range, Molly Yeh

James Beard’s All American Eats

Celebrating Fall Flavors: Buckwheat Bucatini w/ Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

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Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

Now that Fall is finally here, I’m so excited to start cooking comfort food again with flavorful seasonal ingredients like wild mushrooms, truffles, sage, prosciutto, toasted nuts, hearty greens, whole grains…yum. Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year when it comes to food 🙂

Buckwheat Bucatini


In particular, I love making homemade pasta and one-pot dishes, which is so easy to do with my KitchenAid® Gourmet Pasta Press that attaches to my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.

KitchenAid Gourmet Pasta Press

It makes six different types of pasta in a snap: Bucatini, Spaghetti, Rotini, small and large Macaroni, and Rigatoni simply by swapping out a different disc for each pasta cut…how cool is that?!?

Sauce Ingredients

I decided to make a homemade Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce, Prosciutto, Spinach, Pecans and Sage. I love Buckwheat pasta because of its rustic flavor, and it’s perfect for fall pasta dishes. Similar to the traditional Italian Pizzoccheri (flat buckwheat fettuccine), buckwheat noodles have hearty depth of flavor, and pair perfectly with warm fall flavors and ingredients like wilted greens, potatoes, cabbage, cheese and garlic.

Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

My pasta dish is topped with a luscious savory sauce made with crispy prosciutto and sage, nutty toasted pecans, garlic, shallots and wild mushrooms (portabella, porcini, oyster, beech, cremini, and shiitake) that I sautéed in olive oil and butter, then made into a luscious sauce with chicken broth and truffle oil.

Buckwheat Bucatini with Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce

CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND THE FULL RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

I’d love to hear how you would use the KitchenAid Pasta Press and what recipes you would make! Share your take on my Buckwheat Bucatini & Truffled Wild Mushroom Sauce recipe on KitchenAid’s Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

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Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

Summertime is finally here, and it’s my favorite time of year. I love cooking for parties and potlucks, but in the summertime it’s definitely no fun to be stuck in a hot kitchen! Therefore, I’ve decided to make a Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake. It’s super delicious, easy to make, and requires no hot oven whatsoever, especially with the help of all my amazing KitchenAid® appliances.

KitchenAid 14-cup food processor


I prepared my graham cracker crust in my KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor which crushes and mixes them into crumbs in seconds!

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

Next I made my cheesecake filling in my amazing Artisan Stand Mixer which is the best way to beat cream cheese and sugar together into a light and fluffy and delicious no-bake filling, so make sure you get the VonShef 1260W Black Food Stand Mixer to bake all your delicious treats!

KitchenAid Springform pan

I love my new Springform pan that I used to make the cheesecake in,

KitchenAid electric kettle

and I got a super cool electric kettle that I used to poach the peaches with.

Poached Peaches

You’re going to love this chilled creamy cheesecake with vanilla poached peaches and a homemade raspberry sauce. It’s so refreshing and is simply the perfect dessert for the summertime months! This is such an easy dessert recipe that requires no hot oven, and I’m so excited for you to try this recipe for yourself. Get as creative as you want with the no-bake cheesecake base and toppings, and just have fun with it!

Raspberry Sauce

You could substitute blackberries or blueberries for the sauce, switch up your cream cheese flavors (I used half regular and half peach flavored cream cheese for the filling), add some spices or chocolate powder to your graham cracker crust (or try Oreos, vanilla wafers or chocolate grahams!) or try poaching some other stone fruit such as nectarines or plums..the possibilities are endless!

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

And when you have all these amazing KitchenAid tools to help you make it, it makes the cooking easier and more fun! Be sure to share your take on this Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake recipe with us on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

Peach Raspberry Melba No-Bake Cheesecake

CLICK HERE FOR STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS AND MY RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

Almond Shortbread Cookies w/ Blood Orange Glaze

Almond Shortbread Cookies w/ Blood Orange Glaze
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Almond Shortbread Cookies

So February is here and so is National Almond Day! I absolutely love almonds – not only are they packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they also taste amazing! I love toasting almonds for salad toppings, making almond crust for chicken or fish, and best of all baking them into lovely, nutty, scrumptious desserts…especially cookies..mmmmm.

KitchenAid Countertop Oven


I recently got a new KitchenAid® 12″ Convection Digital Countertop Oven, and I am absolutely in love with it! Not only is it a toaster oven, but it’s also a fully functioning convection oven with nine different pre-programmed functions, including Pizza, Bagel, Cookie, Asado Roast and Keep Warm. It has a large capacity with enough room to roast a chicken or make a 12″ pizza, and of course enough space to bake a large batch of cookies. I LOVE THIS THING!

Blood Orange Glazed Almond Shortbread Cookies

Since we are in the dead of winter and in the spirit of National Almond Day, I thought a big batch of cookies was in order. I made some delicious Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze. They’re super buttery and crisp with a sweet, tart and refreshing hint of blood orange – perfect for a chilly day with a cup of tea. And they’re really easy to make too..check out the link below for my recipe on the Kitchenthusiast food blog and enjoy!!!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE AND STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG

Le District brings a taste of French cuisine to Downtown NYC

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Le District NYC

There’s a new foodie destination in town, and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Welcome to NYC Le District, a massive gourmet French food playground that you’ll get absolutely lost in. It is similar in size and style to the well-known Italian marketplace, Eataly, boasting specialty food stations with fresh and prepared foods, two restaurants, a bar, as well as casual dining seating but with a modern, classy French vibe.

Located at Brookfield Place in Downtown Manhattan, this bustling gourmet food hall offers a bounty of French-inspired cuisine ranging from imported coffee and pastries, to fresh produce and handmade pasta and sauces. They also offer a vast array of other imported items including French-made condiments, gourmet salts, cheeses, specialty meats, fish, and charcuterie.


Owner Peter Poulakakos and his partners opened Le District in the Financial District, which has seen a revival with the opening of many new businesses, shops, and restaurants at a steady pace. The newly built September 11th Memorial and Museum has also attracted more tourists to the area, making this a prime spot to open a gourmet food market. They have created a French cultural dining experience with a community feel, similar to the small local markets you would find in France, except with specialty areas for customers to experience and explore all under one roof.

READ MY FULL STORY & SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE FOOD AND THE SPACE ON FOODABLE WEB TV

Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Summer Edition + Recipes from Spring Show

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#CookingwithColor4Kids

 

My #CookingwithColor4Kids TV Show Summer Edition is LIVE and what a fun show we have for you…Thanks to all the amazing kids and parents who were on the show and for cooking and sharing all your awesome Summer recipes with us!


CWC_SummerFoods

Lily McGee & Jennifer Hess McGee made us some fresh and healthy Summer Jar Salads

Maxwell Leduc from Canada talks about his favorite Summer dishes to make and how he cooks gluten-free

Ava Llorca makes us fresh Strawberry Shortcake from scratch – her favorite Summer dish

Deborah Berg from Israel makes us a delicious Beet Salad fresh from her garden

Jacob and Cooper Nixon from Charlotte NC make Strawberry Shortcakes and Caprese Salads with fresh fruits and veggies from their Dad Jeff Nixon‘s garden

Jonathan and Nichelle Pace talk about how they make homemade Pancakes and BBQ Chicken

LIVE on our YouTube Channel at – https://youtu.be/MDVf1k-3Eng

BRIC

Also airs on Brooklyn Public Network television tomorrow Sat July 18 at 11:30 am EST in Brooklyn on:
Cablevision channel 67
Time Warner channel 34
RCN channel 82
AND in all 5 boroughs of #NYC on Verizon channel 42

VIEW ONLINE LIVE at BCAT TV Network Channel 1 Sat July 18 at 11:30 am – http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/watch-brooklyn-public-network

COOKING WITH COLOR 4 KIDS SPRING 2015 SHOW

AND…if you missed our Spring Show from May – you can also watch it online at https://youtu.be/YYVsNgMpZig

I made some fresh and healthy Caprese Salad Skewers, Straw and Hay Pasta with Peas & Pancetta in a light creamy Parmesan Sauce and a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess for dessert! I also had a Guest Chef from our video crew make a big batch of Mediterranean Tabbouleh for us on the show..so good!

HealthCorps Kids

Also check out the video also on our Spring show of the HealthCorps kids from a high school in the Lower East Side, NYC cooking Fish Tacos for Cinco de Mayo – so many healthy and fresh things going on over there!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cooking with Color 4 Kids was also just featured in Lodging Magazine this month – read the article online here!

Below are my #recipes from the Spring show..hope you enjoy and Happy Summer!

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad Skewers

Ingredients
1 container of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh basil
1 container fresh mozzarella balls
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or 1 cup for glace
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation
Assemble tomatoes, rolled basil leaves and mozzarella balls on medium-sized toothpicks or small wooden skewers.

Drizzle with olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

To make balsamic glace (a thicker cooked down version of balsamic vinegar), add one cup of balsamic vinegar to a sauce pan over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. Dip a spoon into the vinegar to check for thickness. As it cools the syrup will also thicken.

Drizzle balsamic glace evenly over the caprese skewers and serve immediately.

Makes 12 skewers.

Straw and Hay Pasta

Straw and Hay Pasta 

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen baby peas, defrosted
4 ounces (1/2 cup) diced pancetta
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 pound dry egg fettucine or linguine
1/2 pound dry spinach fettucine or linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Trim the scallions and slice into thin strips and then crosswise about 3 inches long. Add the scallions to the pan and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until wilted.

Add the diced pancetta, and cook for about 5 minutes or so until it gets crispy and browned.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer another 2-3 minutes.

Stir the pasta into the salted boiling water and let return to a boil, then cook for 9 minutes until al dente (slightly firm and chewy).

Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce in the skillet, stirring to coat. Cook over high heat until liquid reduces to a creamy sauce.

Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Garnish with black pepper and freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

Serves 6.

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess

Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess

Ingredients

Meringues
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Make the Meringues:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Whisk the eggs with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium high and slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until sugar is completely incorporated and the stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla with a spatula.

Spoon the meringue into twelve large dollops on the baking sheet.

Bake for 90 minutes or until the surface of the meringues are dull and they feel dry to the touch. Let the meringues cool for at least an hour or overnight.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
Preheat a sauce pan over medium high heat, and add the rhubarb, strawberries, OJ, sugar and orange or lemon zest.

Bring to a boil and stir occasionally, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and starts to fall apart.

Set aside and let cool to room temperature (or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if making ahead for up to 1 week).

Whipped Cream: (can also use store-bought if you prefer to not make your own)
In a large mixing bowl, whip together the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla with a whisk until soft peaks form.

Assemble the Eton Mess:
Crumble meringues into a large mixing bowl.

Top with spoonfuls of whipped cream and strawberry rhubarb compote in layers and fold until just barely combined.

Divide evenly between six dessert bowls or glasses and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

tabbouleh

Mediterranean Tabbouleh

Ingredients

1/2 cup fine bulgur
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup boiling hot water
2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Stir together bulgur and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the bulgur, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander, pressing on bulgur to remove any excess liquid.
Transfer bulgur to a bowl and toss with all the ingredients, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, until combined well.
This dish can be served as a side salad or main dish, along with an assortment of grilled meats, pita bread and falafel with hummus.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Download the recipes below as a PDF:

CWCMay2015_CapreseRecipe

CWCMay2015_EtonMessRecipe

CWCMay2015_StrawHayPastaRecipe

CWCMay2015_TabboulehRecipe

#cookingwithcolor #cookingwithkids #kristenhess #theartfulgourmet #artfulgourmet #ediningnews #bric #foodtv #springrecipes #summerrecipes

 

Top 10 {Things I Love} Summer 2015

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My Top 10 {Things I Love} list is back for Summer with some fun and interesting things/places/foods/drinks that I’m currently crushing on – they aren’t necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a shoutout in my opinion… Happy Summer everyone 🙂

Herriot Grace Cake Pedestal

1. Herriot Grace 

Herriot Grace is a father and daughter-run company from Canada who makes a gorgeous variety of hand carved and handmade wooden objects: spoons, bowls, pedestals, candy dishes, serving boards, rolling pins, plates and mortar and pestle sets. Each one is uniquely made from salvaged chemical-free wood and they’ve also introduced a select line of exclusive porcelain dishware. The ceramic pieces are cast in small runs, and boast the rustic, tactile beauty for which their brand is known.


http://shop.herriottgrace.com

Cooking Class Cookbook

2. Cooking Class Cookbook

Of course being an advocate of fun, healthy cooking for kids myself as the host of Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Show in NYC, I was impressed by this new cookbook by Deanna F. Cook. I love the visuals and step by step instructions and fun inventive ideas to make cooking for fun for kids!

It also teaches basic cooking techniques in kid-friendly language and offers recipes for making dozens of favorite foods from scratch, including French toast, granola, pancakes, sandwiches, smoothies, muffins, biscuits, applesauce, fruit leather, goldfish crackers, tortilla chips, Buffalo chicken fingers, pizza, sushi California rolls, pudding, and more. The recipes use fresh, healthy ingredients and feature imaginative presentations that kids will love to prepare (and devour), such as egg mice, fruit flowers, mini-meatballs, mashed potato clouds, and carrot coins. Includes fun stickers and other activities, and is super cute and fun for anyone with kids who love to cook or want to learn how to cook.

Get a copy on Amazon

Fig & Olive Oysters

3. Fig and Olive Restaurant NYC

My friend recently came for a visit from LA and wanted to try out some great food in the city while she was here. So of course, being the foodie tour guide extraordinaire that I am, had to find some cool new place to take her to. I found a place called Fig and Olive which I am absolutely in love with…the food and service were both amazing and I am definitely going back for more! They have an olive oil tasting served at the table you when you first arrive in all different flavors from different regions.

They specialize in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and have tons of great choices on the menu including a Crostini Bar where you can choose from all different varieties to accompany your figs, cheese, olives and other small bites. We ordered the Lobster Bisque and fresh raw oysters for  starters, then had the Lobster Risotto and Seafood Paella for our main. Everything was beautifully displayed and tasted amazing. A must visit if you love Mediterranean food and are visiting in NYC..and they also have locations in LA, Newport Beach and Chicago.

http://www.figandolive.com

Coney Island Cheesecake

4. Coney Island Confetti Cheesecake

All I can say is – how fun is this? It’s a super cute confetti cheesecake I found on How Sweet It Is blog that was originally created by Rosie of Sweetapolita.

This gorgeous creation is colorful and sweet and made out of cheesecake, sprinkles, ice cream cones and nuts…just like a fun Summer day at the beach hanging at the amusement park.

Get the recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/05/coney-island-cheesecake/

viniq

5. Viniq Shimmering Liqueur

When Summer arrives, I love to experiment with fun, fresh and new cocktail recipes. I received a sample of Viniq, which is a gorgeous  shimmering liqueur (yes, it shimmers when you shake the bottle)! A fusion of Premium Vodka, Moscato, and Natural Fruit Flavors, it’s refreshing and perfect for a cocktail out on the patio. I mixed the Ruby flavor with some Pomegranate Sangria Seltzer, a dash of fresh lemon juice and topped off the concotion with some fresh raspberries. Totally delicious and a great addition of sparkle for my 4th of July celebration. Comes in 2 flavors and lots of great recipe ideas on their website. Delicious!

http://www.viniq.com/

Lemoncello Restaurant

6. Lemoncello, Rochester NY

Everyone loves Italian food right? Well at least I do – it’s definitely one of my favorite foods to cook and eat on the planet. There’s an awesome spot in Upstate NY (East Rochester) called Lemoncello which is easy on the eyes as well as on the palate. Try the Veal French, a lightly egg battered fillet of veal (4 to be exact), with a gorgeous silky lemon butter wine sauce over linguine. Another specialty is their Lemoncello Veal (or Chicken) which is another light pasta dish served with sauteed veal, olives, artichokes, spinach and pasta in a lemon cream sauce. TO DIE FOR.

Chef Silvana Formoso is from Sicily which is reflected in their awesome menu. You can find a variety of salads, gourmet pizza, and delicious appetizers like Artichoke French, Calamari Fritti, Beef Carpaccio and Sauteed Greens and Beans. There’s plenty of amazing main dishes on the menu to choose from too – Cioppino, New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Pork Osso Buco, Stuffed Eggplant, Chicken Marsala and Milanese, Grilled Rib-Eye, Homemade Lasagna, Ravioli and Manicotti, Risotto and more. They even have BYOB on Tuesdays with no corkage fee, and you can enjoy the Summer weather on their outdoor patio and live music in the Summer. The decor is quaint and cozy, and the service is impeccable. They have a great wine list and all their bread is shipped in from Toronto and fresh baked in house every day so it’s still warm and crispy when it gets to your table! Owner Massimo Albano even gave us a shot of Limoncello for dessert on the house. Love this place and will definitely be back for more next time I’m in town! #delicioso

www.lemoncello.com

nature charm bracelet

7. Keith Lewis Studio

I recently went down to State College PA for a huge Summer Arts Festival at Penn State with some friends. It’s an annual show with amazing art, food, music and all the gorgeous jewelry, pottery, handcrafted gadgets and accessories a girl could want. One artist that stood out to me was Keith Lewis – he makes gorgeous handcrafted jewelry out of pearls and metal and precious stones that will make your eyes water out of pure lust.

www.keithlewisstudio.com

Flying Tiger camera bag

8. Flying Tiger Copenhagen

I recently discovered this groovy store a few weeks ago when I was strolling around the Flatiron District in NYC. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it but it reminds me of a cross between Target, IKEA, a boutique home / gadget store and flea market all in one space. They have all kinds of stuff for your office, home, kitchen, games, kids toys, party supplies, travel supplies and a million and one cool as can be highly designed, inexpensive gadgets. There’s only one store in NYC but you can always catch a flight to Copenhagen or Iceland or Japan if you feel the urge. If not, check out their cool stuff online. Unique, savvy and super fun.

http://flyingtiger.com/

 

crisco coconut oil

9. Crisco Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is all the rage these days, because it’s great for cooking in high temperatures, it’s a good fat and has a gorgeous flavor. There’s a new kid in town from Crisco and I had the opportunity to sample some of their new organic coconut oil. It’s perfect for frying and roasting veggies, meats, and can even be used in baked goods.

Check out some of their recipes and videos online to get some creative ideas on how to use it and cook with it!

www.crisco.com

authentic-italian-gravy

10. Redpack Tomatoes

Redpack is one of the top tomato producers on the market and I had the opportunity to sample some of their Petite Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Olive Oil and their regular Diced Tomatoes. Because they are fresh picked and canned immediately, the flavor is always fresh and juicy and the tomatoes are pre-cut right in the can, making them convenient to use in all of my recipes.

Redpack Tomatoes

They also offer canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes and Redpack Tomato Sauce which are great for making all kinds of dishes like salads, sauces, pasta dishes, tacos, casseroles and more.

Redpack is one of many premium quality brands under the Red Gold Umbrella, which opened its doors in 1942. Today they produce over 100 different styles and flavors of tomato products in 20 different sizes and containers.

Check out all their product varieties online and get some great recipe ideas there too while you’re at it!

http://www.redgold.com/redpack

 

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2014

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Things I Love-holiday 2014

These are a few of my favorite things…food, wine, cooking tools, home and barware, recipes, cookbooks, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their awesomeness! And they make great gifts for the holidays as well..Happy Holidays everyone! 

Kitchen in France Cookbook

1. A Kitchen in France: A year of cooking in my farmhouse – cookbook by Mimi Thorisson


This is a gorgeous full color cookbook by Mimi Thorisson of Manger, one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s full of beautiful photos by her husband and lovely recipes from her farmhouse in France. Enough to make you want to quit your job and move there and bake tarts all day long.

Grab a copy on Amazon.com here.

west elm pillows

2. West Elm Velvet, Metallic and Mongolian Lamb Pillows

These beautiful pillows by West Elm are a great gift idea for that person who has everything – a little indulgent, but so pretty and festive for the cold Winter months.

Pick up a few of these beauties online here.

english toffee

3. English Toffee

English Toffee is one of those things I absolutely crave during the holidays! It’s rich, buttery, crunchy and chocolatey and makes the perfect gift, whether you make your own or get some pre-made it’s absolutely delicious and addicting. In fact, I’m planning to make some myself this year for stocking stuffers!

Here’s a great recipe for it on Food.com, or pick up a batch at Williams-Sonoma which comes in a festive holiday tin.

photo: Delicious as it Looks

holiday cocktail party set - Mouth.com

4. Holiday Cocktail Party Collection – Mouth.com

Everyone loves a cocktail party but sometimes it’s more work than  you expect it to be. Mouth.com, a specialty indie food store has a Holiday Cocktail Party set that has all the essentials packaged up by local food producers to get your holiday party in gear. It comes with a variety of cheeses, Ginger Caramels, Old Bay peanuts, Vanilla Pickled Cherries, Sesame Lavish Crackers, Dark Chocolates and more. YUM.

Pick one up online here, and check out their other fun collections while you’re at it!

beaded table linens Neiman Marcus

5. Capiz Shell Beaded Table Linens – Neiman Marcus

Absolutely love these gorgeous Capiz shell beaded table linens by Kim Seybert at Neiman Marcus. It comes in a table runner and placemats with matching napkin rings. Festive enough to feast at Christmas like Queen Victoria. LOVE.

Get them online here.

Il Buco Vita

6. Il Buco Vita 

Il Buco Vita is a hidden gem, above the Il Buco Italian restaurant in NoHo NYC. It’s a showroom full of gorgeous handmade Italian and Mediterranean ceramics, linens, glassware, home furnishings and antiques that will make you swoon.

Visit their store online here and their showroom at 51 Bond Street, NYC

Swedish Meatballs

7. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of those appetizer dishes perfect for a holiday cocktail party. My Mom makes them every year for New Years Eve and I just can’t get enough of them. Try this recipe by BBCGoodFood, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. For a cool twist, try this recipe for Nut-and-Seed Crusted Sausage Meatballs with Mustard Sauce. Totally indulgent and pure YUM.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

8. Dorie Greenspan’s Golden Caramel and Chocolate Tart

I love making tarts during the holidays, especially luscious ones made with caramel and chocolate. Dorie’s has a simple recipe for making a perfect tart dough, and the filling is perfect too, with melted bittersweet chocolate lining the crust with a silky, creamy homemade golden caramel on top. Divine.

Get the recipe here

foodie dice

9. Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice

As foodies, I know we all love to cook. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and need a boost for some new creative ideas for our cooking. Same goes for cocktails – we drink the same old thing and how fun would it be to toss a few dice and get some fresh ideas for your mixology? Check out the Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice – with just a simple toss, you’ll get suggestions for making your own fab creations with fresh ingredients and combinations of your own.

Get ’em online here.

vintage champagne flutes

10. Vintage Etched Champagne Flutes – Williams Sonoma

What kind of holiday celebration would it be without some bubbly? Get these gorgeous vintage etched champagne flutes from Williams-Sonoma for the party, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up some bubbly to fill them with! If you’re in the mood to splurge, try a vintage 2004 Dom Perignon ($160), or try a Cremant de Bourgogne, a little less expensive than Champagne made in a Brut Rose, but just as tasty and bubbly ($24). Or try some sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs) as an option- Gloria Ferrer has a great one from Sonoma CA.

 

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Winter 2013

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Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

Rice Cube

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome. Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.


http://www.ricecube.net/

Woodstead

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..and this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY – it’s great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, on eggs, homefries and for added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

http://woodstead.com/

Verseur Wine Opener

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a convenient multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one nifty sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out for fun, inventive items.

http://www.quirky.com/shop/74

 

maguey sweet sap

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

http://villadepatos.com/en/products/maguey-sap/

 

LEIF-Glitter-Collection

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désir on their site. Glam it up a little.

http://www.leifshop.com/collections/glitter

penelope logo

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

http://penelopenyc.com/index.html

little ink nz

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

http://www.littleink.co.nz/

Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Glasses

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

http://nandasoderberg.com/

Asselina Ristorante NYC

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park Ave South NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg; the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil; the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo; and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

http://togrp.com/togrp-asellina/

Mercantile & Trading Co

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State too. Simply lovely.

http://www.blackcreekmt.com/

Quirky: Making really Cool things by really Cool people

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“Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability to form new images and sensations that are not perceived through sight, hearing, or other senses. Imagination helps make knowledge applicable in solving problems and is fundamental to integrating experience and the learning process.”

sketches

Ever since I was a little kid, I have kept a sketchbook full of ideas and dreams, stories and drawings, songs and poems – things that inspired me or of places, people and things I wanted to go, be or do. Being a creative person, this has been an outlet for the million ideas I have running around in my head – some private, some shared, and some that I conjured up in a crazy dream and had to journal because I thought it was brilliant, but maybe never shared with anyone.


11178287-the-creation-of-adam

I’ve always admired and have been inspired by creative people and their work – whether it’s a soulful painting, a heartfelt song, a beautiful photograph, an inspiring story, or a culinary masterpiece for dinner.

food sketches

I’ve always been a creator, an adventurer and dreamer,  and have admired the people who make their ideas come to life.

steve jobs

People like Steve Jobs. Einstein. Henry Ford. Benjamin Franklin. Michelangelo. Julia Child. George Eastman. Giorgio Armani. Any many more creative geniuses that have made a mark on this world.

george eastman kodak camera

Just simply creative and talented people who had a passion to create, design, invent or change the world somehow and dared to dream and take the steps necessary to bring it to life.

QuirkySpeaking of creative geniuses, there’s a really cool new company called Quirky, here in NYC, that I was recently enlightened and inspired by. Quirky is a simply brilliant idea in itself – it’s an incubator for cool, new product innovations and ideas that are designed by real people – just like you and me. Anyone can come up with and submit an amazing idea online and have it brought to life and out into the market within 30-90 days. For real.

lens cap holder sketch

It’s really a simple, genius, yet speedy process – you sign up on the website and create a profile. You submit an idea. Other Quirky community members get to view your sketches and ideas and vote on them – which helps your idea bubble up to the top. Then Quirky will vote internally with their team each week along with the help of the community online to select the products that will be chosen to come to life and then the design process begins.

egg cracker

The community and the inventors design the products along with the help of Quirky’s team of designers, engineers, business and marketing strategists and producers.

Clean_Room_Purple01

You get to brainstorm together to create a name, a tagline, select the materials, refine the design and create a prototype for testing, which then is finalized, becomes manufactured, packaged and distributed to the shelves of retail stores such as The Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Brainstorm

Shop

The coolest part of it all – is yes, the inventors make money and royalties on the product and even get their name and photo branded on the packaging, which is all designed and printed and produced in the NYC Quirky office. You’d definitely want something like a budgeting calculator and other money tools for this of course.

Voting

But everyone who also voted, contributed, and helped roll out the product to completion online also get a slice of the pie, and make royalties off the product too. Crowdsourced invention, if you will. How cool is that?

The_Pit

I had the opportunity to visit the Quirky offices to see what all the buzz was about and check out some of their cool new ideas and products they’re whipping up in their genius labs. The office has areas full of designers and engineers buzzing about brainstorming and creating cool things with passion. They are smart and tech savvy and work around the clock to get these ideas to the market as quickly as possible so the inventors can start reaping rewards as soon as possible.

Showroom_Store

The products we saw and sampled were simple, smart, technologically inclined, and cool as hell. And designed by people like you and me, all over the world.

EggMinder

Smart kitchen gadgets that tell you how old your eggs are (the EGG MINDER) and synched to your iPhone to tell you how many you have left.

Nibble

Or the Nibble, a cake pan and cupcake pan all in one cool design.

Piggy Bank

A smart piggy bank called Porkfolio that is hooked up to a mobile app and keeps track of all the pennies you’ve saved and notifies you on your phone if someone stole it.

Mocubo Cutting Board

Or the Mocubo bamboo modular cutting board that has storage containers built right in. (Love this!)

Nimbus Alarm Clock

The Nimbus alarm clock that pulls real time information from your smart phone. It’s a customizable, personalized dashboard for your digital life – how many new Facebook likes you have, the weather, the traffic ahead and new emails, all on interchangeable and programmable screens.

Spotter

These are creations on shelves, in stores, that were birthed by a small seed of inspiration by your next door neighbor or the little kid running down the street. The inventors are the new Steve Jobs, Michaelangelos, Henry Fords and Julia Childs – backed by a company that believes in creativity and genius and that everyone can be an inventor and change the world just a little bit, with one really cool idea.

Quirky process

All you have to do is Submit Your Big Idea on online. Or, get your creative juices flowing and sign up to be an influencer to help design the next cool whirligig from your laptop at home. And who knows? Maybe your face and name will be on the next package on the shelf at The Home Depot too. I know I’m scribbling away in that journal of mine right now.

dare to dream

All you really need is to dare to dream, have a little confidence and get a little help from your friends to be the next big inventor and meet some really cool creative people – just like you and me. 

Check out and vote on some of the cool kitchen ideas that are incubating online and Quirky’s online shop for more cool stuff – you’re gonna love it.

Quirky Facebook page

Quirky Twitter page

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