New Work: Food Styling + Photography + Recipes

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The New Year has arrived, and what a year 2017 was! I had some amazing food styling, photography, recipe development and blogging projects for some amazing clients. Here is some of my recent work and here’s to a New Year 2018 full of more great work, clients, adventures and new connections!

Food Styling for Lilly Pulitzer, NYC

Below are just a few snapshots of my food styling for Lilly Pulitzer’s 2018 social media campaign..I styled the photos with beautiful fruit, flowers, desserts, champagne, flowers, glitter and more which made some gorgeous colorful photos! Stay tuned for more fun photos once the campaign launches in February!

Food Styling for Lilly Pulitzer  Food Styling for Lilly Pulitzer

Food Styling for Lilly Pulitzer

Photography for Locale Market / Farmtable Cucina Restaurant, St Pete FL

Some of my favorite shots from an awesome photo shoot in October 2017 – including food, chef and restaurant staff portraits, and restaurant and event photography for one of my favorite restaurants in St Pete Florida, Farmtable Cucina.

Steviva

Recipe development, food styling and photography for Stevia Brands Blogger Recipe Challenge – my Kung Pao Beef with Cauliflower Rice recipe won the Grand Prize and First Place for the Entree category! Click here for the recipe

Kung Pao Beef

TresOmega Pasta

Recipe development, food styling and photography for TresOmega Pasta Blogger Recipe Challenge. I made a delicious One Pot Chili Mac Soup using their gluten free pasta that turned out amazing! Winners to be announced in January so stay tuned!  Click here for the recipe

One Pot Chili Mac Soup

JSL Foods / Fortune Noodles

Recipe development, food styling and photography for JSL Foods/Fortune Udon Noodles Blogger Recipe Challenge. I made a delicious Spicy Pork + Kale Udon Noodle Soup that’s the perfect comfort food for Winter. Winners to be announced in January so stay tuned! Click here for the recipe

Spicy Pork + Kale Udon Noodle Soup

7 Barrels Recipes, Food Styling + Photography

Food styling, recipe development and photography for 7 Barrels website, social media and email marketing Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter campaigns. I created some recipes pairing their premium infused olive oils and vinegars into some delicious flavor combinations to celebrate Spring with Sriracha Mango Shrimp Summer Bowls, and Sriracha Mango Grilled Wings; Summer with Peach and Tomato Gazpacho and Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes, Thanksgiving with Wild Rice Turkey Bowl w/ Oranges + Cranberries, and Sausage, Mushroom + Cheese Turnovers, and the Holidays with Truffle Steak Au Poivre, and Crispy Truffle Parmesan Potato Stacks. What a year of deliciousness!

Shrimp Summer Bowl

Link to Sriracha Mango Lime Shrimp Summer Bowl recipe

Sriracha Mango Lime Chicken Wings

Link to Sriracha Mango Lime Chicken Wings recipe

Gazpacho

link to Peach and Tomato Gazpacho recipe

Stuffed Tomatoes

link to Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes recipe

Wild Rice Turkey Bowl

Link to Wild Rice Turkey Bowl recipe

Sausage + Mushroom Turnovers

Link to Sausage Mushroom Cheese Turnovers recipe

Truffle Steak Au Poivre

Link to Truffle Steak Au Poivre recipe

Truffle Potato Stacks

Link to Cheesy Truffle Potato Stacks recipe

Jacobs Creek Winery

Food and Event photography for Jacob’s Creek Winery Press Event in NYC

Joanne’s Green Sauce

Food styling and photography for Joanne’s Green Sauce brand launch campaign and website

Food Photography – Emenu and Various NYC Restaurants

Uptown Whole Foods Cookbook

Styling and photography for Gary Null Whole Foods new Vegan cookbook

 

{Things I Love} :: Holiday Entertaining

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So we are full swing in the midst of the holiday season – the most wonderful time of the year! Food, cocktails, friends, family, traveling, gifts, and a whirlwind of social activities can sometimes be a little crazy and exhausting, so I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things to help make your holiday entertaining a little easier, stylish and a whole lot more fun (and tasty!)

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday and amazing New Year 2018!

xo Kristen 

Entertainers Gift Box

Entertainers Gift Box 

Who doesn’t love a cozy and fantastic party with a gorgeous cheese board as a centerpiece? This Entertainer’s Gift Box is perfect for a cocktail party bursting with classic goodies like Marcona almonds from Spain, an olive wood serving bowl, sweet and savory spreads: Orange and Fig Jam, Pepper Jelly and Mango Chutney and Cracked Pepper gourmet wafer crackers.

Entertainers Gift Box

The perfect accompaniment for an assortment of cheese, prosciutto, salami, fruit and nibbles – and a beautiful addition for your holiday table!

$60, UncommonGoods.com

Marble and Wood Serving Board

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set

This Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set is perfect for entertaining and goes hand and hand with the Entertainer’s Gift Box to display all that delicious cheese, crackers, salami, nuts and spreads! One side is marble and one side is wood, making it attractive and functional at the same time.

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board

Pair fresh bread and crackers on the wood board with cheese on the chilled marble, or sushi on the cool side with tempura vegetables on the wood. The on-point arrow design unifies the two sections, integrating the contrasting materials. Foam pads on the bottom protect your tabletop. It makes a stylish addition to your tablescape or distinctive hostess gift.

Marble and Mango Wood Board

$55, UncommonGoods.com

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

This rustic Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand is a beautiful addition to your kitchen and handy tool to view recipes on your iPad or to hold a traditional cookbook.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

It has a sturdy wood base and back and collapses or expands to lay it flat or prop it up on your counter.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Designed by Stacy Borocz, who has a carefully curated collection of antique and repurposed home furnishings and culinary accents for over a decade. She attends local markets and old homes, barns and warehouses to find the architectural elements for her designs, and no two pieces are exactly alike.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

$95 Uncommongoods.com

Melting Pot

Fondue Melting Pot 

This Fondue Melting Pot is perfect for melting cheese to accompany your holiday table – serve with pickles, bread, olives, meat, and vegetables. The Melting Pot Includes a Boska Tapas Fondue Pot, Murray’s Fondue Blend,
Murray’s Sopressata Salami,  Crisp & Co. Grand Dill Pickles and crunchy Cipollini Onions.

$110, MurraysCheese.com

Anthropologie Enchante Wine Coupe

Enchante Wine Coupe

These imported Enchante Wine Coupe glasses by Anthropologie are gilded in a gold design and also come in stemless water glasses, stemmed champagne flutes and a small bowl. A gorgeous way to serve cocktails and snacks and ring in the New Year!

$20, Anthropologie

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

This fun Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit comes with all the right ingredients to serve up these citrusy refreshing drinks for your next holiday party – including the brandy, rum, bitters, orange liqueur and glasses. Simply add fresh fruit and juice and voila! you’ve got an amazing cocktail to entertain your friends with.

WINTER SOLSTICE

1.5 oz brandy
.5 oz rum
.25 oz orange liqueur
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1-2 dashes bitters
Orange wheel, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine brandy, rum, orange liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters.
2. Shake until blended and well-chilled.
3. Strain into a couple glass and garnish with orange wheel.

Makes 1 cocktail

$173.50, Mouth.com

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible cookbook is the ultimate resource for all things holiday entertaining.  With over 565 recipes served up on everything from skewers to spoons, for fun and flavorful mini hors d’oeuvres, amuse-bouches, small bites and finger foods, stylish cocktails and desserts, you are sure to find some inspiration for your next holiday cocktail party!

$14 Amazon.com

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

This Moonglow Cocktail Shaker is a beautiful way to stir, shake and serve all your holiday cocktails in style!

$39 Anthropologie.com

Martini and Sweet Spicy Nuts

Classic Dry Martini

1 2/3 oz Gin
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twist of lemon peel or olives.

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add cashews, pecans and cashews; cook over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted.

Place nuts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let nuts cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 cups.

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

These Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts I created are perfect for a holiday party! I made sweet mini cranberry apple almond tarts and savory bacon, veggie and cheese tarts but feel free to experiment with the fillings and flavors..so cute and easy to make!

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Parmesan Artichoke Dip

This Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips is one of my favorite holiday appetizers. Brimming with creamy cheese, roasted garlic, and tons of savory juicy artichokes with crispy homemade chips for dipping – this one will fly off your holiday table!

Truffle Potato Stacks

Truffled Potato Stacks

These Truffled Potato Stacks are crispy and savory and buttery and delicious! Sliced thin and baked with butter, garlic, parmesan and cheddar cheese and 7 Barrels Truffle Olive Oil in a muffin pan, then dusted with sea salt and thyme and served with tangy and sweet 7 Barrels White Balsamic Vinegar for dipping – they make a perfect appetizer or side dish to your holiday meal!

4 medium potatoes (Russet, Idaho or Yukon Gold)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar, finely shredded
Coarse sea salt, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish (thyme, parsley or rosemary)
1/4 cup Seven Barrels White Balsamic, for drizzling

Preheat the oven 400 degrees F. Wash potatoes and cut them into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch), leaving skins on. You can do this by hand, or use a mandolin to make slicing easier and faster.

In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes, dried Italian seasoning, garlic, melted butter, Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil, kosher salt and black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and gently toss together.

Layer half the potatoes stacked in layers into a non-stick 12-cup muffin pan (or lightly grease a muffin pan), sprinkle half the shredded cheddar on top. Then layer the other half of the potatoes, stacking them to the top and add remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy golden brown on edges and cooked through. Run a small knife around the edges of the of each stack to release them from the muffin pan.

Serve potatoes hot with a sprinkle of sea salt and chopped herbs, and drizzle them with Seven Barrels White Balsamic vinegar. Note: You can pre-bake these a day or two ahead and reheat them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees F.

Serves 6 (approx. 2 stacks per person).

New Years Soup

New Year’s Soup

A hearty and delicious traditional soup served on New Years Day – with black eyed peas and collard greens and ham for good luck and financial blessings for the New Year.

Ingredients

  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, undrained
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (14-1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped fresh collard greens
  • Hot sauce for splashing

Instructions

In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except collard greens and hot sauce; mix well. Add collard greens on top.

Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours, or until greens are tender. Splash with hot sauce before serving.

Recipe by Mr. Food.com

Lobster Pies

Lobster Pies

These luscious Lobster Pies are decadent, delicious and the perfect way to celebrate the holidays and New Year. Bathed in a buttery creamy sherry sauce and filled with tons of fresh lobster and parmesan cheese then baked with a butter crunchy cracker crust. Divine, elegant and oh so good. Indulge!

Holiday Brunch Quiche

Bacon, Cheese & Pepper Quiche with Hashbrown Crust

This is a delicious spin on a holiday brunch quiche – you simply line a springform pan with shredded hash browns and cook until lightly browned, then add your quiche ingredients until bubbly and cheese is melty. Perfect for a New Year’s Day brunch or casual lunch with friends.

Ingredients

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  • 1 large package frozen hash browns, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • A dash of onion flakes, garlic powder and dill seasoning, to taste
  • Sea salt & pepper, to taste

For the Quiche:

  • 3/4 cup red, orange and yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 1-2% milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, diced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Brush a small amount of oil to the bottom of a spring form pan and line with parchment paper, including the sides. Brush with more oil on top of the parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine the hash browns, melted butter, egg and spices in a bowl and place them in the pan pushing them up the sides to make a 1 inch crust for the quiche.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the hash browns get lightly browned and crispy.

For the Quiche:

  1. In a small pan, over low/medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the peppers and onions, for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the eggs, cream, milk, cheese and cooked bacon. Add cooled peppers and onions,  season with salt and pepper and pour into the precooked hash brown crust in the springform pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges with a side of fruit salad and toasted holiday bread and butter.
 Serves  6-8.

Dr Smood: Smart Food for a Good Mood + Maca Pumpkin Couscous

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I just discovered an amazing new cafe and store in NYC called Dr Smood – have you seen it? If not, you need to go. Based out of Miami, Dr Smood is a health company that makes “Smart Food for a Good Mood” – and oh how you’re gonna love this place!

They make all their own juices, smoothies, organic products and delicious healthy food based on 6 moodsPower, Beauty, Immunity, Detox, Energy and Health, which you can choose based on your mood and feeling and what you want to gain from the experience.

I had the opportunity to visit the Flatiron location in NYC and had a delicious Organic Detox Juice #9made with ginger, lemon, lime, raw honey, echinacea, and cayenne. Then for lunch I tried their Butternut Squash Soup, Turkey and Avocado sandwich on their homemade Performance Bread before browsing the beautiful cafe and store of amazing products including organic tea, coffee, chocolate, health and beauty supplements and organic dried foods.

 

dr smood mushroom powder

Dr Smood’s Organic Superfood Powders

Dr Smood’s Organic Superfood Powders would make a wonderful gift for the health and wellness-obsessed foodies on your list. They’re full of health-boosting goodness and are easy to use (they can be easily mixed into smoothies or juices, on yogurt or cereal or added to energy balls and no-bake treats).

There are a total of 13 beautifully packaged superfood powders, including Raw Cacao Powder, Spirulina Powder and Red Maca Powder. Each powder comes with an information packet, including a recipe and serving suggestions, and can be purchased at one of the five Dr Smood cafés in NYC.

Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder

Dr Smood Red Maca Powder is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body to adjust to stress. Maca is an excellent source of phytochemicals and protein and helps to regulate the endocrine system and hormones, boost libido and increases energy, stamina and endurance. Enjoy maca in homemade granola or add it to tea, juice, smoothies, oatmeal or cereal. (SRP: $21.95)

Dr Smood Spirulina Powder

Dr Smood Spirulina Powder contains over 60% complete protein—almost 3x as much as beef—and is one of the few good sources of plant-based B12. This algae can also boost your immunity and promote a healthy digestive tract. Use it to make a semi-raw soup with sweet potatoes and carrots, spirulina cacao clusters or add it to your favorite juice or smoothie. (SRP: $14.95)

Dr Smood Cacao powder

Dr Smood Raw Cacao Powder contains approximately 40x more antioxidants than blueberries, which help the body to resist and repair damage from free radicals; plus it’s a natural mood booster and can promote beautiful skin, nails and hair. Use it to make hot cacao with coconut cream and almond milk this season and you will never want the standard version of hot chocolate again! You can also add it to coffee, yogurt, fresh fruits or smoothies. (SRP: $10.95)

Red Maca Pumpkin Couscous with Shallots, Bacon + Crispy Sage

I picked up a jar of the Red Maca powder at the store and created a new recipe for Maca Pumpkin Couscous w/ Shallots and Bacon and Crispy Sage that turned out absolutely delicious! Maca powder is a great supplement to add to sweet recipes like juices and smoothies and organic raw desserts, or savory recipes like soups, sauces, gravies, or to sprinkle on roasted veggies.

Maca Pumpkin Couscous w/ Shallots and Bacon and Crispy Sage

Maca Pumpkin Couscous w/ Shallots and Bacon and Crispy Sage

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.

Serving Size: 1 cup

A delicious and healthy way to incorporate Red Maca powder into a lovely fall savory dish. Roasted pumpkin, sautéed garlic and shallots and bacon tossed into a basil and herb couscous topped with crispy sage and pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1 small sugar pumpkins, halved, seeds removed, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 1 package of Near East Basil and Herb couscous
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • Roasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds, for garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle each pumpkin half with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper, Red Maca powder and cayenne. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Roast in oven for 1 hour, until fork tender and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove skin from pumpkin, cut into 1-inch cubes and toss with maple syrup; set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the couscous according to package directions and set aside.
  5. Cook bacon in oven on a large foil lined baking sheet for about 20 minutes until crispy and brown, drain and crumble; set aside.
  6. Heat another tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat; cook shallots and garlic for approximately 5 minutes until soft and golden (be careful not to burn!). Add sage leaves and sauté until crispy and browned.
  7. Add the cooked pumpkin, bacon, garlic, shallots to the couscous and toss together.
  8. Transfer to individual serving bowls, garnish with crispy sage, roasted pumpkin seeds and grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

You can also substitute roasted butternut squash or any other hearty veggies like eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and bell peppers. Omit the bacon and cheese to make it vegetarian and dairy free.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/11/16/drsmood-smartfood-for-a-goodmood/

Here’s another fun easy recipe you can make when you have a sweet tooth:

Maca, Coconut and Cashew Granola (gluten-free, vegan)

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup coconut flakes
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder
pinch Himalayan fine grain sea salt

Preheat your oven to 300° F. Line a medium-sized baking sheet with parchment. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spread all ingredients in an even layer on a pan. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Allow to fully cool on the pan. Granola will firm and turn crunchy once cooled. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Check out the gallery below to see more photos of their amazing store and food and products I discovered!

To find a Dr Smood cafe and retail store near you, please visit their website at http://drsmood.com

Dr Smood Facebook Page

Dr Smood Instagram Page

{Things I Love} :: August 2017

Things I Love August 2017
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Hey guys! Can you believe Summer is almost halfway over (or more??) Time really does fly when you’re having fun, doesn’t it! Summer is truly my favorite season and as August rolls in, I’ve had a great one so far! Lots of trips to see family and friends in Upstate New York, my guy down in South Florida and West Coast Florida to St Petersburg and Clearwater Beach, and fun weekends in the city and beaches in NYC.

As much as I love the beach and warm weather and sunny days, I start thinking about the crisp Fall days ahead – and all the delicious comfort food recipes and seasonal produce coming into play that makes my heart skip a beat..cozy soups, fresh gorgeous salads and hearty casseroles and pies and roasted dinners..mmmmm. But wait..it’s only August…

So to celebrate the season, here’s a few shoutouts to some of the amazing and fun places, people, recipes and things I’ve been loving on this Summer – it’s not quite over yet! Hope you’re having a fantastic one yourselves and getting plenty of delicious bites and drinks, travel, quality time with friends and family, and some sun, sand and surf in too.

Cocktails at Sandbar in the sun…and gorgeous sunsets on the west coast of Florida…and that’s just the beginning.

Sunset

So here’s a salute to the best Summer ever and a few of my favorite things worth a shout out….

Sandbar Delray

Boston’s Sand Bar, Delray Beach

I recently visited Boston’s Sand Bar in Delray Beach with my boyfriend after a day at the beach and what a fun place this is! They have great happy hour specials everyday with 1/2 price beer, wine and cocktails and beach bar bites like Smoked Fish Dip, Conch Fritters, Peel and Eat Shrimp, Mojitos and Margaritas.

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Definitely a fun casual spot with a Tiki Bar and beach vibe for a relaxing weekend afternoon in the sun on the patio…cornhole, music, beach, cocktails, sun, loungy couches…what else can you ask for?

Edna Lewis's Peach Cobbler

Edna Lewis’s Peach Cobbler

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing better in the Summer than a baked fruit cobbler – especially fresh peaches topped with crisp buttery pastry and vanilla ice cream – definitely something to scream about and a fav refreshing, juicy Summer dessert!

Kingsley Street Soaps

Kingsley Street Artisan Soaps + Candles + Lotions, Syracuse NY

I am such a sucker for Summer Arts Festivals and I found this awesome soap, candles and lotions company at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester, NY last weekend! The scents are amazing and made with all natural ingredients – I absolutely LOVE their Sandalwood soap and Tobacco Leaf & Amber candle. Divine.

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Harpoon Harry’s, Punta Gorda FL

My boyfriend and I stopped in here last minute on our way back home from St Pete, FL one night to take a quick break from driving and make a pit stop. We stumbled upon the town of Punta Gorda, a sleepy little marina town in Florida and discovered the Fisherman’s Village on Charlotte Harbor, where this place is located, and it had the most stunning sunset and waterside views I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a fun, casual bar and restaurant (think Popcorn Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Raw Oyster Bar and Grouper Sandwiches – yum!) and definitely worth a stop if you’re driving down the coast of West Florida. They even have this amazing Sea Foam sugar scrub in the bathrooms to add to the ambience.

yeahhhhhh…I think I could live here 😉

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

This is one of my favorite Summer recipes ever. I created it for my client 7 Barrels, with their delicious Sweet Basil Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar to make a gorgeous fresh tomato sauce with garlic and onions and then topped it the pasta with fresh basil, ricotta and parmesan cheese. So easy and light – it’s truly Summer in a Bowl.

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The Classic East concert, Citifield NYC

A few weekends ago my Sister came to town for The Classic East concert which was amazing! All the classic 70’s bands were playing over 2 days out at Citifield stadium. We saw Journey, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan and The Eagles! All my favorite bands on the planet!!!

Visit our Facebook page with more fun concert photos and live videos from the event!

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Dim Sum at Grand Restaurant, Flushing NY

On Sunday that same weekend, we decided to meet up with my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jim for some Dim Sum at the Grand Restaurant in the New City Mall in Flushing, (Chinatown in Queens). If you have never had Dim Sum before, you’re in for a treat! They basically sit you down at a big table and the servers come by with rolling carts full of Chinese appetizers and small plates and you order whatever you want off the cart and they tally up your bill as you go! We had delicious dumplings in all flavors, fried shrimp, sautéed Bok Choy, a delicious Coconut Gel, Mango Rice Pudding and Custard Egg Tarts for dessert. So delish and fun! But beware, all those small bites add up fast!

green chili chicken lasagna

Green Chile Chicken Lasagna, Son of a Southern Chef

I just discovered the awesome food blog, Son of a Southern Chef, who is nominated for a Saveur Blog Award this year – I love his Southern comfort food recipes, writing style, graphics and sassy voice and attitude! This Green Chile Chicken Lasagna is definitely on my list of recipes to try, along with his Mac & Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie, etc..yum!

Love Ceramics

Love Ceramics @love_ceramic

I just stumbled upon this Instagram page of Love Ceramics today and absolutely love their gorgeous colors and patterns! Perfect props for my food photography and just all around artsy and cool. LOVE is right 😉

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars, Evoke Muesli

I recently discovered these guys at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester NY last weekend too and love their organic muesli..especially the Cocoa Cherry Chai flavor! This recipe for no-bake protein bars sounds awesome for the Summer for a quick high protein snack when you need some energy.

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour, Drinking with Chickens

I have not made this drink yet but I absolutely love Pisco Sours and anything made with chocolate and cherries. So there ya go. On my bucket list to make before the end of summer. YUM. And Drinking with Chickens is the funnest name EVER for a cocktail blog so you need to vote for them in the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards for best cocktail blog because – the chickens. #OMG.

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw, Rachael Ray Show

Hello, spicy chicken sandwich on steroids. I think I love you. 

Pincher's Crab Shack

Pincher’s Crab Shack, Naples FL

Another fun place my BF and I discovered on our little road trip down the West coast of Florida a few weeks ago for his birthday. It’s a fun crab shack nestled on the coast of Naples, where you can eat to your heart’s content a massive amount of fresh seafood at Happy Hour from 4-7 pm. 1/2 price drinks and super cheap goodies like peel & eat shrimp, clam chowder, crab legs, and raw oysters for $1 with a killer view on the water? Fork, yeah. 

Peachy-Chipotle-Chicken-Tortilla-and-Avocado-Rice-Salad-with-Pan-Fried-Halloumi-1

Peachy Chipotle Chicken Tortilla and Avocado Rice Salad w/ Fried Halloumi, Half Baked Harvest

Um, yessss. More peaches. Mixed together with tons of lovely ingredients to make a super delish salad – cilantro, lime, fried halloumi cheese, chicken, greens, all tossed in a vinaigrette dressing and topped with tortilla chips and jalapeños. Could this be the perfect salad in my life? Yeah, I think so.

Grilled Flatbread recipes

5 Grilled Flatbread Recipes for Summer, Culture Mag

OK so Summer isn’t over yet right? And let’s not put away the grill too soon either! Culture Mag does it again with these five awesome grilled flatbread recipes – Corn Chowder Flatbread, Eggplant Relish and Ricotta, Shrimp and Mixed Herb Pesto, Prosciutto-Melon, and Tomato-Peach with Blue Cheese and Basil. YUM!

Check out my Instagram feed to see some more fun photos of my food, music and travel adventures 🙂

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my Artful Gourmet Facebook page too for more adventures and photos and videos. Hope you guys are having a rockin’ Summer! Stay tuned for my Fall favs next month 🙂

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 International Women’s Day :: Top Women in Food + Beverage

International Women's Day
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international womens day

What a great day to celebrate! Today is International Women’s Day (Wednesday, March 8th) – a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

I’m proud to be an entrepreneurial #woman in the New York City food scene. I’m also proud of all the thousands of other smart, talented, independent, business savvy #women I know around the world, in the culinary world, business world, political scene, creative and marketing fields, and more (too many to mention!).. and raise a glass to all they have achieved.

international womens day

Women have come so far in the world in the past century (voting rights, equal rights, next equal pay!) and I hope we continue to progress in the world even further in the next one. With the opportunities that lie ahead and the tremendous amount of talented passionate women in the world, there’s no stopping us!

international women's day

Below is a salute to some of the Top Female Food and Beverage Power Players in South Florida and New Orleans, two hot beds in the culinary scene — chefs, bartenders, sommeliers and restaurateurs making a difference in the culinary landscape.

Cheers to all of you wonderful ladies around the world and never stop dreaming! #beboldforchange

International Women's Day logo

The roster of talent includes:

South Florida: (rollover photos for names)

Danielle Rosse, Owner, Oceans 234

When it comes to acclaimed restaurateurs in South Florida, it can tend to be a bit of an ‘old boys’ club. And when it comes to delivering a superb, true-to-Florida oceanfront dining experience, very few can ‘serve it up’ better than South Florida female restaurateur and entrepreneur Danielle Rosse. Rosse was just 22 and recently widowed when she first opened Oceans 234 in 2001. Starting as Director of Operations, she transformed what was once a sleepy oceanfront diner into the alluring waterfront dining escape that Oceans 234 is recognized as today. In 2013 she purchased the restaurant to become the sole owner of the establishment and in 2015 it underwent a massive $1.8 million dollar renovation elevating the property and the guest experience. This respected restauranteur also strives to give back to the industry that she loves so dearly. Rosse sits on the Board of Directors for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce as well as the Broward Health Foundation. She has received numerous honors including the 2011 Coconut Creek Small Business Person of the Year, 2013 Soroptimist International Woman of Distinction, and the 2014 South Florida Business Journal Influential Woman of the Year. The Oceans 234 team now hosts multiple fundraisers throughout the year including Surfers for Autism, Woman In Distress’s Annual Clothing Drive, and the Annual St. Baldricks Shave-a-Thon. Rosse also supports the Gwendolyn Clarke-Reed Neighborhood Initiative program that promotes the employment of at-risk youth during the summer months by having students intern at the restaurant.

Shannon Allen, Owner, Grown

Shannon Allen, owns and operates Grown™, a highly celebrated USDA Organic Certified fast food restaurant based in Miami, Florida, alongside her husband Ray Allen. Shannon (The PreGame Meal) created the concept in frustration after searching unsuccessfully for an organic nutrient dense meal on-the-go for their five children and especially their son Walker who lives with Type 1 Diabetes. She and Ray (retired two-time NBA Champion, 10-time NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist), are committed to promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle by providing freshly prepared meals inclusive of guests with dietary needs such as gluten sensitivities, food allergies, vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, and those on the Autoimmune Protocol or paleo diets. Grown is proud to be the first USDA Certified Organic fast food restaurant with a drive-thru on the East Coast, and is widely recognized as a market disrupter for providing convenience without compromise.

Jessica Goldman, Goldman Properties

Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, was with the company founded by her late father, Tony Goldman, for 15 years before taking the reins at his behest in 2012.  Founded in 1967, the award-winning company recognizes the value in depressed urban areas, re-imagining, reconstructing and transforming declining districts into thriving global destinations. Goldman Srebnick oversees the company’s portfolio of assets in New York, Philadelphia, Miami Beach and Miami’s emerging Wynwood Arts District, with a key focus on the vitality, aesthetic and artistic components of all products created by the firm. The rich mix includes hotels, restaurants, office buildings, commercial, retail and residential properties, and Wynwood Walls, the highly-acclaimed outdoor street art museum. In July of 2015, Goldman Srebnick founded Goldman Global Arts to generate and produce impactful large scale creative projects for a variety of organizations including an integration of large scale artwork into Hard Rock Stadium. Goldman Srebnick is an active member of numerous philanthropic organizations including the prestigious Young Presidents Organization, the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, and the Cycle for Survival’s national Battle Leadership Council. Goldman Srebnick has received numerous accolades, including being named one of South Florida Business Journal’s Top100 Power Leaders, Florida International University Center for Leadership named her one of 50 Prominent Women in Florida and she received the prestigious Key to the city of Miami for her work on the Global Leadership Conference in 2009. In addition to the accolades, she has received worldwide press, and has been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, AP, and the BBC. Furthermore, her efforts in Wynwood have led to Vogue and Forbes magazines listing the area as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world.

Jennifer Wagoner, Lead Sommelier at Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Jennifer Wagoner brings a unique creativity to the historic Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s acclaimed wine program in her role as Lead Sommelier at Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina and StripSteak by Michael Mina where she manages expansive wine lists encompassing more than 1000 bottles and 50 by the glass selections. Born in Indiana, Wagoner began her career in the restaurant and club business in Manhattan. A student of Master Sommelier Laura Maniec and B.R. Guest’s “Wine College,” she fell in love with the art and science of wines, finding a passion in the process of winemaking but real affection for wine tasting and pairing. In 2006, Wagoner relocated to Miami and worked at Escopazzo restaurant. In 2007, she joined Goldman Properties’ Wish restaurant where she helped craft a wine list that quickly earned raves including the coveted Wine Spectator award. In 2010, she launched Wynwood Kitchen & Bar (WKB) in Miami’s emerging Wynwood Arts District. There, she served as restaurant manager and sommelier and managed the restaurant’s eclectic wine list as well as developed, at the time, one of the most progressive beer lists in town. Her wine and brew acumen earned Wynwood Kitchen & Bar a nod from Miami New Times as the “Best New Bar” of 2010. She left WKB in 2012 and took the role of Head Sommelier at the wildly popular Zuma restaurant in downtown Miami. There, she was responsible for an award-winning wine list of over 400 selections. She joined the Fontainebleau Miami Beach team in May 2015. Wagoner holds a CMS Level 2 Sommelier Certification and has an Advanced Certificate in Wine Business from the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.

Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier, 3030 Ocean

3030 Ocean’s Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier, and South Florida native, has always had a passion for food. That passion became a career, and Grenier earned a degree from Florida State University in Food Science and Nutrition. She then attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale to learn the craft of truly refined cooking and the intricate design behind elegant food preparation and presentation. Grenier began her culinary career under the tutelage of acclaimed Chefs Dean Max and Paula DaSilva at 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale’s Harbor Beach Marriott Resort. Here, Grenier spent two years honing her skills before her desire for new culinary experiences lead the budding chef to California. While on the West Coast, Grenier worked her way up the ranks at the Michelin starred restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood; as well as Blanca Restaurant in Solana Beach, alongside renowned Chef Jason Neroni. While living in California, Grenier spent much of her time visiting local farmer’s markets, embracing the art of farm-to-table cooking. In 2010, the self-proclaimed “farm girl” joined the culinary team at 1500 Degrees at Miami Beach’s Eden Roc resort. Here, she teamed up with Executive Chef Paula DaSilva again as sous chef, focusing on fresh, sustainable cuisine. During her tenure, the restaurant became one of Esquire magazine’s “Top 20 Best New Restaurants in the USA.”  DaSilva — mentor to Grenier — encouraged the chef to participate as a competitor on Food Network’s Chopped, and in January of 2011 she received the grand prize of $10,000. In 2013, Grenier returned to where her culinary career began, as DaSilva’s sous chef at 3030 Ocean, where she helped to conceptualize an ever-changing menu of organic produce and locally-sourced dishes from both land and sea. In 2015, after DaSilva’s departure, she was named Executive Chef of 3030 Ocean in 2015.

Executive Chef Paula DaSilva, Artisan Beach House

South Florida culinary darling Chef Paula DaSilva returned to Miami as Executive Chef with Artisan Beach House at The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami. The Brazilian native’s love for cooking began at a young age working at her family-owned restaurants in Massachusetts and, later in South Florida. Eager to expand her culinary repertoire, DaSilva attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where she earned a degree in Culinary Arts. DaSilva began her culinary career at 3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Marriot under the tutelage of esteemed South Florida Chef Dean Max. It was around this time that DaSilva competed in the fifth season of FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Gordon Ramsey and finished as the season’s runner-up, cementing her place as one of Florida’s celebrity chefs. In 2010, DaSilva took her talents to South Beach as the executive chef of 1500 Degrees at the illustrious Eden Roc Hotel. The chic farm-to-table concept earned rave reviews and popular acclaim for its soulful, seasonal, rustic cuisine – which have now become synonymous with DaSilva’s style of cooking. Her cooking at 1500 Degrees earned massive praise and wide-ranging appeal, including a nod from Esquire magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants in America.” A couple years later, DaSilva’s career came full circle when she returned to 3030 Ocean and took the helm as executive chef. During her second stint with 3030 Ocean, DaSilva revitalized the menu, injecting her now-signature soulful cooking style into the restaurant’s seafood-centric menu. After leaving 3030 Ocean for the second time, the culinary powerhouse took some well-deserved time off to travel. At Artisan Beach House, DaSilva serves as the restaurant’s executive chef while simultaneously overseeing all food & beverage operations for the property. DaSilva has a remarkable talent for creating imaginative, farm fresh dishes that highlight the flavors and freshness of South Florida’s local ingredients. Together with her culinary team at Artisan Beach House, DaSilva treats guests to a high-quality dining experience on par with the standards for which The Ritz-Carlton is known. Artisan Beach House is DaSilva’s second collaboration with restaurant and nightlife impresario Seth Greenberg, the first being 1500 Degrees. Under the umbrella of Greenberg’s Sterling Group Management Inc., Artisan Beach House is just part of the food & beverage innovations Greenberg and DaSilva have planned for the property.

Executive Chef Chef Maryna Frederiksen, Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen was born and raised on a farm in the Transvaal Province of South Africa. Her fondest memories include raising cattle and sheep and eating vegetables picked fresh from her family’s garden. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from North-West University in South Africa and moved to Amsterdam in 1990 to complete her Master’s Degree in European History. Her career in education quickly evolved into an insatiable curiosity for food so she began bartending for a European cruise line, then joined the cruise line’s flagship hotel in Switzerland. Here she got her first job as a cook, kick-starting a decades-long career. She accepted a chef position in San Francisco and later moved to Seattle in 1995 where she built the culinary program at the Central Park Tennis Club in Kirkland and created culinary classes for locals and visitors to enjoy. In 2003, Frederiksen was recognized as one of Seattle’s top ten up-and-coming chefs and a year later was invited to join the culinary team at the James Beard Award-winning The Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville. In 2009, she came to Florida where she became Executive Chef/Partner at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota and spearheaded their catering division. She contributed to their Botanical Garden Educational program, teaching children’s edible garden classes. Frederiksen returned to South’s wine country where she served as Executive Chef for the Holden Manz Wine Estate and later Noble Hill. In 2015, Frederiksen moved back to Florida as Chef of California Grill inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Now as Executive Chef of Big Easy Winebar & Grill, Frederiksen combines South African comfort food and Nuevo-Latin cuisine. Frederiksen has been inducted into Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomy association and the Société Mondiale du Vin, the oldest and largest food and wine society as a Chef Rôtisseur and Des Gourmets Degustateurs. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Slow Food Sarasota.

New Orleans LA: (rollover photos for names)

Abigail Gullo, Beverage Director, Compere Lapin

A native of Hyde Park, NY, with roots in Georgia and Virginia, Abigail Gullo first discovered her love for mixology when her grandfather taught her how to make a Manhattan when she was only seven years old.  As a young adult, she moved to Ireland to work in theatre, and quickly became known for transforming her Dublin apartment into a cocktail salon, crafting libations for friends and colleagues. An experienced off-Broadway singer and actress in New York City, theatre teacher by trade, and graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, Gullo switched careers to professional bartending in 2009 while living in Manhattan. Around that time, local spirits industry legend LeNell Smothers nominated Gullo as a member for the New York chapter of the charity-driven society Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. From 2010 to 2012, Gullo served as Head Bartender at Fort Defiance in Brooklyn, while helping to open The Beagle in the East Village in 2011. As a result of her frequent travels to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, and roster of mixology awards, Gullo landed the job as head bar chef for Sobou; then the newest venture from the Commander’s Family of Restaurants in the Crescent City. In 2015, Gullo was tapped by award-winning bartender Ricky Gomez, to join the beverage team at Compère Lapin, where she worked alongside Gomez in developing the restaurant’s cocktail menu. Gullo’s original cocktails have been recognized in numerous national and international competitions as well as in the media. Her margarita won People’s Choice at the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail, and her drinks have been featured in The New York Times, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, In The Mix, and Food & Wine magazine among others. Gullo was named Eater NOLA’s “Bartender of the Year” in 2014; winner of Heaven Hill Liquor.com’s “Bartender of the Year” 2016; and winner of Tullimore Dew’s “Best Bartender Stories.”

Executive Chef/Owner Nina Compton, Compere Lapin

Compère Lapin Chef/Owner Nina Compton has more than 15 years of experience manning some of the finest restaurants in the country. Upon completion of secondary school in England, Nina Compton returned to her home in St. Lucia where she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.  Her parents arranged an internship with a friend’s hotel in Jamaica where Nina fell in love with the creativity and camaraderie of the kitchen. Leaving the cozy, warm winters of the Caribbean, Nina chose to move to chilly Hyde Park, NY to study  at The Culinary Institute of America. In 2001, Nina began her professional journey at Daniel in New York City, working and continuing her culinary education alongside world renowned chef/ restaurateur Daniel Boulud. After moving to Miami, she joined Norman Van Aken at his namesake restaurant Norman’s and then Philippe Ruiz located at Palme d’Or. Eventually Nina moved to Casa Casuarina, a private club and boutique hotel in Miami Beach where she rose from Sous Chef to Executive Chef of the highly acclaimed property. With the excitement of the renovation of Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2008 combined with the chance to work with Scott Conant at Scarpetta, Nina leapt at the chance to join the pre-opening team as Sous Chef and went on to be appointed Chef de Cuisine. During a star turn on BRAVO’s Top Chef, on which she was a finalist and fan favorite, Nina fell in love with the Crescent City. An opportunity with Provenence Hotels lured Nina to New Orleans where she opened her first solo restaurant, Compère Lapin, at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in the Warehouse District. Since opening in June 2015, Compère Lapin has received critical acclaim including a rave review in The New York Times, Top 10 Winner of Playboy‘s Best New Bars in America 2016 and “Best New Restaurant” nods by New Orleans Magazine and Times-Picayune.

Lu Brow, Beverage Director, DTB

Lu Brow, Beverage Director at DTB is an expert of historic cocktails. Brow has extensive experience as a mixologist, having studied with Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh, author of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and Dale DeGroff, known as “The King of Cocktails” and founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Brow served as Bar Chef at Café Adelaide & The Swizzle Stick Bar in the French Quarter in 2005, part of the Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants in New Orleans. In her time there she introduced the “Bar Chef Table,” a concept modeled after the chef’s table, where the menu is paired with unique cocktails served in tasting-sized glasses, at a bar right next to your table. Her talent has since been recognized in Santé Magazine’s 2006 Spirits Hospitality Award, which honors restaurants that exhibit a high level of professional standards in spirits, service and hospitality. Then in 2014, she migrated to the recently reopened Brennan’s to create their beverage program. Now, as Beverage Director for the soon-to-open modern Southern Louisiana concept DTB, which stands for Down the Bayou, Brow will continue to use her talent and ingenuity behind the bar to wow guests and critics alike with creative concoctions using Louisiana ingredients.

Liz Williams, President/Founder Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Elizabeth (Liz) Williams is the Founder and President of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans, which falls under the umbrella organization of National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB) – a nonprofit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of food, drink and its related culture and folklife in America and the world. Liz wanted to integrate her love of food and history and was amazed that the South did not have a museum dedicated to its extraordinary and unique culinary traditions. After collecting numerous artifacts, organizing exhibitions, and recruiting nationally recognized chefs and food industry leaders to serve as the Board of Directors, Liz and her team developed the concept of SoFAB, which opened its doors in June of 2008 in New Orleans and recently reopened in it’s new, larger location on the city’s up and coming Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.  SoFAB has earned praise and accolades, including being named one of the  “11 of the World’s Top Food Museums” by CNN. Liz is the author of several books, including her latest book, coauthored with Chris McMillian, about the drinking culture of New Orleans, entitled Lift Your Spirits. Other books include The Encyclopedia of Law and Food, and New Orleans: A Food Biography.

Poppy Tooker, Culinary Historian, Author, Cultural Ambassador

Poppy Tooker is known for her NPR affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! which carries her message state-wide and beyond. The New Orleans Press Club named Louisiana Eats! best radio show of 2014. In 2013, her radio show inspired her to write her Louisiana Eats! book, which was given the Literary Award of the Year by the Louisiana Library Association. After being tapped to update one of the earliest Louisiana cookbooks, Madame Begue’s Creole Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery (first published in 1900) Poppy went on to continue the story of Begue’s with the recently published Tujague’s Cookbook, Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition. As a culinary activist, Poppy has been instrumental in reviving endangered local foods such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas. She was a key element in the success of the Crescent City Farmers Market and, in 2007, Poppy authored the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook which was given the Eula Mae Dore Tabasco Award for its historical and cultural content. Poppy also appears weekly on the WYES public television show, Steppin’ Out, dishing out spicy food commentary. Visitors and locals alike savor the opportunity to enjoy many speaking engagements and culinary demonstrations which tie together her passion for the delicious history and recipes of Louisiana’s foods. She’s a cultural ambassador on a mission and her life’s mission has been to work as a culinary activist, promoting and preserving food culture and history while safe guarding the planet’s bio-diversity. Poppy founded the Slow Food New Orleans Chapter in 1999 creating one of the first 10 chapters in the United States. She was selected to serve as an International Governor with the movement. Following Hurricane Katrina, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini awarded Poppy with its first ever leadership award and at that time she was also recognized by the Times Picayune as a “Hero of the Storm”, a story which was nationally told on the Weather Channel. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s efforts in April 2008, with their first ever, Community Service Award. In 2012, Southern Living magazine named Poppy a “Hero of the New South” for her work in foodways.

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For more info on International Women’s Day, visit their website

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Top 10 {Things I Love} :: Winter 2015

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My Top 10 {Things I Love} list is back for Winter 2015 with some fun and interesting objets de desir, places, people, books, food and drinks that I’m currently crushing on – not necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a huge shoutout for their awesomeness in my opinion… Happy Holidays and New Year 2016! 

magpie cookbook

Magpie Cookbook – Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique is a popular pie shop in Philadelphia, owned by Chef Holly Ricciardi. This book is full of her famous pie recipes, both savory and sweet – from luscious quiches, pot pies and hand pies, to fruity, creamy and nutty pies like her bourbon-infused Butterscotch Pie recipe passed down from her Grandmother. Great for any pie-obsessed person and includes tons of great techniques on how to make different types of crusts and decorative touches for a gorgeous handmade pie. Ah, PIE.
Get it on Amazon

aria wine bar

Aria Wine Bar, NYC – This trendy cozy place has 2 locations: one in the West Village, and another in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. Offering Venetian-style Italian Tapas, the menu has a plethora of delicious small plates, appetizers, pasta dishes, and salads all created for sharing. They have a great wine list, and the atmosphere is romantic and buzzing and the best part is the wine list offers the fruits of the world’s foremost lady vintners. Try the Mini Meatballs drenched in homemade sauce and melted cheese, the Sautéed Mussels in wine, or the Truffle Mac & Cheese. You won’t be disappointed! Another NYC fave not to miss.
http://ariawinebar.com

bacon jam

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread – Who doesn’t love bacon? Well now you can have it anytime on the fly. This delicious Bacon Jam is made with real bacon, brown sugar, and onions with three varieties that can all be simply spread on crackers or bread, elegantly spread to elevate appetizers, grilled sandwiches, pasta or to add bacon to any of your favorite dishes. Try the Original, Black Pepper or Red Chile and Garlic. Delicious!
http://thebaconjams.com

Trimino Protein Water

Trimino Protein Water – With the popularity of vitamin waters and fruit waters abound, there’s a new and improved kid on the block. Trimino Still and Sparkling waters are infused with 7 grams of protein, are caffeine and sugar free, and only 28 calories. And lots of fun flavors too! Strawberry Lemonade, Mixed Berry, Coconut Pineapple, Peach and Watermelon. Perfectly light and refreshing for and after workout drink or as a base for a fruity beverage or cocktail.
http://drinktrimino.com

Gala Pork Pie

Parker’s British Foods – Brits Victoria and Damian Parker have a serious love for British food, and learned the crafts of butchery, meat curing and pie making from some incredible British butchers, combining those skills with the best meats and recipes the British Isles had to offer. Then they got married, packed their bags and set off for a new life in America. Now based out of Buffalo, NY, they offer genuine British food like Pork Pie, Sausages, Proper Fish and Chips and a variety of British sweets, condiments, drinks, snacks and gifts for sale in their online store. Check ’em out, Mate!
https://www.parkersbritishinstitution.com/shop-online

extra virgin nyc

Extra Virgin NYC – Extra Virgin is a great little neighborhood spot located in New York City’s West Village. They offer delicious Mediterranean food in a buzzing dimly lit atmosphere with a fantastic wine selection and different varieties of extra virgin oils from around the world. Try the Fritto Misto – lightly fried calamari, zucchini and shrimp as an appetizer..it’s light and crispy and perfectly fried to perfection. The Prosciutto-wrapped Sea Scallops are equally delicious, served over Cauliflower Puree and Porcini Sauce with a Apple and Celery Salad on the side. The Short Ribs are to die for, and literally melt in your mouth, served over Truffled Mashed Potatoes (try these with a side of Grilled Broccolini..super delicious!) They also have a great Sunday brunch and lovely desserts..Another NYC fave, don’t miss it.
http://extravirginrestaurant.com

Jan Burtz Gold Luster Plates

Jan Burtz Luster Ceramics – Offered exclusively at ABC Home in New York City, these ceramics have a handprinted metallic border that lovingly outlines their natural and irregular forms. Made by hand from creamy porcelain and homemade glazes, these pieces bring us back to the basics, accentuating the fluidity and grace of hand-formed wares. Made in Jan Burtz’s Connecticut studio, no two pieces are alike. Also offered in silver and a variety of bowls, trays, platters, vases, plates and sizes. Adds an elegant rustic touch to any table!

Get them on ABC Home

Maple Syrup Cookbook

Maple Syrup Cookbook – I recently got this cookbook and absolutely love it! Why? Because I’m in love with maple syrup and everything in here has a recipe made with it. I made the French Canadian Maple Sugar Pie with Walnuts and the Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts for Thanksgiving and they were both delicious hit at the table! If you love maple syrup as much as I do you can’t miss this cookbook..get it! Immediately.
Get it on Amazon

Raised Bloom Baking Set, Anthropologie

Raised Bloom Baking Set – Who doesn’t love a little bling for the holidays, and better yet who doesn’t love Anthropologie??? This adorable baking set is made of carved stoneware coated in a lovely iridescent glaze including a rolling pin, pie server, measuring spoons, pie plate, whisk and a muffin tin. Almost too pretty to bake with!
Get it on Anthropologie

cranberry sauce

Colors of Nature Cranberry Sauce with Rum and Orange – Colors of Nature is a small, family owned company based out of Brooklyn NY that makes beautiful small batch sauces, jellies and cakes full of fresh ingredients and flavors. Try the Cranberry Sauce made with Rum and Orange – perfect for the holidays!
http://www.colorsofnature.nyc

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, which always have to be in a good condition, but that is arranged easily with a roofing company you can try here.

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

Food Styling & Food Photography: New Client Work

NYC Food Stylist NYC Food Photographer
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I’ve been crazy busy this Spring and Summer so far with new food styling and food photography client projects which is a great thing, but doesn’t leave me as much time for my blog as I’d like! Here are some new client shoots I’ve done over the past few months 🙂

Tavern on Jane Food and Restaurant Shoot  – NYC

Food photography for Tavern on Jane’s new website and marketing materials.

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Baum-Essex Private Label Product Packaging Shoot – NYC

Food styling and photography for private label product packaging and advertising.

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Country Crock Food Shoot – NYC

Food styling and photography for internal marketing materials and brand identity guides.

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Cloverleaf Tavern Food Shoot – NJ

Food photography for website and marketing materials and advertising.

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Kikkoman TV Segment on OK Television – NYC

Food styling for Father’s Day and July 4 TV segment with Kikkoman’s Head Chef Helen.

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Yura Bakery and Catering Food Photo Shoot – NYC

Food photography for website and internal marketing materials.

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Stay tuned for more new work and client projects – I’ll keep posting from time to time 🙂

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

 

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