{Things I Love} :: August 2017

Things I Love August 2017

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 🙂

Expert Interview Series with FoodyDirect.com!

I was recently invited as a guest for the FoodyDirect.com Expert Interview Series to talk about great tasting and looking food, and I’m honored to share the interview with you! I discuss my background and how I got into Food Styling and Photography as a full-time freelance profession, along with some of my favorite things to cook, food trends, hot spots in NYC and some simple rules for great food photography on social media.

Expert Interview Series with FoodyDirect.com

I also included one of my favorite go-to recipes in the article, my Rochester-Style Chicken French with Broccolini which I know you’re gonna love!


Chicken French

Check out the interview below or on FoodyDirect.com (the best online mail order source for gourmet food and gifts!

FoodyDirect.com

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Kristen Hess is a New York City food stylist, photographer, recipe developer, and author of the food blog, The Artful Gourmet.  We recently chatted with Kristen about her favorite cuisines, cooking trends, and NYC eateries, and also asked her to share her food stylist expertise with us to help foodies take better photos of their gastronomical creations.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to dive headfirst into learning about cooking and food photography?

I’ve always loved food and cooking but never considered it as a full-time career until I moved to NYC and started taking a series of cooking classes at The Institute of Culinary Education. I was working in advertising at the time and thought it was a fun hobby, but then that hobby became more serious as I discovered food media as a blossoming career path and started taking more classes in food styling, photography, and food writing and then started my blog.
Out of all of the different styles of cuisine and cooking in your repertoire, which one was the most fun to learn about?

My all-time favorite is Italian food because I love the simplicity of the gorgeous ingredients, rustic flavors, and cooking techniques. Whether it’s homemade pasta and sauce, homemade pizza, a gorgeous salad, an antipasti dish, or a roasted chicken with vegetables, I love it all!

Name a cooking trend, tool, or category that you’re currently excited about. 

Alternative flours and coconut everything! I try to live a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it’s hard when you work in the food industry (esp. in NYC!) surrounded by delicious temptations every day. Alternative flours made out of chickpeas, coconut, almond, bananas, brown rice, farro, buckwheat, chia, and arrowroot are great for low-carb and paleo/gluten-free cooking – and they’re healthier, too. You can make pizza crust, bread, pasta, pancakes, tortillas, pastry, crepes, socca, and all kinds of dishes with it. And I love coconut oil, cream, and milk as an alternative to full-fat regular dairy sometimes because it has a nice subtle coconut flavor and is great to cook with at high heat. I’ve made curries, smoothies, baked goods, and more with it. Great stuff.

Many people have a basic idea of what a food stylist does – but could you tell us about some types of food photography that you’ve done that people may not associate with the craft? 

I do some interesting gigs with agencies for their food clients who are doing on-site media tours promoting food products and recipes to food editors for all the major food magazines. For example, The Jackfruit Company launched their new products and I toured around with the owner and PR agency making tacos, salads, burgers, and sandwiches on-site in the editors’ board rooms while they pitched the product to the editors and writers (to gain press and brand affection, of course!).

Another new type of job that is getting popular is styling food for Facebook Live segments for cookbook authors and chefs, health experts, and bloggers. I did quite a few of these for Keri Glassman and Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe, making recipes for them which were demoed live on Facebook at PureWow Magazine and Cosmo.com. I also did this for Halloween making super fun recipes by blogger Elise Strachan at People Food and Food and Wine.

When you see people posting pictures of food on their social media pages, what are some of the “mistakes” you see that make the dish look really unappetizing?

I always say lighting is a huge factor for any good food photo. If it’s too yellow or too blue, you need to fix the hue or it looks unappetizing. Also, never use flash or take photos with overhead lights as they give harsh shadows and blow out the food. Try to shoot food with natural light as much as possible. Bad angles are a no-no too. Don’t shoot burgers or sandwiches overhead. You can’t see what’s inside. Pizza is great for overhead shots because you want to see what’s on it. Don’t be afraid to crop into the shot too for some detail. Finally, consider your composition; what’s the hero in the shot? Focus on that dish. Not the glass behind it. Let the hero shine!

Finish this sentence: “If you’re a true foodie, the next time you visit New York City, you definitely need to stop by…”

For pizza, you need to check out DiFara on Ave J in Brooklyn. The wait is kinda long, but it’s soooo good and super worth the trip and the wait. I also love RubiRosa pizza in Soho.

Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village is amazing for fresh oysters, seafood, wine, etc.

My favorite taco joint is La Esquina in Nolita. They make authentic Mexican style tacos on small corn tortillas with fresh cilantro, pork, steak, chicken, and homemade salsa. Plus, the grilled street corn is to die for!

You can’t go to NYC without getting a delicious burger, fries, and milkshake from the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Again, the line is long, but so worth the wait!!!

And lastly, go to Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side for a pastrami on rye New York City style. Delish.

What types of desserts do you enjoy making for friends and family?

I’m definitely more of a savory cook than a pastry cook, but I absolutely love making pies and tarts. I always make lovely fruit-based pies or tarts in the summer around the 4th of July using berries, peaches, and mascarpone on a puff pastry sheet. Thanksgiving is always fun; I love experimenting with new pie recipes (something different than pumpkin or apple pie) like Christina Tosi’s Crack Pie or my Bourbon Buttermilk Pecan Pie.

Finally, could you share with us one recipe that’s always a hit when you prepare it? 

I have so many recipes that I love but one of my absolute favorites is my “Rochester-Style Chicken French with Broccolini.” It’s actually not a French recipe; it’s an Italian recipe similar to a piccata dish, but with a light coating of egg batter, butter, white wine, lemon, and parsley on thinly-pounded chicken, sautéed in a pan and then coated in the luscious buttery lemon sauce. It’s easy to make, tastes amazing, and everyone loves it. I serve it with sautéed broccolini, but you could also serve it with green beans or sautéed spinach, over pasta or rice, or alongside some crusty french bread to mop up the sauce. Goes great with a tangy white wine like Pinot Grigio and a simple green salad with shaved Parmesan cheese and a tangy wine vinaigrette.

Chicken French

Rochester-Style Chicken w/ Broccolini

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.

This delicious Italian dish originated in Rochester, NY and is a great meal for a special occasion or any night of the week. Thin chicken cutlets are coated in a light egg and parmesan batter then sautéed until crispy and brown. They are coated in a luscious lemon butter and wine sauce and served with a side of fresh broccolini. Goes great with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio and a green salad with shaved Parmesan and a tangy vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN FRENCH:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil/canola oil blend for sauteing (I used Colavita Garlic Oil Blend)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of superfine flour (Pan Searing flour or Wondra)
  • LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine or sherry
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • BROCCOLINI:
  • 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
  • Lemon Butter sauce (see above)
  • lemon, S&P for garnish

Instructions

  1. CHICKEN FRENCH:
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, cayenne, and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place flour in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge each one in flour first (left hand), then egg mixture (right hand).
  6. Place chicken into the heated saute pan and cook for 6 minutes on one side. Flip chicken over and saute for another 6 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from pan and set aside, covered with a foil tent.
  8. LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
  9. In the same skillet, saute the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  10. Add the wine and bring liquid to a boil over high heat, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.
  11. Pour in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes (if using) and let reduce by half, another 5-7 minutes.
  12. Stir in the butter and whisk until it melts.
  13. Add chicken back into the pan with the sauce and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  14. Place chicken on serving plate with the steamed broccolini and spoon lemon butter sauce over the top of both.
  15. Garnish with lemon wedges and additional chopped parsley if desired.
  16. BROCCOLINI:
  17. Steam broccolini for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove lid and steam for another 5 minutes until fork tender but still bright green.
  18. Top broccolini with Lemon Butter sauce, additional lemon, salt, and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can also substitute veal for the chicken or artichokes for a vegetarian option.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/06/23/expert-interview-series-foodydirect-com/

Are you jonesing for authentic New York-style foods? Check out FoodyDirect.com selection today!

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

On gray rainy days in New York (esp. at the beginning of so-called
“Summer”), there’s nothing better than staying home and cooking up a big pot of comfort food. It seems to make the rain almost pleasant to listen to and watch, knowing that you’re tucked up indoors away from the rest of the world, cooking something cozy and delicious.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya


One of my favorite things to make is spicy Cajun and Creole food (New Orleans is one of my fav cities ever..the #FOOD though!) and I had grand visions of creating a kickass recipe this week for my blog. And considering it’s going to be a rainy Memorial Day weekend, why not make a big pot of something wonderful to stay indoors and savor while I’m at it?

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

I had some Aidell’s Andouille Sausage on hand and tons of bell peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes in the pantry so I decided to make a big pot of Jambalaya for my afternoon project. I also had some Flour City Pasta ‘Bon Vivant Orzo’ I’ve been dying to try, so I decided to whip up a twist on ordinary Jambalaya using that instead of rice. The orzo is multi-colored small pasta that looks like rice, with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne – and I thought it would add some more layers of flavor to the dish.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

First I cooked the sausage until lightly browned in a big Dutch oven with a little olive oil. Then I added the vegetables and sautéed everything together with some spicy Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s is the bomb!). I also threw in some Kroger brand Zesty Seasoning Blend which is a savory blend of herbs and spices like onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, savory, marjoram, bay, thyme, rosemary, garlic and cumin and added a dash of hot paprika for an extra kick of spiciness and flavor. You can also substitute some dried thyme and oregano or whatever dried herbs you like instead if you can’t find something similar.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

Then I added the broth and tomatoes and orzo and brought everything to a boil, and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the orzo was cooked through. The pasta will soak up the liquids and get thicker the longer it sits, so be careful not to overcook it or it will get mushy. If you’re using rice instead, let the ingredients simmer for longer, about 20 minutes.

Once it all comes together with a consistency you like, serve it with some chopped green onions and fresh parsley with a dash of hot sauce (traditional Frank’s RedHot or Crystal are my favs) and freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick.

Sausage Orzo Jambalaya

All I know is I have a long holiday weekend to savor my delicious Jambalaya, along with lots of naps and Netflix.

Let it rain. J

Sausage & Orzo Jambalaya

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 cup

This Sausage Orzo Jambalaya is a twist on traditional Creole Jambalaya using multi-colored orzo instead of rice, with the addition of some corn. It has a medium-spice heat to it with lots of veggies including red, yellow, orange and green peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes - a savory, heartwarming dish for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange, green)
  • 1 cup yellow corn kernels
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (Tony Chacere’s)
  • 2 teaspoons Zesty Seasoning Blend (Kroger)- optional
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups orzo
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium-high in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add the sausage and cook for about 8 minutes until browned on all sides about 8 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, corn, garlic and bay leaves along with the herbs and spices and saute over medium-high for a few minutes. Add the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the orzo and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes until the orzo is cooked through and soft.
  4. Garnish with sliced scallions and chopped fresh parsley and a dash of hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper, to taste for an extra kick.

Notes

Note: you can also substitute traditional white rice for the orzo, just cook it in the pot longer, about 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

You can also add chicken or shrimp to the recipe, swapping out 1 pound for the andouille sausage.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/05/26/sausage-orzo-jambalaya/

Happy Holidays! A few of my favorite holiday recipes

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Well the holidays have finally arrived – my favorite time of year! I love having some time to rest and relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family, especially around the table sharing delicious food and wine. So to celebrate the season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holiday recipes that I’ve created over the years – either for myself or a few of my clients (KitchenAid, Colavita and Seven Barrels), that I wanted to share with all of you. From appetizers, to salads, to desserts, entrees and cocktails, they all have that special magic touch perfect for the holidays.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what some your favorite holiday recipes are too – feel free to post them and share a link below, and if you want to share my recipes online please include a link back to my site and credit to Kristen Hess / The Artful Gourmet and @artfulgourmet on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr).


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous and prosperous New Year 2017!

 

BloodOrangeCake_StrawberrySauce

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Sauce 

PumpkinPearTart

Pear and Pumpkin Tart

Mini Holiday Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Holiday Tarts

Roasted Squash Salad

Roasted Squash Salad with Spiced Pecans

Holiday Brunch Strata

Holiday Brunch Strata

Almond Cookies

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Maple Walnut Pie

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Swedish Meatballs

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart

Three Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon

Choc Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Truffled Pancetta 3 Cheese Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic

Whiskey Sour and Stuffed Mushrooms

Holiday Cocktail Party! Appetizer and Cocktail recipes 

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Brussels Sprouts

Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Balsamic

SpinachSalad-Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

ChocolateChipotleShortRibs

Chocolate Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

Olive Garden unveils new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean” menu

Olive Garden Tastes of the Mediterranean Menu

I had the opportunity to attend a special preview tasting of Olive Garden‘s new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu this week at a lovely event held at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC with a group of other food bloggers, writers and journalists.

Media Preview Haven's Kitchen


Olive Garden Team

We sampled a (generous!) variety of delicious food and wine, and learned more about the new menu ideas and inspiration from the Olive Garden team and Executive Chef, Jim Nuetzi

Olive Garden Tasting Event

Inspired by the flavors of Italy’s Mediterranean Coast, Olive Garden is evolving its popular Lighter Italian Fare menu to the new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu, which celebrates the flavors and cooking styles from the popular Mediterranean region of Italy with all entrees under 600 calories.

Chicken Margherita

Beginning Jan. 2, two new entrees – Chicken Margherita and

Linguine Di Mare

Linguine di Mare – will be available in restaurants. Following, the fully evolved ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ rebranded menu section, which includes guest favorites as well as the new entrees, will be introduced on Jan. 23.

Executive Chef Jim

“Healthier dishes at restaurants can often be perceived as boring or unsatisfying. However, our Mediterranean-inspired Shrimp Scampi with its flavorful ingredients was our second most popular entrée on the entire menu last summer,” said Jim Nuetzi, Executive Chef for Olive Garden. “The positive reaction from our guests further showed that we could create indulgent and craveable entrees that just happen to have the added benefit of lower calorie counts.”

Shrimp Scampi

The guest-favorite Shrimp Scampi, which was introduced to the Olive Garden menu last year, has exceeded any other Olive Garden lighter fare entrée in popularity. Many guests were surprised that the flavorful and satisfying dish was only 500 calories.

Grilled Chicken Parmigiana

The guest reaction to the Shrimp Scampi inspired chefs to explore additional ingredients that would excite guests in the same way, leading them to the cuisine of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. The region is long known for healthier lifestyles and cooking with light, flavorful ingredients such as seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables, whole grains and Italian spices.

Chicken Margherita & Zucchini

Chicken Piccata

Herb Grilled Salmon

The ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu features:

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Margherita

  • NEW! Chicken Margherita: Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive-Garden-Shrimp-Scampi

  • Shrimp Scampi: Shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair pasta.

Olive-Garden-Linguini-di-Mare

  • NEW! Linguine di Mare: Shrimp and mussels sautéed with homemade pomodoro sauce and whole grain linguine.

Olive-Garden-Herb-Grilled-Salmon

  • Herb-Grilled Salmon: Filet grilled to perfection and topped with garlic-herb butter. Served with parmesan-garlic broccoli.

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Piccata-Dinner

  • Chicken Piccata: Grilled chicken topped with a lemon garlic butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive Garden Tilapia Piccata

  • Tilapia Piccata: Delicate white fish baked in a lemon garlic butter sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Entrees on the rebranded menu start at $14.29.

Warm Chocolate Baci Cake

And last but not least, we enjoyed a gorgeous dessert, Warm Chocolate Baci Cake with coffee..simply divine. 

Olive Garden

..and got some take home goodie bags with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses!

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ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 35 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country.

Guests can join the conversation and connect with Olive Garden at Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden. For more information and to find your nearest Olive Garden restaurant, visit OliveGarden.com.

Olive Garden unveils delicious new menu items!

IMG_7169

I recently attended a super fun event to celebrate the delicious new items that Olive Garden has introduced on their menu.

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I joined the Olive Garden team along with several other local journalists and bloggers at Elevated Acre in Downtown Manhattan which is a beautiful outdoor space overlooking the East River with views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

IMG_7157

We enjoyed their private label wines out on the deck

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(I love their new Tuscan Red table wine!) and then all sat down at a huge table to start the festivities and get first dibs on the menu tasting. #NeverEndingTable

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We met the Olive Garden marketing team and their Executive Chef who told us about their new menu innovations,

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and then we got to taste all of them over a few hours, which of course was the fun part!

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We all love their classic breadsticks and salads right?

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Well you have to try their new Breadstick Sandwiches – we tried the Eggplant Parmesan and Spicy Calabrian Chicken..delicious!

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The coolest new items we tried are their new Deep Dish Spaghetti Pies..they’re like spaghetti quiches baked in a shell with all kinds of yummy fillings but in pie form! The Chicken Alfredo Pie was amazing…

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and so was the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs Pie made with 7 cheeses, bacon, meatballs and homemade sauce.  So good and totally fun.

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And we can’t forget dessert – they served us an incredible Chocolate and Caramel Lasagna – layers of gooey caramel, chocolate and cake similar to Tiramisu..OMG. TO. DIE. FOR. And the perfect ending to a perfect Italian meal!

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Check out the great photos of the event below and visit their website for more info on these awesome new menu creations and specials in your area.

Visit Olive Garden on Facebook

Visit Olive Garden on Twitter

Visit Olive Garden on Instagram

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National Concert Day & Pringles Summer Jam in NYC!

Pringles Summer Jam 2016

National Concert Day

I recently attended a super fun concert – Live Nation’s Pringles Summer Jam for National Concert Day on Tuesday May 3, 2016 at Irving Plaza in NYC.

Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley

The house was packed full and we had a blast seeing some live music with old time and new superstar artists such as Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa, Dierks Bentley, Cheap Trick, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Nick Jonas, Goo Goo Dolls and more!

Joan Jett
Joan Jett
Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa
Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley
Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas

National Concert Day 2016 was brought to fans by Citi and Pringles. Citi is the preferred credit card of Live Nation, offering Citi debit and credit cardmembers access to presale and preferred tickets for select tours throughout the summer via Citi’s Private Pass Program, the bank’s entertainment access program. Last year alone, Citi worked with more than 1,400 artists ranging from preferred tickets and early access to concert tickets, to curated special events and VIP experiences.  For more information, or to purchase presale tickets to the after show on May 3, Citi Presents AWOLNATION, visit www.citiprivatepass.com.

Pringles is helping fans celebrate summer with music and memories, kicking off at Live Nation’s National Concert Day. For those looking to make the most out of summer, head to LiveNation.com/Pringles for the Pringles Summer Jam offer – score four tickets for the price of three! Share all of your summer fun and check out the memories from other fans across the country by following #PringlesSummerJam.

Live Nation

From experiencing live music under the stars at an outdoor amphitheater to rocking out at an arena or taking a road trip to a music festival, this summer 2016 will bring millions of music fans together to see their favorite artists.  From Country, Indie & Alternative Music, Classic Rock, Rock, Metal, Hip-Hop, Electronic Music, Comedy and Pop – there is something for everyone. For tickets and more information, visit www.livenation.com

Pringles Summer Jam 2016
Pringles Summer Jam 2016

CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS OF JOAN JETT AND CHEAP TRICK PERFORMING LIVE BELOW!

Designing Dining Workshop at Bard Graduate Center NYC

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I’m excited to announce that I will be participating in the Designing Dining Workshop at Bard Graduate Center in NYC on Saturday April 16th! This three-session workshop (over 3 weekends, see schedule above) investigates the visual design, materials, and traditions of presenting creative tablesettings. Participants experiment with table stylings, craft their own metal spoon, and learn how best to photograph food and drink.

I will be teaching the Session 3: Framing Food workshop where I will be discussing the principles and history of food styling and photography, with a hands-on workshop experience for participants to style and photograph their own culinary masterpieces at the event.


We are currently raffling off one (1) free ticket (worth $250) to the workshop to all three sessions! All you have to do is leave a comment below on why you would like to attend the workshop and I will be choosing a winner randomly who will be contacted by email before the event by March 25th. Make sure to include your email when you comment below!

The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture is a graduate research institute located in New York City, offering exhibitions, degrees and research initiatives exploring new ways of thinking about decorative arts,
design history, and material culture.

Click here for the full schedule and details for the Designing Dining event

Follow Bard Graduate Center on Facebook

Follow Bard Graduate Center on Twitter

Le District brings a taste of French cuisine to Downtown NYC

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

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 🙂

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