Merry Merry Happy Happy Busy Busy

Delightful snacks Thyme Roasted Marcona Almonds FoolproofCaramelized Bacon“It’s the holiday season….”

And while I love this season so very much, there’s no denying the schedule gets a little crammed with festivities.  So lately it’s been grabbing snacks while running in and out of the door and missing my time in the kitchen.

Good thing Ina Garten‘s new book, Foolproof, now graces my shelves.  I haven’t quite managed to make any of the main dishes in her book yet, but so far the snacks and apps that I have whipped up have been quick, easy, delish, and well, foolproof!  The caramelized bacon and thyme roasted Marcona almonds above have been an effortless snack to have on hand.  Perfectly yummy, perfectly easy.

Tomorrow keeps the busy-ness ongoing…. making cookies, sneaking in a quick workout to offset the consumption of said cookies, and spending the afternoon with Ina Garten!  Yes, she’ll be coming to the Williams-Sonoma King of Prussia store tomorrow to sign copies of her new book.

So tonight, after having a single gingerbread cupcake for dinner, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my week, and I’m grateful that I have this busy-ness to look forward to.  It’s fun, festive, and yummy…. even though it’s on the fly!  Hope to post more foolproof goodies soon!

A Weekend at Sunday Suppers (part 2)

Last week I posted about my weekend at Sunday Suppers with Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille.  Here are follow up photos of the Sunday cooking class where guests got to prepare dinner with Aran and then have a sit-down dinner at the beautiful Sunday Suppers table.  The menu was amazing (see below).  Most recipes can be found in Aran’s new book, Small Plates & Sweet Treats.

Menu:

Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup w/ Dandelion Green and Hazelnut Pesto

Swiss Chard, Pear, and Gruyere Tart

Mahi Mahi w/ Parsnip and Sweet Potato Puree and Fennel Vanilla Bean Sauce

Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Fleur de Sel Pot de Creme

Pistachio and Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

A wonderful meal, a wonderful weekend, a wonderful experience!  Many thanks again to Karen and Aran for having me!

A Weekend at Sunday Suppers (part 1)

Lucky me!  I was asked by Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers to help out around the kitchen this past weekend with popular food blogger, Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille!  This was an opportunity not to be missed!  It was really an unbelievable experience being in the kitchen with these talented, inspiring ladies!

Saturday was a photography workshop in the Sunday Suppers studio where Aran demonstrated a dish and showed how she would style and shoot it.  Aran talked about what she uses to capture those magnificent shots of her food that we see on her blog and pin!  😉  Sunday was a cooking class where guests got to cook along with Aran, preparing her recipes (all gluten-free!), and then have a sit down meal in the fantastic Sunday Suppers loft.

The first part of this post is pictures that I took at Saturday’s photography workshop.  I’ll post pictures from the dinner in part 2!

Thank you Aran and Karen for the beautiful opportunity, the beautiful inspiration, and the beautiful, amazing food!

Pick Fest 2012

This weekend we went to Frecon Farms Pick Fest in Boyertown, PA.  It’s about an hour drive from where we are in Ambler, but a Saturday well spent.  It’s a few of my favorite things…. pumpkins, apples, bluegrass, and the turning of the leaves.  We were lucky the weather held out and made for a fantastic day!  Picture the scene…. bluegrass bands play from an old school red flatbed truck right in the middle of an apple orchard.  Pumpkin patches surround and apple trees as far as the eye can see!  Hay bales and straw are scattered about so those who want to rest with some local hard cider can sit and enjoy the banjo and fiddle tunes.  Apples are on a grill nearby for a sweet snack.  For those who want to wander and return home with a harvest, there are plenty of apples and pumpkins of every kind to “pick-your-own”.  It’s a beautiful day all around!  Here are some of my photos from the day.  Oh, and next year, you should go!

So what will I be doing with some of the apples we picked?!?  I’ll be juicing some, baking some, but I also found this tasty recipe for Smoked Apple Puree from Williams-Sonoma that I can’t wait to try.  I have a small smoker box, but I also really love the idea of using the *eek, can I say it* bacon fat!  I mean, how tasty!  Heel kicks for fall!!!

A Fall Afternoon

The fall weather creeping in has been just lovely.  And I’m over the moon about it!  Nothing quite excites me more than fall.  So how lovely to have an afternoon with my sister where we enjoyed a few of my favorite things:  the fall weather, red wine, and chocolate!!!  Perfection.

The Raaka chocolate was given to me by a dear talented friend, Elissa Barbieri, who hand draws the patterns on all of Raaka’s wrappers.  (Elissa also owns l o o p.)  The tastiness of the chocolate along with the presentation make for a one fantastic product.  My favorite was of course the bourbon cask aged chocolate!

Raaka is handcrafted in Brooklyn.  Their “virgin chocolate is crafted from unroasted cocoa beans and stone ground in small batches.  The low temperature  process they use delivers flavors you can’t find in any other chocolate”.

The wine is another favorite by Audelssa.  If you are ever in Sonoma County, it is a must visit.

Wilderness Wednesday & Julia Child

“All from one kitchen knife. It was a miracle, wasn’t it? To think that we might easily have gone through life not knowing each other, missing all this free flow of love and ideas and warmth and sharing.”

Today is Julia Child‘s 100th birthday.  Julia wrote the above quote in a correspondence to her dear friend, Avis DeVoto.  Amazing.  I love how such deep bonds and friendship can be formed over the joy of food and cooking.

And here is Julia soaking up a lovely day at her La Pitchoune home.  I envision she is feeling the warm sun on her shoulders, savoring her tea, and writing letters to Avis.  Just all around love!

Happy 100th Birthday, Julia!  We love you!

photo credit here.

Happy Campers

This weekend we had a camping party for the little man who turned 3!  Lots of fun was had by all…. the kids played trains in the tent, both the kids and adults enjoyed smores by the fire, and after burgers and hot dogs, the smores cupcakes were a hit!  (See recipe after).

Tanner is dairy-free, so I found this tasty (& easy) recipe to create the smores cupcakes here.  I piped Ricemellow Creme on the top, added crumbled graham crackers, and topped with cute deer!  (Cupcake toppers available at here.)

It was a fun time!  Thanks to all who made Tanner’s day a special one!  Happy Birthday, Tanner!

Let’s Gather

It’s a week to gather.  Families and friends all came together yesterday to celebrate the freedom of our country.  Barbecues, games, and fireworks were all in full force, and I am sure there was lots of good food to be had no matter where you were.  I was in the kitchen most of the day, preparing Southwestern Turkey Burgers, potato salad, squash from the garden, and Béa Peltre‘s Chocolate and Plum Almond Cake (recipe in her book, La Tartine Gourmande).

I love how food is such an important part of a gathering.  Friends wonder what will be on the menu, people chat about where the recipe is from, how good (or sometimes not) it is, swapping stories of past dishes they have made.  And this week I am excited about all the dishes I’m making for the many gatherings to be had!  Three special gatherings are in my future for the weekend, each will be a special time, with special food/recipes made from loved ones.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and to all the yummy food!  To gather excites me.

And Gather Journal gets it.  It is a new food magazine dedicated to the aspect of gathering “with recipes at its heart”.  It speaks to me.  The magazine just came out with its premiere issue and I just love it so!  So much so that I’m making recipes out of it for my own gatherings this weekend!  I love how the journal has a theme…. float being the theme for this issue/season… going hand in hand with summer and its harvests.  And the photography is just stunning as well.  Pick a copy of this lovely magazine up!  It will make you “float” on the clouds of culinary happiness.  🙂

Sunday Suppers with Béa Peltre

I have been loving Béa Peltre‘s book, La Tartine Gourmande.  Her blog, photography, and recipes have been inspiring, so imagine the heel kicks I did when I finally got my hands on her book!  I even bought 2 to pass one along to my sister.  It really is a beautiful book with beautiful food from a beautiful person.

Béa Peltre, author of La Tartine Gourmande

flowers by Nicolette Camille

Yesterday I was lucky enough (much thanks to my friend, Julie) to attend a lovely afternoon cooking with Béa at Sunday Suppers in Brooklyn.  I really enjoyed my day of leisurely exploring Brooklyn.  I went early and walked near and far visiting the Brooklyn Flea, and a few favorite stores like Catbird and Whisk.  I ended the afternoon at Sunday Suppers where the fabulous Béa (along with the fabulous Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers) hosted a cooking class where I (and around 20 others) got to mingle, prep, cook, (and then dine!) with Béa following her fantastic recipes.

the kitchen at Sunday Suppers

the lovely table all ready for our gathering

styling by Karen Moredchai of Sunday Suppers

The menu was perfect for our special gathering:

Verrines of fresh crab, apple, and avocado with ginger and lime (which I helped prepare)

the starter

Pea risotto with grilled prosciutto and basil oil

the risotto

Blanch manger with berries (fruits rouges)

the dessert

helping prep the verrines

the gorgeous table

the lovely Béa plating our risotto w/ basil oil

ready for our gathering

a place for me

Much thanks to Béa for sharing her lovely self with us for the afternoon.  Her hands-on guidance in the class and company at our table made for a truly memorable occasion.

how cute were the favors?!?

And much thanks to Sunday Suppers for hosting the fantastic afternoon.  It was so lovely to meet many inspiring beautiful people in your space.  Xoxo to all!

(Be on the lookout for Béa’s recipes from our afternoon on the Sunday Suppers blog soon!)

Kinfolk at Terrain

Stunning video.  I had to share.  From Nest‘s eve with Kinfolk Magazine at Terrain.

Thank you, Kinfolk and Terrain, for the most lovely evening.  For a full listing of photos from the eve, click here.

video by Andrew and Carissa