Thursday, July 30, 2009
Dear Schuyler: I'm in a total entertaining rut and need a fresh idea for an upcoming wine/cheese party. Can you please help? Thanks, Dazd and Confusd
Dear Dazd and Confusd: Cheer up! Get out of your rut by buying Winerd -the wine tasting game that will make you and your friends beg for the blind taste tests. (Must be 21 years of age). All you need is 3+ bottles of wine, some appetizers and voila, they'll be calling you hostess with the mostess! Sincerely yours, Sky
Lotus Votive Candles
Recycled Wine Bottle trays
Rosemary Flatbread recipe that will perfectly complement the wine (from my post Pizza Pizza)
Here's a thought: Make the losing team pay for the winners' taxi home!
PC: Amazon, Bisou Boutique, Uncommon Goods
Nothing says home like a grilled cheese sandwich with creamy tomato soup. Now that comfort food is (so) en vogue, why not take this old favorite and serve it up for your loved ones and friends? If you really want to step it up, you can purchase this cool Warhol-inspired Vase along with these soup/sandwich trays. You can also serve it as an appetizer. Take it one step further and serve grilled cheese sticks with bloody mary's at your next brunch. Happy dunking!
Creative Grilled Cheese Alternatives:
Sweet coppa, mozzarella and red onion
Soppressata, fontina and rucola
Sweet coppa, hot peppers, rucola
(served at Ino, my favorite restauarant in NYC)
Homemade Tomato Soup
PC: Uncommon Goods, Food Network
Monday, July 27, 2009
The product of a former fashion designer and high-end textile guru, Drainsfield and Ross is my new favorite in the entertaining world. From their unique designs (and textures) to their ornate place mats, napkins and napkin rings, their pieces can truly transform your entire room. Now if only more stores would carry all of their goods...
Places to shop: Michael C Fina, Saks, Neiman's, Bergdorf's
PC: Gracious Home, Dransfield & Ross
Gravy Meatball Sliders. After sampling these bad boys (or girls) at one of my favorite restaurants-the little owl (90 Bedford St, NYC), I had to make them for my next party and they were a hit! You can use chef Joey Campanaro's recipe or else my version:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground veal
1 1/2 cups panko
1 1/2 cup Kellogg's corn flake crumbs
1 1/2 cups of parmesan
few dashes of hot sauce
1 tsp of parsley
1 tsp of oregano
few dashes of garlic salt
cover with fresh ground pepper
Mix together well (like meatloaf). Form into 1 inch balls. In a frying pan, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil until shimmering. Cook 6-8 meatballs at a time at Medium-High heat until all sides are browned. They will not be fully cooked and will finish cooking in the sauce. Set aside on a paper towel covered plate.
2 cans (28 oz each) of whole tomoatoes in juice (I use San Marzano Tomoatoes since they're sweet)
1 onion chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tbsp of light brown sugar
few dashes of salt/pepper to taste
Puree tomatoes in their juice (I used a blender) set aside. Over medium heat, saute the onions for 5-6 minutes until slightly brown. Add garlic and after a minute add the blended tomato mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 40-50 minutes (until it becomes thick like gravy).
Add meatballs and allow to simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes. Make sure the meatballs are covered in sauce so they can be cooked through.
Instead of making fresh buns, I use potato rolls and toast them slightly and then add a meatball to each one with about a tbsp of sauce, a toothpick and voila: Gravy Sliders!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Donuts have become a bit trendy, but what works for Dunkin Donuts works for me as I've been a loyal customer since my childhood (thanks a lot Bob and Dad). If you want a small (large) project on your hands, try these delicious Glazed Donuts or Cinnamon Sugar Donuts. They melt in your mouth (and your hand) and are a sure crowd pleaser. If you don't have the time or desire to make such goods, stop by your local Dunkin D's (tell them I sent you) and pick up one flavor of donut holes so it doesn't appear your dessert is store-bought. Then dress it up at home-sprinkles, chocolate sauce, you get the gist. And don't forget the coffee.
PC: Gastronomy Blog, Epicurious
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Ok, so meatloaf isn't the most attractive food in the world, but what it lacks in appeal makes up in flavor. In fact, after playing around with ingredients last night, this was one of the best things I've ever tasted and it's not even bad for you! I paired it with brown rice (flavored with lipton onion soup mix).
1 Lb Lean Ground Beef
3/4 Cup of minced (or chopped) onion
1/4 Cup minced red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup bread crumbs (I use Kellogg's Cornflake crumbs)
Few dashes of hot sauce (this can also be added on top of the mound before baking)
Mix together with your clean hands, form into a long mound and place into a greased and foiled loaf pan (I use PAM)
Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, baste if necessary (mine didn't need it); lower temp to 375, cook for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for ten minutes, place onto a platter and enjoy! I like mine with ketchup.
Brown rice (with half a packet of Lipton's onion soup mix)
Steamed Aspargus or broccoli go well with this meal too
Julia Knight (sold at Saks)
Monday, July 20, 2009
I don't know about you, but I LOVE Larry David... In fact, all I can say is "Pretty Good" when it comes to mixing and matching these beautiful Caspari plates and napkins from Gracious Home. They're inexpensive and give you instant gratification when you want a whole new look for an event or what have you. Check this out !
"Sorry, it used to be called plastic, but now it's a state-of-the-art polymer resin which is crush and shock-proof. Utensils feature skulls on the handle with a spine like body and even a diamond on the tip of the handle (a plastic one, but still a diamond). Limited and numbered edition."
Buy them at: Barneys New York DeBeauty Flatware. Skulls are SO 2009 (or was it '08?) Regardless, I still think they're cool (and apparently Barney's does too) so I'm not alone. I plan to pair the black sets with my modern white plates. Pictures to come!
PC: Barneys NYC
Lazy Susan's seem to be all the rage in the entertaining world. Everywhere I turn I seem to see one of Annie Modica's gorgeous pieces. Who knew the LS could be so chic?
Top two pieces: available at Saks or Michael C Fina
Bottom Lazy Susan: Sur La Table
PC: Annie Modica
Need a creative way to serve a burger and fries? Pair it with a movie, and make your own drive-in from the 50's. (Necking not included)
Burger baskets and liners
Ketchup/Mustard Squeeze Bottles
Ice Cream Cone Holder
My go to for a burger in NYC: Old Town Bar
My favorite In-N-Out Burger Recipe
PC: Sur la Table, Organize-It, Web Restaurant Store, Epicurious
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
We all strive to make a difference in the working world and now more than ever you have to set yourself apart. Whether it's a new job you seek or even a new client, why not approach them with something they won't forget: like an edible business card?! I know it sounds catchy, but whenever I have a serious meeting in the city, I always bring creative goodies and 9 times out of 10 I get some form of business. The minimum is 12 cookies and I sell them through my company: www.identitysp.com.
P.S-don't forget to send a follow up thank you note with a paper business card. (And invest in some cool stationery!)
I am usually a sucker for following the latest Food & Wine or Gourmet Magazine recipes, but last night I decided to take a chance on doing it on my own. The result, a perfect (and satisfying) meal for two!
Grilled Halibut with Mango Salsa over Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Plantains, and roasted asparagus:
Recipe (serves 2)
1 Mango-peeled and diced
1/2 small diced red onion
half a lime
1/4 red pepper (diced)
1/2 cubanero pepper (diced) you can also use a small amount of jalapeno
dash of sugar
dash of garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together
*Peach could also be used instead of mango or else with it
Halibut: Salt and pepper each side (along with a dash of paprika) and rub in a small amount of olive oil. Cook the filets for 4 minutes per side on Medium/High. I squeeze half a lemon onto them as well.
Mashed Sweet p's: Peel two large yams, chop them up into 1" cubes... boil for 10-12 minutes, mash, add 4 tbsp of sugar free maple syrup (what I had on hand), 1 tbsp of butter, few dashes of salt, few dashes of cinnamon and 2 tbsp of brown sugar... mix together and voila, delicious side.
Roasted asparagus: clean asparagus, pop off the ends, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, roast at 400 for 20 minutes.
Plantains: peel like a banana (I cut a slit down the middle that only goes through the skin, not the flesh), cut into diagonal pieces, sautee for 2 minutes a side. You can use Pam or olive oil. I then bake them with the asparagus for the last 5-10 minutes of baking. You can sprinkle a bit of sugar on them if they're not 100% ripe.
Start the halibut when the asparagus has been in the oven for 10 minutes, so everything is ready (and warm) at the same time.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Setting a gorgeous table doesn't have to cost you a fortune. With sales on every corner (at least in New York) and online promotions,you can really find some amazing deals! Here are some ways to get this look for less:
Plates from Crate and Barrel $9.85/set (includes Dinner plate, Dessert Plate, and Soup Bowl)
Inexpensive White Vases at $39.00 a pop
Faux White Cherry Blossoms: Pier 1 Imports ($12.00/bunch)
-you can also use a gorgeous pink orchid (real or faux)to bring in some color
Chilewich place mats @ $15.00/piece
Monday, July 13, 2009
Poor lobster gets such a bad rap in these trying times. It's hard to justify a $20.00 sandwich, so in order to have your lobster roll (and eat it too), just use less meat and add 'fillers' (like shredded lettuce or celery) to take up some space. If all else fails, you can always try to become friends with your fish monger (let me know if it works).
Tonight I'm making these succulent Lobster Rolls with lemon vinaigrette (a touch of garlic butter) and crispy (baked) french fries. I bake them at 450 for 40-50 minutes to make sure they are extra crispy. I also substitute low fat mayonaise and add extra lemon juice if I feel that it's lacking flavor.
P.S. It's ok to stuff the french fries and lobster roll in your mouth at the same time.
Don't have a lot of time to make a gourmet dinner? Try one of these delicious flatbread recipes as a meal or appetizer. To save time, buy the dough from the pizza counter at your nearest Whole Foods. And for an extra crispy crust, buy this great pizza stone.
Recipes to try:
Favorite NYC Pizza Joints:
Co, Otto, Stella's (late night), John's pizza
After returning from the greatest honeymoon imaginable, I've decided to put my passion to paper (or keyboard), and hop on the blogging bandwagon. To ease back into reality (and my clothes), I've decided to record the healthy and fulfilling meals I make 3-4 times a week for my loving husband (and friends). I'll also list tips on entertaining and recipes, showcase products from my real job (I run an Ad Specialty Company that sells over a million promotional products), share current deals I see in NYC, and so on... I hope you enjoy!
Posted by Schuyler Levin at 1:28 PM