Loving for Fall

Essie's new Fall Collection.

My fingers and toes are ready for the change in seasons, for sure!

Hurricane Irene Party

We housed a few hurricane "evacuees" over the weekend.  Cue impromptu dinner party, completely comprised of items we already had in the house.  Not too bad!

We started with baked brie topped with onion jam, rosemary, and pecans, as well as peppered goat cheese, served with flatbread and Trader Joe's Raisin Rosemary Crisps.  Drinks included Pimm's Royales and Pumpkin Ale.

Dinner came together to featured oven-roasted garlicky broccoli, a salad highlighting tomatoes from our garden, and Peach-Whiskey Barbecue Chicken (with a few modifications) over Israeli CousCous.   Red and white wines from Napa were served, as well.
All in all, not too bad!

Distracted by Irene

Farrell and I have been glued to the hurricane coverage today.  With family and friends up and down the east coast and the crazy possibility of a NYC evacuation, we can't turn away.  However, I did take a little time to make my weekly blueberry and peach crumble, adapted from this Barefoot Contessa Recipe.  Here are the differences between her recipe and mine:

For the fruit:
  • 1/4 cup of sugar instead of a 1/2 cup (which I found to be too sweet)
  • About two tablespoons of brown sugar
  • A good sprinkling of cinnamon
For the crumble (I completely scratched her crumble- it seems like a lot of work):
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Whatever amount of butter you like, cubed (I probably use about two tablespoons)
  • More cinnamon if you like
Mash the crumble ingredients all together with a fork/potato masher/whatever works and sprinkle on top of the fruit.  Here are some pictures of the deliciousness in progress.

I just bake in a regular dish.
Now, back to the news.

Heirloom Tomato Pie

In an effort to use some of the bumper crop of tomatoes our garden is yielding (we started the weekend with 23 in the fridge, and are down to 9 thanks to this and a few other recipes), I made this Tomato Pie/Tart this weekend for a lunch gathering I hosted.  I made a few modifications based on what I had on hand, and it was a big hit.  I think we'll be seeing it served around here again soon....


1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 teaspoon fine salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded manchego cheese (I used Fontina because I had it on hand)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 1/4 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes

Kosher salt

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used fat free)

3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme  (I used basil because our garden is producing it at a rapid rate)

Freshly ground pepper


Make the crust: Pulse the flour, cornmeal and fine salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons manchego; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough comes together; add 1 more tablespoon ice water if necessary. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking until golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Make the filling: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes; toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Let drain, gently tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup manchego, the mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons each chives and parsley, the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper, and the sauteed onion in a bowl. Spread in the crust. Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon each chives and parsley.

Congressional Wedding

We headed up to our old stomping grounds for a wedding last weekend. The rehearsal dinner at Sequoia kicked off the weekend. The ceremony was at the chapel on the grounds of Georgetown Prep, followed by a reception at Congressional Country Club.  It was a great weekend, spent surrounded by old college friends.

RD centerpieces and favors lend homage to our alma mater

the cake was outstanding as far as wedding  cakes go.  almond with raspberry filling.  (same as ours!)

wedding day table decor

butter tastes so much better when in the shape of the capitol

the groom's cake highlighted the groom's signature beverage

The end of summer produce...

Summer is winding down here in New York and I'm trying to take advantage of the ease of throwing some vegetables together for dinner. Last week I picked up one yellow squash and one zucchini without really knowing what to do with them. After a little research I found this recipe for yellow squash ribbons on the Cooking Light website. The result was a colorful step away from the veggies we normally eat. I also made another new favorite- steamed green beans with a dash of olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Yum. What vegetables are you eating now? And what are you looking forward to as the season changes? I can't wait to experiment with apple crisp.

Wine + Jelly Beans

In the last month, we've both hit the big 3-0. Yikes.

While I much prefer to plan parties for others, some pesky family members convinced me to have a little birthday gathering of local friends that involved one of my favorite activities -- wine tasting! 

As part of the weekend, we assembled gift bags for all the ladies that contained "A Few of Farrell's Favorite Things." As you will note from the bag decor, my birthday falls on a certain patriotic holiday.

  Now, we couldn't get queso into the bags (don't worry, we did have it during the course of the weekend), but we did get a few fun treats in there, including these Jelly Bean Wine Shooters

Check them out.  The Jelly Bean Wine Bar (great customer service, by the way) puts together these fun little "test tubes" that contain jelly bean flavors which, when combined, taste just like your favorite vino.  In our gift bags, we featured Blanc de Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris.  So fun. 

I'd definitely recommend these as a fun addition to your next favor bag, girls' weekend, or wine themed event!

Paperless Post

I've been meaning to bring up Paperless Post for a while now.  From the way my email inbox is looking, it seems to be the new evite, with the added dimension of "not just for invitations" -- they do birth announcements, thank you notes, etc.

The cute designs offer something for everyone, although I have heard some unhappy feedback about there being a cost involved.  I love all things paper, so usually default to printed collateral, especially when it comes to invitations, but am always game for exploring something new.

Does anyone have personal feedback on Paperless Post?

A Different Kind of Bar

We are dying to try to the Braid Bar at the John Barrett Salon.  You can read about it here.  Now I just need to come up with an excuse to go before summer ends...

Picture from the John Barrett Salon website.

My New Philosophy

Clearly I'd never give up sunscreen, but this article also indicates a reason (however feeble) not to give up wine, either. 
I'll drink to that!
(anyone catch the gratuitous Broadway reference in the title of this post?)

Sea House

My taste in decorating is very schizophrenic.  I've decided the only way to deal with this is to have a beach house and a country house.  When I win the lottery and buy my house on Shelter Island no scratch that I would never pay NY State property taxes Sea Island, Victoria Hagan will be on my list of possible interior designers.  Look at how light and bright this is:
Okay, fine, maybe she is a bit more Hamptons than Low Country, and definitely a bit too formal for the dogs and children that would be running around.  But since I'm pretty sure none of this is going to happen, it can't hurt to browse her portfolio for fun...