Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Summer's Best: Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Toasted Breadcrumbs

The final day of Summer has arrived.  As we say farewell to the season that's served us well on the food, travel, entertaining and fashion fronts, I couldn't think of a more apropos dish to savor than a fresh, vibrant, chilled gazpacho.  And not just any gazpacho--but one with juicy, colorful, seasonal, creme dela creme, heirloom tomatoes.  It's all the goodness of a traditional tomato gazpacho--turned up a notch.

This soup couldn't be easier to bring together and delivers both rich flavor and great texture from the vegetables. (I consider it a vegetable garden in a bowl.)  And I'll add that it was a hit at last Summer's Pop-Up Cooking School, so you can't go wrong.

If you're looking for that one final taste of Summer that's worth savoring, this. is. it.

Happy Eating!

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Toasted Breadcrumbs

3-5 heirloom tomatoes
1 hothouse cucumber
1 sweet bell pepper, cored and seeded

½ red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups tomato juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup, plus two tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Juice of ½ lime
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for breadcrumbs
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Baguette or other crusty bread (for breadcrumbs)

For the Gazpacho:
Roughly chop the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeno and red onion into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, lime and Worcestershire. Mix well and chill before serving.  

For the Breadcrumbs:
Slice bread into 1-inch cubes.  Heat two tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet.   Toss in cubes and begin to sauté until golden brown and season with salt and pepper. 

Before serving, garnish the gazpacho with the toasted breadcrumbs.  Enjoy!


Friday, September 18, 2015

{Ready. Set. Eat.}: The Taste of Atlanta Festival Returns!

If you've ever wanted to taste your way through the Atlanta restaurant scene, but haven't come close, then this year's 14th annual Taste of Atlanta Festival is where you want to be.  With a line-up of over 90 participating restaurants--and a host of food-loving fun--the tastes of Atlanta will be at your fingertips.

Along with abundant eats, the festival will offer a rich experience with something for everyone, including cooking demonstrations, competitions, a carnival kids' corner, and more!

To help you map out your experience, the Festival Guide provides essential details from 'A-Z', while also answering the most frequently asked questions.  Taste of Atlanta will be held September 25-27, 2015 and returns to the Midtown Tech Square in the heart of Atlanta.  General admission is $25 and includes 10 Taste Points (the official festival dining currency).  Visit www.TasteofAtlanta.com for the most up-to-date event news.

Now pack up your appetite and prepare to indulge in a weekend of Happy Eating!

Photo Credits: Taste of Atlanta

Monday, September 14, 2015

New York Fashion Week: Daniel Silverstain Spring/Summer 2016

I arrived back in New York City on last week to take in a front row view of Daniel Silverstain's Spring/Summer 2016 runway show and presentation at Shop Studios, amidst the excitement of New York Fashion Week.  A feast for the senses and imagination, the collection is laden with the futuristic essence of the 1967 Montreal World Fair, known as Expo67.

Designing since the age of 11, and now in his third runway season, the designer drew inspiration from the modern decor and innovative architecture that reshaped Montreal following the Expo.  The influences can be seen throughout the collection, from the neutral tones color pallet, contrasted with shapes of primary colors representing national flags, to lace and crochet textiles with metallic gloss coatings, to intricate multi-yarn jacquards mixed with natural wovens, yielding soft and relaxed silhouettes.

Featured below are several of my favorite looks from the collection.

Do you have a favorite look?  Which pieces from the collection can you envision in your upcoming Spring/Summer wardrobe? For more fashion and design inspiration--and to shop the collection--visit Daniel Silverstain.  You can also check-out more of my 'day of' coverage on Instagram, including a video look at the finale walk.

Happy Styling!

Photo Credits: Daniel Silverstain

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

{What I Wore}: Labor Day Whites

The Labor Day weekend was a relaxing one for me and a much needed pause in the busy pace that life has a way of serving on a full platter.  Now that it's come and gone, you may be considering pulling the curtain on the Summer season once and for all.  But not so fast, I caution.  There's still great Summer food, style and entertaining to be relished, and I, for one, plan to savor each remaining day until the Fall season officially makes its debut.

I donned a basically all white everything (shoes excepting) look to go about my Labor Day festivities in what I'd refer to as a street-chic style.  (I know that Labor Day and white attire--specifically post-Labor Day white--have long been hot topics.  Do we? Don't we? Who cares?)  If you're interested in where the current sentiment on this once deemed 'fashion faux pas' lies, here's a read I think you'll appreciate.

As for my actual Labor Day look, white was the color of the moment.  And now that the moment has passed...I'm looking forward to the many beautiful moments still to come.

Details: Tory Burch Tee + Cuff | Paige Denim Jeans | Manolo Blahnik Pumps | Michael Kors Watch + Wrist Band | J. Crew Necklace

Happy Living!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Summer's Best: Crispy Flatbread with Figs, Blue Cheese & Prosciutto

Holiday weekends call for good food, among other things.  Perfectly crisp and delicious homemade flatbread, topped with slightly warmed fresh figs, barely melted blue cheese and salty prosciutto is a party perfect bite--requiring little fuss--that should be on your menu agenda.

The freshly baked flatbread is probably the easiest homemade dough you'll ever make--and the rest is gravy from there, as you assemble the fig, cheese and prosciutto toppings.  Oh, and I can't forget that impeccable finishing touch of a drizzle of good quality honey.

With only a few days remaining in Summer, there's no time to waste in enjoying the remainder of the season's bounty.  And bringing sweet, juicy figs to the table is the perfect way to indulge!

Happy Eating!

Crispy Flatbread with Figs, Blue Cheese & Prosciutto
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
  • Flaky sea salt such as Maldon
  • Fresh figs, halved
  • Blue Cheese (Roquefort recommended)
  • Prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • Honey, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet on rack in middle.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.

Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll out 1 piece (keep remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap) on a sheet of parchment paper into a 10-inch round (shape can be rustic; dough should be thin).

Lightly brush top with additional oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Slide round (still on parchment) onto preheated baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with blue cheese, prosciutto and figs. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until pale golden and browned in spots.

Transfer flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool, then make 2 more rounds (1 at a time) on fresh parchment (do not oil or salt until just before baking).  Drizzle with honey to finish and enjoy!
Flatbread recipe adapted from Epicurious.com.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer's Best: Peach Cobbler

It's amazing to realize that we're a stone's throw from the end of Summer.  I love the Fall season and can't deny that I'm eagerly anticipating a respite from the heat and humidity that overhangs this time of the year.  However, there are some things about Summer that I will absolutely miss long after the air-conditioned days and al fresco nights are no more.  And the season's bounty is one of them.  In my (humble) opinion, one of the absolute best things about Summer is the vibrant, seasonal food that makes it's mark on our culinary landscapes.

Stone fruit fits squarely into that mix, and my undisputed favorites remain peaches, plums, and nectarines.  Whether grilled, roasted, fresh, or transformed into other-worldly ice cream, crumbles, tarts, cobblers, jams, pies, and more, they count as little jewels of which I rarely get enough.  And yesterday afternoon was another example of unabashed indulgence.

Perfectly crisp, yet ripe, fragrant peaches made their way from the market, into my kitchen, into my oven, and finally into my mouth and tummy, for one satisfyingly good peach cobbler.

I plan to relish every delicious moment of the remaining weeks of Summer and invite you to join me--starting with this scrumptious cobbler, of course.

Happy Eating!

Tell me: What are some of your favorite Summer things, foods, and experiences?  Leave a comment below to share!

Peach Cobbler
6 large peaches, peeled and cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the biscuit topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Cook peaches:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a 2qt. non-reactive baking dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.

Making topping while peaches bake:

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Blend in butter with fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles course meal.  Stir in water until just combined.

Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake in the middle of oven until topping is golden, about 25 minutes.  (Topping will spread as it bakes.)  Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Epicurious


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rustic Strawberry Jam Crostini

It felt really good to be back in the kitchen this past weekend.  On Sunday, I decided to spoil myself a bit and whip up a brunch bite to go along with my "in-house" cappuccinos that I've essentially become addicted to lately.  A mound of fresh strawberries-- turned rustic strawberry jam--and an exquisitely scrumptious honey compound butter made for one of the best crostini I've tasted.  And I do adore my crostini.

To describe how it came together, I'd borrow from that hit of yesteryear and say (or sing) that it was easy like Sunday morning.  Corny perhaps, but totally apropos. 

With an emphasis on rustic (rather than a classic gelatin base), the jam came together in about half an hour, and the honey-butter called for little more than a spoon twirl or two.  Not long after, warm, buttery toasted baguette slices, that could easily have stood on their very own as perfection, were toppled with the sweet, yet slightly complex and savory jam (I tossed in a teaspoon of fresh thyme), to form bite after bite of homemade satisfaction. When I finally finished savoring my delicacies, I got an even bigger rush from the fact that I had leftovers--and I could would do it all over again soon.

Still makes me want to sing.  Make it for yourself and we'll start a band.

Happy Eating!

Rustic Strawberry Jam Crostini

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