Wednesday, September 19, 2018

{Things To Do In Atlanta}: Pinewood Forest Idea Home

Life is good.  :)

I ended last week on a high doing something I absolutely love--once again sharing my food passion and expertise on Atlanta and Company.  (More to come on that soon, so stay tuned!)

As I prepared to finally embrace the weekend, I mentally switched to low-key mode and prepared to indulge in maximum chill, save a couple of exceptions.  Beyond a movie night out on Friday which fit my low-key agenda perfectly, there was a Saturday afternoon home tour of home tours.

After making the drive across town, I arrived at the beautiful, emerging "live, work and play" community of Pinewood Forest, where my gaze was immediately met with a glistening, sun-kissed lake.  I made my way to the Idea Home, nestled amidst finished and unfinished residential construction, and settled in for a highly anticipated tour of the property on its opening day, presented by Atlanta Magazine and Atlanta Magazine's HOME.

Touring beautifully designed homes, dressed with exquisite decor, is always an inspiration download and creative spark for me, and this home did not disappoint!

Each room was its own odyssey, with so much to see and take in.  From subtleties, to bold statements, surprise spaces, and full on "I can see myself living here" refrains, it was worth every minute spent.  So as you're considering things to do around the city, be sure to log this one on your favorites list.  (*Bonus: head over to the nearby Hanna Brothers Studio Cafe for a delicious breakfast, brunch or lunch until 3 p.m.)

The Pinewood Forest Idea Home Tour is going now through October 7, 2018.  Hours are Fridays, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.  Admission tickets are $25 and available for purchase here.

Happy Touring!




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Monday, August 20, 2018

Atlanta and Company x How To Eat Your Favorite Foods!

One of my earliest memories of being held accountable for proper table and dining etiquette dates back to the ripe young age of nine and my fabulous (and greatly beloved) fourth grade teacher.  In between managing our homeroom, being hands-on with her students, and silencing the childish noise in French (yes, French), Ms. Butts made valuable use of our lunch periods by making social graces a priority.  That, coupled with ongoing reinforcements on the home front, left me especially fond of etiquette in its many varieties all these years later. 

And so, several years ago, I created my How To Eat series here on DMRFF to share quick and fun dining tutorials for some of our best beloved foods.  The results?  Better dining finesse (a.k.a. confidence) and a higher etiquette I.Q.



And then the most wonderful thing happened...(drum roll, please) and last week I appeared on the long-standing and uber popular daytime show, Atlanta and Company, sharing some of my How To Eat wisdom on pasta, bacon and bread and butter.  (Can you say, awesome?!)


In case you missed it, you can watch me here.  And be sure to check the archives for even more foods in this fun series! 

Happy Eating!
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Saturday, July 14, 2018

French Potato Salad

I've come a long way baby.

Let me explain.  Growing up, I had a very loose, slightly on, mostly off, relationship with potato salad.  And considering that most of the potato salad I came across at family meals, barbecue's, cookouts, and the like, contained their fair share of mayonnaise, I was simply not a fan.

It's never easy to convey why you don't take to a particular food--especially when it seems that most you know and come across are fans.  But there I was--the girl, now woman, with a distinct disdain for this favorite dish and its main dressing.  However, I'm fortunate that as my natural development continued, so did my palate's evolution, and I ultimately came to like--not love--traditional potato salad.  Nothing major, but I could handle a serving or two a few times a year.

And then I was given the gift of discovering what seemed to be a recipe created just for me and my fellow non-mayo cohorts: an herb-y, vinaigrette tossed, and beyond delicious, French Potato Salad.  Made of tender red and white potatoes, with accents of fresh herbs, a luscious champagne vinaigrette, and a few other flavorings of white wine, chicken stock and green onions, it's one of my favorite side dishes for any occasion and my definite go-to when I'm on potato salad duty.  It's a lighter, elegant spin on the classic American-style and suits me (and my taste buds) perfectly.

I brought it back to life in my kitchen recently for a family gathering, and let's just say the bowl was empty at the end of our time together (humble brag -:) ).  It serves up beautifully warm or at room temperature, making it extremely versatile and picnic friendly.  Make it for yourself and I'm certain you'll be coming back for more.

Happy Eating!

French Potato Salad >>> Get the recipe here!
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

{Be Inspired!}: Summer Reading

A favorite pastime in my local bookstore
Summer and reading have always been a favorite pair for me.  And if I'm being completely honest, it goes all the way back to my childhood. I fondly remember the times when choosing and checking out library books through the mail, no less, brought as much joy and preoccupation as riding my bike and watching my favorite t.v. shows.  It was almost as if I couldn't read the books, mail them back, and order new ones, fast enough. (I'm still in awe at how amazing my county library system was to put books and the love of reading at our fingertips.)

Then there were the suggested (ahem, mandatory) Summer reading lists that would follow in later years.  And I was still sold and fascinated all the same.  I even managed an "advanced for my age" title or two.  Like the Summer I read Alice Walker's, The Color Purple, at the ripe age of 11 and returned to my 6th grade English class in the new school year ready to do a book report on the work.  I don't recall if that went over well with my teacher, but I'll never forget how glad I was to have the full, robust backdrop of the book when the acclaimed movie was later released.

I could go on and on about the many expressions that my love for books, the written word--poetry, prose, history, literature, everything--and reading have taken over the course of my life, but I'll save those for future posts. :)  For now, suffice it to say that I'm eager to get some new titles under my belt as the season unfolds.

I haven't firmed up my selection yet, but with Summer officially arriving this week, I'm motivated to do so sooner than later.  I recently came across this list of 8 Non-Cookbook Food Books curated by Bon Appetit.  A couple of these titles are definitely piquing my interest, so we'll see where I ultimately land.

And what about you?  Do you enjoy a Summer read, or two, or four?  What's your favorite genre? Author(s)?  I'd love to know what's on your list!

No matter your preference, we can all celebrate the gift of books and...

Happy Reading!




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Monday, April 30, 2018

{Tasting Summer}: 5 Top Summer Food Festivals


Summer, travel and food go together as few things do.  And when you’re talking taking in the myriad food festivals that abound during the Summer season, there never was a more perfect trifecta.  I can attest that there is rarely a more authentic way to take in a destination—whether you have one day, or one week, to spare—than through its local food culture. 

To get you going and plotting your next delicious foray, these top seasonal food festivals from around the country will leave you satiated in more ways than one. 

The Atlanta Food &Wine Festival – when you’re seeking down-home, yet sophisticated, tastes of the South in food and drink, there’s no better place to be.  This perennial favorite brings together the best chefs and food purveyors from across the South for an unforgettable three-day indulgence that will remind you of all the right reasons that life below the Mason-Dixon line is grand. 
(May 31- June 3, 2018; atlfoodandwinefestival.com.)

Austin Ice Cream Festival – If you scream for ice cream, then imagine a one-day food festival dedicated to ice cream and more ice cream!  Test your ice cream eating skills with fun competitions, while feasting on confections from local creameries for the ultimate sweet indulgence. (June 23, 2018; austinicecreamfestival.com.)

Seattle Street Food Festival – Coffee isn’t the only thing Seattle does well.  Try a food festival boasting food trucks, pop-up picnics and more from local emerging chefs! (July 7-8, 2018; seattlestfoodfest.com.)

Taste of Chicago – Arriving on the heels of the 4th of July, the Taste of Chicago offers one more delectable reason to celebrate.  Food lovers convene on this long-standing Midwest favorite, hosted lakefront in Grant Park, and adorned by a magical skyline, to indulge in the best of classic Chicago eats (deep-dish pizza, anyone?) along with nightly live entertainment to keep the good vibes flowing. (July 11-15, 2018; tasteofchicago.us.)

Maine Lobster Festival -- Imagine five days devoted to everything lobster! That's what's in store when you head to the annual Maine Lobster Festival. With fun and feasting in high gear, the acclaimed festival centers on celebrating local seafood.   
(August 1-5, 2018; mainelobsterfestival.com.)

Wherever your foodie adventures lead this Summer, you’re sure to find... 

Happy Eating!
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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Pretty in Pink: NYC's Pietro Nolita


I discovered Pietro Nolita, the all pink, intimately chic, yet casual, Italian eatery in New York City, on Instagram, amidst all the rave.

So when my travels landed me back in my favorite of cities during the recent Christmas holidays, there was no question that I would be making its acquaintance.  Had I considered its cuisine or food worthiness?  Not really.  Just the fact that it was ALL PINK and a girly girl's dream.

Pietro NoLita's Jewel Box Exterior
And so my plan of action began: decide on the day and time, find something pink to wear...because photos, and paint the town...red pink.  On the last night of my stay, we arrived for an early dinner before heading off to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.  And those who know me best, know that an obligatory photo shoot ensued.  Despite the nightfall and blustery weather, I had to get photos of (and with) the adorable pink exterior before heading inside to settle in.

Once inside, more photos were in order, in between placing our orders and chatting up the staff.  And then there was the food.  Oh yes, food.  The reason you ultimately go out to dinner, no?  Now I was remembering the 'why' behind the 'what' of it all.  And I'm happy to say that my dish (a pan-seared sea bass) was delicious and my return is imminent to take in some of the house pasta.  So see, you really can go for the design thrills and leave satiated and...tickled pink. :)

Make it a place to dine whenever you find yourself in NYC looking for a quaint spot to sip and nosh--and it's okay if you don't want to mimic my all-pink enthusiasm.  I'm certain that you'll be enamored all the same by the cozy space and good eats.

Located in Soho (one of my favorite Manhattan districts), the kitchen opens daily from 11am and goes into the wee hours, serving lunch, brunch, and dinner.  There are no reservations, just loads of atmosphere and...

Happy Eating!

Pietro NoLita
174 Elizabeth Street
New York, New York 10012




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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Butternut Squash Galette

Life has been on the busier side lately, so I've been away longer than usual here on the blog.  And if I had to be away, I'm glad to share that it's been a "good" busy spell.  Some exciting (but admittedly time-infringing) work to produce a second-to-none International Women's Day event on last Friday was fulfilled to my deep satisfaction.  Then there are other areas of my life that have shared my attention and focus like vacation planning (priorities, right?), along with ministry and plain 'ole adulting!


When I finally checked IWD off the list last week, I exhaled and my thoughts soon turned to "what's next" here.   And the what's next is a savory galette that wins all the awards for delicious, elegant, seasonal--and easy--fare!

I was spurred along to finally bake a Butternut Squash Galette (which has been on my baking agenda for the months prior that I've bought and stored butternut squash in my pantry) when Monday's windy spell collided with extra sunshine (translate energy) from the daylight savings turn.  And within the hour, a flaky, rustic vegetable tart--accented with tangy, herbed goat cheese (so good!)--was ready to be consumed.

I normally make a tried and true pastry dough, but because I was eager to crank out this too-long delayed delicacy, I opted for one of my all time favorite shortcuts: puff pastry.  And I have to say, the crispy flakiness has me thinking this was the best move after all.

I sliced my squash in thin rounds for a beautiful layering effect I wanted to achieve, seasoned them with olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs de provence and maple syrup, then baked them off to a tender, almost caramelized, doneness.  Then I rolled out my chilled dough, smeared on some goat cheese, layered the squash on top and folded the dough to encircle all the goodness.  A brush of egg wash and sprinkle of flaked sea salt on the dough to finish was all that stood between the tart and the hot oven.

Despite the amazing ease of bringing this dish together, its casual elegance shines through.  It's perfect as a hearty appetizer or served with a side or two for lunch or dinner.

So here's to less busy-ness (for now anyway :) ) and more....

Happy Eating!

Butternut Squash Galette
Ingredients:
1 medium-sized butternut squash
Olive oil
Salt (Kosher and Flaked Sea Salt)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Herbs de Provence
Maple Syrup
Herbed Goat Cheese
1 Puff-Pastry Sheet
1 egg, beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel squash and slice into thin rounds.  Toss squash with oil, kosher salt, pepper, herbs and maple syrup (all ingredients measured to taste.)  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until cooked and slightly browned.

Remove squash from oven and set aside.  Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees F.    

Roll out pastry into a round and smear softened goat cheese in the center, being sure to leave a border.  Layer squash onto pastry and fold edges of pastry up to enclose the ingredients.  Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.  

Place tart on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.  Remove from oven, slice and enjoy! 



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