I’m excited to share with you a recent project, after taking a bit of time off this year. Back in February, we visited Twin Maple Farm, and a few weeks ago returned for a 3-day weekend getaway to capture the true beauty of spring in the Hudson River Valley. Not only did we get a behind the scenes lesson in cheesemaking, but were able to spend our afternoons wandering the gorgeous hills and trails around the farm during a much needed city detox. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend checking it out. You can read more about it here.

The Creamery at Twin Maple Farm

The Creamery at Twin Maple Farm

Crillon Le Brave

July 26, 2012

The fresh air and rolling hills, the winding stone corridors, the hourly chimes of the bell tower and the to die for menus are all part of Crillon Le Brave, the quintessential Provencal destination. What was once ruled by Henri IV’s fiercest generals during wars of the 16th century has now evolved into one of Travel + Leisure’s top European hotels for 2012. And well deserved, my time spent there could not have been better. Lounging poolside, a relaxing massage and the impeccable service was all quite lovely, but of course my favorite was the fantastic food shoot that took place with the help of chef, Phillippe Zemour. After our morning at the market, it was down to business in the kitchen. Known for their elegant and refined style, the menu is all locally sourced offering a true flavor of southern France. Although it was difficult to leave, it’s certainly on my list of places that I no doubt will return to once again.

Setting the table on the terrace

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Artichoke

Gratin of fish soup

Fricassee of seasonal vegetables, fingerling potatoes and bearnaise reduction

Roasted bull fillet, fricassee of seasonal vegetables, fingerling potatoes and bearnaise reduction

Hotel entrance

Roasted shop veal, green asparagus from olivier’s garden, stuffed potato with white truffle

Terrace view

Bocce ball

Roasted shop veal

Pool area

Asparagus

Fresh bread and rosemary

Seabream in salt crust

Seabream in salt crust

The view

Vegetables from the garden in barigoule refreshed, bacon shavings from bigorre, coriander reduction

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Fresh vegetables

Fried cherry with basilic

Fried cherry with basilic

Apricot tart

Apricot tart

Happy Weekend!

July 6, 2012

I’m back Stateside– with hundreds of photos, a tan and a full stomach from all the deliciousness that is France and Italy. I’ve got hours of exciting editing ahead of me, but wanted to share a couple spreads from my shoot at the lovely Crillon Le Brave, a beautiful French Relais and Chateaux accommodation in Provence that I had the honor of staying at last week. I’ll be back soon to give a full review of all the chef’s best dishes. Have a great weekend and stay cool! x

White Barn Inn

April 25, 2012

Nestled in the quaint New England coastal town of Kennebunkport, White Barn Inn was one of my first stops through southern Maine last week, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. An intimate, classic inn setting, I was welcomed with open arms into the kitchen of Grand Chef, Jonathan Cartwright, to taste his Forbes Five Star menu. Feasting on more than my stomach could take, it was too delicious to leave the plate anything but clean. The various courses included an appetizer of Pan Roast New England Quail Breast and Foie Gras with a Basket of Smoked Leg Confit and Forest Mushroom Risotto. Parmesan Cheese Ice Cream with Crisp Fig Fitter as an intermezzo and Local Salmon Filet in a Parma Ham “Jacket” with Bacon Wrapped Scallop, Spaghetti Squash and Maple Dijon Mustard Sauce for the main course. Although it didn’t stop there, as I had to try Cartwright’s specialty smoked lobster dish and finished off with a multitude of desserts. The entire inn was more than welcoming, and certainly a must-stay for anyone traveling to the Pine Tree State. I hope to return very soon, next time booking an extra day to take advantage of their luxurious spa treatments!

A walk along Kennebunkport's rocky coastline and White Barn Inn

Smoked lobster

An extra dish from the chef

Lounge area

Parmesan Cheese Ice Cream with Crisp Fig Fitter

Inn interior

Pan Roast New England Quail Breast and Foie Gras with a Basket of Smoked Leg Confit and Forest Mushroom Risotto

Local Salmon Filet in a Parma Ham "Jacket"

Bacon wrapped scallop

Salmon

Front Porch at May's Annex

Grand Chef, Jonathan Cartwright's signature smoked lobster dish

Grand Marnier souffle with chocolate sauce

Grand Marnier souffle with chocolate sauce and sorbet

Espresso

Front porch

Maine blueberry sorbet

Breakfast Quiche

Fresh bread

Muffins

Fresh berries

Breakfast meat selection

A little sneak peak at this weekend. More to come soon!

Weekend in Maine

Time for a BBQ

April 16, 2012

After a gorgeous summer-like weekend, how can you not be in the mood for rooftop and backyard barbecues. One of my top picks for quick and easy recipes on the grill are these chicken spiedies marinated in Lupo’s Original Endicott Style Spiedie Marinade. A local Upstate favorite that has an amazingly tasty flavor, if you aren’t in the neighborhood you can check their flavors out online.

Happy Grilling! x

Chicken Spiedies

Twice baked potatoes

FIELD Beef Jerky

March 5, 2012

A few months back I introduced you to my friends’ new all-natural beef jerky, FIELD. In the months following, they’ve grown tremendously, distributing nationwide and becoming ever more popular. Saturday afternoon we all met in Williamsburg at Moon River Chattel, an enchanting antique shop near the waterfront that is filled with inspiring treasures and the perfect backdrop for our shoot. Capturing not only the uncut beef jerky, it was fun to shoot the other ingredients and spices used in their three flavors, Original No. 3, Honey Spice No. 11 and Teriyaki No. 23.  To keep up with their latest news visit their facebook pagewebsite or get yourself to the grocery store for a taste!

Original No. 3

Ginger root and other ingredients

Jerky and spices

No preservatives, added MSG or nitrates

Ginger root

Original No. 3

Garlic and Dube Putz homemade red pepper flakes

Honey Spice No. 11

Beef jerky

Jerky and spices

Photo Montage of the day

Sunday Family Dinner

February 29, 2012

This weekend I was back in Syracuse spending time with the family. Sunday was the perfect winter day with crisp blue skies, a few inches of freshly fallen snow, a fire in the fireplace and the aroma of my father’s Northern Italian dish for dinner filling the house. We started with a couple fresh loaves of Columbus Bakery bread, followed by an antipasto platter with lettuce, tomato, greek olives, cucumbers, salami, ham, provolone, blue cheese and topped with a white balsamic vinaigrette. The main dish was homemade marinara sauce with tomatoes, chicken stock, fresh garlic, onions, zucchini and a touch of sugar. After simmering for a few hours with the chicken breast and thigh meat, it was poured over fettucini and garnished with parsley and parmesan cheese.

Marinara sauce with chicken and fettucini

 

Antipasto platter

 

Columbus Bakery bread dipped in olive oil

 

Grating parmesan cheese and Columbus Bakery bread

 

Antipasto platter

 

Bread and Pasta

 

White balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

 

Pasta and bread

 

Antipasto

A Dish for Grandma

February 3, 2012

I’ve spent the past few weeks Upstate with my grandmother during her final days, and with my family once she passed away. Now that I’m back to work, I’m looking forward to getting my food shoots up and running again. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off my return than with a tribute to the amazing woman she was. One of her favorite meals was pasta and meatballs, an Italian classic that happens to be one of my favorites as well. I had so much fun pairing the vibrant red sauce with some old B&Ws of my grandmother and her sisters on their 4th of July holiday in the city circa 1941.

My Aunt Nici and Grandma sightseeing in NY

 

Aunt Flory, Aunt Nici and Grandma getting off the subway

 

Grandma, Aunt Nici, Aunt Flory in the park

 

Aunt Nici, Grandma and Aunt Flory strolling down Broadway

It’s that time of year for my second seasonal themed dinner party. For autumn, I decided to go with a rustic outdoor picnic, inspired by my family’s leftover Thanksgiving food and style inspiration from my great grandfather’s fishing gear. For the ingredients I couldn’t find in the fridge, I spent the morning in the quaint village of Cazenovia getting fresh, local food from Troyer’s, a general store opened by the Amish (I have a whole other post on this I’ll share soon).

The Menu…

Drinks: Pellegrino Sparkling Orange Drink and Saranac Craft Beers

Appetizers: Maple Popcorn,  Roasted Edamame, Vegetable chips and Homemade Trail Mix from Troyer’s Country Store

Main Course: Roasted Turkey Sandwich with homemade toasted bread, lettuce, tomato, basil infused mayonnaise, provolone and caramelized onions

Side: Saratoga country fried potato crisps seasoned with oregano

Dessert: My mother’s chocolate Italian roll cookies and homemade banana bread

Styling Tips…

• Pack each meal individually in a small cardboard to-go box for an easy transport to your great outdoor picnic location. Cut gift wrap from Anthropologie in thin strips and adhere to the sides of the box and label the menu on a strip of tape on the top of the box

• Birch bark as name cards and propped up at each place setting with one of my grandfather’s fishing lures

• Brown paper bags folded over, tied with ribbon and a burlap bow make for great serving bowls for snacks

• Sprinkle the center of the table with leaves and pine needles

• My great grandfather’s blanket from World War I as a table cloth

• Centerpiece floral arrangement, dried hygendra with a plume from ornamental grasses

Roasted turkey sandwich

Table setting and packed lunches ready to go

Homemade Trail Mix from Troyer's

Floral arrangement

Roasted Edamame

Country fried potato crisps with oregano

Boxed meals and Saranac Craft beer

Maple popcorn and birch bark place cards

Dried vegetable chips

Roasted Turkey sandwich

Drinks and cookies

Chocolate Italian cookies and banana bread

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