Blue Lagoon

September 6, 2011

Our first stop in Iceland was to the famous Blue Lagoon for a spa day. In a dream-like setting, you can’t get more relaxing than bathing in their natural geothermal pools, getting in-water massages and putting on mud masks from scooping up the natural minerals. For lunch, my friend and I tried out their restaurant’s buffet. Being in a country known for their seafood, we sampled a variety of dishes ranging from minke whale sashimi to herring and dill cured salmon before heading back to the pools for more relaxation.

Minke whale sashimi and the spa's natural geothermal seawater pools

Dill cured salmon

Skyr, an Icelandic-style yogurt

Salad

White pasta with chicken and carrots

Sushi of the day

Braised Cod

 

Herring

Dinner with Friends

September 1, 2011

My friend, Leslie, and partner in crime for dinner parties, recently took up a holistic health practice. With training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she’s ready to roll and the girl to call if you’re looking for a health coach. You can check out more of what she does at her website. Lucky for me, I got a preview of some of her meal plans last night. We had a great dinner with a few friends to catch up before we part ways with our holiday weekend travel plans. For apps we had curried lentil and pea dip, pita chips with sweet curry seasoning and spicy corn avocado salsa. As if we weren’t full enough from that, for dinner she brought out turkey meatballs, sprouted quinoa with golden raisins, sliced almonds and citrus vinaigrette, a spiced carrot, ginger and tofu soup, and a spinach salad with pineapple dressing and whole wheat croutons. Last but not least, prune and oat cookies for dessert. Of course the lovely floral arrangements for the table were created by Jess, using only the best farm fresh flowers from the Union Square flower market.

Sprouted quinoa

Pita chips with curried lentil and pea dip

Spiced soup and turkey meatballs

 

Turkey meatballs and quinoa

Jessica's floral arrangement

 

Soup with sage and corn avocado salsa

 

Pita chips and flowers

 

A Summer Spinach Salad

August 29, 2011

Spending a lot of time around the apartment this weekend in light of the rainy hurricane over the city, my roommate tossed together a fresh, organic salad consisting of spinach, apples, carrots, avocado, cherry tomatoes and sunflower seeds with a hummus dressing. For a healthy drink, she blended spinach, apples, celery and water into homemade juice. It’s always fun taking a search through the pantry, making the best of what you’ve got without even leaving your home and ending up with a successful meal.

Spinach Salad

Fruit & Veggie juice

A Summer Dinner Party

August 15, 2011

I’m excited to announce a new project for the blog. I’m going to host themed dinner parties for each of the four seasons throughout the course of the year, and share the menus, styling tips and of course photos with you. To kick-off the project, I invited 8 friends over for an al fresco summer dinner. I spent the morning grazing the farmer’s market and Zabar’s, my go-to specialty food store, for the ingredients, and my afternoon prepping the dishes and shooting.

The Menu…

• Drinks: Raspberry mint lemonade made by blending raspberries, peeled lemons, ice, sugar and mint until the consistency of a slushy and garnishing with dried hibiscus flowers

• Appetizers: Rosemary bread with sundried tomato tofu spread and prosciutto wrapped asparagus and breadsticks

• First Course: Martha’s tomato, cantaloupe and basil salad

• Second Course: Lemon grilled chicken, chopped onions, goat cheese and lettuce placed in tortillas molded and then baked into baskets with pesto pasta and a side of grilled vegetables

• Dessert: Chocolate mint brownies with whipped cream

Styling Tips…

•Scanning a page of my grandfather’s notebook from the 70’s and travel photos from my parent’s travels to Greece in the 80’s as the background for personalized menus

• Folding cloth napkins in an envelope style with the menu inside and tying it all together with twine-resembling yarn

• Using typewriter letter stamps and gold ink on ivory cardstock for name cards and clothespin it to the table runner

• Floral arrangement created by my friend, Jessica, who just completed the New York Botanical Garden Floral Design Intensive

• Vintage lanterns for centerpieces

• Mason jars with twine resembling yarn tied around them to hold the utensils and candles for lighting

Table setting & tomatoes

Menu & ingredients

Fresh pasta & Jessica's flower arrangement

Raspberry mint lemonade

Tomatoes & name cards

Asparagus & pesto

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus and breadsticks

Table setting and a cantaloupe, tomato and basil salad

Grilled chicken baskets, pesto pasta and prosciutto appetizers

Place setting and grilled chicken baskets


Newport Classics

August 5, 2011

Aside from the wonderful meals at Belle’s and Corner Café, here are some other highlights from Newport that I highly recommend if ever traveling through. We grabbed a late lunch at The Landing, and ended up staying there until sunset, which offered phenomenal views with an acoustic performance in the background and the bar becoming lively by evening. The Clarke Cooke House, also a popular destination, is just around the corner with four floors of various dining options. If you’re feeling ambitious, a stroll through the market at Aquidneck Lobster Co. provides plenty of options for a home-cooked meal, yet Barking Crab just up the road has delicious seafood prepared for you. As for drinks, it doesn’t get much better than Del’s Lemonade, a Rhode Island favorite, and their trucks are conveniently plotted around town for easy access.

If only I could go back again this weekend to do it all over again. Have a good one! x

Yellow tomatoes, feta cheese, asparagus and vinaigrette from The Landing

Salad at The Landing

Aquidneck Lobster Co.

Fresh fish at the Lobster Aquidneck Co.

Del's Lemonade

Spinach and artichoke dip at Barking Crab

Naked lobster roll at Barking Crab

Penne with chicken in a parmigiano cream reduction with mushrooms, tomato, basil, and toasted almonds at Clarke Cooke House

A Summer Solstice Salad

June 23, 2011

To celebrate the official start of summer, a couple friends and I threw together a salad with one of the season’s iconic fruits: watermelon. Tossing it with some feta cheese and fresh basil from the garden, and topping with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it’s a quick and light refreshing salad.

Feta, Watermelon & Basil

 

Salad