Filed under: Feast
I discovered a new recipe while waiting for my hair to process the other day. Not sure if they regularly feature recipes in Metropolitan Home or if this was a one-time summer thing, but was very glad that I had read just about every other magazine sitting on that shelf. This was a great find and this dish is great for summer entertaining. Something I love to do.
We have a full house this weekend (6 adults, 5 children and one dog to be exact) and I plan on whipping up a big batch of this for our Saturday night BBQ. I tested it out first the other night and I found my new summer salad .
Read on – test it out – and feel free to send me any comments or improvements. I have a feeling you can add just about anything to this and it would be good. And bonus for all you Martha Stewart types, it looks fantastic in the serving bowl. Don’t let the blueberries throw you off. . .they are the thrill.
Brown Rice and Veggie Salad
1 1/2 cups brown rice (rinsed)
3 cups corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 cup sliced scallion
1 cup diced celery
1 sm diced red pepper
2 cups blueberries
3 tbsp lemon juice
Cook rice and then rinse, set aside in bowl. Cook your corn and add a touch of sugar to the water to make it sweeter. Blanch corn and then add to your bowl with the rinsed rice. Add scallions, celery, peppers, 3/4 of your berries. Stir in EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper (use your judgement with the dressing). Add rest of berries to the top for garnish. Take a picture it looks that appealing.
I found my thrill on blueberry hill.
Filed under: Events
As many of you know, we have been casually looking for a new summer home, preferably one on the water or with water views. This weekend, we attended the wedding of a very good friend of ours from New York. The wedding took place in Nerwport, Rhode Island, and I think I just my have found the place to live happily ever after.
So this one is not really in our price range, but who wouldn’t want this as their backyard and it accomplishes not one, but both of our “water” criteria. It is on the water and clearly has amazing water views. Oh, the pretty blond in the long, white gown is my friend Tanya aka the bride. She honestly looked like she was starring in an Estee Lauder commercial. The setting, the dress, her hair (think Heidi Klum on the red carpet at the Oscars), and the two adorable flower girls. . . all real and all stunning. The tall, tan guy that she is gazing into the eyes of is Tanya’s new husband, Paul. Lucky devil. He is a genuine guy, a welcomed new friend and as you can see, completed the picture perfectly.
“Black tie optional” in the middle of the summer or anytime time for that matter is standard dress code here. Girls need no excuse to get all fancy pants, the guys on the other hand, hem and haw I think to make them feel more manly. This weekend was no exceptionfor us. I was so excited and Mike, well he was just being himself. Our weekend started by him accidentally dropping the car keys down the elevator shaft. Our spare car key is on the Cape. My parents had just picked up Grover and we had just packed up the elevator. The key fell in slow motion smack down to the bottom floor of our building. I have to say, I handled this very well. Did not yell, did not panic, did not really do anything but laugh. Luckily, the elevator company had a technician in the area (apparently they receive about 30 calls a day like ours) and had us on the road in honestly 15 minutes. Sorry Mike, you did not manage to escape getting all dressed up. And you clean up rather well. Note to me, sprawling lawns mean dynamite wedges. My heels and many others managed to irrigate the greens.
The wedding took place at Rosecliff, one of Newport’s historical mansions. I can only imagine what it was like to live in this era. And every house on Bellevue Avenue is just as opulent and just as majestic. Can you imagine the dinner parties these folks threw? And I am willing to bet the black tie was not optional. They must have been huge events and tons of fun. I mean these homes or rather mansions all had private ballrooms and the fireplaces are bigger than some boutique NYC hotel rooms I have stayed in. Take a look at the below photo of me and my friend Taryn (the two of us have absolutely zero fun together) standing in the fireplace to fully understand the concept. And we have on heels!
We arrived Friday afternoon just in time for late afternoon cocktails at the rooftop bar of the Viking Hotel. Later that night the groom’s parents hosted a cocktail party. The next day was gorgeous weather and everyone either went to the beach or strolled around the town. We explored the various neighborhoods on foot and remembered how much we really love Newport. We walked down the hill to Thames St., across to the marina and then back up to scout out a few of the bars we used to frequent. The Pelham, The Black PearI and The Landing are all still there. I have spent a lot of time there and have so many great and varied memories. One summer my college roomies and I rented a house. Another I spent with a friend I met at BC who was from the area. She lived in one of those ginormous homes on the sea and drove a bright yellow Ferrari Testerosa. And Mike and I used to go for weekends before we got our home on Cape Cod. Whether its ten girls in a two bedroom rental, a romantic weekend in a B & B or two girls out on the town in a hot car, the place is just simply magical. The combination of the sprawling lawns, the open sea, the wealth, the sailing and tennis traditions, the drifters and everything in between make up what the town is all about. It is truly like living in a fairy tale and any place with that much history is an amazing place to start a new life.
Congratulations Tanya and Paul. May you live happily ever after.
Filed under: Feast
This has been the summer of sangria. We have made batches of this delicious summer drink just about every weekend and have shared the recipes with various friends. Mike has become a pro and even bought a special container just for this purpose. This weekend he made a white sangria and it is my favorite. I don’t know if it just tasted so good because I was in dire need of it by the time I reached Cape Cod Friday evening or if it is just that refreshing and yummy. Read on for the story and the recipe and try a batch at your next dinner party.
My parents picked me up at my office Friday afternoon. It was hazy, hot and humid. And I was exhausted from my week of work and travel. My parents being the super parents they are, waited for me to head down to the Cape. Mom did not mind because it gave her an excuse to shop in the city and to quote her, she “scored some killer shoes.” My Dad just said that once again, I cost him.
We knew vacating the city anytime after 2PM was going to present a problem, but I had meetings and could not leave any earlier. We decided to just try it because we needed to get to the Cape in time for dinner. Mike was in charge of Friday night’s meal plan, which meant we were hosting another dinner at our house and he was the cook.
We took my Dad’s car which is a convertible. Guess who sat in the back? It is a little back seat and with all their bags, my bag, my paper bag full of corn and cukes (had to stop at Siena Farms at the Farmer’s Market), my house gift for another party we had Saturday night and this ginormous tree pole cutter that stretched from my Mom’s feet across the console and into the back left corner, there left little-to-no room for yours truly. Because I was deliriously tired and because I was being the mischievous daughter I always have been, I decided to stir things up a bit (no pun intended) and complain.
Joking of course, but let’s just say between the ridiculous traffic, the tree pole cutter, my car sickness, my Mom’s car sickness, my complaining and my Dad’s patience, we were all glad to arrive at Camp DiCarlo for a super meal (Mike had even set the outside table) and a big glass of the below.
2 btls dry white (or a white rioja)
3/4 cup Poire William (pear brandy)
3/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
1/2 cup triple sec
3/4 cup simple syrup
3/4 cup passion fruit puree
2 cups OJ
3 apples (green)
1 cup black berries
Add lots of ice and a shot of Fresca to your glass before pouring in the sangria
Note you can use any type of fruit you love. We have also added white peaches, green grapes, you name it. And have found we like the white sangria during the day or to serve with a lighter meal. The more traditional red sangria is great too – but try this with your meat entrees, heavier meals and when you want a little spicier drink. Then add your fruit accordingly. With the red, we added plums, apricots, and red grapes.
The container featured above can be found at Pottery Barn and bonus, has just gone on sale. We have only filled it with sangria to date, but I know it will come in handy for just about anything we make and drink poolside.
Filed under: Sanity
The three year anniversary of the death of our dog Griffin just passed. On July 9, 2005, our dog Griffin was killed. He was our first dog and brought us joy every single day. Mike got him for me after we saw the movie As Good As It Gets starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear and Verdell the Brussels Griffon Terrier. I fell in love right then and there and actually cried that I “needed” this dog. So for my 30th birthday, Mike presented me with the bestest gift ever. He gave me peace, love and hope.
Griffin was a spit fire right from the start. Smart as hell, easy to train, loyal and lovable, yet had his moments and so many idiosyncrasies. He loved to eat the Spanish moss out of our potted plants, he loved to chew, he was so melodramatic and went into a complete coughing/sneezing/clearing his throat tantrum when he didn’t get his way and he was very picky about who he liked and who he disliked. He loved Mike, he loved me (although I was definitely second to Mike), and he loved my parents. He was their Grand Dog and they treated him like a King.
He did not like kids. . .at all, he did not like our cleaning lady, and he basically did not like anyone else who came between us and him. And very like someone we know, he was high maintenance by choice. He was a happy pup that lived quite a life. Summers on Cape Cod, an apartment on the river in Back Bay, designer duds and private daycare service.
When Griffin was killed I wanted to get something to remember him. We did not get the chance to do a proper burial or anything so I really needed something that I could visit from time to time. We decided on a rosebush that we could plant in our yard and visit as much or as little as we wanted.
We finally found the right bush, although anyone else who saw it would not agree with us. This bush had only a few forgotten buds on it, the leaves looked like they had been eaten by bugs and the entire thing resembled Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. We bought it anyway.
I watered, fertilized, and talked to the Griffy Bush every day. On occasion it would appear to be doing better, but it never fully settled in to its new surroundings. It really was depressing. I found that because of this, I only grew more sad when going out back to visit “Griff”. Result was I did not do it as much.
Grover entered our life 3 months after Griffin exited. It took me a while to get adjusted and to fall in love with this little guy. But as you all know, I am completely head over heels. And he is definitely my dog. It’s almost as if he knew. I also have finally accepted the death of my first dog and have come to peace with the entire ordeal.
This summer, we kind of thought the bush was dead, but I would not allow the landscaper to remove it when cleaning out the flower beds. This photo was taken almost two weeks ago now. It is our Griffy bush. This season one perfect flower bloomed right before July 9th.
The bush still looks a bit under nourished, but it is fat with love. We picked it out three years ago from all the other flourishing rosebushes simply because of its variety and name.
Peace, Love and Hope.
Filed under: Fashion
I took another pilates class the morning of July 4. It was the only hour left in the studio’s schedule and I figured I would start my holiday off on the right foot. (This would give me justification for embibing a little too much wine later in the evening) My trainer told me that my core was strong (loved hearing this) and that I was perfectly proportioned (wasn’t so sure about this one). So did she mean my hips were as wide as my shoulders? Great, if I were trying out to be the new linebacker for the Pats. And I don’t recall reading this compliment in Us Weekly’s annual Hot Bikini Bodies. Hey check out that hottie. . .she has perfect proportions.
Then I really thought about it, and it is actually quite a great compliment. Our bodies should be perfectly proportioned. Otherwise we would be labeled as pear shaped, a Q-Tip, or worse yet, with upside down legs. Our clothes therefore should be perfectly proportioned too, right?
Not necessarily. Baby doll tops, skinny jeans, high waist pants, wide leg trousers, bootcuts, flats, fitted tanks and sweaters, straight legs, chunky heels, minis, maxis, pencil skirts, stilettos, a-lines and all the various hems. Each item mentioned speaks of volume or length, yet can be very limiting. When deciding on an outfit and unsure of what to wear with what, think how you would when finding a date. Good girl, bad guy. In other words, opposites attract.
Wear your flowy tops with skinny or straight jeans or short shorts. Slip on your more sophisticated tops or detailed blouses with pencil skirts and pair your tanks and fitted jackets with bootlegs or stovepipes. Add a great pair of flats, chunky heels or wedges to your short shorts, baby dolls and maxi dresses and leave the stilettos for the fuller legs and fitted skirts. Bootlegs are best with… well… boots, but they also look great with wedges and platforms. Skinny jeans look fierce with flats or ruched a bit with a narrow high heel. Don’t do minis with stilettos unless your office is a street corner and steer clear of tight tops with tight bottoms if you want to avoid the stuffed sausage look.
There, now you have pefect proportions too.
Filed under: Events
Today is Sunday, the last official day of my vacation and I spent it in front of my TV. Glued to the TV to give you the full description. I only left my position on the couch a few times, once to shower during the first rain break, a second to make lunch and a third to take Grover for a quick walk during the second rain break. There were a few other moments in which I multi-tasked (bathroom breaks, drink refills, sun checks, etc) but for the most part, my butt was planted in one spot for a full 4 hours and 48 minutes.
I think the mens’ finals was the best tennis I have ever watched. I found myself staring, adding commentary, screaming and even crying watching these five sets of Wimbledon. And for me to sit and stay in one place for that long is almost unheard of. I simply can not sit still. And I am not a fan of watching sports. If I am at the actual game then it is a different story (well except for baseball games, then I get bored after the third inning and like to box hop). But sitting home and watching someone else play a sport on TV is usually not my thing. I will do it – but it is more of a social experience and certainly not uninterrupted.
I called my Mom to check in with her and my Dad told me she was a “nervous wreck.” I talked to her again around 2:30PM and she told me she was still in her pajamas. She is a real Federer fan, but made a point to tell me they were both such gentlemen and she wished there did not have to be a winner.
I too wanted Federer to win again as defending champ, but have to admit there was a part of me pushing that buff 22 year old to dig just a little deeper and make this guy work for it. And that is exactly what Nadal did. Federer is still unbelievable, but when there is no competition it makes for a boring match. Not today. I wonder if this will change Federer’s #1 ranking? Let me say one thing, I saw this guy at Nobu in Miami last year and he looks as good off the court as he does on. He just has this presence that alludes champion. I know that has absolutely nothing to do with his athletic skills, but I had to mention it. The guy is handsome and looks fierce in a suit.
So whether they are ranked as number one or number two, both of these guys are kings in my book and captured and kept my attention for more than half the day.
Although I did not run, take a pilates class or do anything physical for that matter, today I witnessed an amazing display of athleticism for a full 4 hours and 48 minutes.
Now that was a work out.
Having a summer house means having house guests. We love sharing and entertaining at our home. And this past week has provided us with plenty of occasions to do both.
I can’t believe I have already been here and on vacation for an entire week. Usually, time starts to fly by after July 4, but this week traveled at light speed. Maybe it is because we have packed each day with various activities, thrown at least 3 dinner parties and hosted a few guests, one even of the four-legged variety.
Our guests (Maria, Susie and Stella the ballerina puppy) “checked in” Wednesday. That night we grilled home made sausage (my Mom brought them down from Dom’s) and peppers and made an absolutely delish penne margherita with the bestest pasta (Pasta Setaro – Torre Annunziata – Napoli) Maria brought us from her store. It was a fierce meal that we enjoyed with another batch of yummy sangria. The six of us dined outside in our courtyard and were then joined by an assortment of friends. The front door just kept opening and before I knew it, we were throwing a party with the music blaring and the sangria flowing. Stella pooped out earlier than the rest of us, but that’s my Grover right by her side. I think he was looking for a little action.
The next morning us girls took a long walk to the water with the two dogs. This was quite the sight. Both dogs are under 10 pounds so managed to walk about half of the way and then needed to be carried for the remainder. I guess my dream of running along the beach with my best furry pal is not going to happen.
We then took Maria and Susie to the famous Raw Bar for one of Bobby’s enormous lobster rolls (pictured above). It was a gorgeous day and sitting outside in the sun eating great seafood was a perfect way to spend our afternoon. What else would be a perfect thing to do? Shop of course. And after lunch, that is exactly what we three girlie girls did. Got to love summer sales and I truly believe a girl can never have enough tank tops or sundresses. Or at least I have said this so many times, I am now starting to believe my own crap.
Maria had to leave us later in the day (she was headed to ACK), but Susie, Mike and I went to the Ridge Club with my folks for their annual 4th (or in this case 3rd) of July BBQ and fireworks. The skies threatened a storm, but we never got a drop of rain and the fireworks went off without a hitch. It was a super show.
Today is July 4th and we are doing it all again. Although tonight we are going to a dinner party at a friend’s house making us the guests and giving me a little independence.
Happy 4th of July to all!
Filed under: Sanity
There is something about the summer that just makes you feel good and want to live well. The combination of farm fresh veggies and fruits, long runs in the fresh air, and an overdose of sunshine always puts me in a good mood, correction, great mood. Add a bottle of rosé and the perfect light and you have magic time.
Mike actually posted this photo and wrote about his version of “magic time” on his blog (you can link to it from my blogroll). It is very funny how girls and boys interpret and process things and situations so differently. Girls are all about feelings, and guys, well guys are just typical guys. It is what it is. In this case, Mike saw the perfect opportunity to hop out of our car to take the perfect shot in the perfect light. I viewed it as a chance to stop and analyze life.
We went for a long drive the other day in search of a new place to lay some roots. We have owned this summer house for 14 years (bought it the summer after we were married) and absolutely love our home, but yearn for the stereotypical beach house. This is both exciting and scary as I have become a true creature of habit and have so many memories here. However, after viewing some of the prospects and living our lifestyle the past 14 years, I have to say being neighbors with the waves and shacking up in a more secluded area is very appealing. And having this view as my front or backyard is just plain awesome.
Personally, I don’t think think this is a change in our immediate future, but we have started the process and it definitely is on the horizon (no pun intended). In the meantime, I wish we could bottle the feeling induced by summertime.
Imagine the fortune to be had by the person who somehow finds a way to create, stock, package and distribute to the masses the perfect recipe of:
- the casual dress code,
- the close the office at 2pm on Fridays,
- the feeling of salt and wind blown hair,
- the deliciousness of a great glass of rosé wine,
- the power of a cross court forehand,
- the freedom of driving with the top down,
- the freshness of an outdoor shower,
- the pride of a hole-in-one,
- the crispness of white pants,
- the continuous happy hour on some deck,
- the royalty of a waterview,
- just shucked oysters at a Raw Bar
- the romance of a beach stroll at dusk,
- the color of fresh flowers from the garden,
- the comfort of a faded tee shirt,
- the kids discovering fireflies in summer camp,
- the giddiness from frozen margaritas,
- the refreshment from a dip in the pool,
- the contagiousness of summer lovin’,
- the glow of a summer tan,
- the taste of fresh watermelon,
- the laziness of a beach day,
- the ease of a sundress and flip flops,
- the trip to the local farm for sweet corn,
- the thrill of a drive-in theatre,
- home made blueberry muffins,
- the simplicity of a tank top,
- an ice cold Stella,
- the perfect summer wedding,
- the taste of home made ice cream,
- the allure of a bronze goddess,
- the spirit of the 4th of July,
- the smell of dinner on the grill,
- the length of daylight
- and the limit of stress.
And what could we possibly call all of this? Welcome to Magic Time.
The first weekend of my summer vacation has passed. I have left my house all of about four times. Once to go on a long run, another time to venture to Williams Sonoma, a third time to go on a leisurely drive along the shore searching for something new and the last to go to pilates. It usually takes me about four or five days to fully unwind, but as soon as I cross that bridge, this socialite becomes a true homebody.
Dinner parties are common at our house during the summer. We love to eat al fresco and to entertain. Truth be told, I would personally rather stay home and cook dinner for my family and friends than go out, especially in the summer. My profession sometimes forces me to be out, to network and to make small talk. And please don’t get me wrong, when I am out, I thoroughly enjoy and fully embrace the scene. But when I have some free time, I easily transform into a barefoot in the kitchen, no make up on my face and sporting a no fuss outfit kind of girl. It does not matter that I have a fresh pedicure, a summer glow and actually spent time crafting my no fuss outfits. Point is, my body and mind are here. And there is just something about the informality of it all, that make it cool.
Dinner parties give you the chance to really talk to people you really want to, to eat great food and drink great wine. Saturday night was a perfect example of this. We invited Andy and Didi and Mark and Nancy over for my Mike’s homemade paella (featured above) and sangria (recipe compliments of Jessie at Sonsie). Andy brought over the most delish Spanish wine (Flor de Pingus 2003) and Nancy brought an assortment of cupcakes from the new bakery. We drank and ate like Basque kings and queens. And then retired to the pool house to enjoy one last glass of vino with our dessert.
The food, the wine and the company was all this homebody needed.