Author Archives: Nicole Letts

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

After years of leading  styling + photography workshops through Marrakech, I’ve developed a love of Moroccan spices. They are rich with flavor which makes them perfect for making otherwise plain dishes outstanding.  Villa Jerda‘s Harissa and Kefta rubs are must have items for any spice rack. They’re delicious and beautiful, too. Helpful hint: these would make great gifts this holiday season, too!

You’ll love how this cauliflower is absolutely transformed when tossed and baked with the Moroccan spices. It’s a delicious combination. Here’s the recipe, and I encourage you to read Villa Jerda’s blog for more amazing recipes using their spices!

xx Annette

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower
Serves 6

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

You will need:
– 1 head of cauliflower
– 2 teaspoons Harissa
– 1 teaspoon Kefta rub
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

To prepare:

In a large bowl combine the Harissa, Kefta rub and oil, and salt, stir to combine.

Break the cauliflower into pieces and toss into the spices, coat the pieces well.

Place into an oven proof roaster and place into the preheated oven for 1 hour until the cauliflower is fork tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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All about Apples for Autumn:: Apple Crisp

gluten free apple crisp

Apple season is here, and that means it’s time for apple anything and everything. I love anything apple, but baked apples are the my favorite in the fall. In Atlanta, we have access to amazing apples from north Georgia, and since apples are at their best during autumn, I try to use them as much as possible.

Full disclosure: I love this apple crisp dish for breakfast with a frothy cappuccino. It’s simply divine as an early morning treat! Another option is to serve it as an easy and quick last minute dessert with vanilla bean ice cream. Either way, just make sure you add this recipe to your must-bake list this fall.

Apple Crisp

You will need:

– 8 organic apples, cut into 2 “cubes
– 1 tablespoon gluten free flour like Cup 4 Cup
– 1 cup gluten free oatmeal
– 1 cup Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour
– 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
– 3/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons for apples
– 1 stick chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut apples into cubes and place them into a bowl. Toss with the 1 tablespoon flour and 2 tablespoons sugar, set aside.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, butter, and salt with your fingers or a fork.  Combine the until it becomes a mixture of large crumbs.

Place the apples in a ceramic,10½” x 7″, baking dish and cover with oat crumb mixture. Place dish in the oven on the middle rack for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until top is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.

To serve:

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream topping if desired.

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Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

veggiesoup

I love butternut squash soup, the creamy, buttery, nutty kind. However, I also enjoy soup with a little bite to it. Give me a veggie crunch just about any day. This hearty butternut squash soup gives you all the flavors of the season with some extra oomph from the vegetables. Feel free to swap any vegetables with what you have growing in your garden or what you find at your local markets. Or, simply prepare this soup as is.

I think this would be a great way to kick-off Halloween trick-or-treating in a few weeks too. Serve alongside a rustic baguette, and a spinach, apple, walnut salad with blue cheese crumbles and balsamic vinaigrette. YUM.

Hearty Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 8

You will need:

– 1 cup cubed butternut squash
– 1 cup rough chopped yellow onion
– 1 cup cubed carrots
– 1 cup cubed celery
– 1 cup cubed parsnips
– 1/2 cup cubed baby red potatoes
– 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
– 2 cups kale, shredded
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 15 oz can of white beans
– 1 quart organic vegetable stock
– salt and pepper

To prepare:

Peel and cube squash, onion, carrots, celery, parsnips, and red potato into 1 inch cubes.

Put the vegetables in a heavy cast iron pot, except the kale and white beans

Saute all the vegetables in the olive oil until they are soft and the onion is translucent (about 15 minutes).  Then add the kale, beans and stock, and stir until blended. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Simmer on low heat for 1 and 1/2 hours and serve.

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Using Trays to Style

One no-fail stylist secret is gathering things in mass on trays. It works in the living room on your coffee table, for home accessories, and even on the dining room table. It’s a universal stylist trick.  When I’m hunting flea markets and vintage shops, I’m always on the lookout for trays to add to my I prop stash. They’re just so versatile.

Trays make plating food simple and fabulous, and styling with them is a tool of the trade you’ll want to have in your repertoire. Next time you have a party to plan, look around the house for trays to repurpose. Think outside the box, and you will wow your guests.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to use trays:

For an unexpected centerpiece: Gathering guests around the table will never be a problem if you place a beautiful tray of bruschetta (or any other nibble!) in the center.

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For salad, beverages, and desserts: Try turning the tray upside down to use it as a riser on the table.

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For a beverages station: Gathering glasses for guests to help themselves always makes for a beautiful display.

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For entrees: Using a gorgeous wooden tray instead of a ceramic platter adds instant style to your table.

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Photography in order:

Deborah Whitlaw Llewelleyn

Jennifer Davick

Marte Marie Forsberg

Deborah Whitlaw Llewelleyn

Michael Graydon

 

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Layered Pumpkin Bundt Cake

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It’s officially fall which means it’s time for all things pumpkin. We’re kicking off the season with this layered pumpkin bundt cake. Creating a fall party is be fun and easy, and this is one of my favorite fall recipes to welcome the season. Add it to your fall party menu. You won’t be disappointed you did!

Layered Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Serves 12

For the cake, you will need: 

– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ground ginger
– 1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
– 1 cup canola oil
– 4 large eggs
– 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Note: 2 fluted bundt pans.

To prepare the cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter bundt pans; Butter and dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both sugars and oil until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporatedDivide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks, then turn cakes over on to a platter.

For the frosting, you will need:

– 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
– 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon dark rum
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
– 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To prepare the frosting: 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread).

For the chocolate icing, you will need:

– 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
– ½ cup cream

To prepare the chocolate icing:

In a small sauce pan heat chips and cream whisk until smooth.

To assemble the cake: 

Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, rounded side down, on platter. Spread the of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second pumpkin half. Drizzle with Chocolate icing using a fork in a zig zag splatter pattern.

Note – Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

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