My Life in Photos, April

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.10.42 PM Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.08.06 PM

Can you believe that April is almost over? It’s been a busy month, but I’ve loved every second of it. April has been full of wrapping-up phase one of our Italian renovation, whipping-up spring recipes using veggies from my garden, and putting the finishing touches on book two.

I’m both exhausted and excited thinking about it all.

As most of you know, I adore Instagram. It’s truly a place where I can share all of my goings on with you. However, I know some of you like to visit the blog instead, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos from April with you here. There’s so much color, beauty, and of course, memories in these photos. Enjoy!

xx Annette

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.05.34 PM

Our master bath door waiting to be installed at our renovation.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.07.07 PM

Many people ask me how long it takes to put a book together. When I hand in the final manuscript plus all the photos, it will be 3 years.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.08.26 PM

How cute was Vivi as a puppy? We brought her home 5 years ago.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.07.35 PM

This torta pasqualina was featured on City Sage a few weeks ago.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.08.53 PM

Props, props, and more props for Cocktail Italiano.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 2.09.43 PM

That’s a wrap on photographing book 2! Love this mash-up of the wrap party for Picture Perfect Parties 5 years ago.

 

All before and after behind the scenes books celebration Decor Entertaining Food styling gardening Instagram italian cooking italy Personal photography photostyling renovation in italy Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Spring Recipes for a Crowd- Passover or Easter

Our family celebrates the holiday of Passover which is on Monday April 10th. Passover has a very specific menu. We are not allowed to eat leavened bread, we eat Matzoh. The story of Passover is an interesting one, and one that we recall at our dinner table on the night of Passover. Here’s a great dessert to make for your gathering this year… and it involves chocolate!

PotsDeCreme

Salted Chocolate Pots de Crème
Serves 6-8

You will need:
1 ½ cup whole milk
– 1/2 cup whipping cream
– 5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
– 1 teaspoon sea salt, or flake salt
– 6 large egg yolks
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 cup whipped cream for topping

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bring milk and cream just to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and salt; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Strain mixture into another bowl. Cool 10 minutes, skimming any foam from surface.

Divide custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Cover each with foil. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from water. Remove foil. Chill custards until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.) Top with whip cream, and serve.

Photo by Sarah Dorio

Styled by Moi

One of my favorite entertaining stories was for Atlanta Magazine’s Home. It was a Greek Easter party thrown by good friends every year, a party we always look forward to. Greek tradition calls for this sweet bread which makes a lovely and festive presentation. Imagine taking it somewhere for your Easter feast. Get all the recipes and the full feature here.

Passover begins on Monday and last through the following Monday (the day after Easter), and I have two great spring recipes for a crowd to share with you.

TSOUREKI (Easter Sweet Bread)
Serves 4 loaves

You will need:

– 7 cups Flour
– 3 quick rise yeast packets
– ½ cup warm water
– 1¾ cup sugar
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 Tablespoon mahlepi
– 1 teaspoon mastic
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 teaspoon lemon & orange zest (mixed)
– 5 eggs (room temperature)
– ½ cup hot milk
– 1 cup melted butter

Note : All ingredients should be warm or at the very least room temperature to help the dough rise faster.

Egg Wash for bread:
– 1 egg
– a few drops of vanilla
– 1 Tablespoon water
– ½ cup of sliced almonds

To Prepare:

  1. Mix warm water and yeast, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl put flour, make a whole with your hands in the center of the flour to put the sugar, zest, salt, spices and mix that your hands. Add hot milk and mix again with your hands. Once the dough is incorporated add eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Then add the yeast water mixture, your dough should be stringy when pulled apart.
  3. Next pour melted butter into the bowl one handful at a time and fold the dough (do not knead the dough). Pull and fold and pour in melted butter, repeat until you’ve used all the butter. Don’t worry if you see butter puddle around the edges, it will absorb as the dough rises.
  4. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap that it tucked down inside the bowl touching the dough. Then wrap the entire bowl in towels and place in a warm place for the dough to rise for about 2 hours. Once dough has risen, separate into 4 equal parts. Then separate each of the four parts into three pieces and roll the dough with your hands into approximately 14 inch long and about finger thickness.
  5. Braid the three long cylinder pieces just like you would braid hair. You will have 4 braids.
  6. Place each braid in a 12” round pan that has been lined with parchment paper and cover with towel, place in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes for dough to rise again.
  7. Once each of the braids have risen, prepare the egg wash. Beat the egg with water and vanilla then brush each of the braids, this will give the bread a beautiful shine.
  8. Place pans into a preheated 350° oven (2 at a time) and bake for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the dough, if you see it getting too brown, cover with foil until baked through.
  9. Once bread has cooled, cut out the center and place a hard boiled egg that has been dyed red sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Photo by: PATRICK HEAGNEY

Styled by Moi

xx Annette

All baking celebration chococlate cooking dinner party Entertaining Events Holiday Holiday Entertaining holiday recipes Holidays Parties Recipes spring desserts Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s Coming Up Cocktails:: My Favorite Spring Sips

What better way to usher in a new season than to welcome it with cocktails?! Since I am still busy wrapping up my second book, Cocktail Italiano, I have cocktails on my mind all the time. These two spring sips are two of my favorites. They’re oldies but goodies.

The first, the Rare Fellow, is like taking a sip of spring harvest especially with its jalapeno garnish. The second, a Blood Orange Margarita, will be your go-to for the season I am sure of it. Who doesn’t love a great margarita? Enjoy and happy spring!

xx Annette

These two spring sips are two of my favorites. The first is like taking a sip of spring harvest, and the second will be your go-to for the season.

The Rare Fellow
serves 1

You will need:
– 2 slices of jalapeno pepper ( + 1 slice for garnish)
– 1/2 inch slice of ginger peeled and grated on a microplane
– 2 oz. of fresh orange juice
– 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
– 1 oz. Martin Millers Gin
– 2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice ( or lemonade)

To prepare:
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger, orange juice and jalapeno slices. Add Triple Sec, Gin and lemon juice, along with ice, and shake until combined. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with a jalapeno slice. *Option – For a sweeter version, lemonade can be substituted for the lemon juice.

Photo: by Moi

These two spring sips are two of my favorites. The first is like taking a sip of spring harvest, and the second will be your go-to for the season.

Blood Orange Margaritas
serves 4
You will need:

– 1 cup (8 oz.) freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 7-8 oranges)
– ½ cup (4 oz.) freshly squeezed lime juice
– ¾ cup (6 oz.) tequila
– ½ cup (4 oz.) orange liqueur
– ¼ cup (2 oz.) simple syrup
– Blood orange slices, for garnish

To prepare:

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir well to combine.  Pour into chilled glasses over ice. Garnish with a slice of blood orange, if desired.  Serve.

Photo by:  Annie Eats

All celebration Cocktail of the Week Cocktails dinner party Entertaining Gin Gin Cocktail mixology Parties Recipes Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fortress:: a renovation update from Italy

Ciao! As many of you know, I have been hopping back and forth from the US to Italy while we are closing in on our deadline for our renovation.

This renovation has been in over drive since November 14, 2016. It’s completion date is April 30th. Whatever you have heard about building and renovating in Italy, in this case I would throw it out the window. Our team in Italy has been amazing…no really really amazing. I am gobsmacked how quickly and efficiently this mammoth project is coming along. Granted we still have phase 2 which will commence in May.

I will say, we could not have done it without our designer/project manager extraordinaire Forrest and our Geometra Marco.

I have been hopping back and forth from the US to Italy while we are closing in on our renovation deadline, and today I have a renovation update for you. *Pictured here is the Terracotta finished, and the hand-painted vintage tiles from the 70s will be placed on the banquette as the kick-plate all the way around.

Last week: The new terrace tiles were laid, and I met with the blacksmith to design custom railings and a gate. We also met with a stone mason about marble counters, and stone seating for the wrap around banquette. I can hardly wait to enjoy aperitivo on the terrace with family and friends.

The terracotta tiles will be laid on all the walkways and in the studio space, as well as in the guest quarters’ out building.

Renovation update: our kitchen This is where the Lacanche stove will be, I adore the vintage pale red and greyish creamy checked tiles.

We observed the completion of the bones of the new kitchen. We took out a tiny pantry and bathroom to expand the kitchen, and when finished it will have 2 refrigerators, 2 dishwashers, 1 Lacanche stove and 2 vintage marble sinks. It will also feature vintage tiles, an antique larder, handmade lighting and plumbing fixtures, metal shelves, Carrara marble counters and back splashes, and plenty of copper. Not to mention nonstop sunlight with 3 windows covering all exposures. Needless to say, I am thrilled and excited to start cooking in my new kitchen.

kitchen before Kitchen Before kitchen after Kitchen expanded (hint: the sink is still in the same place)

It was a crazy week, and it went by in the blink of an eye. I’m back for the summer May 4th, so be sure check out my instagram stories; it is going to be a crazy ride to the completion and the finished styling of our spaces.

Grazie tutti xx

All before and after behind the scenes Decor dream home Instagram interior design italy Notes from Italy Personal photography renovation in italy The Fortress Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fortress, Great Press, and More: It’s the Top 4

I know that keeping up with your favorite blogs can be hard. Everyone is busy, and we all are constantly going here and there. Sitting down for some “me” time to catch-up on blogs can be challenging. That’s why this month, I’m starting something new: the top four.

I’ve taken a look at my favorite posts for the month (and yours!) and have rounded them up into one post. You’ll be able to see the best of what March had to offer without having to search through posts on your own. Fun, right?

Top 4 for March:

Hot off the Press: AJS Workshops are Making Headlines

Mood Board for La Fortrezza Decor

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

My Go-To Boots: Spring Wardrobe Update

Let me know if there are any other posts you loved. I always like hearing from you!

xx Annette

All behind the scenes cooking Crushing On Decor Design Inspiration home furnishings interior design italy my picks Recipes The Fortress Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,