My Life in Photos, April

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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

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

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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.

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

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

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Props, props, and more props for Cocktail Italiano.

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

 

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Spring Gardening Tips & Tricks

Today I'm discussing spring gardening tips and tricks. I've been scouring my favorite publications, and I thought I'd share what I've been learning.

Hi Everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s web-manager. I am back today to discuss spring gardening tips and tricks. When Annette talks about the fruits and vegetables she grows in her garden, I am always inspired. So, this year my husband and I are getting a head start on a garden of our own.

We actually pulled out the Farmer’s Almanac and did quite a bit of research about not only what grows in the spring, but what grows in Georgia. So far, we’re set on planting okra, peppers, and squash (mostly so I can make stuffed squash blossoms).

Today I'm discussing spring gardening tips and tricks. I've been scouring my favorite publications, and I thought I'd share what I've been learning.

I’ve been scouring Pinterest along with some of my favorite publications, and I thought I would share a little bit about what I’ve been learning about spring gardening. Consider this post a great starter resource that combines Martha’s knowledge with Real Simple’s ease.

Today I'm discussing spring gardening tips and tricks. I've been scouring my favorite publications, and I thought I'd share what I've been learning.

Tips and Tricks for Spring Gardening

  1. You can start planting carrots, radishes, and spinach now without worrying about that last lingering frost. Apparently these veggies can withstand light freezing temperatures, but make sure to cover them if it gets too cool out.
  2. Spring is also a great time to plant potatoes. They might be a fun item to plant around St. Patrick’s Day! I love red potatoes, and I am already dreaming of whipping up Annette’s Ligurian Pesto Pasta with green beans and red potatoes.
  3. At home soil tests can tell you a lot about what you’re working with. Martha recommends taking several samples and then using your discoveries to apply different fertilizers.
  4. Remember your zone. It will help you know when and what to plant.
  5. Don’t forget to prep your garden tools and gloves. Besides actually locating them all, remember to clean them all. You can use soap and water and give them a good scrub. Toss those old garden gloves in the washing machine, or simply buy new ones all together.

Is anyone out there a master gardener? I would love to hear your tips!

xo, Nicole

Images by Deborah Whitlaw Llewelleyn & Annette Joseph

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Starbright Farm Maryland Style + Photo Workshop

Maryland Workshop

When I asked my dear friend and talented photographer Helen Norman if we could do a workshop together at her farm, Starbright Farm, imagine my joy when she said YES without any hesitation.

Starbright Farm, is a magical location. Helen and her family have lived there for close to 20 years. This stellar place is located outside of Baltimore. We decided that the end of September would be the perfect time to teach and photograph all over the property.

We could not ask for more ideal weather. This farm to forage workshop was amazing as all the food and the props were locally sourced. In fact, they were all picked right outside the door of the picture perfect barn where all the styling and photography lessons were conducted.

Maryland Workshop

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Our group, as always, had the most interesting people in attendance. I am often asked who attends my workshops. This time we had a fine art still life painter, a chef, an interior designer, from Wyoming an artisan manufacturer, an small boutique owner, a lifestyle blogger, a photography student, and serious hobbyist photographer that was an ex-CEO of one of America’s major corporations from California. Everyone was delightful and by the end of the weekend, we were all good friends. Honestly the best thing about my workshops for me are the new friendships formed, for attendees and for me.

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We had gorgeous vegetables to work with. Helen has a veggie farm as does her brother right down the road, One Straw Farm, one of the nation’s first organic farms. We were able to pick everything right from the garden for our shoots. Truly a fantasy for a prop / food stylist.

img_3167-690x518 img_3162-e1474978561445 img_3163-e1474978577846 We had a Farm to Table dinner to welcome attendees on Friday night prepared by Chef Denny from James Beard Award Winning, Woodberry Kitchen. Needless to say it was spectacular!

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Maryland Workshop

Thank you to all of our attendees for making the weekend so special for me. Helen, you are the best, and such a gracious hostess and an amazing photographer and teacher. Thanks to FJ who I met when he was Helen’s assistant many years ago. Although you no longer work side by side, it was fun having you join us and offer your vast technical knowledge and support.

Maryland Workshop

Starbright Farm is a gorgeous location; make sure to watch their progress as it will soon become the “it” location for weddings and events. Fingers crossed Helen will have me back again for another Style + Photo Workshop…maybe in the spring?

Maryland Workshop

Until then follow Starbright Farm and Helen on her adventures.

Join me in Italy, too. Helen will be teaching a Workshop in June 2017 at the Fortress in Tuscany. Come along… what are you waiting for?

xx

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Summer Pitsou Soup

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I’m a big fan of soup. Yes, even in the summer. Because of all of the readily available, delicious summer veggies, summer pistou soup can really be dare I say, even better than winter soup. I love to add summer vegetables like sweet peas, sweet onions, fresh corn, and zucchini. Adding Pistou to this soup makes it a summery treat.

Easy to make and easy to serve; my kind of meal!

Summer Pitsou Soup 

You will need: 

– 1 large onion, chopped
– 6 garlic cloves, minced
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 1 lb small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
– 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
– 1 lb kale, cut into ribbons
– 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
– 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, in juice
– 1 15 oz can of kidney beans
– 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 cup thin spaghetti broken into 1 inch pieces
– 10 cups vegetable stock

To prepare:

Using a heavy pot, saute onion and garlic until transparent. Add vegetables and saute for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and stock. Add thyme and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat for about 2 hours. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with a dollop of pistou on top of each bowl.

For Pistou:

– 3 garlic cloves
– 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To prepare: 

Finely chop garlic in processor. Add basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process until basil is finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. With machine running, gradually blend in oil. Add cheese; process to blend well. Transfer to bowl. *Can be made 2 days ahead , store in a sealed container and refrigerate.

Enjoy xx

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Easy Appetizer:: Eggplant Camponata

 

If you planted eggplant this year, I am sure your garden is absolutely brimming with them. If it is, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you: Eggplant Camponata. Camponata is one of my favorite, stand by appetizers. It’s creamy, spicy, salty, and of course, eggplant-y. It’s divine.

I like to serve mine with thin crackers or flatbread, along with arugula and grape tomatoes. Plate it all with a touch of grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of the best olive oil you have. Enjoy!

Eggplant Camponata

You will need:

– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 small red onion, finely chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or coarsely chopped
– 4 cups of cubed eggplant, skin on (1″ cubes)
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1 cup chopped fresh basil
– 1/4 cup capers
– 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1/2 cup tomato sauce (from a jar is fine, unless you have homemade hanging around)
– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper to taste
– Parmesan cheese for garnish
– Crispy crackers for flat bread.

To prepare:

In a large pan, saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add all other ingredients, except Parmesan cheese. Cover and stir frequently, so camponata does not stick. Saute on low heat until combined and soft, about 30-40 minutes.

Serve as a warm appetizer on crisp crackers and plate with arugula and tomatoes. Enjoy alongside cold white or sparkling wine with friends.

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