A Patriotic Tablescape for July 4th

While we won’t be celebrating the fourth of July in the traditional sense in Italy, I know many of you are gearing-up for a few days of festive fun at home. Whether you’re planning a cook-out at your house or headed to a friend’s home, I wanted to give you a bit of July 4th inspiration.

A few years ago, I created a patriotic tablescape for guests. I used red, white, and blue of course, but I also added a few pops of silver. The silver streamers add the cutest fourth of July flare and mimic sparklers.

The video above covers a few of my other favorite ideas for setting a great table as well as some tips for keeping drinks in order and some ideas for nibbles and treats too. Take a look and let me know what your 4th of July plans are in the comments!

xx Annette

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

Gift guides are always one of my favorite posts to write, but this one for Mother’s Day might be the most fun. I had a blast rounding-up items that not only I would enjoy receiving, but I thought you might like to receive as well. Dads and kids, use this list as a guide for choosing the perfect gifts for the moms in your life. Moms, feel free to pass this post along to anyone you think could use a little push.

This year’s guide includes everything from books to chic summer accessories. Some of the items would even pair nicely together for one amazing Mother’s Day gift. Let me know what items are on your wish list in the comments. Who knows? Maybe I need what you want!

MothersDay2018

Onyx Magnetic Mask: I use this, and it’s amazing.

Gucci Belt Bag: Talk about a fanny-pack improvement.

Hermes Cleansing Gel

Gucci Sunglasses

Hermes Silk Scarf: I’ve been eying this for months!

Anthro Passport Holder

Zara Straw Bag

Beaded Keychain: Pair this with the bag above for a fun present

Italian Workshop Gift Card: I think mom would love to join us in Italy, don’t you?

Cocktail Italiano

Smith & Cult Nail Polish

xx Annette

 

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Ricotta Spinach Quiche for Easter Brunch

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With Passover starting later this week and Easter being on Sunday, I thought this Ricotta Spinach Quiche would be a fabulous recipe for today’s blog post. Not only is this recipe something that you can easily bake ahead, it’s a beautiful presentation filled with vibrant colors for spring. Prepare it completely and then bake it at your destination, or pop it in the oven just before your guests arrive.

One note: if you don’t have time for making your own crust (which I highly recommend, but I know life happens), a frozen crust works just fine. Just check out the crust directions before you get started.

*note for passover just leave off the crust, the Quiche will be more like a frittata, which is fine.

Ricotta Spinach Quiche
Serves 8

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Note: If you’re using store bought crust, skip the directions for Pate Brisee. 

For Pate Brisee:

You will need:
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 1 stick butter chilled and cut into cubes
– ½ teaspoon salt
– ¼ to ½ cup ice water

To prepare:

Place flour, sugar, butter, and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a mixing blade. Mix on medium until small crumbs form, add ice water until the dough pulls together and away from the side of the bowl.

The dough should be a soft consistency.

Place dough in the fridge to rest.

For the Filling:

You will need:
– 6 eggs
– 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
– 4 cups of fresh spinach
– 1/4 sliced red onion
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup of cubed speck ham
– 1 cup cubed buffalo mozzerella
– 1 Pate Brisee (recipe below)

To prepare:

Whisk eggs in a large bowl, add ricotta cheese, mozzerella cheese, and salt, set aside.

In a frying pan, add the speck ham and saute for 10 minutes until the ham becomes crispy. Pour off any excess fat and set aside.

In a saute pan, add olive oil and saute spinach and onion until spinach is wilted, about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Once the spinach is cooled, in batches squeeze the excess liquid in your hands into the sink. Place into the bowl of eggs and cheeses, add speck, and combine completely. Your filling should be green.

Roll out the Pate Brisee into a disk, and fit into a 9 inch quiche pan, add the filling. You may also blind bake the crust if you wish; it’s definitely an option.

Bake for 45-50 minutes in a 375 degree F oven.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

xx Annette

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Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day with Kiwi Pavlovas

It's fun to dream-up green foods for St. Patrick's Day. These kiwi pavlovas are a cute and simple way to celebrate.

Happy March! St. Patrick’s Day is this month, and while you know I’m an Italian girl, the truth is, I’m a party girl at heart. I love any excuse to celebrate! Plus, it’s fun to dream-up green foods for St. Patrick’s Day.

I’m not one for green beer, but give me some green fruits or veggies any day. These kiwi pavlovas are a cute and simple way to celebrate. Pavlovas can seem intimidating, but I promise this recipe is foolproof. Let me know if you give it a try!

Kiwi Pavlovas 
serves 8-10

For the Meringues:
makes 36 meringues

You will need: 
– ¼ cup cornstarch
– 1 tablespoon white vinegar
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 2 ½ cups sugar
– 8 egg whites room temperature

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to  225 degrees F

In the bowl of a standing mixer (with a whisk attachment), place sugar and egg whites on low speed until combined, raise speed to high, beat until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl mix cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the cornstarch mixture to the mixer and beat until glossy.

With a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, pipe meringue on to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Pipe 3 inch round swirls. Bake for 45 minutes on 225 degrees F. Let cool.

For the Kiwi Sauce:

You will need:
– 4 kiwis, peeled and cubed
– 1/2 cup of sugar
– 1/2 cup of water

To prepare:
Place all of the ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. With a handheld blender combine sauce until smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve in to a small bowl and press with a spoon. Place sauce into the the fridge for an hour until chilled.

For the Pavlova Garnish:

You will need:
– 4 kiwis cut into 1/2 inch cubes
– 16 small mint leaves for garnish
– 4 cups of whip cream

To assemble Kiwi Pavlovas:

Place 1/4 cup of whip cream on a plate, add 2 Meringues, top with 4 tablespoons of kiwi, drizzle with sauce, garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

xx Annette

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Galentine’s Day Cocktail: Pink Mimosa

mimosa

Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope coined the term “Galentine’s Day” eight years ago, and ever since it’s become just as much a part of Valentine’s Day traditions as chocolates. A few years ago, I teamed-up with a few of my favorite gals for a Galentine’s Day brunch full of festive fun and of course, lots of pink.

drank

One of my favorite results of that party was a new twist on a classic drink: the pink mimosa. Made with pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, and bubbly, this pink mimosa is perfectly ladylike, but I’m sure guys will love it too.

Let me know if you give it a try for Galentine’s Day, or any other event coming up this spring.

Cheers!

xx, Annette

Grapefruit and Pomegranate Mimosas
Serves 6
You will need:

– ½ cup granulated sugar
– ½ cup water
– 2 cups grapefruit juice*
– 1 cup pomegranate juice – such as POM
– 1 bottle Rose Champagne, well chilled
– Pomegranate arils to garnish

To prepare:

Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat – until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Refrigerate until cold – at least 2 hours. Combine the simple syrup, grapefruit juice, and pomegranate juice in a large pitcher and chill for at least 1 hour.

Combine 2 ounces of the grapefruit mixture with 4 ounces of the chilled rose in a champagne flute. Garnish with a few pomegranate arils.

*Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice is simply stunning in this festive take on a traditional mimosa, but for a time-saver look for fresh squeezed grapefruit juice in the produce section of your local market.

Photography by Lesley Graham
Recipes Meghan Splawn

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