Tomato Week:: Two Bite Parmesan Crisps


These lovely little two-bite parmesan crisps are savory and salty with a crunch—perfect to serve with a chilled citrus-y glass of Prosecco or Rose. It’s a quick appetizer that uses parmesan cheese with a combination of tomatoes – tomato jam to be exact.

The tomato jam here is the star of the show, but you’ll love the addition of mozzarella and basil too. These bites make a great addition to any menu for a summer soiree.

Two Bite Parmesan Crisps
Makes about 32

For the Tomato Jam:
You will need:
– 3  tablespoons olive oil
– 1 garlic clove, chopped
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 4 large heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
– 3 tablespoons sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare:
Place ingredients into a medium pot over medium heat for 15 minutes, set aside to cool. This step may be done a couple days in advance, and placed in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use.

For the Parmesan Crisps:
You will need:
– 8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
– Place 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on a cookie sheet fitted with a silpat.
– Arrange the spoonfuls about 3 inches apart as they will spread to form round crisps.

To prepare:
Place in a 350 F degree oven for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool before assembling the appetizer.

To assemble:
– 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
– 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Place a dollop of  jam on top of the crisp, and add cubes of mozzarella and garnish with a basil leaf.

From my book Picture Perfect Parties RIzzoli NY


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Tomato Week:: Tomato Tart

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This week, I’m covering one of my favorite summer ingredients: tomatoes. Tomato season is on the horizon and will be here before we know it. Since it’s almost here, I thought this week would be the perfect time to share a few of my favorite tomato recipes.

Today it’s my recipe for my tomato tart. When shopping for tomatoes for this recipe, look for the heirloom variety. Truthfully, they’re probably best from your local farmer’s markets, but I’ve beautiful ones at specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods. Get a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes for the perfect tart. The uglier the better when it comes to heirlooms!

Tomato Tart
Serves 6-8

For the Crust:

You will need:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1/2 tablespoon salt
– 1/4 cups ice water

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Make crust in a food processor. Put flour in the bowl and add oil and salt. Pulse until pebble-sized crumbs appear, and as you pulse, add water through the chute until dough comes together.

Note: You may need to add a little more water to the dough – it should form a soft ball of dough. Set the dough aside and make the filling.

Note: This is a very fragile crust; handle it with care.

For the Filling:

You will need:
– 1 lb heirloom tomatoes (8 cups sliced)
– 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

To prepare:

Roll out the crust and place into a 9″ pie tin. Place the Parmesan on the bottom of the crust.

Toss the tomatoes with the shallots, basil, salt and olive oil and place into the pie crust.

Bake at 375F for 1 hour.

This tart can be served warm of at room temperature.

xx, Annette

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Mimi Thorisson’s Manger Workshop




As you read in the last post, Frank and I road tripped to Barcelona from Italy a couple weeks ago. I wanted to take Mimi Thorisson’s Manger Workshop. Quite frankly, I was not sure how this was going to work out since at the time of the workshop, Mimi was 9 months pregnant. But she assured me that most of the time, her children arrived late, so she was pretty sure it would all be fine. And she was right; it was more than fine. Tucked into a little village in Medoc, France, you will find Mimi and her husband, Oddur and their (now) 7 children. It’s a picture perfect home with a picture perfect family living inside. It’s a curated dream; every corner is a photo op, and every person is beautiful. Even more amazing is that Mimi and Oddur are sincere, lovely, sweet, inviting, and engaging people. They are wonderful.




One thing that no one mentions is that Oddur is a key component in the Manger workshop. He’s the wine guy, and master of ceremonies, and he’s superb at it. They are truly a dream team. Even the children play an integral part in the experience. They are just adorable, personable, and polite.



Our group was 7 ladies from all over. Mostly Americans with the exception of a lovely lady from Paris (via Spain). Mimi explained that the workshop is rather casual; she likes to make you feel like it’s a group of friends gathering around her kitchen table. She showed us how to make the perfect asparagus souffle, and it was delicious. Oddur popped in checking on the progress of lunch as he and the children set the table. Mimi has one assistant, Allegra. She’s from Italy and was helpful and informative as well.

We spent a beautiful 4 days watching Mimi prepare her French cuisine, her other specialties, and showing us her tricks of the trade. Oddur conducted countless wine tastings and regaled us with stories of the region and local characters. He is super entertaining. It was a delightful experience in a part of France we may never have visited, and I am so happy we did.

As of this post, Mimi and Oddur most likely have welcomed their 7th child. Big Congrats, and I hope to see them again…maybe this time in Italy.


xx, Annette

photos via: me


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Beet Goat Cheese Salad with Lime & Thyme Dressing


I love beets and thyme, and this recipe for beet goat cheese salad combines both of my favorite flavors. It’s so amazing the variety of beets that are found in the market these days.

The above photograph of beets is from my style + workshop partner and photography instructor Helen Norman ‘s farm. Make sure you head over to the Maryland Style+Photo Workshop page to sign up to be taught by Helen, one of the best in the business. We will forage and style from Starbright Farm to create the most gorgeous imagery. Sign up before all the spots are gone. These tend to sell out fast. I can’t wait!

Try this salad, and let me know how you like it in the comments section below. How do you like preparing your beets?

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Thyme/Lime Dressing
Serves 6-8

You will need:
– 6 large red beets, roasted
– 8 tablespoons plain goat cheese
– 6 cups arugula

To prepare beets:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roast beets in skin in the oven for 45 minutes

Let the beets cool, then peel the beets and slice into ½ inch disks

* I use gloves or a knife and fork to peel my beets; it’s much less messy this way.


You will need:
– ¼ cup lime olive oil like O&CO
– ¼ cup lime juice
– ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
– 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
– 3 tablespoons fresh Thyme leaves
– 1 teaspoon lime zest

To prepare salad: 

Place all dressing ingredients in a small lidded jar, close the lid and shake until combined

Assembly of the salad: Arrange beets on platter or a plate on top of arugula, dollop with teaspoons of goat cheese, pour dressing over the salad.

Photo Credit : Helen Norman (Maryland Starbright Farm Style + Photo Workshop Photography instructor)


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Fete du Citron


One of the things I love most about living on the Italian Riviera is that we are so close to France. One of my favorite little sea side towns is about 45 minutes away, Menton.

I have written about Menton before, because it’s the home of my favorite flea market.

Recently, I met my friend food blogger and photographer, Jennifer who lives there for the Fete du Citron, a festival of Lemons, held every year mid February, This year it took place from February 13th – March 2nd. It was the 83rd annual Fete although Jennifer tells me that these amazing themed displays have only been part of the festival for about 20 years. This year, the theme was Italian Cinema, so of course you know how much I adore La Dolce Vita, and yes there was an actual display of La Dolce Vita the movie complete with the Trevi Fountain out of lemons and oranges. A truly insane display and extremely entertaining.



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Citrus stands dot the city, and I got to try all types of citrus including a citrus fruit that was new to me. In French Cédrat, when cut the center, reveals a large mild pith and a small area of actual lemon fruit.



Sliced thin, it has a mild and fragrant citrus taste. Jennifer told me to slice the cédrat thin and drizzle with Olive oil and sprinkled with salt. I have to admit it sounded like a weird combination, but of course I tried it that evening, and it was delicious. The fruit has the consistency of an apple with a light crunch, so it holds up to the oil and salt. I love it when I find new food, and this was a surprise for sure. Thanks to Jennifer for giving me her tour of Menton, a place she loves and lives in.

xx, Annette


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