Tag Archives: family

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

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My Life in Photos, March

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you. This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

As you know, photography is a huge part of my life professionally.

I love teaching workshops about how to style and shoot images.

You can find some of my favorite images popping up a few times a day on my Instagram.

Did you know I have two accounts? You can follow me here and my workshops here.

In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my life through my photos.

This month is full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number 2. I hope you log on an follow along as I am a massive over-sharer. LOL

xx Annette

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

In my element. I’m so grateful for the harvest in my kitchen garden.

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

Our tub arrived from Marrakech and is the talk of the village!

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

Antique pavers being laid in the kitchen at the Fortress.

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

An extra large charcuterie platter and some cocktails with friends one weekend.

This month was full of renovations at The Fortress and working on book number two. Not only is this a fun walk through the month's memory lane for me, but it's interesting insight into photography for you.

Most March days were spent writing about drinks all day long. Cheers to book 2!

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Spicy Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Rice Bowl

Today’s recipe was created by Sydney, my son’s girlfriend. She is studying to be a dietitian at The University of Texas in Austin. You can imagine we have a lot in common. When I told her about Juice January, we had a long discussion about nutrition and the benefits of eating clean. Sydney and I wound up in the kitchen making lunch. Full disclosure, I had no idea how to prepare tofu. Sydney said she would show me how to make a cauliflower rice topped with curried tofu. Of course I took her up on her offer. We had a fun morning putting together this Spicy Cauliflower Rice bowl. What a perfect recipe to share during Juice January. Thanks Sydney for sharing this recipe; I finally feel like I know how to work with tofu.

Spicy Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Serves 2

Preheat oven to 375 F

You will need:
– 1 block of firm tofu
– 3 tablespoons of olive oil
– 1 cup carrots
– 4 cups cauliflower
– 1 1/2 cups snow peas
– 1/2 small onion finely diced
– 1 large garlic clove minced
– 1 tsp tumeric
– 1 tsp ginger
– 1/2  tsp ginger
– 1/2  tsp chili powder
– 1/2  tsp salt

To prepare:

To prepare tofu: Place tofu on a paper towel or dish towel, wrap and then place a heavy book on top of the tofu and press gently, Allow to drain liquid for 15 minutes. Set aside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In a food processor fitted with a blade, place cauliflower into the bowl and pulse until cauliflower becomes the consistency of rice.

Once the tofu is drained, cut into 1 inch cubes. In a medium frying pan, add oil and toss the tofu cubes with the curry powder and fry on both sides about 10 minutes. Place the cubes on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place into a 375F oven. Bake for 10 minutes until tofu is crispy. While the tofu bakes, in the same pan, saute the onion, garlic, carrots and snow peas, about 10 minutes. Set aside veggies and in the same pan, toss the cauliflower rice with spices and saute for 10 minutes until cauliflower is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

To Finish:

Place rice in a bowl top with tofu, veggies and serve.

Optional toppings*

*Fresh Basil
Sriracha

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House hunting in Italy:: Finally the one!

IMG_0040 The Medieval Fortress

As many of you have read over that last 3 years, Frank and I have been house hunting in Italy.

Although we loved living on the Italian Riviera for the last 10 years in our gorgeous flat, the truth is that we are ready for a little slower pace and a big chunk of land. We have been hunting all over northern Tuscany in a place called the Lunigiana. It’s a very quiet place full of mountain ranges and olive groves, chestnut trees, fruit orchards, and general greenness everywhere. We’ve had many ups and downs, trails and tribulations, and many disappointments over the last 3 years. Turns out buying property in Italy is the opposite of “Under the Tuscan Sun.” In fact, no bird shitting on my head could make the sale of a house go any smoother. It’s just a battle until the end. You have to be focused like a laser beam as a foreigner buying in this beautiful, and always complicated, place.

We’ve bought what once was a medieval fortress; it was a lookout tower in a land that had over 120 castles and kingdoms to protect. We found the fortress about 2 years ago; it’s on 27 acres with a working vineyard (yes we will have our own wine). This was one of the first properties I visited when I began our search. Since the time of my first visit, we visited at least 75 properties and had 3 properties we loved fall through. 3 years of solid searching brought us right back to one of the first I ever saw. I loved this house as soon as I saw it. With 3 outbuildings, a vineyard, a massive terrace, and a private living quarters for Frank and I, how did we not grab it at the get go?

But La Fortezza waited for us to come back and make a claim. Over the next 2 years, we will convert the Fortress into a Style + Photo Workshop location with 8 guest rooms, some with fireplaces, a commercial kitchen, guest lounge, a photo studio/meeting space in the insanely gorgeous barn, and enormous terrace to have breakfast lunch, aperitivo, and dinner, plus a swimming pool and kitchen garden. Our new home in Italy will be a perfect live/work situation.

You can be assured that I will be documenting the progress as we go. My BFF Forrest will be head designer and project manager. Forrest has lived in Italy for 30 years; he’s a local, and he knows the ropes. He’s renovated his 3 houses in the Lunigiana, and he and I worked on our flat together. He’s super talented and wonderful to work with. With a 30 year friendship in our pocket, we are good to go.

We hope to have the first Style + Photo Workshop there in late Spring, so make sure to check for updates on that.

In the meantime, we are over the moon to start this new project. I am working on a book about our Italian adventures called “Italy is my Boyfriend”; look for updates about that as well. I can’t wait to share all of this with you.

La fortezza

Our view!

Ciao xx

 

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Dear Alassio

Dear Alassio,

It’s been an amazing 10 years in your charming Italian seaside town. Frank and I have enjoyed entertaining friends and making new friends. But basically enjoying a very Riviera lifestyle that is sunny and bright, and full of sand, salty waves, and chilly cocktails.

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We loved showing our friends from the US how the Italians enjoy la dolce vita. We loved grabbing morning espresso and a sweet crispy brioche filled to the brim with warm apricot marmalade. We could not do without the salty, oily focaccia, and an abundance of fresh fish doused with local olive oil. The tender octopus and potato salad Ligurian style or the famous pesto slathered on trofie with tender green beans and potato. We will always love the charred and cheesy melted goodness of our local pizzeria.

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We will miss delving into the local crisp chilled white wines of the region, Verimentinos and Gavis. But mostly I will miss the seaside aperitivi everyday on the boardwalk. Where we consumed endless Aperol Spritz for years and noshed on potato chips and a variety of nibbles.

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Alassio, we loved hanging with you. You showed us how to slow down, enjoy nature’s beauty, and soak-in the abundance that is Italy. As we move to our next Italian chapter away from the sea and into the countryside, know that you will always be our first, and therefore have a special place in our hearts.

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We will be back to visit often; just know that we love you.

Love,

Annette and Frank xx

 

 

 

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