Tag Archives: parties

Summer Delicacy:: Fried Squash Blossoms

2014-06-01_15-11-28

2014-06-01_15-11-58

This time of year squash blossoms are everywhere in our La Fortezza veggie garden. For the past few weeks, we’ve been picking these delicate flowers and whipping up batches of fried squash blossoms.

Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 11.33.00 AM Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 11.33.27 AM

The recipe for fried squash blossoms is from my book,  Picture Perfect Parties (Rizzoli). It’s one of my favorite summer staples. You will adore this recipe. The exquisite flavors and crisp texture will make you swoon. You will be planting squash in your garden every year just to yield this cheese-filled treat. Trust me.

Ricotta Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms
Serves 6-8

You will need:

– 12 to 16 large zucchini squash blossoms
– About 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
– 1 cup whole-milk ricotta (preferably fresh)
– 1 large egg yolk
– 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
– 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
– 1 egg
– 3/4 cup chilled seltzer or club soda
– 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
– Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

– 1 cup whole-milk ricotta (preferably fresh)
– 1 large egg yolk
– 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
– 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
– ½ teaspoon salt

For the batter:

Note* you can make the batter a couple hours before and set aside.

– 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
– 1 egg
– 3/4 cup chilled seltzer or club soda
– 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon pepper

To prepare:

Filling the blossoms:

Dry the squash blossoms with a paper towel, do not wash them under the tap, wash them in a bowl of water.

Carefully make a small opening in the top of each blossom. Using a piping bag or plastic bag with a hole cut into the bottom, pipe the filling into the opening filling about half way up the flower. Close end and gently twist flower closed.

Store the stuffed blossoms in the fridge until you are ready to fry.

Frying the squash blossoms:

Heat oil. Test heat by dropping a few drops of the batter, if it crisps up you are ready to go. Dip stuffed blossoms into the batter with a small tongs then drop them carefully into the oil.

Fry the blossoms until crisp and place on a paper towel to drain.  Serve immediately.

 

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewelleyn & moi

All behind the scenes Cocktail Italiano cooking dinner party Entertaining Florals Food styling Instagram italian cooking italian riviera italy Notes from Italy Picture Perfect Parties Recipes The Fortress Uncategorized vegatarian food : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

La Fortezza Artist in Residence Art Opening Party

fullsizeoutput_68c3 5F5E9E38-7815-4E97-9152-AB9596ABB1D8

As all of you know by now, in July we welcomed our first Artist in Residence at La Fortezza. Steve Mckenzie arrived on the first of July and diligently worked on his Lunigiana inspired exhibition, abstract mixed medium works called, Recollecting the Past, “Ricordando il Passato.” Steve was inspired by his time here in Italy. You can read all about where we traveled, and what we saw and collected, here.

All of this work and passion led to the opening night end of July. We had visitors from all over the world join us: the US, France, Greece, and England to name a few. We planned to celebrate on the expansive terrace with a quirky food truck, gelato cart, and an open bar. Steve meticulously hung his show with the assistance of our intern Adri; she helped him catalog and photograph his collection. He also painted special table runners. All plans for the opening party were planned with the utmost attention to detail. And all would be outside, especially with 65 rsvps, so we could enjoy the company of so many, and Steve could share his beautiful collection. The perfect plan….that was until all hell broke loose. What do they say about best laid plans?

SteveMacKenzie-081-72 fullsizeoutput_68cd

As a hostess, I know that perfection is only an idea, not a reality especially when it comes to throwing a party. So when the heavens opened up, and I mean an earthshaking lighting cracking thunderstorm that dumped tons of rain on us, at the exact hour that the opening was supposed to start. All I could do was laugh.

08EDADEC-7366-4732-BF97-E73D1B8742A8 5FF91A12-52F1-4868-9161-DB91D60E1E72 E38A67BE-9E43-4271-8A8D-802659E14681 oYtGyPPOTV2GEEDJAbmN9w QHiErGrCR7q0SzN%%gbDwg AC526767-37F6-4EA2-8DF6-E60BBF72FE26 95D25CDC-C538-4FD5-9A7F-DB7F4B2D09E1

We pulled everything into the studio. So many braved the weather to be with us, for which I was most grateful. We had a wonderful turn out and a wonderful party, including an after hours dance party. Sometimes what you imagined, turns out better than you hoped. We really had a wonderful time, and Steve and I were so happy with the opening party. It was also a great lesson in letting go for both Steve and I, and I am always amazed at the idea of a party can mean anything at anytime, even in the worst weather. All you need are great friends. We gathered with everyone as it pelted down rain, and we drank and ate and enjoyed gelato well into the night, surrounded by Steve’s beautiful artwork. What fun!

fullsizeoutput_68cc

Thank you to Steve who is as my husband says, a prince. And he’s right Steve is a stellar human, a great friend and such a talent. It was a pleasure to have him here every single day. He’s going to be a tough act to follow! x

If you’d like to purchase pieces from the show link here

Food Truck Photo Credit: Thomas England

All behind the scenes celebration dinner party Entertaining Events Instagram italy Meet the Team Notes from Italy Parties Party Accessories party tips Personal the art of a party The Fortress Travel Tuscany Uncategorized Workshops : Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Lavender Ice Cream

2015-08-24_20-05-34

You might have noticed in the recent blueberry pie post a certain yummy dollop on top: lavender ice cream. This recipe is from my first book, Picture Perfect Parties, and is absolutely divine.

If you haven’t cooked with lavender, it’s actually such a fun addition to many dishes.  Be sure to use culinary lavender for this recipe which can be found any number of places. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so spending a pinch more on a high-quality ingredient would be a good idea here.

I know you’ll love the floral notes paired with the blueberry pie. It’s truly a delightful and delicious flavor marriage!

 Lavender Ice Cream

You will need:
– 3 cups heavy cream
– 1 cup whole milk
– 2 tablespoons dried lavender
– 6 eggs + 2 yolks
– ½ cup sugar
-¼ tsp salt
– ¼ cup honey
– 1 teaspoon vanilla

To prepare:

Simmer cream, milk and lavender in a saucepan until milk is scalded about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat pour into a bowl and let lavender steep for 30 minutes.

Strain cooled lavender milk mixture back into the saucepan and bring back up to heat. In a bowl whisk egg and sugar, salt and vanilla until creamy. Pull the hot milk off heat and pour about ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking while pouring.

Pour warmed egg mixture into the sauce pan with hot milk and put back on heat (medium) simmer until custard is formed and coats the back of a metal spoon about 10-15 minutes.

Whisk in honey and place into fridge chill until very cold.

Put into an ice cream maker follow manufacturers instruction.

Place ice cream into low pan with plastic wrap on the bottom. Freeze until ready to serve.

Photo Credit : Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

4th of July All baking books celebration cookbook collection cooking dinner party Entertaining Food styling gardening italian cooking Personal Recipes spring desserts : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ice Cream Week:: Mascarpone Ice Cream

Mascarpone Ice Cream

I thought it was only appropriate that berry week be followed with ice cream week. Is there anything better than a tart or pie with ice cream? I think not. As you’ve seen on my Instagram, it’s been seriously hot this summer in Italy. As a result, there have been a lot of chilly desserts, like this one! More to come later this week.

xx

Savory Mascarpone Ice Cream
Serves 8

You will need:
– 2 cups whole milk
– 1 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
– 2 cups mascarpone
– Finely grated zest of 1 orange
– ½ teaspoon salt

*note if you wish to make this a sweet ice cream add 1/4 cup of sugar to the milk

To prepare:

In a small saucepan, whisk the milk and gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes. Warm the milk over medium heat, whisking until gelatin dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mascarpone and orange zest until smooth. Pour the ice cream base into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Pour the base into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scrape the ice cream into a container and freeze.

Enjoy!

4th of July All celebration cooking dinner party Entertaining Instagram italian cooking italy Notes from Italy Parties Recipes spring desserts : Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Recipe:: Hotdogs with Quick Pickled Veggies

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.20.15 PM Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.21.17 PM Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.20.04 PM

Happy 4th of July, everyone! It’s Nicole here, reporting live stateside while Annette is in Italy welcoming guests to the Artist in Residence program with Steve McKenzie.

Today is the 4th of July which if you’re new here, happens to be one of my favorite holidays. In the past, I’ve turned to Pinterest for cookout inspiration, but why turn to strangers when I have Annette’s expertise in my back pocket?!

As you’ve seen on the blog, Annette recently worked with King of Pops for an amazing summer cookout. One of the recipes featured in the spread sounded like the perfect meal for July 4th. After all, what’s more American than hot dogs?!

What intrigues me most about this recipe is the pickled vegetables. Pickles are one of my favorite foods, and topping a freshly grilled hot dog with them sounds divine.

We’re celebrating with friends and family and will definitely be having hotdogs on today’s menu. What’s on your grilling menu for today? I’d love to hear! Happy 4th of July!

Hot dogs with quick pickled veggies
Makes 5 pint jars

For pickling brine, you will need:
– 1 1⁄2 cups vinegar
– 1⁄2 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon salt

For veggies, you will need: 
– 2 cups thinly sliced radishes (about 2 bunches)
– 1 jalapeño cut in half lengthwise
– 2 cups thickly sliced jalapeños, about 8 to 12 peppers
– 3 cups shredded purple cabbage
– 1 teaspoon whole dry cloves
– 1 teaspoon dry juniper berries
– 2 cups red onion (about 1 large onion), sliced into rings about 1/8-inch thick
– 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
– 1 whole star anise
– 2 cups thickly sliced sweet peppers, about 8 small peppers
– 1 teaspoon whole dry coriander

To prepare:
Pack vegetable combinations into wide-mouth pint jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch of space at the top. Stir ingredients for brine into saucepan, and cook over high heat until boiling. Pour over prepared vegetables until covered. Let cool, then seal and refrigerate for 48 hours.

Use tongs to apply liberally to grilled hot dogs—or just munch them on their own. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

xo Nicole

Styling by Annette Joseph

Photography by Raftermen

 

4th of July All Atlanta Magazine Home behind the scenes celebration cooking dinner party Entertaining Food styling grilling Holiday party tips photostyling producing Recipes style lessons Styling Uncategorized : Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,