Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

Evergreen Pesto


If you have basil planted in your garden I bet it is going O-F-F off right now.

Basil PotThis is what mine looked like until I gave it a hair cut to make my Evergreen Pesto.

Pesto IngredientsAll the traditional fixings- garlic, good parmesan, toasted pine nuts, good olive oil and lots of fresh basil leaves. Not pictured is my secret ingredient…. fresh SPINACH! I add tons of fresh spinach to my pesto and it keeps the basil from turning brown after it gets beat up in a food processor and exposed to earth, wind and fire. Yes even stays green when tossed with hot pasta.


Evergreen PestoEmerald green summer special sauce. I wish I had a blouse this color.


Pesto for the FreezerPS- it freezes beautifully


Evergreen Pesto

makes about 4 cups


½ cup toasted pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 ½  cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, tightly packed
zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup good quality Olive Oil (use a little more if you like a thinner consistency)
1 cup grated Parmesan
about 15 grinds of pepper
¾ tsp salt


Lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan or in a toaster oven until golden brown. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the toasted pine nuts and garlic until coarsely ground. Add the basil leaves, spinach and lemon juice and zest. Pulse until the leaves are broken down. Turn the machine on and add the olive oil in a slow stream until well incorporated. Add the Parmesan and black pepper and taste for seasoning. Add the salt last in case the Parmesan is salty enough on it’s own.






Atlantic Beach Trip 2012


A few beautiful snaps from our North Carolina beach vacation taken by Anjali

Looming clouds


BBQ buddies


Seared scallops over green bean-corn-tomato succotash with squished squash eaten on place mats OVER our in progress puzzle


Drew’s Grandmother teaches us how to make fried okra


toss cut okra with cornmeal


crisp it in a pan with vegetable oil and season with salt


another dinner eaten over the puzzle (it was a hard one ok)

The little yellow beach cottage

the boys cooked us a dinner


we heart NC


Capt. Kerk and the Mrs.


With longing for next year,





Beach Reads 2012



Hi Friends,

I’m headed to the outer banks of North Carolina for my annual beach vaca (picture G & T’s, squished squash and cobalt blue hydrangeas) and have loaded up my Kindle with new beach books. I thought I might share what’s on my reading list and what I have recently enjoyed. Sarah and I love hear what you all are reading, book worms unite!


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

On tap for this week… (a bit ambitious when you factor in G&T’s)
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst

Persuasion by Jane Austen (I have a tradition of rereading one Austen book on my vacations)

Recent Favorites…

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Freedom by Johnathan Franzen

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Any book by Ken Follett (especially Pillars of the Earth)

Any Pat Conroy but Beach Music is my fav (when in Rome…)


What have you been reading this summer?




Hot August Nights


If you get invited to a dinner that looks like this….


then you should wear something like this…



Right?! Hope your Monday involves a little lakeside candle light and white skinny jeans, at least in spirit.



Dinner Party Cooking Lesson


Had SO much fun last night doing a dinner party cooking lesson with some friends. The whole group decided on the menu and the hostess bought all the ingredients. The rest of us brought wine, cutting boards and knives. I talked the group through the steps to make each dish and then we shared a beautiful meal together. A prefect summer evening, this what I always hoped my 30’s would be like.

a well set table

nectarine, heirloom tomato, prosciutto and burrata salad artfully arranged by Ian


and the spinach risotto stirred with lots of love.



Here is the whole menu:


Nectarine, prosciutto and tomato salad with burrata cheese and mint

Grilled Steak and arugula salad with pine nuts, Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette

Fresh Spinach-Pesto Risotto

Affogato- vanilla gelato topped with hot espresso

Hope you have a chance to gather your friends and do something similar before summer slips away into a busy fall.


Elegant Outdoor Dinner Table


Hi friends, did you see our pretty outdoor breakfast table setting yesterday and on The Daily Meal? Today we are sharing the pictures of our dressy outdoor dinner table using the same basic pieces from our breakfast table (pottery, chargers, flatware and outdoor table and chairs.)

Outdoor Dinner Table

The BEST part of summer is dinning outdoors but it doesn’t always have to be casual BBQ red cups and disposable plates. En plein air dining with real plates, cloth napkins and the clink of nice glassware is a whole new level of summer dining. When I was young my mom would set a pretty table on our back porch a few times a summer and make a fresh pasta for dinner. It felt so special to break our everyday dinner routine and sit outside on a warm summer night.


outdoor table decor


Sarah and I set the table with her Pottery Barn Rattan chargers, wobbly edged Simon Pearce plates and bowls and stunning Match Pewter flatware. A Libeco runner connected the dinners across the table on a ribbon of flax linen and Tiffany candlesticks glittered in the setting sun.


Outdoor Dinner Table Close

Once the foundation was set we studded the table with magenta dahlias in simple mini milk jars turned vases and filled one remaining vase with fresh mint to keep things fresh and fuss-free. Our pièce de résistance were two crystal Saint Louis goblets from Sarah’s father.  He collects 2 beautiful goblets a year for her from his travels and presents them on Christmas morning. Her collection over the years has grown to to accommodate a Jane Austen sized dinner party at Lady Catherine’s house I believe. Such a lovely tradition.

Will you be toting your breakables outdoors this summer? We hope so!



Steamed White Fish Provencal

by Lydia Ellison
Steamed White Fish Provencal

Steamed White Fish Provencal

I created this dish for my first (and very dear) private chef clients, The Sloans, about 4 years ago and it became a staple in their house for entertaining because of the beautiful presentation of the fish in the parchment packets. I always make this for new clients the first week of service because it wins everyone over and is fool proof! Coincidentally, Sarah and I both served this dish at separate dinner parties last month and we both paired it with steamed black rice... we really do share a food brain.

Steamed White Fish Provencal

serves 4

4 white fish fillets (Tilapia or Halibut would work well)
2 lemons, thinly sliced
4 heaping teaspoons capers
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
4 tablespoons Niscoise olives, pitted and chopped
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
4 springs of fresh thyme
4 square sheets of parchment paper (you can substitute foil)
Salt and pepper the white fish fillets. Place 2 slices of lemon on a piece of parchment paper. Top the lemon slices with a piece of seasoned fish and then add 1 teaspoon capers, 1 tablespoon of olives and a handful of tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and top with a thyme sprig and wrap the parchment around the fish like a packet, taking care to seal the edges well. Repeat with the remaining fillets and place on a baking sheet, at this point they can keep in the fridge for a few hours before being cooked. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the fillets. For a rustic presentation serve in the packets.  Before serving, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.