No, I'm not going to get all religious on you. Sometimes though, sacred imagery can speak to the heart of the matter where words fail. This past week, we on the North East learned a very hard, sad lesson on how vulnerable we are to changing weather patterns. It has been impossible not to feel the pain of the tens of thousands of families left homeless in the wake of hurricane Sandy.
Perfection isn't something I generally strive for. I prefer a little wiggle room in my endeavors, some breathing space for the unexpected, the startle of serendipity, a jumping off point towards how to proceed next. For me, actual perfection is the state of not needing any improvement, a completeness, an awareness of the beauty of the moment.
Visiting Paris is a
The spectacular colors of Fall make the transition from Summer to Autumn just about worth it. The inevitable cold is coming all too soon, but who doesn't smile at a pumpkin?
It is a big decision which magnificent gourd to take home. My agonizing took longer than usual this year. Shape, size, color, and curl of the stem are all taken into serious consideration. But why g
It is hard to find things not to like about the southern coast of California, specifically the stretch between San Clemente and La Jolla. When it comes to natural beauty, this area has it all. The main attraction for my husband is the horse racing at Del Mar, and that is how we first discovered the area. Now I join him on these trips to enjoy the scenery, swimming, hiking and great dining al
Tomatoes were piled high at every farm stand between Riverhead and East Hampton this weekend. How many could I carry? How many could I fit in the car was the question. I was on the East End of Long Island to cater a benefit for Wellness in the Schools and my car was already stuffed with serving platters, ice buckets, cocktail napkins, everything we would need to host 200 guests playing tennis matc
The air is completely still and warmly heavy. The sweet, resiny smell of pine mingles with the mineral scent of the marshy mud surrounding the lake. We are hiking in the foothills of the Adirondacks, in the woods surrounding the banks of Lake George trying to find the trail to Shelving Rock Falls and my senses have taken over. I hear far off birds chattering away, now the buzz of an insect getti
Brunch is not a meal I usually prepare. On Sunday mornings I tend to linger in my pajamas over the real estate section of the NY Times, clucking at the prices of condos and occasionally spotting stories featuring people I happen to know. I think my own story should be featured in the Times real estate section, having moved after 30 years from a rent stabilized apartment in the West Village to an a
Whenever someone asks me to cater a shower I am thrilled. They are my favorite events to plan. Hosting a a baby or bridal shower at home makes the occasion personal and intimate, even for a large crowd. It certainly takes a fair amount of work and planning, but it does not have to be an overwhelming experience and it can be done simply and even on a budget.
Good weather is a variable that can
There is no reason to head for the hills when summer rolls around. New York City offers so many outdoor events (and most of them free!) it can be difficult to choose which ones to attend. I gave up cooking this week to explore the great outdoors of New York.
Catch the sunset along Hudson River Park and enjoy the River to River Festival.
Suzanne Vega performed on a recen
Having the Fourth of July in the middle of the week gets confusing. When do you celebrate, before or after? I opted for "before" and spent some lazy days on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
This sleepy side of Florida, provides ample natural inspiration.
I even managed to get some work done while away, making notes for some ideas for the upcoming school year for Wel
There is no going back inside now. Even a rainstorm beckons me out to get my face wet. The weather is unpredictable these days, but venturing out under any conditions is part of summer fun.
The New York Botanical Garden is a perfect place to get lost and cool off under the shady trees. Wander inside the climate controlled greenhouses for an instant vacation to another climate and take a de
Hydrangea in bloom to decorate the table, radishes harvested to decorate the salad.
Outdoor dining is here at last. The balmy late days of spring are perfect for enjoying extended sunlight and the profusion of leafy enticements.
Tender greens are now readily available - I can plunder my own garden for new growth and actually begin to put a meal together from some humble backyard
Oh my little blog, how I have missed you! May is always a busy month for catering, but this was an especially busy season for me. I worked every single day in May except for the Saturday of Memorial day weekend. So the blog has been a bit neglected. June is busy too, but things are beginning to calm down. I actually got to take this entire weekend off!
Sunday found me wandering through
A beautiful day to lounge in the backyard while cooking and sipping wine.
I don't know what possessed me. Perhaps it was the bubbly wine getting to my head, but with the grill fired up and ready to go I had a notion to try cooking a head of iceberg lettuce. Iceberg is a rarity in my house to begin with. I have long ago given it up for more interestingly flavored varieties of greens.
Lilies of the valley look especially beguiling next to my
new linen napkins purchased at the Parisian store Merci.
I am so infatuated with my new napkins I can't bear the idea
of anyone actually using them to wipe their mouths! Sigh
When lilies of the valley begin to flower
in my garden, I know that Mother's day is upon us. What I did not
realize is that lilies of the valley mar
Some opportunities are just too tempting to pass up. When the invitation to visit Paris was dangled before me, from a friend renting an apartment there for a month, I jumped. With only a weekend to spare for such a venture I decided to make the most of my short time in a city I love just about as much as New York.
Last week's Parisian weather was less than ideal. I emerged from the RER station
Springtime! The farmers markets are finally beginning to stir. A walk through Union Square on Wednesday yielded some perky young spinach piled high in ruffly mounds, being sold by the pound at whopping prices. Fill a small bag, enough for a salad; it wont weigh that much and you will get a preview of the best tastes of the season.
I was on a mission to find ramps, but did not have much hope of
Little flowering surprises are starting to pop up in my garden. Everywhere I look tiny buds are showing up; all over Central park, in window boxes, sidewalk planters and community gardens. New York city is beginning to get all powder puffy as the trees bust out in their floral frenzy. Sublime!
The weather is still cool and damp, like a typical spring, in fact, more spring-like than our strang
As spring draws near the social calender fills up with semi-formal occasions; brunches, baby and wedding showers, Passover and Easter dinners, and graduation celebrations. The events tumble on until we can finally bust outside and start the party outdoors.
With new beginnings as the general theme of spring, my thoughts turn to eggs dishes. Eggs are the universal symbol of rebirth and immortality.
Isn't it great when someone else does the cooking? My dear friend Ilene was eager to share some Ayurvedic recipes she had mastered on her recent trip to Goa, the small island state in India.
Ayruvedic recipes? According to one website I consulted:
Ayu is life and Veda means knowledge. Knowledge of Life is Ayurveda. Pretty straight forward, no?
The basic concept of Ayurveda is to creat
This past week I revisited the Caribbean island of Grenada, the beloved subject of a swoon-y blog post I wrote last year.
Grenada is a magnificent volcanic island dominated by an extensive rain forest and surrounded by crystal clear water. This small, beautiful country is a visitor's paradise. The people of Grenada are kind and proud of their home, the weather is warm with cooling gentle se
The buds on my forsythia bush are starting to peek out, a sure sign of a change in season. Still, there is a long way to go before any local garden will be producing something to eat. Indoor amusements are getting me through these cold days.With so little color in the landscape, these beets I had prepped for roasting beguiled me with their ruby striations. I grabbed my camera to capture their hear
The air was cool and the smell downright stinky. But stinky in a good way! I was being led through a chilled cellar housing racks of ripening cheeses, each with a characteristic shape and color that delighted my eye and tickled my nose.
I was taking part in a tour of the cheese-aging caves at Murray's Cheese on Bleecker Street. As a belated holiday celebration, the staff of Wellness in th
Just as soon as I adjust to the inevitable cold weather, it gets warm again. As I begin to grow comfortable with balmy winter days, it suddenly snaps back to cold. Hard to know what to expect next. A sunny cold day this weekend had me wandering through Flushing Meadow Park ruminating on what to do with celery.
I had a an unexpectedly large amount of chopped celery on my hands, an overflow from
Occasionally I find myself with a surfeit of a particular ingredient. This time I was facing the weekend with an abundance of red bell peppers, ripe and ready, but with no place to go. My first step was to roast them, to concentrate their flavor and take advantage of the natural softening of the peppers as they begin to age past the point of serving them crisp and raw.
Going at the roasting in
Celebrating my husbands birthday last week at DBGB kitchen and bar, Daniel Boulud's brasserie inspired downtown pub, I indulged in east coast oysters, a glass of sparkling wine, and a sinfully delicious duck confit served over squash risotto, garnished with caramelized cipollini onions and fried sage leaves. What a treat!
We are particularly fond of DBGBs for relaxed celebrations. The food is a
The trees are bare. The holiday decorations are getting put away. Yes, it is time to hunker down for the winter.
All the over-indulgent eating I participated in these last few weeks has caught up with me. Craving a little purification, I am thinking green.
A recent stroll through a local Asian market this week led to a restorative assortment of leafy greens, the backbone of a healthy diet, fav
The breezes coming off Meadow Lake were positively balmy this New Years day as I strolled through Flushing Meadows Corona Park enjoying the surprising sunshine. It is hard not to interpret the gentle weather as a sign of good fortune for this new year. Hope and good will were buoyed about in the caressing soft gusts. Well, that is how I chose to interpret it!
Can you see the famous Unisphere, a l
The countdown to the big day has begun. For my holiday celebration this means hosting 25 guests for a sit down Christmas dinner on Sunday. My little house in Queens will be bulging at the bricks. I am counting chairs and hoping for the best.
At this time of year any helpful hints are welcome. My email inbox is flooded with food related newsletters and links to food blogs and websites. &nb
December roses still blooming in my front garden.
It's hard to take the winter holidays seriously when it is so warm outside. A white Christmas seems highly unlikely this year. Next week Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, begins its eight day run featuring dreidels, candles and a gift each day for the children who celebrate.
But it is the potato pancakes that define the eating experien
The tangle of long green tresses just screamed Rapunzel. I had come upon a huge, beautiful bunch of scallions at a farmers market in Florida not long ago, the roots grown together in a matted mass with dirt still clinging to them. What a nice find! I immediately wanted to throw the entire bunch onto a charcoal grill and singe those long oniony locks with grill marks.
This is a much depleted
Deborah takes a hike...The perfect weather this Thanksgiving weekend led me out of doors to walk off some of the holiday meal. Rockefeller State Park Preserve is touted for its scenic walking trails and it did not disappoint on Saturday when I wandered through the wooded areas taking pictures and enjoying the warm fresh air.
As I composed and shot my photos I began to think about my friend
Deborah gets ready for a big cooking day...Just because Thanksgiving is at our doorstep there is no need to panic. The beauty of this cooking-centric holiday is that so much can be done ahead of time. I would like to say, this leaves you free to do other things, but I find it just leaves you free to do more cooking. Ahem.
If you are going to make pies it is worth getting the dough prepara
Deborah takes home a doggie bag...
The trees say late fall, the weather says late summer.
Any Italian restaurant that fills their antipasto display table with vegetable dishes gets a giddy reaction out of me. I am reminded of the restaurants I have wandered into in Rome that showcase multiple tiers of cooked vegetable dishes one can choose from to start a meal Roman style. Bellisimo!
Deborah runs her own mini marathon...
My poor little kitchen has been getting a real workout these days. Not quite the same kind of workout as the NYC Marathon runners this past Sunday, but somehow it feels like it. I ran my own little endurance race on Sunday when I realized that the post-marathon party I was catering on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, situated right in the thick of the
Deborah brings in the harvest...
Snow hit my garden early this year.
It is a game of chicken as the first frost looms over the garden. How long can I leave the last of the basil leaves and the few cherry tomatoes lingering on the vine before that heartless first frost abruptly claims all? I knew my days were numbered, but it always pains me to cut down the plants, a real summer finale, when
Deborah's recipes adjust to the new season...
It feels official now, this change of season. The nip in the air is here to stay for awhile. As I walk around my Queens neighborhood the autumnal colors are undeniable.
These dahlias in my neighbors yard provide a shock of satisfying color as everything leafy begins to slowly turn golden brown. Rose hips.The trees are making a big statemen
Deborah's journey continues on to Stockholm...This beautiful Swedish city comes on like a blast of golden light after the cool grays of Paris. The warm copper hued buildings attempt to fool one into thinking Stockholm is a hot town. Well it is, if you are a club kid, as it offers up great bars, restaurants and music venues to check out all over this tiny, uber-hip city, but it's the weather that i
Deborah reports on her trip to Paris...When it comes to Paris, what can I say? I obsess. This recent visit had me completely captivated by Parisian apartment windows. The weather in Paris last week featured a magnificent October heat wave with temperatures in the low 80s. Perfect for wandering around the city and staring up into peoples homes. Not only are Parisian apartment windows ov
Amanda tries to re-create a spectacular dressing....
It all started a little over a week ago. Sushi night at my house with some of my neighborhood girlfriends. I do it a few times a year. Lots of laughs (and wine) are regular components of the night. Usually I just order a few platters of different pieces of sushi and exotic rolls. This time, I wanted to add a salad to the mix. I was feeling in
Deborah discovers that not all chef's passions are created equal...
It is officially fall!
The humidity is really starting to get to me. My garden is infested with mosquitoes. I must brave the onslaught to harvest a handful of cherry tomatoes. Slap, slap, scratch, pick, pick, scratch. Might as well stay indoors and read.
I am a library junkie and pop in at least once a week to the closest
Deborah tries her hand on a free-form galette.
The harvest is in! The bounty at the farmers markets is overwhelming right now and this will continue for several more weeks. I have bought my huge batch of plum tomatoes and will be making tomato sauce to pack away for winter. I have bought big batches of apples and will begin to cook them down for apple butter and pie fillings. I am plucking the
Last week found me traipsing around the southern coast of California. It was a pleasure to escape the rainy, soggy East Coast and experience life in the land of sunshine.
Sunflowers at the Solana Beach farmers market in sunny California.Miles of beautiful, accessible coastline define this area. A wooden pier that juts far out into the Pacific ocean. It seems so improbable to this Atlan
While Deb was away this past week, I thought I'd try my hand at some kind of spontaneous post for our blog. Not sure what I would write about, I conveniently received an invitation to a barbeque, which got me thinking. I needed to bring something. I have been really into making this delicious, simple yet impressive cucumber, tomato and feta salad with mint. When I presented the idea to m
I tenderly kissed my tomato plants goodbye on Saturday night. I figured it would be the last time I 'd see them once Irene stormed through. As we now know, Irene was very kind to most of us in NYC and so my tomato plants live on.
Not all of us were lucky. So many towns in upstate NY are reeling from the brutal flooding that washed away hopes, dreams and years of labor and love. It will
Apples have hit the farmers market, a sure signal that the season has begun to change. I dream of that first bite of apple from the new crop and could not resist picking up a few early macs to savor while I shopped the farmers markets for TOMATOES! It is now or never with the tomato crop so with my plans to stock up I had to get on it.
Tomatoes of every size shape and color are
It's on! During my recent visit to Saratoga Springs, NY I stopped by the Saratoga Salsa and Spice Company store to pick up a few jars of my all time favorite salsa: a tomatillo and serrano chili concoction called Hotter than Hot. I just love the stuff.
It lives up to its name with a serious sting, yet has a great smokey flavor that keeps me dipping in for more. The owner of the store, no
Tomatoes are finally rolling in! The wait is always worth it. This year my backyard tomato harvest is a bit more respectable than seasons past, which is to say that this weeks yield alone is larger than ALL of last years crop. I am very proud.
This weeks harvest, a windfall for my humble Queens backyard tomato patch.Part of my success was sticking with cherry tomato varieties. Thei
This past weekend I made it up to one of my favorite farmer's market in one of my favorite towns, Saratoga Springs. This annual visit for me is always a highlight of the summer.
On the drive up from NYC, less than an hour south of Saratoga Springs, we make our first mandatory pit stop at The Rusty Anchor, a floating bar and grill docked just across from Troy, NY that serves drinks and t
Our annual family week on Fire Island has come to an end. We managed to avoid the hottest week of summer in the city and instead lolled around the walkways and beaches of the Fair Harbor community.
The long wooden boardwalks on this car-free, tranquil island connect the bay to the ocean. Sand, driftwood and grasses define the landscape.Bicycles become the best mode of transpo