October 13, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

First of all, I was going to title this “Two Tablescapes and a Kugel” but then I thought nah, too confusing.

Although I’m going to talk about tablescaping in this post, by no means should the decor overtake what’s really the star of the show here, and that’s my late mother-in-law’s Apple Raisin Kugel.

As most of you know, we just did a major renovation on the main floor. Before everything began, packing ensued. And when I mean packing, I mean PACKING. As organized as I usually am, there was an issue with the items that were placed in large rubber containers. As we placed our entire kitchen and dining room into the containers, I asked Steve to be sure to label each one so it would be effortless finding things after the reno was complete. Would you like to know how he labelled almost 20 large containers?

Like this:

Kitchen

Dining Room

Uh…….ya.

“Where’s the wine glasses Steve”?

“In one of the 15 containers that says dining room”.

Okay, this didn’t work out for me AT ALL. I have scoured through most of the containers to find the necessities that were placed back into the kitchen, but I’m missing about 100 things.

One thing in particular was a collection of my mother-in-law’s recipes that were typed up and neatly placed in a binder. WHERE IS IT? I dunno. All I know is this, I have her old recipe box which had her hand written recipes inside. Lucky, lucky me!

So today I’m going show you how I set the table for two separate occasions over the past two weeks – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur AND of course, share this unbelievable kugel recipe with you.

When I decided to host both dinners for the high holidays, I wanted to include an edible component to the centrepiece. And by edible, I mean, your guests can actually graze on the runner. Yes!

As we sat down to our Rosh Hashanah meal, I was asked if the grapes on the runner were “real”.

Hang on a sec.

Never in a trillion years would I put plastic fruit on the table. NEVER EVER, NO HOW, NO WAY, NOT HAPPENING.

I told them to feel free to go wild with the centrepiece and guess what? They had a wonderful time eating those fresh blue grapes, in fact they even got to take home leftovers. There were a ton of grapes on the table along with fresh blue plums and apples.

The look and feel of an edible runner is both chic and organic at the same time, not to mention a perfect excuse to nibble at while the courses are changing over.

For both meals, I used apples and pears as placecards, to seamlessly combine the look and feel of a market fresh tablescape.

You may be wondering what I did with the leftovers? Well, you’re looking at it right here. I used the apples in the kugel and the rest of them in a strudel (not shown). This week, I’m going to use the pears in a recipe too. It’s safe to say that they served two purposes and were recycled into something delish.

There you have it. Fall inspired and super easy to do.

MYRNA’S APPLE RAISIN KUGEL (NOODLE PUDDING) 

– 1 package egg noodles, medium size
– ½ cup butter, melted (1 stick)
– 6 eggs, beaten
– 1 cup sugar
– ½ teaspoon cinnamon
– pinch of salt
– ½ cup raisins
– 2 – 3 large granny smith apples, shredded (I used 6 small apples) 

1) Preheat oven to 350F
2) Boil noodles according to package directions in salted water, drain and rinse with cool water.
3) In a large bowl, add noodles, eggs, melted butter, salt, sugar, cinnamon, raisins and grated apples.
4) Place in greased 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.
5) Bake uncovered for 50 – 60 minutes or until golden brown.
6) Note* – can be made ahead and reheated or frozen and reheated.

See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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October 11, 2017

An Effortless Backyard Dinner Party

To close out our summer this year, we hosted a dinner party in the backyard. Couple things you must have for this scenario one being perfect weather and the other, a great group of friends to enjoy it all with.

So where do I even begin with this dinner?  It’s by far one of my faves ever.

How about the wine? The darling family behind Maiden + Liberty asked if we’d like to taste the wine that they make in their family run vineyards. We said yes. Obviously. So they sent over the sweetest person on the planet to pour several different wines for us to taste.

The setting was all farm inspired. At the market I always see piles of wood slats laying in the back. They let us take a few and we set them into the grass with pillows and blankets all around.

Having a bar cart on wheels is so convenient because you can move it all around. For this dinner we wheeled the cart right onto the grass the in backyard by our dinner set up and set up an ice bucket, tons of glasses and dish towels to clean up any wine that dripped down the bottles.

I wanted a moody palette of flowers. Sort of a nod to the sadness of the summer ending and a wink to the start of fall. Oranges, red, purple, pink and green were the perfect mix.

My friend Anastasia of Sag Harbor Florist has a farm where she was currently growing the most beautiful dahlias and picked buckets of ’em for us to use. We styled them all through the wood slat table creating the prettiest look!

Naturally, Crafty Maggie whipped up a little DIY wine cork name card for each guest with some household items that she found….doesn’t get more fitting than this…

For dinner I wanted to serve a really fresh, seasonal meal but I did not have time to cook. There’s a local gourmet market in Sag Harbor that I’d been dying to try, so I gave it a go and was not disappointed. The roast chicken, grilled salmon and vegetables were out of this world. The best part was they kept perfectly tasty at room temperate so we weren’t rushed to eat!

The weather was wonderful and we had the most fabulous time making memories with dear friends.

Find our Backyard dinner party featured on Inspired by This here.

xx, Seri
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October 10, 2017

Bloody Berry Sangria

October is extra spooky this year, with Friday the 13th coming up in a few days. We decided to take advantage and make a cocktail with … a Bloody Berry Sangria.

This was extremely easy to make and only used a few ingredients, so it’s cheap, too!

Here is what you need:
-bottle of red wine
-vodka (we used my fave, Tito’s)
-ginger ale
-fresh blueberries
-fresh blackberries

Here’s what to do:
1) In a pitcher, add 1 cup blueberries and 1 cup blackberries.


2) Add 3 oz. of vodka on top of berries.  Pour whole bottle of wine into pitcher on top of vodka and berries.


3) Top off pitcher with  1/2 cup of ginger ale.  Cover pitcher and let sit for 30 minutes.
4) Once sangria has had a chance to sit, uncover and pour into our cocktail glasses, making sure that some blueberries and blackberries make it into each glass.  Garnish with blueberries, and serve!

Got any fake spiders laying around? For a fun garnish idea, I popped a blueberry onto the butt of a fake spider and stuck it on the rim of each glass. How cute is that?!

I hope this Sangria gets you in the mood for Friday the 13th, and all of the other wonderful things that go along with October and Halloween.

Until next week… Cheers!

xx, Abby
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October 6, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

The best part about developing a recipe is the “creative aspect”. I’m not talking about getting fancy with ingredients here. I’m saying that you need to use stuff that is already in your possession. I usually open my fridge and spice cupboards, pull out this and that and then experiment by mixing different sauces and spices.

It’s the way I cook. It’s the way I was taught to cook by my mom. It’s the way I like it.

Does everything always turn out perfectly? Well, no. But lucky for you, it won’t show up here until it’s tried, tested and approved. Not only by me, but my only victim right now – Steve.

So, last night I made this chicken and MANNNNNN was it ever good. The only thing I would say is that this recipe needs a HEAT ALERT. I used fresh chili peppers here and they are dangerous.

This is the second time I’ve done something this stupid, but I’m going to let you in on it even though you will be shaking your head while reading this.

Yep. I cut the peppers and then rubbed my left eye. Do you know what ensued next? Me running around the kitchen splashing cold water in my eyeball and basically screaming.

Screaming, splashing, running. I was a sight for sore eyes. Oh wait. It was my EYE that was sore. Nevermind.

The only way I can describe it – painful and funny at the same time. But then again, that’s what it’s like to live with me. Ask Steve. He knows.

As with the majority of my shoots, I make things ahead of time so we don’t have to wait to eat our meals. Times have changed since the boys lived here. They were used to watching their food walk past them and became very accustomed to eating lukewarm meals. No wonder they moved out.

What I’m getting at is this. The longer this chicken sits in the sauce, the better it gets. Sweet, sticky, chili laden HEAT.  And speaking of sauce, I made this recipe on my insta story and I found that there was a teeny problem with the ratio of liquid. I needed MORE! So what does one do? Double the sauce recipe and bingo bango it was PERFECT.

Another winner of a chicken dinner.

SWEET HEAT LIME CHILI CHICKEN 

– 7 – 8 chicken thighs, skin on
– Salt
– Pepper
– Garlic powder
– oil for frying
– Sauce
– Juice of 2 limes
– 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
– 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
– 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
– 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, store bought
– 4 tablespoons brown sugar
– ½ teaspoon garlic powder
– ½ teaspoon black pepper
– Garnishes
– Sliced chili peppers
– 1 sliced lime
– Chopped fresh parsley

1) Heat a large skillet on the stove with 2 tablespoons of oil. Pan fry chicken on both sides until skin is browned and crispy. Remove from pan and place into large oven proof casserole dish.
2) Preheat oven to 400F.
3) Prepare your sauce by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until blended. Pour over chicken.
4) Bake chicken for 25-30 or until juices run clear. Switch oven to BROIL and crisp the chicken skin until brown. DO NOT STEP AWAY FROM THE OVEN. The chicken skin crisps up really quickly and it will burn.
5) Garnish and serve.

xx, Debi
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October 5, 2017

A Holiday Party with Ravenswood Wine

Naturally, the best way to test a product is to experience it first hand. Brands are finding the magic in hosting media outlets to experience their product in unique ways. Lucky for us, we get to take part.

Earlier this week, we worked to throw an event for Ravenswood wine. They rounded up a stellar list of editors who spent the night sipping on wines paired with delicious food.

The event was held in a West Village Townhouse that the Ravenswood team rented through One Fine Stay. It was spectacular. Several floors, an outdoor garden and a beautiful kitchen to work within. The concept, was the holidays. We brought in one of our favorite personal and party chefs, Chef Sue Park, to create a menu of dishes that would pair with each holiday and wine.

When the guests arrived they were welcomed into the garden for the first wine tasting and an Autumn inspired cheese + charcuterie board.

The guests were then taken into the living room where we styled fall florals for “Thanksgiving”. Chef Sue nailed the tasting here serving Rosemary Thyme Turkey Meatballs with Blueberry BBQ Glaze and Mashed Potato Puree which paired perfectly with the Lodi Zinfendel wine that the guests were tasting. Chef Sue also included a Roasted Brussel Sprout with Maple Glaze and Prosciutto Chip Flakes on the skewer with that meatball.

Next up, was Hanukkah. We kept the table tasteful and festive with white, blue and silver accents. Chef Sue plated a Sweet and Savory Braised Brisket with Figs & Apricots Served with Potato Latkes for this holiday pairing. After testing out her brisket I have officially decided to hire Chef Sue for my next Jewish holiday dinner party!

My favorite setting of the night was Christmas dinner. For this tasting the clients were hoping for a more elegant but not overly “Christmas” table. We used black matte plates, gold flatware and greenery to line the center of the table. Our very own Crafty Maggie made rosemary wreath place cards with every guests name written in gold making it clear that this table represented Christmas. It all came together so beautifully.

For Christmas dinner Chef Sue prepared a family style meal starting with Rustic bread and a compound butter series: Garlic sage, Lemon zest thyme and rosemary paprika. The meal was followed by a Holiday Seasonal Salad with Shredded Kale, Roasted Shaved Acorn Squash, Sliced Medjool Dates, Parmesan, and a Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette. The guests then enjoyed Chef Sue’s Rosemary and Fennel Crusted Crown Roast of Lamb Chops. Crown that was stuffed with Currant Rice Pilaf.

Last but certainly not least, Happy New Year! As the final course guests enjoyed  a Decadent Crostini with Seared Duck Breast, Caramelized Onions, & Teldeschi Cherry Chutney. Was the perfect send off for the most fabulous evening.

The event was such a special one where the guests made new friends, sampled incredible food and sipped on red wine for the night. Doesn’t get much better than this!

Photos by Benjamin Lozovsky

xx, Seri
Party conversation
  1. Lily

    What an amazing idea! I want to do this in different rooms in my home as a way to celebrate several holidays with friends since we all travel all over the country over the holiday season

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