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 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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September 21, 2017

Rosh Hashanah Dinner with Family + Friends

The Jewish holidays happen to be my favorite.  Specifically, Rosh Hashanah and Passover are the best excuse to invite family and friends over for a super fun dinner.

Since I love to entertain, I take these holidays pretty seriously when it comes to the menu and tablescape. This year, I had an extra set of hands with my cousin Daniella in town AND…with Crafty Maggie to work on all the fine details.

Daniella and I spent hours prepping the food on Tuesday night. I always serve a traditional Jewish menu for the high holidays which include recipes by my Canadian Family members. We made Aunti Debi’s Chicken meatballs, Aunti Sandy’s peach brisket and Boobie Frieda’s gefilte fish and Matzo ball soup.

I don’t have a bar cart in our apartment and I wanted a place to put the wine and glasses however I didn’t want to break the bank with this purchase. I found the most PERFECT cart by Oh Joy for Target for $129. The best part is? It came fully assembled! Daniella and I just pulled it out of the box and voila!  I’m totally obsessed with this beauty…

I wanted to play off the fall season for our tablescape so Daniella and I let the flower market dictate our color palette. The market was filled with dahlias in burgundy, soft pinks and purple. We brought home an assortment of these florals and tons of greenery and our incredible intern, Natalie made us a floral runner for the center of the table and a few arrangements for the tables and bar cart.

Crafty Maggie was busy all day adding to the most beautiful touches to the table. She designed menus off of the flowers that we picked up and added a gold leaf splatter of paint to each. My sister Mandy had the amazing idea of spray painting apples white with a stroke of gold paint for the seating cards and Maggie nailed it with the execution.

Maggie also designed a water bottle label with each kid’s name on it for their seating assignment at the kids table.

Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. For the new year we start our meal by dipping apples in honey to signify a sweet and healthy year ahead.

My husband Adam’s family is not particular large, but I’m used to very large Jewish dinners from growing up. So his parents are always at our table and to fill in, I invite several friends. For the past several years, Ilana, Mike, Mazzy and Harlow have joined us and after so many years, it is like they are family. We were also joined by cousin Daniella and my friend Emily and her boys Charlie and Giles as well as Maggie who experienced her first ever Jewish Holiday dinner!

I wanted to set up some activities for the kids to enjoy when they walked in. We made stamps out of potatoes and gave them each a plate of paint + a blank piece of card stock to make cards with. Each kid also had a plastic tumbler that they could decorate with stickers and then take home. This craft lasted for about 30 seconds, they barely ate and then we popped on a movie with a huge bowl of popcorn. At least I tried.

It was the most lovely evening of incredible food, company and fun. From my table to yours, I want to wish all our Jewish friends L’Shana Tova!

xx, Seri
Party conversation
  1. Rebecca shapero

    Shana Tova! Your table looks beautiful xx

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August 28, 2017

Family Dinner by Abby & Maggie

All summer long we’ve been eating delicious home cooked meals by Seri in The Hamptons. Abby and I decided it was our turn to treat the family to a meal of our own. We combined a couple of our favorite recipes and prepped dinner for everyone to enjoy!

We used our favorite tableware from The Grown Up Birthday Bash in a Box alongside some amazing flowers from Sag Harbor Florist. After dressing up the table, we brought out the good stuff.

Abby made her famous turkey burgers and Mexican street corn. I made my favorite brussel sprout salad, inspired by the farm salad from Sweet Cheeks BBQ in Boston. Below you’ll find our ingredient lists, if you’d like to test out this meal at home!

Abby’s Famous Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey
small pack of fresh basil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped red onion
salt & pepper to taste

Mexican Street Corn

4 fresh ears of corn
1/4 cup mayo
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup cojita cheese
2 limes 

Brussel Sprout Farm Salad

salad:
1 lb. brussel sprouts
1 bag of baby arugula
2 cups of red grapes, halved
1 cup cooked farro
crushed walnuts
shaved parmesan cheese

dressing:
chopped red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

We hope you get a chance to try our recipes, they were a huge hit! The perfect way to wrap up #LMPSummer!

xx, Maggie
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