March 17, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Green isn’t limited to shamrocks and leprechauns. At this epic spread, it’s the inspiration for a healthy, yet hearty lunch that offers a spread of crudités with green goddess dip, mini fruit-topped pavlovas, and iced green tea.

Here’s what comes to mind when I think about St. Patrick’s Day: loads of green food, rainbows, pots of gold, shamrocks and of course, leprechauns. Even if you’re not Irish, you can create, style, cook, bake and host a gorgeous and elegant St. Patrick’s Day party!

This table offers a lush meets luxe dining experience. Think green and leafy intertwined with white and gold accents for your table settings. In keeping with the traditions of this theme, I used all of Martha’s recipes to blend together a wonderful, healthy lunch for family and friends.

One of the most eye-catching details at this table? The four-leaf clover napkins! Since this holiday is always fun and festive, I wanted to try my hand at napkin-folding. The only problem I have with this type of challenge is following instructions. This was a perfect job for my husband to tackle. (I bet you didn’t know that he is an expert napkin folder. Now you do!) He has so much more patience when it comes to tasks like this, it’s wonderful. Here’s how!

One thing I loved doing for an anniversary party I hosted recently, was a DIY garland for the table runner. It was super easy, reasonably priced, and packed a punch as a focal point for a simply beautiful centerpiece. For this garland, I included frisée (pronounced “free-ZAY”), which is used to refer to a variety of endive with curly, pale green or yellow-ish leaves. I created the garland with an edible factor, which is also appealing to the eye.

Let’s get back to the food. I chose these recipes carefully, based on three ingredient colors: green, white, and a pop of gold. For a quick appetizer, I created a wonderful crudité platter with green goddess dip.

My main course dishes were super healthy, green, and packed with protein. A warm quinoa and chicken salad, baby bok choy with ginger and garlic plus a refreshing salad with buttermilk dressing.

Don’t forget a signature mocktail. I served a cool and refreshing iced green tea with cucumber, which paired perfectly with the meal.

Lastly, dessert was easy: mini pavlovas garnished with fruit and a fresh herb that kept the St. Patrick’s day theme going — green grapes, kiwi, and mint.

Wishing you a pot of gold and all the joy your heart can hold.

Here are some quick tips for hosting this party:

Get festive with your food, think green and clean.

Showcase your creativity by cutting foods into pretty themed shapes. For example, a green pepper sliced width-wise looks exactly like a shamrock or four-leaf clover.

Give your tablescape a focal point, like the DIY garland.

Incorporate traditional with a modern twist: a four-leaf clover napkin, gold drinking straws, confetti and a menu filled with color themed food.

Include a signature “green” drink.

Have fun!

Credits
Author/Photographer/Stylist: Debi Traub | @simplybeautifuleating created exclusively for

Martha Stewart Living

Party props: Little Miss Party

Tableware, Props: Pier 1 Imports

Florals: Irene’s Floral

Tableware, Props: HomeSense (U.S. readers can shop similar product at HomeGoods)

View all recipes by clicking on the pictures above

xx, Debi
Post your comment

*Required

February 17, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Okay guys. This maybe wasn’t such a good idea but I don’t want to discourage you from attempting to make your own (supposedly easy) Chinese dumplings.

Reason being is that these are a huge “patchka” (literal translation: to mess around with food or a project)

Think of these as a culinary challenge to your dexterity and patience.

Have you ever watched professional chefs make dim sum dumplings? Truly an art.

They take the dough, stuff it, seal it and steam the dumplings efficiently. Within seconds, they have mastered hundreds of precisely made dumplings. That being said, they do this for a living. Day in and day out. THEY ARE DUMPLING  MAKERS.

I had a few factors working against me when I tried these. One being that I’m not Asian and have never made a dumpling before (hang on, I tried making what we call “Jewish wontons” once and experienced the same result….crappy kreplach. Secondly, for a change I was in a hurry to make and photograph these in time for the Chinese New Year. Do you know what happens when you rush? Besides breaking into full on shvitz (sweat) here’s a list of my excuses……

#1.

I didn’t feel like making my own dough. Already, that’s a problem and classified as a cop out for authentic dumplings.

#2.

Although I’m pretty good with my hands, the majority of these SO CALLED dumplings fell apart as soon as I steamed them. Not pretty, not pretty AT ALL.

#3.

I ate the ones that fell apart so no one would witness aftermath of the exploded dumplings. Not a great idea since I was trying to hide the disaster and therefore couldn’t eat dinner seeing as I WAS STUFFED to the gills with dumplings. A full out giveaway that “something went awry” with my experiment.

I came to the conclusion that it’s much easier to go out for Dim Sum and I plan on doing that in the future.

Have I scared you enough to look away from this blog post?

Nah.

Check out how nice they are……..(I mean, see how nice the ones that turned out look?)

The truth of the matter is, practice makes perfect and the next time I tried making these I used yoga breathing to get through the process and they were STELLAR.

almost forgot something. The dipping sauces. I wanted to make MY own and I did. What I didn’t do was write down the recipes for each one. Brilliant right? I’m going to do my best to remember what was in them but just in case I forgot an ingredient please forgive me. I’m blaming it all on the dumplings.

CHICKEN & BOK CHOY CHINESE DUMPLINGS

– ½ lb ground chicken
– ¾ cup baby bok choy, steamed and finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons, chives finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
– 1 garlic clove, finely minced
– 1 tablespoon sesame oil
– ½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
– ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
– 1 package round wonton wrappers (you can find these at an Asian supermarket)
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, if pan frying
– black and white toasted sesame seeds for garnish
– Additional chopped chives for garnish

1) Combine the ground chicken, bok choy, chives, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, vinegar, and pepper into a medium bowl until well blended.
2) Place wrappers on a work surface lined with parchment paper.
3) To assemble the dumplings place ½ tablespoon of filling per wonton.
4) Rub the edges of the wrappers with water using your fingertip.
5) Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, and pinch the edges to seal. (here’s where you need to be very careful, make sure those edges are tightly sealed otherwise you will end up with E.D.S. – Exploded Dumpling Syndrome.
6) Now you can either steam or pan fry the dumplings, here’s how:
7) To steam the dumplings, add about 1 to 2 inches of water into the bottom of a large pan and bring to a boil. (I have a double decker bamboo steamer and I make sure not to submerge the bottom layer of the steamer into the water)
8) Layer the steamer baskets with vegetable leaves (I used bok choy) to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
9) Place the bamboo steamer over the water and cook for about 10 minutes or until the dumplings are fully cooked.
10) To pan fry the dumplings, add oil to a pan and sauté dumplings for 2-3 minutes on one side until golden brown. Add in some water (3-4 tablespoons) and place a lid over the pan to steam. The dumplings should be done once all of the water has been absorbed. Garnish with additional chives, chopped peanuts and serve with dipping sauces. Makes about 24 dumplings or in my case 15 due to E.D.S.
11) Serve with dipping sauces and garnished with sesame seeds and chives

GINGER SOY DIPPING SAUCE

– 1⁄4 cup light soy sauce
– 3⁄4 tablespoon rice vinegar
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1 minced garlic clove
– 1⁄2 teaspoon sesame oil
– 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
– 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger

Whisk all ingredients and serve.

SZECHUAN PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE

– 2 tablespoons peanut butter
– 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
– 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
– 1 teaspoon sriracha ketchup
– 3 – 4 tablespoons water
– 1 tablespoon crushed peanuts

1) In a small microwave-safe bowl, add hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, 3 tablespoons of water, peanut butter, and sriracha ketchup. Mix to blend ingredients.
2) Microwave on high for 20-25 seconds. Remove from microwave, and use a fork to combine ingredients together.
3) If sauce is too thick, add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water to achieve a thinner consistency.
4) Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Serve as dipping sauce.

FIERY THAI DIPPING SAUCE

– ½ cup water
– ¼ cup rice vinegar
– ¼ cup white sugar
– 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
– 1 ½ teaspoons red chili flakes
– ⅛ cup water
– 2 teaspoons cornstarch

1) Combine water, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.
2) Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 5 minutes, keep stirring so it doesn’t scorch.
3) In a cup or small bowl, make a slurry of the cornstarch and ⅛ cup water.
4) After the sauce has simmered for 5 minutes, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture.
5) Bring the sauce to a boil and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
6) If the sauce isn’t as thick as you want, boil for another minute or so.
7) Serve as dipping sauce.

xx, Debi
0 comments
Post your comment

*Required

January 12, 2017

Glitter my Valentine

dsc_0211

Whenever I craft with the boys I’m left with a ton of supplies that sit in shoeboxes in my closet. Pom poms, a variety of jewels and rhinestones as well as glitter galore.

dsc_0254

Every holiday that rolls around I pull out that craft box and we are instantly inspired.

dsc_0270

dsc_0225

Today we filled up paper bowls with supplies and crafted handmade valentine’s day cards. We found leftover paint and glue so we hit our cards with some glitter after we wrote a note on the inside.

dsc_0286

dsc_0279

Yesterday, Luke made Cheesecake dip so we enjoyed leftovers with fresh fruit which we noshed on while gettin’ crafty.

dsc_0265

The adorable paper plates are from Cheeky. For every package sold a meal is donated. We love the mission these guys are on and love nothing more than feeding the hungry.

xx, Seri
0 comments
Post your comment

*Required

January 11, 2017

Chef Luke makes Cream Cheese Cake Dip

dsc_0178-copy

This week Luke is making Cream Cheesecake Dip. Luke and I brainstormed to come up with a recipe for the Football Sunday which is always a big eating day in our house. Since he’s not the biggest fan of spinach, we went with a dip that falls in the cake family. Curious to see how this recipe goes over with the men on Football Sunday…though I know the boys will be throwing back this fruit while they yell HUT!

dsc_0184-copy

We felt the best thing to dip into our cheesecake dip was fruit. So Luke chose his faves and then thread them onto skewers to make kabobs.

dsc_0188-copy

Luke’s favorite part of this recipe was smashing up the biscuits which were the perfect, crunchy, topping to the sweet dip.

dsc_0193-copy

Wanna join in on the fun here?  Here’s how:

Chef Luke’s Cheesecake Dip:

Ingredients –
1 brick of cream cheese
¼ cup brown sugar
Squish the juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup cream
6 Butter Snap biscuits

The How to –

Let the cream cheese come to room temperature to soften before you start the recipe.

Place the softened cream cheese in a large bowl and whisk in the brown sugar, lemon juice and cream until combined.
Place the biscuits in a re-sealable bag and crush using a rolling pin.
Pour the cheesecake mix into a serving bowl and sprinkle with crushed biscuit.
Serve with fresh fruit for dipping.

ENJOY!

dsc_0202-copy

dsc_0201-copy

dsc_0204-copy

Don’t miss Luke in action. Find him on the Little Miss Party YouTube channel cooking away!

Photos by Abigail Copleston

Video by Maggie Antalek

xx, Seri
0 comments
Post your comment

*Required

April 19, 2016

Classic Margarita’s with a Chipotle-Salt Rim

DSC_0159

All joking aside, my absolute favorite thing to drink is a margarita, and my favorite thing to eat is guacamole and chips.  Give me that combo and I am the happiest person alive.

My friend Jenny and I studied abroad together in London, and made it an adventure to find the best Mexican restaurants while we were over there.  England isn’t exactly known for it’s Mexican cuisine, so anytime we found one that we liked, we would get way too excited about it. Now, anytime she visits me in NYC or I her in Boston, it is our tradition to go get Mexican.

DSC_0154

When we were roommates in college, my friend Stephanie and I would often make a huge batch of guac, turn on a movie, and sit and eat the whole thing for dinner.  Was this a healthy dinner choice? Not at all. But it was so damn good that we didn’t care.

And that’s only two guac/ margarita stories out of the many that I have. Do you see how much I love Mexican food?

DSC_0161

Stephanie has since shared her delicious guacamole recipe with me, and now every time I make it, it is met with enthusiasm and appreciation. And now, I will share it with you.  Along with my favorite margarita recipe, with a nice, zesty, chipotle-salt rim.

You ready? Here we go!

Stephanie’s Guacamole

-4 avocados
-1 tomato (I like to use beefsteak or roma)
-1/4 white onion
-1/4 red onion
-1 clove garlic
-1 lime
-1 jalepeño
-1 tsp. cumin
-a few springs of cilantro
-salt & pepper to taste

DSC_0111

Here’s what to do:

1) Cut your avocados in half, remove pit and scoop out into bowl.  Mash up halves until smooth and creamy, leaving a few chunks.
2) Dice your tomato and add as much as you’d like to the bowl with avocado.  I typically like to add 1/2, but add more if you like it tomato-ey!
3) Finely chop your white and red onions, and garlic and add to bowl with avocado and tomato.
4) Cut lime in half.  Squeeze the juice of one of the halves into your bowl with other ingredients.
5) Cut a few slices of your jalapeño.  Remove seeds from inside and dice the outer round of the jalapeño.  Add as much jalapeño as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like it.
6) Add tsp of cumin, and large pinch each of salt and pepper and stir.
7) Dice 6-10 cilantro leaves and add to mixture.  Mix again. Add salt and pepper to taste.

DSC_0152

FREAKIN YUM.

Ok, now onto the margaritas.  I used to be a frozen margarita kind of gal, but now with more experience in drinking and also the fading of my sweet tooth, I am all about the classic, on the rocks, with a salted rim.  I also love some spice, so i decided to try making this with a chipotle-salt rim.  I tried this while out on one of my many Mexican food adventures and fell in LOVE.

Here’s what you need:

-tequila (I prefer Patron silver)
-5 limes
-simple syrup
-cointreau
-ice
-cocktail shaker
-chipotle salt

DSC_0121

Here’s what to do:
1) Take your limes and fresh squeeze 2 oz of juice. Add to your cocktail shaker. Also add ice to shaker.
2) Measure out 2 oz. of cointreau and 4 oz. of tequila into your shaker.
3) Add 1/2 oz. of simple syrup to shaker.  Shake up all ingredients.
4) Take a lime wedge to the rim of each of your glasses to wet them.  Pour a layer of your chipotle salt onto a flat plate.  Place your wetted rims on the plate of chipotle salt and turn, to rim your glass.

DSC_0125

DSC_0129
5) Garnish each glass with a lime wedge and fill with a few cubes of ice.
6) Pour mixture from cocktail shaker into each glass, dividing evenly between then two.

DSC_0141

DSC_0165

BOOM!

DSC_0163

Feel free to add more simple syrup or tequila, depending on how strong or sweet you would like your drink.  Pair this margarita with the guacamole and you’ve got yourself a spicy and festive situation.

DSC_0170

DSC_0179

Cheers! See ya next week.

xx, Abby
0 comments
Post your comment