Monthly Archives: October 2010

Hopefully, there’s no panda on your flight!

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Back in the day, my husband bought me a fabulous cashmere travel set (blanket, eye masque) that I take everywhere – vacation, client meetings, even in the car!  It must have cost a fortune since it’s still selling.  Well, knock me down and call me Judy because I just acquired the MOST amazing bamboo travel set.  For $45!  Yes, BAMBOO!  Yes, $45.  It is gorgeous, raspberry pink, sustainable, light, soft as cashmere and an excellent gift for the intrepid traveler or someone who needs a little TLC.  I’m wrapped in the blanket whilst typing this.  Clearly, I’m not wearing the eye masque.

Order at Horchow!

Light Sunday Supper!

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It’s still hot in the Northeast, the South – many places and I have a quick go-to recipe to hang onto those summer flavors.  I call it Liz’s Lemon Spaghettini (not to be confused with “Liz Lemon” Spaghettini – although I’m sure the “30 Rock” goddess could make it.  Just reach into the pantry and 12 minutes later, voila!  I use spaghettini, the thinner spaghetti, but use whatever you can.  Serves 4.  Or, 8 as a side dish!

Liz’s Lemon Spaghettini (adapted from a recipe by Giada deLaurentiis)

1 package dried spaghettini (I use Barilla)

1/4 cup good olive oil

2 large fresh lemons

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese – I use a microplane grater

1 large clove garlic, finely minced

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the spaghettini according to package directions.  In the meantime, mix in a medium bowl the juice of the 2 lemons, the cheese, the olive oil and the garlic.

Drain the pasta, reserving one ladle of the starchy pasta water.  Put the pasta back in the pot and add the lemon mixture and the reserved water.  Using tongs, serve in pasta bowls and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with a little extra grated cheese and chopped parsley.  *if you dare, add a pinch or two red pepper flakes for extra heat.

I like to serve some simple grilled or roasted asparagus as a side dish.  You can also try some broccoli rabe.  YUM!

Do you take cooking classes? Is your kitchen outfitted for success?

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As a party planner, I eat out a great deal and am thrilled to work with some of the nations best restaurant and catering chefs – even, psst, a a lot of celebrity chefs who are starting to get back into their kitchens.  That said, I do like to take an occasional cooking class – in Greenwich, I like those from Aux Delices, Debra Ponzek’s gourmet emporium and around the country and in D.C., at Sur La Table, my non-wholesale go-to for all kitchen gadgets and pans.  (Side note: I am moving and I cannot begin to tell you how many kitchen things I have – so much for minimalism like I talked about in my knife post!).

This year, I’ve got to step up my knife skills and am hoping to take a class with Master Chef  Bob Kramer – check out Sur La Table’s website for his touring schedule.  Acquiring good knife skills is key to being a proper home cook/entertainer and sometimes, I need a refresher.  Honestly, I am rarely entertaining at home, given my career, but I do love to do it!

That said, I love Le Creuset for enamelware, All-Clad for stainless pans and tools, OXO for hand tools, Le Creuset (again) for bakeware and a regular French press for brewing the perfect coffee.  For everyday flatware, I rely on Broadway Panhandler in New York (they have great kids’ tools, too, if you like for your kids to help in the kitchen!) or Pottery Barn nationwide (I like an oversized European bead or Shell and Thread pattern).  For splurgy moments, I love Mauviel copper pans and my former celeb chef boyfriend of the last decade actually gave me a Mandoline from Tokyo as a wedding gift to Mr. F4.  (Still afraid, that, in search of the perfect ratatouille or sweet potato fry slice, I will slice my hand off!).

Plates?  I have about 10 sets of fine and casual china, but to me, food looks best on white, oversized plates.  I love the buffet plates and Portuguese soup bowls (they are the wide, shallow ones)  from Williams-Sonoma.  I accent them with bowls from Ikea.  I also love the square small white plates from Crate and Barrel for small plates, olive oils, wasabi and passed hors d’oeuvres at a standing cocktail party.  It’s also key to have many oversized white kitchen towels to use as buffet napkins (just tie with raffia) and to polish crystal.

Everyday glassware – any number of the major retailers has stylish choices.  I love Picardie tumblers – they are great in any size for wine, juice, iced tea, sparkling water, soft drinks or even as flower vases.

All photos courtesy of Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table & Pottery Barn.

Bloggy Flu

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OK, so I am bedridden w/ the flu at the moment, so I am extraordinarily bad at uploading fabulous content. Please, I need chicken soup with dumplings! In the meantime, I’ve added some photos to the profile page and some cool new blogroll links. Feel free to browse.

As always, follow Dolce Parties on Twitter!

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