Tag Archives: merlot

A Southern Holiday Party

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

It feels like only a moment ago we were hosting last year’s holiday party for friends. My how fast a year comes and goes with so many new memories to stowaway in the vault. For this year’s get together in our new Upper West Side home I wanted to bring to life a piece of my past to make the meal even more personal and intimate by taking our friends on a culinary trip down south, to taste my southern roots and warm comfort food.

When I think about southern food I always think about BBQ and biscuits. A saucy slow cooked meat rolled in spices and balanced by the buttery softness of a warm biscuit. It’s sinful and wonderful and went beautifully with Ecco Domani’s full bodied Merlot. For the non-meat eating guests we offered southern catfish baked and served in my cast iron skillet my grandmother passed down to me which is seasoned with love, as I like to say, and a great compliment to Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio.

Of course, any time I host friends or family I like to start with a cheese plate for people to graze on while we finish preparing the meal. Following my simple rule I outlined in this post, I chose a wonderful soft goat cheese, aged gouda, manchego cheese to be accompanied by roasted almonds, apples and artisanal crackers. Wanting to start with a crisp and light wine, we opened Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio for the cheese course though it goes perfectly well with the Merlot too if you prefer.

In the end, no matter what you serve or what you wear, it’s about making memories with friends and loved ones, sharing stories, being at peace and above all, loving one another this holiday season. Cheers….

See below for entertaining tips and southern recipes created for this night by my friend Jared who is, as we call him, the cookie monster. Everything was served on handmade pottery (a wedding gift from my parents!) by Clayworks in the East Village and another very personal, homey touch to this intimate gathering.

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

For last year’s holiday party we set individual photographs I had taken of each guest at their place setting to not only arrange the seating in a beautiful visual way but for each of the guests to take home a gift from the evening. This year I decided to create individual bouquets for each place setting that the guests could take home and enjoy for the days to come. Living in New York City this is a wonderfully easy way to play with your creativity. On 28th and 7th is the most fabulous flower market where you can find anything your heart desires. I love more than anything exploring in and out of these shops and creating my own story though flowers.

Above, setting the table in Maud Heline’s Arlanik white button up shirt dress made in Brooklyn  (ps- it’ has pockets!!) 

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio (more…)

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SUMMER DINNER PARTY

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It’s the simple things in life that are the best. That statement has never been more true to me than now after traveling for a month solid. Though I saw unbelievable sights and experiences one could only dream of, I was so happy to just be home last weekend with my friends at a house we share out in Amagansett. I just wanted to get together, share a meal, catch up, and be in one place with faces I know and care about.

Summer entertaining is the best. Light that dances through the afternoon and illuminates the moments through a late, lazy evening that always ends with laying in the grass finishing the last sips of wine as another day closes and the possibilities of tomorrow have yet to begin. Beyond the golden glow, there is no market like a summer market. Fresh and ripe, bright and juicy dishes write themselves because the ingredients are so good, they don’t need much more than a little salt and pepper.

We’ve been working with Ecco Domani the past year, shooting their packaging, displays and marketing materials. They knew how much we had been traveling and sent us a case of red and white wine to welcome us back home. One of my favorite sayings of Ecco is “upgrading the everyday” so I based our little backyard summer dinner party around that idea. What could I do with this table that doesn’t require buying anything, just being creative with what we have already? I asked Diana, my friend and prop stylist for one of my favorite magazines, Kinfolk, if she had some easy entertaining ideas. She suggested taking sprigs from our gathered, seasonal flower arrangements as focal points, and simply placing them on a napkin that is draped long ways off the table cascading like a waterfall, dressing the place settings in a softer, organic way.

Once the table was set my friend Molly & I got to cooking. To pair with Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio, roasted cherry tomato and shrimp fettucine; for the Ecco Domani Merlot, grilled lamb chops with a light and gorgeous spring salad – all super simple, elegant, seasonal dishes because, like I said before… it’s the simplest things in life that are the best.

Here is to summer, friends, staying in and making memories with the ones you love.

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Kevin’s Homemade Pasta

2 Eggs
1 cup of unbleached flour (to start)
salt

Mix the flour with the eggs in a bowl or wooden surface until the consistency is like a dough, adding flour as necessary. Add a big pinch of salt. Knead for a few minutes, adding a bit of flour if it gets too moist and sticky. From there, follow the instructions on your pasta machine.

When the pasta is finished I’ve learned to dust it with flour and toss, so the individual pieces don’t stick together while you make the rest!

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Ann Street Studio Holiday Party

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When a photo studio become the perfect event space…

A few weeks ago I was a bit under the weather so I relaxed by watching the moving “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (FYI, the Mercer-Williams house is my DREAM home). As the story goes, Mr. Jim Williams throws the most epic Christmas parties; so, inspired by the movie, I tweeted my dear friend @jessicakausen who organizes the events for Squarespace and asked if we could get a piano and space heaters for the balcony. She replied with “you can get anything in NYC” and the Ann Street Studio Holiday Party planning was underway…

What ended up happening was a wonderful night celebrating an exceptional year with our dearest friends, our creative collaborators, people who inspire us and people who keep us happy and healthy. I learned a lot of things about hosting a party – so it took 4 guys and an overseeing landlord to get the piano up the stairs to be played by Chris Pattishall but it was totally worth it! So the three tier red velvet cake we ordered was actually one level, but don’t panic, we had our friends at Elan Flowers give it a special topper of roses and hydrangeas! So the white lights we ordered for the garlands were actually twinkling lights… throw ’em up on the skylight instead! It looks like shooting stars! And of course there were surprises…our friend Bess sent a delivery of red bouquets and endless strands of garland that made the room wonderfully beautiful, people brought hosting gifts (our liquor cabinet is stocked now!) and one dear friend even made a painting for us which is one of the most touching things I have ever received.

It was so nice to stop, raise a glass, say thanks and give a kiss to the people in your life.

 While I worked on the guest list Kevin sketched the invitation while on a shoot down in Charleston, little pieces of our neighborhood, the cityscape we know so well, and our little studio tucked away on a street in Tribeca…

Holiday-Invite-2013

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