Tag Archives: molly shuster

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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Ecco Domani’s Spring Fling

EccoDomani_Spring_02 Last fall we had the pleasure of shooting the new packaging and in-store displays for the contemporary Italian Wine Ecco Domani at our studio here in New York. Just because it was a photoshoot and not an actual event taking place – in this case, a book-club party with a group of girlfriends at home – doesn’t mean the food shouldn’t be a great pairing for the wine!

My friend Molly who is an amazing food stylist (remember this series we did together?) created a few spring-time inspired grilled flat bread recipes for our shoot that were DELICIOUS with the crisp Pinot Grigio wine (after we wrapped, we enjoyed some ourselves!). I love Molly’s recipes, they are so fresh and seasonal. This past December she created two special wine cocktail drink recipes for our Ann Street Studio Holiday Party with Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio and Merlot. It’s very important to the global wine brand “to produce wines that are fruit forward and food friendly” so the pairings had to work in real life just as in our book club photoshoot.

I’ve really been enjoying the relationship with Ecco Domani this past year, a brand that also thinks about tomorrow not only in their wine but in the world around us. They do a lot in the fashion industry with the Ecco Domani Fashion Fund to help young emerging designers create their collections and present them to the world.  So many of the past EDFF winners have gone on to shape the fashion industry and be a driving force in our culture such as Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, and Rodarte to name a few!

It’s been an amazing experience finding a balance between being creative and getting the shot the client needs for their messaging and display / box dimensions. And of course, it is always a joy and pleasure to get to work with your friends, the people you have a creative conversation with so seamlessly that it makes work feel like play. For this shoot we collaborated with food stylist Molly Shuster, stylist Erin Framel, and hair and makeup artist Ana Sicat. So perhaps you’ll be inspired to have some friends over on a Saturday afternoon, talk about what you’re reading, have some wine and try out Molly’s recipe, sounds like a perfect way to spend an afternoon to me….

PS-This light, floral, citrus-y and crisp top selling wine is also very easy to find in your local wine shop or Italian restaurant, and now when you see the advertising and packaging you know who shot it! Xx

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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…

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There is nothing like homemade soup…



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