50 Most Influential People

My mum, known as Dixie, is the force behind Party Resources. I am so proud of her, as she was picked as one of the 50 Most Influential People in tony Litchfield County. So fabulous! Dixie is in great company and you can see the entire list HERE

A few also on the list:

Meryl Streep

George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis who founded Manolo Blanik

Designer Bunny Williams

Playwright and screenwriter Bill C. Davis

Interior designer and founder of CHARYM, Alexandra Champalimaud

Mia Farrow


got lobster?


Having grown up in New England and now calling Boston home, for me lobster is the perfect summer meal.

My favorite place for a casual supper of lobster and a cold beer is WOODMAN'S in Essex. If you don't live near the ocean, they will also ship fresh lobsters and fixings to your door.

They also make a great lobster roll.

For your next summer lobster bake, how about one of these fun invites from FINE STATIONERY?

For an upscale lobster dinenr, how about these monogrammed lobster napkins from POTTERY BARN?

Or if you want something a bit more casual, how about THESE?

Lobster and lobster trap NAPKIN RINGS

Here are some fun lobster items that would be great to bring as a hostess gift when you are a guest at someone's beach house.

COOKIES from Eleni's

How about these adorable LOLLIPOPS wrapped indvidually in cellophane bags with a red ribbon?

I think this THROW PILLOW would look great on a white chair in a summer house


Red White and Blue Desserts

With the 4th just a few days away, here are some patriotic dessert ideas. To me the 4th means classic American fare and all of these recipes from Real Simple fit the bill! BERRY SHORTCAKE pictured above.

A BLUEBERRY TART - I think I may need to make this for a future summer dinner party.

A summer classic - STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE 

George Washington would certainly be asking for a slice of this CHERRY PIE

Deliciously simple SUMMER BERRY PUDDING



Cooking Tips from the Best Chefs

I recently picked up a copy of Food Network Magazine. While I was pretty underwhelmed overall, I did enjoy reading 100 Cooking Tips from America's Best Chefs. You can read the entire list HERE.

These were my favorite ten tips.

1. Cook pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions and cook it the rest of the way in the pan with sauce.

2. When chopping herbs, toss a little salt onto the cutting board; it will keep the herbs from flying around.
Flour Bakery & Cafe

3. Always season meat and fish evenly; sprinkle salt and pepper as though it's "snowing." This will avoid clumping or ending up with too much seasoning in some areas and none in others. 

4. When you're browning meat, you should blot the surface dry with a paper towel so the meat doesn't release moisture when it hits the hot oil. Too much moisture makes the meat steam instead of sear, and you will lose that rich brown crust.

5. Do not use oil in the water when boiling pasta: It will keep the sauce from sticking to the cooked pasta.
A Voce

6. My grandfather taught me this tip: After you drain pasta, while it's still hot, grate some fresh Parmesan on top before tossing it with your sauce. This way, the sauce has something to stick to.

7. Fresh basil keeps much better and longer at room temperature with the stems in water. 
Tartine Bakery

8. When making mashed potatoes, after you drain the potatoes, return them to the hot pan, cover tightly and let steam for 5 minutes. This allows the potatoes to dry out so they'll mash to a beautiful texture and soak up the butter and cream more easily.

9. Always buy the freshest garlic you can find; the fresher it is, the sweeter it will be. The best garlic has firm tissue-like skin and should not be bruised, sprouted, soft or shriveled. If you find cloves that have green shoots, discard the shoots — they will only add bitterness.

10. My general advice to home cooks is that if you think you have added enough salt, double it.
Alinea and Aviary


got ketchup?

There is something about the summer months that makes me crave a great burger and a cold beer!


Guest Post: Festive Party Ideas for the Fourth

One of my favorite new reads is HEIRLOOM PHILOSOPHY - I love Allison's taste and am delighted she is doing a guest post today on entertaining for the 4th! 

When Kate from one of my favorite blogs, Party Resources, contacted me a few weeks ago about putting together a post with entertaining ideas for July 4th holiday, I had my own private fireworks celebration!

Having family and friends over on July 4th is a tradition in our house. The hydrangeas in my backyard are at peak bloom, perfect for a casual dinner under the stars.

Just as the sun is setting, after a long and casual farmer's market meal, we catch fireflies, light sparklers and then stroll the few blocks to the golf course with our picnic blanket just in time for the annual fireworks.

I like a homespun approach to July 4th decorating and entertaining. Here are just a few of the images I have collected that inspire me and will influence how I decorate this year:

1. Stacks of creamware plates in an old farmhouse.  

2. Flowers from the garden in little wicker covered cups

3.  Awning striped tablecloth from Antropologie.  You can find one HERE

4.  American flag waving in the breeze atop a coastal cottage

5. Hydrangeas and American flag from a family retreat on Cape Cod

6. Artfully arranged hotel silver with lavender and that killer striped napkin

7. Homemade pound cake with scented geraniums and edible flowers

Here is my menu for the 4th

All American Farmer's Market Menu

Mini Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Bites  

Grilled Romaine Assembled Salad with Roasted Corn and Vegetables

Grilled Romaine Assembled Salad with Roasted Corn and Vegetables

3 hearts of romaine
3 ears corn
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 ripe avocadoes
1 lb bacon fried crispy and crumbled

Prepare grill to medium heat. Cut romaine in half, lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill until charred, about 3 minutes. Turn to other side and char. Arrange on a platter.

Grill corn and asparagus on the grill until roasted. Cut corn from the cob. Arrange on the platter with bacon, avocado, tomatoes and croutons.

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

1 Cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1/2 Cup sour cream
2 T buttermilk
1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons chopped italian parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped green onions
Salt and Pepper to taste

Grilled Shrimp with Heirloom Tomato Relish RECIPE

Grilled Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

After cooking, cleaning and decorating the house and table, I go to my local bakery. When I get home I put on my own touches by arranging it on a pretty platter and decorate with edible flowers.

Another no fuss dessert? Handmade waffle cones from the local ice cream shop filled with fresh whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit.

Have a Happy 4th!