[brightly colored gifts]
[yummy (and festive) candy]
[the famous (but super sweet) cadbury creme egg]
[cheerful flowers: mini daffodils and tuplips]
[a gorgeously wrapped chocolate egg]
[seven-layer cookies via a family friend]
What is it about holidays that makes you overindulge? No matter how you plan, it always seems like you've had too much food, too many sweets, or too much relaxing when everything's said and done. Of course there's always the day after to recuperate–although things are a bit different if the holiday in question is Easter and you happen to be in Italy where the Monday after Easter Sunday is "La Pasquetta," a further extension of the holiday's celebrating. Festivities include eating leftovers al fresco, a tradition that actually might be possible today in NYC, where temperatures are supposed to reach 60 degrees (fingers crossed!).
What do you think? How was your Easter weekend?
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I love finding companies that are fresh, elegant, and modern–Giando Massi is one of them. The brand offers a collection of jewelry, handbags, accessories, and women’s apparel that is luxe but accessible. Want to see for yourself? Well you're in luck–Massi is hosting a New Year's giveaway for ten of their 'Casella de Serpente' makeup bags (retail value $95) in the color of each winner’s choice. Head over to their Facebook page here to enter to win. But hurry–the contest ends on January 13 (winners will be announced the following day).
Happy Saturday–and check back soon for my own feature of the brand! x
I hope everyone had an amazing holiday weekend. Though I swore I wouldn't attempt any shopping, I spent a few days braving the crowds to continue to get a jump on my Christmas present buying (and of course in the process pick up some things for myself). The last thing I wanted to do was spend more time in the kitchen–especially after the almost all-day cooking extravaganza that was Thanksgiving. That's where a recipe like this comes in handy: flavorful, light, and incredibly easy to put together, it's one to have ready for the upcoming busy month.
P.S. Check back tomorrow for an outfit post featuring an amazing piece from Subtle Luxury, the brand behind chic California cashmere. I'm so excited to be a part of their "How to Style a Scarf" blogger series! x
1/2 cup almonds
4 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
24 sun-dried tomato halves
4 cloves garlic
8 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, diced
2 pounds medium-sized pasta
1. In a small pan over medium heat, toast almonds until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
2. In a food processor, pulse almonds, parsley, tomatoes, garlic and oil until slightly chunky. Pour into a bowl and season with salt and lack pepper.
3. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and toss immediately with pesto, then add mozzarella and toss to combine.
It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only two (!!!) days away from today–which means that all the related cooking and baking is also right around the comer. Serving pasta on such an American holiday may seem misplaced at first glance, but rest assured it's an Italian-America tradition to pair the turkey and its accompaniments with complex macaroni dishes. Ravioli, meat- or cheese-filled, will always be a special treat–while they're not the easiest to assemble though the whole process really isn't as hard as it looks.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1 tsp nutmeg (or to taste)
1/2 tsp allspice (or to taste)
salt and pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil
1. Sweat onion, garlic, carrot and celery in oil, then add beef and cook through.
2. Drain fat from beef and add to a food processor with remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth.
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
5 large eggs
1. In a bowl beat eggs and a pinch of salt. Add flour a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Then, knead the dough until smooth, soft and pliable.
2. To roll the dough: Set the rollers of a pasta machine at their widest setting. Cut off a piece of dough about the size of a large egg and flatter under the palm of your hand. Dust the flattened piece of dough lightly with flour and run it once through the machine. Fold the dough in half and run it through the machine again. Repeat this step three to four times, or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Adjust the rollers to the next smaller setting and run the dough through once; do not fold the dough again. Continue to adjust the rollers and roll the pasta through the machine until it reaches desired thinness.
3. Lay the pasta sheet on a floured surface. Place meat mixture dollops about 2 inches apart and place/fold the unused portion of the dough sheet over the half with the meat. Press out all the air from around the meat and press down lightly to seal. Cut into squares.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully add the ravioli to the pot and stir. When ravioli float to the top they are about ready (around 7 minutes). Serve with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
[the time warner center towers at dusk]
[imported chocolates with italian landmarks on the boxes]
[blown glass window ornament]
[sleek ad campaign for san pellegrino water]
[the year's first autumn snowfall, as seen last weekend]
I think I'm finally settling into the spirit of the season. It always seems to take a while for it to sink in that the weather has permanently turned colder, the days have become so much shorter, and my favorite holidays are right around the corner. I don't know why there's any hesitation for me–I love everything that comes with fall and winter, from all the extra cooking, baking, and shopping to the general sense of busy-ness that pervades the days leading up the New Year. I just love New York during this time, and I think I'll use this weekend to get a head start on some Christmas shopping. I'm super excited for The Beautiful Things too–I have a bunch of fun collaborations in the works, so stay tuned for some amazing features and giveaways!
I loved Italian Wedding Soup from the moment I first tasted it, but it wasn't until I tracked down a recipe that I realized why its broth tasted so good. The secret, unsurprisingly, is cheese: by simmering the meatballs in the soup–rather than browning them elsewhere–the entire dish takes on the wonderfully pervasive taste of parmesan. The three other key ingredients are just as yummy: small meatballs, tiny pasta–always go with acini di pepe ('peppercorns') if you can just because they're so cute–and leafy greens. And if you're wondering what exactly this soup has to do with weddings, the answer isn't what you think. The name actually comes from a mistranslation of minestra maritata, which refers to the soup's well-paired ingredients and not actual ceremonies of union.
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
64 oz reduced sodium chicken broth
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed to remove excess water
3 oz acini de pepe pasta
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add the chopped carrot, onion, garlic, celery, and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, stir, and increase heat to high.
2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the ground beef, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, cheese and basil. Add salt and pepper. Mix ingredients and form into small balls of a consistent size, about 1/2 inch wide.
3. Once soup has come to a rapid boil, gently add meatballs into pot. Allow to boil for 5 minutes (do not stir). Turn heat to low and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
5. Add the spinach and pasta and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve soup with grated parmesean cheese and crusty Italian bread.