Friday, April 29, 2011


The warmer weather has got me in the mood for brighter, lighter fare. Here's some links from around the blogosphere for springtime menu inspiration.

Seasonal pasta recipes
(creamy fettuccine with prosciutto, asparagus, mushrooms, and peas) [via Bon Appetit]

Creamy spring vegetable gratin [via The Kitchn]

A spring crostini bar [via 20 Something Cupcakes]

A seasonal dinner party menu (gin rickey, ramp pesto, lemon and vegetable risotto) [via Food 52]

Pretty raspberry-rhubarb crostata [via Eat Make Read]

And from the Dinner Party archives:
Ramp pesto (and a brunchy recipe with eggs)
Tuna, asparagus, and new potato salad with chive vinaigrette and fried capers
Spring panzanella
Strawbaby shortcakes
Roasted rhubarb
Grapefruit yogurt cake

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

springing forward

Ah, spring. The trees are coming back in our neighborhood, down coats have finally been put away in the closet (I think), and signs of the season are starting to pop up at the market.

For a dinner with some friends I desperately missed (after not seeing them for a whole entire month!) I created a menu that was a blatant love letter to the end of this miserable winter: prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears, herbed ricotta and olives on pita chips, a light and lemony dessert, and a hearty pasta with fava beans.

Monday, April 25, 2011

on mother-in-laws (and food, of course)

Mother-in-laws get such a bad rap. It's pretty much a cliche at this point. Or does everyone truly hate their mother-in-law? I guess I must have gotten lucky because I love Dan's mother. She's smart and interesting, a deeply caring person. And hysterically funny.

But it wasn't always smooth sailing at first. It's hard not to compare a brand new mother to the one you've always had. My mother believes in niceties. She asks about your friends and family, offers cold drinks, makes sure there are extra pillows in the spare bedroom. Judy might forget the pillows but she shows affection in different ways. She is a worrier, a buyer of perfect gifts, a knitter of scarves. She asks serious questions about our future, the kind of life we want. She offers her opinions. Sometimes we consider them, sometimes they make us laugh. Which is what you should do when your mother-in-law suggests that you and your husband should move into the pool house.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm sure you all know about Food52, the wonderful cooking site by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. I read it pretty frequently but just discovered their "Menu Ideas" section, which includes well-curated collections of recipes for a variety of occasions, including dinner parties and regular old weeknight meals. Some posts include grocery lists, wine pairings, and tips on preparation and timing. It's a great resource for those times when you can't figure out an entire menu. And there's even a special Easter brunch menu, if you're celebrating this weekend.

Likewise, The Kitchn has a great post about menu-making and how to match side dishes to main dishes. While the advice given is pretty general (think seasonally, keep balance in mind, etc.), all of the tips are good to keep in mind when you're feeling uninspired, menu-wise.  

Have a great one!

[Image from Food52]

Thursday, April 14, 2011

spring break

Hi all,

Please excuse my absence while I take a short break and try to tan my pale limbs down in Florida. This will most likely not be successful but the sun should do me some good.

See you back here soon,

Monday, April 11, 2011

best-ever brownies

There are brownies and then there are brownies. These fall into the latter camp.

That other recipe I told you about so long ago? Dead to me. Katharine Hepburn's famous version? Hell no. These brownies kick those other brownies' little brown behinds any day.

I know, I know. This is a lot of big talk. But, for me, these are the end-all-be-all of brownies. I think about them all the time. I may have even written this blog post just to have an excuse to make another pan. For photos, of course.

They are dense and fudgy, slightly sticky, and just sweet enough that you can really taste the chocolate. The kicker is that they aren't even made with chocolate. Only cocoa powder.

Crazy, right?

Friday, April 8, 2011


It's April showers season in our neck of the woods, but I can't be too sad about all of the daffodils, cherry blossoms, and other spring blooms that are revealing themselves. With that in mind, here is a roundup of flower-focused links to provide some inspiration for your table. (My current strategy is dressing up my mantle with the tallest forsythia branches I can find. And trying not to poke myself in the eye getting them home.)

An absolutely gorgeous event styled by Poppies & Posies. The ideas here might be a bit over-the-top for a homey gathering, but they sure are lovely to look at. [via Design*Sponge]

Lots of pretty floral and styling ideas from Matchbook magazine's entertaining feature [via Matchbook]

Easy centerpieces
(some floral, some not) from Martha [via Martha Stewart]

Total eye candy and an easy step-by-step flower arranging video tutorial from my favorite florist, Saipua [via Saipua and Lucky]

Pretty spring centerpiece idea from Sunday Suppers [via Sunday Suppers]

Not floral, but an adorable idea for an Easter placesetting [via Eat Drink Chic]

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 4, 2011

what's for dinner, kara masi?

I love the idea of supper clubs--friends and strangers gathering in a designated spot for good food and conversation. Lucky for me, there are tons of options right in my own neighborhood, most notably Ted & Amy Supper Club, run by Kara Masi. She has hosted several hundred guests at various locations in Brooklyn, cooking sophisticated menus with and without the help of local chefs, purveyors, and her friends. There is a suggested donation for every meal, and people can reserve spots online. Nearly every dinner sells out, a testament to her dinner party prowess. Masi is a wealth of information and inspiration when it comes to entertaining (you can find more tips here), as you'll see in today's Q&A. Thanks, Kara!

1. Name, occupation, and city
Kara Masi, digital strategist for non-profits by day/host of Ted & Amy Supper Club by night, Brooklyn

2. When was the last time you threw a dinner party, and who was invited?

Last Friday night and it was an open invitation via my Web site

3. What is the best menu you've ever made for company?

Last year, my best friend (who is from Portugal) and I made a fabulous traditional Portuguese feast with plenty of homemade chouri├žo, fava bean soup, cataplana-cooked clams, free flowing Port and a hint of classic fado in the background. It was the perfect blend of a good, not overly fussy menu with really wonderful company.

Friday, April 1, 2011

friday giveaway! 100 recipes every woman should know

I'd like to start the occasional Friday giveaway and today I am offering a copy of 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know, a brand new cookbook sent over to me from Glamour magazine. It's a fun read, full of simple, crowd-pleasing recipes you might serve at a dinner party and also basic salads and pastas you might make for yourself on a busy weeknight. And if you're looking for a proposal, there's also Glamour's famed Engagement Chicken, of course.

I'd like to think that we're all evolved enough to know that cooking is not gender-specific and that men can and should cook for their partners and families as well. So boys, if you are man enough to want this for your cookbook shelf, please don't hesitate to enter. Men need recipes too!

To enter, please "Like" Dinner Party on Facebook and leave a comment here. I will select a random winner by 5 p.m. E.S.T. today. Sorry, U.S. residents only.

According to the random number generator, Holly wins! Please email me your address (lisacericola AT gmail DOT com) and I'll get it in the mail for you next week. Have a great weekend and thanks for the sweet comments, all.


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