Recently, Vintanthro Modern asked if i’d be interested creating a vignette for the grand opening of their new expansion into the world of home furnishings and decor. As a lover of antiques, collectibles and any new challenging creative project instantly said- “SIGN ME UP!”
I’ve worked around so many designers over the years showcasing their own work from the back in that pulling together ideas and items from their shop mainly was truly a larger undertaking than I imagined. I have an even bigger appreciation for design and decor than before! And of course now I am reenergized to continue my work around my own home. (Things have been a bit stagnant here with the addition of a second child.)
My instinct was to fully embrace the upcoming warm weather and outdoor dining- my favorite! For me, my passions don’t jut lie in cooking, but also creating an experience for my guests. Naturally, in starting with the space for this project we evolved to the idea of creating anal fresco menu inspired by the late winter citrus and some of the cold-heartier herbs.
What is the most fun about entertaining and cooking for a group is that I had a pretty set menu but depending on how timing was, ingredients I got and just plain user error, some of the items evolved and had to change as the prep went on. I won’t say how or where because we were able to pivot and all enjoyed, but it is always a fun challenge! I can’t wait to expand and experiment more on these and continue to serve them throughout the summer!
White Bean Radicchio Salad in Endive Spears
- 15 oz. can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup finely chopped radicchio
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 large heads Belgian endive
Mix together beans, radicchio, vinegar, olive oil, chives, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Taste and add more vinegar if you like. (I made mine 1 day ahead, covered and chilled in fridge. I really think this helped all the flavors meld together. The next day it tasted so good.) Trim base from endive heads and separate endive into individual leaves. Spoon bean mixture into base of each leaf, dividing evenly.
Note: The key to this salad on the leaf was that guests could pick it up and go- no wasted plates, no serving. And easy starter to grab and mingle with.
Homemade Marinated Feta stuffed dates with Lemon Zest and Fresh Rosemary
- 1 cups olive oil
- 1lb feta, cubed
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary, reserve some for garnish
- Peels from 1 lemon
- 1 lb of pitted dates
- 1 tsp of whole Peppercorns
Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add in peppercorns, lemon peel and 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Remove from heat after a few minutes and let sit until cool. Strain oil and pour over cubed feta. Let sit for a few hours (or overnight). Stuff feta in pitted dates, top with some more infused oil, finely chopped rosemary and some lemon zest.
Tip: I intended this to have a tangier component to it that didn’t pan out. Was thinking in the future to try adding some balsamic glaze on top.
Caramelized Blood Orange with Whipped Ricotta, Thyme and Lemon-infused Honey and Prosciutto on Crostini.
- 3—4 blood oranges
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into about 1 inch slices.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 oz prosciutto
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small sauce pan, heat honey on medium heat add in lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest and thyme. Once warm, turn off heat and set aside.
Preheat the broiler to high and set your rack to the middle of the oven. Brush the bread with olive oil and place under the broiler until golden brown, flip and toast other side. Peel the blood oranges and slice into half inch medallions. Place on baking sheet and brush with honey. Broil about 5 minutes.
In a stand mixer whip ricotta and 1 tsp lemon zest with salt and pepper. Assemble crostini by topping a piece of toast with ricotta, a broiled orange and some prosciutto. Drizzle remaining honey on top and garnish with any remaining thyme.