I had a little weekend away visiting coastal Portsmouth, NH for bachelorette excursion to celebrate one of my best girlfriends. The weather was grey, but the rain held out for a boat cruise around the Portsmouth harbor. I packed a little boat-picnic with prosciutto-wrapped-melon, cheese and crackers, and some tasty grapes and marcona almonds (and of course we got some cocktails aboard!). The rest of the weekend was a success, we shopped around town and hit up the always adorable Gus & Ruby Letterpress, filled our bride-to-be up with margaritas and Mexican food, and then danced our toes off until the band packed it in for the night. It was a really fun weekend, and probably one of the nicest group of girls I’ve ever bachelorette’d with! And now comes the hard part — recovering from the weekend!
After what feels like dozens of hot nights in our apartment, it finally cooled down enough this week that turning on the oven was an option. Getting back into the kitchen was such a good re-charge for me this week, especially with all of the amazing seasonal produce available to play with! I needed some comfort food after a long weekend of partying it up at a friend’s wedding so I went with a pasta dish — something quick and simple. I roasted a small eggplant, a container of quartered grape tomatoes, and two heads of garlic with some EVOO and salt and pepper at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. While that cooked, I made angel hair pasta and tossed it with half a lemon’s juice, torn basil leaves, about a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter, and some parmesan cheese. Once the vegetable mixture was well roasted, I pulled the cloves out of the garlic heads and smash them up with the tomatoes and eggplant, and tossed all of the ingredients together with the pasta and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water. It totally hit the spot — the roasted garlic infused the eggplant and tomatoes with so much flavor, and all of the ingredients came together for a fresh but hearty meal.
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a cocktail recipe — the past few weeks have been jam packed with summer fun, but I’ve barely been at home to test out new ideas! The folks at Brugal sent me some of their rum last week to test out, so I took this as the perfect occasion to get mixing! I was inspired by a blood orange soda that I grabbed at the store and paired with some elderflower liquor and fresh citrus:
- 1.5 oz of Brugal rum
- 0.5 oz of Elderflower Liquor
- 2.5 oz of Blood Orange Soda
- Fresh Lemon juice
Pour rum and elderflower liquor over ice and stir. Top with blood orange soda and a squeezed wedge of fresh lemon juice. Serve with a lemon garnish.
Please note: Brugal Rum provided me with product samples, all opinions and recipes are my own.
Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to visit Island Creek Oyster Farm down in Duxbury, MA. My husband is a big fan of oysters and got me into them a few years ago too — now we’re both oyster-obsessed and love checking out new varieties whenever see them pop up on the menu at local restaurants (we’ve even done some at-home-shucking too!). No matter how many we try though, we always come back to Island Creek’s as our favorites. After being invite to visit the OysterPlex and meet the folks that run ICO, I’m even more committed to my favorite oysters now. Chris and his team took us through the history of building the ICO OysterPlex and brand, and showed us how they cultivate and farm the oysters from ‘seed’ to harvest. It all started on the shore where we saw the greenhouses where the team grows their algae to feed the oysters at the seed stage. From there, we followed the seeds through their life cycle and ended up out in two boats on the water where they grow in trays in Duxbury Bay until they’re ready to harvest.
Duxbury Bay is absolutely gorgeous. After visiting the oyster trays out in the water, we stopped at the ICO float out in the water where they process and sort the harvest each day and enjoyed some of the oysters that had just been plucked out of the water — doesn’t get much fresher than that! A few beers and glasses of rosé wine were enjoyed with the oyster-feast as we met Skip Bennett, founder of Island Creek. My favorite anecdote from the day was hearing about how Skip drove into Boston one day to try to offload a surplus of oysters to local chefs. He showed up at the back door of East Coast Grill in Cambridge with his pick-up truck and his oyster haul. East Coast Grill was the first place to buy wholesale oysters from Island Creek, and the rest was history!
It felt like a once in a lifetime experience to get to visit the oyster farm where some of our very favorite seafood treats come from. I also learned so much from Island Creek team about oysters, (did you know it only takes 18 months to grow a full size oyster shell?! I thought it took years upon years!), the benefit of aquaculture and oysters to the environment, and the great things that ICO does to give back to the community with their foundation. Thanks so much to Skip, Chris, and the rest of the Island Creek team for such an awesome day
On Sunday I had an awesome opportunity to take over the Boston Harbor Cruises’ Instagram account as they sent me on a little adventure to Provincetown. We took the BHC Fast Ferry out of downtown Boston and spent the day in P-Town exploring. Most of our time was spent checking out the Commercial Street shopping area, ducking into cute nautical shops and restaurants. We had lobster rolls at The Canteen for lunch, drinks on the porch looking out over the water at The Red Inn, cocktails on the waterfront deck at Pepes, and enjoying a clambake at the Lobster Pot to end our night. All along the way I snapped pictures of the cute Cape Cod cottages and nautical details. Twelve hours of eating and drinking and instagramming is pretty much my ideal day — thanks to Boston Harbor Cruises for the awesome opportunity!
When it comes to planning a bridal shower, it’s the little extra details that make all the difference in creating a special experience. When my fellow bridesmaids landed on a mimosa bar for the shower, I decided it would be fun to jazz up the rented champagne flutes with a little extra flair. Using embroidery floss and an easy-to-find tutorial from Pinterest, I made tassels in coordinating corals, peaches, and lilacs. Using wine charm findings I attached the tassels with an extra piece of embroidery floss. The result was a bright pop of festive color on the champagne flutes, and an easy way for guests to locate their drinks!
I have started a fun little summer challenge: on Tuesdays and Fridays I have been hitting up the Copley Square Farmers Market on my lunch break and try to make a dinner completely out of ingredients from the vendor stands. There is one particular vendor that makes amazing fresh pastas which has been a great base to feature all of the delicious crisp veggies I have been able to get at the market. So farmers market pasta is becoming a new staple.
It’s the same process each week: boil water for the pasta and steam the veggies on top. Then in a pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and sauté the veggies and a few minced shallots: add 1/4 cup of white wine and reduce the mixture. Then toss the pasta in with a few tablespoons of the pasta water and coat with the sauce and vegetables. Then top with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and Parmesan cheese. This week I made it with English peas, heirloom carrots, and yellow summer squash, but have also tried garlic scapes, zucchini, and broccoli. It’s healthy, local and so tasty!
This was one of those weekends where I totally forgot to break out my real camera because I was too busy having fun. Hurricane Arthur did little to deter my patriotic celebrations — I went to a friend’s beach house and we had a rainy night in with a lobster dinner, my frozen berry cheesecake jars for dessert, and a whole lot of cards against humanity. Once the weather cleared up we hit the beach for some book reading and sun bathing — it was bliss. I am having some major Monday-blues after such a good long weekend — anyone else?
Sometimes a few simple ingredients can be combined to make something wow-worthy — and I totally feel that way about this easy to make summer salad of grilled peaches and arugula. I made this salad for a summer rosé party held by The Urban Grape, and it was a hit — the sweetness of the grilled peaches is a perfect balance for the peppery arugula and tang of reduced balsamic. Check out the recipe below and be sure to click over to Boston.com to read the full article with smart tips from Hadley & TJ of The Urban Grape to throw your own rosé party!
- 6 Peaches
- 1 cup of Mozzarella balls
- 8 cups of Arugula
- 1/8 cup Pine Nuts
- 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Peel peaches and cut into wedges. Heat grill and lightly coat with cooking spray to keep peaches from sticking. Grill peaches until marked on all sides. Set aside to cool. In a small saucepan, heat the Balsamic Vinegar on a medium-high heat, and let it reduce in half, about 5-8 minutes. As the Vinegar is reducing, toast pine nuts lightly in a small pan (be careful not to burn). In a large bowl, assemble arugula, layer mozzarella and peaches on top, and then sprinkle with pine nuts and dress with the balsamic reduction. Toss to serve.
Photography: Brian Samuels Photography