All About Earth Day: 3 Ways to Make It Count

We’ve all heard of Earth Day, which is celebrated every year on April 22, but other than the basic premise that it has to do with environmentalism, do we really know what it’s all about? Or what we can do to make this day different than any other? Here’s a quick breakdown.

All About Earth Day

It all started at the height of the whole hippie and flower-child movement. Protest was a big part of that era, but environmentalism? Not so much, at least initially. Rachel Carson’s bestseller, Silent Spring, brought the concept to the masses in 1962, and in 1970, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. As a result, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created, and the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were all passed.

Here’s what you can do to commemorate the day.

Continue reading “All About Earth Day: 3 Ways to Make It Count” »


April 22, 2014

Sip & Snack: Must-Try Pairings for Casual Sunday Dinner

Maybe you’re catching up with old friends over cocktails, watching the play-off game, or recovering on the couch from the night before. Whatever you’re up to, Sundays were made for kicking back. Turn these classic culinary duos up a notch with made-for-each-other combinations.

Snacks for Casual Sundays

Cocktails & Tapas
Goat-cheese frittersFried plantains. Anything that’s bite-sized, add it to the spread. For refreshments? Homemade sangria.

Wine & Cheese
Invite your neighborhood connoisseurs for Chardonnay with soft Brie or for Gouda with a full-bodied Cabernet.

Beer & Bites
In addition to your cheesy nachos, try candied bacon. Then bring out those salty-sweet flavors with a lambic or fruit beer.

Our Sunday Supper: Beverages & Bites Three Ways Boutique opens Sunday, April 20, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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April 20, 2014

For Movie Night, Cocktails, or Brunch: Use 1 Porcelain Bowl 3 Ways

Whether you’re on the couch catching up on Mad Men or hosting brunch for close friends, let one chic porcelain dish be the star of your laid-back day.

How to Use One Bowl in Three Ways

Movie Night
Hello, popcorn bowl. Make it gourmet with drizzled chocolate or mixed-in pretzels.

Cocktails
Hard lemonade or virgin punch, use this chic piece for ladling drinks.

Brunch
Choose a full flower, like sweet pea, then cut the stems short to create a centerpiece for your buffet.

Grab this does-it-all piece and more in our Sundays at Home: Brunch, Movies, & Cocktails Boutique on Sunday, April 13, at 11AM ET.

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April 13, 2014

Bake It Until You Make It: Inside an Escoffier Online Course

If you’ve ever been to a bake sale or picnic, you’ve likely made a pie. My time came last Thanksgiving. Having never baked anything more complicated than cookies, it was no surprise when my pecan pie cooled to the consistency of concrete. Some advice? If an event calls for pie, learn how to do it right. And if you don’t have time to perfect your pâte sucrée in culinary school, don’t fret. Enter: Escoffier Online.

Having failed at my Turkey Day dessert, I enrolled in a course on Cookies, Pies, and Tarts, hoping to turn my game around for 2014. Here’s how it played out:

Escoffier Culinary Courses

Continue reading “Bake It Until You Make It: Inside an Escoffier Online Course” »


April 9, 2014

Ready the Hefty Cookware: The Best Roast Chicken from Food52

For novice cooks, roasting a chicken can feel like a daunting culinary feat. But put your fears away. Merrill Stubbs – co-founder of recipe mecca Food52 – is here to guarantee you pull it off without a hitch. All it takes? Six ingredients, a heavy roasting or cast iron pan, and a hint of patience. If you can swing that, The Best Roast Chicken will be golden brown and ready for carving before you know it.

The Best Roast Chicken from Food52

Stubbs says, ”Don’t open the door for at least 45 minutes, when you can start to test it for doneness. (The chicken is cooked when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a sharp knife, and the juices run clear.) Let the chicken rest on a carving board while you make the pan sauce.”

Trust yourself. When the juices run clear, pull the chicken out of the oven. The alternative is a dry dish, unsalvageable by even the tastiest of gravies. Once your bird is ready for plating, watch Food52′s video tutorial, “How to Carve a Chicken.”

Then visit our Sunday Supper: Roasting Essentials Boutique on Sunday, April 6, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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Merrill Stubbs graduated from Brown and Le Cordon Bleu. She went on to work at Cook’s Illustrated and behind the counter at Flour Bakery in Boston’s South End. In addition to her work with Amanda Hesser on The Essential New York Times Cookbook, Merrill has written for the Times’T Living, Edible Brooklyn, and Body+Soul, and she was the food editor at Herb Quarterly. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.


April 6, 2014

Breathe New Life Into Your Lazy-Sunday Table

Sundays are low-key, but that doesn’t mean mealtime has to be lackluster. Here are four easy ways to make suppertime more stylish.

Add Style to Lazy Sunday Meals

  1. Select a unified color scheme, be it black and white, pastels, or neutrals. Tip: Take cues from your dining room’s décor.
  2. Create layers – charger, napkin, salad plate, silverware. For an informal look, simply stack it all up at each place setting.
  3. Light candles, but try votives instead of tall tapers. They’re less formal, but they still incorporate soft lighting.
  4. Build a casual centerpiece using natural materials. Sprigs and herbs add texture and surprise.

 

Start your laid-back tablescape at our Spend Sunday at Home: Cooking to Entertaining Boutique on Sunday, March 30, at 11AM ET.

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March 30, 2014

Eat Bistro Style: Almond and Fennel Flatbread from Food52

This week for Sunday Supper, we had our hearts set on something simple, fresh, and not too heavy. Imagine cuisine you might find at your corner café or bistro. With that in mind, we turned to Food52 – our destination for all things delicious – and discovered Almond and Fennel Flatbread.

Almond and Fennel Flatbread Recipe

The main ingredient? Za’atar. Don’t panic – it’s not as complex as it sounds. Za’atar includes cumin, sumac, salt, pepper, and a few other spices. It’s a mixture commonly found in Middle Eastern cooking. (See the recipe here.) But, let’s not digress. As Laura Wright of Food52 writes, “Once you have a good piece of dough, this one’s pretty much in the bag.” So grab the closest apron, a glass of white wine for pairing, and whip it up.

Our Sunday Supper: The At-Home Bistro Boutique opens Sunday, March 23, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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March 23, 2014

A Slice of Heaven: Prada Buys Historic Pastry Shop

High fashion and dessert? I think I speak for every woman when I say they’re pretty much the two best things on earth. And now, Italian fashion house Prada has had the ingenious idea to combine them.

Prada Buys a Pastry Shop

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March 17, 2014

Prep for Passover: Jewish Cooking Pro Joan Nathan Talks Brisket

Meet Joan Nathan, Rhode Island–born and Harvard-educated author, as well as the premier authority on Jewish cooking. Now, I’m not religious. But I am a foodie with a soft spot for comfort dishes that bring family and friends together. And Jewish cooking happens to do just that. Case in point: Brisket.

“It is a dish I serve frequently – on Friday night, at holidays, and at dinner parties,” Nathan writes. “The whole piece of meat, from three to ten pounds, is potted (hence the term pot roast) and cooked slowly for hours. Brisket needs to be simmered slowly to transform it into the succulent morsels I remember as a child.” First time hosting? You’ll need a wow-worthy recipe. And it just so happens that Nathan is sharing one of her own. So grab a roasting pan and get started.

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Click the recipe to download and print.

Craving more? Check out Joan Nathan’s latest book, Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, then shop our Sunday Supper: Celebrate Passover Boutique on Sunday, March 16, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

Joan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine, and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks. Her most recent book, Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, was named one of the ten best cookbooks of 2010 by NPR, Food & Wine, and Bon Appétit.

Ms. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. For more information, visit her website at joannathan.com.


March 16, 2014

Two Centuries of Tradition: The Story Behind Waterford & Wedgwood

It graced your grandmother’s holiday table, and you’ll likely pass yours to the kids. Why? Because, like white pearls and little black dresses, one-of-a-kind crystal and china never go out of style. Here, a brief history of the tabletop labels.

Waterford Wedgwood History

In 1783, exporters and brothers William and George Penrose of Waterford, Ireland, set out to create the finest crystal for decorative and practical uses. Over 200 years later, credited with achieving just that, Waterford merged with Wedgwood, one of the world’s premier manufacturers of high-quality china. Together, these labels became synonymous with taste and timeless tabletop style.

Start your collection in The World of Waterford & Wedgwood Boutique on Friday, March 14, at 3PM ET.

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March 14, 2014