Cocktails with Rue Magazine: 3 Spots to Pop Bottles

The temptress that is spring is finally showing her face, which means post-office Pilates classes will quickly become post-office martini sessions. Or margaritas. Or sangria. (The options are endless.) Here to help us kick off the cocktailing season? Crystal Palecek, founder and editor-in-chief of Rue magazine. On the lawn, in the kitchen, and on the roof – Crystal shares three fail-safe ways to sip with friends this season.

Cocktail Tips from Rue Magazine

I admit, I thoroughly enjoy hibernating each winter. But even more than curling up with hot cocoa and a good movie, I love the arrival of warmer weather and the entertaining options that come with it. This summer, I’ll be playing hostess and inviting  friends over for happy hour every chance I get – from an alfresco picnic on the lawn to an urban rooftop retreat.

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May 2, 2014

Chef’s Choice: Thomas Kaltenecker’s Essentials for All Skill Levels

Whether perfecting that hollandaise recipe or cooking pasta al dente, chefs – novice or pro – are only as good as their tools. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to empty your cabinet of every item. Simply stock up on a few key necessities.

Here with your must-have checklist? Chef Thomas Kaltenecker from the Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. From his mother’s kitchen at age nine to pastry shops, family businesses, and hotel restaurants, this seasoned foodie knows his tools.

Must-Have Tools for Cooks of Every Skill Level

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April 25, 2014

How to Eat Your Way Through Abruzzo, Italy

Before I traveled to Italy, I was told: Understand how the food works. In Southern Italy, you’ll eat red sauce and olive oil. In the north? Butter. Parmesan cheese. Maybe some truffles. Despite the fact that the country is no bigger than half of Texas, there is no one way to cook Italian. Everything’s completely regional. And if you want to eat through Italy right, you have to know what to get where.

This can be tricky, considering Italy has 20 regions. Rome’s Lazio, Milan’s Lombardia, and Toscana (or Tuscany, as we know it) are some of the most familiar. So, let’s start small – with one of the country’s lesser-known, but no less picturesque, regions: Abruzzo.

What to Eat in Abruzzo, Italy

Tucked east of touristy Lazio, quieter Abruzzo seems to have it all. Rugged mountains. Forested national parks. The Adriatic Sea. And with its diverse landscape comes a huge range of cuisine.

Here are a few of the items Abruzzo does best:
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April 24, 2014

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.

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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.

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


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

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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

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

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.

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


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