Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prospect Park

Yesterday I had a walk-through at the Audubon Boathouse in Prospect Park and was completely intoxicated by the light and remnants of fall as I made my way through the park. It was as if the most saturated leaves had hung on till the end. Everywhere I looked there was a brightness and intensity of hue against a backdrop of earthen dried foliage making their way into a natural compost for the winter months. My nature hike was brief but long enough to lose myself for a few minutes in nature and the final high notes of autumn.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Whites and Sparkles

Above is a sample centerpiece made for a wedding at Prospect Boathouse on New Year's Eve.
The ingredients include Amaryllis, Anemones, Ranunculus different variety of white, ivory and blush roses, Dusty Miller, Brunia, Eschevaria, Stock, and Veronica in antique silver pedestal vases and mercury glass vessels. Accents of crystalize twigs lend it a sparkle and a nod to the holiday season.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Non Traditional Thanksgiving

Yesterday close friends gathered together to make delicious dishes all day. Instead of a turkey we made a giant pot of Paella. Stuffing was replaced by roasted vegetables like beets sprinkled with Cabrales cheese, cauliflower with Asiago, fingerling potatoes with rosemary, and butternut squash with balsamic vinegar. Our greens were satisfied by a kale sesame salad with shitake mushrooms in a rice vinegar, sesame oil dressing and sweets remained true to the holiday with pumpkin pie from Daisy Bakery, pumpkin cheese cake from whole foods and giant assorted pastries from a Greek bakery in Queens. I fear counting the total number of calories that passed over my fork thinking of all the places on earth where one quarter of those calories could save a life. We are a very lucky crowd to be able to celebrate our lives in such an abundant way. I am thankful for having the opportunities I have had, for the good health of my family and friends and for living a creative life filled with beauty and celebration!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Seafood Paella

  • Broth:
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
  • Herb Blend:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Paella:
  • 1 pound monkfish or other firm white fish fillets
  • 16 unpeeled jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 16 littleneck clams
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar sliced pimento, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • To prepare broth, combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  • To prepare herb blend, combine parsley and next 4 ingredients (parsley through 2 garlic cloves); set aside.
  • To prepare paella, trim connective tissue from monkfish; cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and shrimp; saute 1 minute (the seafood mixture will not be cooked through).
  • Remove seafood mixture from pan, and keep warm. Add onion and bell pepper to pan, and saute 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, paprika, crushed red pepper, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, herb blend, and peas. Bring to a low boil, and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add clams to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Stir in the seafood mixture, and arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture. Arrange pimento slices spokelike on top of rice mixture; cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel and let stand 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Merry ABCs and Thankfully Happy Ones!

This week I had a spell cast upon me by the visual display at ABC carpets. I put the metal to the petal on my holiday cheer and completely surrendered myself to crystal fawns and glass unicorn snow globes. Opalescent vases and "snow" flaked poinsettia leaves lifted my fairy wings right into a crystal encrusted frenzy back at the studio. The floor is now covered in glitter and glass crystals. When will this end! Dec 31st hopefully, when our last winter wonderland wedding goes off as splendidly as ABC's holiday display has! But before then we have that thankful day to honor so off to spin class to get the metabolism in high gear for all the approaching calories!!!

Happy Thanksgiving Lovers of Life!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leaves FALL

Leaves are covering the ground as the explosion of color makes way for hard silhouettes of branches preparing us mentally for the winter ahead. This week has been warm and sunny and I savor every minute. Above is one of the last fall arrangements coming from this studio. Winter wonderland weddings are taking over. It's a week filled with crystals and branches. Production for the base materials for many December weddings is filling my time and space. Think Dr Zhivago meets a true life ice storm. More about this soon.