Tack and Tweed Cooking Videos and Recipes!

I’m so happy to finally get around to joining my love of horses and my love of food! I was a chef for over 15 years before I started my Tack and Tweed business. I was a Personal Chef and in addition to cooking for distinguished guests all over New York, The Hamptons, Westchester and Fairfield counties, I taught cooking classes – which I absolutely loved! While I was making baby food for my own children, I created a series of cooking videos, which I will link to below.

I know it’s been a while since my last video, so I will be creating and posting more, focusing on Fast Family Meals, that anyone can learn to do and cook for their families and pets (even horse treats) – especially when we are all locked down or cannot eat out during COVID-19.

In addition to the video series, I will be setting up some ZOOM cooking class sessions, so if you are interested, please email me directly lisa.beels@gmail.com and we will get it going.

Please comment below and let me know if you have any special requests!

xo

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YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/PetitePalateBaby/videos

Selected Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5hF_WXRkSw

Oatmeal and Pear Baby Food https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7YbVek7YBI

Rice Cereal Baby Food https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHrZVugnFRw

Christmas Dinner – Christmas Goose! (in 3 parts) Christmas Goose

Retail Therapy

I have fun news for my local readers: some local and very popular tack stores have given me the opportunity to launch my line in their beautiful shops. We’ve collaborated and curated specific Tack and Tweed apparel and accessories for clients in and around the Hudson Valley, Westchester and Connecticut.

The first store to graciously feature my apparel is Saddle Manor in Patterson, NY, which serves Northern Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield Counties. Owner Donna Woods will be sure to take care of your every need with a smile and warm welcome. She has a wide variety of beautiful saddles, apparel, tack and anything else your horse or horse lover could possibly need! Stop in Monday through Saturday 10am – 5pm. 2974 Route 22, Patterson, NY 12563 (845) 878-3881.

The Horse Connection is in Bedford – New York’s horsiest town. It was started by owner Natasha Tarasov in 1992 as a mobile tack store offering the best products at the best price with the best service. Her store is a popular staple in Bedford’s historic downtown. Treat yourself to lunch in town at Bedford 234 or the Bedford Post Inn after buying your horse-crazy girl one of my super soft sweatshirts ;).

Open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm. 38 Village Green, Bedford, NY (914) 234-2047

The next two stores are local famous farm markets and have taken on some of my more artsy apparel. We feature the stunning equestrian watercolors of the talented Lorisa Zorina. Please drop by and enjoy some cider donuts and their very own hard cider (yum!) at Harvest Moon Orchard in North Salem.

Open daily summer and fall 9am – 6pm. 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY (914) 485-1210.

Also take some time and visit the stunning Rochambeau Farm in Mt. Kisco, NY. Your kids will love to feed their incredibly happy farm animals while you will enjoy munching on their own fresh produce and browsing local products, like my friend Susanne Nastasi’s line of homemade, all natural laundry wash, aptly branded The Farm Babe.

Open Wednesday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm. 214 West Patent Road Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 (914) 241-8090.

If you are in the area, please support these amazing local stores who are holding their own against the big online retailers. There is something so wonderful about going in to a real store, trying a pair of breeches on for a perfect fit, touching soft and luxurious garments, smelling leather tack and most importantly, creating a genuine relationship with local business owners who truly care and contribute to our communities.

xo

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There’s a bun (or two) in the oven…

No, I’m not with child, but we’ve been busy here at T&T! We’ve been collaborating with renowned Equestrian Artist Beatrice Bulteau to create a gorgeous new product just in time for the holidays – will launch tomorrow….

Also, we’ve put together our annual Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide which will be published in less than two days….can’t wait!! Okay, back to work….

xo

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Equus Film Festival NYC

FilmFestival2I’ve lived in and around NYC for almost 20 years now and I’m a little sad to say I’ve never participated or attended any film festivals. I’ve thought long and hard about getting my butt to the Tribeca Festival, but never actually made it. Last Thursday, when I heard (last minute) about the Equus Film Festival at MIST in Harlem Friday and Saturday, I called in a last minute babysitter, grabbed my notebook and jumped on Metro North. Quite clearly, hours of horsey films take priority over a DeNiro (my favorite actor, by the way) sighting ;).

It took me a couple minutes to find MIST, but once inside I felt very much at home. Three theaters playing equestrian cinema, world-renowned artists and horse activists all convening to share a drink and a bite at the delicious bar of Madiba, and the 7 or so obligatory protesters (anti-horse and carriage types as there was one short film being screened that defended NYC’s horse carriages) out front all conspired to make a wonderful and entertaining evening. I had a bite to eat at the bar, and I realized that this was of the same Madiba of Fort Greene Brooklyn fame, right down the street from where my husband and I lived years ago. It was one of our favorite haunts, so I was happy to see them thriving. Not to mention, the food was amazing. My little hand meat pie and truffle fries were perfect, as was my husbands dish of Chicken Durban Bunny Chow (spicy curry-like dish served in a hollowed out organic bread loaf). DELISH.

Okay, so I grabbed another glass of South African chardonnay, and sat through some evening flicks. First, some shorts. A short about Dr. Maria Katsamanis, who specializes in classical horsemanship, then a quickie about the Festival of the Horse and Drum, which looks to be a fun event scheduled for next August 15th and 16th in St. Charles, Illinois.  Sorry to report that the Asmar Equestrian (my regular readers know I love this brand) ad wasn’t aired at this point, but was seen on screens across the lobby and perhaps at another point in the festival. We then screened Free Rein, a glimpse into the life of a natural horsemanship trainer in Cananda named Jessica Fobert. She teaches us to listen to horses, and gives them a voice – they also happened to win the “Best Equestrian Series” award – congrats!  Next was the talented and artistic Riders of McCrae Farm. Specializing in French Classical Dressage, movements are given by, not forced from, the horse. Not the best cinematography, but a great performance and fun to see.

The next film was a treat. Animaglyphes, a labor of love by director and creator Manolo Bez, creative mind behind the Theatre du Centaur along with his wife, Camille. The film takes us on a journey of animals and man, so that we cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. They bring together a collage of hundreds of people, sheep, horses and onlookers as they undertake an epic journey across many miles through the south of France, ultimately parading though the un-barricaded streets of Marseilles. A piece of art, his objective was to demonstrate the oneness of man and animal while capturing different points of view, the most striking being one of birds as they witness hundreds of sheep being herded behind a female “centaur” (actually Manolo’s wife riding standing up on anywhere between 1 and 3 horses). When I asked what were some of his largest challenges making the film, besides securing the necessary bureaucratic permits, the largest challenge was the massive amounts of animal and human waste and how it was to be controlled and kept clean. Poo above all. 😉

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After this, I took a break to see what was happening in the lobby. I wasn’t disappointed as there were some protesters trying to cause a ruckus over the screening of a 10 minute movie named Save the Horse Carriages by Mary Haverstick (narrated by Liam Neeson). Eh, what’s a good event without some rabble rousers to bring in some media attention :)? I’m posting it here – reason for protest? I’ll let you decide.

Anyway, on the lighter side of life, I also met a wonderful artist named Beatrice Bulteau, who specializes in equestrian art and the celebration of movement and capturing the essence of the horse. She also happens to be the artist behind this year’s festival poster. As much as I wanted her beautiful watercolor mural (and everything else I saw), I only walked away with a signed festival poster and a beautiful iPhone 5 case. Hailing from Paris and now living in Portugal, Ms. Bulteau has been at her art for decades. I am sure that any piece of hers is a wise investment; tasteful art that will ad beauty and class to any room.

If I had more time and less children, I would have attended Saturday – all day. Alas, I had to call it quits after Friday. I’m anticipating next year, and will absolutely make time for the train ride back to the city to attend. Well worth it!

xo

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Not Very Horsey? Don’t Worry! You’ll Fit in at the Hampton Classic

My son (who is taking riding lessons) and I attended the opening day of the Hampton Classic this past Sunday. We were rewarded with a beautiful day, good food, lots of fun fashion and amazing riding. There was so much to feature, I wasn’t sure where to begin, but my son inspired me to feature the family-friendliness and diverse activities of the Classic. If anyone thinks that this show is just for the extremely horsey set, or that it would be too boring for kids, is simply wrong.

There was just so much to do. After a long drive, my son was hungry, so we grabbed a pizza at Pizza Luca by Stable Row. I’ll get into more detailed food reviews later, but we gobbled it up! Any kid can easily find something to eat, but I truly recommend the pizza (side note to Pizza  Luca: please add more of your delicious mozzarella and basil to the margherita!!!).

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Pizza Luca – Margherita (Napolitano)

Off to the practice/warm up rings for an up close and personal with the competitors. The mounts were absolutely gorgeous, as were the riders; I was so jealous that I wasn’t competing or at least simply sitting on a horse. We also caught some of the short stirrup classes (soooo cute).

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She did so well!

We then toured the swanky VIP tent, but my son was anxious to get to the kid’s area, so I was only allowed to pretend to be a VIP for 5 minutes. Long enough, however, for a quick glass of Wolffer Estate’s white – yum!

Dane - Too Cool for Schooling (VIP)
Dane – Too Cool for Schooling (VIP)

 

The kids area was (is) fabulous! There is a full size play ground, petting zoo (with very CLEAN and friendly animals), a cookie decorating station (thanks Citarella!), and an art station. The little kids can also join in the horse action with an adorable pony ride. We loved the gallery of children’s art – some was truly amazing. We can’t be there on Optimum Kids’ Day, but no matter, we had plenty to do anyway.

 

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This takes me to the short walk over to the boutique gallery. Even if you don’t want to tack up and jump an oxer, you can find some amazing fashions, fun crafts, quality bags and farmer’s market specialties (I’ll get into the farmer’s market in my food review yet to come).

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We then watched the main event of the day, the $50,000 Clear Channel Hunter Derby. I love watching the hunters – I know many people love the thrill of the jumpers, but the smoothness and grace of the hunter horses really is something to see. Congrats to Patricia Griffith, on Black Label, who won the Derby!

Patricia Griffith on Black Label – Photo Courtesy of Chornicle of the Horse

Enjoy my pictures – fashion and food reviews to come!

xo

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Countdown to the Culinary Classic

Courtesy www.HamptonClassic.com
Courtesy HamptonClassic.com

I’m excited for this year’s Hampton Classic (August 24-31 in Bridgehampton, NY). I feel like I know the drill this time, no longer such a greeny. I’ll be taking my son this year, he’s really getting into riding and horses; it will be great for him to see that many of the top riders are men.

This year, I’m skipping the Grand Prix Sunday and will attend the opening day of the show. It certainly was exciting photo-bombing  celebrities, but I’m taking a different focus. According to the press release below, this year the classic will feature a more diverse food scene, with a focus on gourmet food and local farmers with the inclusion of a farmer’s market right on the grounds.

Haute cuisine with haute jumping? RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. I’ll bring my appetite this year and instead of worrying about what I’ll wear, I’ll just throw on a bib and dig in while I watch those amazing athletes. Get ready for my report on food, fillies and fun!

I can’t wait!!

xo

l

Hampton Classic June, 26, 2014:

Hampton Classic Horse Show Cooking Something Great

Equestrians and Foodies Unite at This Year’s Show

Bridgehampton, NY – June 26, 2014 – The Hampton Classic Horse Show is pleased to announce new and varied food options for horse show attendees this summer. In addition to the veteran food vendors from previous years, the Classic is adding a number of new vendors, and a fresh twist on a New York tradition: a Farmers Market located right on the showgrounds.

The Hampton Classic returns to Bridgehampton, NY, August 24-31, 2014 for its 39th year of world-class equestrian competition. The Hampton Classic features more than 100 classes of competition including jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.

This year’s Classic will feature over 15 gourmet food choices scattered throughout the show grounds for attendees. “We are thrilled with the new additions to our food court and around the grounds,” said Shanette Cohen, Executive Director of the Hampton Classic. “There is truly something for everyone, and we hope nobody will be disappointed.”

Mister Softee at the Hampton Classic

 The food court will feature the likes of sweet  and savory waffles from Wafel & Dinges, a  New York City favorite, as well as Noodle  Lane, who will offer a unique twist on noodle  bowls and dumplings.  RSA Catering, LLC will  be crafting a wide array of culinary creations  ranging from breakfast sandwiches, to vegetable  hibachi and fried chicken.  All three vendors are  new to the food court for 2014.

Traditional favorites like Harry’s Fresh Squeezed Juices, and gourmet coffees and smoothies from Hampton Coffee Co. are also returning to this year’s show in the Food Court, as well as Magdalena’s Mexican Food, providing authentic Mexican fare, and Luke’s Lobster will be back at their old post.

On Stable Row by the entrance to the Hunter Rings will sit Burgess & Clark Coffee, offering gourmet and frozen coffee drinks.  Further down on Stable Row, Pizza Luca will be offering classic Napoletana pizzas from their mobile wood burning oven, and Whole Le Crepe, Inc. will be crafting handmade sweet and savory crepes for a midday snack.  And, for a Greek specialty, G & L Gyro Concessions will be next to the horse show office.

By the Kids’ Area, Crabman will have crab cakes and a variety of shrimp items, and Hampton Classic newcomer Kona Ice of Long Island will have flavored shaved ice for a refreshing summer afternoon treat.

Between the hunter rings will be a new satellite location of Harry’s Fresh Squeezed Juices, as well as Mr. Softee ice cream.  “We are thrilled to be returning to the Hampton Classic again this year,” said Marco Floro owner of the classic ice cream truck. “This show is one of our favorites!”  David’s World Famous will also be offering a satellite location on the walkway between the hunter fields, and will be offering gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. David’s World Famous primary location will continue to cater the Grooms Kitchen with classic American and Mexican dishes.

Headlining the food options at the Classic this year will be the daily Farmer’s Market, located at the main Food Court.  “We were inspired by Taste of NY, the New York state program that showcases New York’s farms and produce,” said Cohen. “Taste of NY came to the Classic last year, and it was a huge success.”

The Farmers Market will feature six different vendors each day, including offerings from Hampton Classic sponsors Wölffer Estate and the Milk Pail. “The new Farmers Market is a great idea,” said Max Rohn, general manager of Wölffer Estate Vineyard, which will be a part of the inaugural market, featuring Wölffer wines and ciders. “The market will allow exhibitors, riders and spectators at the Classic to literally taste another dimension of the Hamptons.”

In addition to Wölffer Estate, the following vendors will also be included at the Farmers Market:

  • A Taste of the North Fork, jarred pickled products, dips and spreads
  • Captain Neck & Co., low-calorie flavored sodas
  • Dolce & Gelato Catering, gelato
  • Hampton Chocolate Factory, gourmet chocolates
  • Milk Pail, fresh produce
  • Monty Breads, handmade stuffed breads
  • Next Generation Cookie, energy bars, cookies, and granola
  • Tanya Tracy, LLC, baked goods and chutneys
  • Victoria Amory & Co. condiments
  • Toasted Chicks, original S’mores kits
  • Salt Crafts, pink Himalayan salt licks for horses
  • Snacks 5th Avenchew, horse and dog treats

The Hampton Classic Horse Show features 6 show rings, a Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors, and a wide selection of dining options, on its 60-acre show grounds. The Classic’s world-class equestrian competition attracts many of the nation’s top professional and amateur riders including Olympic medalists.

The Hampton Classic’s world-class field of Grand Prix riders competes daily in the open jumper competition, which features an FEI-recognized Grand Prix on three consecutive days, Friday through Sunday, August 29-31 – the $50,000 Grand Prix Qualifier Presented by Longines on Friday, the $40,000 Longines Cup on Saturday, and Sunday’s $250,000 Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier, presented by Land Rover, a qualifying competition for the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas next April. The rider who accumulates the most points in the horse show’s Open Jumper division wins the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge.

The Hampton Classic also features ASPCA Adoption and Animal Welfare Day on Monday, August 25, an event that helps find permanent homes for rescued, horses, dogs, cats, and pigs.

Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com   or by calling 631-537-3177.  Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.”

 

Burger Meister Musthave Burger

burgeryum

Delicious Beef.

That’s what I have here. Delicious, grass fed, local, everything-else-of-the-moment-that’s-not-kobe-trendy, delicious beef. (Yes, that’s the burger I cooked this evening.) One of the many benefits of living in Chappaqua (besides Hillary and Bill sightings), is the amazing farmer’s market. One of the cornerstones of the market is Stone Barns and their delicious meat products. I can’t say it better than they can; here is their mission:

The mission of Stone Barns Center is to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all. Located 25 miles north of Manhattan, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit institution. We operate an 80-acre farm and work to:

Increase public awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food.
Train farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques.
Educate children about the sources of their food, and prepare them to steward the land that provides it.

 

Stone Barns has one of the few destination restaurants still left in the country – Blue Hill. As soon as I can, I’m getting a babysitter, dressing up in some cool digs and partaking in their delicacies. Wanna come???

xo

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Equestrian Decor

My favorite matrial...I think.
My favorite matrial…I think.

It’s been a while since my posts, but I have good reason – we’re buying a house in Chappaqua (yes, Bill and Hillary country), and we’ve been crazy trying to get everything together for the house. Part of my duties includes planning the decor. It’s a 1820 Quaker house, totally updated; in a way that it’s basically a blank slate.

I’m NOT a good decorator, but we can’t afford to hire someone, so I’ll be doing much of the work on my own. I was thinking of making “easy” roman shades using equestrian toile themed fabric. Here are some options that I like.  I’m so afraid of wasting money on a wrong decision I need some opinions!

I can also go for regular window treatments in the boring white or cream, but I want to decorate with an equestrian theme, but tastefully and subtly.

What are your opinions on these fabrics?

xo
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Boot Campers’ Best Yet

photo 3Little, romantic, delicious Individual Beef Wellingtons with asparagus. YUM.

Last night, between sips of wine, my Asphalt Green BPC students pulled together a wonderful compilation of Chateaubriand/Duxelle/Mousse and Pastry better known as Wellington. Here are our results and below is our working recipe. Please know that the directions are geared for people with basic cooking skills – if you want a more detailed instruction list, please comment below and I’ll send you the deets!

xo

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INDIVIDUAL BEEF WELLINGTONS

Recipe Yield: 4 servings

Ingredient

Amount

Fillet Mignons 4 2” thick steaks
Olive oil 3 tablespoons
Kosher or sea salt To taste
Black pepper To taste
Mushrooms (crimini or button) 15 small-medium, minced
Garlic clove 1 minced
Unsalted Butter 3 tablespoons per person
Shallots 1 medium or 2 small, minced
All purpose flour ¾ cups
Fois Gras (or Duck liver Mousse) 4 tablespoons
French Spicy Mustard 2 tablespoons
Sherry or Tawny Port 2 tablespoons per person
Puff Pastry 2 sheets per person
Egg wash 2 eggs beaten with water

EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR RECIPE:

Aluminum Foil Chef knife Boning knife
Baking Sheet Sauté Pan Pastry Brush
Sauce pot/pan Small cookie cutters (optional)

Recipe Instructions:   

  1. Preheat Oven to 400 F
  2. Prepare Filet and divide into portions – Dry off and set aside to come to room temp.
  3. Make the mushroom duxelle (chop shallots, garlic and mushrooms) then sauté in a pan until mushrooms are soft and dry) – deglaze with sherry or port…reduce again until mushrooms are soft and “dry”.
  4. Season  – and sear beef in sauté pan.
  5. Roll out pastry dough – moving as fast as possible – shape into a circle and cut off corners of circle (save scraps) to shape the pastry into a thick cross shaped piece.
  6. Assemble Wellingtons: Quickly dry off beef with a paper towel and place in middle of pastry cross. Brush with mustard, then layer on fois gras, then a tablespoon of duxelle. Brush ends of pastry with egg wash, then wrap the beef with the pastry, pressing the seams together. Glaze top with egg wash, decorate with leftover pastry dough if you like.
  7. Place in Freezer for 15 minutes to re-set pastry dough
  8. Bake in 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until puff pastry has risen and is golden brown. Check temp of beef – should be around 125 for rare.
  9. Remove from oven and let rest.

Chicken Pot Nummie

ImageNight 2 of Culinary Boot Camp at Asphalt Green in Battery Park City.  We’ll be using our knife and roasting skills from last week and adding some new techniques: making sauce, sectioning a chicken, making stock, blanching veggies and drinking wine (oh, wait, we have that skill perfected already). Tonight’s class we’ll be making Chicken Pot Pies from scratch, or as my son call is Chicken Pot Nummie. Kids love it, adults love it, cats love it – what can I say, it’s the perfect dish.

This is the recipe from which we’ll be working. Any questions, please ask! I’ll be adding our class pictures to this post tomorrow.

Recipe Yield: 4 servings

Ingredient

Amount

Whole Chicken 1
Olive oil 3 tablespoons
Kosher or sea salt To taste
Black pepper To taste
Homemade Chicken Stock 5 cups
Unsalted Butter 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks)
Yellow Onions, chopped 2 medium
All purpose flour ¾ cups
Heavy Cream ¼ cup
Carrots 2 large
Fresh or Frozen Peas 2 cups
Fresh Parsley 3 stalks
Fresh Thyme 3 stalks
Pastry Dough 1 recipe

EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR RECIPE:

4 aluminum containers per person (small/round) Chef knife Boning knife
Large boiling pot Roasting pan or baking sheet Aluminum foil
Saucepan x 2

Recipe Instructions:   

  1. Break down chicken (set legs aside for frying/left over carcass should be used for stock). Drizzle olive oil and season chicken breasts and roast with skin and bone in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. Heat up chicken stock in a saucepan.
  3. While chicken is cooking, prep vegetables. Dice carrots, dice onions. Blanche carrots, set aside.
  4. When chicken breast is finished, remove skin and bone; dice
  5. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter and sweat the onions. Add the flour and make a roux. Slowly add chicken stock, mixing until thickened.  Season and add cream. Add chicken cubes, vegetables and herbs. Mix well.
  6. Increase oven temperature to 375 F.
  7. Divide the filling into 4 oven proof containers.  Divide the dough into quarters and roll each into an 8 inch circle. Mix egg with a little water and put egg wash on outsides of each circle. Place the dough over the filling/containers, pressing the egg side down onto the outside of the containers. Brush dough with egg wash, sprinkle with s/p and make 3 slits in top of each. Place on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling hot.

Note: You can make your own pastry dough, or purchase one from the store. If you like a fluffier crust, purchase puff pastry dough instead. You will still use the egg wash to stick the dough to the top of the ramekins.

xo

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Back to School Back Bags

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Modcloth Back Pachyderm – $69

Backpacks are trending hard this fall.  My daughter is starting preschool Monday, so I’m investing in a super cute new back pack for her, as well as for my son, who’s entering the 2nd grade. I thought I may pick up one for myself while I’m at it. I totally forgot how comfortable it can be to schlep my goods on my back. Carrying everything in my super-huge mom bag on my left shoulder has left me somewhat lopsided. Check out the cute back-bags below – most of which can be carried by modern mommies and fashionable teens.

Better hurry – I’m ordering that elephant backpack asap!

xo

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Hunter-Jumper: Hot in the Hamptons

I love their shirts - I want one for my daughter and I as well.
I love their shirts – I want one for my daughter and me.

It was an amazing day at the Hamptons Classic yesterday. It was a little crazy to go as a show virgin on Grand Prix day, but it was so worth it. The weather held out and last year’s winner, Kent Farrington, won again. This time, his mount was Zafira. It was so amazing to see such steeds soar. I was happy just getting over a low jump last week; it surely was inspirational.

I have so many pictures and stories I’m weeding through, but I thought I would get some of the more fun pictures up for everyone to see. Please forgive my celebrity pictures – I’m not exactly paparazzi, being on the shy side, so I just took silly pictures from behind the pros. I was more interested in what people were wearing and what they were eating and the HORSES, of course!

My attempt at shooting the fashionable and famous:

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Les Enfants: the Fashionable Small-Set at the show:

Oh, and thank you guys for voting on what I should wear! I have to give props to Haute Hippie for sending me my size in the Paprika Onesie in time for the classic. It was perfect: comfortable, chic and got noticed. They rock!!

More to come!

xo

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Deliciously Danish

Sandwiches from Smorgas Chef Restaurant in the Scandia House Center in New York City
Sandwiches from Smorgas Chef Restaurant in the Scandia House Center in New York City

I’m an American mutt: on my mother’s side, I’m Italian, and on my father’s side I’m Danish.  Years ago, Sundays with Grandma and Grandpa would begin with about 3 hours of Lutheran church (I was jealous of my Catholic friends who got to go home after a 1/2 hour mass). Upon our return, we would all assist in assembling an immense table-full of the week’s leftovers, all rearranged and presented to perfection on thin-sliced heavy pumpernickel bread. In Denmark, this is known as Smørrebrød, meaning “buttered bread”. The bread is traditionally smeared with super thick delicious butter (think Lurpak) before toppings are added (the butter keeps the bread from getting soggy), and eaten with a knife and fork.

These little open-faced sandwiches can get very fancy. Indeed, there are restaurants all over Copenhagen (and a couple here in NYC – my next trip will be to Aamans Copenhagen in Tribeca) that specialize in these tasty morsels. In my family, we concentrated on every bite having a perfect blend of bread, dressing and topping. We didn’t worry too much about garnishing, as we were too busy stuffing our mouths. The adults (in my family, age 16) chased the food down with a Tuborg beer (no all but impossible to find) and a shot of Aquavit: Scandinavia’s potent “water of life” made with caraway.

Smorrebrod at my father's house. You can use anything in your fridge!
Smorrebrod at my father’s house. You can use anything in your fridge!

As a fun idea, you should try throwing a Danish Smorrebrod party. Slice and lay out thin slices of heavy pumpernickel, wheat and baguette bread. Place assorted toppings on small plates or on one large platter in the middle of the table, and let your guests make their own sandwiches. Have plenty of Carlsberg and Aquavit on hand to wash down the morsels.

Check out DanishSandwich.com it’s a wealth of information and tons of traditional recipes for sandwiches, homemade pickled herring, cucumber salad and other must-haves. They are one of my favorite blogs.

MOMMY NOTE: If you have young children, the smoked herring may be too much to ask their little taste buds to gobble – stick with the roast beef and pork options!

Skol!

xo

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Ice Cream Colored Kitchy Kitchen

In a world of Vikings and Wolfs, I think it’s time to bring in a more gentle species with a feminine flair. Enter Big Chill. I have always loved the hominess of 50’s-era kitchens and retro design of older appliances, but using one today would probably bring a private chef to tears. Big Chill has taken the modern commercial grade quality of Viking and merged it with the design aesthetic of Donna Reed – FABULOUS.

Big Chill has a number of appliances to choose from – refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and toaster ovens in any color of the rainbow. I prefer the pastel, ice cream flavor colors. Big Chill also offers different sizes: large appliances for the dream kitchen in the ‘burbs and smaller sets for the cutest of studio apartments. With refrigerators starting at $2995 and ranges starting at $4295, these are definitely not your grandmother’s appliances, but trust me, her bundt cake will turn out even better when baked in a baby blue oven!

xo

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4 Fabulous Flowers for Fashionable Food

When I’m cooking for clients, I’m challenged to garnish my food in a tasteful yet easy way. I found that flowers are just the touch. Finding edible flowers can be a challenge, but certain smaller gourmet stores carry them on a regular basis. When I cannot find the edible varieties, I use pretty non-edible flowers, stressing to diners to NOT include the flora on their forks.

The following are my top 4 favorites:

1. Violets

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I not only use these pretty pedals as garnish, but also as a salad component. They are slightly sweet, and delicate and are tasty when using soft greens like butter lettuce and a mild and sweet honey vinaigrette.

2. Herb Flowers

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Chives, thyme, garlic, rosemary and other herbs have flowers. They are not always the most ornate, but they do impart extra flavor and color. You can use them in any dish that normally calls for their greens. Be sure to taste them first, as they can be slightly off.

3. Snapdragons

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Not your typical eating-flower, as they are bland and can be bitter, however, they are beautiful. Most people probably won’t try eating them, but they really can gussy-up a plate.

4. Squash Flowers

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These are delicious and many times cooked and eaten as a specialty all on their own. Many chefs deep fry them, but I prefer to leave them pretty much as they are (maybe a quick sauté with butter and herbs). Be sure to remove the prickly green stems before you cook them! I learned this the hard way when I competed on Food Network’s Chopped….

xo

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