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Posts tagged ‘Italian wine’


The long summer days and warm summer nights we have been enjoying here in New York have me thinking about summers past. When I spent a summer up in Napa while working at a winery, we had lots of friends who wanted to visit. We would grill and play bocci ball in the yard, drinking chilled wine and laughing. Occasionally it would be too hot to grill so I want to share one of my favorite recipes for backyard parties ~ sans grill. Whip this up the day before so you can enjoy a cold glass of rosé with your friends!

summer salad


(serves 4 people)

1 bunch asparagus (sliced and blanched)

1 cup peas thawed (blanched if fresh)

1 cup snap peas or fava beans (blanched & shelled if fava)

5-8 leave of fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons

5-8 leaves of fresh mint sliced into thin ribbons

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Zest of one lemon

Juice of half a lemon

Drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

A few cracks of fresh pepper

Good pinch of salt

0.3 LB Pecorino Foja De Noce (or any pecorino) Sliced thin and served over the salad)

20 slices of  prosciutto

4 slice of rustic bread charred on the grill or in the oven, (you could also serve this without charring)

This salad is something that you can make either the day before or an hour before you expect people to arrive. Just let it come up to room temperature before serving.

Boil water in a large saucepan. When bubbling, blanch the fresh peas, asparagus, fava beans/ snap peas individually until bright green. Careful not to over cook them as you want them to have “snap” when cooled. Remove from boiling water and shock in ice bath until cooled, drain. Then pile them into a big serving bowl. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium high heat, careful not to burn them. Remove from heat, cool the nuts and add them to the bowl.  Zest one lemon over the top of the veggies and squeeze the juice of half over as well. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with salt & pepper. Thinly slice the mint & basil and add to the salad. Mix to combine.

Grab a large platter or plate for the prosciutto and other charcuterie. Plate them up nicely and drizzle with a touch of olive oil salt and pepper.  Plate the cheese on a cheese board and serve it room temperature. If charring the bread, prepare it while toasting the pine nuts, otherwise serve sliced as is with olive oil to dip in.

I usually serve this with a bottle of rosé from France or a white wine from Italy like a vermentino.

Also, feel free to make lots of this salad if you want to make great left overs. Maybe grilled shrimp or calamari would be ideal for a day after compliment.


So almost 7 weeks ago my best friend Heather Hudak ( and I started an insanely crazy workout challenge with the celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson. The challenge was to workout with her Design Series dvd’s 4-6 times a week for 12 weeks while eating healthy. This was especially challenging for me in my line of work however, I hear moderation is key so I was up for gaining some balance.

The goal for me was to loose some of the wine belly I was gaining and achieve a more trim frame…only one catch. I had to pose in a tiny bikini for “before” and “after” shots! Let’s just say this was a true moment for cocktails the day of the shoot. We pulled it together though and even had fun. For me this challenge was really to gain some of the strength I was lacking in my core which was yielding symptomatic shoulder issues for me.  I have found the workouts to be wonderfully successful for my posture and overall tone of my muscles. I even find myself missing them if I skip a day! Regardless of the challenges of keeping fit I think it’s worth finding balance so I wanted to share some of my “foodie” salads that I have been making. (You knew I wasn’t going to eat carrots & celery this whole time didn’t you?)

watermelon radish market salad

Watermelon Radish & Little Gem Lettuce Salad:

A few bunches of crisp little gem lettuces (washed and spun dry)

A couple of watermelon radishes peeled and sliced with a knife or mandolin

Fresh chives cut to small pieces with kitchen shears or chefs knife

Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

1/2 Lemon

1/4 cup Olive Oil

Combine the olive oil, lemon, salt & pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. In a large bowl combine the little gem lettuces, radish, & chives. Pour desired amount of the dressing over and toss. I serve this with soft scrambled eggs with chives and if  you would like a glass of wine with this try the 2009 Cade Winery Sauvignon Blanc from Napa California.

phat beets salad

Phat Beets Market Salad:

1 bunch frisée (washed & spun dry)

1/4 cup pickled beets

1 small turnip (peeled and sliced with a mandolin)

1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds (not shown here)

3 tbsp how to eat n’drink dressing (recipe below)

Wash and dry frisée and place in large salad bowl. Peel and slice the turnip with a mandolin and add to frisée. Dice the pickled beets and add to salad.

For the dressing:

1 tbsp garlic manonaise (homemade or store bought)

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

1 tbsp champagne vinegar

1 tbsp hazelnut oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp honey

Pinch of Kosher Salt

A few cracks of Pepper

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients until combined and emulsified. Drizzle to taste over the  frisée and enjoy with a glass of Costa d’Amalfi Furore Biano 2009 from Italy! But don’t forget to workout later…