The Season’s Last Hurrah!

I realized that I let the summer slip away without hosting a big blow out celebration.  So, last-minute, I invited some of our favorite people over for bouillabaisse.  Here’s a peek at our evening.

We always say:  search your home for treasures to use in decorating.  The flowers are in pails from used citronella candles.  I cleaned them up and antiqued them with a little gold paint.  The flowers?  Wegmans!  Can  you beat $20 for 2 dozen long stems?

The lights evoke  childhood memories of catching fire flies in mason jars at dusk.


Champagne Jean-Noël Haton Brut Blanc de Balnc Millésime 2005

The Grand Aioli
2014 Underwood Rosé
Caves des Grands Crus Blancs Pouilly-Fuissé 2014

Croutons with red pepper rouille
Clarendelle Blanc 2012
Le Sot de L’Ange La Boutanche Rosé

Cheese Plate:  Coulommiers, Comté and Stilton
Peller Estates Ice Wine Riesling 2013

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Here are the recipes for gougères and easy aioli.  I relied on a recipe from Tyler Florence as a start for my bouillabaisse.  Here it is:  bouillabaisse.  Believe me I didn’t follow his recipe step by step — too complicated.  The chocolate pots de creme recipe is Martha Stewart’s — you will never go wrong with her!  Here is her recipe:  pots de creme.

final_300dpiThe Divas “Dish” on Mimi’s Dishes.   Don’t be intimidated by gougères.  Once you master the dough it’s a snap!  I’ve always wanted to do an authentic “grand aioli” which is an informal meal that includes poached fish.  I thought a version of it would be fun … sitting around the table with wine before the main event.  I don’t make my fish stock for bouillibaisse, I use seafood stock — just as good, a lot less work.  I use triple the amount of vegetables that the recipe calls for and I have a heavy hand with fresh fennel, fennel seeds and Pernod.  I like a very strong expression of the vegetables and aromatics in the broth.  I purée half of the vegetables and stir them into the strained broth.  Experiment!  Have fun!  It’s just food, not brain surgery … years later I’m still tweaking it.  The red pepper rouille was easy and delicious with the meal.   No picture of the cheese plate — sorry.  Coulommiers is French brie — creamy, nutty, wonderful with wine.  Comté is a nice mild French hard cheese and Stilton isn’t French but my husband loves it, so I serve it.  First attempt at pots de creme — they tasted better than that picture looks (thank goodness!)

Sue.  I was so sorry to miss Mimi’s party — it’s been a busy busy summer with family and friends of the family visiting almost every weekend!!  Anyway,  I love Mimi’s bouillabaisse and have had it many times.  It’s the best I’ve ever tasted.  Good thing she makes it — too many complicated steps for me to tackle.  I don’t have the patience.  And boy those gougéres look good — with champagne!  My husband says if he could drink nothing but champagne, he would.

White Party — Diva Style — Warm Night, Cool Food


Follow the Diva to our website and create your own warm weather celebration!

Sue and I were working on the menu and got distracted with — of course — decorating for the celebration.  I just started piling all kinds of candle holders and decorative pieces on the dining room table.  Then we started pulling out all of the plates, serving dishes and linens.  Voila! Before we knew it the “white party” took shape.  Finally, so did our menu.



White Bean Bruschetta

Shrimp with Mustard Lime Dipping Sauce

Chilled Zucchini Soup


Baby Greens and Watercress with Citrus Vinaigrette

Orzo with Artichoke Pesto and Roasted Corn

Chardonnay Poached Salmon with Mustard Dill Cream


Blueberry Tart with Homemade Peach Ice Cream


Promesses de France Cotes du Rhone 2012

Aviary Chardonnay Napa Valley 2012

We decided that it would be fun to host a celebration where everything served was cold or at room temperature.  As Sue will tell you, the less time in the kitchen during a party, the better!  I actually agreed with her and was happy to join in the fun rather than running back and forth prepping food — plus we had a great time cooking together the day before!





It’s Over Already?

Wow, where did the summer go?  We were very busy getting ready for Provence and then spending July on our “facelift”  (that is  creating a new blog and refreshing the website).  We wanted to see some of our favorite friends but before you knew it August was here.  We decided the best way to enjoy seeing Betty and Nick and Joan and Marty was to throw an intimate dinner party.  I did the Summer opener so Mimi signed up for the Summer closer.  We came up with our menu and it was off to Wegman’s for a shopping spree.

Stuffed tri-colored mini-peppers two ways

White bean, sweet pea and mint crostini

Chilled cream of watercress soup

Watermelon, tomato and feta cheese salad

Tossed greens with balsamic vinaigrette

Tom Colicchio’s (sort of) zucchini and burrata

 Giada’s (90% ) Lemon spaghetti

Gin and Juniper pork tenderloin

LImoncello tiramisu

Simonet-Febvre 1er Cru Millesime 2010

Perrin L’Oustalet Organic Rhone


Limoncello tiramisu

Limoncello tiramisu

Follow the diva to our website for recipes, more photes and how to host a successful “Summer Closer”.