My 2012 Culinary Highlights

Wild asparagus and spring produce at a Paris market

As 2012 comes to a close, I am already starting to look ahead to 2013 and make my culinary resolutions for the new year. But before I do that, I want to look back on the year that was: what special dishes I ate, what new foods I tried, and what unfamiliar techniques I mastered. The culinary highlight of the year was without a doubt the week-long … [Read more...]

Holiday Party Food

Marinated grape tomatoes and mozzarella

For the last of my Twelve Parties for 2012 -- okay so it ended up only being nine parties, but who's counting? -- we threw a holiday cocktail party for a small group of friends and neighbors. Instead of holding the party on Saturday night, which always feels like too much pressure to me, we opted to hold it on a Sunday night when there is less … [Read more...]

Wrapping up 12 Months of Parties


So, remember last December when I started a project to throw a different party for each month of the year? I called it "Twelve Months of Parties for 2012." (I found out later that an out-of-town friend of my husband"s who is a faithful reader -- thank you! -- called it "Twelve Parties I Know I"m Not Invited To." I hope no one else found it to be … [Read more...]

Twelve Parties: A Kid Birthday Party

After managing to live up to my obligations for the Twelve Months of Parties for 2012 project in June and July, I missed another month in August. I was supposed to host a cocktail party in August and as much as I would have loved to do so, I was out of town for two out of the four weekends of the month and hosting celebrity guest Marisa McClellan … [Read more...]

Twelve Parties: A Summer Cookout

Life has been getting in the way of Twelve Months of Parties for 2012. In May, I was simply unable to schedule my planned mother-daughter tea party due to multiple weekends out of town (Paris, my 20th high school reunion etc.). I got back on track in June when we hosted friends for brunch and I made a frittata out of duck eggs -- which sadly I … [Read more...]

Twelve Parties: Brunch

It"s been a little quiet lately on the "Twelve Parties for 2012" front. The truth is, I failed to throw the planned May party, which was supposed to be a mother-daughter tea. I did throw a party in May -- it was a blogger event for the launch of the Ruckus Reader, a cool new educational iPad app that JR loves. (I am going to be telling you all … [Read more...]

Seder Recap and a Dairy-Free, Nut-Free Passover Apple Cake

It's quiet here today. The guests have all gone home and the Seder plate is packed away for another year. All that is left of two days of cooking and cleaning is the memory of a joyful holiday. That and a fridge full of leftovers. So that's not so bad. We had a lovely Seder on Friday night with my husband's parents who came from out of town. I … [Read more...]

Hosting a Passover Seder

Although it may seem like I just finished cleaning up from the March party in my 12 Parties for 2012 project, it is already time for the April party. Breathe deeply, people. The April party is a family holiday meal, namely a Passover Seder. There are a million ways to host a Passover Seder. I grew up on Seders that were short on religion but … [Read more...]

Elegant Dinner Party Recap

In for a penny, in for a pound, right? At some point on Saturday afternoon, I thought: "if I am going to make this four-course menu and serve this beautiful butterflied leg of lamb, I might as well go all in." And that was when I got up on a chair and pulled my wedding china off the high shelf on which it lives. I dug the silver polish out from … [Read more...]

Elegant Dinner Party sponsored by

When I was a little girl, it seemed like my parents went out every Saturday night. My mother might tell me that it was not quite as often as all that, but that is how I remember it. And if they weren"t going out, it was because they were hosting a dinner party. I seem to remember my parents attending or hosting dinner parties several times a … [Read more...]

Oscar Party Recap

Two down; ten to go. The second of my Twelve Parties for 2012 took place Sunday night. It was, as I explained in the previous post, an Oscar party: a small group of girlfriends, fancy hors d"oeuvres, yummy cocktails and a parade of stars in gorgeous gowns on TV.  In short, it was perfect. There are some shows that are simply better to watch as a … [Read more...]

Oscar Party brought to you by Gilt City Chicago

When I made the original plan for my Twelve Months of Parties for 2012, my February party was supposed to be a Super Bowl Party. As the Super Bowl neared, however, I had second thoughts. We don"t have one of those huge televisions, or a huge room to watch television in for that matter, that seem to be a requirement for a Super Bowl party. Also, … [Read more...]

Casual Family Dinner Party: The Recap

The first of my Twelve Parties for 2012, a casual family dinner party, went off without a hitch this weekend. That is, unless you consider one of your guests locking herself in the bathroom to be a hitch. When entertaining with kids, the name of the game is flexibility. Don't expect to finish a sentence, let alone an entire anecdote. Do expect … [Read more...]