By nature I’m a people pleaser, a caretaker at heart just like my mama and nonna, but it’s not recognition that brings me joy; it’s crafting. That space in-between, when you find yourself lost in an action of doing for others. It can be pure Zen to be on autopilot –chopping, mixing, seasoning and plating – working with your hands to make something unique. It’s blissful and that bliss only deepens once I sit down, surrounded the people who matter most in my swoony world.
As you may know I’m in the midst of a move, which means leaving behind my Dumbo terrace just as summer starts! I love moving (as unsettling and uprooting as it can be) because it means recreating a new space, but I wanted to do something to celebrate the last days with my terrace. As fate would have it, the handcrafted jewelry line John Hardy asked me to host a dinner on my terrace as part of their “My Summer, My John Hardy” series. It was time to go out with a bang!
Inspired by their jewelry I started to dream of beauty. The food, the décor, the flowers, the outfit, the jewels…. no stone goes unturned in my beauty obsessed mind. I think of it all, which is why I find so much escape in the crafting of the actual meal. Don’t get me wrong I love to fixate on details, even if I think of myself as a Bohemian spirit at heart, everything in my swoony existence is well-curated. It’s all been carefully chosen to evoke a particular feeling because I’m always after the perfect composition of elements – not too fussy but not too rustic, a touch of elegance combined with a laissez faire spirit. Which is exactly why I chose the delicate John Hardy bamboo collection for this dinner, not only because it symbolizes nature and harmony with the environment, but because it’s so effortlessly modern and pure – the perfect summer vibe. Plus there is nothing better than the timeless beauty of gold as it shimmers on tanned summer hands!
My generous friends at Whole Foods Market Brooklyn offered me seasonal local ingredients for the dinner so off I went to Gowanus to let their market dictate the menu. I left with fresh branzino for the grill, a variety of heirloom tomatoes, a plethora of bright herbs and vibrant radishes and snap peas. These springtime stars would guide me! Back in the kitchen I wrapped a whole branzino for each guest, surrounding it with thyme, chives and lavender and stuffing it with fennel seeds and bright limes. Then I created the swooniest heirloom tomato and quinoa salad punctuated with a hearty dose of basil and parsley bursting with freshness. With the meal underway, I turned my attention to the décor, tablescape… Stay tuned for the décor details and part two of the actual soirée, which is truly one of a kind and the last of its kind!