Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Snowballs - An Easy Winter White Dessert !

With so much to do over the holidays, I need to keep it simple. One of my favorite tips is making  a platter of coconut covered vanilla ice cream snowballs!  So easy to scoop vanilla ice cream into round balls,  roll in coconut flakes or shreds then put in paper lined muffin tins to keep in the freezer...take out for individual servings or put in a big mound on a platter for a party...delicious, pretty, easy -and a good project for the kids to help with!
Featured in my book, Life|Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home, Photograph by Jeff McNamara

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I'm dreaming of a white christmas...

Wishing everyone a simple, natural, peaceful holiday!

photographs by marili forastieri + tricia foley

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Feels like fall

It's the anniversary weekend of the publication of my book, and it's been a wonderful year traveling around the country signing books and visiting with friends. And back home this fall, I'm enjoying the
cooler evenings and less hectic pace...reading by the fire, making soup, and getting the house warmed up for the new season with layers of blankets, filling baskets with firewood and drinking pots of tea.
Here are some of my favorite fall images from Life/Style:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

summer days on long island

summer days on long island are filled with blue skies, walks on the beach, naps in the boathouse,
corn on the cob, running through the sprinkler, honeysuckle in the hedges....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

May is Preservation Month

In the hamlet where I live on Long Island, the Yaphank Historical Society has taken on the mission of preserving 4 of the 19th century houses that tell the story of the people who lived in them.
One of them is the Mary L. Booth House, birthplace and girlhood home of noted author, editor, translator, suffragist, and abolitionist  Mary Louise Booth. It is an important story to tell and I am working on a book about her life  and her accomplishments - preserving her home and opening it to the public is the first step in sharing the story of this amazing woman.

peony time

love gathering flowers from the garden at this time of year, and filling the house with them....
image from Life/Style, photo by marili forastieri

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March winds...

Leeks by English photographer, Charles Jones, 1866-1959

Almost spring, but there is snow still on the ground here on Long Island where the daffodils are peeking through, and the forsythia and quince are budding...when the sun goes down lighting the fireplace is warming and making soups, grilling breads and making pots of tea are comforting, as the evenings are chilly but the daylight lasts longer...my favorite soups now are potato and leek, carrot and ginger, early spring flavors...hope you'll enjoy these recipes that are my favorites...

Golden Leek and Potato Soup
by Melissa Clark for The New York Times 


  • 2 ½ pounds leeks, white and light green part only
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 large sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 large sprigs parsley, and chopped leaves for garnish
  • 1 large handful celery leaves (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
  • 1 ¾ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
  • Heavy cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Halve the leeks lengthwise and rinse away any grit. Thinly slice the leeks crosswise. In a small square of cheesecloth, tie together bay leaves, thyme, sage, parsley and celery leaves if using.
  2. Melt the butter or heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft and dark golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
  3. Stir in stock or water, the sachet of herbs, the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce immediately to medium-low; simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and simmer soup until potatoes are very tender and falling apart, about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If desired, drizzle a small amount of cream into each bowl when serving, and top with parsley for garnish.

Carrot Ginger Soup  

from Martha Stewart Living Magazine


  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 4 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • Coarse salt
  • Yogurt


  1. In a pot over medium heat, cook shallots and ginger in coconut oil until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add carrots, sweet potato, water, and 2 teaspoons coarse salt salt. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, 10 minutes. Puree in a blender until smooth. Season with salt; serve hot or cold with yogurt.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

winter white dinner

It's still winter here, all white inside and out...a perfect time to 
look at the winter white dinner menu from Life/Style and make a few favorite recipes.

Simple wood platters, off-white pasta bowls, relaxed linen napkins
The best olive oil possible and freshest garlic really make the 
difference in this simple dish of toasted bread crumb pasta

My friend Marité Acosta, a chef and food stylist, makes these parmesan black pepper shortbreads  for hors d’oeuvres at her house, and they’ve now become sought after at my parties, too.

Serves 4 to 6 
1 pound dry spaghetti
2 cups breadcrumbs (or panko)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
Grated Parmesan  

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the pasta. Cook until al dente according to package instructions. When straining, save and set aside about 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Using your fingers, mix in the olive oil to evenly coat the crumbs. Toast in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove to the bowl to cool.
3. In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and stir in the garlic, cooking until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the warm pasta to the pan along with about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and toss well with the garlic and oil until most of the water is absorbed, adding more if needed for moisture.
4. Sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs over the pasta and a pinch of red pepper flakes and toss to combine.
5. To serve: In a large bowl, add the pasta and generously top with the remaining bread crumbs, lemon zest, and grated Parmesan to taste. Drizzle olive oil over the top and serve.

Yields about 30 shortbreads
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup Parmesan, coarsely grated
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated

Preheat oven to 325°F and line two 14 by 16-inch baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer on medium-high until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the Parmesan, thyme, lemon zest, and black pepper and continue mixing until incorporated. Add the flour to the mixture and beat until just combined.
2. Form into heaping teaspoon- or tablespoon-sized balls and chill on baking sheet in refrigerator for about one hour until firm. When ready to bake, space the shortbreads about one inch apart on the backing sheets and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until just golden brown on the bottoms. They should remain pale in color on top.
3. Move to a cooling rack until cooled and serve.

photographs by marili forastieri


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