Category Archives: F’sT Home

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving table

Just a quick one to wish all our North American readers Happy Thanksgiving!

Saffron rice croquettes (Arancini di riso)Saffron Rice Croquettes (AKA Arancini di Riso)

Here you can take a peek at our Thanksgiving table and a few of the appetizers and sweet treats that Francesca is making as this very time.

Cauliflower croquettesCauliflower and Ricotta Cheese Croquette

Enjoy the holiday and, quoting our 7-year-old daughter, “be thankful for all good things in life!” 🙂

Mini Key lime piesRevisited Mini Key Lime Pies

PS: if you enjoy Stefano’s photographs, head over to Clicks & Corks for a sweet Thanksgiving promotion! 🙂

Still Blowing Like a Candle in the Wind… One Year Later!

Lava cake and US sparkling wineTime for celebrating: almost in sync with Heather’s beautiful baking blog “Sweet Precision” (happy blog-birthday, Heather!), even Flora’s Table has just turned one year old!

To be precise, F’sT actual birthday should have been October 1 – however, when we were planning the roll out of the blog we screwed up and the first post went actually live on September 30, just minutes before midnight… And now, for consistency, we just thought we would screw up once again by missing the blog’s birthday by three days (or four if you are really into nitpicking…) – what the heck, right?!?

Oh, whatever. We are still celebrating today because it’s been one year something of blogging AND especially because TGIF, which is good reason in itself to celebrate! 🙂

In retrospect, it’s been a fun year, filled with much learning about this blogging thing; exposure to several super-talented people from whose skills and knowledge we have benefitted and learned; enriching exchanges of ideas, perspectives, opinions with so many interesting, stimulating people, near and far; and the blessing of making a few new friends, kindred spirits with whom we have managed to establish a true personal relationship.

This last thing has been incredibly rewarding and worth one year of blogging in and of itself. Yay to that.

We want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our wonderful readers, likers, commenters and followers: thank you for being an integral part of a wonderfully diverse, talented and lively community. We are virtually sitting all together around the big communal table chez Flora – just the way we had envisioned the concept behind this blog when we got started.

Just in case you were wondering, in these 12 months the top three food posts (by views) have been:

1. Spaghetti alla Carbonara
2. Spaghetti all’Amatriciana
3. Saffron “Milanese” Risotto

and the top three wine posts (by views) have been:

1. Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Recommended Wine Pairing
2. Wine Review: Oasi degli Angeli, “Kurni” Marche Rosso IGT 2008
3. Chicken and Sausage Paella – Recommended Wine Pairing

To wrap things up, we want to dedicate to all of you a translation into English of a few verses from a song by Italian singer and songwriter Ligabue, which remind us of the interconnection (thank you, Tracy, for coming up with this concept – here’s to you!) and life-blending experience that this year of blogging has been for us:

This is my life
Some days it’s awesome
Some others not so much
It’s the same for all of us
Some days it’s not enough
Some others it feels too much, and instead it never is

This is my life
If you step in, ask me if you may
Take me on a trip
Make me my heart laugh
Bring your own life
So we see what happens if we mix them together a bit

Thank you all, and cheers! 🙂

F&S

A catering event and Nemo: what more could you ask for?

A client's 50th birthday party catered by Flora's Table

Tomato BruschettaDo you remember Nemo? No, not the adorable clownfish from the famous Disney movie but the major blizzard (with record amount of snowfall) that hit certain areas of the East Coast (including ours!) the second weekend of February?

Well, needless to say, that weekend, we were supposed to cater a dinner party for 22 guests in Fairfield County, Connecticut… The occasion? The 50th birthday of the husband of the hostess. Everything had to be perfect and the planning was going really smoothly until we saw the weather forecast at the beginning of that week. It was national alert all over the news and the governors of the States and the mayors of the towns on Nemo’s way were urging people to get ready to face the storm and, above all, to stay home. Not exactly the ideal situation to host a party…

Penne alla VodkaYou can only imagine all the phone calls, emails, text messages (along with the emotional distress) that my client and I exchanged before, during and after the storm! Many important decisions had to be made in a short timeframe. To make a long story short, willingness and collaboration made it possible to have the party on Sunday night and everybody seemed to have a really great time!

Now that Spring is around the corner (hopefully at least… it’s been such a long and cold winter!) and Nemo is just a memory, I thought I would share with you photographs of some of the food that we served at that birthday party. Of course, these pictures have not been taken during the actual party because it would not have been appropriate for us to take pictures while on a job, but this is some of the food that got served.

Hope you enjoy it as much as our client and her guests did!  🙂

Francesca's Chicken MarsalaFrancesca's Tiramisu

The Super Sweet Blogging Award

Super Sweet Blogging AwardLast Christmas Eve, Fae of Fae’s Twist & Tango decided to play Santa and put something super sweet under our Christmas tree. 🙂 We want to thank Fae for passing on to us this lovely award. Fae is a very special lady of exotic origin who has been travelling the world since… forever! Her blog is much more than extraordinary recipes. She opens the door to new worlds taking her readers on a fascinating journey through amazing different cultures. You may want to check her blog out when you got a chance. I promise you won’t regret it! 🙂

The rules of the award are:

1 Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2 Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3 Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.
4 Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (12) blogs for the award, add a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5 Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

The Super Sweet Questions are:

1. Cookies or Cake? Cookies

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Hazelnut dark chocolate

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? In the morning

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? If someone would give me a sweet nickname, I would suggest that he or she sign up for therapy sessions! 😉

My nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Sweet Precision because Heather was born with the baking gene.
2. lovely buns because temptation must be rewarded.
3, 4, 5 & 6. Tortore, The Greedy Frog, Dans Ta Kitchenette and Ma Cuisine et Vous because everybody talks about Italians but when it comes to baking, let’s be honest, French do it better 😉
7. Bam’s Kitchen because of that unique exotic twist Bobbi always manages to put in.
8. piesandeyes because he believes that food should look good in addition to taste good.
9. Maria Dernikos because her baking skills are amazing.
10. at350degrees because of Carissa’s “bake-ology”.
11. The pancake princess and the protein prince because Erika makes me crave sweets even if I do not have a sweet tooth.
12. apuginthekitchen because of her extraordinary creativity.

Congratulations to all the nominees – you are all very well deserving!

Merry Christmas!

Shrimp CocktailHere we go! Christmas Eve… for my family, it is even more important than Christmas Day. We have been talking about this night for weeks. We have invited friends, my mom and I have decided the table setting and selected the dishes and Stefano has chosen the bubbly and the still wines for tonight.

My parents brought delicious treats from Rome and Stefano brought traditional sweets from Milan and Genoa.

To make you understand how much work and planning went into the preparations for this magical night and to give you a flavor of an Italian Christmas Eve, we decided we would share with you the pictures of some of the food that will be served. We follow the Catholic tradition, so you won’t see any meat around!

Smoked Salmon CrostiniWe’ll start with a shrimp cocktail, some eggs au gratin, a broccoli quiche, a potato frittata, smoked salmon crostini, blue cheese puffs with fontina sauce and cauliflower au gratin. With these, Stefano is going to serve a Ferghettina, Franciacorta Brut DOCG S.A., a Classic Method Italian spumante aged 24 months on its lees.

We’ll continue with spaghetti with clams and a truffle risotto. Afterwards, we’ll serve branzino fillets with vegetables. The wines that Stefano paired with these main courses are an Argiolas, Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino DOC 2011 and a Vigneti Massa, Colli Tortonesi Timorasso Derthona DOC 2009 for the truffle risotto.

Black TrufflesFor dessert, we’ll have some fruit (grapes and cherries) and lots and lots of sweets: panettone (a traditional Christmas sweet bread loaf originally from Milan), pandolce (a traditional Christmas cake from Genoa), dried figs, chocolate-coated torrone and chocolate torrone with hazelnuts that my mom bought in Vatican City, marrons glacés from Cova (one of the most famous patisseries in Milan), chocolate orangettes, marzipan fruits and chocolates, all hand-made, from Viganotti (one of the oldest and best chocolate stores in Genoa, who make all their chocolate and marzipan masterpieces in the workshop adjoining the store, using only the best, freshest ingredients: if you are ever going to be in Genoa make sure you pay them a visit – you will not regret it). With the dessert, Stefano is going to serve Le Colture, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Dry DOCG, a Charmat-Martinotti Method spumante, and for the chocolate a Lustau, Pedro Ximenez Sherry San Emilio – Solera Reserva DO.

Collection of Christmas sweetsHopefully, after all this food and wine, we are still going to function!  😉

Chocolate-coated torrone, chocolate torrone with hazelnuts and marrons glacésAll of us at Flora’s Table wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas! May Santa make your dreams come true tonight!!!Milanese panettone with chocolate-dipped orange wedges

It’s been raining awards!

Is there any better way to celebrate the holidays than spending them with the people you love, giggling about an award under the tree? I don’t think so! 😉  Before going crazy with grocery shopping, finalizing my holiday menu and setting the table, I want to be sure to put an award under the trees of some blogger friends – some recently met, some following us from the beginning, everyone amazing in his/her own way.

Before I get to the nomination business, I want to apologize in advance for not giving a brief description of each nominee blog. As you know, my parents are visiting and the time I have left to blog is really, really limited – they are pretty demanding guests, you know 😉

Let me just say that the nominees are a bunch of fantastic people which includes talented artists, crafty masters, gifted cooks, fashion experts and world travelers. Each of them will open you a door to a new world. They will tell you about their cultures, they will make you laugh, they will touch your heart with their artwork or their life experiences, they will make you think about the world which surrounds you, they will share tips about how to realize wonderful crafty projects, they will teach you how to cook pretty much anything that is edible. The holiday break is around the corner so I suggest you find some time to check each of the nominee blogs out. You’ll find plenty to fall in love with.

A. Blog of the Year 2012

Blog of the Year Award 1 star thumbnailThank you to Fae of Fae’s Twist & Tango for nominating Flora’s Table for this great award. Fae has Persian origins, was raised in Japan, moved to the United States in the Seventies, traveled the world ever since. Her international background is unique, her travel posts are informative and extremely interesting and her food so eclectically delicious. I recommend you check her blog out. You won’t regret it!

The rules of the award are:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ award, a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.

2. Write a blog post and tell nominate blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3. Please include a link back to this page ’Blog of the Year 2012 Award’ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar… and start collecting stars…

Well, my nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Laura of the cook to love project

2. Dina of The World according to Dina

3. Sarah of diary of a house elf

4. Kimberly of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 4

5. Bobbi of Bam’s Kitchen

6. The gracious frog of The Greedy Frog

7. Anatoli of Talk-A-Vino

8. Violet of Violet Gallery

9. Genie of A Place Called Love

10. Daisy and the Fox

11. Jeanette of Global Grazers

B. Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

wonderful-team-awardI’m particularly happy that Flora’s Table has received this amazing award. During the last three months, I have learned that blogging is much more than publishing my posts and receiving likes. Blogging is about meeting other people and reading about their knowledge and life experiences. There is so much to read and learn! So, a huge thank you goes to Daisy and the Fox for this extraordinary award. Her recipes are fresh, creative and delicious. Go check her blog out as soon as you can. You’ll thank me later 😉

The rules for this award are pretty simple (thank goodness!): pass on the award to 14 nominees!

And my nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Stephane of My French Heaven

2. Sofia of Mamsell Proust

3. Chiara of Kiara Style

4. Zanzana of Zanzanaglob

5. A Twist of Couture

6. Jeanette of Global Grazers

7. Fae of Fae’s Twist & Tango

8. Candy of lovely buns

9. Rebecca of Lady or Not… Here I Come

10. Allison of spontaneous tomato

11. Sarah of diary of a house elf

12. Kimberly of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 4

13. The gracious frog of The Greedy Frog

14. Jill of afternoon artist

C. The Very Inspiring Blog Award

Very Inspiring Blog AwardThank you to Candy of lovely buns for this wonderful award. Candy is a Scot living in Alsace (France) and, judging by the perfection of her recipes, I can tell she has been there for a long time 😉  Her dishes are simply mouth-watering and her food pictures are great. I guess I do not have to tell you: just go and check her out. Yup, this is my extra Christmas gift to you! 🙂

The rules for this award are the following:

– Display the award logo on your blog.

– Link back to the person who nominated you.

– State 7 things about yourself.

– Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them.

– Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about myself

1. I love old movies

2. One of my favorite activities is… sleeping 😉

3. I’m a perfectionist

4. Everything for me is either black or white: I struggle to see the grey

5. I get speechless in front of acts of rudeness. My tongue seems to freeze and when I’m ready to react, it’s always too late.

6. I think either you are born with a sense of style or you are not. There is no way you can acquire it later on.

7. I’m the worst driver ever.

My nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Carissa of at350degrees

2. The guys of The London Flower Lover

3. Jill of afternoon artist

4. Heather of Sweet Precision

5. Zanzana of Zanzanaglob

D. Liebster Award

Liebster AwardThank you to Carissa of at350degrees and Zanzana of Zanzanaglob for giving Flora’s Table this lovely award. Carissa was born with the baking gene and she thinks that baking is the cure to all. Consequently, her baking “medicines” are amazing and her sweet treats to die for. Zanzana in an Italian living in Milan. Her blog is more than just great, delicious food (do you know that she makes her own butter?). She tells her readers about life in Milan, all the events happening in Italy and Europe in general and, last but not least, her dream of growing vegetables in a rented garden in Milan. Yup, pretty cool, huh?

The rules for this award are the following:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.

3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs.

Eleven facts about me:

1. I love reading the classics

2. I’m taking French classes

3. I’m obsessed with cleanliness

4. I’m a Law&Order addict: I can watch even ten episodes in a row

5. I enjoy reading gossip magazines

6. I treasure the time spent with… myself 😉

7. I do not drink red wine (ouch!)

8. I do not watch horror movies. What’s the point of getting scared to death?

9. I loathe vulgarity

10. If I could, I would go to the movie theater pretty much every night (and yes, I would eat the nasty nachos with cheese!)

11. I have been waiting with trepidation for the beginning of the new season of my favorite shows: Downton Abbey and Smash.

Questions from Zanzana:

Q1. How would you define yourself?
A1. Not easy to live with.

Q2. Which languages do you speak?
A2. Italian and English

Q3. What is your favorite mean of transportation?
A3. Subway

Q4. What do you feel when you cook?
A4. Well, it depends… happy, focused, busy

Q5. What is your favorite animal?
A5. I’m not an animal person but if I have to pick one I would say… the leopard

Q6. What do you normally read?
A6. Novels, biographies, classics

Q7. Where would you like to live?
A7. Exactly where I am now 🙂

Q8. Is there a city you feel you really belong to?
A8: New York City

Q9. Do you grow any vegetables at home?
A9. No

Q10. How would you define Fashion?
A10. Coco Chanel used to say: ” Fashion fades, only style remains the same”. I think it is very true.

Q11. What would be your first wish for your letter to Santa Claus?
A.11 To keep my family healthy and happy

Questions from Carissa

1. Day or night? Night

2. Birthday or Christmas? This is a tough one… can I pick both?

3. Dogs or cats? Neither

4. Breakfast or supper? Breakfast

5. Pancakes or waffles? Neither

6. History or math? History

7. Movies or television? Movies

8. Superheroes or Vampires? Superheroes

9. Coffee or tea? Coffee

10. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

11. Heels or flats? Flats

Questions for the nominees:

1. What’s your dream job?

2. Would you like to live somewhere else? If yes, where?

3. You would never…

4. What’s your next project?

5. Do you read before falling asleep?

6. What’s your favorite form of art?

7. You are obsessed with…

8. What’s on your list for Santa?

9. Do you play any musical instruments?

10. What’s the best gift you have ever received?

11. What’s your biggest regret?

My nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Raphaelle of Fait Maison

2. Heather of Sweet Precision

3. Lydie of Le Blog des Surprises

4. Justine of Rondo Takes Brooklyn

5. Scott of Greenhorn Photos

6. Misty of hayride to heaven

7. Christina of Small Kitchen Chronicles

8. Robin of Making Rainbows

9. Axel of Freshipe

10. Tim of The Forester Artist

11. Tortore

My warmest congratulations to all the nominees – you are all very well deserving!

One last note: I wanted to pass on an award to B of Just Add Attitude. However, when she started blogging, she decided not to take part in the “award process”. Obviously, her decision must be respected. I just suggest you pay her blog a visit because it is simply amazing.

May you and your families have a very happy holiday season!

Francesca

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Very Inspiring Blog AwardAnd this is crazy… so call me, maybe? Nah, just kidding! What is crazy and absolutely marvelous at the same time is that, on Thanksgiving day, Flora’s Table was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! We are thankful (of course!), honored and immensely happy for this award.

Well, let’s talk a bit about the amazing blogger who gave us the award. Her blog is all about shooting the light and capturing the perfect moment. Do you need any more hints? Yup, we are talking gorgeous photography here but…there is more. Kimberly combines the eye and sensibility of a great artist with a unique sense of humor. She is sweet and super funny and reading her posts is a real pleasure. Thank you so much Kimberly of WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot4 (chuckle) for this award. So, you guys do yourselves a big favor and check her blog out: I promise you will not regret it, although (consider yourselves warned!) you will get addicted to it 🙂

Before we get down to business, let me just thank Nicole and Stefano for their amazing work. Flora’s Table wouldn’t be what it is without their wonderful talent and commitment.

The Rules

1. Display the award logo on your blog
2. Link back to the person who nominated you
3. State 5 things about yourself
4. Pass the award on to 6 other bloggers and link to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back

Five things about me:

– I prefer giving gifts rather than receiving them: I’m not very good at showing happiness and excitement to the giver, especially if I do not quite like the gift 😉

– I’m a fashion addict. After all, I’m Italian: I was born with the fashion gene 😉

– I’m not romantic…at all!

– I have a wicked fascination about women who seemingly had everything to be happy (beauty, money and talent) and yet whose lives were miserable and died tragically – yeah, kind of weird, I know…

– I love the night and its magical silence. After 10pm is when I get the most creative. All of my posts are written at night.

And now, our six nominations to pass the award on, in no particular order:

  • My French Haeven, because Monsieur Stéphane est très chic et charmant, his recipes are unique and mouth-watering and his food photography is gorgeous.
  • Kiarastyle, because Chiara has an impeccable fashion taste and, by following her blog, I keep abreast of the latest fashion trends. Did I mention she is Italian? 😉
  • The Greedy Frog, because it is one of the most gracious… blogging frogs and the recipes are a true temptation for the palate.
  • gabicoatsworth, because Gabi is a kind, cheerful and supporting friend as well as a fantastic writer. Reading her essays and poems is such a pleasure!
  • the drunken cyclist, because his wine blog is sleek, informational and fun to read and… it’s about wine! 😉
  • Talk-A-Vino, because his wine blog is wonderful, chock-full of useful information and wine reviews and the host is a very gracious one.

Congratulations to all the nominees: your blogs are amazing and you sure deserve this award.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Sunshine Award!

With Thanksgiving behind us, we can now catch up on a few things that demand our attention, notably accepting the Sunshine Award that lovely Laura at The Cook to Love Project was kind enough to nominate us for – thank you, Laura! Just so you all know, Laura’s blog is much more than a wonderful cooking blog – although, make no mistake, in The Cook to Love Project you will find plenty of delicious and healthy vegan, gluten-free recipes. Laura’s blog is also a great source of inspiration (not only in the kitchen, that is) which strives to encourage its readers to “eat and live healthfully, creatively, and compassionately” (borrowing Laura’s own words).

On to the award acceptance process: according to the rules, nominees must (i) include a link in your blog to the blog that nominated you; (ii) answer some questions about yourself; (iii) nominate 10 fellow bloggers, linking to their blogs; and (iv) inform them that they have been nominated.

So, we took care of (i) above, and since Laura was so kind as to include both Francesca and me in her nomination, we thought in the Q&A part we would answer one question each, alternating:

1. Who is your favorite philosopher? S: Being a firm believer in logic and science, I definitely say Aristotle.

2. What is your favorite number? F: 17

3. What is your favorite animal? S: this is a tough one as I like and, as a nature photographer, have photographed many of them. Having to pick just one, I would say bears, regardless of the species.

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter? F: www.facebook.com/FlorasTable – sorry, we do not have a Twitter account!

5. What is your favorite time of day? S: Being a photographer, I like the fringes of the day, when the light is warmer, the sky gets tinged with magical hues and contrast is lower.

6. What is your favorite holiday? F: Christmas

7. What is your favorite physical activity? S: Leaving the “obvious” answer aside 😉 I would say skiing.

8. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? F: sparkling water

9. What is your passion? S: As you can guess from my icon, my passions are photography and wine!

10. What is your favorite flower? F: this is tough, because flowers have been my passion my entire life, but if I really have to make a choice, I say hydrangeas and peonies.

And now our own nominations to pass the Sunshine Award on, in no particular order:

Congratulations to all the nominees: your blogs are awesome and certainly deserve this award!

Have a stress-free Black Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from all of us!

As Nicole aptly pointed out in her post yesterday, there are people who grew up eating differently from you, and Stefano and I certainly fit the bill as where we grew up Thanksgiving was not (and still is not) a holiday, let alone such an important tradition as it is in the United States. So, maybe you all can send some empathy and good karma my way today because, while I am all set with the appetizers for our Thanksgiving dinner (we have included a couple of images to give you an idea of what we are going to eat tonight), I am very much scratching my head at how the huge turkey that is still sitting in our fridge is going to turn out since it is my first time cooking it!!! Oh well, you gotta start somewhere, right? 🙂

Anyways, each of us at Flora’s Table has her or his own things (and people!) to be thankful for, but in this post we all just want to say that we are very thankful to all of you: our followers, our “likers” and more in general all of our readers and fellow bloggers, who really are the building blocks of the wonderful community that is steadily growing around Flora’s Table – our ideal communal table around which we all congregate to sit and eat and toast and chat and laugh, very much the Italian way! 😉

By all means we are still neophytes at this blogging thing, with just less than two months worth of experience under our belts, but we sure are excited at what we have accomplished so far, impressed and humbled by your reaction and support and definitely enthusiastic about all the good things that we have in mind and are yet to come!

So, enjoy your holiday, eat and drink well, and spend some deserved quality time with the people you love. Cheers!