Friday, November 02, 2007


photograph by Manfredi Bellati

Sunday – Lifestyle: A cocktail party - detail: On a very warm October evening, cookbook author and friend, Susan Simon gave a cocktail party for my husband and my decade marking birthdays, here is the menu:

Susan Simon’s Mascarpone and Smoked Salmon Foccacia
Susan Simon’s FreshTomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil Foccaccia
Bianca Fresh Cow’s Milk cheese

Hawthorne Valley bio-dynamic farm
Local Apples
(cut into wedges, rubbed in oil and roasted at 350 degrees F for 11/2 hrs)
Nuts and Raisins
(tossed together to make a mix – almonds coated with curry & coconut)
Hilda Simon’s Gingersnaps
Sasha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Roy’s Caramel Cake
Prosecco -

A detail above of Susan’s fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and Basil focaccia, as well as, her mascarpone and smoked salmon focaccia rest on a glass stand and on an antique Chinese export plate on top of a Moroccan silver plated tray on her English 19th Century drop-leaf dinning table.

Photograph by Manfredi Bellati

The birthday cake cook. The Caramel Cake was made by Roy Finamore and brought to Susan’s in this beautiful wooden basket. This is what Houghton Mifflin, the Boston cookbook publishers say about Roy Finamore, ‘Respected throughout the food world for his ability to create cookbooks that are both stylish and perfectly attuned to the home cook, Roy Finamore is an author, editor and stylist. He has edited such major authors as Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Lee Bailey, Diana Kennedy and Tom Colicchio. His own books include Tasty (Houghton Mifflin), which won the James Beard Award and One Potato, Two Potato (Houghton Mifflin).”

Note: in the background the drinks tray is set on top of an American early 20th Century chest.

Detail: “That cake – Caramel Cake - is classic Southern. Six layers of yellow cake with a long-cooking caramel frosting. I make the caramel a little darker than the traditional one, because I think the slightly bitter edge offsets all that sugar.” Roy explained.

Detail: The large glass trifle bowl holds Hilda Simon’s Gingersnaps, the recipe can be found in Susan’s book, The Nantucket Holiday Table (Chronicle Books) and the John Derian decoupage cake stand holds Sasha’s chocolate chip cookies, they both sit on an antique black and gold tole tray, to the right, the chrysanthemums from Tompkins Square Park Farmers Market are placed in an antique 19th Century transfer-ware bowl.

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