Summer Dinner Party

It’s the simple things in life that are the best. That statement has never been more true to me than now after traveling for a month solid. Though I saw unbelievable sights and experiences one could only dream of, I was so happy to just be home last weekend with my friends at a house we share out in Amagansett. I just wanted to get together, share a meal, catch up, and be in one place with faces I know and care about.

Summer entertaining is the best. Light that dances through the afternoon and illuminates the moments through a late, lazy evening that always ends with laying in the grass finishing the last sips of wine as another day closes and the possibilities of tomorrow have yet to begin. Beyond the golden glow, there is no market like a summer market. Fresh and ripe, bright and juicy dishes write themselves because the ingredients are so good, they don’t need much more than a little salt and pepper.

We’ve been working with Ecco Domani the past year, shooting their packaging, displays and marketing materials. They knew how much we had been traveling and sent us a case of red and white wine to welcome us back home. One of my favorite sayings of Ecco is “upgrading the everyday” so I based our little backyard summer dinner party around that idea. What could I do with this table that doesn’t require buying anything, just being creative with what we have already? I asked Diana, my friend and prop stylist for one of my favorite magazines, Kinfolk, if she had some easy entertaining ideas. She suggested taking sprigs from our gathered, seasonal flower arrangements as focal points, and simply placing them on a napkin that is draped long ways off the table cascading like a waterfall, dressing the place settings in a softer, organic way.

Once the table was set my friend Molly & I got to cooking. To pair with Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio, roasted cherry tomato and shrimp fettucine; for the Ecco Domani Merlot, grilled lamb chops with a light and gorgeous spring salad – all super simple, elegant, seasonal dishes because, like I said before… it’s the simplest things in life that are the best.

Here is to summer, friends, staying in and making memories with the ones you love.

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Kevin’s Homemade Pasta

2 Eggs
1 cup of unbleached flour (to start)
salt

Mix the flour with the eggs in a bowl or wooden surface until the consistency is like a dough, adding flour as necessary. Add a big pinch of salt. Knead for a few minutes, adding a bit of flour if it gets too moist and sticky. From there, follow the instructions on your pasta machine.

When the pasta is finished I’ve learned to dust it with flour and toss, so the individual pieces don’t stick together while you make the rest!

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Roasted Cherry Tomato and Shrimp Fettucine
serves 4

1.5 lb cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined 
1 1lb fresh fettucine (homemade is best!)
large handful fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 325º. Places the tomatoes, garlic and olive oil in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Toss together to coat. Bake until well roasted and beginning to color, about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat an oiled, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Sear just until cooked through, about 1 minute per side.

Cook fettucine in boiling, salted water until al dente. Toss fettucine with the roasted tomatoes, garlic and shrimp and garnish with basil leaves.

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Above: cascading napkin with a sprig pulled from the centerpiece bouquets of seasonal, locally gathered flowers from the market

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Above & Below: I changed into my go-to summer dress (with pockets!)

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Grilled Lamb Chops with Spring Salad
serves 4

Salad:
2 1/2 cups shelled fava beans
2 1/2 cups snow peas
1 cup shelled English peas
5 radishes, thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and have a bowl of ice water by the stove. Cook favas for about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice bath. Chill for a few minutes, then peel off skins and place favas in a mixing bowl.

Add remaining peas to the boiling water and cook for about 45 seconds, just to brighten and soften slightly- you want the vegetables to remain crisp! Transfer to the ice bath to cool. Drain, then toss together the favas, mixed peas, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Scatter with the sliced radishes and gently mix. Feel free to add some crumbled feta and mint to make it a little more savory!
Lamb Chops:
a few springs thyme, rosemary, oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped
8 bone-in lamb chops
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Sprinkle the lamb chops with herbs and season generously with salt and pepper. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve lamb chops with salad on the side.

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It’s always nice to have light seasonal sides that are healthy and simple to make, like this beautiful salad Molly whipped up!

Baby Beet and Carrot Salad
serves 4

1 bunch red baby beets, scrubbed
1 bunch yellow baby beets, scrubbed
1 bunch baby carrots, scrubbed, halved if large
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
handful fresh mint, leaves torn
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Tear two large sheets of aluminum foil. Place the red beets on one sheet and the yellow beets on the other sheet. Crumple together to make an air-tight packet. Place the packets on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your beets. Open the packets completely and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast until crisp-tender, about 25 minutes. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. When cool enough to handle, peel and halve the beets. Toss the beets and carrots with a few spoonfuls of dressing- only use enough to lightly coat. Garnish with mint leaves.

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Meet the Blogger

Ann Street Studio is a blog founded by Jamie Beck and Kevin Berg. They are visual and graphic artists who look at all aspects of life through their camera. Jamie and her husband pioneered a new form of photography called Cinemagraphs. The two have partnered with Ecco Domani to bring to life the ultimate summer gatherings with the perfect food pairings that will wow your guest.
Ann Street Studio
       

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