Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomato Abundance ~The Affordable Chic Gourmet Meal by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Designs 4 Living
You may have noticed yourself feeling a little discontent with your normal food choices the last few weeks. Fear not! That is just your inner gourmet telling you that your nearest Farmer's Market has the most amazing treats in store. It is harvest time! The freshest ingredients are available now for the lowest prices, why would your taste buds be satisfied with anything else?
This is a simple gourmet meal that I was able to pull together in 10 minutes for under $20.
One of the best ingredients available right now are the heirloom tomatoes. Seriously, if you have been eating those pink hot house tomatoes that are available year round in conventional grocery stores, then you have got to try an heirloom tomato, you won't believe the difference.
Heirloom tomatoes are incredibly versatile and economical. They come in a wide range of colors sizes and flavors. Try them all to see which ones are your favorites. They can be used to create days worth of economical gourmet meals.
Day 1 Buy the tomatoes and cut them into wedges to be served with drizzled good quality olive oil, fresh mozzarella, italian prosciutto and basil. Add salt and pepper, but instead of the run of the mill salt and pepper pick a nice cracked pepper and French Sea Salt, it will make the tomatoes sweat and bring out their natural essence.
Day 2 Rub warm fresh bread with olive oil and garlic. Toast the bread and then add the chopped heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil for a beautiful and sumptuous bruschetta. By toasting the bread first it stays nice and crispy. The subtle taste of garlic on your lips adds to the sensual experience of this inexpensive feast.
Day 3 Toss all the ingredients in heavy fry pan with some crushed garlic and olives and serve it over al dente pasta. Yum!
What a great, easy way to make tomatoes last all weekend. Enjoy the abundance of the Tomato Harvest and this last taste of summer. Your taste buds will dance!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunday Brunch by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer

I admit it! Ever since I saw Julie & Julia I've been in the mood to cook and entertain. Is there anything better than making great food and feeding it to friends and family? Of course I like to keep things simple and elegant, then you get a chance to be enjoy your guests. Total cost: Under $25!
I read Gwenyth Paltrow's blog last week (her site is called Goop) and got inspired to make chicken salad but with my own unique twist. It was simple, delicious and a crowd pleaser.

You simply broil some chicken breasts with garden herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. While that is cooking toast some walnuts in a nice heavy pan (it takes less than 2 minutes but adds a ton of flavor).
Next, chop some endive and break up some English Stilton. Then you need to chop a couple of green granny smith apples. I a large bowl add all of the ingredients with the cooled and chopped chicken and some veganaise or light mayonnaise mixed with some plain yogurt,pepper,lemon juice and Italian parsley. Serve with a fresh toast baguette on the side and you have a delightful brunch meal that can feed 6 easily.
For my brunch I also made a lemonade spritzer using 1/4c. real lemonade, 2/3 c. orange sparkling water and 1/3c. ice cold water. Garnish with mint leaves.
Tablecloth: Quadrille fabrics for China Seas; Napkin: China Seas, Pitcher and Glasses: Pier One Imports

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feeding Four for under $15! by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer

This is a great easy meal that you can throw together for a group of four when you are trying to keep things light and healthy. It feels like a gourmet meal, but it's very inexpensive, under $15, less if you are like me and have capers and lemons in your pantry already!
Here is your shopping list:

1 package of Gravlax (I like them w/ the herbs added, like dill)
1 8oz. package of light cream cheese
1 small bottle of capers
2 lemons
1 purple onion
1 cucumber
1 package Fin Crisps (the best crackers EVER!)
Greens for a tossed salad
Olive Oil
Creatively layer the ingredients on to a plate and serve.
Add tossed green salad on the side mixed with lemon, olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Design on a Dime by Erin Ferucci, Deisgns 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Designer

Just because you're watching your budget doesn't mean you can't make your home luxurious and tasteful. When money is tight you need to make careful choices and put your money where it will add the most to your lifestyle.

Here are a few of my favorite Cheap and Cheerful design tips:

1. Dress your bed for success. We spend over one third of our lives in bed, so it's important to make it a pleasurable experience. I'm a huge fan of imported custom Italian linens, but when on a budget a great pair of T-shirt sheets from Bed, Bath and Beyond are heaven on earth. Honestly, I have clients for whom money is no issue and they still choose the T-shirt sheets. Treat yourself to these, they are inexpensive and will give you a great night's sleep.

Bed, Bath and Beyond usually offers a 20% off coupon in the Sunday paper, or you can sign up here to recieve them in the mail! Take advantage and save!

2. Keep your dishes simple and white. I buy white table settings at Crate & Barrel. White goes with everything and can be dressed for any occasion or holiday. When you buy white you can always easily add on. I love Crate 'n Barrel cups, all white for as little as $1.50 each. Seriously, you can't go wrong.

3. Take storage seriously. Life is better when everything has a place. I love West Elm for storage. Their Parson's bookshelves and towers are fabulous and inexpensive. I go to West Elm for all more storage needs.

4. Accent, accent, accent. A few low cost accents can make the difference between blah and beautiful. Area rugs are a great way to define a space and give it character. Cost Plus World Market has a great assortment of well priced rugs. While you are there be sure to pick up some of their awesome imported marinara sauce, about $4, YUM! Not to mention a nice bottle of wine...Pier 1 also has a wide range of low cost candles and hurricanes. Add some sand and shells to the hurricane before putting the candle in and you have... cheap and cheerful design on a dime!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shopping Outing Turned Cultural Outing by Erin Ferucci, Designs 4 Living

By Erin Ferucci
Celebrity Lifestyle Design
I am working on a project in the British West Indies...
While shopping for "fun" pillow fabric...I got the idea of going to a Hari Krishna Temple in Culver City... I was in SARI HEAVEN!!!The prices were incredible and the shop was full of exciting sari's and wraps, and shirts and jewelry!Everyone was so friendly...there was also a celebration going on there that and flowers were offered to their "god", Hari Krishna... At the Temple they were also preparing for their upcoming event, The Festival of Chariots where they sing and dance and feed 20,000 people!!
Who would of thought simply shopping for some fun fabric would become a cultural experience???
They even have a small cafe where I ate lunch...basmati rice, organic vegetables, tofu in a lemon. coconut sauce! All for $3.80!!!!!!! Yes, $3.80! That included a bottle of water!