3×3- Summer Favorites

3x3 Blogger's Food & Fashion Summer Favorites on @runwaychef Summer is a time for fun. It’s a time for staying up late, taking naps in the sun, catching sunsets and sunrises, skipping town for days at the beach, making memories with family and friends, and, of course, plenty of ice cream (le duh). As these days begin to draw to a close (tear), Grace, Luci and I thought we would have our own bit of summer fun with this month’s 3×3 post. Instead of the usual food or fashion posts we’re paying tribute to summer by sharing some of our summer faves and summer memories. Hop on over to Luci and Grace’s blog to find out theirs and keep reading for mine.

Favorite Ice Cream // In my mind, ice cream is its own food group, one with which I am whole heartedly in-love with, so picking just one flavor as my favorite seems like an almost impossible task. If I absolutely had to choose, I would probably say coffee with heath pieces…..or Late Night Snack from Ben & Jerry’s….or cookie dough….or the honeycomb one from Ample Hills Creamery…or salted caramel. Obviously things would be so much simpler if there was just a coffee ice cream with cookie dough pieces and heath pieces and salted caramel, but until that happens, I’ll go with coffee ice cream with heath pieces to keep things simple.

Favorite Beach // Yet another hard question for me to answer. As with the ice cream, I really do like all beaches (I’m a beach bum at heart) so as long as there is sand and water, I’m happy. However, I’d have to say my top beaches are in Barbados because the water is the bluest I’ve ever seen. Also, Barbados is the first place my husband and I went on a trip together, it’s where we got engaged, and it’s also the first place I went swimming with sea turtles. My second favorite beaches are in Maine. The water is bitter cold but there is something about the lighthouses and the boats that just speaks to my soul. Last but not least, is the Red Beach in Santorini, as it is the most unique beach I’ve ever seen. And it’s in Santorini….need I say more?!

Favorite Summer Memory // You guessed it. I don’t have just one. But I will say all my favorite summer memories involve travel. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the simple pleasures of sunset walks with my husband or nightly weekly ice cream cones or all the summer country concerts I used to go to in college, but anything involving travel is a hard memory to beat. My favorite was definitely be the summer my family traveled around the country. I was only 9 years old and I don’t remember nearly as much of it as I wish I could, but it was an incredible experience and it’s a happy memory of my family all together that I will always cherish. Second, is last summer’s trip to Maine with Mr. RC. As I mentioned above, I am in love with Maine, but this trip in particular was important as it came after a difficult time, so road tripping and exploring Maine’s natural beauty was very healing and refreshing. My 3rd favorite was our trip to Paris and Santorini. Not only were the places magical, but my husband and I were able to create some very special once-in-a-lifetime memories with his parents. And we also got our engagement photos taken in Paris, so there’s that!

Ok, enough of me rambling on. I’d love to know from you- what’s your favorite ice cream flavor, beach and summer memory? Share in the comments below or feel free to share in the form of a photo using the hashtag #3x3summer.

Happy Hour

Staten Island Ferry {The Staten Island Ferry (because you obviously couldn’t tell)}

While my days are all different depending on what’s going on, one thing that is always the same is my morning routine. I get up at 7 (ok, maybe 7:30) then spend some time journaling/praying/reading. During this time, I recently started reading Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s all small stuff). The most recent chapter was about living in the present moment, learning to keep your attention on what is actually happening, not what has happened or what may happen. I couldn’t help but smile, not because I’m actually good at living in the present (on the contrary, all that I do is constantly worry about what went wrong in the past and what can go wrong in the future), but because of these posts. Living in the present I may not be good at, but living in the present via a HH post, now that’s something I can do!

How do you practice living in the present moment?

Governor's Island {Exploring Governor’s Island}

Black Eyed Susan {A sea of yellow beauties}

hawk {A hawk we spotted on Governor’s Island}

banana bread {Giving me homemade food is a guaranteed way to win me over so when I met up with a new blogger pal and she gave me some of her Sea Salt Caramel Banana Peach & Walnut Bread I knew instantly that we would be friends! Also, do yourself a favor and go make this instantly! It’s amazing!}

give every day the chance

Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef #vegetarian What I’m about to say is going to sound a little odd, especially since part of my job is writing recipes, buuuut……I almost never follow a recipe (don’t worry, I do test all the recipes that make it onto this blog). I have a folder full of recipes that rarely get touched, magazines that only get browsed through, and cookbooks that are used for decorative purposes. About 95% of what I cook, I just wing. I throw in a little of this, a little of that, and a pinch of this (I rarely measure things either) and it just works. This is how I’ve cooked most of my life as has my Mom. I do get inspiration from magazines and cookbooks, but the recipes that inspire me are ones that I usually follow more as guidelines than as an actual recipe. Obviously, then, for me to say I found a recipe that I like and follow almost to a ‘T’ is a big deal. Such is the case with this zucchini casserole recipe. My Mom found this recipe a while back and started making it all the time. When I moved out, it was one of the recipes I made sure to take with me. Mr. RC and I now have it on a pretty regular basis. It’s healthy and light enough for summer but comforting enough for cold winter days. And in case you’re worried about satisfying the carnivores in your life, you’ll be happy to know Mr. RC loves his meat but is constantly requesting this dish. Whether you follow recipes or you don’t, this is one I highly suggest you add to your arsenal.

Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef Zucchini Casserole via @runwaychef

Zucchini Casserole
Serves 6
A tangy and nutty casserole that is both healthy and light while also being the perfect comfort food
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup bulgur (I've also use quinoa and brown rice)
  2. 3/4 cup boiling water
  3. 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 cups sliced onions (about 1 1/2-2 medium-sized onions)
  5. 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  6. 6 cups thinly sliced zucchini or summer squash (about 3 small or 2 medium/large zucchini)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  9. A dash of black pepper
  10. 2 eggs
  11. 1 cup feta cheese crumbles (5 ounces)
  12. 1 cup cottage cheese
  13. 1/4-3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (depending on tastes preferences)
  14. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  15. 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  16. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
  17. 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced)
  18. 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl place the bulgur and the boiling water. Stir and set aside until the water has been absorbed.
  2. In a medium-sized skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are just translucent. Add the zucchini, dried herbs, and black pepper and continue to sauté on medium to low heat until the zucchini is tender. I sometimes cover the pan with a lead to help the veggies cooke faster.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in the cottage cheese and feta cheese.
  4. To the bulgur, add the tomato paste, soy sauce and parsley and stir until combined.
  5. To assemble the casserole, grease a 9x9" pan. Then layer the bulgur mixture on the bottome, the sautéed vegetables in the middle, and finish with the feta mixture. Top with the cheddar and the tomatoes.
  6. Cover with foil then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I usually take the foil off after about 30 minutes so that the top gets crustier.
  7. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes for easier serving. Store leftovers tightly covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Notes
  1. This pairs nicely with a tossed salad, some crusty bread and a nice glass of red wine.
  2. To bake this in a 9x13" pan, I only double the bulgur mixture.
Adapted from New Recipes from Mossewood Restaurant
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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On the Fringe

black H&M skirt, black French Connection shirt I’m on the fringe as to whether or not I like Mondays. The planning (grown-up) side of me loves a new week because it means a fresh new list and a fresh new start to tackle it. The other part of me (the part that is lazy and could spend all day daydreaming about ice cream and faraway lands) is like “Oh H to the no! I am not getting out of bed for this!” In case that didn’t clearly explain my feelings about Monday, this outfit is here to better help demonstrate. It’s mostly black for the black hole that is known as Monday, with a pop of hot pink for the hope that a new week brings, and of course some fringe, because well, we already covered that one.

How do you feel about Mondays?

On the Fringe || Runway Chef On the Fringe || Runway Chef On the Fringe || Runway Chef On the Fringe || Runway Chef On the Fringe || Runway Chef H&M Sunnies, Necklace & Skirt // French Connection Shirt c/o // Steven by Steve Madden Booties (similar) // Aeropostale Bag

Live Off the Menu with S.Pellegrino

San Pellegrino Live off the menu Last week S.Pellegrino whisked me out of New York and into a magical Italian land filled with street markets and Vespas, a coppersmith and live music, and more delicious food and drink than I can even wrap my head around. While no passport was actually required for this “trip”, I couldn’t have felt more like I was in Italy than if I actually was. In the words of S.Pellegrino I was “living in Italian”.

Upon entering Italy, er I mean the event space, I first grabbed a refreshing cocktail, and then beelined it for the market. Everything from herbs to flowers to fresh bread and the most beautiful produce I had ever seen lined the walls. We were allowed to take anything that we wanted home, so of course you know this girl was stuffing her purse (because who doesn’t stuff their purses full of food at parties?! #foodieprobs).

Next, I checked out the “living room” area complete with wonderful live music and pretty much every type of furnishing I’ve been looking for for my living room (unfortunately, I couldn’t quite squeeze a couch into my bag next to my eggplant and loaf of bread). Oh, and did I mention the delicious Chef Michael Voltaggio (Top Chef winner & owner of the renowned L.A. restaurant Ink) prepared appetizers that I had been munching on this whole time? My favorite was definitely the mini “pizzas” served in the mini pizza boxes (see picture below). Of course, you know I also couldn’t resist stopping at the coppersmith for a custom bracelet (#copperobsessed), which you can see here.

Then there was dinner, a dinner that was on a whole other level from anything I have ever experienced. The setting was pure magic. We were on a rooftop under the New York sky, with possibly the best summer weather you can imagine (not too hot, not too cold), in a space that was decorated with twinkling lights, beautiful floral arrangements and old Italian movies silently being played against the brick wall. I felt like I was in heaven, and I hadn’t even tried any of the food! Speaking of the food, Chef Michael’s meal definitely goes down in my history books as one of the top 5 meals I’ve ever eaten. He did an incredible job of combining flavors and foods to create a truly wonderful “off the menu” experience. While each dish was absolutely outstanding, my favorite was the dessert- a chocolate hazelnut ganache complete with caramelized white chocolate, pizelles made from the ash of burnt rosemary, and topped off with beads of strawberry frozen yogurt. It was a work of art!

This evening was truly a magical event and I’m still pinching myself that S.Pellegrino allowed me to experience something so incredible. I know the words I have written hardly do the night justice, so I hope the pictures and video help to paint a better picture of how dreamy the night was.

Annnnnd, because I’m sure by now you’re probably a little jealous of me (heck, I’m jealous of me!), you’ll be happy to know S.Pellegrino is running a Pinterest sweepstakes where you too can have the chance to live “Off the Menu”. Simply follow them on Pinterest, create your own “Off the Menu with S.Pellegrino” board (check out their’s and mine for inspiration), and then enter your board here. For complete details about the S.Pellegrino sweepstakes, see here.

P.S. In case you missed my first post today, I, along with Mr. RC, were both inspired to “live off the menu” when crafting this recent cocktail with one of our favorite S.Pellegrino flavors. Make sure you grab the cocktail recipe…after all, it is Friday, and who doesn’t want a cocktail on Friday?!

San Pellegrino Live off the menu 8 {The Italian market, complete with flowers, herbs, fresh produce, loaves of bread, a Vespa, and even an artist doing charcoal drawings}

fresh vegetables {Picking out some goodies to take home}

San Pellegrino flower market mini pizzas {My favorite appetizer- the mini “pizzas”, complete with a mini pizza box}

San Pellegrino Live off the menu 3 San Pellegrino Live off the menu drinks {Cin cin with Julia and Megan}

San Pellegrino Live off the menu event space {The living room area, complete with a live band and basically all the furnishings I’ve been wanting for my apartment}

San Pellegrino Live off the menu 11 Live off the menu {Don’t worry, no bags were hurt in the staging of this photo!}

San Pellegrino Live off the menu 10 {The stunning tablescapes}

San Pellegrino Live off the menu 2 San Pellegrino Live off the menu menu San Pellegrino Live off the menu 7 San Pellegrino Live off the menu {1st course- Burrata, Transmontanus Caviar, Zucchini, Rapid Aged Balsamic, Puffed Anchovy}

San Pellegrino Live off the menu 5 {Chef Michael talking about his inspiration for the 1st course}

San Pellegrino {2nd Course- Branzino, Cauliflower Caponata, Agretti}

shortrib {3rd Course- Mushroom-Espresso Rubbed Shortrib with Banana Polenta and Porcini Mushrooms}

Michael Voltaggio {Putting the finishing touches on dessert}

Chef Michael Voltaggio Live off the menu {4th Course- Gianduja Ganache, Rosemary-Ash Pizelle, Caramelized White Chocolate, Strawberry Frozen Yogurt}

Michael Voltaggio at San Pellegrino Live off the menu

{Pictures 1,2,4,5,6,8,17,19, 20 and video provided by S.Pellegrino; the other photos were taken by me}

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.