Comments : 22

***To anyone in Hurricane Matthew’s path, I want to say my prayers are with you (and this includes my own son who is in an area not designated to be hit directly but certainly will be impacted. Prayers for all to be safe and may this horrible storm dissipate and go back where it belongs, way way out to sea!***

Hello and happy Thursday to you!  I featured my part one of the birthday lunch I threw for a dear friend, click here if you missed it. Today it’s all about the food, recipes and a few entertaining ideas. I know that when I post on entertaining I get lots of emails or inquires from people wanting to know about the recipes… here they are.

Hope you enjoy, let’s get started. You might also not want to see this on an empty stomach:)


Here is what was on the menu-

Rose Sangria

Arugula, shaved artichokes and Parmesan salad

Zucchini tart

Fresh tomato and basil tart

Homemade bread sticks

Pistachio ice cream sandwiches and fruit


Guess what this box is? A box of supplies from a local restaurant supply shop. I LOVE going to these stores, most places have them and being in NY there are many. It is so much fun to walk into these restaurant supply warehouses. I came home with all kinds of gadgets, my favorite? The lemon zester, works like magic!!


The yellow handled gadget is the most amazing little lemon zester!


Getting’s battle of the doughs! I use both, the Fillo will give a lighter flakier crust but both are wonderful and so convenient



All my ingredients out and ready


And let the food prep begin, first starting with my tomato tart-


Funny they call heirloom tomatoes the most delicious ugly tomato you will ever eat…and it’s so true!

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When making a tomato tart I like to use a nice variety both for color and flavor



Fresh ricotta getting mixed in with the lemon zest (used the puff pastry for this one)



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This sangria is soooo good and easy:) Always a crowd pleaser!


And the zucchini tart gets underway-


Love getting fresh just made ricotta from a local Italian specialty shop

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The lemon zest from my favorite new little gadget


Used my mandolin to cut up my vegetables, love how easy it is to get paper thin vegetables


The fresh ricotta

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Did you know you can freeze basil (and cilantro) and it freezes really well!


And made these yummy breadsticks-

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And for dessert had a big tray of fresh fruit and made these “always a hit” pistachio ice cream sandwiches!


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And finally the food was getting put out on the table-

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The zucchini tart

  • Fillo, pie crust or puff pastry ( have concluded Fillo  makes the lightest, flakiest crust, used about 12 layers)
  • Ricotta (fresh if you can get it) about a cup and a half
  • Fresh lemon zest (from about one large lemon, I like it tangy)
  • Fresh basil (about 3 Tbsp)
  • Aged Parmesan (about 2 Tbsp)
  • Thinly sliced zucchini, can also add eggplant (about 2 zucchini)
  • Salt and pepper


  • First line your baking container with parchment paper. Get your dough (make sure it’s cold), roll it out on a floured surface (if using Fillo I used about 11 layers) and carefully lay into tart pan or whatever you are baking it on. Make a few pierced marks into dough.
  • In a separate bowl mix ricotta, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Spread carefully onto dough.
  • On the side,you will have used a mandolin or good knife to very thinly slice up your zucchini/eggplant
  • Start layering over the ricotta mixture overlapping as shown above
  • Sprinkle aged Parmesan and freshly cut basil on top
  • Bake for about 20-25 min until golden brown at about 325 degrees
  • When out of oven let cool for about 5-10 min and add remainder of fresh cut basil on top


The tomato tart

  • Fillo or sheet dough
  • Fresh ricotta cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • A variety of very ripe tomatoes (about 4 or 5 large and one carton small)
  • fresh basil
  • lemon zest
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan


  • First line your baking container with parchment paper. Get your dough (make sure it’s cold) on a floured surface and roll out (if using Fillo just place in pan) and carefully lay into tart pan or whatever you are baking it on. Make a few pierce marks into dough.
  • I cook the dough separately for about 7 min (if using puff pastry) in a heated oven, as the weight and water from the tomatoes can make it soggy
  • In a separate bowl mix ricotta, olive oil, salt, pepper and about 2 tbsp of fresh fine cut basil. Spread carefully onto dough.
  • On the side, you will have thinly sliced all of your tomatoes
  • Start layering over the ricotta mixture overlapping as shown above, I used the little tomatoes to fill in the gaps in “clusters”
  • Sprinkle aged Parmesan and freshly cut basil on top
  • Bake for about 20-25 min until golden brown at about 325 degrees
  • When out of oven let cool for about 5-10 min and add remainder of fresh cut basil on top

I added fresh basil on top when it was out of the oven, this is one you need to monitor to be sure the bottom crust is golden brown, serve and enjoy!


Baby arugula salad

  • 2 packages of baby arugula
  • Juices of 2-3 lemons
  • About 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Thinly cut artichoke hearts (I used about 6)
  • Fresh slivers of Parmesan cheese
  • One carton of fresh small/cherry tomatoes
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

In a glass or plastic container, mix the juices of the lemons with the olive oil, add salt and pepper. Shake and put aside. Mis the arugusla right before serving with the artichokes, tomatoes and a generous serving of Parmesan slivers with a dash of fresh pepper and salt. Dress the salad with the lemon dressing only at time of serving.



Pistachio Ice cream sandwiches

  • One package of plain or vanilla Pizelle
  • 2-3 cartons of Haagen Dazs pistachio ice cream (when only the best will do, ahve tried all the pistachios out there and this is the best)!
  • Let ice cream sit for 5 min room temp, use a knife to remove the entire paper carton. You will have a “log” of ice cream, place your pizelles in pairs on the side. Carefully cut through the ice cream in about 1/2″ slices. Carefully add to the pizelle putting another on top to make a sandwich.

I often have chopped pistachios in the freezer and at this point roll the sandwich in them to create a great nutty texture/flavor, not necessary but a good extra if you want. You can freeze these well covered with saran wrap and aluminum over night…so when I make them, I now do them in advance. Makes it so easy!


Elegant bread sticks

  • One box of Pepperidge Farm dough
  • Fresh Parmesan (about 1 cup)
  • Fresh pepper
  • Melted butter on side
  • Oregano

Let dough sit at room temp until just starting to thaw. Carefully roll out on floured surface. When rolled out, cut into strip about one inch wide. Carefully brush butter onto one side, and then twist until you have a fully twisted strip, then “dip” or drag through your plate of the fresh parm.

Place on a baking sheet lined with Parchment paper, once your baking sheet is full, put into preheated oven set at about 350 degrees, these cook pretty fast (about 10-13 min). Remove and sprinkle a bit of oregano over them. Let them cool and sever…..not only are they beautiful but they are super tasty!

Rose Sangria

  • 1-2 bottles of a light Rose (preferably French)
  • One container each of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
  • One small bunch of mint
  • 1 cup of cranberry juice
  • One bottle of Pellegrino or Perrier (or sparkling water of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (calls for more but I went lighter)
  • Optional- fresh peaches or I always keep a bag of frozen peaches

The earlier you can make this the better….I like to let it marinate over night. Add all the berries and half cut strawberries to a large container or 2 pitchers. Add wine, the cranberry juice, a few sprigs of mint, sugar and half the Pellegrino.

Use a masher and gently mix the fruits with the liquid. Cover and refrigerate. A minimum of 6 hours but ideally overnight is best. When ready to server add rest of Pellegrino and garnish with a mint leaf…enjoy!


Hungry yet? Yea, me too:)

Two days later I had some family over for dinner. I had so much fun bringing out my favorite wood tiered server and coming up with another rendition of how to use it! They just came back in stock and currently we have about 10 available, click here to view.

I start by “lining” the tiers with kale, it makes it look so pretty and professional and it’s so easy! Add bowls of your choosing and you can line those with kale as well-

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In this case I did veges on top, thinly sliced sopressata, a big chunk of Parmesan have cut up and olives, the bottom tier had the toasted baguette rounds, a spinach yogurt vegetable did and yummy tomato brushettta

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Really  hungry now?


Just a few ideas worth sharing-

1 Mint julep cups make amazing little bud vases, in the case of the luncheon they were the favors so I placed one at every setting but I put them in my bathrooms, have one on my nightstand and if I am entertaining they are wonderful to use on end tables, one simple bud is all you need!

2. Mint juelps are also fantastic for breadsticks, cut up veges, to hold utensils….they are  multi functional!

3. I am all about doing as much as possible ahead of time. I will cut up all my veges and breads and put individual necessary ingredients aside in small bowls or Ziploc bags so that when I need them they are there and ready to roll.

4. When I am planning any gathering, I write down every single thing that I am making from drinks to dessert and be sure I have every single ingredient, that way there is no last minute panic involved.

5. I also always give myself a “to be done by” time, so if people are coming for lunch at 12:30 I will say I must be done with everything by 11, that way I get an hour to myself to take a nice hot shower, put up my feet and relax enough to enjoy my own party (doing this has REALLY helped me a lot in feeling more relaxed and organized)

6. I put aside all my plates, silverware and glasses that will be used. I also think ahead to dessert and put aside desert plates, forks and coffee cups. My pet peeve is not having clean forks for dessert and having to scramble to get some washed…I like knowing they are sitting pretty and ready.

7.Fresh flowers always add to any occasion, large or small. Even if you are picking up a seasonal bunch from your local supermarket. get flowers…they show you went the extra step:) Once again a small tight cluster is gorgeous in a mint julep!

8.Always keep a box of dough in your freezer whether you prefer Fillo or rolled dough, there are so many uses! Also a few bags of frozen fruit doesn’t hurt, that way you can make a last minute sangria and that can come in handy in the dead of winter……trust me!

9. Few things are as good as fresh basil…the dried doesn’t even come close. Freeze it now for use in the colder months ahead.  Get a bunch of fresh basil while it’s still readily available, wash it well add a tiny bit of olive oil just enough to coat the basil put it in an airtight Ziploc and store for future use, you can thank me in the dead of winter:)

10. The use of parchment paper cannot be overstated enough, it is just so handy and makes removing things from pie tins and baking trays an absolute cinch.

11. If you want your sangria icy cold (which is my favorite way to have it) I stick in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes, just until its about to ice over…so good!

12. To me one of the easiest ways to “elevate” the beauty  and elegance of a table is to add monogrammed napkins. I am a bit of a collector (husband would say monogrammed napkin hoarder) and enjoy using them even for simple meals, they just add to much elegance to a table.

13.I love little mason jars for salad dressings, they are easy to store and look cute too:)

14.By all means if you haven ‘t already, then invest in an inexpensive mandolin, they are so great for getting paper thin slices of just about anything.

15. Blue and white planters (and any color for that matter) double as chic beverage holders. I use mine all the time to do double duty….it’s unique and pretty!

16. My final tidbit of advice and perhaps the most important…have fun! Don’t stress, if you do, it will zap the joy of entertaining and cooking. Crank up the music, have a glass of wine and channel your inner Julia Childs:)


PS Don’t forget to enter the newest contest!


It’s time for the Enchanted Fall Love contest! As the temps start to drop and the leaves begin to fall, capture those special moments that best capture the essence of autumn!

Whether its your decorated pumpkins, flower arrangements, front door fallscape,your darling kids playing in fall leaves,  whatever…as long as it has to do with fall and you think it’s a winning shot, plesae send it in!

  • There is a cap of 70 pictures, so once 70 are received the contest is closed.
  • Accepting submissions as of today through Oct. 19th
  • Up to 2 pictures per person (please be sure they are not copied from internet and not of same exact thing)
  • Please email your winning shot(s) to and on subject line put “Enchanted Fall Love” or “contest” (get lots of email so need to separate those)
  • You will get an acknowledgement email stating that we have received your pictures
  • The winner will win one of these amazing statuary fiberglass pumpkins in their color choice-


PPS Visit the lamp promo that just started last night, ends tomorrow. So many beauties! Click here


















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Deanna on

Can’t wait to try your recipes, since everything looks so yummy. And I love your idea of taking a hot shower and relaxing before the guests show up. I’m usually frantic until the start. Your pictures are beautiful, by the way…they always are!

Judy Bailey on

Delightful luncheon menu and beautiful presentation! One of the loveliest things to do for anyone is to invite him/her into your home for a meal that you have prepared. This is a huge gift of time, a precious commodity today. I’m sure your guests will long-remember the occasion.

elizabeth on

WOW! I am so impressed, you make it look so easy and elegant. Even before your party starts, everything is beautiful in it’s “pre” stage!

I am going to be trying everything on this post and buying myself a lemon zester, what a great idea!

Tina you need your own channel and book- seriously!

Taste of france on

Tarts work so well for buffets, especially since they don’t have to be piping hot. You can make them ahead of time.

MaRie TaylOr on

Good Morning Tina,
Thank you for the recipes! I look forward to trying them. We are over on the Gulf coast of Fl at the moment, having run away from hurricane Matthew. I look forward to returning home and moving into our new house later this month. Your Rose Sangria will be one if the first drinks I may yo enjoy on our new lanai!!
Best, Marie

karen on

You are such a doll. What a great post that i pinned for my bunco night with the girls. Thank you! 🙂

Katie Clooney on

Another fabulous post, dear Tina!! Love seeing all the behind the scenes photos that lead to your magnificent parties. Enjoyed all your tips as well. Have a wonderful weekend and put your feet up. You deserve it!

Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors on

I can’t wait to try these yummy recipes! I loved all of your wonderful entertaining tips! Thanks for sharing! I hope that you have a wonderful day!!!

leslie on

Looks so yummy Tina and I YES those Heirloom tomatoes are the BEST and I like the little ones:) Thanks for sharing your delicious recipes and GREAT idea to use the Mason Jars for the dressing!

Celia Becker@ on

What a wonderful hostess you always are. I’m dying to try all of your wonderful recipes. Gonna make the breadsticks immediately, as they are such a brilliant idea, made with pastry dough! How come I never thought of that? And your best advice of all was to chill. I know it’s easier said than done but over time, with practice, planning ahead and that glass of wine, we too can enjoy our parties. Happy fall!

Deborah on

Tina, you are a wonder! Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas and recipes. (I’m drooling!) Can’t wait to try them, and to plan an event to share with others.

Donna on

This lemon zester is one of my favorite kitchen tools. Glad you agree. Love todays recipe post.

Have you thought about an Enchanted Home recipe book?

It would be a best seller gift item year round!

Donna on

As an added incentive, the recipe book idea would be a darling shower gift for your daughters-in-law to be!!!!

Eileen on

You are one talented woman!

Leslie P. on

Your love of entertaining, cooking and decorating shines through in every post. This is so beautiful, it could have been a small wedding.

I am always inspired with the elegance in which you do things. It really shows in everything you touch, thank you for sharing tour special gift with all of!

Agree about a book, you need to make one!

Victoria on

Your post was fantastic Tina ! I am like you in that I love to be super organised and love to make lists, it prevents a lot of anxiety. Your menu and table settings are just beautiful and all the extra tips very helpful. I am really looking forward to trying those delicious recipes as warmer weather is heading our way in South Australia .

Carol H on

Always love when you throw in an entertaining/recipe based post! Prayers for your son and everyone impacted by the hurricane. It is really frightening to watch on television.

Amanda on

As always, I love it. The food looks beautiful and amazing!!

Mo at Mocadeaux on

Wow! Fabulous recipes and hostessing tips – this post is jam packed and is going to be immediately added to my Pinterest board called “Party!”. I am also someone who thinks being organized from the start is the key to a successful party. And I love, love, love that you encourage folks to enjoy their own events. Out with the stress and in with the fun!


Please tell the sizes of sheet pans and tart tins you used.
When using the fillo dough, do you brush with butter or oil between the layers?

Thank you.
I am planning on doing the whole menu since we are still in summer mode here, with temps in high 80’s on the coast.

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