Bring it On :: BBQs & Fireworks!

Happy 4th!  I'm looking forward to a long weekend of relaxed reading, beaching and barbecuing.  Spotting some of the photos below on Will Taylor's must-read blog, Bright Bazaar, caused my excitement for summertime cooking and entertaining to run rampant.  Will might be a dashing English chap, but he's got dining solutions for a very American July 4th down pat.  I'm not completely sure what my friends and I will be grilling up out on the East End, but I'm definitely seeing lobster and fresh bay scallops from the local seafood shop, heirloom tomatoes and corn on the cob from Round Swamp Farm and some killer burgers from Dickson's Farmstand Meats (yes, these babies are worth taking along on the 3-4 hour car ride) on the weekend's menu.

If you're looking for a few inspiring items to serve up at your own Independence Day bash, check out a host of summertime dishes over in the Recipes section.  

Have a fantastic holiday!

images via :: Pinterest and Bright Bazaar

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Lusting Over :: Baked Lemon Ricotta with Strawberries

Sometimes I'll taste something so beyond incredible, I feel like I've won the lottery (well, a slight exaggeration, but still).  I'm currently crushing over the baked lemon ricotta cheese from Bedford Cheese Shop.  Imagine the amazingness of a creamy Italian ricotta + bright lemony notes + a light cake-like texture.  Paired with some fresh summer strawberries and a glass Prosecco and you'll transport yourself smack in the middle of a lemon grover on the Amalfi Coast in no time.  


The Negroni :: Italy on the Rocks

It's official, today marks the start of summer.  And with it, ushers in a whole fresh crop of cool cocktails for hot weather...oh yes, I'm excited!  Summer 2011 is officially the summer of the Negroni, as noted by last month's Manhattan Cocktail Classic and my good friend and Italian-inspired mixologist and sommelier Joe Campanale (his restaurants, L'Artusi, dell'anima and Anfora are among my fave Italian spots in the city).  An old-school Italian classic (and my dad's summer sipper of choice), the Negroni brings together the herbal notes of Campari and gin, with a refreshing touch of citrus.  Makes you feel like you're in Roma leisurely relaxing in the Piazza de Spagna right off the Spanish Steps.  

My personal go-to summer cocktail is the Aperol spritz, which conjures up visions of Capri and the cerulean blue waters of the Amalfi coast.  I haven't been back in 11 years, but a girl can dream can't she?  Orangey-herbal aperitif + prosecco...bellissima!

Here's to a fantastic summer of cocktail sipping, wherever you draw your inspiration from, salute! 


The Negroni :: and the Aperol Spritz

Serves :: 1 cocktail



1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
1 1/2 ounces Campari
1 1/2 ounces gin
twist of orange

Aperol Spritz

3 ounces Prosecoo
1 ounce Aperol
splash of soda water or Pellegrino
orange slice



Shake vermouth, Campari and gin in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Strain over a rocks glass filled with ice.  Garnish with an orange twist. 


Aperol Spritz

Pour Prosecco, Aperol and soda water over ice, garnish with an orange slice.

TAGS: cocktails, italy, campari

posted: 06.21.11

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