JEWELS FROM THE ROVING STOVE

From VIP entrances in Versace to service entrances in my apron

  • Julie Anne Rhodes

Fashion, Friends & Food

I may love healthy comfort food, but I adore sumptuous comfort clothes even more, so I jumped at the invitation to attend a private showing of the new Stefanel collection last week. BTW, my ever so chic girlfriend In New York Paris Tomorrow was with me, but as usual, feigned having her photo taken, preferring to remain incognito.

Julie Anne Rhodes for Hello Magazine

Champagne, sushi, and amusing conversation flowed with a lovely, sunny view of the city from the rooftop penthouse suite of the Luxe Hotel – prominently situated on Rodeo Drive, the world renown shopping mecca.

Sushi

Perhaps it was my imagination or just coincidence, but I thought the color coordinated food was a stroke of genius. This Ahi tuna color dress was one of my absolute favorites!

Jewels let loose in her idea of a candy store

I was in my element. It was like being a child turned loose in a candy store sifting through the spring and fall collections. Delicate, feminine dresses, flowing skirts with blouses, and fine knitwear.

Gorgeous fellow food blogger, Henrietta Tiefenhaler

Just a sneak peek, it was a little frustrating to see these stunning pieces, and not be able to buy anything, although infinitely safer for my wallet.

Dumplings

Each were fashion statement pieces you wear, rather than fashion that wears you.

Henrietta’s beautiful friend

I had a rather difficult time narrowing down my favorite pieces, so I probably would have bought lot.

Longtime friend, model and partner in crime, Louise Ashby

The line is well within a reasonable price range for the quality, but sometimes I forget my budget is not what it used to be. Being on a clothing diet is even more boring than the food kind!

Jewels still playing dress up

But one is never too old to play dress up and pretend! Just as I like comfort food – these were comfort clothes I’d like to curl up in for years to come! Wouldn’t you? Be honest, isn’t there still a little girl lurking inside you that still loves to play dress-up?

Julie Anne Rhodes & Connie Fillippello

Reunited with my longtime friend, Connie Fillippello (who I hadn’t seen since I moved back to America 14 years ago) was icing on the cake. Just to give you an idea of how fabulous she is – another guest commented in the elevator as we left, “Darling, I left Adriana Lima in the midst of a Victoria’s Secret shoot to come say hello Connie.”

Bruschetta

Bruschetta is one of my favorite hors d’oeuvres to make when I throw a party. Everyone loves them, keeps my vegetarian friends happy, and they can be made ahead and easily assembled when needed.

Servings: 10

Ingredients:

1 baguette (long thin French bread)

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, divided

6 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and small dice

1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (save some for garnish)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

To make the crostini (little toast rounds)

1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the baguette on the diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices.

2). In a small bowl, crush one clove of garlic into 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Brush each slice of bread lightly with the garlic olive oil, and place in an even layer on a sheet pan, working in batches if necessary. Bake until beginning to brown and crisp in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they can go from golden to burnt very quickly. Remove and cool completely before storing, carefully in Ziploc baggie. These can be made up to a week in advance.

To make the tomato mixture:

3). Place the diced tomatoes (small delicate dice so they hold together better when placed on the crostini) in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining garlic and olive oil as well as the balsamic vinegar, and give it all a good toss. Reserving some chopped basil for garnish, add the rest, season to taste with salt and pepper, before giving it one more good toss to distribute the ingredients well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to two days in advance.

Serving Suggestions: Remove the tomato and basil mixture from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to allow it to come to room temperature. Decorate the serving tray in a beautiful array of crostini. When ready to serve, scoop one spoonful onto each crostini, and garnish with Parmesan, chopped basil, or both.

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