with gratitude

a moment in time
Categories: Dinner Party, Lunch, Breakfast/Brunch, Setting the Stage, Posted on November 29, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (10)
I just welcomed in a new decade. Earlier this year I proclaimed it was going to be sixty and sensational. Several plans were made, and just as many pivots. With my husband out of town on a business trip and the arrival of my new grandson my daughters decided to surprise me with a “staycation” at my desert home. Honestly, it sounded idyllic.
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a stressless spread

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Posted on November 15, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
On the morning news they said that Thanksgiving is ten days away. How did that happen?? I don’t know about you but this one really snuck up on me. Whether you’re hosting or bringing something to share, offering up a big board that folks can nibble from isn’t only impressive but relatively easy, especially if prep ahead of time. A charcuterie tray
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summer obsession

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Sauces and Such, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Lunch, Posted on September 5, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
What is better than a just-picked off-the-vine tomato? How about it’s perfect accompaniment!  If you love caprese salad with thick slices of beefsteak, rounds of mozzarella, a hefty drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and plenty of fresh basil, you might just flip for this tomato salad featuring whipped ricotta. I adore whipped ricotta and get very
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unraveling a recipe

food detective
Categories: Poultry, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on July 23, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
This past month has been a doozie in the news department. Thank goodness for NYT’s “Cooking”. It’s been a welcome refuge from the myriad of blasts. One monumental news day I stumbled across a recipe for caprese chicken by Susan Spungen. It was the exact diversion I was seeking. Midwest chicken, garden tomatoes, fresh basil. And happily there was a
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magnificent milestones

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Desserts, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on July 10, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
A first-rate finale to our litany of houseguests. An exceptional weekend in every way, my dad came to Chicago to celebrate some very big birthdays. He and his best friend had just turned 90, and on our first night together my mom’s dearest friend had a very special birthday of her own. To kick off the festivities we dined at Mon Ami Gabi, the i
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about face

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Poultry, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on June 26, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
It’s incredible how much family we’ve had visit. Literally each weekend another crew has come to stay with us. After two years of quiet isolation on the sixteenth floor of our Chicago apartment it’s been a welcome change filling our home with those we love. Each time it’ been a completely different adventure, and it’s remarkable how different every
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a worthy carrot

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on May 8, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
I just got back from seeing my dad. What a remarkable man at 90-years young.  Always on-the-go, he keeps me hopping. Each trip we tackle plenty of tasks, share many stories, lots of laughs, and of course memorable meals. One of things I always add to his to-do list is a trip to Merrick’s Seafood in Cape Coral for stone crabs. Cleverly I coincide
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thai one on

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Salads and Dressings, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Dinner Party, Posted on April 10, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
Asian inspired dishes often make the perfect weeknight meal. But I tend to struggle with what to serve on the side. This quick Thai cucumber salad seems to make just about everything it accompanies to shine. Go ahead and make a double batch of the vinegar sugar syrup. Then just a quick chop and toss and you are ready to roll.
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drop in

food detective
Categories: Beverages, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Posted on March 29, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
When entertaining one of my favorite things to do is to greet a guest with their favorite libation. I like to think of it as personal serial signature cocktails. Let’s be honest, most folks like to drink what they like to drink. This week I am having a small group over for dinner and it turns out lemon drop martinis are one of my guests’ darlings.
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ina jiffy

cookng for one... or two
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Grains and Pasta, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on March 15, 2022 by Sandy Bergsten
Life is definitely ramping up. Languishing hours and days on end seem to be evaporating. I certainly welcome this change, but it’s making me realize that I need to step up my efficient dinner game. Thank goodness for Ina Garten’s shrimp scampi with linguini! It is a classic for good reason. Once prepped the entire dish cooks in the time it takes
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