Friday, August 31, 2012

Fresh Tomato Tart Recipe

In the past I have talked about tomato season and how my family has a tradition of making their own Bloody Mary mix every year around Labor Day.  Well, it may be hard to believe, but there are other things you can make with tomatoes other than Bloody Mary's!  Who knew?

One of my favorite dishes to make with fresh tomatoes is a wonderful tomato tart that was introduced to me by our friends Shannon and Dave and that comes from the website Dave has perfected the recipe and showed me his method for making this  great summer treat.  The key is to make sure you thoroughly dry the tomatoes and, to save time, you can actually make the crust ahead of time and add the tomatoes later. 

I have found that this is not only a terrific appetizer to serve for a party, it can actually be a whole meal.  It really is an easy recipe that is perfect for any tomato lover!


Thawing the frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight will help prevent cracking while unfolding it. Be sure to use a low-moisture supermarket mozzarella sold in block form, not fresh water-packed mozzarella. If you prefer to do some advanced preparation, the tart shell can be prebaked through step 1, cooled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept at room temperature for up to two days before being topped and baked with the mozzarella and tomatoes.


  • Flour , unbleached all-purpose, for work surface
  • 1box frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm, 1.1 pound), thawed in box in refrigerator overnight
  • 1large egg, beaten
  • 2ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1pound plum tomatoes (about 3 to 4 medium), cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • Salt
  • 2medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 2tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces puff pastry onto work surface. Following illustrations below, form 1 large sheet with border, using beaten egg as directed. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over shell; using fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in shell. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  2. 2. While shell bakes, place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, olive oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
  3. 3. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle tomato slices widthwise on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row); brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, slide onto cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.


  • 1. Brush egg along one edge of one sheet of puff pastry. Overlap with second sheet of dough by 1 inch and press to seal pieces together.
  • 2. With rolling pin, smooth out seam. Dough should measure about 18 by 9 inches. Use pizza wheel or knife to trim edges straight.
  • 3. With pizza wheel or knife, cut 1-inch strip from long side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from same side.
  • 4. Cut 1-inch strip from short side of dough. Cut another 1-inch strip from same side. Transfer pieces of dough to parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg.
  • 5. Gently press long strips of dough onto each long edge of dough and brush with egg. Gently press short strips of dough onto each short edge and brush with egg.
  • 6. With pizza wheel or knife, trim excess dough from corners

    I hope you enjoy the tart as much as I do

    Happy Labor Day and....


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to have a labor-less Labor Day

With the Labor Day and the end of Summer almost here, I know many of you are planning get togethers with family and friends.  In case you missed my recent segment on, I thought this would be a good time to share my tips for having a "labor-less" Labor Day party.

- My first "Rabido" for throwing a Labor Day party is "Keep it simple"!  From the food to the cocktails you do not have to be extravagant.

- Second, rally your friends to help and be specific in what you ask.  Don't just ask guests to bring something, you may wind up with 10 bags of potato chips!  Tell guests specifically what they can bring to make sure you have a well rounded menu.  

- Prepare food that you can make ahead of time.  You do not want to be rushed making everything on the day of the party or worse, cooking while guests are there.  You want to enjoy the party along with your guests so plan ahead.

- Think of food that can be served at room temperature and that will not quickly spoil.  This will keep you out of the kitchen and will avoid any issues on a hot day.

- Since Labor Day is a casual holiday for family and friends I recommend serving everything family style.  Again, take the burden off of yourself and allow guests to serve themselves.

-  The 'self service" idea also applies to the bar.  I recommend a simple bar with wine and a specialty cocktail that can be made in a large pitcher.  If you want to add a twist, ask guests to bring their favorite micro brew that can then be added to the bar for guests to sample.

For other great ideas and recipes visit, and stay tuned as I prepare to launch my own line of invitations and stationery on

Until next time,


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Take the "labor" out of Labor Day

With Labor Day quickly approaching I know many of you are planning get togethers with family and friends for this end of Summer holiday.  Preparing for the party does not have to be an all consuming chore. 

Tomorrow, August 17, at 12:40PM, I will be sharing some great time saving tips and suggestions for unique food and cocktails online at Fox News Live.  I will also be sharing some great invitation ideas from  Check it out and let me know your best tips when planning for a fun and easy Labor Day! 

Until next time,


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Touching, Intimate New York Loft Wedding

If you have noticed, I have been trying to catch up on sharing photos of some of the wonderful recent weddings I have designed.  There have been so many wonderful experiences that I have been privileged to be a part of, one of which I want to share with you today.

In June, I had the honor of designing a same sex wedding for Scott and John at Gary's Loft in New York City.  The couple had been together for over 27 years so the fact that they were now able to make their already committed relationship legal made for an incredible emotional and touching celebration.  

As a result, the wedding was not as much of a grand affair as it was a simple, touching statement in a setting that was more like being in your own home.  Therefore, the look I created was very simple and organic as guests were seated at a variety of farm and occasional tables that worked perfectly for the space.

Guests were seated at an eclectic arrangement of farm tables.
A simple sweetheart table was perfect.
Simple, yet elegant floral and containers accented the main table.
We were even able to add special personalized touches throughout the room such as the photos of the couple, their friends and family that we added to bookshelves. This wedding really was about the personal touches.  The flowers I used for decor were selected based on those found in the couple's country home.  Jill Cole of Great Performances took the time to make food selections that the couple would normally serve at their home.  Elizabeth Beskin of 5th Avenue Digital took the time to really know the couple so that the event was perfectly captured on camera.  And Anna from Just About Married was great pulling everything together on the day of the wedding.  It was all planned to make guests as comfortable as if they were sitting in the couple's own home.
Personal photos were added around the venue.
The simplicity and garden feel of this wedding was really reflected in all of the different elements from the simple swags I created to line the aisle to the boutonnieres, the rings and the cake.

Garden flowers stood out among the white chairs and aisle.
Fiddle fern with green accents made the perfect boutonnieres.
Simple platinum rings reflected the grooms personality.
Even the cake was simple and elegant.
While the room was perfect, this celebration was really all about the ceremony which was so long in coming. To add a special touch to the chuppah, I pinned a banner with well wishes from family and friends to the top as a reminder of the love that was in the room.  

Adding the perfect finishing touch to the Chuppa.
This was truly a wedding that touched the heart of everyone present.  Best to Scott and John for many more happy years to come.

Until next time,


Monday, August 13, 2012

Architects of Air Luminarium

Back in June I promised to share photos of the destination wedding I had just produced in Spain.  Now that my Summer break is officially over, I am back to work full force and want to devote some time to sharing information about the incredible experience I had planning this wedding.  I want to start with the Architects of  Air Luminarium that we brought to Spain from the UK.

It was about this time last year that we began planning the destination wedding in El Ciego, Spain.  About a month into the planning process our client sent us a photo of a colorful football field sized structure with a note that the couple wanted to "make this happen" for their wedding guests.  I was a bit stunned but immediately contacted Architects of Air, who designed and produced the Luminarium, to see how this could happen.  I promptly received a response from Mado, who proved to be a great help with this project and who advised that we could certainly make the Luminarium happen in El Ciego.

The one question we both had was, where are we going to put this huge structure?  While I am good at making things happen for my clients, certain logistics in the Rioja region of Spain made this a major task.  If you have ever been to the area you know that there are a lot of rolling hills but very few flat, empty, football sized areas such as what we needed for the Luminarium.  So, when I went to Spain last November for my first site visit, one of my priorities was finding a location for the Luminarium.

This is where Ana Pedrero, our main contact at the Hotel Marques de Riscal came in to save the day.  I do know that when we first mentioned the possibility of bringing the Luminarium to Ana she thought we were out of our minds, however, she sprung into action and was instrumental in bringing the structure to life.  This was especially true when she found the perfect location, right across the street from the Hotel!  Ana was also key to our interaction with the town and obtaining all of the necessary permits.

Now we had the site, next we had to get the structure from Nottingham, England to El Ciego, Spain, erect it, secure it and staff it.  We were fortunate to have the amazing Flor Guerin and her crew on hand to pull everything together.  Flor was instrumental in securing the equipment needed such as generators and air conditioning which had to be brought in from Madrid and Barcelona as well as the crew that came in from all regions of Spain.  

Bringing the structure to life was no small undertaking.  The site had to be leveled, a protective layer had to be laid and all of the mechanical elements put in place.  

When I was posting pictures from Spain on Facebook a lot of people were asking, What is it?  Well, one thing I must say is that to appreciate the Luminarium you really have to experience it.  It is an interactive combination of light and sound that you experience as you walk through the various chambers.  As the sun moves throughout the day, the reflections and experience inside of the Luminarium changes so we would have guests just sit and experience how the light moves throughout the day.  Architects of Air does have a structure touring the US so if you see it coming to your area I highly recommend a visit.

While it was a lot of work that took months of planning, the end result was a spectacular installation that wowed not only our clients and their guests, but also people throughout the Rioja region as we opened the Luminarium to the public and donated all ticket proceeds to Unicef.  I really owe a big thank you to Ana, Rosa, Flor, Mado and all of the staff who worked so hard to make the Luminarium a reality for everyone.

There is much more to come about this beautiful destination wedding and the Rioja region of Spain.

Until next time,


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Magnificent wedding at the Metropolitan Club

Recently I had the honor of planning a beautiful wedding for Alicia and Jerome at the prestigious New York Metropolitan Club.  It was such a treat to work with Alicia and her mother to create the perfect wedding in an absolutely stunning setting.

Not only was the venue perfect for this wedding, the location, adjacent to Central Park, made for some beautiful shots of the Bride and Groom on a warm, sunny day.  We were fortunate to have Jennifer and Charles of Maring Visuals on hand to capture all of the details.

The festivities began with a simple, beautiful ceremony at St. Malachy's Church in the heart of Times Square.  The classic elegance of the church was a perfect fit for this wonderful couple.

Following the ceremony guests proceeded to the Metropolitan Club for a evening filled with wonderful food, beautiful decor, great entertainment, and most of all loving friends and family.  As guests were entering the Ballroom they were greeted by the escort card table with an amazing display of glass vases filled with bright pink seasonal blooms.  At the end of the evening this table found another use as we displayed thank you boxes with cake and cookies for all of the guests.  Of course, I must thank Alpine Creative Group for their creation of the invitations and all collateral materials for the wedding, including the escort cards.

Guests were then escorted into the beautifully decorated ballroom that continued the them from the escort table onto all of the dinner tables.  For all of this wonderful decor we had the pleasure of working with the talented David Beahm.  To enhance the decor and create a warm glow in the room Bentley Meeker Lighting was brought in add this extra touch.

With a wedding this spectacular the cake must be equally as special.  Therefore, the Sweet Genius himself, Ron Ben-Israel, created a beautiful cake that perfectly captured all of the floral used in the room.  It was delicious!

To bring all of this to life I have to give special thanks to Hank Lane Orchestras who provided the spectacular entertainment that kept the dance floor filled throughout this magical evening.

Of course, the best reward I can have from any event is a happy client.  I have to share this wonderful note I received from the Bride's Mother.  This is why I love my job!

 Dear Shawn,

Alicia and Jerome's wedding was nothing short of amazing! For the past two weeks, I have been basking in the afterglow of my memories. Many have used the words, "elegant, sophisticated and majestic" in their comments. The flowers, music, table decor-all enhanced by the dramatic lighting, created that WOW! effect at the "palatial" Metropolitan Club in New York City. 

From Alicia's first meeting with you, she knew you were very in sync with the wedding she and Jerome imagined. Thank you for making this experience pleasurable and meaningful. You planned every detail with us beginning with the Nuptial Mass at St. Malachy's Church, to the festive celebration at the Metropolitan Club and on through the after-party!

I hope this is the commencement of many Shawn Rabideau celebrations!

Warm Regards,

Sue (Proud Mother of the Bride)

Until next time...


Beautiful "Old World" Bat Mitzvah

One of my favorite design looks is somewhat of a vintage or "Old World" look that uses very classic elements for containers and flowers to create a really beautiful and feminine look.

Recently I had the good fortune to be able to design a Bat Mitzvah at Bridgewaters in New York that incorporated these classic elements.  The location of Bridgewaters in lower Manhattan was perfect for the Bat Mitzvah as the inspiration was drawn for the 19th Century Museums on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Using classic floral in apothecary jars and a lace overlay, a stunning escort card table set the stage as guests entered the room.  Since the Bat Mitvzah girl loves reading and books, I used antique books to accent the table.

To carry the book theme further, for the kids and antique desk provided by Props for Today was used to hold journals that also served as escort cards for the kids.

Once guests entered the room the theme was carried through to the dinner tables as a variety of different sized apothecary jars were used to create a beautiful garden feel to the decor

The colors and theme were continued to the kids tables which were covered with a fun lavender crinkle taffeta linen.  The tables received fun collapsible lucite vases filled with coordinating floral.

The result was a beautiful, fun Bat Mitzvah that will be remembered for years to come.

Until next time.