A Few Holiday Recipes Just in Time For Party Season

A Few Holiday Recipes Just in Time For Party Season

It’s right around now that looking at my calendar causes me to break out in a cool sweat. Parties, events, recitals- I’m sure you can relate!

So while I could go on about the fine points of the suspension system of sofas, I doubt that’s on your radar at this moment.

At this time of year, I’m always looking for dishes to bring to events. These two continue to be crowd pleaasers for me, and have now gone into the permanent holiday rotation schedule. They’ve also become a tradition in our family. Time-consuming? Yes, they are. Expensive? Yes to that too. Worth the effort? Again, yes, totally!

Think of making them as cooking therapy for a snowed in day (which are sure to come). And they travel extremely well for parties.

This first one is adapted from an old recipe book my mom adores, Noteworthy, which came from the Ravinia Festival. We oddly serve this in the late morning on Christmas day along with Champagne and a smörgåsbord of other munchies (I’m sure you have weird traditions too, don’t judge).

marinated-shrimpMarinated Shrimp with Oranges

Makes 4 servings, but we always double, even triple sometimes!

  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 small red onion, sliced very thin
  • 1/4 C. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C. unfiltered cider vinegar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t mustard seeds
  • 1/2 t cilantro leaves (dangerous for a crowd and therefore optional)
  • 1/2 t capers
  • 1/4 t celery seeds
  • 1/8 t ground black pepper
  • Romaine Leaves or crackers


  1. One day or at least 8 hours ahead, marinate shrimp. In 4-qt saucepan, heat 3 inches’ water to boiling. Add shrimp, return to boil and cook covered, 2 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain well again.
  2. In large bowl, combine shrimp, orange and red onion. In medium bowl, combine vinegar, oil, lemon juice, ketchup, sugar, garlic, mustard seeds, cilantro, capers, celery seeds, and pepper. Pour over shrimp mixture and stir to coat well. Refrigerate 8 hours, or preferably overnight. Serve on crackers or romaine leaves.

This next one is the holiday recipe one that I hang my hat on year after year. I make gallons of it and swear I’ll never do it again after seeing my grocery bill. But I do, every year without fail. Don’t skimp- the guy behind the deli counter will curse your name, but your guests may well kiss you harder this year. If there was ever a perfect leftover intended for a hangover, please let me know too.

antipasto salad

Mixed Antipasto Salad

adapted from Epicurious. I think the secret is actually the fennel flavor. People think it’s celery but  when they get a bite of anise flavor from it, it’s a surprise, and not an unwelcome one. I humbly nominate this also to be the perfect leftover holiday hangover nibble too. Near the end of parties, people will fight over tupperware containers with this inside.

For the marinade

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For the salad

  • 3 large carrots, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 small fennel bulbs (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut crosswise into 1/inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted and cut into strips (or jarred)
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, roasted and cut into strips (or jarred)
  • a 12-ounce jar pepperoncini (pickled Tuscan peppers), rinsed and drained well
  • 3/4 pound black or green brine-cured olives or a combination ( I use a mixture of green Cerignolas and black Kalamatas)
  • 1/4 pound sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and cut into strips (or fresh cherry- either way)
  • 3/4 pound marinated or plain bocconcini (small mozzarella balls, available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets)
  • 1/2 pound pepperoni or soppressata (hard Italian sausage, available at Italian markets, some butcher shops, and, some specialty foods shops), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and the slices quartered
  • two 7-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained well
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves plus, if desired, parsley sprigs for garnish

Make the marinade: 1.  In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, the vinegars, the rosemary, the basil, the oregano, the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the marinade until it is emulsified. 2. In a large saucepan of boiling water blanch the carrots and the fennel for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender, drain them, and plunge them into a bowl of ice and cold water. Let the vegetables cool and drain them well. In a large bowl toss together the carrots, the fennel, the roasted peppers, the pepperoncini, the olives, the sun-dried tomatoes, the bocconcini, the pepperoni, the artichoke hearts, the marinade, the minced parsley until the antipasto is combined well and chill the antipasto, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Transfer the antipasto to a platter, garnish it with the parsley sprigs, and serve it at room temperature.

So back to shopping and gifting!

Dean Malambri signature

Share with a friend:
Recipes from October 2nd- Annual Global Treasure Hunt

Recipes from October 2nd- Annual Global Treasure Hunt

Despite rather soggy weather, we still managed to have a lot of fun at our 6th Annual Global Treasure Hunt on October 2! As has become the custom, Alan and I plan a buffet upon a global theme and make everything from scratch. So much more special than calling a caterer, but also a laborious effort! We thought we’d share our recipes this year with everyone in case you’re inclined to try one of these yourself. Mangia!


Dean Alan Design Accessories Wooden Obelisks sitting on a hand carved live edge dining table

Colorful wooden obelisks atop a carved dining table at Ginger’s

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Servings: 6-8

Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob, or frozen, drained and thawed
  • 2 mixed color bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( or to taste- we like it hotter )
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, best quality (we used Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin from Costco)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (make sure limes are at room temperature before juicing)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Hass avocados, chopped (put these in at the absolute end so they don’t get brown)


  1. Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

    Alan Sills with friends at Global Treasure Hunt

    Alan with friends

Cook’s Illustrated Restaurant-Style Hummus

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Servings: 8-10


“This is a smooth and silky hummus from those people on PBS who know how to test and create great recipes. They recommend Joyva or Krinos tahini and Pastene chickpeas (I used what I had on hand). Hummus can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 5 days. If you do not plan on serving it immediately, refrigerate the hummus and garnishes separately. When ready to serve, stir in approximately 1 tablespoon of warm water if the texture is too thick. Serving size is estimated.”


  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice ( 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 14 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 garlic clove ( minced or pressed through garlic press 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, minced


  1. Combine lemon juice and water in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  2. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.
  4. Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds.
  5. With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube.
  6. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute.
  7. With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through feed tube and continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy (about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed).
  8. Transfer hummus to serving bowl and sprinkle with reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes.
  10. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

    Ginger Blossom Metal Lawn Accessory Shark

    Land-Shark! Hand hammered metal shark sculpture from Mexico

Chef John’s Pulled Pork BBQ

this one takes a while, but the meltingly luscious pork is well worth the the time. Alan roasted this overnight

Use your favorite dry rub and barbecue sauce to make this succulent pork. A little trick I like is to put 2 ramekins with liquid smoke flavoring in with the meat and roast it slowly.


  • 3 tablespoons dry barbecue rub, or more as needed (we love the BBQ rubs at the Spice House)
  • 1 (3 1/2) pound bone-in pork shoulder blade roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring, divided
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 mini french rolls (Costco)
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce, divided  (we were crunched for time so we used Sweet Baby Rays, normally we make from scratch!)


  1. Preheat oven to 210 degrees F (100 degrees C).
  2. Sprinkle dry rub generously on all sides of pork roast and place meat into a heavy pan or Dutch oven.
  3. Pour 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke flavoring into each of two 6-ounce ramekins; fill ramekins with 1/2 cup water each. Place ramekins into the Dutch oven on either side of the roast. Place lid onto Dutch oven.
  4. Roast pork in the preheated oven until very tender, 12 hours. Remove roast from Dutch oven, place onto a work surface (such as a cutting board), and separate the meat from the bone using your fingers. Discard any large pieces of fat.
  5. Roughly chop pork with a large knife or cleaver; drizzle with 3/4 cup barbeque sauce. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Spread about 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce onto each bun and pile pork on buns to serve.


Dean Alan Design Boho Chic Living Room

Our room styling using components from Ginger Blossom, Elka chair from Bernhardt, sofa from Vanguard (photography Maureen Miller Photography)

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

  • Prep Time-30 MIN
  • Servings- 12


1 ¼ lb ground turkey

¼ cup chopped green onions (4 medium)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons garlic and red chile paste

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup shredded carrots

1/3 cup chopped salted peanuts

12 medium Bibb lettuce leaves, rinsed, patted dry with paper towel


  1. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook turkey over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked; drain and return to skillet. Stir in green onions, cilantro, mint, lime juice, fish sauce, peanut butter, chile paste, sugar and red pepper flakes. Cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until hot.
  2. To serve, spoon 2 heaping tablespoons turkey mixture, 2 tablespoons carrots and 1 teaspoon peanuts onto each lettuce leaf; wrap around filling. Serve warm.
  3. Thai hand carved shoes from Ginger Blossom

      These hand carved wooden shoes would look great mounted on a wall!

Once again, we have to thank you all for our continued success, and we hope to bring you many exciting changes in the future!


Dean Alan Design Industrial Reclaimed Living Room

We mixed items from Ginger’s together with a gorgeous sectional from Weiman, tables and etagere from Resource Decor and York Graffiti wallpaper. (Thanks to Design D’Vision trade showroom and Maureen Miller Photography)

Dean Alan Design Signature
Share with a friend:
Mid Century Modern Madness 2

Mid Century Modern Madness 2

We continue to object to that trendy catalog look that says “look at how modern this room is.” Don’t fall for it! Here’s some iconic modern pieces, some of which haven’t changed much in 50 years, that we’re now thrilled to offer from Thayer Coggin. You reupholster this level of furniture in 15-20 years and it becomes a cherished part of your family. Buy less, buy better!

Share with a friend:
5 Easy Ways to Update Your Home: Solution #1: Bathroom Update

5 Easy Ways to Update Your Home: Solution #1: Bathroom Update

5 Easy Ways to Update Your Home

Part One: Update the Bathroom

We started this series because over the last few months, we’ve seen more and more design jobs with these criteria (more or less). Kids are graduating, you’re “transitioning” and your home hasn’t been a priority since the days of The Drew Carrey Show and Roseanne.

Here are our assumptions:

  1. You’re not sure how long you want to stay in your present home
  2. Your life is simpler (for a change)
  3. Resale value is important
  4. You don’t want to invest in expensive pieces or projects that can’t move with you
  5. You simply want your home to be up-to-date!

In a perfect world, we would gut the bathroom, tear out the gargantuan whirlpool tub, expand out the shower, put in a gorgeous free standing soaking tub, re-tile everything, replace the shower doors, etc. But if you’ve got a ton of upgrades to do all over your house, it might not be the best use of your resources. Here are some less dramatic and quicker fixes:

 1.   Replace or re-stain/ repaint the vanities.80's bathroom

  • Standard height used to be around 32”, now we prefer around 36”. Believe it or not, it makes a huge difference and it shows.
  • Oak vanities were standard issue for the last 30 years. Repainting white or restaining a light espresso will impart a dramatic effect.

restain bathroom

For guest bathrooms small on space, there are some outstanding vanity/counter/sink combinations that are way less bulky and can be switched out quickly and easily.ambella sink chest smll

2.   Replace the glued on mirror and “Hollywood” vanity lightHollywood lighting and glued mirror

It was the cheapest mirror to put up in the housing boom of the 90’s, so almost every builder did it. If you’re brave, try replacing it yourself (http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-a-Bathroom-Mirror) but we usually leave it to our trusted contractors.

Furniture grade mirrors with simple architectural lines paired with interesting vanity lights can be a huge improvement over existing schemes. Here are a couple we’ve put together:mirrors plus light-combos

3. Change out the flush mount lighting.

Flush mount 2flushmount 1                          Flushmount 3

There are a lot of relatively inexpensive solutions here. Avoid the shabby-chic chandelier look. You’ll loathe cleaning it and it’s too polarizing for home buyers if you do decide to sell. Try a semi-flush fixture for more architectural interest.

4. Replace the Wood Blinds

There’s top-down/ bottom up hard treatments solutions that allow more natural sunlight in without sacrificing privacy.

hunter douglass td bu

To add some pattern, try a roman shade in a Sunbrella fabric. The addition of a little pattern into the window will add some visual interest without wallpapering, which again is a polarizing option which could turn off new prospective buyers.Roman-Shade-Bathroom-Window-Blinds

So that’s it for step 1. Stay tuned for the next four solutions!

dean & alan
Share with a friend:

Designs of the 90’s vs. Today

The time was 1996. The first flip phone, the Motorola StarTac just came out.Startac

and we were buying Tickle Me Elmo toys at an alarming rate.ticklemeelmo

And apparently, we wanted to live large in Southern Italy, so we bought stuff that made our houses “Tuscan.” And as Americans, we usually like to go overboard
We marbleized and glazed our walls in golds, greens, and burgundies,tuscan paint colors

Bought furniture that was way out of proportion to the size of our rooms

,tuscan console Tuscan sof  tuscan chair

and sealed the deal with matching plastic ivy, Tuscan landscape art, and ornate lighting.plastic ivy tuscan art

Twenty years later, a lot has happened, and there’s the new aesthetic:

Paint colors, are cooler and less heavily saturated

 Faux painting has given way to real, natural wallcoverings

Furniture is smaller, lighter, and more functional

Share with a friend: