Celebrate The Lunar New Year with These Recipes

Entertaining, Recipes | | | 3 Replies

Written exclusively for Pottery Barn by Jonathan Stiers of The Stiers Aesthetic.

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Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival as it’s also known, is the single, most important social and economic holiday in China. It is a time of celebration — gathering together with family, relaxing and most importantly, feasting! So, what better way to join in the celebration than with a few, classic Chinese recipes and of course, a signature cocktail?!

Lucky Cat Martini (Makes 1 Martini)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Smirnoff® Vanilla Vodka (or other brand of choice)
  • 0.5 ounce Chambord Liquer (inspired by raspberries!)
  • 2/3 cup pineapple juice
  • Bamboo skewers, fresh raspberries & pineapple leaves for garnish

Directions:

1. Using a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice; combine the vodka and pineapple juice, and shake vigorously until combined – about 20 seconds.

2. Strain into a chilled, Schott-Zwiesel martini glass, topping glass off with leftover foam. (Martini glasses may be chilled in the freezer, 30 minutes prior to serving)

3. Sink Chambord to the bottom of the glass. To do so, hold the cap, spout or jigger up against the inside of the glass and slowly pour, letting the Chambord sink to the bottom.

4. Using a bamboo skewer, garnish with a fresh pineapple leaf and raspberry.

5. Serve on the Harrison bar tray, sprinkled with Chinese fortune cookies.

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Chicken & Broccoli Stirfry (Makes 4 Servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cubed
  • 3 scallions, whites only, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 -inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon, plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • About 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 to 6 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • Garnish: toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the scallion whites, half of the garlic, half of the ginger, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch (you’ll use the remaining TABLESPOON later), 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon of sherry, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. Mix the remaining cornstarch with 1/3 cup water and set aside.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds (make sure your broccoli doesn’t have any excess water to avoid a lot of unwanted popping ‘n such when you add to the pan). Add the broccoli florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

4. When the skillet is HOT again, heat 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken and chili flakes and stir-fry, until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown; about 3 minutes.

5. Add the hoisin sauce and return the broccoli to the pan, tossing to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. If needed, add a little water to thin the sauce.

6. Taste and season with salt and pepper and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions; serve with Jasmine rice. (Try serving it on something super colorful, like this turquoise Cambria Dinnerware.)

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Sauces

Plum, chili garlic, hot mustard and of course, soy round out this must list of dipping sauces, perfect for these classic, Chinese Pork Dumplings; recipe below.

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Chinese Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 rounded potsticker wraps – OR – wonton wrappers cut in to circles
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons thinly slice green onion
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 cups, finely shredded cabbage

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage, stirring until well mixed.

2. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of pork filling onto each wonton skin. Moisten edge of ONE HALF with water and fold edges over to form a half-moon shape. Roll edges and pinch slightly to seal in filling.

3. Meanwhile, fill a wok, 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a boil.

4. Place dumplings in a bamboo steamer, lined with parchment paper.

5. Place steamer on top of wok and steam dumplings for 20 minutes (No peeking!).

6. Serve immediately.

Check out more of Jonathan’s entertaining tips and recipes here, and more of our favorite recipes here.

How To: Decorate a Coffee Table for Spring

Decorating, How-To | | | 2 Replies

Even if it’s still snowing outdoors, you can help spring get a head start in your home. Last week, two of our amazing in-house designers, Brett and Trudy, hosted a live video event to help you refresh your home for spring. [See a recorded version of this live event here.]

The talented duo had some fantastic tips for decorate a coffee table for spring — some of them illustrated in this video!

Want to decorate your coffee table for spring? Keep it simple and stick to a mix of 5 items:

A decorative box: For storage and height.

Botanical element (flowers, branches, plants, or even shells and stones): Something organic helps pull the entire look together.

Books: Stack them horizontally or vertically for visual interest.

Unique treasures: Mix textures, colors and metals for visual tension. Use something unexpected!

A tray: Gathering things together in a tray sets them apart and makes them feel special. Plus, it makes it easier to clear the coffee table when company arrives.

See more of our video how-to guides here.

The Ultimate Pottery Barn Dream Bridal Shower!

REGISTRY | | | Leave a comment

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Often, a bridal shower is the first time the bliss of happily ever after sinks in for a new bride-to-be. Unlike a bachelorette or even an engagement party, it’s really the first time she gets to see what her new future is going to look like, thanks to her family and friends.

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We believe that just like the big day itself, a shower should be everything a bride-to-be dreams of — and more. That’s why we paired up with the talented Leslie Kaplan of ENCORE EVENT DESIGN to put together the ultimate dream Pottery Barn bridal shower for the newly-engaged (and Pottery Barn registered!) Jenny Bernheim of Margo & Me.

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This dream shower was set in the historic Los Angeles venue Vibiana. Leslie used the marble and Roman architectural backdrop to host a Parisian-inspired shower for Jenny, her fiancé Freddie and Jenny’s sidekick French Bulldog — Margo.

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Scroll down to dive into this dreamy bridal-shower shoot — plus, get Jenny and Leslie’s decorating, entertaining and wedding registry tips, too!

Designer/Producer: ENCORE | LESLIE KAPLAN EVENT DESIGN/ Model: Jenny Bernheim, Margo & Me/ Venue: Vibiana/ Photographer: Brian Leahy Photography/ Rentals: Revelry Event Designers/ Florist: Petals LA/ Stationery: Emily Devitt Designs/ Macarons: Vanilla Bake Shop/ Hair: Karen Barajas/ Makeup: Melanie Mills

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Blush, soft grays and creams with metallic accents combine in an elegant Parisian-style tablescape. Leslie chose tapered candles to add just a slight touch of formality to the table.

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The cascading ribbons and vellum placecards add just the right amount of whimsy, don’t you think?

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Our Mirror Faceted Chargers actually inspired the table’s entire look — Leslie used them to bring a modern edge to the feminine design.

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Piles of Pottery Barn wedding gifts wrapped in satin bows — we’ll take them all, please!

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We love how Jenny brought her fashion expertise to the table in this stunning shoot. The soft pinks and creams in Leslie’s tabletop design inspired Jenny’s chic look.

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Cocktail anyone? Both Jenny and Leslie know that having a signature cocktail takes any event to the next level. Vibiana created these fresh lemon and lavender infused creations served in some of our favorite glassware on our Great White Tray.

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Want to make one for yourself? Mix gin, lavender infused simple syrup, lemon, crushed ice, lemon peel and lavender greens.

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Jenny registered for a perfect mix of classic and playful Pottery Barn items. We love the approach she took to registering: Everyday essentials with a few fun items (like our stylish Antique Silver Wine Cooler) mixed in, too.

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Our classic silver frames make a great bridal shower gift — take a tip from Jenny, and gift your frame with a photo of the couple already inside.

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Your wedding registry is a great way to stock your bar so you can entertain together in style. Our classic Library Barware was one of Jenny’s favorite picks.

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Wishing you and yours a happily ever after!

Get more wedding and registry advice here.

Easy, Last Minute Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipe from The Vegan 8

Entertaining, Holiday, Recipes | | | 1 Reply

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Did you forget Valentine’s Day is tomorrow? It’s okay, we’ve been there! Don’t worry, we have a last minute Valentine’s Day Dinner recipe that will make your significant other think you’ve been planning for weeks — or, that you can enjoy on your own.

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This Poblano Pepper Cream Sauce and Pasta from The Vegan 8 looks particularly delicious in our Cambria Footed Bowl don’t you think? We love how Brandi from The Vegan 8 creates delicious, simple recipes that only use 8 (!) ingredients. Best of all, this comforting, decadent recipe comes together easily for a last minute Valentine’s Day dinner — the only serious prep requires soaking the cashews in boiling water for a couple hours.

Cashews? That’s right — this creamy decadent sauce is entirely dairy free. Trust us, you wouldn’t know it from the taste — but your body will thank you for it.

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Sweeten the deal with another ridiculously simple recipe — 1 bowl peanut butter chocolate chip cake (easily split between two people, but could happily be eaten by one).

Check out the full recipes + printable recipe card for both here.

Something New: Wedding Photographer Jose Villa’s Wedding Musts

ADVICE & INSPIRATION | | | 12 Replies

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When you’re a bride-to-be, finding a good wedding photographer can start to feel more difficult than finding your Prince Charming. How many frogs do you have to kiss? If you’re lucky enough to find Jose Villa right off the bat, your answer is one. This incredibly talented fine art and wedding photographer has set the tone for what beautiful wedding photos consist of in today’s highly competitive marketplace. This, along with his fantastic style and taste is just one of the reasons why we chose to feature him In the Spotlight this month. [Check out his full feature on PotteryBarn.com here]

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Keep reading to see more of Jose’s amazing photos and learn about his favorite wedding ever, the wedding trends he’d love to see disappear, his top tips for perfect wedding photos and more.

PLUS, don’t forget to enter our special giveaway! We’re giving one lucky winner a $250 Pottery Barn gift card. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter!

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PB: What made you decide to focus on this field in particular?
JV: I have always loved photographing people… I love fashion, travel, food and cake, so this beats being a photographer for National Geographic any day!

PB: What’s one of the favorite weddings you’ve ever been to?
JV: There are many and I really can’t say there was only one. But one of the most amazing weddings that has stayed in my mind is a wedding I photographed in Cuba for a cute Canadian couple. She was a photographer and he was the sweetest groom on the planet. Being in Cuba was out of this world and being surrounded by such love from the couple and their 6 wedding guests was a dream come true for all of us involved. I will never forget this wedding.

PB: What’s the one thing a couple should know before going into an engagement/wedding shoot?
JV: I don’t like to prep my couples before a shoot because it makes them nervous. I do however tell them exactly where we will be shooting and what sort of backdrops we will be shooting it. Photographing in the right surroundings is very important and sets the mood. Location, Location, Location.

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PB: How do you like to choose engagement shoot locations?
JV: I first look at locations that set a good mood, then I choose a location based on the lighting, the surroundings and the tone that the backdrops will provide. Not only am I a photographer, but I’m also an art director.

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Jose’s Top Tips: 

Choose your photographer after you choose your location. I highly suggest a film photographer if you are having an outdoor wedding, and a digital shooter if the wedding will be indoors. The medium in which we photographers shoot helps with each lighting situation, so keep that in mind as you plan for your wedding day.

Have fun with your wedding, and make it personal. I’ve seen more and more dogs invited to the weddings and I’m loving that. Give me another fun thing to shoot!

Consider bright colors. I’m hoping the soft color pallete can take a break for a little while. Seems like more than 70% of the weddings I shot last year involved a soft color pallete. I’m looking forward to the colorful pallete and the edgy tones that we need for photography.

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This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

See official rules here. 

Behind the Design: Our Exclusive Paper Invitation Collection with Wedding Paper Divas

ADVICE & INSPIRATION, Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 1 Reply

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Our latest designs aren’t what you’d expect to see when walking into one of our stores — but they’re still meant to celebrate life and inspire beautiful living, just like all of our furniture, pillows, bedding and decor.

We’re so excited to introduce our new signature invitation collection, exclusively designed by Pottery Barn designers for Wedding Paper Divas!

These designs don’t just look good on paper (although that’s true too, of course) — all of our invitation suites are based on textiles and patterns that our talented in-house team designs themselves. Many of these patterns are inspired by historical illustrations that our team puts their own special Pottery Barn twist on to create new, innovative patterns — like the vintage-style Flora suite, above.

Photography: Delbarr Moradi
Styling: Megan Shuler, Enjoy Events Co.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Traditional Lace

Paisley Lace

This lace pattern is actually based off of one of our paisley quilt patterns. The pattern is a long strip that repeats continuously on the quilt, so our design team reformatted and restricted to make it look like a single piece of delicate lace.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Classic Toile

Toile

Inspired by our Matine Toile Bedding, our designers gave this a fresh update with new color palettes that feel much more dramatic on paper. The Matine Toile is an old late 19th century French Toile. It’s unusual in that there are no people and no story. Toiles usually told stories and have lots of characters — both human and animal.

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Atlantic

One of our most popular summer duvets has a delicate coral pattern that’s based off of hand-painted illustrations done in-house. Our team took the digital versions of those illustrations and restructured them to fit on a new card. Since the illustrations are so soft, our designers choose a strong and modern font for contrast.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Barbados Palm

Barbados Palm

Both this collection and our Flora collection took inspiration from 17th and 18th century botanical and scientific books/illustrations. Our designers use these as a base for our custom patterns, and hand illustrate new patterns which are scanned in and adjusted for new details and colors.

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Fauna

The rustic, yet elegant Fauna design features beautiful hand-drawn birds based off of one of our best selling duvets this spring. (Read the full story behind this pattern, here.) This suite is especially unique, as each piece of stationery features a different nature-inspired drawing.

Wedding Paper Divas & Pottery Barn Global Chic

Global Chic

This pattern actually stems from a plate in our holiday collection this year — the design team loved the pattern that the plates made when layered and stacked, so they replicated it and created a vector out of it to reproduce a brand new pattern.

See the full collection for yourself here.

Winter Dinner Party Recipes Made to Impress Your Guests

Entertaining, Recipes | | | Leave a comment

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Text for tips and winter dinner recipes from Simi Hansen of Wanderlust Catering

When I’m throwing a dinner party for my friends or family, I always choose to serve family-style. I think there’s something lush and indulgent about placing large beautiful platters of food in the middle of a table of your favorite people. Plating individual plates of food takes time, extra hands, and practice. If you’re not used to it, food can get cold before it’s ready to be served. Serving family-style eliminates that risk and gives you more time with your guests.

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For really striking platters, I take my inspiration from seasonal produce (even during the winter!) and try to incorporate as many colors as possible. For every season, there are interesting heirloom vegetables at my farmers market. For a winter dinner party, I look for purple heirloom carrots, orange “cheddar” cauliflower, and black radishes. These unexpected pops of color really draw people into the food.

Take a look at two of Simi’s custom recipes from this beautiful winter dinner party, below!

Photos: Edyta Szyszlo
Styling: Alexandra Phelps
Flowers: Studio Mondine
Paper goods: Cheree Berry Paper
Pottery Barn pieces: dinnerware, serveware, chargers, wooden pedestals, barware and snack bowls.

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BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS WITH A RED WINE DEMI

5 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut in half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 750-ml bottle dry red wine (We use Coppola Claret. You really want a quality red wine here for best flavor.)
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups low-salt beef stock

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Preheat oven to 200*F convection or 225*F. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in small batches, brown short ribs on all sides. Be patient. Let the surfaces get a nice crust on them. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp. drippings from pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over high heat, stirring often, until vegetables are browned. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine and bring to a boil. Once all of the alcohol is cooked off (about 10 minutes), add beef stock. Bring to a boil then take off heat and pour into an oven-proof pan. Add short ribs and any accumulated juices. Add all herbs along with the garlic. Cover with parchment, then cover with foil. Place in the oven

Cook until short ribs are tender, 4-5 hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce through a chinois from pot into a bowl. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce back over short ribs and let the ribs cool in the sauce.

Short ribs can be prepared up to two days before your event. Gently reheat them in a 300*F oven or on the stovetop over a low flame.

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BEET AND GOAT CHEESE MOUSSE CROSTINIA
makes 24-32 crostini

3 beets (about 3/4 pound total)
4 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 rosemary sprig
1 lb chevre
up to 1/2 tsp heavy cream (optional)
1 baguette, cut on the bias into 1/4″ thick slices
olive oil
salt
pepper
1 cup microherbs

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Preheat oven to 400*F. Scrub beets and trim tops and tails. Put in an oven-safe dish with 1/2 cup of water, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and thyme sprigs. Cover with parchment, then foil. Roast for 2 hours or until tender.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub them with your hands. The skins should easily peel away. Cut the beets into 1/4″ dice.

Simmer beets, sherry vinegar, sugar, and rosemary until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool.

Note: We like to use different colors of beets: golden, chioggia, and red for visual interest. If you’d like to do the same, each color needs to be prepared and stored separately. Mix them gently right before service.

For the goat cheese mousse, whip goat cheese in a stand mixer until it becomes smooth. Add a few drops of heavy cream to lighten the mousse if needed. Place in a piping bag fitted with a star tip.

To make crostini, drizzle baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast in the oven for 3-4 minutes per side or until crisp but not brown.

All of this can be made up to two days prior to your event. To assemble, pipe a few swirls of goat cheese on one end of the crostini. Top with beets and garnish with a pinch of microherbs. Crostini should stay crisp for up to an hour.

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See the rest of this party here.
Find more of our favorite recipes here.