Here at Starbright Floral we love the earthy elements that characterize this time of year. We’re all about leaves, pinecones, sticks – the whole woods and the whole harvest. But when you’re planning an event that isn’t holiday related, beware of seasonal stereotypes.
Seasonal sophistication is about incorporating an aesthetic without sticking to the standards. Go ahead and look past the pinecones and pumpkins – they’re not going anywhere. The fall/winter season offers a host of alternatives to the traditional floral fare.
A few of Starbright’s favorites this year include:
Lotus Pods : These seed pods are exceptional. The wood-like appearance and organic texture is unlike most formal elements. The pods, which grow alongside lotus flowers, begin small and as the seeds grow, the holes in the pod increase to accommodate them. We’re not saying that every flower has to have a meaning, but the idea of growing into each other strikes Starbright’s fancy.
Fruits and Nuts : Generally speaking, using edibles in floral arranging is pretty traditional unless you go for the exotic types. We love using pomegranates and citrus for the shots of color and a festive nature.
Of course, any floral variety can be dressed up to fit a seasonal occasion with supporting details. Some of Starbright Floral Design’s favorite seasonal floral supporters include :
Curly Willow : Wrap vases or integrate curly willow into the arrangement for a refined version of rustic that will fit a sophisticated style. The rich sienna color also echoes the warm tones of the season without being seasonal.
Sprayed Seeded Eucalyptus : Ok, ok – this one isn’t at all natural, but we love it anyway. Seeded eucalyptus has a delicate appearance, and is a great filler for large flowers that want a little something more than greenery. The natural silvery green color of eucalyptus can soften the overall appearance of an arrangement. Our favorite ways to dress up the seeded eucalyptus are in gold, silver, copper, and black.
Deep Colors : Starbright loves the warmth and drama of saturated hues. Many floral varieties are available in deep shades of red including the anthurium (in photo), roses, carnations, and calla lilies. Check out one of our modern favorites.
New York City might be a Concrete Jungle, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not also a great place to catch some fall foliage. We’re in the thick of October, which means that the next three weekends are going to be among the best of the year for viewing fantastic local color. This week’s blog is a collection of great places to catch some great trees without leaving New York City limits.
Without further ado, here’s our breakdown for Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan:
1 – Alley Pond Park’s “Yellow Trail” – Alley Pond is an interesting park. It sits more-or-less in a glacial moraine, which is a land formation composed of many mixed materials left behind by the glaciers that created Long Island and Manhattan. As a result, Alley Pond Park has a highly diverse ecosystem, with a whole bunch of trees. There are mostly hardwoods, oak and hickory. Alley Pond also boasts a public high-ropes course!
2 – Astoria Park – The color here is offset by the mixed-blues and greys backdrop of ocean, sky and Manhattan Skyline. While you’re here, you might as well get some great Greek food at Stamatis on 23rd Avenue or BBQ at Strand Smokehouse on Broadway.
2 – Central Park – But you knew that, you’re a smart cookie. I mean, there’s over 23,000 trees there, which is an average of over 1,000 per acre. Anywhere you go, it’s going to be great.
1 – Prospect Park – The same rules as Central Park apply – there are a ton of trees here, and it’s beautiful everywhere.
2 – Ocean Parkway – If you’ve got a car, try heading for a ride down Ocean Parkway, from the Prospect Expressway down to Coney Island. It’s tree-lined the whole way down, and passes through a wide range of neighborhoods. The drive is a real slice of old-skool New York City, taking you through the real Brooklyn.
And if you can’t make it outside – don’t forget that Starbright Floral Design is happy to bring the season to you. We’re featuring a ton of autumnal arrangements with colored leaves, fall foods, and seasonal weeds (the pretty sort).
And because we can’t help our seasonal joy – today we’re sharing a special New York style apple pie recipe from the Starbright team! Happy Fall!
BIG APPLE PIE
In New York, sometimes there just isn’t room for kitchen equipment – it’s a cold hard fact that can really cramp one’s cooking style. This recipe comes from one our team, who first learned how to make this recipe entirely by hand! She’s since then added a food processor to the process, both methods are listed below.
PIE CRUST :
2 1/2 cups flour (the general sort)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup of butter (still cold! cut into small cubes)
1/3 cup water (ice cold)
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl – give it a couple gentle stirs to mix.
2. Add the butter – mix the butter and dry combination until combined and looking like course meal.
By Hand : Use a wooden or metal spoon to sort of mash the butter into the dry mix repeatedly against the side of the bowl, while turning the bowl for the best leverage – cold butter can be uncooperative. Be careful to not overdue it though, the goal is to keep the butter cold throughout this process. Chasing just the big lumps of butter into only the very dry floury leftovers will help. And get ready, this hand process won’t be quick
By Food Processor : Add your dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and pulse for 2 seconds to combine. Next, add the butter, and pulse again until the mixture looks like course meal – about 8 seconds.
3. Add ice cold water.
By Hand : Add about half of the water and combine gently. Add more water slowly until the dough holds together. The goal is to get all the dough to hold together with the least amount of water.
By Food Processor : Add the water in a steady stream through the processor’s tube until the dough just holds together. Do not process for more than 20 seconds to combine the water.
4. Turn out the dough onto a surface and divide into two roughly the same size balls. Press the dough flat (by hand). Wrap the flattened balls in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
1 lemon, squeezed – about 2 tbsp juice
8 apples (your choice!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1. Peel and cut apples into slices or wedges that are about 1/4″ thick. Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.
2. Combine remain ingredients in a bowl and mix until apples are fully coated with sugar.
PUT THE PIE TOGETHER
2tbsp butter (cut into small cubes)
1. Roll out one of the flattened dough balls and lay it into a buttered pie plate to form the outside crust. Let any over hanging dough stay there for a minute.
2. Add the pie filling to the crust. It’ll look like there’s too much – pile the filling mound higher at the center.
3. Press the butter cubes into the filling – spaced out.
4. Rollout the second dough ball on a floured surface. This will be for the top of the pie. Wet the edge of the bottom of the pie crust and lay the top on evenly. The wetted edge will help them stick together. Look up some decorative designs if you’d like to make yours unique!
5. Make sure the pie crust has a vent. If the crust is left solid, it will probably break and ooze apple filling…A lesson learned after one memorable mess. Cutting 4 or 5 slits in the top crust should do the trick.
1. When the oven is at 450 degrees, slip in the pie. Bake for 20 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until the pie looks done. “Looking done” requires about 45-60 more minutes and a golden-brown crust.
3. If you don’t want to globby mess, allow the pie to cool completely before serving. It’ll take about 5-6 hours.
Every season has its flowers. There are flowers in wide varieties all year long. But springtime is really special. Sure with greenhouses and with easy air transport from countries that are in seasons opposite our own, flowers in all varieties are available virtually year round…
BUT, let me draw an analogy – Have you ever tasted the difference between a vine ripped tomato and one that came from halfway across the world? Fruits and veggies are most enjoyable when the come from small local growers and when we enjoy them when they are really in season! Strawberries and watermelon don’t really make much sense in December. Do they?
Flowers are the same. NOW is the time to indulge and to really enjoy your flowers. For the next three months there are so many varieties that are in season, so much to enjoy and such a plethora of colors and scents that you will overdose all of your senses in an elixir of life!
Window shop any florist, take an early morning stroll on 28th Street and take it all in at the NYC Flower District (should be a historic landmark) or better yet stop by our studio at 150 West 28th Street (www.starflor.com); and this is some of what you will see…
Tulips in just about every imaginable color… They will be around until early May. If the springtime is unusually brisk, then they will last a little longer.
Flowering branches. YES flowers growing on real branches! Dogwood, Cherry Blossom, Quince, Forsythia, Plum and so much more. These trees first bloom a flower and then a leaf. Natures gift to our homes is this timeless beauty that is enjoyed in every design style that truly transcends time. Again, they are weather dependent, but flowering branches should be around for about another two to three weeks…
Peonies are about to make their grand entrance into our homes! In their peak, the season will last about six weeks and they are so fragrant! The local varieties are available in light and magenta pink, deep burgundy and white. Catch them while they are around. The best peonies are grown in the North and South Carolina and we are about to get our first shipment. No need to reserve, there will be plenty to go around; but don’t blink! The season IS short!
Lilac (grown on a bush) will show up and make a grand entrance in the late springtime too. This is an extremely fragrant flower that everyone loves. The most popular color for lilac is lavenderish-purple. They do also come in white.
Anemones, sweet pea, mini calla lilies, roses (in amazing pastel tones) and so much more are coming too! We hope you enjoy them all. They are the protagonists of the season. The first sign to put away the Winter Blues! These are the flowers that will make us all smile and let the sun shine upon us.
For me? After the lilacs bloom, it is motorcycle season! It may be the beach, the jet ski or a hiking trip in the Shenandoah Valley that you have to look forward to. But unless the peonies come and go, your summer fun is on pause. Open your heart and let the spring shine in! My favorite time of the year…
A few words about us: Starbright Floral Design is a premiere florist located in New York City. We are in the Historic Flower District on Manhattan’s 28th Street in a second floor loft. Most of the work that we do involves sending flowers and gifts delivered in Manhattan or anywhere else! Visit our gift-giving catalog to see what you can send. We are also experts at executing corporate and social events. A peak at our event portfolio and you will be able to gain a broader perspective on the depth of our organization and they type of work that we do. Whenever we could be of service, whenever we could answer a question, or if you would like to simply take in the colors and scents, we would love to hear from you. We can also be reached by phone at 800.520.8999. Happy Springtime!