Peter Salerno’s Family Recipe for Homemade Sangria

The Perfect Homemade Family Summer Sangria Recipe

Peter Salerno isn’t just a master kitchen designer, he loves spending time in his own kitchen entertaining family, friends and guests. This love of cooking and creating recipes filters up and down the Salerno family for generations, and has produced some time-tested, delicious recipes.

July 4th Red, White and Blue Sangria recipes (recipes & photo courtesy Epicurious)
Our family Sangria recipe) photo courtesy Epicurious)

When Peter Salerno married his wife Tracy, she brought with her a wealth of delicious recipes, cocktails and other “secret family recipes”. Tracy’s father, Mike Cavallo, was a master of many of these – but one of the family’s favorite creations from Mr. Cavallo was his famous sangria.

What makes the “Cavallo family sangria” recipe so delicious? It might be the perfect mix of ingredients, or the use of brandy and triple sec at the base. Or it may just be the special amount of love with which Mike made it.

In any event, it’s a sangria recipe that’s sure to please, and we’re sharing it with you. It’s the perfect summer sangria recipe for entertaining guests!

Mike Cavallo’s Perfect Summer Sangria Recipe


  • 7 Up/Sprite
  • Triple Sec
  • inexpensive brandy (something like Christian Bros., no need to go over the top!)
  • a bottle of red wine, preferably Merlot or Shiraz
  • ice
  • oranges (you can add apples and pears as well)


  • Fill a *large* pitcher with whole slices of orange (leave the peels on), use a wooden spoon to press on the oranges to get a little bit of juice at the bottom.
  • Fill a 1/3 of the pitcher with ice
  • Pour even parts 7 Up/Sprite and wine (pouring both at the same time is the easiest way) until 2/3 of the way filled
  • Pour equal parts brandy and triple sec to taste (usually about 1/2 -2/3 a cup)
  • Fill remaining with the rest of the wine
  • Stir and let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator
  • Enjoy!
If it comes out too strong for you, it can be diluted by adding more soda.
DON’T add sugar, citrus fruits (lime, lemon, pineapple), or bitters!

Epicurious Scores Again With Thai Green Bean Summer Salad Recipe

Epicurious Scores Again With Thai Green Bean Summer Salad Recipe

Epicurious, you have to stop this. We’re starting to develop real feelings for you.

Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating a little bit. But Epicurious has long been our favorite recipe blog here at Design Your Lifestyle, and no matter what our trending tastes happen to be, their staff seems to have the right recipe for us.

This time, it’s a summer take on a classic Thai salad that left us scrambling for seconds – and thirds… and fourths…

Give your green beans a kick in this awesome Epicurious recipe for Thai Green Bean Salad!
Give your green beans a kick in this awesome Epicurious recipe for Thai Green Bean Salad!

After a long 4th of July weekend of delicious burgers, ribs, hot dogs and more, we were feeling a bit overstuffed on meat dishes. But no matter how hard we tried, it was difficult to find a vegetable or salad dish that left us feeling completely satisfied.

Enter Epicurious’ Thai Green Bean Salad for Summer. This grilled green bean salad isn’t your usual “light fare” that leaves your stomach growling. Add in marinated tofu, in-season avocados and a zesty homemade papaya-salad dressing with lime and jalapenos, and you have a real winner and crowd pleaser.

We love the texture contracts between the grilled green beans and the tangy citrus of the dressing, and the tofu is surprisingly more than filling – especially when paired with the avocados!

If you’re a fan of Thai dishes and love taking adventures with your home meals, then this is a great recipe for you. All credit to Katherine Sacks at Epicurious for this tremendously inventive take on summer salad and Thai food.

For the full recipe for Epicurious’ Grilled Thai Green Bean Salad for Summer by Katherine Sacks, please click the article.


Our Favorite Cinco De Mayo Drink Recipes

Design Your Cinco De Mayo Cocktail Recipes

Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner! This May 5th, Cinco De Mayo will once again be observed as a celebration of freedom, democracy, and Mexican heritage and pride.

No matter what your home bar looks like, we’re here to help you get your Cinco de Mayo cocktail recipe list in order! Whether your home bar is a world-class stunner (like when Peter Salerno Inc. turned a ’59 Corvette into the most amazing bar in the world), or a more humble affair, Cinco De Mayo is the perfect time get behind your custom bar (built by Peter Salerno, of course!) and wow your guests with an assortment of amazing Cinco De Mayo drink recipes.

Here are Peter Salerno's favorite Cinco De Mayo drink recipes. (Credit Wiki)
Here are our favorite Cinco De Mayo drink recipes. (Credit Wiki)

Every year, we check out Delish for their updated list of Cinco de Mayo drink recipes – specifically their outstanding collection of updated margarita recipes. From the Bulldog Margarita (you MUST try this if you’re a fan of citrus) to their Perfect Cuervo Margarita, consider this your go-to margarita recipe source for this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration!

So let’s check out some of our favorite Cinco De Mayo drink recipes, courtesy of our friends at Delish.

Design Your Lifestyle’s Favorite Cinco De Mayo Drink Recipes

All drink recipes courtesy of Delish.

Bulldog Margarita (our latest favorite!)


  • 4 c. ice
  • 2/3 c. lime juice
  • 1 c. tequila
  • 1/4 c. Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • Coarse salt, for rim
  • 4 Coronitas (7 oz. each)
  • Skewers topped with sliced citrus, for garnish


  1. Combine ice, lime juice, tequila, Cointreau and sugar in a blender, pulsing to combine.
  2. Place salt on a shallow plate. Dip the rim of each glass in lime juice or water, then in the salt.
  3. Fill each glass with margarita mixture. Pop the caps off of the Coronita bottles, then flip each one upside-down into the margarita glass. (A little beer will empty into the cup, but once the neck of the bottle has sunk into the frozen margarita, it will stop pouring out.)
  4. Garnish each with a fruit skewer and serve.

La Paloma Margarita


  • 1½ oz. Don Julio Reposado Tequila
  • 4 oz. grapefruit soda
  • 1 wedge lime


  1. Add Don Julio Reposado Tequila and grapefruit soda in salt-rimmed, ice-filled highball glass.
  2. Garnish with lime wedge.

Perfect Cuervo Margarita


  • 1 ounce(s) Jose Cuervo Especial
  • 3 ounce(s) Jose Cuervo Lime Margarita Mix
  • 1 wedge(s) lime
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt


  1. Rub rim of a chilled margarita glass with half a lime.
  2. Dip into salt to coat.
  3. In a shaker with ice, add José Cuervo Especial and José Cuervo Lime Margarita Mix.
  4. Shake vigorously.
  5. Strain into the margarita glass.
  6. Garnish with lime wedge.

Cucumber-Jalapeno Margarita


  • Coarse sea or kosher salt
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1/2 cup(s) peeled, finely diced cucumber, plus a cucumber slice for garnish
  • 4 slice(s) (or up to 6 slices; thin) jalapeño, with seeds
  • 1/4 cup(s) cilantro sprigs
  • 3/4 ounce(s) (1 1/2 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce(s) (1 1/2 teaspoons) light agave nectar
  • 2 ounce(s) (1/4 cup) 100-percent blue agave silver tequila
  • 1/2 ounce(s) (1 tablespoon) Cointreau or triple sec


  1. Pour an even layer of salt on a plate. Rub the rim of an 8-ounce rocks glass or tumbler with lime wedge and invert glass into salt to coat rim.
  2. Combine cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and agave nectar in a 2-cup cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or pestle, gently muddle mixture.
  3. Fill the shaker halfway with ice, then add tequila and Cointreau. Cover and shake well until shaker is frosty and cold.
  4. Fill prepared glass with ice. Strain margarita into it and garnish with the cucumber slice.

For more information about custom home bar design, fill out the form below.

Exclusive Culinary Institute of America Recipes: A Sneak Peek!

Learn Culinary Institute of America Recipes And Tips!

No, don’t worry – this list of “CIA Secrets” won’t get you in any trouble! Recently, Peter Salerno (of our parent company, Peter Salerno Inc.) and his son Anthony took a trip to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, to experience a day of cooking and culinary craftsmanship with master chefs.

While each chose to take a separate CIA cooking class, both learned incredible CIA chef recipes that they will certainly use for the rest of their lives. Anthony attended the Under the Sea (seafood) course, while Peter Salerno chose the Mediterranean Cuisine cooking class.

Peter Salerno and his son Anthony at Culinary Institute of America in New York.
Peter Salerno and his son Anthony at Culinary Institute of America in New York.

We know what you’re thinking – isn’t the Culinary Institute of America just for aspiring chefs? No! There’s an exclusive section of the CIA website for “Enthusiasts”  that promises “CIA classes to satisfy your culinary cravings”. You don’t have to enroll in a full course of study – take individual classes that fit your passions!

From Boot Camp Culinary Vacations to cooking and baking classes to wine and beverage courses, the “Enthusiasts” program is a real winner. Check out their locations here.

Both Peter and Anthony raved about their experience at the Culinary Institute of America – not to mention they each brought home enough food for days!

Peter Salerno was so enamored with the recipes he learned at his CIA Mediterranean Cuisine cooking class, he’s sharing two of them with you today:

  • Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Golden Raisins
  • Paella with Quail, Shrimp and Chorizo

Both dishes are fresh takes on classic Mediterranean fare, and Peter and his family were thrilled with the results. We hope you are too! Please enjoy these recipes and share them with your loved ones.

CIA Chef Recipe: Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Golden Raisins

CiA chicken tagine recipe

CIA Chef Recipe: Paella with Quail, Shrimp and Chorizo

CIA paella with quail recipe

CIA paella with quail recipe

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Our Favorite Epicurious Creation

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Our Favorite Epicurious Creation

It’s bound (well, snowbound) to be a white St. Patrick’s Day for a lot of us, but it seems the worst weather has passed. So it’s time to put on your green and celebrate St. Patty’s with vigor and spirit!

Hopefully, you’ve already been inspired to “green” your home design. This isn’t just a St. Patrick’s Day trend, but a real design movement based around green spaces and the selection of Greenery as the official Pantone Color of the Year for 2017. Now that your space is properly decked out for the holiday, it’s time to get your St. Patrick’s menu in order!

Put that green kitchen to use with this St. Patrick's Day Epicurious recipe! (Photo: Peter Salerno Inc.)
Put that green kitchen to use with this St. Patrick’s Day Epicurious recipe! (Photo: Peter Salerno Inc.)

As followers of Design Your Lifestyle know, we believe there’s no better place to turn for a great new recipe than Epicurious – in our opinion, the finest food and recipe destination on the Web. As usual, Epicurious has put together a wonderful menu for your 2017 St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

From a simple slow-cooker pot roast to corned beef and cabbage, Epicurious has a delightful menu prepared for your St. Patrick’s Day guests. But believe it or not, our favorite Epicurious recipe for this St. Patrick’s Day isn’t even a main course. It’s a soup!

And why wouldn’t we pick soup? After all, with much of the Northeast (and East Coast in general) stuck in an unseasonable deep freeze, there’s nothing better than a rich, hot soup recipe to warm you up and get you feeling the Luck of the Irish.

So here’s a wonderful, hearty recipe for Green Pea, Asparagus, and Parsley soup from our friends at Epicurious (and specifically, contributor Rachel Beller) that’s sure to liven up (and warm up) your St. Patrick’s Day meal this year.

Epicurious St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Green Pea, Asparagus, and Parsley Soup


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks
  • 8 cups frozen green peas
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 bunches of asparagus (30 to 40 stalks), tough ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Himalayan or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (optional)

For the rest of this awesome Epicurious recipe, click on over to the full recipe page on their site.

Make Your Own Mozzarella: Recipe, Photos and More!

Make Your Own Mozzarella With Jeanne Dargis (And Us!)

This was SO much fun. Recently, Peter and Tracy Salerno of Peter Salerno Inc. (award-winning custom kitchen and bath design) had the pleasure of making their own mozzarella with Jeanne Dargis – aka “The Cheese Teacher”!

Jeanne Dargis is based out of Nutley, New Jersey, and can travel throughout the Tri-State area. Her expertise in cheesemaking is well-renowned, and “The Cheese Teacher” offers private parties as well as public lessons/courses. From ricotta and mozzarella, to butter, to more advanced cheeses like brie and gouda, Jeanne is the go-to cheese expert in the Tri-State area!

Join us on a journey as we make homemade mozzarella (pictured) with Jeanne Dargis, the Cheese Teacher!
Join us on a journey as we make homemade mozzarella (pictured) with Jeanne Dargis, the Cheese Teacher!

From Jeanne’s website:

Jeanine Dargis is a professional cheesemaker. She offers a variety of cheesemaking classes, parties, and seminars that are fun for adults as well as children. From breezy to serious, Jeanine’s classes can be tailored for any group’s needs.

Peter and Tracy Salerno had a blast making cheese with Jeanne Dargis, friends and family in their northern New Jersey home. The private cheese making party was a smash hit with all participants. It was especially enjoyable to Peter and Tracy themselves, as both are avid and serious home chefs. (And why wouldn’t the most award-winning kitchen designer in North America be a great home chef?)

Join us on a journey as we make homemade mozzarella (pictured) with Jeanne Dargis, the Cheese Teacher!

We’re giving you two great insights from the cheese making party with Jeanne in this article:

  1. All these fun, appetizing pictures!
  2. A few pages from Jeanne’s personal cheese making handbook!

Check out the PDF attachment that accompanies this article for your primer on how to get started making a beautiful mozzarella – then, contact Jeanne Dargis, “The Cheese Teacher”, to schedule your party and/or class!

Click to view the PDF of Jeanne’s personal mozzarella recipe and guide!

Join us on a journey as we make homemade mozzarella (pictured) with Jeanne Dargis, the Cheese Teacher!

Join us on a journey as we make homemade mozzarella (pictured) with Jeanne Dargis, the Cheese Teacher! Join us on a journey as we make homemade mozzarella (pictured) with Jeanne Dargis, the Cheese Teacher!

Fall 2016: The Best of EVERYTHING Hazelnut!

Hazelnut Recipes, Beer, Food, and More Rule Fall 2016

Yes, the author of this particular may be a little partisan. I sit here with my hazelnut soy macchiato while a hazelnut-scented candle burns on the table behind me. You may call me a hazelnut junkie – and I will say “thanks, I know”.

Be that as it may, Fall 2016 happens to be the perfect season if you’re nuts about hazelnut! From recipes to fragrances, seasonal kitchen menus to seasonal craft beers, hazelnut is everywhere this season!

With so many ways to utilize hazelnut (as an ingredient, a scent, even a color scheme!), it can be daunting trying to cull through thousands of articles to find that perfect hazelnut recipe, brew or design. Don’t worry though, we’ve done it for you!

Here is your handy Fall 2016 Guide to The Best of Everything Hazelnut! From one “hazelnut-case” to another, I can’t wait to hear how you like the recipes, drinks, and seasonal scents/colors on our list!

Fall 2016 Guide to The Best of Everything Hazelnut

Best Hazelnut Beer: Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale

I won’t lie to you: I was initially a bit apprehensive about the prospect of a hazelnut craft beer. Two sips later, Rogue Ales made me forget my troubles. Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale is their take on a traditional brown ale that is so good, it’s nuts. (Sorry, last pun. I promise. I think.)

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale - the best hazelnut craft beer on the market.
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale – the best hazelnut craft beer on the market.

If you like a beer with a malty finish, a modest alcohol content (5.6%), dark brown color and a note of hazelnut extract, this is the brew for you. Available in 22-oz. bottle, 6-pack and draft (where available), Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale is a craft beer lover’s Fall 2016 go-to glass.

Best Hazelnut Blog: Riverbend Hazelnuts

The cool thing about the Riverbend Hazelnuts blog is how independent it appears. The articles are posted by Dan Johnson, a hazelnut grower, harvester and connoisseur from the American Midwest. His knowledge, candid photography and conversational tone make every article so interesting to read.

A sample of Dan Johnson's beautiful photography from Riverbend Hazelnuts' blog. (Photo: Dan Johnson)
A sample of Dan Johnson’s beautiful photography from Riverbend Hazelnuts’ blog. (Photo: Dan Johnson)

We highly recommend starting with the Introduction page and taking a slow, enjoyable walk through some of the articles.

Best Mass-Produced Hazelnut Coffee: BocaJava Hightide Hazelnut

This medium roast flavored coffee is made from Nicaraguan coffee beans, and offers a slightly more “gourmet” feel than other mass-produced hazelnut coffees. Coffee lovers know it’s hard to find a mass-produced flavored coffee that doesn’t taste artificial – or just “not quite like real coffee”.

BocaJava’s Hightide Hazelnut is the best store-bought hazelnut coffee we’ve found thus far – not too light or dark, just nutty enough without tasting fake, and a nice smooth taste and finish. Of course, the quest for exceptional hazelnut coffee (especially of the mass-produced variety) burns on, so we’d love to hear your suggestions as well!

Best Fall 2016 Hazelnut Color: Warm Taupe

As noted in past articles on this site, Warm Taupe (Pantone 16-1318) is one of the select shades on the Fall 2016 Pantone color report. A bit dustier than the average hazelnut, Warm Taupe isn’t a precise match – but for hazelnut lovers, it’s a wonderful way to incorporate the cozy brown hue into your home design color scheme.

Warm Taupe (Pantone 16-1318)
Warm Taupe: Hazelnut reflected in Fall 2016’s Pantone color report!

Best Hazelnut Candle: Lorenzen Candle Co. (Etsy)

Lorenzen Candle Co. is a premium handcrafted soy candle company based out of Liverpool, NY. (We list Lorenzen’s Etsy page for convenience.) The store’s proprietor, Bobby Lorenzen Kaye, spend months perfecting each of my scents to ensure consumers get a candle with the perfect balance of hot and cold throw as well as burn quality.

The handcrafted line of Lorenzen Candle Co. products is tremendous, and the Hazelnut Candle is no exception. Unlike other hazelnut candles, there is no unnecessary artificial dye in this product. We also love the undertone of roasted coffee beans that fills in behind the hazelnut scent as the candle burns.

What are YOUR favorite hazelnut products of Fall 2016? Leave a comment!