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A Gathering to Celebrate Home

Come on over—the Novogratz family is set to serve up delicious food and memorable moments with their trademark casual flair

Written and produced by Krissa Rossbund
  • Victoria Pearson

    Menu and recipes begin here.

    Ready to set a formal table? All you need is a good etiquette book as your guide. Then it’s pretty much a copy-and-paste procedure to position plates, glassware, and flatware. A stylishly mismatched, totally personal tablescape, though, poses more of a challenge. But Cortney and Robert Novogratz, who juggle raising seven kids and pulling off inspiring home renovation projects, are up to it. They create charm out of chaos on the table, too.

    Cortney finds a different dining table for each location the family lives. 

    Photography: Victoria Pearson & Peter Krumhardt

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Well Traveled Meal

    When the couple planned a meal to celebrate the places they’ve lived—their Southern and mid-Atlantic roots, as well as stints in New York City, Brazil, and now Los Angeles—they did it in the carefree, casual manner they love.

    The meal features a delightful butternut squash and fig salad.

  • Victoria Pearson

    Table Settings

    “We always have extra guests around, so we’ve never tried having a complete set of anything,” Cortney says. “We go to flea markets, and collect vintage plates in a variety of patterns for the different personalities around the table.” 

    The Novogratz family sets the table with dinnerware discovered at local flea markets; gold flatware adds sparkle, while flowers picked from the garden imbue a simple touch of nature. 

  • Victoria Pearson

    Pretty Plates

    Cortney’s effortlessly chic assembly of transferware plates sits directly on a table with a surface so intriguingly weathered that no placemats are necessary. Green water bottles are at the ready for thirsty kids.

    A mélange of transferware plates with coordinating patterns in brown and white makes every meal feel unique. 

  • Victoria Pearson

    Serving Swan

    An oversize black swan bowl and other vessels hold predinner nibbles including nuts, dips, and fruit slices. Inexpensive vases filled with backyard flowers form a fun centerpiece. Pair this setting with a menu full of regional flavor, and the result is a memorable gathering with easy flair.

  • Victoria Pearson

    Family Affair

    “A dining room is the soul of the house,” Cortney says. “It’s where you eat, sometimes spill your drink, nurture your family, and tell stories—we’ve even been known to dance on our tables. It’s all about making memories.”

    Naan is baked in the home’s outdoor pizza oven. (recipe here)

  • Victoria Pearson

    Mix and Match

    A cloisonné vase corrals flatware.

  • Victoria Pearson

    Table Accents

    A candle speaks to what’s most important.

  • Victoria Pearson

    Family First

    The Novogratzes: (standing left to right) Holleder, Bellamy, Breaker, Robert, Cortney, and Tallulah, (seated on Vespa) Major and Five, and (seated) Wolfgang. 

  • Victoria Pearson

    Menu & Recipes

    The Novogratz family has put down roots on both U.S. coasts and in Brazil. This menu reflects the local traditions of the places they have settled or called home. We think the multi-regional menu can be inspiration for a dinner party—even a potluck—of your own. What foods represent the places you have lived? Recipes by Chef Mary Payne Moran of Hail Mary, Food of Grace.


    Shopping List

    We’ve organized a shopping list to make shopping for this party menu easier for you. Package sizes are included so you have enough for duplicated recipe ingredients. The cocktail ingredients have been configured for making eight cocktails.

    Check your pantry for these necessary items before shopping:

    Note: Unless specified, when we call for “butter” we mean the unsalted variety. When we call for flour we are calling for all-purpose. When we call for “olive oil” we are suggesting good-quality extra virgin. When we call for “eggs” we are suggesting large eggs.

    • Flour (need scant 3 cups)
    • Granulated sugar (need 2-1/4 cups + 1 teaspoon)
    • Cornstarch (need 1 tablespoon)
    • Butter (need 2 sticks)
    • Eggs (need 9)
    • Olive oil (need about 3/4 cup)
    • Canola or vegetable oil (need 1-1/4 cups)
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • Salt (for seasoning)
    • Kosher salt (need 3-1/4 teaspoons + more for seasoning)
    • Freshly ground black pepper (need 3/4 teaspoon + more for seasoning)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Vanilla (need 1/2 teaspoon)
    • White rice (need 1 cup)

    Specialty grocery store

    • 1 (250 milliliter) bottle white balsamic vinegar
    • 8 ounces granola mix from the bulk section


    • 10 limes (for juice)
    • 5 lemons (for juice)
    • 4 small shallots
    • 1 head garlic
    • 1 bunch chives
    • 1 bunch cilantro
    • 1 (5-ounce) bag mixed lettuce greens: arugula, spinach, red oak-leaf lettuce) or equivalent amount to equal about 4 cups
    • 2 green sweet peppers
    • 1 red sweet pepper
    • 2 white or yellow onions
    • 1 (1-1/2 to 2 pounds) butternut squash
    • 8 purple figs
    • 3 (6-ounce) containers fresh blackberries


    • 1 (16-ounce) bottle pomegranate juice
    • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (13.5- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 (13.5-ounce) box graham cracker crumbs

    Baking aisle

    • 1 (8-ounce) box panko
    • 1 (10-ounce) package wide-cut coconut
    • 1 package active dry yeast

    Frozen food aisle

    • 1 (16-ounce) container refrigerated or frozen egg product


    • 1 (8-ounce) container cooked crab
    • 2 pounds fresh or frozen medium uncooked shrimp


    • 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
    • 1 (half-pint) container whipping cream
    • 1 (6-ounce) container plain yogurt
    • 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese


    • 1 brioche or challah

    Cheese aisle

    • 1 small wedge Parmesan cheese (need 1/4 cup, grated)


    • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle cachaça
  • Peter Krumhardt

    Pomegranate Caipirinha

    Caipirinhas are considered the national cocktail of Brazil. Cachaça, alcohol distilled from fermented sugar cane, is muddled with lime and sugar and served over ice. Often, a tropical fruit juice is added. This version gives the cocktail a fall spin with pomegranate juice.

    Start to Finish: 5 minutes

    • 2 ounces pomegranate juice
    • 1-1/2 ounces cachaça*
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 lime, juiced (2 tablespoons)
    • Ice cubes
    • Lime peel twist

    In cocktail shaker combine pomegranate juice, cachaça, and sugar. Muddle ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. Add lime juice and ice cubes; cover. Shake until very cold. Strain liquid into ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with lime peel. Makes 1 serving.

    *For nonalcoholic version, replace cachaça with 1-1/2 ounces lemon-lime or club soda. Adjust sugar according to taste.

    Recipe by Chef Mary Payne Moran

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Crab Cakes with Lemon Aïoli

    Bite-size crab cakes with aïoli satisfy kids and adults alike with a crisp fried panko crust and lots of fresh crab. The best crab cakes are chock-full of crab and skimpy on filler. These mini versions are lightened up with a combination of whipping cream and sour cream. Make sure you purchase fresh cooked crab from the seafood counter.

    Prep: 25 minutes

    Chill: 30 minutes

    Cook: 12 minutes

    Crab Cakes

    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1-1/4 cups panko, divided
    • 8 ounces cooked crab, rinsed and picked clean
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
    • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

    Lemon Aïoli

    • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
    • 1/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3/4 cup canola oil
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

    For Crab Cakes, in large skillet cook shallot in hot butter over medium heat 3 minutes or until soft and tender. Remove from skillet; let cool.

    Heat same skillet over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup panko to skillet. Toast lightly 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove panko from skillet; let cool.

    Line large bowl with folded paper towels. Add crab to paper towels; squeeze to remove excess liquid. Discard any water in bowl and paper towels. Add crab back to bowl. Add sour cream, lemon juice, whipping cream, cooked shallots, chives, salt, and pepper. Fold ingredients into crab. Stir in cooled toasted panko. Cover and chill mixture 30 minutes.

    Place flour in shallow dish. Place beaten egg in another shallow dish. Place remaining panko in another shallow dish. Using rounded tablespoon for each, form crab mixture into 16 small cakes. Lightly coat each crab cake with flour, then egg mixture, then panko.

    In large skillet heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add half of crab cakes to skillet; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer to baking sheet. Keep warm in 200°F oven. Repeat with remaining oil and crab cakes. Serve with Lemon Aïoli. Makes 8 servings.

    For Lemon Aïoli, in blender or food processor combine garlic, egg product, lemon juice, and salt. Cover; blend or process 5 seconds or until smooth. With blender or food processor running, gradually add oil in thin, steady stream. When necessary, stop machine and scrape down sides. Fold in chives. Serve, or cover and chill up to 3 days. 

    Recipe by Chef Mary Payne Moran

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Butternut Squash and Fig Salad

    This pretty fall salad has a light white balsamic dressing to let the roasted squash and delicate fig flavors shine through.

    Prep:  15 minutes

    Bake: 10 minutes at 350°F /18 minutes at 425°F

    • 2 cups (1/2-inch) cubes brioche or challah
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 3 cups)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 cups lettuce greens (mixture of arugula, spinach, red oak-leaf lettuce)
    • 8 purple figs, quartered (about 3 cups)
    • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    For brioche croutons, preheat oven to 350°F. In shallow baking pan combine brioche cubes, butter, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; toss to coat. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp; set aside. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

    Coat baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread squash on baking sheet. Coat squash with nonstick spray. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 18 minutes or until tender and browned, turning once. Let squash cool.

    In mixing bowl add lettuce, croutons, squash, figs, and Parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper. Toss salad together gently.

    For dressing, in screw-top jar combine remaining 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover; shake well to combine. Drizzle salad with dressing to taste. Plate individually or on platter; serve. Makes 8 servings.

    Recipe by Chef Mary Payne Moran

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Moqueca de Camarao with Naan

    Moqueca de Camarao is a traditional shrimp stew from the northern regions of Brazil. It is tangy from the lime and sweet from the coconut milk. Let the rice soak up the juices when you serve it. Note: Taste the stew before serving. If you find the lime too sharp, temper the tartness by stirring in a bit of sugar.

    Prep: 25 minutes

    Marinate: 20 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    • 2 pounds fresh or frozen medium shrimp
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
    • 2 shallots, halved 
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 6 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
    • 2 cups chopped green sweet pepper
    • 1 cup chopped red sweet pepper
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (13.5- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 limes, juiced (1/4 cup)
    • 1/2 cup wide-cut coconut, toasted
    • 1 recipe Rice Pilaf (recipe below)
    • 1 recipe Naan (recipe follows)

    Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact, if desired. In resealable plastic bag set in shallow dish, combine shrimp, olive oil, cilantro leaves, halved shallots, water, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Seal bag; turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in large skillet cook sweet peppers, onion, and minced shallot in hot butter over medium heat 8 minutes or until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

    Add tomato sauce. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Add coconut milk and chopped cilantro. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes.

    Drain shrimp, discarding marinade. Add shrimp, remaining 4 tablespoons lemon juice, and lime juice to soup. Return to boil; reduce heat. Simmer 6 to 8 minutes or until shrimp is opaque. Garnish with toasted coconut and additional cilantro. Serve with Rice Pilaf and Naan. Makes 8 servings.

    For Rice Pilaf, in small saucepan cook 1/4 cup chopped onion in 2 tablespoons hot olive oil over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add 1 cup white rice. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add 1-3/4 cups water, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff rice with fork.

    Recipe by Chef Mary Payne Moran

  • Peter Krumhardt


    Naan, a traditional Indian bread, should have a crisp exterior and slightly chewy interior. The light sprinkle of salt over the baked bread elevates the buttery taste. While naan is traditionally cooked on the walls of a high-heat tandoor, you can use a pizza stone in a hot oven or an outdoor pizza oven.

    Prep: 15 minutes

    Rise: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Bake: 4 minutes per batch of 3 (16 minutes total) at 475°F

    • 3/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F)
    • 1 package active dry yeast
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
    • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for garnish 
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

    In small bowl combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes or until foamy.

    In large bowl combine 2 cups flour, egg white, yogurt, oil, yeast mixture, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix ingredients with fork until incorporated. With floured hands mix until you can form into ball. Transfer to floured work surface. Knead dough for few minutes, adding as much remaining flour as needed to form very soft ball. Place in greased bowl. Cover; let rise in warm dry place 1 hour or until doubled in size.

    Remove dough from bowl and punch down. Cover; let rise 30 minutes more.

    Place pizza stone on center oven rack. Preheat oven to 475°F. Divide dough into 12 small balls. On lightly floured surface, roll balls of dough into circles. Circles should be 5 to 6 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. (To prevent dough from drying out, only roll enough circles to fit onto baking stone at one time.) Working in batches, place dough circles on hot baking stone. Bake 2 to 3 minutes or until brown. Turn circles over. Bake 1 to 2 minutes more or until brown and slightly puffed. Brush with butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve with Moqueca de Camarao. Makes 6 servings.

    Tip: You will get the best browning in a very hot oven, such as a pizza oven. Or, if you have two wall ovens, have one heating while you use the other.

    Recipe by Chef Mary Payne Moran

  • Peter Krumhardt

    Cheesecake with Blackberry Sauce and Toasted Granola

    Call this cheesecake bicoastal. Similar to a New York-style cheesecake but without the lemon, this version gets a hit of Southern California with chunky fresh blackberry sauce and a sprinkle of granola.

    The finished cake may crack across the top; don’t despair. You’ll cover it with delicious sauce.

    Prep: 25 minutes

    Bake: 25 minutes at 350°F/90 minutes at 250°F

    Cool: 1 hour

    Chill: 6 hours to 8 hours

    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (2-1/2 pounds), softened
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 5 whole eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 recipe Blackberry Sauce (recipe below)
    • 1 cup purchased granola

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 10-inch springform pan with nonstick spray; set aside. In medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and butter. Stir to combine. Spread graham cracker mixture on bottom of prepared pan. Press down to make an even layer.

    Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack.

    In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or very large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and flour. Beat on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Add whole eggs, one at a time, until all are incorporated. Add egg yolks. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix to combine.

    Pour batter into pan. Place springform pan on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake 90 minutes more or until firm on edges but slightly loose in middle if jiggled.

    Cool cheesecake on wire rack 1 hour. Cover; chill in refrigerator 6 to 8 hours before serving.

    Serve topped with Blackberry Sauce and granola. Makes 12 servings.

    For Blackberry Sauce, in medium saucepan combine 2 cups fresh blackberries, 1/2 cup water, and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In small bowl combine 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture to blackberry mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Cool and serve. Makes 1-1/3 cups.

    Recipe by Chef Mary Payne Moran

  • Peter Krumhardt


    Cachaça is the distilled spirit of fermented sugar cane juice. It is the most popular alcoholic beverage produced and consumed in Brazil, where production was started by Portuguese settlers in the early 16th century. Although it is the basis of many tropical cocktails, most people know it as the base for the popular Brazilian cocktail, the caipirinha.

    Cachaça has two varieties, unaged (branca, or white) and aged (amarela, yellow). Amarela is barrel-aged—hence its golden color—and meant for drinking neat. The white variety is the one to choose for making cocktails. Cachaça is available in most better liquor stores or can be special-ordered.

    While the spirit might be considered a one-trick pony on U.S. shores, used only for caipirinhas, in Brazil it shows up in several varieties.

    Try a Rabo-de-Galo, a mixture of 2/3 cachaça and 1/3 red vermouth, served straight up.

    A Batida is a combination of cachaça; lemon juice, passion fruit juice or coconut milk; and sugar. It is shaken over ice or blended.

    Leite de Onça is an elegant cold drink served in a chilled mug and sprinkled with cinnamon or shaved chocolate. To prepare, chill the ingredients: cachaça, cocoa liqueur, milk, and condensed milk. Combine equal amounts, about 1-1/2 ounces each, in a blender, and serve. The cocktail also has a delightfully quirky name: Jaguar Milk.

  • Luca Trovato