March 19, 2013

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Gathering a group of friends for 'off' holidays seems to be my and Greg's new tradition: President's Day, Oktoberfest, and now St. Patrick's Day.  There is something inherently festive about these parties (not that St. Patrick's Day needs any help in the festive department).  With a built in theme of all that is green and Irish, there is nothing to fret over with a St. Patrick's Day party.  After all, is there really any reason to mess around with as good of a thing as corned beef and cabbage?  Throw in some potatoes and spring carrots and call it a day.  And while serving Guinness is a perfectly suitable beverage for such an affair, Greg upped the anti by creating a signature drink: "The Leprechaun."  He showed off his drawing skills with a visual aid for guests to follow his recipe and make their own drinks (no one should have to play bartender at their own party).  The result was a tasty concoction of Jameson, shamrocks (for real!), cucumber and lime, topped off with a splash Harp.  And after years of experimenting with St. Paddy's Day desserts (e.g. Lucky Charms treats, chocolate stout cake, Guinness ice cream & beer floats), I've landed upon a new tradition: little pots of gold in the form of butterscotch pots de creme (topped with whipped cream and edible gold, of course).  Hope everyone recovered well from the Irish antics: Slainte!!

The Menu


The Leprechaun
irish whiskey, shamrocks, cucumber, lime, harp

Guinness, Harp & Jameson


sour cream & onion chips

green crudités: snap peas, cucumbers, green peppers, asparagus, green beans, cornichons & olives

tarragon dip & english pea pesto dip

irish cheddar, green apples & crackers

to share

corned beef & cabbage with parsley mustard sauce & horseradish creme

buttermilk smashed fingerling potatoes with melted spring onions

roast baby carrots with thyme

irish soda bread with irish butter


pots of gold aka butterscotch pots de creme

March 11, 2013

"In the Veggie Kitchen" Easter Brunch

Spring is officially here.  The farmers markets are shifting, filling up with asparagus, peas, rhubarb and sweet strawberries.  I couldn't be more thrilled, especially because it's just in time for Easter, which comes early this year.  To kick off the new season, I teamed back up with The Chalkboard and Jenni Kayne to teach another cooking class for their 'In the Veggie Kitchen' series. We focused on Easter Brunch recipes, all of which you can find on Jenni's blog Rip Plus Tan (along with her and Amy's pretty Easter table).  Brunch is a great moment for a vegetarian meal since farm eggs can be the star and they truly are the perfect food.  Combined with colorful spring vegetables, it's a terrific follow-up to an egg hunt.  You can also check out my Easter Timeline at the Chalkboard for lots of make ahead tips! Amy created recipes for an amazing array of natural egg dyes which will make a beautiful Easter basket, as well as adorable floral headbands that rival any Easter bonnet (I just may have stolen one).  My most original recipe is for my new favorite spring cocktail: a rhubarb fizz (click here for recipe).  I have to admit, I'm not much of a mixologist (I can't even claim to know how to make a mean martini) because I always rely on Greg (who wouldn't?).  But I figured it's time to step up my game and have a recipe of my own.  The combination of Hendrick's gin, rhubarb, lemon, celery bitters and egg whites make for a nice sweet to tart ratio, with a pretty pink hue.  Just the right thing to hold while wearing your Sunday best!



The Menu



beet dip & artichoke pesto dip

baby spring vegetable crudités

to share

chanterelle & leek frittata with thyme

farro, english peas, ricotta salata, walnuts & mint

grilled asparagus with parmigiano reggiano & lemon

buttermilk smashed fingerling potatoes with melted spring onions

spring green with edible flowers, cara cara oranges & champagne vinaigrette


lemon almond olive oil cake


strawberry rhubarb jam

March 6, 2013

Malibu Wedding

Planning weddings can be a nightmare.  Or, as it turns out, a dream.  This last minute affair was in the latter camp.  A very cool bride and groom can make all of the difference.  Throw in a gorgeous Malibu beachfront home as a location and you've practically sealed the deal.  Initially, I was super stumped about what to serve at a winter beach wedding.  Meat and potatoes didn't fit the bill, nor did lobster rolls (not to mention the bride's shellfish allergy).  But through discussing food and restaurants with the Venice couple, I got inspired to make this seasonal, light, Californian menu with Asian flavors.  Sake steamed kabocha squash went into sushi cut rolls and got topped with shiso peppers and ginger.  And amongst surfers, there had to be a taco; slow roasted soy glazed pork made for a juicy one.  Dinner was served family style and for whatever reason, it thrilled me to serve kale fried rice at a wedding!  Amy handled all things pretty and floral and created gorgeous decor that only enhanced nature's beauty.  The anemones really popped amongst all of the white on the table and were stunning on the wedding cake (very impressive, Amy!).  It was such a treat to spend the day at the beach setting up; I'm pretty sure that we all wanted to move in.  I can only hope that the guests had as much fun as we did.

The Menu


mint margarita
silver tequila, mint, lime

vodka, lemongrass, shiso, ginger beer


asparagus tempura

kabocha squash sushi with shiso peppers & ginger

tuna tartare on potato chips

tofu bahn mi crostini with hoison

soy glazed pork tacos with pickled red onion

to start

little gems, winter citrus, avocado, pickled cucumber, seaweed & fennel with a sesame ponzu vinaigrette

to share

black cod miso

grilled rib-eye with sake glaze

kale fried rice

charred brussel sprouts with pork belly & chili sauce

wasabi edamame puree with shitake mushrooms & shiso


dark chocolate pots de creme

vanilla wedding cake with vanilla buttercream

photos by Yayo Ahumada