The key to hosting a stress free brunch is serving dishes that can be prepared the night before. Friends were asked to arrive at 9 and we had planned to take off for 3 mile run by 9:30. This gave us just the right amount of time to throw things in the oven before heading out, and 30 minutes later be greeted by the welcoming aromas coming from the kitchen as we run through the front door.
Looking to release some happy endorphins? Lace up your sneaker and hit the outdoors with a pal… check out our Sundayrout
The Menu: Homemade Granola and Berry Parfait (Recipe) Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding (Recipe) Savory Spinach and Ricotta Bread Pudding (Recipe) Fresh Chopped Mediterranean Salad (Recipe) Mimosas and Coffee
“Panzanella” is Italian for Bread Salad I make this with heirloom tomatoes, asparagus, Italian black olives, big hearty croutons made with 2 types of Acme breads, fresh basil and a simple balsamic vinaigrette
I catered a beautiful Picnic Birthday Party this weekend at Stow Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Like I’ve said before, one of my favorite things about catering is coming up with a menu and all the cute little creative ideas to make the party all the more special and personal. This party in-particular had a great menu and lots of extra little special touches.
a few clips from the picnic:
lemonade served in a large jar with raspberries, lemon slices and mint tin bucket filled with bottles of tea and San Pellegrino
honey-soy glazed chicken skewers
garnished with black sesame seeds and parsley
sweet cornmeal cake layered with fresh mango, papaya
and mango butter
chopped salad (corn, avocado, feta, bell peppers…)
forks wrapped in a napkin and tied with green and white baker’s string
Kids lunch boxes:
“who’s name starts with the leller l”
Long sheets of Butcher Paper instead of tableclothes.
Secured to the green picninc benches with the twine
this gives the picnic a very organic and natural feel
My Aunt Izzy is the inspiration behind my love affair with food and cooking. I have many childhood memories of summers spent in the kitchen whipping up treats with Izzy and Mindee (my cousin). These Graham Crackers were a favorite of mine and Mindee’s and were requested often. With only 4 ingredients, these tasty treats are super easy to make, even for kiddies
Ingredients: 24 Graham Crackers 1 cup butter 1 cup brown sugar, packed 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350 spread 24 graham cracker on a cookie sheet In a heavy sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar Bring to a boil. allow to boil for about 5 minutes Pour evenly over crackers Sprinkle with chopped nuts Bake for 10 minutes Cool for 10 minutes Cut between each square
I have been wanting to experiment with rhubarb lately so I thought a good place to start would be with my mom’s basic jam bar recipe (see here) Another inspiration for making these bars is that I’m still working on using up the lb of slivered almonds left over from an event I catered 3 months ago.
Ingredients: 2 sticks butter (can use earth balance to make vegan) 1 cup sugar 2 cups flour 1 cup coconut 2 cups Almonds (ground)
Rhubarb Filling: 3 cups Rhubarb chopped 2 T Lemon 3/4 cup sugar 2 T cornstarch
Preheat the oven 350 Grease an 8X8 pan
Cream the first 3 ingredients Add the coconut and nuts and mix Pat 3/4 of your dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 20 minutes In the meantime, make the Rhubarb Filling In a large sauce pan cook the rhubarb and lemon until nice and tender, about 10 minutes Add the sugar and cornstarch and turn up the heat. Continue cooking for 1 minute Spread over the baked dough and crumble the remaining dough over the rhubarb mixture Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes
Ok, the pros and cons of not having a television: Pors: Obvious Cons: will it rain or shine?
I woke up this morning to the smell of wet pavement. Yes, I do love this smell, it brings me back to childhood for some reason, but, come on, it’s April!
My plan was to head to my favorite neighborhood cafe, Crave, order a Cafe Au Lait and work on my computer for an hour or so… But, I think I’ll stay in this morning…
Ingredients to make a perfect Comfy Cozy Morning: A warn bowl of gooe and coffee covered in foam!
Warm bowl of gooe Yields 2 serving Ingredients: 1/3 cup Quinoa 1/3 cup Oats 1 1/5 cups Almond Milk (or what ever you have) cinnamon stick 1 t vanilla extract 1 T ground flax seeds (optional) 2 T Pecans (or any nuts yo have on hand) toasted and chopped drizzle of honey
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a sauce pan Bring to a boil Reduce heat to a simmer and cover Cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes Divide evenly in 2 bowls Top with extra milk, honey and nuts
There is nothing more blissful than warm foam touching my lips!
I recently discovered how to make FOAM at home and have been walking on sunshine since!
Heat your milk in a small sauce pan Pour into a french press Pump vigorously voila!
This was only about 1/4 of the way full, the rest you see here is the magical foam
Actually, there is not even a recipe for this post!
The point is, we need to always keep cooked whole grains on-hand in our fridge!
The first step to eating healthy:
Stock your fridge with healthy, pre-made (by you) foods!
There are many verities for grain pilafs, my favorite is quinoa
with this rice medley I buy in bulk (brown, red and black)
Having this on hand will keep you from turning to processed foods like toast for breakfast, croutons on your salad at lunch or pasta with your fish at super. And it is always available and ready to eat, which mean NO work for you! And, it can keep in the fridge for days!
I know we all complain about “not having enough time to cook”… well, you can’t use that excuse anymore!
For example, you can use your already made Basic Grain Pilaf for: Breakfast: Cook with eggs in a frying pan (2 minutes) Heat up in a pot with milk, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins and almonds for porridge (2 minutes)
Lunch: Throw on your salad (timeless!) Mix with bean and wrap in a tortilla (1 minute)
Dinner: Throw into your soup instead of pasta (I do this with Thai curry too yum yum) Put in a baking dish with white wine, top it with fish, rosemary, tomatoes, capers etc and bake
If you know that you will be using your Basic Grain Pilaf for savory dishes only, substitute the water for broth and even cook up a chopped onion in the pot before adding the rice. This will really add a lot more flavor. I usually choose to make mine with water (and no onion obviously) so I can have the option to make porridge in the morning too
Get creative with your combinations, portions and quantities of each grain. Combinations I enjoy: Millet and Quinoa Rice and Amaranth
Miso-Glazed Fish: (note) To make it really simple, just mix equal parts miso paste with brown sugar and spread that evenly over the fish
Ingredients: 2 T Mirin 2 T rice wine vinegar 1/3 cup miso paste, white or brown 2 T sugar oil for baking 4 skinless cod fillets (about 6 oz) Scallions for garnish
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small pan Whisk constantly over low heat until the sugar melts Transfer glaze to a small bowl and let cool completely
Heat the broiler, with rack 6 inches from the flame Coat a baking sheet with oil Arrange the fish on the sheet and brush generously with the glaze Broil until fillets are browned on top and opaque throughout 6-8 minutes
Rice: (note) You can use your Basic Grain recipe here! After you have made the cabbage add about 2-3 cups of grain and mix well. Add the 2 t rice wine vinegar, cover, and warm at low for a minute or 2. Also, I did not have fresh ginger once so I used my pickled jarred ginger that I always have on hand in the fridge, it is so delicious, I eat it plane 🙂
Ingredients: 2 T safflower oil, or other natural flavor oil 1 cup cabbage, coarsely chopped 1 t peeled and minced fresh ginger 1 garlic clove, small minced 1 cup long grain brown rice (I like Basmati because it cooks the fastest) 1 1/2 cups water 2 t rice wine vinegar 1 T sesame seeds
Heat Oil Add cabbage, garlic and ginger, cook uncovered for about 2 minutes on medium until wilted Spoon cabbage mixture onto a plate (or at this time add your pre-made Basic Grain) Add rice to the pan and stir until lightly toasted, about 1 minute Add a pinch of salt and water Bring to a boil then reduce to low Cover and cook for 30 minutes Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes Stir in the cabbage mixture, vinegar and sesame seeds Toss and enjoy
Japanese Eggplant: 1 T rice wine vinegar 1 T soy sause 1 T sesame oil 1 T brown sugar 1 T minced fresh ginger 1 garlic clove minced
8 Japanese eggplant, cut crosswise into about 1 inch pieces
oil for pan
sesame seeds and scallions for garnish
Whisk the first 6 ingredients
Heat the oil in a large skillet (maybe cook in batches, you want the eggplant to have lots of wiggle room while cooking)
Add the eggplant and cook for a few minutes, tossing often
Add the sauce, being sure that all the eggplant is covered equally by the sauce.
Turn the heat up and really grill and brown the eggplant
reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has turned glaze-like
This breakfast was inspired by nothing other than the neglected Raisin Bread waiting untouched and unloved for a month in my freezer 🙁
Since I was making for one (me!) I used a ramekin, but this can easily be multiplied to feed crowd and baked in a large casserole dish. This is a good dish to make when you are serving brunch because it can be made (should actually be made) the night before, to soak up all the flavors. Just assemble the night before, and pop in the oven right before guests arrive.
Beat the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla
Add the cubed bread
I flavored plain greek yogurt with vanilla and cinnamon,
and added a dollop to each ramekin during the last minutes of baking
Yields 2 Ramekins
Ingredients: 2 Slices Raisin Bread cubed (I used Glutino Cinnamon Raisin Bread) 1 egg Cinnamon to taste Almond Milk (cows milk is fine if that’s what you have on hand)
Greek Yogurt Topping: Flavor with vanilla to taste
Add chopped nut before serving. I have a ton of slivered almonds left over from an even, which I have been putting on everything for the past month
If making in a casserole dish: 8 pieces of bread 4 eggs 4 cups of milk cinnamon and maybe a little sugar
Other options would be to add more raisins or even a chopped apple. Try topping with mascarpone cheese