Saturday, November 26, 2005


The bird. Brining it added a lot of flavor, but next year I'll put butter under the skin too. I went simple this year, with just some butter and herbs on top, and then deglazed the pan half way through with white wine. Made for great pan drippings which I added to a roux for gravy.

Pecan Chocolate Chip Tart. A slice of this will put you on the naughty list. I used the recipe from the William's Sonoma Chocolate cookbook. I make it every year and it's always a hit. The crust is really easy to make as well, and is nice and flaky.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Menu

I'm catering a Thanksgiving party, and cooking for our own Thanksgiving this year, so this menu looks enormous. I'm also brining my turkey for the first time. It's a pretty traditional menu, but there are a few twists. The pumpkin flan is in honor of some guests from Mexico City. And the lemon tart is in honor of Mike, who gags every time I say pumpkin.

Brined and roasted free-range turkey with gravy
Cranberry sauce with red wine and citrus zest (really easy and delicious)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Whipped sweet potatoes with smoked paprika
Green beans with lemon zest, butter and toasted hazelnuts
Herbed cornbread, apple and chestnut stuffing
Mixed organic green salad with pecans, cranberries, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Monkey bread
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Pumpkin flan with spiced pepitas
Chocolate pecan tart
Lemon meringue tart

The only photo of mine I have so far is this tart. The flan picture is from the recipe and shows how it is supposed to look -- I won't unmold mine until tomorrow

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Santa Monica Farmer's Market

The farmer's market here in Santa Monica still has heirloom tomatoes. One of the benifits of living in southern California...delicious tomatoes in November! I took my 15 year old brother for the first time and he tried persimmons (not for him), fresh pesto (a hit), heirlooms (loved them...we bought some for a picnic that day) and raw-milk gouda (he was more in to the 6 month, but we ended up with a sharp, year old gouda with a texture similar to parmesan - delicious!)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Chicken with Mushrooms from the Silver Spoon Cookbook

This is the Chicken with Mushrooms from the Silver Spoon Cookbook. A recently translated book considered to be Italy's version of the Joy of Cooking.
I thought the recipe sounded interesting and I had all the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a shot. So far it's the only one I've tried from the book. When I think of old school Italian cooking, I think handfuls of this and that and a wine glass measurement of this and so on. This recipe seemed very spartan (aside from the oil and butter!) and sort of meager. For a whole chicken cut in to quarters, it calls for 2 pearl onions, chopped, 3 Tbs water, 2 Tbs canned tomatoes, drained and 5 Tbs white wine. That’s about it, except for the mushrooms. I felt outright silly chopping up only two pearl onions, but I was sort of determined to follow the recipe.

It turned out alright, but not good enough to warrant making again. The meat was really succulent, but the flavors weren't very interesting and there was certainly no "wow" factor. My boyfriend Mike was of the same opinion.

It was only my first foray in to the book, and I'll try some other things, but I have a feeling that I'll end up using it more for ideas and some techniques, and then add my own improvisations as I go. I would have at least some garlic and herbs to this recipe!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I might (or might not) be on TV....

All this week I worked for a huge LA caterer called Celebrity Events. They were doing the 40th Anniversary of Days of Our Lives, a party for 1,000 people that took place yesterday. We made over 30 different menu items, all for 1,000 people, over the course of four days. Not only was it really interesting to see how an event of that magnitude comes together (SO much work!), but a show from the Food Network was in the kitchen all week filming, so I might be on TV. It's called Behind the Bash, and the guys from the show said it would air in February. You might see me on it (I tried to ham it up for the camera, but I was also concentrating on not chopping my fingers off during nerve wracking close-ups.) Who knows though, I could end up on the cutting room floor.

Like sands through the hourglass....