Veg Out!

Cooking Club Table

I hosted Cooking Club this past month and decided on a vegetarian theme.

I am always looking for a vegetarian option at home and when I am entertaining.

I have a good number of vegetarians in my life so I like to have an arsenal of recipes on hand that will impress them and still satisfy the others at the table who are not.

I also try to have our family eat a vegetarian diet a couple of days a week and I was bored with my usual recipes, and needed some inspiration.

I knew my Cooking Club gals would turn it out and would introduce some delicious new recipes that I could put into rotation.

They did not disappoint.

I think it may have been one of the top meals we have cooked.

Tarts

The host makes the main dish so I decided to make a couple of tarts.

Always a crowd pleaser and filling.

The first was a Corn and Heirloom Tomato Tart  recipe by Daniel Boulud published in  Elle Decor a few months back.

Perfect for the last days of summer sweet corn and juicy tomato’s.

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

The other, a wild mushroom tart from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

I am a wild mushroom fanatic and this recipe satiated that obsession.

An added bonus was that it was super easy.

Either tart is perfect for a light lunch or dinner party.

 Make one for the family and dine on the left overs all week.

Sally's Cauliflower RecipeSally  made a Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Pea recipe from Gwenyth Paltrow’s new cookbook,  “It’s All Good”.

Gywneth Cookbook

I’ll come clean and will admit to owning the cookbook.

I have actually found numberous recipes that are not short on flavor and  healthy to boot.

 Of course there are the annoying “Gwyneth” bits to the book.

But I will give credit where credit is due.

Sally's Eggplant

Sally raised the bar with this Burnt Eggplant and Tahini recipe from the “Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi” Cookbook.

Plenty Cookbook

Normally not a huge fan of the eggplant, but this had such depth of flavor, the smokiness of the blackened eggplant and sweet pop of pomegranate made it a winner.

I hoarded the left overs and hid it from my husband.

plenty-green-bean_custom-4be4dfd80e3c2429378e93d05b2418ec790e768c-s4-c85

On a side note, member Heather was unable to attend, but she swears by Plenty’s

Green Bean Salad with Mustard and Tarragon  recipe.

Jessica's Carrot Soup

Another hit was Jessica’s  Carrot Soup with Lime Creme Fraiche.

A recipe from a family friend and it rocked.

It’s officially my new go to soup recipe.

Carrot Ginger Soup w/ lime crème fraiche

Ginger Oil:

1 c. canola oil

2 T ground ginger

1-1/2 T ground turmeric

Carrot-Ginger Soup:

2-1/2 T olive oil

1 white onion, thinly sliced

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 small jalapeno, seeded & thinly sliced

1 t peeled grated fresh ginger

4 large carrots (~1 pound), peeled & sliced

4 c. chicken or veg broth

salt & cayenne pepper

Lime Crème Fraiche:

1/2 c. crème fraiche

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 T minced fresh cilantro

Salt & Garnish w/ Sprigs of cilantro

Freshly cracked black pepper

To make the Ginger Oil:

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Carefully whisk together &

pour into a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over med-hi heat & return to

the bowl.  Refrigerate overnight to infuse the oil w/ flavor.  The following

day, carefully ladle off the yellow ginger oil & store in a bottle or other

airtight container.  Discard the solids.  The oil will keep in the

refrigerator almost indefinitely.

 

Heirloom Tomato with Yogurt Basil Drizzle

We finished off the night with Lentils from Lulu,Heirloom Tomato with Basil Yogurt Drizzle from Megan, Truffled Israeli Cous Cous with Meyer Lemon and Basil and Zucchini Parmesan Crisps from Nicki. For dessert Stacy made her family’s Zucchini Bread recipe (not only perfect for dessert but also with a cup of coffee the next morning) and my hero Vanessa who rallied despite being 38 weeks pregnant (I was couch surfing at that stage in my pregnancy) with her delicious and complex Chocolate Thai Green Curry Cake.

Seriously good stuff.

Try out the recipes and let me know which is your favorite.

Bring more vegetarian dishes to your diet.

Healthy, flavorful, delicious.

So my dear readers kick that pork chop to the curb and get cooking!

xoxo Carrie

Food Photos: Sally Horchow, Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi and Whole Foods.

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The 2013 Modernism Show

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Calling all Angeleno’s!

It’s that time again….

The Modernism Show

It’s kicking off this week

 Thursday, April 25th

With a fancy pants and super fun opening night cocktail party.

My husband attends every year with me without any arm twisting!

It’s a great date night.

LA Modernism Show 2013 evite with lecture info and exhibitor list-1

And here’s the bonus and it’s a big one!

Proceeds from Opening Night Ticket purchases benefits  PS Arts.

PS Arts Artwork by Student

PS Arts is an organization near and dear to my heart.

They restore Arts Education in Public Schools.

Schools need it now more than ever.

Moderism Show Former Booth

I love the Modernism Show for one simple reason.

Reform Gallery

Reform Gallery

They have good stuff.

I can shop for my clients and for myself all in one space.

Atomic Bazar

Atomic Bazaar

They have some great vendors and I have my hit list ready with the booths I am going to shop in.

Prints and Pauper

The Prints and the Pauper

So why wouldn’t you want to go to an amazing party, where your attendance benefits a great cause, you can shop for amazing things and have fun?

That my friends is a

Win/Win

Go buy some  tickets!

xoxo Carrie

P.S. If you buy tickets to the opening night party, you can get in all weekend long!

Decorate Your Cake and Eat It Too

Cake Mix Out Front

This past Monday was a holiday, so I needed an activity that would appeal to a 5 and 10-year-old.

My niece Sophia had spent the previous night with us and was going to spend the following day so I needed something to keep both girls entertained.  Much to Caroline’s chagrin, she was not going to be playing my ” My Little Pony”  and “Squinkies” all day with Cousin Soph.

Candy Counter at Cake Mix

I decided to take the girls to Duff’s Cake Mix.

Duff”s Cake Mix is the brain child of Duff  Goldman, star of Food Network’s ” Ace of Cakes” and owner of Charm City Bakery.

 It was a blast and it was a hit not only with the girls but with me too.

Fondant Station

The place was super clean, the staff  VERY helpful and friendly.

Which is quite a feat when you have children jacked up on sugar running around.

Coffee

There was great rock ‘n roll  music playing that actually made me want to dance instead of taking a Tylenol. More importantly for a bleary eyed Mom, a great cappuccino made with Intelligentsia Coffee.

Cake Mix Graffiti

So here’s the deal.

Pick a cake flavor and decide on a cake or cupcakes to decorate.

Icing

Then decide on butter cream or fondant to cover the cake and as well as the color for the outside of the cake.

Caroline & Icing

You get to pick two toppings, two bags of icing, and a fondant to decorate with.

There is a station  set up with brushes, molds, cutters, and all sorts of tools to create your cake masterpiece.

Decorating Tools

Cookie Cutter

You can get as much or little help as you want from the staff.

Duff himself was helping kids smooth out their butter cream, very cool!

Here are the finished products.

Sophia &CarolineCarrie's Cake

The best part?

Eating the cake.

 It was quite delicious!.

xoxo

Carrie

The Gingerbread House Party

Gingerbread House Food Shop

The Food Spread

I guess it’s official.

I have an annual Christmas Holiday Event.

Year 2 of the Gingerbread House Party and I am already plotting for next year.

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The Calm Before The Storm

IMG_3111 The Candy Line UpIMG_3109

Candy Land

Georgia

Georgia & M ‘n M’s

This year it was a bit different, we held the event in our school auditorium.

It was scheduled to rain and the stress of checking the weather report got the best of me and I just made the call.

Of course the day was sunny and rain free.

It turned out that  I loved having the event at the school and not in my home.

Last year I discovered candy in various nooks and cranny’s for months.

.  Clean up was easier, the house was intact and the kids had a whole play yard to work off the sugar high.

Win-Win

Making a House

Marie & Nick

Not just for kids

Drynan

Gus working hard!

Gingerbread House 1

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Eamon's House

A “blizzard” of icing hit this house.

Plymouth Gang Before Sugar

The Plymouth Gang Before Sugar

After Sugar

 And After 

The End Result?

200 pounds of candy

40 Gingerbread Houses

7 boxes of wipes

A million smiles.

A annual tradition indeed.

Merry Christmas!

xoxo Carrie

Fourth of July Traditions

I love traditions especially the ones we had as a family growing up.

The Fourth of July in Central Illinois

went like this….

Parade downtown where we tried to scoop up as much candy as we could.

I loved the The Shriners in their little cars, always a highlight.

Then off to our Club for Water Games in the pool.

Then a picnic dinner in the Grove at our Club.

Same menu year after year and it never got old.

Fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs and Texas Sheet Cake

Then Sparklers and Snakes before the main event.

Then the big show!

What are your 4th of July Traditions?

Have a Great Day!

xoxo Carrie

Cooking Club

Tonight’s Table

Way back when I was single, had roommates, and worked as a talent agent I decided to start a cooking club with my friend Cornelia. I remember we were sitting in a now defunct restaurant in Hollywood drinking wine, out much later than we should have been on a work night.  Besides having the prerequisite single girls conversation; fashion, boys and work, we found we both had a yearning to become better cooks and entertainers.  We already entertained quite a bit but we wanted to learn more, to master things we were afraid of (for me it was bread dough) and to also create an opportunity to carve out some quality time with good girl friends who were of like mind and wanted to learn some things in the kitchen. And so the Cooking Club was born.

I hosted the first cooking club in my tiny apartment kitchen that I shared with my dear friend Interior Designer Mary Luby and Yoga Booty Ballet Creator Gillian Martloth. I prepared cornish game hens and a wild rice dish.  It was all about quick, simple, sure to wow recipes. We drank too much and though the food was delicious, the evening was more like me conducting a cooking lesson on the Foodnetwork. We have learned a lot in the 10 years the Cooking Club has been in existence and now our get togethers are collborative and themed based.

Sally’s Spread for Spanish Cooking Club

(she had the items sent from Spain)

Alix working on her Biscotti for Italian Night

Stacy and Vanessa cooking up Garlic Flavored Oil for Broccolini

Toppings and Fresh Pizza Dough for our Pizza Night

Lettuce Wraps

Jessica and Clarke Sporting Bindi’s for Indian Night

Indian Night Table @ Alix’s House

Celebrating Lulu’s Book “Lulu Powers, Food to Flowers” with a Table Scape Using Some of her Tips

Our group now consists of some professionals in the food biz which has put the cooking on a much higher level.  We “tease” when someone hasn’t put much time into a dish or if they make the same thing numerous times, but we are all quite serious about our cooking.  Most of us have had a big flop (except the fabulous Caterer Lulu Powers) and great successess.  We have bumped it up even more now by taking special care in our tablescapes.

Lulu’s Summer Table

Clarke’s Favorite Things Dinner

Malibu Beach Food @ Sally’s

The members have changed through the years, but we now have a core group that has been going strong for years. There are some ladies I only see when we get together, others that I see more often, but I adore each and every member and learn so much (not just in cooking but in life). There have been weddings, babies, divorces, job losses, and career changes.  We have lost parents and pets. Members have moved away.  We have even been in national magazines and on television. But the desire to learn, cook, to be wonderful hosts and entertainers is still what drives us all.

Some of the other Cooking Club members have blogs you should check out!

Sally Horchow “Very Good Looking”

Lulu Powers    “Living La Lulu”

Heather Fogarty  “The Foodinista”

I am hosting tonight, so off to go do a little prep.

Happy Cooking Everyone!

xoxo Carrie

Foodink’s Basil Limeade+Vodka. The Perfect Summer Cocktail.

Here is my favorite cocktail of late.

My Official Summer 2012 Drink

Basil Limeade

Muddled Strawberries

Vodka

Mint

 I get my Basil Limeade from good friend Chef Kate Paul(FoodInk Catering) and her new Gourmet To Go Cafe on La Brea. It’s an awesome place and you do not have to fight the crowds, or have to circle around and around to find parking like you do at Joan’s On Third.  I load up weekly on a couple freshly made bottles. She’s my dealer.

Gourmet To Go packages the Limeade in gorgeous french lemonade bottles with a cute ribbon, it can go from store to table. The cost is $15.00.  If you bring the bottle back you can get a re-fill for $8 or if you are in the green mode, bring your own quart size container and get it filled for $12.

Kate also suggests using the Limeade for a quick and delicious Margarita or add some Ginger Ale for a Virgin Cooler.  And while you are at home enjoying your drinks, you can add some Limeade into a shallow dish or tray and put into the freezer, fork every hour and viola you will have a refreshing Granita to enjoy.

If you are hosting cocktails or just having a nice evening at home I suggest you pick up a fabulous cheese platter and some of her to die for parmesan crackers.  I also love her prosciutto, dolce di latte, fig crostini and tomato tart tatin, goat cheese and baby basil.  You’ll be set for cocktail hour in one stop and little effort.

I could go on an on about all her delicious stuff….desserts galore, shrimp coconut curry soup, truffle mac n cheese ready to heat, salads, sandwiches, and perfect foodie hostess gifts too!  This place is da bomb and don’t even get me started on her catering…..

And the best part is that if you mention Pearle and Pierce Home, you’ll receive 15% off your order.

Head over today, you won’t be disappointed!

Foodink

Gourmet 2 Go

La Brea Blvd.

Open  Tuesday to Sunday

11am-4pm

323 934 9401

 xoxo Carrie