Summer Entertaining

I love summer entertaining.

 Eating outdoors, long evenings, no school, and the laid back attitude that accompanies summer entertaining totally suits me.

Summer cooking is my favorite and I always look forward to the bounty of produce that shows up this time of year.

www.icedevents.com

Photo: www.acottageindustry.typepad.com

Cocktails and cool drinks infused with fresh herbs or seasonal fruits. I love the cute patterned cupcake liner turned upside down with a hole punched in it for the straw….figures it is a Martha Stewart idea.

Rose and Whites.

I have some go to recipes that have been in my summertime rotation for years.

Photo: www.marthastewart.com

This first recipe always make people question my sanity.

The dish is called Indiana Blueberry Pork.  Blueberries, onions, tomato and pork. Huh?

I swear it’s delicious and I have only heard raves about the dish.

I got it from an old issue of Midwest Living and I love that the recipe was taken from the Marshall, Indiana Blueberry Festival.

I loved Amanda Hesser’s, “Cooking for Mr. Latte”.  I was dating and falling in love with Adam around the time the book came out so I related to many of the stories.  One recipe from the book that I go back to over and over is her Green Bean Succotash Recipe.

For summer desserts I am a Strawberry Shortcake gal.  I love it when it is made with a scone like biscuit and globs of fresh whipped cream and berries.

Photo: www.savorynotebook.blogspot.com

I like to send people off with a little gift when I entertain.  An idea I’ve used on a number of occasions is to give each guest a little flower-pot with their name on a place card stuck into the pot with a flower card holder (you can get at your local floral supply company or florist) or plant marker.  An all-purpose item…place card/table decor/and parting gift. And it’s green too.

And if you are a guest at a dinner party, here’s a great hostess gift.  I am stealing this for sure!

Outdoor lantern, cocktail fixings, adorable straw & napkins.

What are your summer entertaining ideas?  Please share!

xoxo Carrie

Top Photo: Peter Dunham/Hollywood At Home

What’s For Dinner?

I love the recipes in Sunset Magazine.

Tonight I  finally got around to trying out some recipes from the June issue. I decided on the

Grilled Chicken, Corn, and Spinach Salad with Smoky Paprika Dressing recipe.

  It did not disappoint. I dove right in and devoured my meal before I could shoot a photo.

Quick, Easy, Delicious.

I had all the items on hand with the exception of the Portobello Mushrooms, a quick dash to Whole Foods and I was good to go.

This dish is a perfect midweek meal, yet still appropriate for a casual dinner party.

Per Adam’s request, I have put it in the summer dinner rotation.

Get the recipe here:    www.myrecipes.com

Try it out and let me know what you think.

                       Happy Cooking!

                   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

Mad for Magenta

Magenta flowers on my mantle.

I tend to get a little color obsessed.  I fixate on a color and have to surround myself with it…..yellow, peacock blue, and the latest, Magenta.

 Maybe it was the magenta peonies and stalk I purchased this week.   I am hoping to use magenta on a current project for a client and have been searching the PDC for fabrics that utilize this color.

Who knows where this obsession originated, but I am digging it.

My Breakfast Table Arrangement.

Essie Sure Shot

I was so into Magenta this week that I had my mani/pedi done in the color.

This bag would make me happy.

 Thinking about what to wear with it I realized it goes with everything….black, blue, gray, white.

A wardrobe staple. I need it.

YSL Magenta Bag

Photo: www.ariannabelle.com

I have been in love with David Hicks La Florentina in Magenta/ Wine fabric since it appeared in Ruthie Sommers Living Room on the the first edition cover of Domino Magazine.  Ruthie Sommers is a a decorating genius, I love everything she does. The sofa is classic that will always remain fresh and current.

The Magenta patterned chairs make this room.

It’s a strong color but it works well here with the other more subtle colors because they are all warm tones.

Photo: Elle Decor

Photo: www.chapmaninteriorsblog.com

Even a little pop of this color goes a long way.  Check out the built in book cases in this Rome Apartment

 

The fireplace+ walls=delicious

Photo: Elle Decor

Photo: www.williamyeowardcrystal.com

You can also add a little Magenta magic to your dining table with this William Yeoward set of  china.

 

Photo: foodrepublic.com

 The old school Negroni Cocktail is a gorgeous shade of Magenta.

I’ll Drink to That.

Cheers to Magenta!

xoxo Carrie

The Perfect Gift For A Friend with A New Baby. Hint: It’s not a Onesie.

Card: www.etsy.com

My friend Heather had a baby boy 14 days ago.  I contemplated getting her some cute designer duds for her little man, but then I realized what a new Mom really needs (besides sleep) is time.  Especially, time away from the kitchen by having a couple of meals ready and waiting  for her and her family.  I knew that would be a much better gift  than an overpriced onesie from Fred Segal.  I remember my friend Keary brought me a lovely pork roast and full on dinner spread right after Caroline was born and I appreciated that gift above most others.

I think when choosing a meal for a family with a newborn it is best to do a one pot meal. Easy to prep and serve.  Avoid any veggies or foods that are…well no delicate way to put it…gas makers.  It helps the wee ones at feeding time.

Barefoot Contessa “Back to Basics”

I decided to make some Italian Wedding Soup for the family.  It’s a great thing to make because it’s a meal in itself and easy to heat up.  All you need is a crunchy loaf of bread and some creamy irish butter, simple salad and you’re set.  I used Ina Garten’s  recipe from her  “Back to Basics” Cookbook.  I have made it several times and it never fails to please.

This is my Italian Wedding Soup in it’s final stages.

Photo: Vegas and Food Blog

Because I didn’t have oodles of time to cook, I hit LA’s go to Gourmet Take Out Mecca,  Joan’s on Third to finish out the gift bag.  They have an amazing array of  cheeses, salads, sandwiches, pre-made salads, frozen homemade soups and baked goods.  I filled my care package with Home Made Potato Chips, Ficele with fromage d’affinois & apricot glazed ham sandwiches, two yummy side salads, chocolate dipped pretzels for Big Brother G, Cookies and frozen scones that could be popped into the oven and heated for breakfast the next morning.

Photo: www.sarahlambersky.wordpress.com

The phone call and appreciation in my friend’s voice made me realize that the gift of food was the way to go.

So next time you’re thinking buying of those really cute onesie’s for your friend with a newborn,  put it down and start cooking!

xoxo Carrie

Saturday Night Dinner Party

www.cocodot.com

Saturday Night Dinner Party

Dinner for 6

Mood

Comfortable and Casual

Roaring Fire

Backgammon and Scrabble

Dress Code

Flannel Pajama’s

Bath Robes

Slippers

Stubbs & Wooten

Menu

Comfort Food

Chicken and Dumplings

Bibb Lettuce Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Root Beer Floats

Flowers

Ranunculus in simple vases

Music

The Alabama Shakes

Table

www.barneys.com

ttp://www1.bloomingdales.com

www.fabricsandpapers.com

The Take Away

Mariebelle Hot Chocolate

Williams Sonoma

xoxo Carrie

Saturday Night Dinner Party


Saturday Night Dinner Party

The Mood

Simple/ Intimate/Casual

Dinner for 4

 The Menu

Ina Garten’s Herb Roasted Salmon

Lulu Powers Quinoa

(Her tip is to use her recipe as a base and make it your own.  I like to add roasted zucchini and toasted pine nuts.)

Apple & Onions Holiday Salad

Photo: www.applesandonions.com

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

Photo: www.redeyechicago.com

The Music

Django Reinhardt

The Flowers

Simple Yellow in Julip Cups or Jelly Jars

Photo:prettychicky.com

The Table

Photo: Lonny Magazine

Interior Design: Michelle Adams

Photo: Heath Ceramics

Photo: John Robshaw

I think this table cloth would look great with the blue and white striped chairs

Photo: esty

The Take Away

I always try to send my guests home with a little something.

 Blueberry Scones to have with coffee in the morning.

 Photo: www.opensourcefood.com

xoxo Carrie