April 23, 2012

It's A Girl

This food is pretty.  Bite sized.  Quaint.  Charming.  Appropriate for a baby shower, fitting for a tea.  But, if I'm honest, it's these gorgeous serving pieces that really elevate this whole spread.  I mean...assorted crystal cake stands change some wonder bread & cucumbers into a wow.  (Note, wonder bread is THE BEST for tea sandwiches).  So, while most of us can't run out and get dozens of these decorate trays--start collecting!  And for parties, transfer the idea of potlucking food, to potlucking cake stands.  It really makes a difference--especially for teas & showers.  Amy hung these handmade paper poufs above the buffet.  These photos don't do it justice--the quantity of her pink balls jammed together made a dramatic impact.  My menu was traditional tea time with a few highlights: watermelon radish tea sandwiches and lavender short bread.  The key ingredient in both: good butter!


The Menu


pink champagne

tea selection: earl grey, english breakfast, ginger & mint


cucumber & watercress tea sandwiches

watermelon radish & chive tea sandwiches

smoked salmon, cream cheese & dill on pumpernickel

prosciutto, fig jam & mint crostini

deviled quail eggs

steamed asparagus

currant scones

strawberry jam, orange marmalade & clotted cream

lemon chocolate tarts

raspberry & pistachio eton messes

earl grey cookies

lemon almond tea cake

carrot cake cookies

fresh strawberries

chocolate ganache bites

the favor

lavender shortbread & earl grey tea

April 10, 2012


I'm not Jewish. But, I have been dying to celebrate Jewish holidays for years. Specifically, I've been dying to cook food in theme with Jewish holidays. This year I got my big break: a Passover Seder. As a novice, I wanted to honor tradition (chopped liver) and still add my own twists (e.g. artic char gravlax instead of gefilte fish). Luckily, it wasn't my first time making matzo balls; this recipe for mini chive & leek matzo balls is a must try. Forming the balls with a teaspoon, plus a splash of ginger ale, makes for tiny, tender bites. I'm really not sure why this meal of unleavened bread gets such a bad rap. Flourless chocolate cake & meyer lemon olive oil cake, made with almond flour, are delicious desserts fit for any holiday. This year I spent my Easter weekend learning to make Charoset, and I found it inspiring. Passover is so rich with tradition and experiencing the preparation of the meal made me appreciate it all the more. Since I value my own food traditions so much, I want to continue to learn, and be inspired by, other cultures' culinary rituals. I love hearing about others' traditions so please share holiday & celebration ideas. A comment from a fellow blogger has already encouraged me to throw a Kentucky derby party, so please throw party ideas my way!!
The Menu


chicken liver pate & cornichons on matzo cracker

minted pea spread & radish on matzo cracker

deviled eggs with chives


artic char gravlax, cucumber dill relish & beet horseradish


mini chive & leek matzo ball soup with dill


braised beef short ribs, smashed fingerling potatoes & lemon roasted asparagus with horseradish crema


flourless chocolate ganache cake

meyer lemon olive oil cake with almond flour

coconut macarons with rhubarb compote & strawberries

April 5, 2012

Mahjong & Luncheon

I come from a family of card players. Gamblers. My grandparents hosted regular poker games and bridge tournaments (with plenty of cocktails and Chex mix, of course). My mom and her three sisters followed suit and became pretty die-hard black jack players. So it's in my blood to love games. (I've had a few gin rummy benders in my day.) Yesterday a group of ladies gathered for their regular Mahjong game. Though I have yet to learn the rules and strategies of the tiles, based on Chinese symbols and characters, I aspire to. While they fueled their addiction I made a lunch inspired by Mahjong. The menu was simple and light with spicy flavors and subtle Chinese influences. A day amongst friends, with a game between them & delicious eats--seems pretty lucky to me.
The Menu


ginger iced tea

acai mango iced tea

mint green tea


chinese five spiced almonds

rice crackers

radish crudites

to share

chinese chicken salad with fresh mandarin oranges, scallions, snap peas, persian cucumbers, cilantro & toasted almonds in a lime-rice wine vinaigrette

spicy sesame noodles with red peppers, peas & scallions

steamed asparagus with peanut-hoison dipping sauce

mango, avocado & mint


coconut macadamia nut shortbread
(with a touch of red...for the year of the dragon)