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A & O Weekly Menu: 3.14.11


Image: Nancy White

Happy Monday, all!

We’re back from the desert with fresh inspiration for this week’s menu, including lobster California rolls à la Roy’s.

We’ve linked to similar recipes whenever possible.


Lunch- Shrimp cocktail with mixed green salad
Dinner- Herb Roasted Turkey breast with assorted spring vegetables

Lunch- Moroccan carrot soup with half turkey sandwich
Dinner- Healthy taco casserole- (ground chicken, black beans, salsa and grilled vegetables)

Lunch- La Scala chopped salad
Dinner- Traditional Irish dinner- corned beef with mustard-horseradish sauce and boiled cabbage, carrots and potatoes

Lunch-Spinach quiche with crunchy green salad
Dinner-Lobster California roll with sugar & spice edamame and mixed greens with miso vinaigrette

Lunch-Dungeness crabcakes with tomato salad
Dinner-”40 cloves” garlic roast chicken with root vegetables and braised kale

February Dinner Party Menu


Cold weather favorites—hearty kale, earthy mushrooms and sweet clementines— anchored my latest dinner party, brightened by the onions and asparagus of early spring. Tweaking some of our favorite recipes made for a rich and satisfying late winter meal that ended with a platter of clementines and dates.  The dates are sweeter than any sugar-based confection you can imagine and it doesn’t get any better or brighter than a perfectly sweet clementine.  I confess that I gilded the lily by adding brownies.  We had a chocolate lover I didn’t want to disappoint.

I’ve linked to all the recipes below.  Enjoy!


First course

Ricotta tart made with caramelized leeks (instead of zucchini)


Raw kale salad with currants, pine nuts and Parmesan

Mushroom risotto (made with mushroom broth instead of chicken)

Roast asparagus (seasoned with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 425°F until crunchy tender, 6-7 minutes)


Coffee, clementines. fresh Medjool dates and Brown butter brownies

Field Guide Los Angeles: Breakfast


Image: Broomcakes

Lydia and I are often asked for suggestions about where to eat when visiting Los Angeles.  It’s a hard question to answer.  I’ll pick a place and cross the city in my mind from my home downtown all the way to the ocean, not wanting to leave a single crumb unnamed.

We’re sharing our favorites here, beginning with this field guide to LA breakfasts.

The list is surely incomplete, so help a fellow reader (and us!) out and share your secret breakfast nook.


Intelligentsia Café— When all you need is good coffee and a place to sun.  We prefer the Silverlake location.

Flore Vegan—A rainbow of smoothies and fresh juices plus vegan breakfast burritos and my favorite—the blueberry buckwheat bliss.  Flore inspired Lydia’s divine organic green smoothie.

Bottega Louie—Gorgeous.  A renovated Art Deco bank turned fine Italianate eatery with cathedral ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, marble floors and counters.  The service is grand and the food walks the line between elegant and crave-worthy, e.g. meatball pizza and portobello “fries” with garlic aioli.  I’m partial to the green juice and pain au chocolat, though not necessarily on the same trip.  The pastry counter and mini market is full of little treasures like European sea salts, baguette sandwiches and nutella.

Maison Midi—A French-inspired sidewalk cafe/bistro that poaches perfect eggs, whips a mean Hollandaise and doubles as a home store specializing in bright Mediterranean linens, ceramics and Laguiole knives?  Someone read my wish list.

Little Next Door—My pitstop after fetching a hungry pal at the airport.  A Parisian-style outdoor cafe with champagne cocktails, patisserie and “deli ” salads, e.g. green lentils with butternut squash and Moroccan olives, and roasted quinoa with scallions, black currants and pine nuts.  Location convenient to all Third Street shopping.  Bonus: food is all organic and vegan options are plentiful.

Joan’s on Third—Just a few blocks down from Little Next Door, this gourmet marketplace sells pungent craggy cheeses, morning muffins heavy with honey, coconut and carrot and turkey meatloaf sandwiches, among many others.  Nab the goods to spark dinner party conversation, be it a new cheese, Italian dried pasta or homemade marshmallows.


Huckleberry—They had me at the name.

Who doesn’t want to eat at a place called Huckleberry?  Especially early in the morning, before the crowds hit and Wilshire Blvd is still sleepy by LA standards.  I’ve made the poached egg over farmers’ market vegetables with pesto and toasted breadcrumbs with some success, but it tastes better at Huckleberry.

Maybe because it’s the starter course to a miniature fresh fruit crostata.

Baked goods don’t come any better.

BLD—Amazing eggs and hash, ricotta pancakes and fluffy french toast.  Sunny and bright with windows on two sides overlooking Beverly Blvd.    Also does a delicious veggie burger and wine and cheese tastings at dinnertime.

The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market—The quintessential California breakfast spot, especially in the summer when berries and stone fruit abound and vendors bring hand pies and sell iced coffees.  Once you’ve made your haul, you can always have breakfast #2 at Le Pain Quotidien on Santa Monica at Third.  Like the market, Le Pain is veg and vegan friendly.

Tell us, what have we forgotten?


The Weekend Dish: Breakfast


We have breakfast on the brain here at A & O as we gear up to make it for our clients this weekend! The forecast is in the 80’s so the weather will be perfect for peachy pink freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice and Italian breakfast paninis (pancetta, egg, arugula and slow roasted tomatoes) served on the deck overlooking the ocean.

Cara Cara Orange

I ADORE breakfast. Eggs are one of my favorite foods (as seen here and here.) Growing up my mom would make my brother and I popovers for breakfast on very special occasions! Hot from the oven and slathered with raspberry jam, the are truly one of the best things on earth.


My Dad used to make us creatively shaped chocolate chip pancakes which we topped with whipped cream (from a can of course) or little marshmallows.

chocolate chip pancakes

Now days I like to start the day with something lighter and healthier like our Cranberry Coconut Granola over Greek yogurt.

CranberryCoconut Granola

Or a green smoothie with seasonal or frozen fruit and lots of leafy greens during the week.

Green Smoothie

But weekends are a time to indulge in a big breakfast and the shared act of celebrating the morning with your loved ones.  If I was cooking for myself this weekend I might make Sarah’s Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

Or the sweet breakfast panino we featured this week with the mouthwatering combination of Nutella and Bananas!

nutella panini

This weekend make something special for breakfast at home or treat yourself to a breakfast date with a girlfriend. Enjoy one of the weekend’s best little rituals in honor of Sarah and I as we slave away in the slums of Malibu.



A & O Weekly Menu: 11.22.10


Happy turkey week!

We’re sorry for our radio silence last week.  Our big cook was a great success.

Lydia is covering our short work week.  In addition to the menus below, she’ll be making these holiday faves per our clients’ request:

Mini chocolate-chocolate cupcakes

Sugar and spice pecans

Rosemary spiced nuts

A modified version of my grandmother’s molasses cookies, which goes something like this.

Lunch- Spinach Quiche with mixed greens
Dinner- Crisp sage chicken breasts with whipped butternut squash puree

Lunch- Roasted shrimp cocktail with a side of butter lettuce salad
Dinner- Baked Cod with spicy roasted brussel sprouts and sesame brown rice

Happy holiday!


The Weekend Dish: Thanksgiving Table


Hi loves, what are you up to this weekend?

I’m scouting for bits to create a Thanksgiving table in soft whites and golds.  I think clustering alabaster pumpkins is a must, don’t you?

And maybe gold-painted mini pumpkin place cards?

A “floriography” platter done in 24-karat and sepia tones

Gravy boat!

A white marble salt cellar

A heart bowl for rosemary spiced nuts.

I love that you’ll catch glimpses of gold as you dig deeper.


The Weekend Dish


How will you enjoy summer’s last breaths?

Image: The Sartorialist

Lydia and Drew are celebrating a friend’s wedding in Colorado.

We’re taking our new surfboard to Laguna

Where we’ll grab fish tacos at Taco Loco

After all that sand and sea, I’ll need a fresh mani/pedi.  OPI Big Apple Red always looks happy, classy and bright.

I’m lusting after modern chairs in the same candy apple hue.  Wouldn’t these be fun around an old farm table?

Also red(dish), Leanne Shapton‘s lovely bit on peaches and color for T Magazine

On to Monday‘s grill time with family and friends.  I’m making Southwestern quinoa salad (without chicken) as a side.

Would you go vegetarian for a Meatless (Labor Day) MondayThis meat-lover is giving it his best shot.

I may join him.


Peanut Noodles


By Sarah Lagrotteria

What should we have for dinner?

Peanut noodles.

Again? We had those last week.

Peanut noodles.

But I’ll make anything.  Seriously, pick a cuisine and I’ll do it.  I want to try something new.

Peanut noodles.

But I’m a chef!  I need to work on my craft.  Challenge me!  I’ll make you anything you choose

Peanut noodles.

Whatever romantic explanation Angus may create for the benefit of friends and family, the truth is that he married me for my peanut noodles.

Luckily, I love them too.  And they’re easy–a mix of pantry staples plus whatever veggies and herbs you have on hand.  The base is a cool, slurpy, toothsome, peanut-buttery noodle and the best toppings are cold and crunchy.  Perfect for this hot weather.

While you can play fast and loose with the veg and protein toppings, be sure to top it all off with chopped roasted peanuts and a spoonful of spicy chili paste or siracha.  They take the dish to a whole other level.


For sauce:

1/4 cup roasted peanut oil

3 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter.

12 ounces chow mein noodles

3 large carrots, julienned (cut into matchsticks)

2 small or 1 large cucumber, skin on and large seeds removed, julienned (cut into matchsticks)

Any other vegetable of choice, cut into matchsticks.  In the image above I used beets, but sugar snap peas and radishes work beautifully too.  It’s an anything-goes, clean-out-your-fridge kind of dish.

Already-cooked shredded chicken, sliced steak or raw cubed tofu as desired

Fresh mint, Thai basil, basil, cilantro or any combo of the four, roughly chopped

Roasted peanuts, chopped

Chili paste and sea salt, to taste.


If the day feels particularly sticky, I recommend crisping your cucumbers and carrots in an ice bath before adding them to the dish.  Once you cut them into matchsticks submerge them both in a bowl of ice water in the fridge.  Let sit while you prepare the sauce and noodles and then drain just before adding to the dish.  Even a short soak in an icy water bath will give the vegetables more crunch.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium-high heat.  Cook the noodles according to the package directions.   Drain and rinse until cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut oil, vinegar, soy, garlic and jalapeno.  Add the peanut butter and continue whisking until smooth.  Add the cool noodles and gently toss until evenly coated.

To serve I like to to make a nest of noodles in each individual bowl and then add separate little haystacks of each vegetable and whatever protein I desire.  I finish with a sprinkling of peanuts, fresh herbs, sea salt and a dollop of chili paste, offering more of all four final toppings at the table.


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