Author Archive

My Favorite Secret Recipes from the 1990’s

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via

I’m so excited to be featured on TheKitchn sharing my favorite recipes from the 1990’s. Remember the era of warm goat cheese on salads, sun dried tomato everything and bagel pizzas? While most 90’s food fads have fallen out of fashion, I still have a few secret recipes I make at home.

Baby Spinach Salads with Bacon, Raw Shaved Mushrooms, Hard Egg and Red Onion with Warm Balsamic Dressing- This was on every cafe menu when I was growing up and I used to order it when I wanted to be “healthy.” I made it all the time for dinner my senior year of college once I had my own kitchen. Easy and satisfying and just as good with turkey bacon.

Sun Dried Tomatoes– I still love them on salads, purred in dips, minced into turkey burgers or added to simmer sauces to bump up the flavor. Maybe if we called them Umami Bombs they would be popular again?

Baked Potatoes– Why did loaded baked potatoes go out of fashion? My Mom used to order a plain baked potato and a side of chili from a Wendy’s drive through when we were on car trips and got to eat fast food. She would top her potato with the chili and enjoy a mildly nutritious fast food meal. I thought she was the height of glamor as I munched on my junior bacon cheeseburger in the back seat. Now days I roll the cleaned potatoes in olive oil and tons of sea salt and roast them until tender. Salty, crispy skin and fluffy steaming flesh inside. I’ve always wanted to have a baked potato party with chic toppings like chives, creme fraiche, aged white cheddar, sauteed kale and caviar. And champagne!

Fusion Pizzas– I miss Thai inspired pizzas with peanut sauce, shaved carrots, bean sprouts and tons of cilantro. Same with BBQ Chicken Pizza! I now make these at home on brown rice tortillas with was less cheese and more vegetables. A GREAT pantry staple or leftovers meal when you have an open bottle of BBQ sauce, left over chicken, half a red onion and some odds ends of cheese to shred and mix on top.

Hard Shell Tacos– As many authentic street tacos as I enjoy in Los Angeles made from fresh masa pressed to order and warmed on a plancha, I crave the hard shell tacos I grew up eating on “Taco Night.” I could fry my own tortillas at home but it seems too indulgent.

 

What are your favorite 90’s foods? Any secrets you want to share?

 

xx, Lydia

My Pink Period

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Come February I just can’t get enough pink in my life…

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…and by March the love affair is over.

xx Lydia

Super Bowl Menu 2014

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We are really excited to be catering a few Super Bowl parties for our clients this weekend. La Femme Epicure and I created this menu for one of the parties celebrating some of the flavors of Denver and Seattle.

via Style Me Pretty

via Style Me Pretty

 

 

Super Bowl Menu 2014

Denver →

Coors Banquet Beer

Coors Light

Papa Johns Pizza – BBQ Chicken Bacon, John’s Favorite & Plain Cheese

Denver Green Chili with Classic Fixins’ (Scallions, Sour Cream, Bacon, Cheddar, Hot Sauce & Fritos)

Corn Chips with Individual “Mile High” Layer Dip Jars

Bronco Brownie Bites Topped with Nutella and Candied Orange Peel

Denver Themed M&M’s with Team Logo

Seattle →

Rainier Beer

Starbucks Espresso Martinis

Mini Salmon Burger Sliders with Tartar Sauce (frisee, tomato and pickled red onions)

12th Man Garlicky Potato Wedges with Garlic Aioli & Ketchup

Winter Vegetable Crudites with Beecher’s Cheddar & Herb Dip

Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches with Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bowl of Skittles

Seattle Themed M&M’s with Team Logo

Personally the only interesting part of the Super Bowl is the food so tell me what you plan to make this Sunday?

xx,

Lydia

Cranberry Margaritas

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I had the pleasure of leading a cooking lesson for a FABULOUS group of ladies this week. We made a full dinner but the star of the night was the Cranberry Margaritas. Crisp, tart and not too sweet, this cocktail will be the star of your holiday season. The color alone is swoon worthy.

Cranberry Margarita

Cranberry Margaritas

serves 1

Ingredients

Cranberry Juice (NOT the unsweetened kind)

Fresh Lime Juice

Fresh Orange Juice

Tequila (we used Patron Silver)

Fine Pink Sea Salt

Whole Cranberries

Ice

 Instructions

For each cocktail, combine ½ oz. lime juice (1/2 a lime), 1 oz. orange juice, 1½ oz. tequila, and 2 Tbsp. cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Cover and shake about 30 seconds. Strain into a glass garnished with pink salt and full of ice. Top with whole cranberries for garnish.

 

xo,

Lydia

Winter Fashion 2013

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I’ve been trying to find fashion inspiration on Pinterest for my cold weather holiday travel destinations. I am determined not to over pack this year, one small bag for 10 days.  Currently obsessed with the all black trend, it’s going to make packing so easy.

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All images via Pinterest.

xo,

Lydia

Last Minute Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

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I’ve been compulsively pinning Thanksgiving Table Decor this month. Grab a few mini pumpkins, some white candles and maybe a can of spray paint and call your table decorated. You can pull most of these items from your home or pick them up at the grocery or hardware store. I organized these Thanksgiving “tablescape” ideas by theme into 6 Pinterest Boards for easy reference. Feel free to mix and match.

Black, White & Sparkle Table

Black, White & Sparkle

All White Thanksgiving Table Decor

All White

Vintage Autumn Thanksgiving Table

Vintage Autumn

Green Garland Thanksgiving Table

Green Garland

Glitz & Gourds Thanksgiving Table

Glitz & Gourds

Jars of Light Thanksgiving Table

Jars of Light

 

Whatever your table looks like, I hope you have a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!

xo,

Lydia

 

Asian-American Thanksgving Menu

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The question I get asked the most, when I tell a stranger my profession is “what is your favorite dish to make?” My answer is always “something I’ve never made before.” While I love familiar food, I’m most inspired by a new dish or new flavors. So when my Dad emailed me this link from Food & Wine magazine as inspiration for our Thanksgiving menu this year, I was so excited! All new flavors applied to the most traditional meal of the year.

FoodAndWine

Soy-Sauce and Honey Glazed Turkey

FoodAndWine

Sriracha and Wasabi Deviled Eggs

FoodAndWine

Celery and Edamame Salad

FoodAndWine

Sticky Rice Dressing

FoodAndWine

Red Miso Glazed Carrots

FoodAndWine

 Cranberry, Ginger and Orange Chutney

Check out all the dishes and recipes at Food & Wine (all photos and recipes by Joanne Chang). Are you planning to try anything new or nontraditional this Thanksgiving?

 

xo,
Lydia

Remebering Camelot

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This week marks 50 years since the assassination of JFK. Here are a few of my favorite snaps from Pinterest of John and Jackie Kennedy.

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” My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”- John F. Kennedy

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“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” -John F. Kennedy

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“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” -John F. Kennedy

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“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” -John F. Kennedy

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“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” -John F. Kennedy

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John F. And Jacqueline Kennedy With Baby Caroline Kennedy

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” -John F. Kennedy

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All images from Pinterest

xo,

Lydia

Do Ahead Thanksgiving Checklist

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The best way to actually ENJOY the process of hosting Thanksgiving is to prepare as much as possible in advance. The less you have to do on that last Wednesday and Thursday in November the more fun you can have with your family and friends.

image via

 

2-3 Weeks Before Thanksgiving-

Shop in Advance:

  1. Purchase wines, apple cider, booze, sparkling water, champagne, mixers, beer, ice
  2. Order turkey
  3. Sharpen Knives!!! (Sur La Table offers free knife sharpening Nov 15-26, 2013)
  4. Shop for all dry and canned goods- canned pumpkin, sugar, flour, spices, crackers, nuts…

 

Party Prep:

  1. Label platters- wash, dry and stack in a corner with a label for each dish you will serve
  2. Wash glassware, iron linens, polish silver, count plates and bowls, wash seasonal items like roasting pan and gravy boat
  3. Decide on Table Décor and order flowers or gather materials for your centerpieces

 

Cook & Freeze:

  1. Make a veggie soup- serve as first course or a light supper or lunch on the days before and after the big meal
  2. Make and Roll Pie Crusts- freeze well wrapped in plastic
  3. Stuffing Bread- whether you prefer cornbread, rice or sourdough you can make, cube and freeze your stuffing bread well in advance
  4. Chicken or Turkey Stock- freeze
  5. Breakfast Rolls or Scones- make dough, portion and then freeze (bake them off for a quick breakfast)
  6. Dinner Rolls- make dough, portion and then freeze

 

1 Week Before Thanksgiving-

Make:

  1. Cranberry Relish
  2. Salad Dressing
  3. Herb Butter- for seasoning Turkey or Dinner Rolls
  4. Wash and prep hardy greens- kale, collards, Swiss chard
  5. Shop for appetizers- cheese, nuts, olives, crunchy vegetables
  6. Stock up on coffee, tea, milk, sugar or cream for after dinner service

 

Organize:

  1. Make your shop list when relaxed and rested so you don’t miss anything, divide the list up by areas of the grocery store
  2. Make a timeline for the 2 days before- make sure you have a schedule for the oven
  3. Set the table! Leave it set for the week and admire the beautiful setting
  4. Refresh all candles and have some long lighters handy
  5. Set up the bar- set out glasses, mixers, bucket for ice
  6. Decide on the music or delegate the music to someone else

For a more detailed timeline check out our advice for Thanksgiving preparations Week 1 & 2, Week 3, Week 4.  Happy Planning!

 

xo,

Lydia

 

 

Double Cider Bourbon Punch

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Photo by Bridget Pizzo

Photo by Bridget Pizzo

Inspired by a punch made by my gal pal La Femme Epicure, I combined a few of my favorite things into a large drink dispenser and served it with a side of ice. Festive fall happiness in a glass.

Photo by Bridget Pizzo

Photo by Bridget Pizzo

Double Cider Bourbon Punch

Serves 10

2 Quarts Spiced Apple Cider

375 ml. Bottle of Bourbon (1/2 a bottle)

1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Bottle Sparkling Water

24 ozs Hard Apple Cider (we like Strongbow, Crispin and Angry Orchard Dry)

3-5 mini apples and whole cloves for studding (optional garnish)

Fresh Ice for Serving

Mix the spiced apple cider, bourbon and lemon juice and chill well. Stud a few mini apples with whole cloves and plop into the cider mixture to seep. Just before serving add the fizzy elements, sparkling water and cider. Mix well and serve over ice!

 

xo,

Lydia

 Photos by Bridget Pizzo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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