Anyone who entertains is always looking for easy appetizer ideas. A hostess doesn’t have time to sort through her Pinterest folders when friends stop by for a weeknight glass of wine. Here is a good one for the rotation: goat cheese, hot pepper jelly and crackers. You can keep these items on hand for emergencies. Dump the jelly on top of the goat cheese or serve it alongside in a pretty jar. Add crackers. Done.
My grandmother always serves Philadelphia cream cheese with bright green hot pepper jelly and Carr’s table water crackers. If you want to get fancy you can even make this condiment. Last spring my girl La Femme Epicure made Hot Pepper Jelly and gifted me a bottle, the colors of the chilis and subtly sweet heat were divine.
Pretty little chili bits on tangy goat cheese and little brown rice crackers (we are a GF household.)
A lovely couple from Long Beach, CA sent me some jars of their Red Pepper Relish to try. The folks at Merchant & Co. are making really delicious small batch condiments, a great reminder to seek out local products in your market.
FYI- I put this pepper relish along side hard cheeses like manchego and aged cheddar and with out fail one guest says “What is this spicy jam? It’s amazing!”
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?
I’m writing today from the house my husband and I recently bought in Columbus, Ohio. Snow covers the ground and sifts down from the pine in front. My daughter stands at the window, licking the glass, and pointing out every “burd” she sees. I’m miles from the sunny kitchen where I wrote my last post. I miss Los Angeles. I miss my friends and the mountains. I miss having the luxury of wishing the sun wouldn’t shine so brightly. I miss having warm shoulders and tan feet. I miss the early evening light and the smell of magnolias in our yard. I miss talking to all of you here.
Relocating was not something we had planned. Angus and I both believed we were in Los Angeles for the long haul. His new job offer was unexpected and we surprised even ourselves by how quickly we accepted it. Maybe we had an instinct? Because polar vortexes and SmartWool aside, Columbus works for us.
When we created A&O in 2008, Lydia and I didn’t know a thing about blogging. We just dove in, impatient to see what kind of future two friends could create together in their small apartment kitchens.
We wanted a place to document our growth as personal chefs, to catalogue the things that caught our eye, and to remember the moments that shaped our personal lives. Combined, the jumble of images, meditations, and recipes you find here form the timeline that matters to me most. It’s a testament to the work and time that Lydia and I have shared and the ways in which we’ve grown up together.
Life in Columbus is good, but it is different. And It doesn’t fit with how I envision A&O. Our once little company will continue to grow, as will this blog, but I’m sorry to say that I will no longer be a part of it. I want to thank you for spending time with me here these last 6 years. It has meant more than you know.
I’m not leaving the food world. You can find me here, where I’ll soon start sharing my writing projects, as well as recipes and photos from my work as the recipe editor of edible Columbus and a cooking instructor at The Seasoned Farmhouse.
I leave you in the very best of hands. Enjoy the many gorgeous things and brilliant tips Lydia shares. I’ll be reading right along with you.
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
Super Bowl Menu 2014
Coors Banquet Beer
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
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?
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 Juice (NOT the unsweetened kind)
Fresh Lime Juice
Fresh Orange Juice
Tequila (we used Patron Silver)
Fine Pink Sea Salt
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.
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.
All images via Pinterest.
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
Glitz & Gourds
Jars of Light
Whatever your table looks like, I hope you have a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!
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.
Soy-Sauce and Honey Glazed Turkey
Sriracha and Wasabi Deviled Eggs
Celery and Edamame Salad
Sticky Rice Dressing
Red Miso Glazed Carrots
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?
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.
” My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”- John F. Kennedy
“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
“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” -John F. Kennedy
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” -John F. Kennedy
“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
“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
All images from Pinterest