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The Apple Pancake


Apple pancake recipe

The Kitchn headline read Weekend Breakfast Recipe: The Apple Pancake.  Not Apple Pancakes but THE Apple Pancake.  I knew the inspiration had to be Walker Brothers.

I’ve talked about Walker Brothers before, but haven’t lavished enough attention on the star of their menu, the apple pancake.  If you’re from Chicago or have visited and eaten an apple pancake you’ll know from the pictures that The Kitchn recipe doesn’t lavish nearly enough caramel on its pancake.  The real apple pancake boasts a heavy crown of buttered apple slices topped with a layer of maple caramel that’s an inch plus thick.  It’s not breakfast, but a treacly, over-the-top dessert.  My mom has confessed that she and my dad would share one for dinner when they were first dating.  It’s the kind of indulgent that works best when you’re still naturally skinny and so in love the calories don’t count.  They probably told themselves it was healthy.  Apples, you know.

I followed the Kitchn recipe and while it didn’t make The Apple Pancake, the one it produces is stunning, delicious and easier to make than a frittata.  It’s also not embarrassingly decadent so it’s doable for friends and very doable for a date night.  A low-cal date night, of course.

Thank you, Elan, for snapping pix while I scrambled to plate it up for our clients.


Wedding Shower Menu


Shower Menu Ideas

Yesterday the WAGS and I hosted a really cute shower for our girl Anjali. I promise to share all the pics and details once I get them organized. Back in June when the hostesses and I had our first idea session, I took some pictures.


Shower Inspiration


You can see many of the final menu items from the inspiration material above.

Wedding Shower Menu

Mimiosas and Sriracha Bloody Mary’s

Bellini Popsicle

Shrimp Chips

Make your own Banh Mi Bar- Fresh baguettes, pickled shrimp, beef brisket, marinated tofu and all the fresh toppings and sauces

Cabbage Salad with Spicy Basil Dressing

Almond Cake with Summer Fruit and Lemon Whipped Cream


The food was a hit. So good in fact that after most of the guests left we got out the leftovers and made a second round of Banh mi and giggled with the bride-to-be. A special, magical day.




How To: Summer Flower Arrangement


During my June beach vacation, I begged Drew’s 89 year old Grandmother, Ruthmary, to give me a flower arranging lesson. Roo-Roo as us “kids” call her is the type of Southern woman you read about in best selling beach novels. She is an amazing cook, gardener and charitable figure in her community yet she drinks bourbon with grace and cracks the wittiest jokes of anyone I know. Her flower arrangements are legendary in her hometown of Wilson, North Carolina and now we can all learn from her years of experience.

Home grown Hydrangeas

Start with a big selection of flowers. Pictured above are Roo-Roo’s hydrangeas and gardenias from her home garden which she transported 2 hours to the beach. She lines her table with newspaper to make a mess on and then throw out after clean up. Smart.


Ruthmary with grennery

She said to make sure your vase is at waist height or above so you can step back to examine the shape as it builds. Line the first layer of your vase with greenery from your garden or florist.


Ruthmary with Hydrangea

Add the largest stalks of flowers to the center and back of your arrangements to start the shape.


Flower Arrangement Structure

These four tall hydrangeas are the foundation of her arrangement but any large blooms will work for this step.


Hydrangea Arrangement

Fill in the front and center of the arrangement with shorter blooms and varied hues to create interest and depth.


Big Hydrangea Arrangement

Continue to fill in more blooms and greenery until your vase is full and your arrangement has a pretty shape.


Gardenias in a Hyrdrangea bouquet

Now add in some smaller flowers in contrasting colors and shapes. She added gardenias (which Roo-Roo would have wrapped with floral wire to keep from dropping if she had some) and some pale pink flowers and shooting star hydrangeas for contrast.


Ruthmary with arrangement

Ruthmary’s general advice on floral arrangements is “make it so that a bee can fly through it.” Natural and open, her flowers look artfully placed but not fussily stuffing into tight bundles.


Finshed Arrangement

The finished piece!


Beach House Flower Arrangement

She placed it on an entryway table to the back porch so all who passed snagged a scent of gardenias in their day. A lesson I will never forget, thanks so much Roo-Roo.




An Open Letter to Parchment Baking Sheets


Parchement Baking Sheets


Dear If You Care Parchment Baking Sheets,

Thank you for being the best little kitchen helper a girl could ever dream about. I love how you are the exact right size to fit a sheet pan so I don’t have to pull out the scissors to trim the paper to fit the pan (for some reason this extra step seems unreasonably difficult.) I love how you are not bleached and chlorine free so I don’t bake extra toxins into my vegetables every night. I love how easy it is to clean up after roasting a whole dinner on a  sheet pan lined with you, my husband thanks you too. It’s pretty cool that you are made from recycled materials and can be recycled again after using or composted.

Even though you are so functional and deep in the inside you still keep up your looks on the outside. Corn bread looks so cute wrapped up in a papery brown piece of you and tied with twine. I don’t now how you balance it all.

Hope you are having a great summer.




PS- you can find this kitchen wonder at Whole Foods and other natural food stores or online.





Portland Notes: Part 2


Portland Notes: Part 1 was a big hit, thanks for all the feedback! Now feast your eyes on some of the pictures from the rest of my trip.

Strawberries at the Portland Farmer's Market

we sampled every strawberry stand in the market


Early Saturday morning we went to the Farmer’s Market to gather supplies for a homemade dinner. Chris and I had a loose idea of what we wanted to make but we let the best looking produce sway our final decisions.


eggs in Martha colors

we couldn't resist the eggs in Martha colors


This was the largest, most impressive Farmer’s Market, even bigger than the Santa Monica and Marin Civic Center markets.



The flowers were the most amazing I have ever seen! Can you believe the size and height of these tulips?



Irisies in every color of Van Gogh’s painter’s palette. Swoon.


Rainbow of Ranuculi

A rainbow of ranuculus bunches, closed up tight but just waiting to bloom in a vase on a mantle. With our bags full of farm eggs, wild salmon, flank steak, baguette, local salumi, asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, baby artichokes, fingerling potatoes, radishes, sorel, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, strawberries and baby gem lettuce we headed to Chris and Seth’s place to cook.


homemade dinner menu

Here is our final menu! We ended up making a play on Deconstructed Salmon Nicoise Salad.


Aunt Sarah arranging flowers

Aunt Sarah whipped up a stunning flower arrangement to match her Mother’s china that Chris has inherited.


Granmommy's china + Kerr water jar

Table was set by Aunt Carol. The only sign that this is a bachelor pad is the Kerr jars used for water glasses, these boys are fancy.


Seth and Lyd

Seth seasoned the steaks which were then grilled in the fireplace. I worked on the vegetables. Drew took pics and helped his mama with the dishes.


asparagus ready to roast

Beautiful asparagus skinnies all seasoned up to roast at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


bonding time

Family bonding ensued.


crudite with sorel aoili

Market crudite with a verdant sorel aioli dip Chris whipped up in one of his marble pestals. He is an Alice Waters devotee and knows her aioli recipe by heart. The lemony brightness of the sorel enlivened the creamy aioli.


cheese and salumi


La Tur cheese and some yummy locally made salumi served on a slate platter. We nibbled on these all afternoon as we cooked, drank and chatted.


ferns you can eat

The first course what a duo of vegetables. Fiddlehead ferns sauteed with shallots and butter and fresh baby artichokes cooked in white wine and topped with fresh mint and tangerine zest.


tangarine zest on fresh artichokes

Here is Chris dusting the artichokes with tangerine zest, an inspired last minute addition.


Eggs and Potaotes

The main course was served family style, above are my “barely” boiled eggs and butter steamed potatoes and the remnants of the sorel aioli from the appetizers.


our dinner plated

Here is my plate after all the dished were passed and shared. Everything was so TASTY and paired perfectly with delicious wines.


wines we enjoyed

Yep we drank these… and a few more I think. Thanks to Chris for playing sommelier and treating us to such nice wines.


post redecoration

The next day Janice and I rearranged the living room furniture and added a few new thrift store additions like that chartreuse lamp (love it.) A great way to thank the boys for hosting such special and fun family day and playing tour guide all weekend.


PS- we also ate at a food cart Pod, had brunch at Tasty & Son’s and lunch at Pok Pok which were all awesome. Portland rocks.

PPS- the dream of the 90’s really is alive in Portland, I saw quite a few people drink Cosmopolitans.






Memorial Day Backyard Picnic Menu


Make this Memorial Day memorable with an elegant back yard picnic and lots of family time. Spend time together cooking the meal and decorating your yard. Invite other families over for a picnic followed by board and lawn games in the afternoon light.

Sherry Lemonade in the grass


Rosemary symbolizes remembrance so use lots of it in your decor and share stories of the service men and women in your family lineage as you celebrate the day.


Rosemary in jam jars

Wind down the night with Americana classics, root beer floats and sparklers.


Root Beer Float

Memorial Day Picnic Menu
Sherry Lemonade
Peach Iced Tea

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Baguette Sandwich with Strawberry Chutney and Frisée
Potato Salad Gribiche
Raw Kale Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Basil

Root Beer Floats


Memorial Day picnic meal


PS- Check back tomorrow for the FABULOUS Sherry Lemonade recipe, from Margaret Lagrotteria’s entertaining arsenal. A grown up slushy you will not forget. All the recipes for this picnic featured on The Daily Meal!




Dinner Party Snaps



I woke up one morning with an itch to entertain


Summer Table

Food + Friends + Games


Summer Table Close


I served skirt steak, green salad and potato salad, simple


Steak and Potato Salad Gribiche


then balsamic berries with basil and marscapone


Balsamic Berries with Basil and Marscapone


So fun, I wish I could have a dinner party every night




Plates- Heath Ceramics, Napkins- Anthropologie, Bud Vases- Kate Spade for Lennox, Glasses- Napa Style

Mini Chicken n’ Waffle Appetizers


Check out this recipe featured on the mega site The Kitchn!

Mini Fried chicn n Waffle Bites


By FAR the biggest food sensation of our wedding day was these mini chicken n’ waffle appetizers. The In n’ Out Truck for dinner, Sarah’s divine spiced nuts, a buffet of homemade desserts and hot french fries that arrived at each table in silver Revere bowls were no match for these tasty hand held treats.


Fried Chicken Steps

seasoned flour and buttermilk soaked chicken


Many friends (and a few parents) have admitted to waiting at the kitchen door where the servers walked out with the trays in order to take down a whole tray’s worth. The servers had to start taking a secret route in order to get through the crowd.


Fried Chicken Nuggets

hot out of the fryer


Since I never got to eat or see even one appetizer that day (joy, pictures, hugs and congratulations), Sarah and I have recreated the recipe to share with all of you.


Fried chicken n waffles

drizzle with maple syrup


I wanted the wedding appetizer’s to be Southern themed as a nod to Drew’s heritage. My fantastic caterer, Dan Molnar perfectly executed my whimsical menu of Mini Chicken n’ Waffle Bites, Mini Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Watermelon and Mint Skewers and Crudite with Americana Dips.

This is what I imagine they tasted like that day. Enjoy!


A & O Mini Fried Chicken ‘n Waffle Appetizer
Serves 8-10

10 sprigs fresh thyme
3 chicken thighs, boneless with skin on, cut into small ½ inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot sauce- Texas Pete or Tabasco
1 16oz bottle of peanut oil
Maple syrup
Mini Toaster Waffles (at least 20 individual rounds)

For the flour mixture:
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne

Remove the leaves from 5-6 sprigs thyme and mince finely.  Set aside. Cut the chicken thighs into small ½-inch square pieces leaving some skin on each little piece. Toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper and 1 tablespoon of the minced thyme. In a medium bowl mix the buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of hot sauce (I like Texas Pete) and add the seasoned chicken pieces to the buttermilk mixture. Stir well and add any remaining sprigs of thyme to the buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chicken in buttermilk from the fridge and drain in a colander.  Scoop 2 cups of flour in a pie plate or shallow bowl and season with 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the flour mixture and toss well, thickly coating each piece. In a large saucepan heat 2-3 inches of peanut oil to high heat, (approximately 350 degrees). Carefully add your chicken in batches, being mindful not to splatter or crowd the pan or the temperature of the oil will drop. Stir occasionally until nicely browned on all sides and then remove to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Toast the mini waffle rounds until golden brown and top each round with a piece of warm fried chicken. Drizzle with warm maple syrup before serving.


Fried chicken n waffle bites


A & O Weekly Menu: 4.11.11



Thai beef salad Image:laRuth

Happy Monday, loves.

We’re adding healthy  snacks to our weekly menu.  Tell us, do you have a favorite afternoon pick-me-up?  Maybe we’ll add it to next week’s menu!



Lunch- Chicken burger on whole wheat bun with roasted red pepper and arugula

Dinner- Grilled shrimp skewers over quinoa, tomato and parsley salad and spicy hummus

Snack-Green smoothie with whey protein


Lunch- Grilled chicken salad with miso dressing, carrots and pine nuts

Dinner- Roast Turkey Breast with twice baked sweet potatoes and green bean salad

Snack-Apple with almond butter


Lunch-Thai grilled beef salad with lime vinaigrette

Dinner-Grilled chicken sausage with lentils and smashed potatoes

Snack-Turkey roll-up with almonds and strawberries on the side


Lunch-Rice noodle salad with poached chicken and mango

Dinner-Gong Bao chicken (stir-fry chicken with Sichuan peppers and peanuts) over steamed brown rice with braised bok choy

Snack- Baby bran blueberry muffins


Lunch-Tofu lettuce cups with hoisin dipping sauce

Dinner–Baked chicken meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti squash

Snack-Banana berry açai smoothie

A & O Weekly Menu: 3.28.11


Image: YoginiJin

Happy Monday, Loves!

The recent NYTimes article has inspired me to try a new veggie burger recipe.  I love the chickpea version from 101 Cookbooks — the microgreens are the key ingredient– but I want less of a Middle Eastern flavor and more of the great burgery patties we get at Umami Burger and Houstons.  I’ll let you know how the jalapeno version, below, works out!

Do you make veggie burgers?  Do you like a specific bean base (black beans, chickpeas, etc.)? Or do you go more for mushrooms?  We’d love to know.



Lunch- Chickpea and grilled chicken salad over arugula

Dinner- Baked tarragon chicken with sweet pea mash and roasted carrots


Lunch- Grilled Chicken Soft Tacos with cabbage salad

Dinner-  Thai shrimp and halibut curry over rice with steamed vegetables


Lunch- Chicken and vegetable tortilla soup with fresh cilantro and avocado

Dinner- Grilled white fish with herb salsa, lemon roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables


Lunch-La Scala chopped salad with roast turkey

Dinner-Spicy beef and eggplant stir-fry over cilantro and mint jasmine rice


Lunch-Roast shrimp and glass noodle salad with roasted peanuts

Dinner-Jalapeno-spiced veggie burgers on sesame buns with garlic aioli and avocado.  Served with coleslaw and sweet potato “fries”

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