Posts Tagged ‘Bon Appetit’

LEH: Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules


All of us A & O Girls (did you know Sarah and I work with 3 other amazing chefs?) are OBSESSED with the new Bon Appetit magazine. Under Adam Rapoport’s direction the food magazine feels fresh, modern and super useful. I end up dog earring almost every page to save in my “idea” file and we try recipes from the mag all the time at work. Anywho I was inspired by a column in this month’s issue from The Foodist: Top 5 (highly debatable) Entertaining Rules.

Champagne Glasses

His Are:

1. Always serve coconut cake and Papy Van Winkle Bourbon for dessert.

2. Recruit at least one friend to help with the dishes.

3. Invite a fun mix of interesting guests.

4. Tidy up your house but don’t go crazy cleaning it from top to bottom.

5. Serve dishes that accommodate your guests dietary restrictions and your own cooking prowess.


I really like this list but I’m lucky enough to have friends who always help with the dishes unasked (thank you TL/MS/KB/AJ/EO) and I never worry about my guests mingling well together as I only ever invite good pals. So my list is a little different.

cheese platter

Mine Are:

1. Serve at least one store bought course (dessert or appetizers usually).

2. Start the night with a signature drink, people hate making decisions/this makes you look fancy.

3. Always buy one more bottle of wine than you think you need (never fails to get opened).

4. Force guests to play Trivial Pursuit after dinner.

5. Use the dinner party as an excuse to get your husband to tidy up living room and clean the bathroom while you do the fun stuff like setting the table.


What are yours? Maybe the other A & O ladies will share theirs soon? Here is our real dinner party advice.


The Look: Lime + Blackberry


Inspired by lime + blackberry.



Bon Appetit Lime & Blackberry Pie


this pie is so pretty I want to wear it…



Equipment White Blouse

Equipment White Blouse



Broomstick crinkled silk-chiffon mini skirt

ADAM Broomstick Mini Skirt



Pour La Victoire Daina Platform Pump

Pour La Victoire Daina Platform Pump



Karen Walker Perfect Day Sunglasses

Karen Walker Perfect Day Sunglasses


Perfect outfit for a late summer shower or garden party if you ask me.










The New Bon Appétit


This is not a post about Gwyneth.  To be clear, I think you have to admire the lady even as you roll your eyes.  She’s good at most anything she does and she does a lot in a very big, very public way. I like her movies and I like her cookbook and though I can’t claim to like her music, I did notice that I was humming one of her songs in the kitchen this past weekend.  I blame my yoga teach (v. yogic of me) who plays it during class.  But Ms. Paltrow sings in a way that’s catchy enough to stick and accompany me while I chop onions.

But like I said, this post is about the new Bon Appétit, the second with Adam Rappaport at the helm and the one to prove that last month’s Italy issue wasn’t just a lucky start, but the rebirth of the magazine as something relevent for us younger foodies and entertainers.  I had fun reading this issue and I don’t think I’ve ever said that.  Usually I like a few recipes and forget about the others entirely, but I found myself building entire menus around each recipe as I flipped through the pages.  And I love a magazine that reflects the way we already entertain, e.g. using Tekla towel for kitchen rags and napkins, but offers resources and ideas we haven’t come up with ourselves.

So tell us, what do you think of the new Bon Appétit?  What recipes are you going to try?  Did you love the Toast with the Most piece as much as I did?  Whoever thought of topping crostini with charred summer corn, crema Mexicana, cilantro and chili pepper is a genius in my book.  Also, how inviting is Fergus & Margot Henderson’s home with its sour cream walls, thick wooden countertops and family clutter? Aren’t you excited to try their chocolate ice cream recipe?


Bon Appetit’s Pimiento Mac n Cheese


Ayeisha and Niki

The loveliest and most special of guest bloggers today friends. Ayeisha Mesinger creator-designer of Morgan Parish handbags and Niki Shwartz-Wright writer-business woman extraordinaire, extol the virtues of the pimiento cheese mac n cheese on the cover of the March Bon Apetit magazine. They were kind enough to answer my many questions about the experience of the mac. Enjoy!

How did you decide to make the dish?

Ayeisha: Our decision to make this dish stemmed form a combination of general hunger and Niki seeing this delectable looking food pic that graced the cover of this month’s Bon Appetit.

Niki: Yes, I think it went something along the lines of (slo-mo voice): I waaannt thaaaaatt!!!!!

Bon Appetit Mac cheese

looks like the cover dish!

A: Often the covers prompt instant salivation, but sometimes they can be rather intimidating and don’t seem attainable to the normal human being.  In addition to the recipes good looks, we saw that it’s execution time was 45 minutes, which, in the world of Bon Appetit is like a 50 yard dash, so that definitely made us game for trying it out.

What were you drinking when you were cooking?

Ayeisha: I was drinking my usual Kentucky Bourbon, Maker’s Mark, of course =)

Niki: Since I can’t drink Bourbon without making a psychotic face and punching the air after each sip, I was drinking a kidney pleasing Vodka Cranberry.


Mesinger Mac

stunning in an orange Le Creuset pan


When you served it?

A: Switched to wine for the eating portion of the meal (The Pinot Project, I believe)

N: Yes, which my boyfriend described as “very flavor forward”…whatever that means. It was delicious!

What did you serve alongside the mac?

A: We made the Mac the centerpiece of the meal.  We wanted to keep the meal on the light side in general, as we had been having some lovely meals out that were leaving us pleasantly stuffed.

Niki: What Ayeisha is trying to say is, The Fats came to town and we were taking down large amounts of calories at every opportunity. We needed a light meal. Hence, mac & cheese.

Ayeisha: We did add an easy breezy mixed greens salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a homemade dressing on the side to top it off.


Ideal Market in Boulder, CO

Explain the shop/prep/cooking process.

Ayeisha: The shop was done at Ideal Market.  It’s a local Boulder market that is technically a mini-Whole Foods.   We divided our  list which was pretty straight forward.  The hardest thing to locate was the Pappadew pepper, which I am sure everyone is familiar with from the olive cart, but none of us knew was called Peppadew.  Also a bit confusing is the fact that the recipe is called a pimiento mac and cheese, but technically no pimiento in the recipe.  As we were getting olives and Gerkin for the pre-dinner munchums, we came across the missing link.  The Peppadews were in the Olive Cart!  Crisis averted we went home to begin our mission….

Niki: I cannot take any credit for the shopping process of this meal as I had located the newest copy of People Magazine and HAD to find out all about Christina Applegate and her new baby. She’s presh, by the way…

Ayeisha: Cooking was easier than expected.  It was mostly in the prep which even then was mostly about grating cheese in terms of muscle.  No roux making needed at all!  Simply boiling some of the ingredients and then blending them together before mixing in the cooked pasta which then went into the oven, topped with the toasted crumbs.  I mean, real child’s play when it comes to Bon Appetit.  If you are a novice home chef, this meal will make you look like a pro.  Plus it was the kind of cooking that allowed you to still be interactive with your guests.

Niki: Absolutely. Even though Ayeisha was steering the ship, I honestly felt as if I could tackle this dish at home alone and would probably be able to pull it off. Which is saying a lot as my cooking ability is…well, I have a handicap.

Ayeisha: As a side note: There is always something one forgets to purchase while at the store (or in my experience their is anyhow).  Naturally, once we arrived home, we didn’t start cooking for a couple hours at which point we realized in the commotion to find the Peppadew part of the equation, we forgot to get the panko! We substituted toasted crushed saltine crumbs for the panko…Maybe not so much a top chef move, but it worked great all the same!

Niki: I thought it was a brillz move on A’s part to do this. When I saw her actually toasting the crumbled saltines in a pan, I nearly lost my shit. What creativity!!!


Describe the way it tasted!

Ayeisha: Last but not least, it tasted wonderfully scrumptious.  It was perfect kind of cheesy, but a different kind of cheesy because the recipe didn’t called for making a roux as most Mac’s do.  It was not heavy in taste and didn’t leave us comatose at all.  There was a little heat to the mac as well as a perfect amount of salt.  It was warm and cozy which was great as the weather outside was not.  The bell peppers and peppadew added great sweet-tangy flavor (as promised by Bon Appetit), and were a great twist on a classic.

Niki: It was a little like that scene from What About Bob? All I could say for about 10 minutes while eating it was “Hmmmmm” “Oh, Hmmmmmm” “Hmmmm Hmmmmm Hmmmmmmmm!!!!!!”  Serious restaurant quality.

Brown Butter Brownies


Our wonderful part-time chef Elan made these for our clients on Friday.  Our immediate reaction? Meh.  Browning the butter seemed a special step but left us with a basic brownie when we’d hoped for fireworks.

So let’s rename this recipe Next Day Brown Butter Brownies, shall we?  That’s what it takes for these slow burners to develop a brown butter nuttiness and sink into a velvety smooth fudge so dense that you’ll leave nearly intact bite marks.  All that and a crackly top layer.

What a difference a day makes.

I recommend using walnut halves instead of pieces, heaping your 1/4 teaspoon of salt and making them them 1-2 days before you invite pals for dinner.  Then add this to your list of easy do-ahead recipes.  I made them Saturday and they remained perfect through Tuesday.


Brown Butter Brownies

from Alice Medrich via Bon Appétit

Yield: 12 brownies


Nonstick vegetable oil spray

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, chilled

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup walnut pieces


Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies.  Store airtight at room temperature.

The Weekend Dish: Holiday Cookies


What are you up to this weekend friends? Sarah and I are closing up the kitchen and traveling to spend the holiday with our families. We are both so excited to see our siblings and parents and share in the week of cooking, decorating and cozy traditions. When I think about my highlights of the week before Christmas I noticed a strong theme… cookies!

MS gingerbread people

I’m looking forward to decorating gingerbread men and women with my mom this weekend as we’ve done almost every year my entire life.

MS jam cookies

Since childhood I’ve been OBSESSED with the jam galettes from Harry & David and my lovely Grandma always keeps them in stock this time of year, chilled in her fridge for when I visit. Almond-y butter cookies sandwiching tart and sweet jam, be still my heart.

Sugar cookies- LEH wedding

photo by Nancy Blum

When we get to Atlanta, I always love helping bake these incredible sugar cookies that are a Christmas tradition in Drew’s family. Buttery, sweet and light, the recipe has been in the Howerton family for many generations (the secret ingredient is buttermilk!)

Gingerbread Cookies- LEH wedding

photo by Nancy Blum

Another heirloom Howerton family cookie recipe I crave are these gingersnaps. The perfect balance of sweet and spice. The photos above are from the dessert buffet at our wedding where Drew’s incredible Aunts baked dozens of these signature family cookies and shipped them across the country for our big day.

chocolate peppermint cookies

My newest cookie fantasy is these double chocolate peppermint cookies from December’s Bon Appetit that I want to try. There is always room for new cookie traditions this time of year!


Sunset Magazine


Growing up in Chicago, Sarah was influenced by the copies of Gourmet magazine her grandmother savored and saved around her house and you have heard us mention our love for Martha Stewart Living many times. Our A & O weekly menus are often influenced by recipes from Food and Wine and Bon Appetit but there is a lifestyle magazine we have never mentioned.

Sunset Mag

I grew up in Marin County, California and my mom subscribed to Sunset Magazine. In fact our back deck was once featured in the magazine to showcase my parent’s cool DIY  flower “planters” made from raw corrugated metal tubes.


While the feature in Sunset held bragging rights for a few years in the late 80’s, I never ever purchased a copy of Sunset Magazine after I left my parent’s house for adulthood. Well that is about to change, this wonderful article from the New York Times inspired me. I can’t possible sum up the true California casual chic values of Sunset Magazine better than this article from yesterday. Read the article, browse around or subscribe to Sunset Magazine and let’s cook some dishes from the mag together!

Sunset headquarters

Heidi Schumann for The New York Times

This is my favorite excerpt from the article by Kim Severson:

Today, if you were to go to Ms. Fairchild’s house for dinner looking for a quintessential California meal, she would serve chili-rubbed grilled chicken, a pot of long-simmered pinto beans and a large green salad shot through with avocado and orange, and seasoned with red wine vinaigrette. There would be a pitcher of from-scratch margaritas. For dessert, fresh fruit and a lemon bar or maybe a brownie.

“The fresh with the indulgence — that’s very California,” she said.

YUM! What a down to earth and fresh idea for a dinner party menu or the next time you host a sports game viewing.


PS- Thanks to Anjali for the article

A & O Weekly Menu


Sarah and I are often asked where we come up with the ideas for our weekly private chef menus. The answer is from everywhere. Restaurants, friends, cook books, our own recipe archives and of course the food magazines. I’m trying two new recipes this week inspired from the September issue of Bon Appetit, I linked to the recipes if you want to try them along with me and let us know what you thought!


Lunch- Grilled vegetable salad topped with tuna salad and balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner- Moroccan Chicken with green olives and lemon over red quinoa

Lunch- Southwestern chopped salad with black beans and crisp vegetables
Dinner- Miso glazed cod with charred eggplant in a mirin dipping sauce

Lunch- Caesar salad topped with grilled salmon and roast cherry tomatoes
Dinner- Summer vegetables and white fish in a light carrot curry over brown rice

Lunch-Grilled chicken and fruit and nut salad
Dinner-Mango shrimp tacos on corn tortillas

Lunch-Mache salad with roasted chicken, avocado and tarrgon vinaigrette
Dinner-Baked halibut in a tomato and olive sauce