Forgive me for being proud big sister lately but I’m OBSESSED with the new Deck Towel designs this season, care of my baby brother Buck Ellison. I couldn’t resist sharing them.
Ordering all 4 to use for long beach days, park picnics and as a table cloth for al fresco dinners. Since he’s working towards his Masters in Fine Arts in Germany I love catching up with him via the Deck Towel Journal. The Studio Lunches sing to me from so far away.
Truly these towels are so useful (absorbent, fast drying, wrap your whole body yet can bundle up so small) Drew and I are shifting over to them as our bathroom towels. Don’t let summer pass with out getting your favorite Deck Towel print.
I’m planning a wedding shower in a few weeks for a bride that loves Bloody Mary’s. The other hostesses and I want this Bloody Mary Bar to be unforgettable. This is what we did last year for Anjali’s shower…
Starting with a great Tomato Mix is very important, I want to try this recipe for Roasted Tomato Juice from my fav chef Suzanne Goin (The Hungry Cat Bloody Mary.)
Once you have your base of Vodka and Tomato Mix then you need an array of garnishes. Lemon, limes, hot sauces, crunchy celery and a mix of artisan pickled vegetables.
Guests mix their own custom cocktails to get the shower started on the right note. Any other tips or ideas to spice up our Bloody Mary Bar? (pun intended)
Flaky buttery puff pastry slathered in a lemony layer of fluffy ricotta cheese topped with sweet zucchini and savory fresh thyme. Sounds good right?
This simple to make (we promise this time) tart is one of our new favorite recipes. We are recommending it as an elegant appetizer in our Dinner Party Blueprints and it is garnering rave reviews at work as a lunch dish paired with a mixed green salad.
Zucchini and Ricotta Tart
Serves 2 for lunch or 4-6 as an appetizer
1 sheet all butter frozen puff pastry, thawed per the package instructions
1 1/2 cups good quality ricotta cheese
zest of one small lemon
salt and pepper
1-2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/4inch thick rounds
1/4 cup grated gruyure cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Defrost the puff pastry sheet according to the package instructions which takes at least 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lay the rectangle of puff onto a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Using a fork, make pinpricks all around the center of the tart dough leaving a 1 inch border on each of the four sides. Mix the ricotta with a pinch of salt and pepper and the lemon zest. Top the pricked section of the dough with the ricotta cheese into a thin but even layer. Slightly layer the sliced zucchini on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle the zucchini with a dusting of salt, shredded gruyere and chopped fresh thyme. Brush the exposed edges of puff dough with egg wash. Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes until the dough if puffed and the edges have browned. Try not open the oven door while it bakes, use you oven light if possible. Allow to cool for 10 minutes to room temperature and them slice into wedges or small, bite sized squares.
I created this recipe years ago at work when some (last minute, eek) weekend guests requested Vegan fare. This dish satisfies all the textures of the rainbow with the soft warm tofu filling nestled in a cup of cold crisp iceberg lettuce. Monday morning the guests requested the recipe and we’ve been making these ever since.
Tofu Lettuce Cups
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1 small carrot, minced
1/2 a small zucchini, minced
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
8 oz baked tofu (Thai or Teriyaki flavored options work well), finely diced
1 small can of water chestnuts, drained and finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 head of iceberg lettuce, cut in half and separated into “cups”
sriracha chili sauce for garnish (optional)
fried mung bean noodles for garnish (optional)
Prepare the friend mung bean noodle per the package instructions and separate the iceberg lettuce into cups and set aside. In a saute pan over medium heat saute the diced red pepper, carrot, zucchini and scallions in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Add the fresh ginger, tofu, hoisin sauce, lime juice and sesame oil to the pan. Turn the heat to low and gently mix until well incorporated and the tofu is warmed through. Taste for seasoning and add salt and black pepper if needed. Off the heat toss in the diced water chestnuts. Serve a heaping spoonful of warm tofu mixture into a cold lettuce cup and garnish with fresh cilantro, sriracha and a sprinkle of fried noodles. Serve with extra hoisin sauce too.
by Lydia Ellison
One of my great pleasures in life is taking myself out to lunch. It’s quick and quiet, no compromising on what to order or being considerate of the preferences and dietary needs of your dining companions. No sharing, no tastes, no sips. A meal of one’s own.
My new favorite restaurant for said ritual/treat/lunch is Viet Noodle Bar
in Atwater Village. The food is excellent, casual dishes with sophisticated flavors and fresh ingredients.
The long wall of communal books welcome solo dinners and doubles as chic decor. I went today and found myself staring at some of my favorite stories in all of literature. The God of Small Things, Mansfield Park, Stones from the River and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone just happened to be winking out at me from stacks of other books.
The fresh spring rolls are stuffed with fried tofu skin, crunchy green papaya and marinated carrot, fresh basil and crispy shallots.
See… so yummy on the inside
Chicken Pho with a peppery broth and slippery, chewy homemade rice noodles.
Thick, sweet and delightfully strong iced coffee with condensed milk. I plucked the copy of Sorcerer’s Stone off the shelf and tucked into my meal and caught up with Harry, age 11.