Party Recipes

Fresh Peas & Mint- Signs of Spring & Garden changes

What were once green, sprawling serpents have now reached  the peak of their pod-producing craze. The sugar-snap and snow peas have slowed down considerably and finally, we were able to keep up with them. Every morning for the past 2 months we had an espresso in one hand and went out to breakfast on the pea pods. We felt like grasshoppers grazing on all the pea tendrils and vines.

The fresh crunch and sweetness of all the pea pods was great, but after 2 months of »

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Blood Orange Chocolate Chunk Muffins

“I want a pastry!” “I want a muffin!”

A monster has been created by spoiling her too much.  The latest Strawberry Crossover may have been just a little too good and now the demands for fresh breakfast delights are increasing.  Good thing muffins are quick and easy to make.

Not that I mind the demands.  Nothing makes me happier than cooking or baking for the ones I love, especially when I am lucky enough to have someone as special as Diane who can cook like »

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Shrimp Stir Fry with Sugar Snap Peas – Snow & Sugar Pea Garden Monster – Jamie Oliver cookbook

There’s an uncontrollable beast on the North end of the garden and it actually comes in two forms: sugar snap peas and snow peas. Our spring peas are like serpants, clinging to everything they can get their tendrils on. Once they latch on, pea flowers shoot out and within 3-4 days, we have fresh peas to munch on. As a matter of fact, the warm sun is encouraging way more pea growth than we can ever imagine so it’s snow pea and sweet pea recipe »

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Beet Greens and Goat Cheese Crostini- Eat your greens

Our biggest apologies to all you friends who are still frozen under snow or drenched with rain. This post isn’t to gloat about our wonderful sunshine and blue skies, but rather, it’s about reminding you to enjoy eating your beet greens. Although, it doesn’t hurt to brag about our warm weather to you all cause it could warm-up you cold weather folks a bit! (but if you’re an outstanding tele-skier like Jen Yu, then you’ll want to be buried under snow!)

When spring arrives (like »

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Vietnamese Caramel Braised Pork Belly Banh Mi – Nail Shop Eats #4

The leaning tower of pork belly banh mi: not for the light hearted

I’m not a comedian, nor was I trying to be one when I spoke frankly about my mother’s Nail shop cooking escapades. Like I’ve always said, my mother is a culinary fool, a manic of a woman who lives to feed her family of 6 kids and our extended family of neighborhood friends. She’s been known to get even more carried away and feed her nail shop clients homemade noodles and fish »

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Creamy Hot Stove-Top Crab Dip for the Oven-Less

I’m often impatient in the kitchen when it comes to having to use the oven to bake a simple dish. Just the thought of having to pre-heat the oven makes me cringe at the waste of time and energy it takes to create a simple meal. It’s a relief for me to be able to adapt a dish that is traditionally baked in the oven to be cooked on the stove. My impatience enjoys the fact that it doesn’t have to wait for the oven »

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Somen noodles w/Sweet Soy-Ginger Sauce -Takashi’s Noodles Cookbook

Since our remarkable trip to Japan in August, we’ve been craving Japanese noodles with a vengence. We ate all the udon, somen, soba and ramen our stomachs could handle in 9 days and it was an amazing experience and education in the history and culture of Japanese noodles. We never got tired of slurping our way through Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Each region’s noodle specialties were all so different, delicate and highlighted some magnificent regional flair. Coming back home, we were looking for a cookbook that »

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Fruity Pomegranate Salad with Savory Soy Vinaigrette

I have my little red seasonal joys, those tiny flavorful things that are plentiful this time of year—-pomegranate arils! These juicy, tangy, sour, sweet pops of flavor are such perfect accompaniments to salads. It’s amazing how simple additions can change the whole dynamic of a salad. When my salads feel lost and lacking, I love adding fresh fruit for that missing piece of the puzzle. In Autumn and Winter, I feel so fortunate that our pomegranate trees dangle huge red orbs in our face, reminding »

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Olive Oil Dinner Rolls with Caramelized Onion & Gorgonzola

Woe to the dinner roll.  So plain and boring.  Dinner rolls piled in a basket to stave off hunger before the “real meal” arrives or  utilized as a gravy clean up tool throughout the feast. It’s the wallflower of the dinner table.

It is time for the dinner roll to stand and say “Notice Me!”  Let mashed potatoes and green beans be the boring ones.  Introduce the feasting masses to dinner roll eye-rolling goodness and show ‘em you’ve got soul and pizazz.  Announce your bad-ass »

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Roasted Potatoes w/ Fried Sage, Brown Butter – A Healing Memory

I’ve often wondered what value my Ethno-botany days at the University have on my current career now. Back in my college days, I dreamed of finding the cure to cancer via medicinal plants, to live in the rainforest with native cultures and learn their traditional methods of healing through local plants. I romanced the idea of healing the world, to be the Medicine Woman, to climb big tall trees and scale the mountain tops, just like Sean Connery.

Now, I photograph pictures of restaurants and »

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Madeleines w/ Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Madeleines w/ Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Madeleines.  Elegant simplicity, deliciously captured in small, shell-shaped cookies.   The madeleine has a quiet grace, not preening for your love with mind-blowing flavors or chocolate oozing goodness.  However that quiet simplicity inspires adoration and longing. A  well-made madeleine has the ability to pause time, and allow one the chance to reflect and savor the simple beauty in life.

My love affair with madeleines began nearly 10 years ago when I was managing a cafe/market. Everyday around 3 o’clock there would be a lull between »

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Nothing brings unadulterated joy like a perfectly baked, warm, soft chocolate chip cookie.  The whole process of making the cookies; the smell of the chocolate, licking the finished beaters, using the edges of my finger to scrape every last bit of dough from the bowl, the scent of the cookies right before they are done in the oven, and finally to breaking into the still warm cookies, chocolate oozing and quickly swooping in with the other hand in order to not lose a drop of »

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Mandarin Crème Brûlée Recipe

Mandarin Crème Brûlée Recipe

Just before Diane left for Club Med Bahamas, all of you twitter followers may have seen her tweet purring about me making her a mandarin creme brulee.  Yes, I admit, I am a closet pastry fiend.  I loooovve desserts.  It started with a love of eating them (I have not a sweet tooth, but a sweet jaw), then progressed (many eons ago) into a love of making them.  Diane is our household cakemaker girl so those I leave for her pleasure,  but the rest of »

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Club Med Bahamas- Green Flash Cocktail

Club Med Bahamas- Green Flash Cocktail

I can’t tell you how much I love Curacao, a flavored liqueur made from the dried peels of the laraha citrus fruit which  grown on the island of Curaçao, hence, the name. The brilliant blue color, the bright citrus/orange tones and slight bitterness of this liqueur makes a perfectly delicious and beautiful cocktail.

When Brandt Johnson, the head bartender at Club Med Columbus Isle was setting up for the evenings Food & Wine Festival cocktail demonstration, I was stunned at the beautiful tray of brilliant »

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Peanut Brittle Cookies & See’s Candy Chocolate Giveaway!

Peanut Brittle Cookies & See’s Candy Chocolate Giveaway!

It’s almost Valentine’s day, so raise your hands if you like chocolate! Our hands are raised extra high now because we’re holding a fabulous $25 gift certificate to See’s Candy!

See’s Candy has always been one of our favorite family chocolates for a number of delicious reasons. It’s one of the best qualities of chocolate that we can get for our money and the variety that See’s offers is diverse enough to satisfy everyone in our family. Every time we need to send a gift »

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Tamarind Shrimp and “Secrets of the Red Lantern” cookbook Winner

Tamarind Shrimp and “Secrets of the Red Lantern” cookbook Winner

This gorgeous cookbook has a new owner and it’s Pam!! Congratulations Pam and we hope you enjoy this beautiful cookbook.

Thank you to you all for your amazing input and thoughts on what you love in a cookbook. We appreciate all your fabulous comments on this  cookbook giveaway!

This was the most amazing forum of wonderful ideas that we’ve ever had. Reading all of your wonderful, insightful comments was inspiring and informative. We’ve never been so thrilled as were were with your participation in this »

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Creamy Stovetop Spinach Dip

Creamy Stovetop Spinach Dip

I’m admitting that I have an eating issue when it comes to anything warm, rich, cheesy and gooey. Add a bold red glass of wine and a crusty baguette, I’ll inhale a big bowl of any  cheese dip that was accidentally left in front of me.

I’ll even confess to the fact that I troll all party buffet tables until I can be the last one to scrape the bottom and the edges of the dip bowl. That’s where the best part of the charred, »

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Tamarind Crab and Secrets of the Red Lantern Cookbook giveaway!

Tamarind Crab and Secrets of the Red Lantern Cookbook giveaway!

It’s not often that I can get excited about a cookbook enough to want to snuggle with it on the couch and to read it cover to cover.  Most of the time, I’ll scan through a cookbook and bookmark particular interesting recipes that jump off the page. But I found one book that not only had me hooked from the very first page, but had me laughing, crying and stomach growling at the same time. If anyone saw me, they’d think that I was an »

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Baked Brie Dip w/sun dried tomatoes, thyme

Baked Brie Dip w/sun dried tomatoes, thyme

Warm. Cheesy. Flavorful. Dip. On. Bread. Need we say more?

This brie dip recipe post just needs to be short and simple. Call it cheating, we don’t care. It’s almost like a mathematical equation that doesn’t need further explanation:

melted brie + tangy, sun dried tomatoes + aromatic garlic + fragrant thyme + heat + bread = Fabulous!


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Asian Crispy Chicken Wings + sweet, spicy chili sauce

Asian Crispy Chicken Wings + sweet, spicy chili sauce

Tis’ the season for appetizers, delicious and flavorful small bites that we never, ever get tired of.

When the jolly and hectic holidays arrive, we’re in a non stop dinner party mode, which can be either jolly or hectic. Between our weekly gathering of friends, family, neighbors and staff, thinking about what to serve small to medium to large groups every time can be very time consuming.

Appetizers are our tried and true dishes that are easy to make and easy to please. Having a »

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