Spaghetti and Meatballs, Reimagined

Zucchini Quinoa Meatballs, Green Lentil Pappardelle, Fresh Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Quinoa Meatballs and Green Lentil Pappardelle
Fresh Organic Tomato Sauce with Basil, Parmesan

Imagine a super-moist, super-tasty meatball that has the added health benefits from green vegetable and quinoa. Imagine a pasta that is packed with protein, high in fiber, lower carb and gluten-free. Imagine skipping jarred sauce and preparing an easy homemade tomato sauce made from organic tomatoes and fresh basil. This is spaghetti & meatballs for 2017.

Zucchini Quinoa Meatballs, Green Lentil Pappardelle Recipe

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Chocolate Soufflé, Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

Chocolate Soufflé with Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

Chocolate Soufflé with Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

I waited for Valentine’s Day to present the third and final course of my re-creation of The Inaugural Luncheon.

Extending a special thank you to Executive Chef Shannon Shaffer of Design Cuisine and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for providing these memorable recipes. It has been an honor and pleasure to re-create and share this historical event on Taste With The Eyes.

Inaugural Luncheon Menu

The First Course

Inaugural Lobster and Shrimp with Saffron Sauce and Peanut Crumble

Lobster and Shrimp, Saffron Sauce, Peanut Crumble Recipe

The Second Course

Inaugural Luncheon Angus Beef with Dark Chocolate Juniper Jus

Angus Beef, Dark Chocolate Juniper Jus Recipe 

The Third Course

Chocolate Soufflé, Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

Chocolate Soufflé with Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
serves 10 people

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Kimchi Lasagne

Kimchi Lasagne

Kimchi Lasagne
Made with Gluten-Free Lasagne Noodles
Creamy Spicy Cabbage Kimchi Sauce with Beef

Funky tangy kimchi makes a flavor bomb of lasagna. Kimchi’s spicy, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami, fermented flavors simmered into a creamy sauce with ground sirloin and gochugaru (Korean red chili powder) replaces the ubiquitous tomato sauce in this fusion-style lasagna.

My friends at Explore Cuisine make an extraordinary noodle for lasagna recipes. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour. These no-boil noodles soak up sauce to two-and-a-half times their size to a perfect al dente texture.

The noodles are full of plant-based pea protein, a lovely olive-green color, organic and gluten-free. They are also higher in fiber and lower in carbs than traditional lasagna noodles.

The lasagna is garnished with shilgochu (Korean chili threads), scallion, and toasted sesame seeds for a striking garnish adding texture and spice. Shilgochu are finely-sliced dried chilis that are reddish-brown in color with smoky red pepper and fruity flavors, and a medium degree of heat.

Exploding with flavor and seasoned with a secret ingredient (you’ll have to see below), this lasagna paired with makkoli (Korean rice wine) is perfect for a rainy (or snowy) winter day.

Kimchi Lasagne Recipe

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Angus Beef with Dark Chocolate Juniper Jus

Inaugural Luncheon Angus Beef with Dark Chocolate Juniper Jus

Inaugural Luncheon Part 2
Angus Beef with Dark Chocolate Juniper Jus

Earlier in the week I shared my re-creation of the First Course of the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon, held on January 20, 2017 – a day that transcended politics and celebrated the peaceful transition of power, one of the true treasures of our nation.

Inaugural Lobster and Shrimp with Saffron Sauce and Peanut Crumble
The First Course – Lobster and Shrimp, Saffron Sauce

Since 1901, The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has been responsible for the planning and execution of the swearing-in ceremonies and the luncheon for the Inauguration of the President of the United States at the U.S. Capitol.

I’m delighted to share my re-creation of The Luncheon’s Second Course below.

The Flowers
Inaugural Luncheon Flowers
Inaugural Flowers photo credit: instagram @jccic

Stunning inaugural floral design by Toulies en Fleur: Garden roses, regular roses, stock, Spray roses, calla lilies, dusty miller, silver brunia berries, and cloni ranunculus.

Inaugural Angus Beef with Dark Chocolate Cabernet Sauce
Inaugural Table Setting Re-Creation by Taste With The Eyes
The 58th Presidential Inauguration
Luncheon Menu

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Inaugural Lobster and Shrimp with Saffron Sauce and Peanut Crumble

Maine lobster and Gulf shrimp with saffron sauce and peanut crumble
Taste With The Eyes Re-Creation of the 58th Inaugural Luncheon

One of my most cherished creative outlets is to re-create historical events through food. The Abraham Lincoln Dinner at Delmonico’s on February 12, 1900; Barack Obama’s 57th Inaugural Luncheon; and Julia Child’s First Meal in France are a few examples of many of my favorite re-creations.

Inaugural Lobster and Shrimp with Saffron Sauce and Peanut Crumble
Taste With The Eyes Re-Creation of the 58th Inaugural Luncheon
A Re-Creation of the 58th Inaugural Luncheon

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Winter Citrus Chicken

Chicken with Winter Citrus, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Capers, Herbs

Winter Citrus Chicken
Chicken Thighs with Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon
Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Capers, White Wine, Herbs

Chicken with Winter Citrus, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Capers, Herbs

How much you wanna bet this is your next chicken dinner? Is there any meal more satisfying than a perfect chicken dish? Ease of preparation, striking presentation, crispy skin, bright sweet winter citrus balanced with tangy artichoke hearts, salty olives and capers. Served over healthful quinoa flavored with the irresistible pan juices…You gonna take the bet?

Winter Citrus Chicken Recipe

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Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup with Soba and Swordfish

Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup with Soba and Swordfish

Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup
Beef Broth, Buckwheat Noodles, Swordfish, Seaweed

It’s not the elegant soup I would serve at a dinner party, but rather a rustic soup I absolutely crave on a winter night. This soup is kimchi guk on steroids.

Kimchi guk is a simple Korean soup where chopped napa cabbage kimchi is simmered in beef broth. Sometimes daikon, meat, or tofu are added. It is usually garnished with scallions.

This version with ground beef, buckwheat noodles, seaweed, and swordfish is much more hearty, and served as a meal. The broth is sour, spicy, savory, salty with a hint of sweetness, and really explodes with flavor.

There are a few non-traditional foods that I like to pair with napa cabbage kimchi such as cheddar cheese, mashed potatoes, and BBQ oysters. Swordfish is another, with its mildly sweet flavor and a juicy meaty texture with a good balance of fat, it just goes well with sour and spicy kimchi.

Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup Recipe

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Risotto Milanese (saffron and bone marrow)

Risotto Milanese (saffron and bone marrow)

Risotto alla Milanese

I had been traveling for the holidays. When I came home I wanted to reward my sweet old pooch McIntosh with a bone. He loves these bones from the butcher, and with his old teeth, he does not break the bones into dangerous bits like some of our other dogs would have done. He simply gnaws and licks the bone to his heart’s content. And then he saves them in his boneyard (see below).

Risotto alla Milanese Recipe

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California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A Very California Salad
and a bit of Oregon too

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
Willamette Valley Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt
Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

A soft-ripened goat cheese accented with a line of bluish ash reminiscent of the fog often blanketing the expansive Humboldt County, California coastline is the centerpiece of this salad.

Pioneering American cheesemaker Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove conceived Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese in the early 80s in homage to cow’s milk French Morbier, with ash separating its light cakey layers.

Beets are available at California Farmers Markets year-round. And hazelnuts come from our wetter neighbor just to the north, Oregon (close enough).

Peppery arugula, earthy beets, toasty hazelnuts, and a tangy yogurt harmonize with the elegant and luscious goat cheese in this quintessential West Coast salad. A sweet-tart beet vinaigrette adds sunny notes with hints of herbs and fruit.

Arugula Flowers

Blooming in January, pretty arugula flowers come from my Southern California garden. Arugula flowers make a delightful garnish, they taste like light arugula leaves, maybe with a hint of sweetness.

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt, Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

Cypress Grove describes their cheese with flavors of buttermilk and fresh cream, complemented with floral notes, herbaceous overtones, and a clean citrus finish. As Humboldt Fog matures, the creamline develops, the flavor intensifies and the subtle tanginess grows more pronounced.

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

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Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party
Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ninety of us gathered at the Bluewater Grill at sunset in King Harbor, Redondo Beach amidst the sailboats and palm trees to celebrate the holiday season.

It was my pleasure, once again, to host our annual Rolling Hills Country Day School holiday party. With the help of fabulously creative colleagues, a super-fun theme, and a waterfront venue that exceeded expectations – this gala was another smashing success.

Guests arrived for Après Ski in ski lodge attire, presumably after a day on the slopes, as the sun was setting over the Pacific. They mingled during a cocktail hour with an open bar enhanced with an array of passed appetizers.

As the sky turned from hues of blue to shades of red, orange, violet and yellow – the DJs played a nostalgic mix of Christmas music and our favorite songs (saving those hot dance tunes for after dinner). The photo booth was a big hit as groups of skiers grabbed props to strike a pose.

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

To set the holiday mood, just before dinner, guests gathered around the “piano and fireplace” (actually the DJ booth and cocktail tables with candles) for a group sing-a-long. With lyrics in hand, everyone joined together, enthusiastically belting out White Christmas along with Bing Crosby. Dean Martin’s Let It Snow was sung in verses alternated by the guys and the gals. So fun!

Immediately after the sing-a-long guests took their seats for dinner. Waiters served the award-winning New England Clam Chowder, then table-by-table guests were invited to the buffet featuring carved-to-order prime rib roast. The meal concluded with a Dessert Station and Hot Beverage Bar brimming with whipped cream and all the accoutrements to warm a winter evening.

The night continued with general merrymaking, dancing, photo booth pics with ski lodge antics and prizes. Before leaving, guests picked up a cozy blanket and made a trip to the Hot Chocolate Bar to personalize hot cocoa to take home.

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