quesadillas florales

quesadillas florales

edible flowers and herbs harvested from my garden this morning

rose, geranium, lavender, day lily, marigold, mint


Once again I turn to John Sedlar for inspiration. After a most enchanting lunch at his restaurant Rivera in downtown Los Angeles, we fell head-over-heels for his Modern Southwest Cuisine. The chef serves tortillas florales with “indian butter,” a spread made from avocado. Here, I take his idea to embed flowers into the masa and make decorated quesadillas filled with brie.

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Apricot Wonton Ravioli, Chile Crème Anglaise

Fried Wonton Packages filled with Dried Apricot, Apricot Preserves, Mascarpone
Chile Crème Anglaise, Pinenuts, Mint

Project Food Blog

Challenge #3: Luxury Dinner Party

Challenge Prompt: Celebrate! You’ve made it this far, and the next challenge is to hold a party for your friends and family. Whether you’re an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative and host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes and exotic flavors.

We served Apricot Wonton Ravioli, Chile Creme Anglaise at our Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest. I hope you have a chance to stop by and enjoy the party! Votes may be cast now through Oct. 7th. If you are a fan of Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest, please vote here! Muchas Gracias!

Apricot Wonton Ravioli

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Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest

Are you free this evening? We would be delighted if you could join us at our Luxury Dinner Party – Modern Southwest. The party begins with “Cava on the Lawn.” We’ve moved some furniture out to the side yard, so get comfortable because tonight promises a gorgeous sunset and a meal lovingly prepared to surprise and delight your tastebuds. Relax, enjoy each other’s company, mi casa es su casa!

A brilliant meal we enjoyed a couple weeks ago at Chef John Sedlar’s Rivera Restaurant in downtown LA got us crazy-excited to cook in his style. He is the master of Modern Southwest Cuisine; a blend of Spanish, Mexican, Native-American and Anglo-American food married with the technique of nouvelle French cooking. It is an exciting vibrant cuisine with countless possibilities for the imaginative cook.

The Wine List

We’ve chosen stellar Spanish wines to accompany our Modern Southwest dinner. A sparkling Cava to enjoy “on the lawn,” a refreshing white Albariño, a voluptuous red Garnacha (superb with the brisket), and we finish the evening with a caramel-y Oloroso Sherry. Spanish wines are a terrific value, all these selections were under $25/bottle.

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Ladrillo de Brisket, Modern Southwest Style

Ladrillo de Brisket, Modern Southwest Style
Rioja Chipolte Agave Black Bean Sauce

Smoked Wagyu Brisket @ Laurelhurst

Kirk ordered the 12 Hour-Smoked Wagyu Brisket/Ozark BBQ Sauce pictured right there behind the Grilled Romaine with Romesco at Laurelhurst Market, the exciting new steakhouse inspired brasserie in Portland, Oregon. I have been making brisket for years, but it never occurred to me to cut in any other way than against the grain, into long slices. Here at Laurelhurst was the inspiration for future brisket presentations – serve the brisket as a brick, leave the slicing and shredding to the diner!

Duck “Enfrijolada” with Poached Organic Egg @ Rivera

Another inspiration came from Chef John Sedlar’s Rivera Restaurant in downtown LA. We had a most delightful experience there a couple weeks ago. Our server mentioned that the duck sauce ingredients included chiles, piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar), black beans, and Spanish red wine reduction…it had just a hint of sweetness and a hint of smoky spiciness – a combination of flavors that was bound to be perfect with brisket at our upcoming Modern Southwest dinner party.

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Good Idea: Aji de Gallina Salad

Aji de Gallina Salad
Key Lime Cumin Vinaigrette

What to do with flavorful left-over ingredients from the Classic Peruvian dish Aji de Gallina? Ingredients such as sliced chicken breast, aji de gallina sauce, hard-boiled quail egg, walnut, alphonso olive, shaved Parmesan, aji amarillo pepper, and diced potato? Add butter lettuce and a key lime cumin vinaigrette to make a fabulous Peruvian salad!

Aji de Gallina Salad. It is just perfect for dinner during this record setting heat wave upon us here in Southern California. To prepare this composed salad, arrange butter lettuce on a plate, top with the chilled left-over ingredients from the aji de gallina dish. Drizzle key lime cumin vinaigrette over entire salad. Spoon aji mayonnaise over the chicken breast. Garnish with thinly sliced aji amarillo pepper and chopped parsley.

Key Lime Cumin Vinaigrette
Combine one part fresh key lime juice with 3 parts olive oil in a small jar.
Add a minced shallot, about 1/4 t. ground cumin, salt & pepper to taste.
Shake well.

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Classic Peruvian: Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina

sliced chicken breast plus shredded chicken meat
a creamy aji pepper sauce
white rice/ boiled potatoes
alphonso olives/ hard boiled quail eggs/ walnuts/ grated parmesan


the classic peruvian chicken dish, aji de gallina
alphonso olives/ the national drink, the pisco sour/ alfajores cookies/
hot condiments – aji amarillo paste, thinly sliced marinated aji peppers, and rocoto paste

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