Back in August we had a most memorable meal at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinese Restaurant WP24. One of the many noteworthy side dishes was called “Hunan Spicy Eggplant, Roasted Shishito Peppers, Chili, Crisp Garlic.” Wanting to serve something similar at a recent dinner party but having no recipe, I decided to create my own interpretation of Wolfgang’s excellent side dish. It was a hit.
uss abraham lincoln cvn-72
nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
commissioned november 1989
docked in the port of los angeles
For five days I could see the “island” of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln from my kitchen window. An aircraft carrier’s “island” is the command center for flight-deck operations, as well as the ship as a whole. The island is about 150 feet tall, but it’s only 20 feet wide at the base, so it won’t take up too much space on the flight deck. The top of the island is outfitted with an array of radar and communications antennas.
She is a jaw-dropping sight – at 1092 ft. (over 3 football fields long), 252 ft. wide, weighing 100,000 tons, she accommodates approximately 70 aircraft. She is powered by two nuclear reactors which enable her to operate continuously 20 years without refueling. Her life span is an estimated 50 years. The USS Abraham Lincoln is the first aircraft carrier to be docked in the Port of Los Angeles in more than 20 years. Her visit here is the inspiration for my dish, featuring NAVY beans…
Lively, crisp, and vinegary – spicy pickled cucumber & wakame is a perfect summer accompaniment that offers a refreshing counterpoint to grilled meat, poultry or fish. Crunchy Japanese cucumber, fiery serrano chile, and briny silky wakame combine to make a cool & spicy restorative hot weather side dish.
Come stroll though my garden and the gardens of my dear friends Gail and Sally, and my sweet neighbor Grace. We’ll pick edible flowers including lavender, rose, geranium, society garlic blossoms, viola, nasturtium, and pineapple sage to incorporate into a most beautiful four course meal. The soup, salad, entree, and dessert, as well as the table décor, showcase our edible flowers.
Caprese Verrine with Heirloom Tomato Gelée, Burrata Cheese, Olive Oil, Basil
Camembert with Edible Flower Wine Gelée
Espresso Gelée with Coffee Liqueur Cream
Entertain with Gelée!
Another dinner party at Lori Lynn’s, but this one starts off differently…my friends join me in the kitchen as we film the first ever video for Taste With The Eyes. On the menu is a gorgeous Camembert Cheese decorated with Edible Flower Wine Gelée to be served with grilled bread as an appetizer. Our Sunken City Supper Club signature amuse bouche, the Caprese Verrine, kicks off the dinner as a vibrant 2 oz. bite. And for dessert, we serve a petite 3 oz. Espresso Gelée topped with Coffee Liqueur Cream.
All three gelée incarnations are perfect for entertaining with their enigmatic texture, the shimmering gelatin captures the essence of the flavor and melts in the mouth. They are easy to prepare, easy on the pocketbook, and feature a unique presentation that is certain to delight. They’re most likely not something your guests are preparing every day at home…
I couldn’t wait to start this project. We had a blast making the video! With my dearest friends encouraging me while we filmed the video, sipping Champagne, they gave their best advice: Fix your bangs! Look at the camera! Don’t look at the camera! Talk slower! Talk faster! Smile! CUT! This was a riot! And the dishes, they speak for themselves.
After the final cut Chip asks, “Can I taste it?”
How to Make Squash Blossom Tortillas
The response to my quesadillas florales post last Sunday (here) has been overwhelming! Thank you so much for your kind words and enthusiasm! I thought I would show another variation of tortillas florales, by using a flor de calabasa (squash blossom). In addition to being quite pretty, the blossom does add a nice hint of squash flavor to the tortillas.
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.
SUNKEN CITY SUPPER CLUB
FRESH, LOCAL & (not so) SECRET (anymore)
The Lusty Month of May: Springtime Jazz Feast
Our Sunken City Supper Club events feature live music, and awesome location, and a five course fixed menu plus a our signature amuse bouche and unique sherry courses.
The Sunken City Supper Club is a fresh, local and (not so) secret place to seasonally mingle with friends and neighbors – to enjoy the camaraderie, great food, wine, the awesome intimate jazz standards performed by local musicians Barry Anthony and Bill Ryan. We hold one event per season, and the menu always reflects seasonal ingredients.
Gail’s Meyer Lemon Tree (upper left) and Violas (lower right)
We’ll be hosting another one of our Sunken City Supper Club events soon, so my friend Gail and I have been busy in our “test kitchen” creating an exciting springtime menu. The Sunken City Supper Club is a fresh, local and secret place to seasonally mingle with friends and neighbors – to enjoy the camaraderie, great food, wine, the awesome intimate jazz standards (and perhaps a little dancing too) performed by local musicians Barry Anthony and Bill Ryan. We hold one event per season, and the menu always reflects seasonal ingredients.
The first absolute winner from our test kitchen is this gorgeous salad! The Meyer lemons are sliced thin, the entire fruit is edible, including the thin, soft, smooth rind. The violas, also known as Johnny Jump-ups, add beauty and a lovely mild pea flavor. It is imperative that we test every dish, not only for taste, but also to make sure we can prepare and serve the 5 courses to 24 people in a timely manner.