“Spanish Influence” Chilled Soup: Fire-Roasted Chiles, Marcona Almond, Amontillado Sherry

Cold Fire-Roasted Chile Soup
“Spanish Influence” Chilled Soup
with
Fire-Roasted Chiles, Marcona Almond, Amontillado Sherry
Fried Tortilla, Roasted Corn, Bay Shrimp, Cilantro, Almond Oil

The chilled chile & almond soup has been a favorite around here for over a decade – a star of a cold soup that’s hot, smoky, and nutty. If fact, I entered it in a contest at the Los Angeles County Fair years ago, and it won second place. I’ve updated the soup recipe, now using fat luscious Spanish Marcona almonds and Spanish Amontillado sherry that has a whisper of sweetness. The basic soup can be simply garnished with a drizzle of Mexican crema and a few cilantro leaves. Or for entertaining, go all out and add sweet bay shrimp, roasted corn, freshly fried corn tortilla strips, chopped Marcona almonds, and a splash of toasted almond oil – your guests will surely be delighted.

“Spanish Influence” Chilled Soup
with Fire-Roasted Chiles, Marcona Almond, Amontillado Sherry RECIPE

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Holiday Fare: Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream
Wilted Butter Lettuce and Generous Shaving of Pink-Veined Italian White Truffle

ITALIAN WHITE TRUFFLE

White truffles are very perishable and very delicate with an intense perfume reminiscent of earth, garlic, shallot and grana cheese. This gem arrived just a few days before our holiday party from my friends at Gourmet Attitude in NYC.

I wrapped the truffle in a paper towel and refrigerated it, in a large glass jar with fresh eggs. My house guests were treated to a special breakfast the morning after our party – poached eggs intensely flavored with truffle! The musky aromas penetrate through the egg shells, and after a simple 3 minute poaching… et voilà heavenly truffle eggs! The tip I learned from the truffle experts at Gourmet Attitude – to eschew standard wisdom and never store truffles in rice as it will dry them out. Store them with fresh eggs and extend the party into the next day.

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream was the first course in our 5-course holiday dinner earlier this week. Champagne/Truffles/Scallops – a fantastic way to begin an elegant holiday feast.

Holiday Table

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Roasted Broccolini Soup, Creme Fraiche, Meyer Lemon

Roasted Broccolini Soup, Creme Fraiche, Meyer Lemon
Roasted Broccolini Soup, Creme Fraiche, Meyer Lemon
Grana Padano Black Pepper Cheese Straws

It’s holiday party time! And when old friends from the restaurant industry get together, there is bound to be a feast. This year was no exception. We started cooking together around 5 pm, and the party and multiple courses lasted well into the night. Today I’m sharing the soup course… be sure to stop by here for more recipes from this over-the-top meal!

menu

cheese platter

pan-seared sea scallops, champagne truffle cream,
wilted butter lettuce, pink-veined italian white truffle

roasted broccolini soup, creme fraiche, meyer lemon,
grana padano black pepper cheese straws

rack of lamb, mint agave vinegar

brussels sprouts, pancetta, balsamic

mushroom risotto with white truffle

pavlova, lemon curd, berries and pomegranate arils

wines

schramsberg mirabelle brut rosé nv

roederer estate brut rosé nv

purple angel carmenere 2010

villa antinori chianti classico riserva 2010

e. guigal châteauneuf du pape 2007

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A “Down Under” BBQ & Blueberry Limoncello Pavlova

blueberry pavlova recipe

PAVLOVA
Blueberry, Lemon Curd with Limoncello, Greek Yogurt

Gidday Mates! This past weekend we celebrated our friend Chip’s birthday, as well as my new BBQ grill with a “Down Under” Party. The idea started with “shrimp on the barbie” and grew from there with Australian wines, beers, and ports, grilled lamb steaks, grilled corn, grilled bread, salads, cheeses, and more. And of course there had to be the quintessential dessert, Australia’s beloved Pavlova. And being us, we had to put booze in the pavlova. Limoncello to be exact. We do love our themed dinner parties.

In this simple but beautiful blueberry limoncello pavlova, the sweet meringue dissolves on the tongue, the lively lemon curd spiked with limoncello adds a surprisingly zippy note which is balanced by the tart yogurt and the heavenly fresh blueberries that pop in the mouth. Could it have been too elegant for our outback party?

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Ideas for Personalizing Mother’s Day

Mother's Day Table Setting

I’m thrilled to be a contributing columnist for our local paper Random Lengths News, which covers the Harbor Area of Los Angeles, where I write about food and entertaining.The following is the column I wrote for Mother’s Day.

Personalizing Mother’s Day

It’s no secret that Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for U.S. restaurants. Take mom out for a nice meal, give her the day off from cooking and cleaning, what a treat! But if you would like to make the day festive and personal, try these tips for “Making Mother’s Day Special” starting her day by fixing breakfast or brunch. And {hint} you can still take her out for dinner!

brunch strata

Prepare a fresh and easy brunch that is on the healthier side. The menu includes a light egg & cheese strata, fresh fruit parfait, with juice, and coffee or tea. The strata provides a delightful savory element, while the parfait adds a sweet note.

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The Passover Table is Covered with Frogs!

passover table setting

The Passover Seder Table is not simply a place to tell the story of the Exodus and to eat dinner. The Table is symbolic in and of itself. It is a place where memories are made and traditions are taught. It is where we gather with family and friends, and newcomers too, to celebrate our freedoms.

passover table setting

The vibrancy and beauty of the Table reflect our gratitude to God for taking us from slavery to freedom, from sadness to happiness, from pain to joy, from darkness to light. Fresh flower arrangements that mirror this year’s bright ORCHID & LIME color scheme make the table especially spring-like and festive as we celebrate the bounty, joy, and beauty of the season.

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