Globe Artichoke in Spicy Tomato Broth
Garlic, Capers, Chiles de Arboles, Croutons
Artichoke Heart Crostini
Tomato, Garlic, Capers, Chiles de Arboles
Steamed artichoke served with a ramekin each of drawn butter and mayonnaise is so 70’s. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s a delicious classic pairing after all. I remember my date, his name was Jeff, teaching me how to eat an artichoke. The year was 1978 at The Chart House in Aspen, Colorado. He showed me how to pull the outermost petals and dip them in the melted butter. How to scrape the meat from each petal with my bottom teeth. Slow, methodical, sensual. Fast forward 34 years, I’m still a fan of artichokes, but alas, not so much a fan of saturated fat accompaniments…
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The Gratitude Tree
After a decade of sharing our Thanksgiving gratitude on place-cards, we have a spiffy new ambassador for sharing our thankfulness! It’s a Gratitude Tree. In the past, we would put a place-card and pen on the table at every setting. During the beginning of the meal everyone was encouraged to write their sentiments on the card. We saved these cards year after year so each guest could reflect on past years’ appreciation.
This year everyone gets a personalized paper leaf on which they can express their gratitude. Then after dinner, the leaves are hung on the tree. Guests can read and share tributes throughout the week. We’ll save the leaves, which will re-appear on the tree in years to come…as our tree blooms with an abundance of joy, thankfulness, and gratefulness.
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“Truffle Heaven” Crostini
Fresh French Black Winter Truffle, Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffle Oil
with Shiitake and Frisée
A framed description of our “black diamond” is placed on the buffet.
This one ounce beauty is from Gourmet Attitude, importer of fresh truffles and fine truffle products in New York City. It is a good year for truffles, ours hails from the Village of Grignan in the South of France. The subterranean treasure was located by three female yellow Labrador retrievers with a family in its fourth generation of truffle hunting. I was told that dogs are preferred over pigs to hunt truffles nowadays, for one reason, it’s difficult to get a pig in and out of the car! Also, apparently the pig’s love for truffles is as ardent as ours, so she simply cannot stop herself from eating the $85/oz. delicacy. Dogs are much more obedient!
The black winter truffle is available December through March. This Fresh Black Winter Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini) has in intense perfume with a bouquet of wet forest, humus, chocolate, and a hint of hazelnut. Our guests are surely in for a treat!
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Three Holiday Crostini Served with Bubbly:
Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffled Shiitake, Truffled Frisee
Cambozola, Cranberry Orange Relish, Walnut
Foie Gras Paté
Spicy Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche
Garnished with Toasted Coconut, Chopped Cashews, Dried Pomegranate Arils
Bejeweled Endive Christmas Salad
Radish, Shallot, Basil, Fresh Pomegranate Seed
Creamy Champagne Thyme Vinaigrette
Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive, Garlic
Meyer Lemon Cream Fraiche “Gravy”
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts with Hollandaise
Warm Chocolate Lava Cake
Peppermint Chip Ice Cream
A few days before Christmas I hosted A Foodie Christmas Dinner Party for my friends. Everyone was to bring a dish and wine. I had said that I would be making Cornish game hen and the rest of the menu was open. Without any formal planning, the menu evolved and the dinner turned out fabulous! My only direction was to let the cooks know what menu category was available. Since we are foodie friends that have been cooking together for years, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the random menu items complemented each other perfectly.
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toasted french baguette
mashed mayocoba beans with rosemary
chopped fresh baby spinach/ sesame rice wine vinaigrette
savory sautéed mushrooms/ roasted hatch chiles
Here is an über-flavorful appetizer certain to appeal to all of your guests: gourmet, cholesterol-conscious, vegan/vegetarian, and meat-eaters alike. It’s a creamy mayocoba bean mash with fresh rosemary, tender baby spinach dressed with a slightly sweet and toasty vinaigrette, meaty mushrooms, and smoky medium-hot chiles all layered atop sliced toasted baguette.
The inspiration for this crostini came from a favorite salad: Grilled King Trumpets & Shishito Peppers on Rosemary Skewers over Spinach and Roasted Soybeans. The combination of flavors and textures in the salad is extraordinary. Here, similar ingredients are terrific together arranged on slices of toast.
The Hatch Chile Festival is coming up on September 4th and 5th in Hatch, New Mexico, the “Chile Capital of the World.” Fresh Hatch chiles are only available for a limited time at our local market here in LA, and since we can’t attend the festival, we’ll be stocking up! Roasted chiles can be frozen and enjoyed throughout the year. Our first dish of Hatch chile season is Ultimate Crostini.
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