December 19, 2014

Smoked Salmon Dip

Since we made vegetarian mains for our Christmas dinner, I wanted to make sure people's inner carnivores were satisfied with some savory appetizers. One of my friends made the never-failing bacon wrapped dates and I made this yummy Smoked Salmon dip with creme fraiche, creamcheese, dill, and caramelized shallots. You can tell it sounds good just from the ingredients that go into it. I served it with pita crackers from Trader Joe's but I think bagel chips would have been a great way to echo a classic brunch standby of lox and bagels!



That sums up our delicious and fun Christmas party dinner menu but I have plenty more to share before your holiday meals hit! Best of all, I'm about to share the winning dessert post of 2014. Get excited!

December 18, 2014

Basil Tequila Sour and Pomegranate Moscow Mules

We had amazing cocktails at our Christmas party thanks to our mixologist friend. They were even Christmas-colored with a bright, lime green for the Basil Tequila Sour and a deep, ruby red for the Pomegranate Moscow Mule. Both were really, really good but I love my tequila and I love sour, so Coleman's original concoction was a personal favorite. I've made it twice more since last Friday and I think it's my new go-to, weeknight cocktail. 



Coleman's Tequila Sour 
  • Tequila
  • Lemon Juice
  • Fresh Basil
  • Powdered Sugar
In cocktail strainer, muddle ~5 or 6 fresh basil leaves with ~0.5 oz of tequila. Add ice, 2 oz tequila, 2oz lemon juice and 1.5 tablespoons of powdered sugar.  Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.

Photo from: http://www.chow.com/recipes/31059-basil-mezcal-sour



Happy drinking! 

December 15, 2014

Butternut Squash Kale Florentine Lasagna and Butterscotch Budino

We had a lovely Christmas party this weekend and it was all because of our amazing friends who came. The conversation was flowing, the fresh cocktails being made by our bartender friend were amazing, and the love was practically palpable. We love our community of friends in Los Angeles and count it one of the greatest blessings of life!

The food was good, but it was a backdrop to the people. I made two lasagnas. The first was a green lasagna I made a few years ago. This time around, I think because I cooked it in a bigger tray (11x14"), the noodles didn't have enough liquid to cook and the bottom layer got completely burnt. But the flavor was still there and I'm convinced it's because of the homemade pesto! 

The second lasagna was a Squash and Kale Floretine Lasagna. I used three bags of pre cut butternut squash at Trader Joe's, cut them into 1/2" pieces, and doubled the herbs and spices. The lasagna came out PERFECT. It was light and flavorful and we didn't end up missing meat in the entree at all. 



Of course, we had to end on a strong note (that first, burnt lasagna haunts my sleep still...I have hostess's remorse!) and we did. We made Nancy Silverton's Butterscotch Budino. I was tempted to make Gjelina's Pot de Creme again because it's my favorite dessert of all time but I thought I'd "branch out" and try the Mozza version (both of which are in my Top 3 restaurants in LA). This was one more custard-y and creamy than Gjelina's, and decidedly less of a favorite, but it was also easier. And the homemade salted caramel sauce was perfect. I think I'll be using this recipe from now on. I doubled the recipe for the custard but kept the salted caramel recipe the same (and there was plenty of the sauce leftover).



Tomorrow, I'll share about the appetizers and drinks we made for the party! Hopefully you can use some of these for your upcoming Christmas and New Year's meals :) 

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