A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘CHRISTMAS’

Ginvent Calendar

In Drink on December 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Ginvent2

It’s 12.12.12, which means that we are halfway through our advent calendars. For many of us, like my four-year-old son, advent calendars look a lot like this faux chalet, below, that I got at Barneys years ago, hiding See’s foil-wrapped milk chocolates (I’m a California girl, after all) behind each door.

advent calendar barneys

 

If you’re like me, your advent calendar looks a little more exciting. It looks like the most GENIUS present you may have ever received in your life. A GINVENT CALENDAR! Last month, my friend Missy Suicide bestowed me with this inspired and splashy gift of 24 3cl bottles of top-shelf gin. Each evening after the boys have gone to bed, I’ve opened up the day’s door to discover a little splash of gin for a nightcap gin & tonic. Day One started off with a familiar favorite:

GinventHendricks

But best of all, I’ve made some fun new artisanal discoveries, as well as revisiting a couple of forgotten stalwarts. Here are Days 6-12:

ginvent6thru12

 

Can’t wait to unlock the remaining 12 as we countdown to Christmas. And for those of you still searching for that perfect gift for the gin loving lady (or gent) in your life, you can thank me—and Missy Suicide—later. First, gin up.

 

 

All I Want for Christmas: Wreath Edition

In Design, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on December 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

wreath

This is the wreath I *really* want for Christmas, and like all good things this one comes to those who wait. Moon Canyon Design‘s gorgeous designs, like the wreath above, will be on sale at the Echo Park Craft Fair on December 15 & 16. Maybe I’ll get this one below for my friend Lizzie as a special thank you for introducing me to Moon Canyon Design in the first place. Plus, I have it on good authority that Lizzie has been extra nice this year. (Which is probably how Santa Claus arranged for her to be featured in the September issue of VOGUE.)

mooncanyondesignwreath

 

In the meantime, both Lizzie and I will have to settle for the lovely boxwood wreaths we scored yesterday morning downtown at the L.A. Flower Mart. I love Lizzie’s repurposed coal bag from San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co.—perfect for toting wreaths or beer.

SFVbag

 

Here’s mine hanging in all its understated glory. Let’s not break it just yet that a replacement might be on its way…

boxwoodwreath

 

Take Me Home for the Holidays!

In Design, Food on December 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

strata

This morning my husband and I got up in the wee hours to finish baking two Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Stratas for the Larchmont Charter West bake sale, organized by my cooking club amigas Carrie and Jessica, whose children go to school to there. (An aside: It’s a little intimidating to be cooking for a school bake sale at which Suzanne Goin is also a parent, but I digress.) Carrie had asked that we decorate and label our baked goods, a small detail I’d overlooked until 11 o’clock last night. Fortunately I had a stash of paper grocery bags from Whole Foods that read “Take Me Home for the Holidays,” which I’d not previously registered until scrambling for some brown paper last night.

wholefoodsbag

I cut up the bags and wrapped them around the baking dish with some bakers twine. I’m so happy with the results, which cost nothing and are an easy, eco-friendly way to wrap holiday and hostess gifts. Added bonus, I am now officially in the Christmas spirit!

Perfect Prime Rib & Yorkies

In Food, Recipes on December 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm

We’ve just returned from a Wifi-free week in the mountains, but I wanted to get in a quick post about Christmas dinner under the wire before the New Year. Although I’ve happily eaten pretty much the same Christmas dinner every year of my life, this year the venue (but not the menu) changed! It was our first time hosting. My husband picked up a nine-pound, four-rib roast of prime dry-aged beef from Harvey Gussman at Harvey’s Guss Meats. Ladies and gentlemen, Harvey Gussman is a man who knows his way around a rib roast.

L.A.'s king of prime rib, Harvey Gussman (photo via harveygussmeat.com)

Harvey sells restaurant quality roasts, and his method for cooking is second to none. Per Harvey, take roast out of the fridge two hours before you plan to put it in the oven. Wet down two cups of kosher salt, drain the salt and then pack it on the fat side of the roast.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Put the roast in at 475 for 15 minutes, and drop heat down to 350 degrees and continue roasting for about two hours, or until meat thermometer registers 125 for medium rare. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, during which time internal temperature will rise 10 degrees.

While the roast was resting, I used the drippings to make these perfect little Yorkshire Puddings from an old favorite Gourmet recipe.

The trick is to make the batter earlier in the day to ensure that it has plenty of time to chill in the fridge before meeting its fate with the hot drippings.

These we served along with Brussels Sprouts with Fennel, Shallots and Walnuts, my grandmother’s horseradish cream and my dad’s perfect mashed potatoes. And I’m ready to do it all over again. Happy New Year’s!

And the Stockings Were Hung…

In Baby Love on December 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Notice anything different between this year’s stockings and last year’s?

I’ll give you a hint…

That’s right! Tiny G is expecting a baby brother in March so we hung a stocking for the little guy in anticipation of his arrival in the new year… (and ps, those lemon cucumber pickles from the Brentwood farmers market are the BOMB)

Happy holidays!

White Christmas Dream Drops

In Food on December 18, 2011 at 9:20 am

Imagine coming home from a day of holiday shopping and parties to find an artfully decorated plate of cookies on your doorstep. Everything about this picture is RIGHT. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that the creator of this gift also makes spectacular Halloween costumes for her kids—her son was a blueberry pancake this year and her daughter a gorgeous bouquet of flowers—and is a former Vogue editor. The most delicious cookie on the plate (and the competition was fierce) was this White Christmas Dream Drop, currently gracing the cover of Sunset magazine. (One of the best kept secrets of the West Coast isn’t the weather, but the cookie recipes from Sunset magazine.)

Honestly, I can’t stress just how delicious these peppermint white chocolate meringue puffs of goodness are. And, they’re super easy to make. First you start with a whipped bowl of frothy egg whites.

Per Christine’s advice, we scaled back on crushed peppermint candy canes by about half.

After folding in the crushed candy canes and white chocolate chips, drop meringue onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for about half an hour.

Spread the love and deliver a plate of these to your neighbor’s doorstep, though you will definitely want to hide a few for the elf that made them.

Ice, Ice Baby

In Drink, Recipes on December 5, 2011 at 9:10 am

We are officially in the holiday season having logged two parties this past weekend with four on the docket this week. The highlight of my own holiday party is a Champagne Pomegranate Punch (the most requested recipe in my arsenal). We serve it in a big punch bowl with a sliver punch ladle from my mother, and the night before I make an ice mold. What goes into the ice changes based on mood, so get creative! First you’ll need a bundt pan. Place lemon slices, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves—or really, whatever fruit and herbs suit your fancy—in bottom of pan.

Fill with water about 2/3 full as the water will expand when it freezes. Freeze overnight, and remove about 1/2 hour before serving so that it slightly melts to loosen sides.

Turn into punch bowl. The ice will slowly melt, which is a good thing considering how much white rum I sneak into that punch. Happy holidays!

Happy Christmas!

In Baby Love, Out of Town on December 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Boy meets piano karaoke machine. Mommy meets egg nog. Spiked.

Gingerbread House

In Baby Love on December 20, 2010 at 11:31 am

Yesterday Tiny G decorated his first gingerbread house—well, technically it was a bungalow (how L.A.) from Sweet GinGer House in West Hollywood. After which he met Santa Claus for the very first time and asked him for a scooter.

Party Hotline

In Drink, Food, Media on December 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

There are some girls who make it all seem so effortless. You know, the ones who log a 60-hour work week, look like supermodels and can cook for a crowd without batting a lash? I worship at the 4-inch stilettos of these women. And so, as we head into the hullabaloo that are the Christmas and New Years holidays, I checked in with three haute hostesses for their top three secrets for holiday entertaining. And, as always, I learned a new trick. My fave might be from my friend Tanya, who builds in time for a quick escape before her guests arrive. And check out how my cooking club amigas Sally and and Lulu set the scene. Read on!

Tanya Steel, award-winning Editor-in-Chief, Epicurious.com and co-author of Real Food for Healthy Kids

Because I end up cooking almost the entire meal for every holiday, there are a few ways I ensure I will not be a crazed, exhausted, stressed-out person the day of—well, only somewhat crazed, exhausted, and stressed:

I prep every single possible part of every recipe the day before.

I force, I mean, ask my children to set the table the night before.

I get up early the day of the meal, finish prepping and cooking, and then go for a walk, by myself, so I can get 45-minutes of me time.

Lulu Powers, celebrity caterer and author of Lulu Powers Food to Flowers

Cocktail Ornaments: Store cranberries in the freezer to adorn cocktails with. These frozen delights will give any gathering the holiday spirit.

Festive Details: Details as small as festive cocktail napkins can make a big impact, so be prepared for any occasion by keeping a few readily available.

Jack-of-all-Toppings: Always have a bag of Sargento Artisan Blends shredded Parmesan on hand. It is perfect on soup, pasta, salad, chicken and so much more.

Sally Horchow, Lifestyle and Trend Expert and co-author of The Art of Friendship

Be smelly! We often focus so much on festive looking & tasting decor, cocktails, and nibbles, but the olfactory sense can make the most impact. Brew some mulling spices on the stove, decorate with fragrant paperwhites, pick one candle scent to burn in bathrooms and corner tables, or bake some gingerbread cookies just before showtime.

Prep for your conversations. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by hosting and end up disappointed that you didn’t get a chance to truly connect with anyone. Looking at your guest list in advance and preparing a few things you’d like to learn and/or say can help you cut to the chase and be a more thoughtful host.

Mix stationary and passed hors d’oeuvres. It’s easy for you and fun for your guests to have a central place to gather round to eat, but giving yourself at least one hors d’oeuvre to pass gives you the perfect excuse to weave your way through the party and interact with every guest.

And what’s The Foodinista’s top trick? When in doubt, serve more wine—and then a little bit more.

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