A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘cooking club’

How to Spice Things Up

In Drink, Recipes on February 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm


If not in the bedroom, then let’s start by heating things up in the kitchen tonight. Last night at cooking club, the theme was recreating your favorite restaurant dish. The evening requires a separate post—Mozza meatballs, tagliata and Brussels sprouts with prosciutto breadcrumbs, Akasha kale salad, Ammo lentil salad, Café des Artiste mac n cheese, Hungry Cat ceviche and chocolate bread pudding, all SO good. (And apparently a lot of us like Mozza and Hungry Cat.)

But for the purposes of romance, for igniting that flame tonight, might I suggest my friend Vanessa’s recreation of the Soho House Picante de la Casa Margarita? Vanessa notes, “There are no real directions for how much pepper/cilantro to add so you just have to experiment and see how spicy and cilantro-y you like it.”

If you know what I mean.


Makes 2 cocktails

Red jalapeño, chopped, to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, to taste

4 ounces Cazadores tequila

1 ounce agave nectar

2 ounce fresh lime juice, squeezed

In a mixing glass, muddle together chopped red chilies and cilantro leaves. Add tequila, agave and lime juice. Shake hard. Strain into two ice-filled rocks glasses.

Cookie Magic

In Food, Recipes on December 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t bake. It’s a well-known fact for regular visitors to this blog. And so you can imagine how overjoyed I was that this month’s theme for cooking club was a cookie exchange! When I think cookie perfection, immediately my friend Christine comes to mind. You may remember this plate of gorgeous cookies she left on my doorstep last Christmas. The woman has mad skills.

cookiesAnd so I took a page out of Christine’s ever pitch perfect book, and made a batch of White Christmas Dream Drops for last night’s cookie swap. They are heavenly bites of meringue, studded with white chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy canes. They are exquisite. Better yet, even I can make them and they were a hit at cooking club. Take a look at the competition:


If I can get my hands on the recipes from the other girls, I will definitely share because they were all awesome. In the meantime, here’s the recipe for the dream drops. Before starting, make sure your eggs are at room temperature and that your oven is preheated. Otherwise, they’re a snap.

White Chocolate Dream Drops

Recipe from Sunset Magazine, December 2011

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. coarsely crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a deep bowl with a mixer, using whisk attachment if you have one, just until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and salt. With motor running and mixer on high speed, pour in 1 tbsp. sugar and beat 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat until all sugar has been added. Scrape inside of bowl and beat another 15 seconds. At this point, meringue should form straight peaks when beaters are lifted. Fold in chocolate chips and 1/3 cup candies with a flexible spatula.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, using a bit of meringue at corners as glue. Using a soup spoon, drop meringue in rounded 1-tbsp. portions slightly apart onto sheets, scraping off with another spoon. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. candies.


Bake until meringues feel dry and set when touched but are still pale, 30 to 35 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through. Turn off oven, open door, and let cookies stand about 10 minutes. Let cool on pans. Store in airtight container for up to two days, though I doubt they will last that long.



Persian Cooking Club: Grape Leaves Stuffed with Lamb and Rice

In Food, Recipes on January 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

My friend Vanessa, who is half Persian, hosted this month’s cooking club—the theme for which was Persian cooking. Check out the above spread! So impressive. We’re lucky in Los Angeles in that we have great Persian restaurants thanks to a large Iranian population but as much as I enjoy the cuisine, I’d never tried my hand at it at home. There are some similarities with Greek cuisine, but I found that with the dish I chose to tackle—Dolmeh-Yeh Barg-E Mow, or stuffed grape leaves—the flavors were far different than any of its Greek counterparts I’d tried. I loved the combination of tart lime juice with sweet fresh mint, tarragon and ground lamb. The recipe below yields extra rice filling, which I used with a little feta in tortilla wraps for lunch later in the week.

DOLMEH-YEH BARG-E MOW (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 cups canned chicken broth
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 8-ounce jar grape leaves, drained

Heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until very tender, about 10 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups broth, cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer to bowl. [SIDE NOTE: THIS METHOD PRODUCED SOME OF THE MOST DELICIOUS, TENDER RICE!] Mix in tarragon, green onions, parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice. In saucepan, cook ground lamb and add to rice mixture along with tomato paste. Mix in and cool completely (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
Place grape leaves in bowl. Cover with cold water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain. Cut off stems. Arrange 1 leaf veined side up on work surface. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of rice filling onto leaf near stem end and tightly roll up filling in leaf, folding in sides and squeezing roll to pack filling.
Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Place seam side down in 2 heavy 12-inch skillets. Divide remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lime juice and 2 cups broth between skillets. Cover; simmer over medium-low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
Uncover and let rolls cool. Transfer to platter. Cover and chill. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

Setting the Scene

In Design, Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on September 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Let it be said that Carrie Carr knows how to set a table. This month for cooking club, our theme was French Fall Feast. And, while everyone will tell you how délicieux the food was, nobody could stop talking about Carrie’s table. I love the jars of purple clover.

Carrie got a bunch of Scrabble letters and racks for a song on eBay so she had enough to spell out everyone’s name in lieu of place cards. She got the dishes, which were designed by Trey Seegle, from Anthropologie. Next month, I’m hosting cooking club, which is a going to be a tough act to follow.

Cooking Club

In Food on November 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

My friend and entertainer extraordinaire Sally Horchow, pictured above right with celebrity caterer and author Lulu Powers, has written a great story about our cooking club, and it’s up online at the Los Angeles Times Magazine. I’ll let Sally do the talking, but let me just say that our cooking club is the delicious highlight of each month. Having joined earlier this year, I’m the newest member to cooking club—Sally was a founding member in 2002—and it is a true honor to break bread (and, let’s be honest, enjoy a little wine on the side) with this talented group. And the food is pretty damn good, too. Great story, Sally!

Cooking Club with Lulu Powers

In Drink, Food on April 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Earlier this week, my friend Carrie invited me to her ultra-chic cooking club hosted by Sally Horchow (above, right). The group was honoring another member, Lulu Powers (above, left), and her fabby new book, Lulu Powers Food to Flowers. Lulu is a local celebrity, having catered for everyone from Madonna to Bill Clinton. Needless to say, the woman can cook. For Wednesday night’s cooking club, the theme was “breakfast for dinner” (a well-documented favorite around our house) and we all picked a recipe out of Lulu’s book. Check out the table Sally set with newspapers for a tablecloth (a decorating tip from Lulu), oranges for place card holders and mini boxed cereals as a centerpiece. Lulu says she likes to “buy newspapers from several cities, as well as a few tabloids for fun (otherwise known as my “periodicals”)! Whenever I throw a brunch like this, I find that everyone really starts talking about world events and reading from the papers and starting friendly debates, which makes it like a morning roundtable.”

Okay, now for the food. Let’s start with Sally, who made a killer vegetable herb frittata that was the hit of the evening. A word about the photo below. Sally is standing next to a photo of her grandmother, Fay Pfeifer, who was a finalist in the Flour Division of the 1970 Pillsbury Bake Off for her Toffee Treasure Cake, which Sally describes as “more coffee cake than dessert, though made with Heath Bars – and progressive for that year because of her use of the bundt pan! She was from Little Rock, Arkansas, and every cook in my family has a book of her recipes called ‘Our FAYvorites.’ ”

Here’s a close-up of the frittata, and reason alone to buy the book.

Carrie made Lulu’s Granola for party favors plus a bowl for nibbling, and Stacy made awesome Chocolate Banana Bread with ice cream for dessert (sadly I don’t have a photo) as well Lulu’s Body Scrub made with coffee and lavender, which she put in these little canisters from Cost Plus. I’m keeping mine by our kitchen sink as it’s great for softening hands and smells divine.

As for the rest of the lineup, Sally also did Spicy English Breakfast Sausage Rolls; Alix made Green Salad with Orange Cilantro Dressing; Jess made Mini Turkey Breakfast Patties; Megan did Sugar-Crusted Raspberry Muffins; Nicky brought Cheddar and Ham Biscuits; I brought a Fruit Salad with Rosemary Syrup; and Lulu arrived with a tray of Bloody Mary fixings. Here’s a taste:

A seriously fun evening where the company was every bit as delicious as the food!