The strong flavor profile of lamb makes it something that I only want to indulge in every once in a while. However, since our fantastic lamb dish at Le Mouton Blanc on our honeymoon, I’ve decided to make it at home every so often. This recipe is very simple, and elevates the already flavorful meat just the right amount.
Ingredients: 1 frenched rack of lamb (1-2 lbs), 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp rosemary, 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 1/2 tbsp mint, 2 tbsp parsley, 1 tsp paprika, salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and season thoroughly with salt. Sear the lamb front and back, about 3 minutes per side. Place the rack of lamb on a roasting dish.
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Combine the chopped herbs, spices, garlic and remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Rub herb mixture all over the lamb until well coated. Put in oven, uncovered, and cook for 15 minutes. After the first 15 minutes cover the rack of lamb in tin foil and cook in oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit with foil covering for 10 minutes.
Cut the rack into individual pieces and serve with favorite sides.
We’ve decided to start small before jumping into the larger renovation projects for our house, and sprucing up the front entrance seemed like the natural place to start.
There were already some lovely features, such as our mail slot next to the door, so we knew it just needed a few adjustments to look complete.
We liked the idea of adding a hint of color and pattern to the blank space right above our front door, so we created a stencil with a floral pattern and mixed some old acrylic paints to get the colors we wanted.
We love the feel of autumn, and the browns of the house are complimented nicely by a seasonal rustic wreath. When searching for a wreath, we noticed that most pre-made ones were very large and heavy on fake leaves, so we created a simpler one using a variety of pieces found at our local crafts store.
A more overt reference to the autumnal season are the many squash that we put out on our front steps.
Its so much more fun to choose a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, rather than stick with the typical orange pumpkin. In the winter, these will be a welcome addition to our dinner table.
The house was already full of charm, but we love how these additions give it a personal touch. We also look forward to mixing up the look for each season.
The staple autumn flavor is typically pumpkin, but I tend to lean more towards apple flavors when thinking of autumn meals and treats. Autumn has been taking its time to arrive to Los Angeles this year, but that hasn’t stopped us from craving classic comfort meals. Recently, I decided to make some pain perdu (French toast), and paired it with warm freshly made apple compote. The weather has barely begun to crisp up, so we took our brunch outside to enjoy in the cool breeze on a weekend morning.
For the apple compote: 3 large apples peeled and cubed (I like to use 3 different kinds of apples to combine sweet, tart, and sour), 1/3 cup raw sugar, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 small sprig cinnamon, 1 tablespoon pie spice.
Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and toss to coat apples. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until apples are cooked and sugar is dissolved.
For the pain perdu: 1 baguette loaf sliced into long oval pieces, 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon pie spice, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 stick butter. Whip the eggs, milk, pie spice, and sugar in a bowl. In small batches, add the mixture to a flat plate and place pieces of bread on the plate to soak, flipping over after 2 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan and add the soaked bread in batches of 2 to 3 slices. Flip over after about 2 minutes, until bread is starting to brown. Cook the bread in batches until all pieces are done.
Serve pain perdu with a side of the apple compote, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, and maple syrup.
Now that we’ve settled into our new home, we decided to make a little moving announcement to mail out to our close friends and family. It’s a great way to let others know of your new address, while making it a little more intimate than a social media update. As previously noted, I’m a big fan of snail mail, so naturally we went the old fashioned route and decided to print and mail out little cards.
After printing a photo of our house, the contours were traced using hatching to simulate the look of engraved illustrations from 19th century newspapers. We then added text to convey our new address, and a small border before printing. The finished product is cute and personal, and was very simple to make.
Shortly before moving to our new house, I had some friends come over for a book club meeting in our apartment. It was the last time that I hosted guests in our first home together before the big move, so I wanted to keep it casual and fun, but still special. I decided to make a couple of pizzas that used homemade sauce and dough, fresh cheeses, extra flavorful vegetables, and a drizzle of spicy honey. The combinations were a little daring, but a great success.
- For the mushrooms: 2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 large minced garlic clove, 1 1/2 tbsp finely minced fresh tarragon, 1/4 cup chopped caperberries, 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp fresh oregano, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper
- For the sauce: 1 large can whole San Marzano tomatoes, 1 large thinly sliced garlic clove, 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 sprig fresh thyme, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt.
- For the dough I used the same recipe I used for garlic knots, which always works like a charm
- 1 large ball fresh mozzarella
- 1 large ball burrata
- 1 tsp minced oregano
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp ground chili
The star of this recipe is the mushroom caperberry sauté which makes the pizza incredibly flavorful. To make the sauté, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic, sauté until light brown. Add mushrooms, tarragon, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms begin to soften, then add caperberries. Continue to cook until mushrooms are cooked through and tender. Set aside to cool.
I’ve always been a fan of chunky tomato pieces in sauces, so I made a simple sauce using whole San Marzano tomatoes.
Add all of the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Gently crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon as it simmers until all tomatoes are crushed and sauce is chunky. Set aside to cool.
Once the mushrooms and sauce are ready to go, flatten out the dough using a rolling pin to make a large oval. Add the sauce, mushrooms, slices of mozzarella, and a dash of fresh oregano to the dough and bake for 20 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 380F. While the pizza is cooking, heat the honey and ground chili over low heat in a small saucepan for 3 minutes. Once the pizza is done, remove from oven and add the burrata in random chunks throughout, then drizzle spicy honey to complete.
I served the pizzas with some refreshing rosé champagne cocktails, and my friends loved the flavor combinations. I will certainly miss hosting in that apartment, but I am very excited to resume once our kitchen remodel in our new home is complete.
After an exhaustive search, and what felt like an eternity in escrow, we are pleased to announce that we are now homeowners. There is much work to be done in the coming months and years, and we will certainly miss our apartment, but it is very relieving to be able to say that we have finally found the place that we will call ours forever.
Before visiting Tiki themed bars in Los Angeles, and even at Disneyland, I admit I did not know much about Tiki cocktails outside of a traditional Mai Tai. However, once I began to learn more about the great variety of Tiki drinks, I started looking into how I can re-create some at home. I found that most of the flavors I enjoyed were due to the addition of falernum, a liqueur rumored to come from Barbados that is intricate in flavor, yet incredibly simple to make.
Although it can be found premade, falernum’s ingredients are straightforward and the process is easy enough that I decided to make my own batch at home.
Ingredients: 1/3 cup sliced almonds (raw), 40 whole cloves, 3/4 cup rum, zest of 8 limes, juice of 3 limes, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup warm water.
Instructions: add the almonds and cloves to a pan and toast over medium heat until almonds are just slightly browned. Add the almonds, cloves, lime zest, and rum to a jar then cover and shake. Let the mixture sit for two full days (one day if you don’t want it to be too potent with clove flavor – I recommend two days for the full effect).
After the two days, combine warm water and sugar in a container and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Combine the sugar water, rum mixture, and lime juice into one container and mix thoroughly. The falernum can be refrigerated for up to one month. This liqueur combined ingredients that I already had at home, and I’m excited to use it in a variety of delicious Tiki cocktails.
Since our third date together at Barnsdall Park, we quickly realized how much we enjoy picnics. It’s so nice to pack a simple lunch and lounge in one of our favorite parks on lazy weekends.
We’re lucky enough to have a great selection of parks in our neighborhood, and one of the most interesting has to be the La Brea Tar Pits. This little park is filled with shady trees, animal sculptures, and of course pools of bubbling tar – making it an incredibly unique and lovely park.
The bubbling pits are behind fences, and as long as you avoid certain coned off areas, you’re not in any danger of getting your shoes stuck.
Right next door to the tar pits is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Pavilion for Japanese Art is an architectural masterpiece that forms the perfect transition between the two properties, with its rough stone texture and tusk-like structures on the roof.
For the picnic menu we tend to stick with the three main categories: sandwiches, a type of salad, and fruits. On occasion, we pack a few extra snacks if we have them at home, but following these categories makes the prepping process fairly quick and easy. Aside from the food itself, I always pack enough beverages to keep us hydrated, a picnic blanket, and of course a good book.
One of my favorite meals from our honeymoon was a simple, straightforward, soft boiled egg breakfast. Although fairly minimal, the meal felt fanciful as we enjoyed it on a slow morning in Paris, and I instantly knew I would be recreating this meal at home.
The main piece in this meal is a just a soft boiled egg. I boiled five cups of water, brought it back down to a simmer, then added four eggs to the water and set a timer for six minutes. After running the eggs under cold water immediately after cooking, I just sliced off the top of each egg and put them into egg cups.
To scoop up the runny yolk inside the egg, I sliced up a few pieces of bread and lightly toasted them. To accompany the egg and bread, I set out a jar of delicious homemade jam and some butter. Just as we had experienced in Paris, I made coffee and squeezed a few grapefruits to make a fresh juice to complete the meal.
This leisurely breakfast was just as satisfying and decadent as we remember, and it will certainly remain a staple in our home.