Saturday, August 9, 2014


We are smack in the middle of rosé season aka summer. 

For those of you that feel confused about rosé, let me see if I can explain: rosé is made from an array of purple-skinned grape varietals (you know, the ones you already love so much, IE Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, etc) but instead of leaving the skins of the grapes in contact with the wine for a long period of time, the winemakers separate the skins from the grape juice after only 1 to 3 days (before the start of fermentation) leaving the juice very lightly kissed with color. 

You really can't deny the affordability of rosé paired along with a growing trend amongst winemakers who are actually making rosé wine with true intention versus it being an afterthought when they are attempting to make red wine. Over the past nine years, rosé has continued to grow at an exponential rate. Just last year, the sales on imported rosé increased 39% over the prior year here in the United States. The numbers don't lie. 

Here are my top picks when shopping for rosé this summer >>> 

<< 2013 Chateau Miraval / Provence, France ($25) >>
Grapes:  Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle, Syrah

Yeah yeah, it's owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but wait, I promise it's the real deal. Wine Spectator blew everyone away when it awarded the 2012 vintage with a 90 point rating - one of the highest ever given to a rosé. For those of you not familiar with how the grading scale works, 90 points means the wine was "outstanding" on a scale of 1-100. And outstanding it is, with a wonderful balance of power and elegance and a perfectly floral nose.  You will find that is there bright minerality on the finish and notes of strawberry and rose petal. 

<< 2013 Liquid Farm / Happy Canyon,  Santa Barbara, California ($24) >>
Grapes : Mourvedre, Grenache 

This winery just started making wine a few years back in 2009. The winemakers call it "pink crack" for its highly addictive qualities. This rosé is bone dry and earth-driven with notes of purple basil, fresh gardenia, orange rind, and pomegranate. Very food friendly. 

<< 2013 Red Car / Sonoma Coast, California ($24) >>
Grape: Pinot Noir 

This wine has a delicate nose laced with floral notes and watermelon. The finish is bone dry and the overall flavor notes are packed with tangerine oil, pink grapefruit, and bing cherries. We enjoyed this wine at brunch a few weeks back and it was a major crowd pleaser - bright, refreshing, and delicious. 

<< 2013 Vivier / Sonoma Coast, California ($19) >>
Grape: Pinot Noir 
I loved this note about the label from the winery: The label depicts a famed 1906 balloon race over the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. Picnickers gathered in the garden and diners filled the neighborhood terraces, eager to watch the launch of this inaugural overseas race. It’s a perfect moment of joy and anticipation—exactly how you should feel when you enjoy a fine rosé. The wine has notes of apricot, raspberry, and pear with a strong flinty finish. 

<< 2013 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs / Sonoma Coast, California ($18) >>
Grape: Pinot Noir

With notes of white peach, rose hips, and grapefruit this wine is filled with scents of summertime. Renowned winemaker, Paul Hobbs launched his 2nd brand, Crossbarn, in 2000 with the goal of making approachable wines for a younger generation of budget-concious wine drinkers. 

<< 2013 La Spinetta / Tuscany, Italy ($17) >>
Grapes: Sangiovese, Prugnolo Gentile

I am obsessed with this rosé. This is only the second vintage of this particular wine and it is so completely outrageous. The winemaker allows for only 1 hour of grape skin contact which makes the finished wine such a stunningly pale peach color. Super full and crisp, it has notes of mint, grapefruit, and orange peel with strong minerality on the finish. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Things I'm loving this week >>>

I just picked up case of this Rose by Liquid Farm and the producers weren't kidding when they called it "pink crack"! It's rated 90 points (right up there with one of my other favorites, Miraval) with notes of purple basil, pomegranate, orange rind, fresh gardenia, meaty earthiness, fleur de sel. Blend is 95% mourvedre and 5% grenache.
($22.95 per bottle via Woodland Hills Wine Company)

Brass-Capped Mason Jars via Anthropologie ($20-32)
Perfect for kitchen storage and richer in feel than standard jars. 

White Handled Italian Berti Knives via Food 52 Provisions ($185-300)
The absolute chicest knives. like ever. 

I-Scream Vase via Jonathan Adler ($68)

Fennel Pollen via Spice Ace ($19.99 per oz)
"If angels sprinkled a spice from their wings, this would be it."- Peggy K. / Saveur Mag

Clear Bureau Pitcher with Glass via The Little Market ($68)
Handblown in Mexico and would be the most lovely addition to any bedroom nightstand

Gallus Dessert Plates via Anthropologie ($14 each, set of 8)
I am head over heals for these whimsy chicken plates from artist Holly Frean.

Neckless Moss Apron via Hedley & Bennett ($98)
I just got this apron and the "neckless" part is everything - it features a criss cross back which solves the ever-irritating neck-strap-riding-up-over-your-chef-jacket-or-collared-shirt issue. 

Geo Metal Trivet Trio via CB2 ($19.99)
You've never seen hot plates that look THIS good. 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Homemade Almond Milk

Being the lactose intolerant gal that I am, I really pick and choose where I want to cheat and have some dairy. For everyday use, I skip the milk and half and half and lean towards using almond milk. 

No store bought almond milk will ever top the kind you can make in your own kitchen.  I like to make mine thick and creamy so it's perfect for using in my morning coffee or adding to a smoothie. 

My fav smoothie as of lately >>> Almond Milk, Banana, Dates, Kale, & Ice 

You can determine the thickness of the milk by altering the amount of filtered water that you add to the soaked almonds during the blending process. Additionally, you can sweeten the almond milk in a number of ways, my go-to method is with some dates and a drizzle of honey. I also add fresh vanilla bean and a pinch of flake sea salt to round out the flavor. 

Homemade almond milk is best consumed within 3 days so making it in small batches is best. 

Almond Milk
makes 2 cups  

1 cup raw almonds
2 cups filtered water
2 large dates
half of 1 vanilla bean
1 tsp honey
pinch of sea salt 

1. Soak almonds for 24-36 hours in water.  Once soaked, drain water. 
2. Add soaked almonds to blender with 2 cups of water and rest of ingredients.
3. Blend until smooth. Using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, drain well. 
4. Store milk in refrigerator. Shake before using. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cheese & Charcuterie Perfection

I am very excited to share that I recently contributed to Martha Stewart Weddings as their culinary expert on creating crowd-pleasing cheese and charcuterie displays. 

Check out my 6 Steps for Curating a Delicious Display HERE.

 I also wanted to shared some images from our recent nuptials when I worked with the team at Big Sur Bakery and lovely Lolo of Burst of Bloom to create an 8 foot long display for our wedding guests to nosh on during cocktail hour. 

Instead of normal appetizer plates I bought glazed terra-cotta plant saucers (you know, the ones used for garden pots) to use as plates and some giant raw wood boards from West Elm as a base for displaying the cheese and charcuterie. I displayed an entire frame of fresh honeycomb next to the cheese so that guests could scrap wild sage honey directly onto their plates; we had some local bees stop by and help themselves to the comb just as the wedding was getting started.  My dad contributed to the charcuterie display with some of his homemade lonzino (also known as lomo in Spain). 

The overall vibe was Spanish bodega meets California coastal: we used all stemless bodega-style wine glasses for our guests and farmwood tables and wine barrels throughout the property to bring it all together. 

Photos by the uber talented Evynn LeValley.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

H&H Collective

Some of you may have heard that I've been developing a line of linen cocktail napkins. My partner in this exciting new endeavor is the one and only Lydia Howerton (of Apples and Onions LA) and after working together in the kitchen over the past couple of years we decided it was finally time for another type of collaboration. Soon after, H&H Collective was born. For more on the how the story of how we got started, click HERE.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Potato Kale Gratin

Summer is filled with color and bright beautiful salads which we gladly eat on a daily basis in celebration of all the stunning produce that is available during these warm, sunshine-filled months. 

So when it finally drizzled for the first time in Los Angeles in over 6 months, it was the perfect chance to make something a little bit more cozy to serve with dinner. What keeps this gratin recipe still feeling like summer is the sautéed kale that is stuffed in between every layer.

First the question of what type of kale to use? My favorite for sautéing and braising is Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur Kale, Cavolo Nero, Palm Tree Kale, or Tuscan Kale). It is my favorite as far as overall taste and texture - it is slightly sweeter and a bit more delicate than curly kale. 

Now, how to pick the potatoes? You can use any potatoes but I tend to favor Yukon Golds (and I leave the skins on) when I make gratins.  Yukon Golds have a medium-starch level and they keep their shape while also absorbing liquid simultaneously and texturally, they have a natural "creaminess" that I really love. But you can, of course, use Russets, or any other potatoes you have on hand. 

Now, for the decision on what cheese to use!  This is where spending a little extra moolah can really enhance the overall outcome of your gratin. Buy a really good cave-aged gruyere cheese and also some Parmigiano-Reggiano. If those aren't an option, get a really sharp, aged white cheddar or manchego cheese. 

Potato Kale Gratin
makes 3 individual portions 

1 large bunch Nacinato Kale
3 large Yukon Gold Potatoes (or 6 small)
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream (you won't need all of it)
9 oz Gruyere 
3 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp Aleppo Pepper (or 1/2 tsp red chili flakes)
1 Lemon, zested and juiced 
1 Shallot, sliced very thin
1 Tbsp Olive Oil 
Kosher Salt, to taste 
Cracked Pepper, to taste 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees,
2. Wash the kale and chiffonade. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan. Add the lemon zest, aleppo pepper, and shallot. Sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add kale and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 3 minutes until softened, but still holding texture. Remove from heat. 
3. Wash potatoes and leave skin on. Using a madoline, slice very thin. Shred cheeses and set those aside.
4. Start layering everything in your oven-safe baking dishes. First a layer of potatoes. Then sprinkle of salt and pepper, then cheese, then sautéed kale, and then repeat until you get to the top of the dish with the final layer being cheese. Then take the heavy cream and pour slowly over the top just until you start to see it come up the sides - not all the way to the top. 
5. Bake until golden brown and bubbly - about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the baking dishes.  Let rest for 5 minutes after pulling from the oven. Enjoy! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sea Salt Caramel

This stuff is liquid gold. 

Drizzle it on brownies or grilled summer peaches or your favorite vanilla bean ice cream. 

Sea Salt Caramel 

1 cup sugar 
6 Tbsp salted butter 
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp good sea salt 

1. Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously.
2. Sugar will eventually melt into a thick dark amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir it. 
3. Once it is totally melted and caramelized to your liking (be careful not to burn it) you can immediately add the butter. It will bubble rapidly but just keep stirring for approx 2-3 minutes. 
4.  Slowly add the heavy cream. It will also bubble rapidly. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minutes and then remove from heat. Stir in sea salt until melted. Allow to cool. 
5. The caramel will store for 3 weeks in your fridge in a jar. Heat up in microwave or on stove top before using.