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Lulu’s Holiday Gift Guide

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It’s 12 days until Christmas, and I wanted to share some of my favorite things. Sometimes it’s easy to find the perfect gift for loved ones, but what about the Hostess at our annual get together? Our favorite neighbor who always drops in, or the friend who has just about everything. These gift ideas are simple and will bring some cheer to anyones holiday.



Copper has been making an appearance in a lot of my tablescapes lately. It is a simple way to make your table look sophisticated and chic. These pieces from Alchemade are amazing, and the perfect Hostess gift.



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  Alchemade Moscow Mule Mug

 Alchemade Copper Jigger Set

Alchemade Copper Straws

Alchemade Copper Ladle

 

Diptyque candles have quickly become a staple in my home. I love the unique variety of scents they offer. They are great by themselves, or you can mix and match them to make a custom scent of your own.

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Diptyque Limited Edition Set of Candle Holder Feu de Bois, 6.5 oz.

Lets not forget about your four legged family members. My three little gentleman love to hang out with me throughout the day. Oversized pillows keep them comfy and add style to any decor. Henry Bendel has great fabrics. Mixing different patterns is so chic.

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Henry Bendel Sleeping In Stripes Dog Bed

A matching Pajama set is always the coziest of gifts. Perfect for godchildren, nieces or nephews. You can’t go wrong with a matching set from Jcrew.

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Jcrew Pajamma set in plaid flannel The satchel is my go to bag. I can fit everything and anything I need for a day of entertaining. Plus when it comes in my favorite color who can resist?

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Reed Krakoff Satchel 

 SEL MAGIQUE offers a variety of products including seasonings, chocolate, and even great salts to accompany your afternoon sneeky. Makes an excellent stocking stuffer.

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 Sel Magique Brands Salt and Pepper Blend Jar, Large, 6 Ounce
Sel Magique Brands Solid Dark Chocolate, Classic Blend

 

Finding unique gifts, ones that inspire, or allow someone to be creative are always a winner. This kit from Urban Outfitters combines my love of all things SNEEKY and a diy element.

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Urban Outfitters Hella Bitter Craft Your Own Bitters Kit

My Husband Stevie invites his best bud Toni over for weekly backgammon tournaments. I can tell how much fun they are having by the amount of times they yell at each other for cheating. A backgammon set is a great way to spend the afternoon together.
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Cambor Games Designer Backgammon Set

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The Brainstorm Project

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My sister in law Leslie Danelian has been fighting stage 4 Glioblastoma since 2013, an incurable brain cancer. She has chosen to shift her focus to hope and helping find a cure! Help us fight this. Tickets are available thru  https://giving.ucla.edu/BrainstormProject

 

 

leslieUCLA Brainstorm Jan 14

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dad broccoli soup

MY DAD’S BROCCOLI SOUP

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Every Saturday my Dad would make soup. This is one of my favorite recipes of his.

Serves 6

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, minced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large bunch broccoli, trimmed and chopped
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup golden mustard seeds
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and broccoli, cover with chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the cream and stir. Transfer the soup to the bowl of a food processor and puree. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the mustard seeds and Parmesan. (If the soup seems too thick, thin it with some milk.) Reheat the soup if needed and serve hot.

Note: The mustard seed flavor becomes more pronounced as the soup sits, so you may want to make the soup a day or so in advance.

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Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Caterer with One Kings Lane

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As much as we want to whip up mouthwatering holiday meals for all our friends and family, sometimes the thought of all the planning and prep can be more than a little overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be!

We reached out to entertaining doyenne Lulu Powers (the go-to caterer for our fab co-founders, Ali Pincus and Susan Feldman) for the 411 on hiring a caterer for your holiday house party. Heed her advice, take a swig of eggnog, and you’ll wind up with a festive, stress-free bash sure to feel as stylishly personal as if you’d decorated all those gingerbread men yourself.

 

Lulu always takes a peek at what her clients have stashed in their china cabinets and sideboards, then works as many pieces into her meal service as possible.

First things first, how does someone find a caterer?
“Think about great parties you’ve been to. Ask your friends who they like. Take notes when you read about somebody online or in a magazine. Then give a few of the best a call to feel them out and see if you’ll enjoy working together.”

Are there different levels of catering depending on what your needs are?
“Definitely. You could hire someone who works as a private chef who’ll go grocery shopping and prep a meal in your place, or you can work out different staffing situations with a caterer. They could just be doing the meal, or they could be taking care of everything and bringing along a bartender. It just depends on what you want—and if they require any kind of food minimum.”

Caterers are happy to provide linens or work with what you already have, if you happen to be a fabric-phile like so many One Kings Laners.

What are some of the questions you should ask when chatting with a potential caterer on the phone?
“Who their clients are—if you don’t already know. How their costs breakdown: do they charge per guest or an overall fee. If they have their own servers or contract with a staffing company; it’s better if they bring their own people. Like, I know my guys are good, but you never know who you’re going to get with an outside company.”

What are some of the things you should come prepared to answer?
“Even if you don’t have your guest list totally set, come with a budget. You can’t really get a conversation going without it. It’s also good to have an idea of the type of food you’d like to serve and how much you want the caterer to handle for you. I do everything from flowers to food, for example, but some people just do food.”

Glass Bottles

Lulu is gaga for special touches. One of her favorite things to do is set up freshly squeezed juices and infused simple syrups alongside the alcohol on the bar.

“My whole thing is that I can make anything work anywhere. There are no rules—your caterer should be able to figure it out for you.”
—Lulu Powers

Don’t overlook chances to decorate! Even the bar deserves a festive accent or two.

Are any parties too small to be catered?
“No! I’ve done a party for two before!”

Even if she’s having a meal catered, can the host still be part of the process?
“Yes! I love setting up the host at the door and having them usher people inside, telling them, ‘We’re so glad you could come,’ and offering them a ‘sneeky’—that’s my version of a cocktail. It really just sets a warm, wonderful scene.”

What else can hosts do to make their catered event feel personal?
“Any good caterer will work with you to make your event feel superpersonal on every level. If you love chocolate, we’ll do a chocolate bar. If your favorite cocktail is a dirty martini, you can be serving those.”

So that everyone doesn’t congregate in only one spot, place bowls of snackables—nuts, olives, chips—in several strategic locations around your home.

Do caterers ever make family recipes? Since it’s the holidays, what if someone wanted you to make her grandmother’s stuffing?
“Oh, definitely! I have to say, though, I love when people say, ‘We want you to work in this recipe, but feel free to make it your own!’”

Does the host need to provide her own serving ware, or will the caterer have it?
“Some people have beautiful stuff! I’ll always take a look at people’s items and work in their pieces when I can. That’s another great way to make your event really feel like yours.”

Every holiday party needs a bit of glitz!

Thoughts on signature cocktails?
“I love them—even for a small gathering. It’s those kinds of touches that make an event feel special.”

We totally agree! Do you have any other go-to special touches?
“A welcome sign, liquor and mixers in beautiful bottles, music, candlelight—and even just having the table set before people arrive. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but thoughtful. You want it to look like you went to an effort.”

Even the simplest foods look sensational when served up in beautiful dishes.

If people want to handle their own decor, what should they be thinking about?
“Keep your serving areas—whether it’s the tablescape or the bar—in mind and make sure what you’re creating will work alongside the food and drink setup. It’s no big deal, though, if we get there and have to pull a few things off the table.”

Not only can fresh herbs season your food, but they can also double as decor.

How much time should a host be prepared for setup to take?
“I always give it three hours if it’s the first time I’ve worked with a client and don’t know their space that well.”

How about after-party breakdown?
“An hour, maybe two. Your caterer should leave it cleaner than when they got there. It should look like you didn’t even have a party!”

Lulu’s take on the common cheese plate is over-the-top and utterly delicious. wood cutting board

Should the host have anything ready for you on the day of the event?
“No dirty dishes in the sink, please! I mean, we’ll do them, but c’mon. Also, make sure your counters are cleared off. And we’ll always bring coolers, but it helps if you could have a couple shelves in your fridge free too.”

What have your favorite clients done to make them your faves?
“My favorites know how to enjoy a party and always act graciously to my staff. That’s the most important thing.”

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LuluEverything You Need to Know About Hiring a Caterer with One Kings Lane
persimmons

Persimmons straight from the tree!

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My good friend Lesley Campoy dropped by this week. She made me the most delicious persimmons bread from her tree,  which inspired me to create a persimmons signature sneeky.

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Lulu’s Persimmons Sneeky

For Puree:

2 persian cucumbers chopped

2 fuyu persimmons peeled and chopped

2 limes squeezed

1 tablespoon honey

6 basil leaves

Place all ingredients in Cuisinart and pulse.

Add 2 oz of gin to 3 oz of puree, serve over ice.

I like to use one large Ice cube and my favorite old fashioned glass.

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James Beard Persimmons Bread

  • 3½ cups sifted flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 to 2½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey
  • 2 cups persimmon puree (from about 4 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
  • 2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 2 cups raisins, or diced dried fruits (such as apricots, cranberries, or dates)

1. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper or dust with flour and tap out any excess.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Make a well in the center then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree then the nuts and raisins.

5. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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LuluPersimmons straight from the tree!
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Cousin Tina’s Pecan Pie

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My cousin Tina had my husband Stevie and I to her incredible Thanksgiving dinner. I am still dreaming about her pecan pie with fresh whipped cream. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me. I know you are going to love it like I did.
Enjoy!!!!!!

Pastry
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
Filling
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans
1 1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
1. In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

3. Heat oven to 375°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; press with times of fork or flute if desired.

4. In another medium bowl, beat all filling ingredients except pecans with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.

5. Cover edge of pastry with 2- to 3-inch-wide strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled before serving. Store in refrigerator. (I let cool completely…. and I do not refrigerate if serving that night.)

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It’s Turkey Time

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Im going to use copper, gourds, and pumpkin to accent my table this year. Candlesticks and Copper pitchers filled with tulips are a quick way to upgrade any table.


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Using Japanese eggplants and persimmons add a bit of color, and don’t forget the place cards.


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I love using my brass and wood silverware to accent my wooden chargers. It adds layer to the table.


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You can use rosemary, lavender, or wheat to on top of your napkins. Whatever you can get your hands on to add little touches make a difference.

Test out your own table scapes for the big day, and follow My Thanksgiving Countdown Cheat Sheet to make sure you have everything else prepped. Planning is the easiest way to make your Thanksgiving dinner a success.

 

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And the Oscar goes to… NPH a Dinner Party

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I had the pleasure of cooking for the 2015 Oscar Host at a small dinner party the other night. Neil  Patrick Harris  and  his partner David  Burka were in town promoting Neil’s new book.

We made it elegant and simple  by using copper;  ice buckets, trays, pitchers and bowls  (yes, obsessed with copper at the moment) down the bar along with  our “barscape” of  “rustic” cutting boards filled with cheeses and charcuterie  gourds, pumpkins  and edibles (strawberries with the stems on from Harry’s Berries from The Santa Monica ‘s Farmers market, along with grapes, figs and Persimmons.) A great way  to make the bar come to life and look fun.

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Jeff who was bar tending seemed to have made “zillions” of spicy margarita’s.  We went through about 40 limes.(20 guests)  Who knew they would be so popular.  I do love a spicy margarita.

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We also used sprigs of rosemary as part of the place setting from Alix’s garden, the hostess, my childhood friend and neighbor.  It looked gorgeous!!!

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For dinner we  made  Roasted root vegetables, Grilled miso cilantro Japanese eggplants, Citrus chicken (out of my book) Burrata adorned  with golden cherry tomatoes and roasted  beets, Roasted butternut squash with crumbled amaretti cookies, fried sage, malton salt, and ground pepper. A kale, spinach and mint salad with cashew cheese and fresh pomegranate seeds, along with my Coco Lopez Soy fresh ginger marinated skirt steak which was getting rave reviews by all.  The Steak marinade is a recipe I had actually forgotten about until a month ago when my cousin Terry called me to tell me he was a hit in the hampton’s with his skirt steak.  “How did you do it?” Well I was cleaning out my kitchen drawers and I found this recipe you faxed me. (I faxed him this marinade recipe in 2005) which is also good on chicken too.  It was made up one day with my good friend and fellow chef , Lisa Kurtzman.  Lisa and I always have fun creating in the kitchen especially after a few Sneeky’s. You cannot go wrong with this marinade.

Lisa & Lulu’s Luscious Skirt Steak Recipe

Equal amount of coco lopes to soy (3/4th cup)

1/2 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

a squeeze of a medium size lemon

2 heaping tablespoons of fresh minced ginger

2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic

mix ingredients all together

marinate skirt steak for 4 hours. the longer the better. The flavors are incredible.

PS  latest obsessions:

Classic leopard loafers  I have even been wearing with my fav gap camouflage pants from 3 years ago -who cares (it some how all goes together)62234bb1c85356835d76b3ef8c2475ad

along with this coat  which to me is classic, chic and  can throw  over any “outfit”  like my pajamas as I did in CT (running out to Starbucks as Patty P ran out of coffee) I felt like I was ready for the day with my fav cheap sunglasses an overcoat and styling shoes……….

 

 

 

#nph #copper #dinnerparty #luluontheroad #ontheroadwithlulu

 

 








 

 

 

 

 

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Diptyque Candles

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I always have candles lit in my house. I love scents and for me candles have a calming effect. I had my friends Dena Cook & Mary McDonald for an impromptu dinner last night and they both asked what the incredible smell was when they entered my house. Well it was the mixing of my two new favorite Maquis and Geranium Rosa . I like to mix scents. Using one that is floral or citrus can be complimented or toned down for an evening scent by adding a candle that has more of a woody undertone.

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Diptyque Maquis

Diptyque Geranium Rosa

 

#diptyque #ontheroadwithlulu #candles #blending

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An evening out!

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I love being invited to someone else’s house for dinner. My good friend and Stevie’s Backgammon partner Tony Williams (thank god for him) had us over for a lovely evening.

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His house is magical, called Flicker Cottage, and has a great view of the city. He had lanterns scattered about, including some in his trees. He set the table for this intimate gathering with candles, white roses, and most importantly a great bottle of champagne, but told me not to drink it all. We needed to save a cup for the chicken recipe.

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Our first course was Tonys secret salad, which he will not divulge the recipe to. My husband is obsessed with getting the recipe. It has become a running joke. Unfortunately we will probably never know the answer. Comprised of candied walnuts, cranberries, feta, and butter lettuce with an exceptional dressing. It could be award winning recipe, but no one will ever know because he chooses to keep it a secret. His champagne chicken was perfectly seasoned. He said he wanted to try a new recipe out on Stevie & I, and our house guest Tori from NY. He made it simple and elegant. Guys can entertain effortlessly.

 

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Alex Hitz’s Champagne Chicken Veronique

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 3 breasts), cut in half lengthwise

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup minced shallots

4 dozen red grapes, cut in half

¾ cup Champagne or other sparkling white wine

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1. Combine the chicken, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper in a medium-size mixing bowl and toss until all the chicken is fully coated with salt and pepper.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When the foaming has subsided, add the seasoned chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a serving platter.

3. Add the shallots to the saucepan and let them soften for 1½ to 2 minutes, without browning them. Add the grapes and let them cook with the shallots until they are just heated through, about another minute.

4. Add the champagne or sparkling wine to the saucepan. Deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula. Turn the heat to high and let the mixture cook until it is reduced by at least half.

5. Stir in the cream tarragon, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.

Tony’s Changes

Use Spring Onions instead of Shallots. Add a generous portion of extra champagne, and less salt.

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I had the pleasure of making the dessert. The simplest most delicious Queer plum cake you’ll ever have. The recipe was given to me many moons ago by my neighbors Andrea and Dave. You can substitute the plums for peaches or any other fruit. I serve this tart with vanilla ice cream.

Queer Plum Cake

½ cup Sugar

¾ stick Butter/ Margarine

1 tsp. of vanilla extract or bean paste

1 Egg

¾ cup flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. Turbinado Sugar

Cream together ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 3/4th stick butter until fluffy. Stir in 1 egg.  Add 3/4th cup of flour and pinch of salt until combined. Press into a 9” cake or tart pan. Place fruit (plums, nectarines, peaches) in a spiral pattern evenly. Sprinkle 1 tsp. Turbinado sugar on top . Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

 #tonywilliams #alexhitz #champagnechicken #queerplumcake #peaches #ontheroadwithLulu

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LuluAn evening out!