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Shake it off… Lulu’s Roasted Tomato Soup

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Happy 2015 to you all.  My resolutions this year are to learn to relax , meditate (Unplug Meditation in Brentwood), and get stronger physically. I’m learning to back away from the stress and take some much deserved me time. Getting wrapped up in the craziness of life can drain you. All the worries of others, I am going to just shake it off -thank you Taylor Swift, and breathe because I love to dance and re charge.  I’ll let you know how I do.

I am a fly by the seat of your pants kind of chef.  I just see a vegetable or a spice or read something about cauliflower or a friend telling me about her cauliflower pizza crust and I am inspired .  While making some fresh mint tea in my kitchen, I looked over at these tomatoes on the vine (probably grown in a hot house somewhere ) I had and decided to make roasted tomato soup.  In my fridge I also had grapes and carrots and I always have garlic. I put them all on a pan  along with some thyme and rosemary that I picked from my  plants outside.  Added a little olive oil and roasted away.  This soup is delicious.  Please let me know if you try it.  My husband Stevie and my best friend Alison loved it.
 Lulu’s Roasted Tomato Soup
Take 2 cups vine ripe tomatoes, 2 cups carrots, 1 cup grapes, 2 garlic bulbs (cut off head), 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 sprigs thyme, lightly coat with olive oil and place on a silplat covered baking sheet. Roast for 1hr 20min at 400 degrees F.

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Take out of oven and let cool to room temperature. Place all roasted vegetables in Vitamix (squeeze garlic like a lemon to pop out roasted cloves) with 2 cups chicken broth, 1/4 cup basil, and puree.

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add 1 teaspoon of crush red pepper flakes ( if you don’t like to spicy add less), 2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Harissa Blend. Finish in Vitamix until smooth. I found this blend  of  Harissa : hot chili peppers, red peppers, and serrano peppers at an incredible kitchen  shop in San Fransisco called March.

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Tear kale leaves and rub lightly with olive oil or sometimes I spray with coconut spray. Place on Nonstick Oven Crispers (I found mine at HSN) but you can always use a pizza crisper pan. Bake at 300 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Touch it and you can see if it needs to be more crispy.  When done to your satisfaction takeout and sprinkle with salt and lemon zest.

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You can add some fresh basil and toast for a complete meal. Serve and enjoy.

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It’s all about the punch!

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Happy new year!!! It’s all about “the punch the punch the punch” thank you Meghan Trainor and The Salonniere for bringing it to my attention. Hee hee.

Making a punch is easy. You can make it in a big quantity and is a great easy sneeky for people to help themselves.

One kings lane inspired me with this punch they posted. Recipe below, as well as my recent dinner with Carrie Carr.

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8 piece punch bowl set, One Kings Lane

What’s better than a glass of champagne this New Year’s Eve? Punch, that’s what. We’re not talking about some sad sea of melted ice cubes with floating pieces of tropical fruit. Punch is back and cooler (and stronger!) than ever. This recipe, which includes champagne, is virtually guaranteed to keep your guests in good spirits, and a bowl of premixed punch lets them help themselves, meaning no endless topping off of glasses for the hostess. Think of it as having all the adult appeal of a craft cocktail minus the expense of hiring a bartender. So break out your punch bowl, mix up a batch, and prepare to field more than a few requests for the recipe.

Rosé Regent’s Punch
Serves 15-20

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 oranges
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar
  • 2 cups brewed green tea (two tea bags, steeped for five minutes)
  • 8 ounces cognac or brandy
  • 2 ounces dark rum (preferrably Jamaican)
  • 2 ounces white rum (Rhum Barbancourt or Banks 5 Island)
  • 2 ounces maraschino liqueur
  • 2 750-ml bottles brut rosé champagne
  • cranberries, orange slices, and mint for garnish

1. Peel the lemons and oranges (avoiding the white pith underneath) using a vegetable peeler. Muddle the peels and sugar together, then let sit for at least 30 minutes.

2. Make 2 cups green tea, using two tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain into the bowl with the citrus and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Juice the lemons and oranges into the mixture, stir well, and strain everything into a punch bowl, pressing the peels and pulp well to extract every drop of essence.

4. Add the cognac, rums, and maraschino to the mixture.

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two until chilled. To serve, pour into a punch bowl and gently stir in two bottles of brut rosé champagne.

6. Garnish with cranberries, orange slices, and mint.

 

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Three quick and easy ideas from my very creative friend Carrie Carr wife to Adam and mother to the cutie petutie Sweet Caroline. Oops and very proud mother of Paco, my boys (teddy, mister and Sparky’s) buddy. Note he is under the coffee table.

Carrie had us all for dinner last night. On her coffee table she had a big chunk of St Andre cheese with fig and cranberry crackers, bowls of roasted nuts, olives and sweet potato chips along with a bowl of her very own salmon “pate” and toasted pumpernickel bread. Easy and divine

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When I asked Carrie for the Salmon recipe she responded with a text”…Hey going into a massage sorry couldn’t pick up…. so smoked-salmon or whatever lox u like, dill, capers, shallot, I add a little mayo, cream cheese and mix with lemon and stir in, and then a squirt of Siracha. I get party pumpernickel and toast in oven”

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AERIN Three Heart Nesting Dishes

Carrie’s  house is beyond.  She has so many treasures and vignettes to look at. Her tablescape was a feast to the eyes.

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Ol school, plaid tablecloth, name cards, gifts for the ladies. She used a terrine and filled it with baby apples as the centerpiece. Tip: fill the terrine with paper towels or crumbled up newspaper and put apples on top then you will not need as many. She had bowls of candy which I love. Flawless.

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LuluIt’s all about the punch!

50 FOOD TRENDS YOU MUST EAT & DRINK BEFORE 2015

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Check out some of my favorite recipes featured on E!’s 50 FOOD TRENDS YOU MUST EAT & DRINK BEFORE 2015!!

 

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Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 3 tbs brown sugar (optional: 1 tbs brown sugar for topping)
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice mix
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium to large saucepan, place 3 tbs of coconut oil and 3 (yes 3) popcorn kernels.
  2. While the oil is heating up, measure out the 3 tbs brown sugar and place in a bowl.
  3. Once the popcorn kernels start to pop, add in the ⅓ cup of kernels and continuously move the pan over the heat.
  4. After about 1 to 2 minutes stir in the brown sugar, cover, and continue to move the saucepan over the heat until the kernels start to pop.
  5. Move the saucepan rapidly over the heat (be careful) holding onto the lid until the kernels stop popping.
  6. Place in large bowl, wait for it to cool a bit, and top with pumpkin spice, salt to taste, and extra brown sugar (optional). Stir.
  7. Enjoy

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Fill ice cube tray with rose petals and mint leaves on bottom, pour a thin layer of water just to cover the cranberries. Make sure they do not float to the top. Freeze. Once frozen fill tray to top and put back in the freezer. This allows your cranberries to stay at the top of the ice cube.

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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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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.

bread

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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table

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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