Book Club and Babies (Or I Get Over Myself)

Yesterday I hosted book club… at my place.

That may not sound earth-shattering, but you must understand that I used to revel in hosting friends for a variety of reasons. From my first Friendsgiving of 15+ people to Easter for 24, I’ve always loved cooking for the people in my life.

In my twenties, those gatherings generally involved people sitting on folding chairs with paper plates on their laps while my deaf Cocker Spaniel wandered around the room foraging for fallen food.

Brady was my first rescue, and one of the great loves of my life. He helped me grow up, and he made me a better, more loving human.

I hate photos

He also tolerated my hugs.

As time has gone by, most of my friends have moved out of small apartments into homes with yards, and eating dinner off of paper plates on their laps has become less appealing. I’ve been hesitant to host since I feel like I don’t have as much room as many of my friends.

Sure, I have proper plates and an adult dining room table now, but the real estate problem was a lingering issue for me. I got over myself, however, and invited my book club besties to my place.

We had such a lovely afternoon of snacks, heartfelt sharing, and engaging conversation!

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Plus my friends brought me flowers! #likeduh

George also helped me make my bed before my friends and their babies arrived.

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Okay, maybe “helped” is a generous description.

I had to kick him off the bed to finish the job, but he’s so cute I forgave him for being useless at domestic chores.

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The Professor’s Party (Or Albus and I Threw a Halloween Party)

Professor Albus Dumbledore and I threw a Halloween party yesterday.

He even had a friend of his own in attendance.

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Miss Olive Piggie made an appearance.

She stayed in her costume a lot longer than Albus, however.

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This photo was taken about 15 seconds later.

There were many failed attempts to put the costume back on him. We even tried bribery with beef sticks to get him to hold still, but it was all in vain.

He just didn’t want to be a shark.

Despite my failure to dress my dog in a festive ensemble, everything else went well. It was lovely to catch up with human friends I haven’t seen in ages, and the treats were a success.

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The persimmon and mozzarella apps were devoured.

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And so was the pumpkin shaped bleu cheese ball.

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I do have a bit of skull carrot cake left.

So I’m pawning it off on neighbors.

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We even had evil wine.

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And mini pumpkins in the hallway.

I may keep this situation up through November if the pumpkins last. It has a nice non-creepy fall feel to it.

If they wither and die soon, it will give me the perfect excuse to set up for Christmas early, though….

The Sky is Falling (Or It Rained for a Minute)

It hasn’t rained in LA since May, but I woke up to precipitation this morning.

I mean, it didn’t legit-midwestern-thunderstorm rain — it LA misted for a minute and then stopped, but any sort of precipitation is cause for celebration (and car accidents) in SoCal.

The gray skies and cooler temperatures have me fantasizing about fall… and my macabre cake pan.

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Who doesn’t want a slice of skull cake?

It would go perfectly with this ice bucket I need from Pottery Barn.

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It is everything. (source)

These festive skeletons make me want to throw a Halloween party…

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Or recline in a tub of beer. (source)

Either one sounds good.

 

 

L-O-V-E (Or Fabulous Online Finds)

 

I fell in love online today.

See?

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Just look at those lines! (source)

It would be SO perfect with monogrammed pillows I ordered from Joss & Main.

Perfection (source)

Can you IMAGINE? (source)

The only problem?

This guy doesn't bathe regularly.

This guy sleeps on my couch… and he pees on his own feet.

He’s my favorite living creature, so I have to take him (and his pee feet) into consideration even if my design heart breaks a little each time.

So… I didn’t order the couch… and I died a little inside.

I did order these gilded creatures in an attempt to assuage my grief, though.

I can't wait to throw a party with these! (source)

The angry hippo is my favorite. (source)

They make me want to plan a party.

So does the frozen rose in my freezer.

More on that later….

XOXO

 

Nectarine and Burrata Salad (Or Friday I’m in Love)

Yesterday I decided to walk to the grocery store and stock up my (new) refrigerator since I actually live in my own apartment again.

I might have looked like a high end homeless person sporting a Prada bag while pushing my laundry cart full of wine, roses, and nectarines down Hollywood Blvd, but whatever. I was multitasking by getting exercise and groceries at the same time.

Today I made a nectarine and burrata salad with mint, arugula, and pickled onions from yesterday’s haul.

See?

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You should come over for lunch.

I don’t think the onions had time to pickle properly otherwise the recipe was pretty flawless. Next time I make it I will soak them in vinegar and sugar ahead of time and toss them with the peaches at the last minute.

If you want to make it, you can find it on epicurious here.

Happy Weekend!

 

Hark A Shark and Noah’s Ark (Or I Attend Another Baby Shower)

If someone asks me what I’m doing this weekend there’s a good chance the answer will be,
“Rewriting my script,” “Folding fitted sheets,” or “Attending another baby shower.”

Now, before you get offended, I’m not saying these things are the same. Though they’re all improved by a mimosa bar, the truth is they don’t have much else in common.

I actually love baby showers, and I’ve been to so many in the last three years it’s rare I don’t win the trivia challenges about human gestation, breast feeding, and dilation — or the guess-the-size-of-the-belly-with-string game because REALLY I’ve been to THAT many.

I love my friends.

They’re gorgeous… and prolific… and honestly?

Who doesn’t love creating a good gift basket filled with books and onesies? I know I do.

So here’s my latest.

It’s a shark/pirate combo involving Peter Spier’s Noah’s Ark, The Cat in the Hat’s Hark a Shark, and a mostly gender neutral onesie for the surprise baby arriving August 21.

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Books, bows, and jammies for pirate babies.

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The headless shark onesie was not supposed to be creepy, but it might be. #oops

Oh, and  in case you’re wondering… that is my new table. It’s mahogany — and looking at it almost makes me feel like an adult. Or something…

Aye, Aye, mates!

 

 

Taste Testers and My Easterelle App (Or Mint, Leek, and Pea Puree in Parmesan Crisp Cups)

OK, one more Easterelle post and then I’ll get back to the Taco Bell fiesta discussion.

In addition to the inside out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes I told you about yesterday, I also made two appetizers for our Easter beach soiree because I’m an over-achiever like that.

I did end up making the melon with mint and prosciutto app (recipe here) because it’s easy and it involves pig. (You absolutely can’t do Easter without pig. I mean, that’s the whole point of Jesus coming to earth. He died so I can eat bacon. Duh!)

OK, maybe not really, but ANYWAY.

I also made a mint, leek, and pea puree and put it in parmesan crisp cups because it just sounded good and Easter-y to me. (I also liked that both apps involved mint. I like overlapping ingredients for cost-saving and menu coherence purposes.)

I was still suffering from the lingering effects of my nuclear germ assault at the time, so I had to call in the reinforcements to test the recipe because I couldn’t taste ANYTHING.

Luckily, I had plans to watch the Michigan Spring Game with my friend Mike the day before, so I made him try the app to tell me if it was a mess. He’s a really good cook, and he’s honest with me when I screw things up in the kitchen, which I appreciate. You can’t have a taste tester who is too “nice” to tell you when there’s too much mayo in the deviled eggs and whatnot because it’s just not nice to serve things that suck. I do NOT need a bunch of sycophants patting me on the head and telling me I’m marvelous when my food actually isn’t amazing. (What is the point of THAT?!?)

So anyway, the app passed the Mike test, and then it totally passed the test at Easterelle Day too.  People DEVOURED it at the picnic.

Along with all of our other great food.

Along with all of our other great food.

My crew knows how to rock a beach picnic. For real.

And here’s a close up of the pea puree situation in case you’re wondering what pea puree looks like.

Boom!

Leek and pea puree in parmesan cups.

SO parmy and cute, right?

I’m planning a few picnics for May and June, and I think I may make these again.

I’m totally looking forward to being able to taste them next time too!

Here’s how I made them just in case you wanna…

Leek and Pea Puree with Mint
Serves 12

2 T Olive Oil, divided
2 Leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 C Water
1 C Frozen Peas
1/4 C Grated Parmesan
20 Mint Leaves, 12 reserved for garnish
Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium. Add leek and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add water and reduce heat to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more water by 1 T, if necessary, if the pan becomes dry and the leek isn’t soft yet. Cook until the water evaporates.

Meanwhile, blanch the peas in boiling water for 3 minutes, or until still bright green but softened. Strain the peas and add them to the leeks and stir.

Transfer peas and leeks to a food processor. Add remaining 1 T of olive oil and pulse until coarse. Add the parmesan and mint and pulse again. The mixture should remain a little chunky.

Parmesan Cups

3 C Freshly Grated Parmesan
Non Stick Olive Oil Spray

Preheat oven to 350. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray.

Put 1/4 C scoop-fulls of parmesan onto the parchment paper. Pat the piles down a little so the parm is evenly distributed. It will spread, so make sure you leave enough space between the piles. (You will need to do this in batches or use two baking sheets.)

Bake for 3-5 minutes or until bubbling. Remove baking sheet from oven. Allow discs to cool slightly before placing them into the muffin tin.

Assembly

Scoop the pea puree into the parmesan cups, garnish with mint leaves and fresh cracked pepper.

Devour.

And now I will leave you with this song I’m crushing on while writing. It’s “Pink Medicine” By Bearson. Consider it my gift to you today. It was my medicine while I was sick. I looooooove it.

OK, I’m off to make Paleo Porn’s Beef Brisket for my dinner party tonight.

Yee haw, brisket, ya’ll!

#texasforever