Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dinner Party

Last time I blogged it was a beautiful afternoon and I was drinking a cup of tea. Well, it's a beautiful breezie evening and I am drinking a class of merlot. I have been cooking for the last couple of hours. We are having a dinner party on Saturday and I am doing as much ahead as possible. Our appitizer will be a flakie pastry tart with goat cheese, fresh figs, Neiman Ranch bacon pieces and drizzled with my balsamic reduction sauce. The starter will be my roasted butternut squash soup, made with squash from our garden. It is truly delicious especially if made a day or two before you wish to serve it. The soup is in the refrigerator now and I am starting on the two diffent pastries I will need for the appitizer and the dessert. The main course will be cabernet braised short ribs with a gorgonzola polenta. It is a recipe from Bon Appetit October 2007 and well worth making! I will also serve my roasted carrots with sage butter sauce, they are spectacular and there are never any left-overs! I will end the evening with my homemade pumpkin pie, the first one of the season, yipeee!! It will be a lovely evening and we are really looking foward to it. Our friends will be bringing the wine which we truly appreciate as they always bring wonderful bottles. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Afternoon

I am sitting here at my desk drinking a cup of hot tea and looking out at the beautiful cloudy sky. What a relief! Imagine, a week ago Monday it was 107 and today it's 60, yippeeee!I absolutly love fall. I love that it's dark earlier and earlier, which forces me to slow down in the evening instead of going outside to pull weeds or water my plants.I love lighting candles at dusk and playing my quiet Celtic music as I gather the ingredients for dinner.

Fall has always been my biggest inspiration when it comes to cooking. There is
something about walking into a warm home on a cold night filled with the aroma of roasting chicken or simmering soup that comforts the human spirit.

I have a wonderful memory, you know a little movie in your mind that stays with you no matter how old you are. I was in fourth grade at the time, it was late in October and I had stayed after school for my class Halloween party. The sky was dark with rain clouds and as I walked toward our house I was filled with a sense of happiness and comfort seeing the softly glowing lights shinning from the windows. We had pumpkins on the front porch and some ghostie figures in the window that my sister and I had made. I knew my mom was home waiting for me. I was excited because my sister and I were going to roast pumpkin seeds. When I opened the front door I was greeted by my mom and the wonderful smells of dinner cooking on the stove. My mother is gone now, I always think of her on days like this. I will put pumpkins on our front porch today in honor of my mother and will carry on the traditions that she started so long ago for my own children. Happy October!

We are having a dinner party on Saturday evening and I am going to make one of my favirite fall dinners. The appitzer will be a flakey pastry tart with goat cheese, fresh figs, balsamic reduction and sprinkled with Neiman Ranch bacon. Our starter will be my homemade Roasted Butternut Squash soup made with squash from my garden. The main course will be Cabernet Braised Beef Short Ribs with Gorgonzola Polenta. I will make my Roasted Sage Butter Carrots as well and for desset, my Wheat/Gluten Free Gourmet Belgium Chocolate Ding Dongs. These desserts will be in my cook book and are truly to die for. Everyone loves them even if they have no issues with wheat.

I am going in to the kitchen to start my Recipe of the Week for this Sunday, October 9th. Look for it on, it will be something you will want to serve on a rainy day!
something tremedously comforting to the human spirit when you walk into a warm home filled with the aroma of roasting chicken or simmering soup on a cold fall night.

It has always been my favorite time of year. I was so greateful when the weather changed last Friday and we had rain.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

Did you think I'd dropped off the face of the earth? So sorry, what can I say! Life is going by at warp speed and I'm just trying to keep up. I promise I will do a better job! Ok, well...we have catching up to do. Let's see, how many Recipe of the Week's ago did I last write? I think it was three...dang. Did you try the Shortcakes? They are really wonderful and actually the recipe is my scone recipe! Unlike most scone recipes this one is light and you could even say fluffy. How about the Lemon Bars, did you try those? You will be the hit of the party this Labor Day weekend if you show up with these delights. Oh my gosh, please look at the recipe for the Proscutto Wrapped Black Plums in a Balsamic Reduction with Honey Mascarpone, really fab!! Last weekend we had friends over and I didn't have any plums or proscutto so I sliced fresh figs in half, put a small dollop of the honey mascarpone on each half and then drizzled some balsamic reduction over each one. It made for an easy, elegant and delicious appitizer. By the way, the balsamic reduction is wonderful drizzled over goat cheese and even over good vanilla ice cream, I know, sounds a bit weird, but then again.... One more thing, did you try the Fresh Corn Soup with Basil Cream? Hey summer is almost over kinda, this is Southern California after all so it could last just a bit longer. Take advantage of the sweet corn we have available and make the soup, K? I just sent in the recipe for Monday, it's sort of a trailer-trashie-1970's Apricot Cake that my girlfriends and I used to make, yes, in the 70's. It's easy peasie, cheap to make and very rich, yum! In the Olden Days we served it with Cool Whip, but please do use real whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. So, if you would like any of these recipes please go to and look under web features for Recipe of the Week. I hope you enjoy some or all of them. Until next time, Erin

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Basil and Spinach Dip with Goat Cheese

My Recipe of the Week for this lovely Sunday is a dip made with fresh Basil,Spinach and Goat Cheese. I served it with toasted Pita triangles last week and everyone loved it. This week I decided to try tossing the dip with hot pasta...yum! I sprinkled the dish with fresh, chopped, flat leaf parsley and some grated parmesean cheese. There was not a smig left in the pasta pot after dinner. Dang, no left overs!

I developed a wheat free/gluten free Lemon Bar this week that is "To die for" good. What a wonderful feeling it is to experiment and have the results be fantastic the first time out. I don't know about you, but that doesn't happen to me very often. This recipe is definitly going in my cook book.

I am going to make a side dish for next Sunday's Recipe of the Week using some lovely summer vegetables and herbs.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gorgonzola Butter

Does anyone out there like Gorgonzola cheese? I love it! We had grilled steaks yesterday and I mixed equal parts room temperature butter and room temperature crumbled Gorgonzola to top the steaks with. It was delicious and so simple. I made one tablespoon of the combo per person which was ample. So, it was 1/2 tablespoon butter to 1/2 tablespoon cheese each. I used a fork to mash the butter and cheese into a paste, then put a tablespoon dollop on each of the sizzling steaks before serving. You can adjust according to steak size or personal preference. Next time I think I will add some chopped fresh parsley to the mix. I am going to experiment with this for a pasta dish as well.

I made Crock Pot Carnitas and homemade grilled tomato salsa for my son and his friends the other night...OK it was for us too. It was a huge hit and I will definitely use the meal for a Recipe of the Week. Just have to make it again and measure everything. I don't think anyone here will complain about having it for dinner again.

Please read my Recipe of the Week coming up this Sunday, July 25th as I am going to give the recipe for one of our favorite desserts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My First Blog

Hello to all of my Recipe of the Week friends at KHTS AM 1220. This is my first blog and it's very exciting in a slightly scary sort of way. I have wanted to do this for a long time and I am looking forward to having a venue in which to communicate with anyone who would like to ask questions about my recipes, share some tips of their own, or just say "Hi".

I often elaborate on the recipes I write for KHTS and am looking forward to sharing the outcome with you (If it's successful, of course).

Believe it or not, I cook almost every night of the week...I know, weird huh? I am the mother of three children who actually like eating their vegetables, with the exception of cauliflower which my son swears is evil...oh well, can't win um all. My point being, our food budget is limited and consequently I make inexpensive meals that taste pretty darn good if I do say so myself ( I promise I won't share anything that gets a thumbs down from my brutally honest family).

If you are interested in my weekly recipes please go to every Sunday, or look under Home Town Recipes on Mondays. I am on the air every Monday afternoon at 3:40 with the lovely Shelley Lee to chat about the weeks recipe.

I am a self taught cook and have had an interest in cooking since the age of 5. I started making Sunday dinners for my family in my early teens and gave my first dinner party in 11Th grade. My budding interest in food took a back seat in my late teens however as I was encouraged by my parents to "Learn how to type so you can be a secretary until you get married" know, that old chestnut. The advice from my high school career counselor was "Honey, only men are chefs, learn to type." I am convinced there was some type of conspiracy between parents and school staff in the '70's. Learning to type was not an easy task as I am dyslexic and had to take a typing class three times! Oh how I wish I had gone to culinary school, boohoo.

I did get into Food Styling in my mid twenties thanks to my friend and fabulous Food Stylist, Shellie Anderson Berger. So, I did end up in a food related business after all, life is full of surprises. I have been an assistant food stylist now for 27 years, wow, where did the time go? I count myself as one of the lucky people who get to work with women and men whom I love and bonus, they make me laugh. This is very much appreciated when you've been on your feet for 16 hours!

I started writing a food column for 661 Magazine a few years ago, sadly, the magazine is no longer in publication. In November of '09 I started writing recipes for KHTS AM1220. It's great fun and lucky me, I get to work with wonderful people there too!

My husband and I entertain often. It is one of the great joys of my life, hence the name of my blog. There is something magical about bringing people together to share good food and good conversation. The wonderful memories of these gatherings is a gift you give to your friends and family. My philosophy is, be relaxed and your guests will be too. The way to achieve this is to be as organized as possible. I will talk about this a lot in my blog and will include do-ahead and organization tips whenever possible.

Ok, I think I have gone on long enough for a first blog. I look forward to next time, Erin