maxrowe

My good friend Max taught me a dinner party trick that’s sure to make everyone love you. He once brought bread dough to a dinner party of mine and then popped it into the oven when he arrived. The whole place smelled amazing, plus we had fresh bread. How brilliant is that?

Other than his bread making skills, Max is also a super talented painter. He created some Dinner Party Association inspired paintings that I just adore (that DONUT!), and wanted to share them all with you. To see more of his work and maybe order a print for your kitchen, check out his store on Society 6.

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a ramen housewarming party

For me, a house isn’t a home until my friends have tracked dirt all over my white kitchen floor and I’ve got a well stocked bar of random booze gifts. I made things official with my new home this weekend, complete with friends, beer, and dirty floors.

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I’ve been wanting to have a ramen party for the longest time, and I figured my housewarming was the PERFECT time for hot soup. Everything about planning this party was fun for me, but especially the shopping-for-asian-snacks part. I went sort of crazy in the Asian market and bought all of the snacks with interesting shapes and bright colors. Wasabi peas are probably my biggest weakness in life. That, or like, men who play instruments. Both are equally bad for me but acceptable in my early twenties (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself until my next birthday).

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I spent my Valentine’s Day party prepping and slaving over this Momofuku ramen broth. It was definitely a labor of love that involved searching the city for pork neck bones and a bacon-scented facial, but I’m still totally having dreams about that broth. Instead of BYOB, I made this party BYO ramen toppings and my friends totally brought their condiment game. They showed up with major topping winners like a dozen soft boiled eggs, fried tofu, and mung beans, PLUS other fun things like sriracha beer and salted caramels. I end the night full of noodles and very thankful.

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momofuku ramen broth
from the momofuku cookbook
makes 5 quarts

two 3X6 inch pieces of kombu
6 quarts of water
2 cups dried shiitakes, rinsed well
4 pounds free-range chicken legs
5 pounds pork neck bones
1 pound smokey bacon
1 bunch scallions
1 medium onion, cut in half
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
tarĂ© (I wasn’t able to find this, so I used part sweet soy sauce & part kosher salt)

Fill an 8-quart stock pot with 6 quarts of water and the strips of kombu. Bring to simmer over high heat and then let steep for ten minutes before removing the kombu. Add in the shiitakes, bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The mushrooms should have plumped up and are actually a super tasty, mid-soup-making snack. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon after about thirty minutes.

Heat your oven to 400. Put your pork neck bones on a baking sheet and roast them for about an hour, turning after 30 minutes. Just after you pop the pork neck bones in the oven, add the chicken legs to the stock pot let simmer. Remove the chicken for about an hour (the meat should pull away from the bones) and save the meat and bones for soups and broths. After the chicken has been removed, replace it in the pot with the roasted pork neck bones. Add in the smokey bacon and let lightly simmer for 45 minutes. Once the bacon is removed, simmer the broth for as long as you can–6-7 hours if you have it. The last 45 minutes, add the carrots, scallions, and onion for flavor.

The following part is my own spin on this broth: let the pot cool and place the whole thing in the refrigerator, bones and all. Let sit overnight until the fat forms a layer at the top. This way you can easily remove it with a spoon and discard the next day. Pour the broth into another pot over a strainer to remove the bones and spent vegetables. Season liberally–I used about 7 Tablespoons of soy sauce and and 4 Tablespoons of sea salt.

You can find plain ramen noodles (read: no seasoning packet) to add into this at Whole Foods or Asian markets. The broth will keep for a few days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.

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women & whiskies

There are few things I love more than lady friends and good whiskey.

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Big shoutout to the internet for connecting me with Kara from Willow & Niche. She runs a dinner party company here in LA and her blog is my blog’s soulmate. Kara teamed up with Women & Whiskies, a San Francisco based program out to change the idea that whiskey is a man’s drink. I joined an extremely rad group of women for a night of good bites and conversation and whiskey 101.

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Our hosts lead us through a whiskey tasting that was equal parts enlightening and delicious. I learned things like the difference between bourbon and single malt scotch and why some whiskeys are spelled without an “e” (hint: countries spelled without an “e,” like Japan and Canada, use the “whisky” spelling). We tasted four different whiskeys and paired with an amazing tasting menu from Kara. I was surprised that my favorite whiskey of the evening was the glen grant single malt scotch, which I expected to be intense but was super light and easy to drink.

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Where before I would probably have ordered a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar, I now feel totally comfortable ordering rye on the rocks. Like beer or wine, whiskeys each have their own flavors, ranging from sweet to smoky to buttery. Whiskey tasting is a new skill that I’m definitely excited to start practicing more.

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Women and whiskies has me over here with hands in the air for more girl power and whiskey. We ended the night with some old fashioned making and lots of instagram name exchanging. Cheers to lady whiskey lovers everywhere! I’ll drink to that.

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garlicky kale

Let me just be an internet hippie for two seconds, k? Mercury is in retrograde, which means that all of the things that could topple over/get lost/go wrong do just that. Last Tuesday I had my wallet stolen, got a parking ticket, and had a headlight burn out, all while I was supposed to be cleaning up my old apartment and turning in the keys. One new credit card and a few tears later, I bought myself a box of sprinkled donuts to pair with a bottle of wine and proceeded to scrub back as much of my security deposit back as possible. And while sugar plus alcohol might seem like the solution after a headache of a day, the grown up in all of us knows better.

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I’m getting back on track this week with huge green salads that are big on taste, too. This garlicky kale is a recipe we make at Whole Foods, but tweaked a bit to my liking. I find bragg’s liquid aminos to be a little bit in-your-face, so I’ve switched those out for coconut aminos (these are so addicting!). This is a good gateway kale salad for even your anti-veggie friends.

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garlicky kale

1 head of kale
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (I use these)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons garlic granules

Wash, dry, and roughly chop your kale and put into a bowl. Drizzle with tahini, coconut aminos, and lemon juice. Massage the kale with your hands until it breaks down into about half the original size. Toss with nutritional yeast and garlic granules until evenly distributed.

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fennel frond & pistachio pesto

I did it! I’m in! I moved all of my belongings from one home to another for the eighth time since leaving for college. Today I went to Salvation Army and dropped off a car load of things I just don’t need taking up my closet space any longer. My new home feels so fresh and I’m adopting more of a “waste not, want not” attitude. I’m only buying things that are either useful, or beautiful, or preferably, both.

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I’m getting down with this new no-waste idea in the kitchen, too. Remember the blood orange & roasted fennel salad I made the other day? I wasn’t sure what to do with the fennel fronds (that green furry stuff on the stems), so I ended up just tossing them. I knew there had to be tasty way to use them, so I searched and found this fennel frond pesto recipe from the New York Times. I switched out the pine nuts for pistachios and added in basil leaves and lemon juice (which I’m adding to everything since I have a lemon tree now!).

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fennel frond & pistachio pesto

3/4 cup roughly chopped fennel fronds
3/4 cup roughly chopped basil
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons pistachios
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon

Put peeled garlic cloves into a food processor or high speed blender and blend until finely chopped. Add the rest of your ingredients and pulse until the pesto has an even consistency. I like this on some cauliflower pizza crust or mixed into a balsamic dressing.

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