lemony pea crostinis

Smashed pea crostinis have been my go-to appetizer lately. I love anything that can turn the ordinary until something fancy. Throw some bubbles into water and you’ve got sparkling water. Add milk to coffee and aha, a latté. Spread anything onto toasted bread, and there you have it, a crostini.

I made these little guys for a fresh dinner in LA and then again at our DPA reunion in New York. They’re a simple crowd pleaser that can be dressed up with some good olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, or edible flowers (when you’re feeling extra fancy).

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lemony pea crostinis

2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 glove of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Himalayan sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 sourdough baguette, sliced and toasted
edible flowers (optional)

Add peas, garlic, and parsley to a pan on medium heat. Cook until simmering, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a blender or food processor. Add in olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Blend until coarsely mixed, but not a puree. Remove from blender and stir in sea salt and black pepper to taste. Spread on a toasted baguette, adding edible flowers if the garden mood suits you.

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a dinner party reunion in new york

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The Dinner Party Association started as a small group of ladies in a dining room in Iowa. Some of us were friends and some of us were strangers, all of us seniors in college and about to go do big things in the world. We were living that scary and exciting piece of time right before you jump into the real world–the first time in any of our lives that the plan wasn’t laid out ahead of us. We shared a meal and our thoughts and fears on the future. We all came from different circles–we are artists, athletes, musicians, lawyers, business ladies, and a lot of things in between.
We became fast friends, hosted more dinner parties, and helped each other through some hard times. We all graduated and moved to Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, Des Moines. I started a blog about it and started throwing more parties of my own.

And here we are. Two years later.

Up until last weekend, I hadn’t seen any of those girls since moving to California. I think about them often–what they’re doing and how they’re doing, where they’re living and if they’re loving it. It just so happened that three of the original dinner party ladies all live within a few blocks in Brooklyn now, so I bought a ticket and flew out for dinner.

Having dinner with everyone again felt so great and surreal. We cooked everything at my friend Mari’s apartment and then walked a few blocks to Lindsay and Alex’s place, carrying dishes of lemony smashed pea crostinis, roasted cod with tomatoes and artichoke hearts, brussels sprouts with caramelized onions, and balsamic strawberries over vanilla ice cream. There were a few new faces and lots of new excitement, with news about careers and grad school and cross country moves. I felt proud of everyone, including myself. We’ve managed to keep a community, no matter how far we’ve moved or how much we’ve changed. I’m excited to see where we meet next and who joins us along the way. Until next time, DPA.

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new york city: what I ate

I visited New York for the first time this weekend with two goals in mind: throw a dinner party and taste a bunch of amazing food. I’ll tell you more about the dinner party soon, but first! All of the delicious things in NYC.

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I had most of an evening to explore and dine alone after arriving, so I took the subway to Brooklyn and found a French cafe called Mominette. They had a garden tucked in the back with twinkly lights and Bocce ball, and I tucked myself in a corner and ordered the oysters and rosé. It got dark and I got a cappuccino and felt very alive. I mosied on over to Miles for a glass of wine and then met my friend at Pearl’s for a whiskey ginger before heading off to sleep. Noted: the city was still very much awake– New Yorkers stay up later than Angelinos.

My favorite meals in New York were at restaurants suggested by locals. Pizza is a thing there, so my friend Mari and I went to Roberta’s on my last night for pizza and wine. I loved their hip space and backyard bar–it was very dive-meets-delicious. We had an eggplant and sungold tomato pizza and tried the carrots with chantarelles at the waiter’s suggestion (which I completely loved). Another local suggestion was Jack’s Wife Freda, where I caught up with an old friend over brunch. The shakshuka eggs were as tasty as they are gorgeous, and paired beautifully with the bloody mary and watermelon juice (pictured below).

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After brunch my friend and I headed to Gasoline Alley Coffee to walk off our challah. I have a huge crush on the little cafes in SoHo and NoHo. There are spots in the city where you could pick one of about a million places and get something really amazing to eat. Another example of this: Smorgasburg. This Brooklyn flea food market has everything you want to taste. I spent hours there trying Mofongo, oysters, bloody marys, lumpia, and boiled peanuts. Try the Swedish coffee bar, Konditori, for a great cup of joe to energize you for the Williamsburg Smorgasburg.

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One of my best friends and food experts in LA told me I had to try Momofuku Milk Bar, which of course turned out to be incredible. My friend and I tried the cereal milk soft serve (served with crispy corn flakes) and the crack pie, which totally took me back to my college days having cereal for dinner and making honey cream pie for a housewarming party.

It was beginning to feel like fall in New York, and I was really thankful to feel some weather. I spent Saturday afternoon eating a chocolate ice cream cone at Odd Fellow’s Ice Cream Co and watching it rain outside, which are two of my favorite things. Also, see that toast? It’s covered in goat cheese and drizzled with truffle honey. Yes, I said truffle honey. It’s created by the guys at The Truffleist, and I’m not arguing–it was amazingly truffly.

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summer bucket list, revisited

Hi guys! Remember when summer was just starting? And I wrote a list of all of the summery stuff I wanted to do? I took that list pretty seriously, because summer is important. Getting sun on your shoulders, drinking all of the beer and cold brew coffee, eating ice cream cones…it’s what life’s about.

I rode a ferris wheel, went to Malibu, rocked hot pink lipstick. I drank gallons of iced coffee, bought a butterfly at Gold Bug, and saw fireworks.

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I watched Indiana Jones at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and watched a sunset at the Yamashiro Farmers Market. I drank wine will listening to jazz on the lawn at LACMA (twice) and cooled off with lots of ice cream.

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I had dim sum in Little Tokyo, brewed and tasted beer, made and ate kimchi. I went home to Indiana, ate a cheeseburger in Michigan, and found beach glass on the lake.

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I’m ending with a bang with a trip to New York City. Remember Mari, Lindsay, and Alex? They’ve all moved from Iowa to Brooklyn, and we’re having a Dinner Party Association reunion. Follow my Instagram for a DPA play by play, and check back for a party post next week!

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cocktail party inspiration

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I do most of my entertaining in a tiny studio (more on that soon), where my couch and thrifted dining chairs get a lot of use. My parties usually flood from the kitchen out into my living room, so having enough proper seating is important. Someday I’ll have a bigger space to fill with all of the pretty chairs, but for now, it’s flea market and pinterest dreams for this girl.

When the stylish team over at Chairish asked me to create an inspiration board around one of their accent chairs, my choice was obvious. Mid-century, teak, and pink, this Danish lounge chair is something I could definitely see in my space. I think it would fit in perfectly with my pink cocktail cart and gold walls in my powder room. This chair makes me want to throw on a pair of Swedish hasbeen clogs and drink a flowery cocktail from one of these gold highball glasses.

Do you have a piece that makes you want to party? Some pretty plates that inspire your dishes? Tell me about it in the comments!

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