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A little DIY post I did that Jan from Poppytalk featured yesterday!  I love this blog and get a lot of inspiration from here. If you don’t  already follow…you should! Great pinterest boards as well!

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i had the pleasure of having a few very special friends come over,and the neighbors too, for a chilly saturday afternoon feast this past weekend.  creamy cheese with walnut bread, tarragon chicken pot pie, salad with fennel/ orange/ and dill, deconstructed apple pie and apple crumble with lavender. it was a lovely little afternoon.  i had so much fun throwing it together and making up recipes! my favorite part was the fact that i filled vases and the table with plants from around the house. who needs the flower mart when you have foliage in your yard! there were also lots of cute pups! all in all it was a success and i want to start doing more like this!  make your reservations! literally! an off the grid restaurant? anyone? donation only….

recipes below.

TARRAGON CHICKEN POT PIE

what you need:

chicken

leeks

shallot

garlic

carrots

potatos

tarragon

thyme

white wine

cream

chicken stock

salt and pepper

flour

butter

more flour, butter, shortening for the crust. the recipe i used you can find here. refrigerate.

shred your chicken ( i did two chicken breasts). you can do this is a pan as it cooks, roast a chicken, roast chicken breasts, buy a roast chicken, or just cube some chicken breast. the world is your oyster.

sauté one shallot in  1/2 stick of butter. and then add the leeks and garlic (chopped and cleaned).

once they have started to cook down add  1/2 cup of flour and cook until the flour looses that flour smell

add the chicken stock. about 2 1/2 cups

add 1/4 cup of dry white wine

next add the carrots and potatoes (chopped)

simmer for a bit.

add some cream for thickness. about 3 tbsps

add the 1 tbsp tarragon, 1 tsp thyme,  1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

let it thicken.

cut your dough in half. roll your dough out and place in a pie dish or casserole dish using a rolling pin. ( some pot pies don’t have a bottom crust, but isn’t that the best part?)

add the filling.

cover with the second piece of dough. adhere to the sides of the dish with a egg wash. also, brush the top with the egg wash.cut slits in the top to avoid explosion!

bake at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour or until crust is golden brown. let sit for about 20 depending on how thick your dish is.

( to be honest, i didn’t use measurements (except in the crust). i made the whole thing up after looking at a few different recipes online…do your research! i am giving you decent approximations…i think you can figure it out as you like it. you just want to make sure the filling is thick and not runny)

DECONSTRUCTED APPLE PIE with BUTTERSCOTCH

AND LAVENDER APPLE CRUMBLE

DECONSTRUCTED APPLE PIE WITH BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE

for the pie: same crust as the pot pie. recipe here

you need:

apples

brown sugar

flour

cinmamon

fresh nutmeg

lemon juice

lemon zest

salt

butter

chop the apples 4.

place in a bowl with 2 tbsps of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of salt, juice of one lemon and the zest too.

roll your dough out and place apples in center of dough. fold the sides over the apples so there is a hole in the center and the pieces overlap.

place some knobs of butter on top. brush with egg wash

bake at 375 for about 30-45 minutes.until golden.

for the butterscotch sauce i used Laura Calder’s recipe. super easy and damn damn good!

pour the butterscotch all over that apple pie.

LAVENDER APPLE CRUMBLE

i used the same apple mixture from the pie that i had leftover.

you also need:

butter

oats

brown sugar

flour

salt

slivered almonds

cooking lavender

combine the oats, brown sugar, and butter in a bowl using your hands until it becomes crumbly. best to use cold butter. i don’t measure i just eye it. but say you do 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsps of flour, pinch of salt, and 1 stick of butter.

place the apples in a baking dish. top with slivered almonds and lavender. add the crumble mixture on top. bake at 375 until golden.

oh, and don’t forget the homemade whip cream!

FENNEL SALAD

the salad is just mesclun greens topped with shaved fennel, orange slices, fresh dill…and drizzled with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. a little parmesan wouldn’t hurt either!

we also had a cheese plate with one outstanding creamy cheese that i can’t remember the name of. but i got it at cookbook along with the walnut bread, and the best dates i have ever had! (they also have raw milk there that is sooooo good. it’s what milk should taste like!) i added some cornichons and green olives to the platter!

Zach brought a french Sauvignon that was so delicious and went perfectly with the cheese and pot pie! …and i am drinking the leftovers now!

it is sunday. and that usually means brunch. at home or at a restaurant. breakfast is one of my favorites, and the weekend gives you the excuse to enjoy it in a chair not on the run!

here are a few treats i have made over the last few weeks.

1. chipotle breakfast quesadilla. inspired by a bobby flay recipe. (check out a shoot i did with him last year here. ) add some chipotle powder, garlic, bacon, and salt and pepper to some hash browns. add some cheese to a tortilla and and egg on top! yum!

2. beans.eggs.and toast.i mean, how can you go wrong? add some salt,pepper,cumin, garlic powder, and cream to a can of pinto beans on the stove. grill a piece of bread and top with the beans and an egg! done.

3. gluten free pancakes. i used bob’s red mill gluten free pancake mix. i added sour cream to make ’em moist. ( i hate that word). i topped it with a simple butterscotch sauce! good lord. oh, and just a dab of whip cream.

4. campari and prosecco. i added orange juice and simple syrup to cut the bitterness of the campari. and a lemon ice cube. inspired by my trip to italy last year…i am missing that trip like crazy.

i think i am going to make some eggs and beans now. happy sunday!!!!!

Yesterday, I went for a visit to see some of my old neighbors from when I lived over in Little Armenia.  My old upstairs neighbors just had a baby boy named,Luca. So precious! It was so familiar to park in my old space and walk the same path to the old door, as though it was still my apartment. I missed living there.

After some time with the baby, we went over to see the older Armenian couple, Sarkas and Alice, that live next door. And when I mean next door, I mean directly next door, like almost on top of each other next door.  If I opened the lovely french doors that lead out onto the patio I was always most certain to encounter Sarkas, tending to his garden and fig trees.  They were just about the nicest, most generous people I have met in LA.  They always showered us with figs, kumquats, dandelion greens, tomatoes, Armenian cookies, and homemade yogurt. A invite for Armenian coffee was given at least once a week.  I have to admit I didn’t take them up on those visits as much as I wished I would have.  Sarkas, once told me that we Americans always kept to ourselves unlike that of the culture he was raised in.  He lived in Syria and Lebanon and knows 4 or 5 languages. They moved to LA in the 70’s to give their children a better life. He worked as a refrigerator repair man and his wife a preschool teacher. Their son is now a doctor and their daughter a lawyer. I so much admire their ambition to leave their home and move to a foreign country to raise their children for success…all while maintaining their traditions and culture. I love hearing their stories and they love to tell me how to cook things and what to eat and where to buy it.  It is these encounters I love the most and they are the ones that remind me of the beauty of simplicity in life, hard work, and appreciation. Not longing for a new dress or handbag, but cherishing the smallest of things.

Essentially, they have been gardening, canning, curing, and making homemade goodies waaayyy before it was cool or trendy. They wouldn’t even know what trendy was.  And they were also doing this in LA, between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, on a very small plot of land, their front yard.  I came home yesterday with  a plethora of green goodies.  They gave me thyme that looks like rosemary (he said it comes from Lebanon), some greens that taste even more bitter than arugula (also something they brought from Lebanon), two plants of the thyme to start my own in my herb garden, and some dried mint and thyme they made themselves.  I felt like I won the lottery. These gifts are precious.  They also told me how to make my own yogurt (a future project) and suggested boiling rosemary just until the water changes color for a winter tea! Needless to say, the visit left me feeling happy and inspired. I feel lucky to have lived there and gotten to spend time with some wonderful people. I need to stop by more often!

I am also super anxious to start gardening again…now I have just the incentive!

I went for a visit to San Diego a few days ago and to see some old friends. My old roomie, Helene, and her husband Preston have a great little craftsman house  in the area of South Park. They have been working hard redoing their garage and some airstream trailers and then renting them both out on air bnb. I was so impressed with all the work they have put into it and wanted to share!

The redone garage also has an optional outdoor shower…for rinsing off the sand from all that surfing.

Below are some great photos of their backyard. So many nooks and crannies to admire.

This bench pictured above is one of Helene’s next projects. I brought the foam down for her from LA so she could cover it and use it on top of a bench she built! Look how cute Wylie is!

They also have an airstream trailer in their driveway for rent on air b&b as well as doubling as an occasional pop up shop. A cute little nugget of a trailer.

Helene and Preston’s 3rd baby! Helene put me to work in this gem, helping with some insulation work. I am glad to have gotten my hands dirty and to be a part of the renovation! Can’t wait till it is done!