my side-yard garden boxes

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perfect spring gift

pansy petit fours 3 pansy petit fours 2 pansy petit fours

Just shipped overnight to my grandmother: candied pansy petit fours from Valerie Confections. Beautiful.


dollar daffodils

DSC_0030Cheering up on the cheap!


rainy day veggie pot pies

IMG_3281Nothing says comfort food like savory pot pies. These individual vegetarian versions stay warm for about an hour after baking and look impressive all puffed up – always a crowd pleaser at my house.

Best Veggie Pot Pies

Makes 6 individual crocks 

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 sweet or yellow onion, diced

12 sage leaves

5 tbsp. butter

4 cups frozen mixed vegetables

4 tbsp. flour (I use gluten free, but whatever)

4 tbsp. cold water

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

salt & pepper

1 package frozen puff pastry (Dufour is delish, but the inexpensive stuff from Trader Joe’s works well too)

Thaw puff pastry (takes about 45 mins on the counter).  Preheat oven to 425ºF.  Place crocks on baking sheet/tray. Gently unfold pastry, delicately stretch with lightly floured hands so that you can cut 6 squares that will completely cover the top of each crock.  Set aside.  In a large stock pot combine sweet potato, onion, sage, and butter.  Cook on medium heat until sweet potatoes are tender.  Add frozen vegetables and cook until thawed, about a minute.  Add broth.  In a small bowl combine flour and water with a couple tablespoons of the cooking broth and add this mixture to your pot.  Simmer and stir occasionally until the broth thickens to a gravy.  Season with salt and pepper and ladle the contents of the pot into individual crocks filling each crock 3/4 full. Top each crock with a puff pastry square, taking care to pinch the pastry around the lid so it doesn’t collapse during baking.  Carefully place the tray of crocks in oven; bake for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is puffed and browned to your liking.  I like to use convection to ensure the pastries are evenly browned. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes; contents will be extremely hot and the pies will stay warm for about an hour.

simple life


world’s greatest sandwich

world'sgreatestsandwichFor lunch, from Town & Country: this sandwich “claims a good quarter of the business poolside at the Cabana Café, where one may add avocado to create one of the finest California club sandwiches ever served: three pieces of toasted white from La Brea Bakery, turkey breast from Willie Bird in Sonoma, applewood-smoked bacon from Hobbs’ Smoked Meats in the Bay Area, local Bibb lettuce and tomatoes, a slice or two of gruyère, and a light aioli for moisture, the entirety of which is cut into quarters and secured with frilled toothpicks or bamboo skewers. Enjoy with pickle, chips, fries, salad, fruit, or onion rings; Coke or iced tea; a copy of Variety; and pure California sunshine.”

college tour


California living


green gold

avocadotheftSerious about our avocados. Photo via Panoramio.

goop’s healthy L.A. takeout

mouthwatering options from this week’s goop mag:


1. Ammo—Turkey Burger. 
Hands-down delicious, from the brioche bun to the grilled corn.

2. Café Gratitude—Kale Salad w/Kimchi.
It’s hard to go wrong at this vegan spot: The hummus is really good, too.

3. Sugarfish—Trust Me.
As its name implies, you should do exactly that (there’s also a Trust Me Lite, for those who can’t down a whole box of sashimi and rolls for lunch). Getting a table usually requires a crazy long wait, but their sushi holds up for takeout. A new location just opened on La Brea.)

4. M Café—Bi-Bim Bop with Salmon (the Grilled Tuna Burger and the M Chopped Salad are great, too).
It’s a mini-chain (a new outpost just opened in Brentwood), but everything here tastes hand-crafted.

5. Inaka—The Inaka Plate.
This perfectly composed meal is essentially macrobiotic Japanese food, and it’s insanely good—though it changes a bit from day to day (depending on what’s in season), you’ll find brown rice, sea veggies, greens, and root vegetables.

6. Mao’s Kitchen—Tofu Lettuce Cups.
It can be hard to find healthy Chinese food, but Mao’s is exactly that: When they say no MSG, they mean it.

7. Tender Greens—Chinese Chicken Salad.
This is a chain, it’s true, but that takes nothing away from this particularly good salad.

8. Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese—Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich.
Pretty much everything here is delicious, in no small part due to a genius trick: They drizzle the bread with olive oil and balsamic before they assemble the sandwich.

9. The Ivy—Grilled Fresh Vegetable Salad w/Shrimp.
At $29, this is no joke—but it’s a delicious and special treat.

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