Links I Love

IMG_3877I’ve had lots of these articles open in my browser for over a week, so forgive me if they are dated and you’ve already seen them, but here are some fascinating finds!

• I collect Matchboxes, so I think it would be fun to download, print, and make Julep’s matchboxes for an upcoming event — specifically the Arnold 25th Anniversary Jubilee (more on this extravaganza later!).

• Oh Happy Day has another awesome printable of a birthday candle invite or card.

• I can’t wait to try the Pioneer Woman’s new way of making twice baked potatoes!

• I was sad to learn that the beautiful store, Carrots, in SF’s Jackson Square is closing.

• A huge congrats to my friend and old Sugar colleague Melody Nazarian, who has launched her own fashion service, Snappy Style. If you need wardrobe help, she is your girl!

• Hunter Pence’s Brandon blog has me laughing out loud. Would someone please introduce me to him?

• My best friend Katie put together this short video about how her crafternoons (which I frequent) foster a wonderful sense of community.

• Lastly, check out my latest Forbes Travel Guide story on my favorite oyster spots in San Francisco.

French Onion Soup

IMG_3633Although onions aren’t as glamorous as lemons and French onion soup isn’t as refreshing as lemonade, I believe that when life gives you an excess of onions, there is only one thing to do: make French onion soup. Why? Well, it’s easy to throw together a pot and within a short amount of time, you have a rewarding bowl of cheesy, comforting, soulful soup.

I always want to make it when I’m at the cabin, but for some strange reason, my dad says that he doesn’t like French onion soup. How can a person not like French onion soup? It’s like saying you don’t like puppies!

Anyway, this is the version I’ve been making recently. The broth is extremely important as it’s the flavor base of everything. I used homemade chicken stock because that is what I normally have on hand, but I just made lamb stock and I can’t wait to try this French onion soup with it.

Since my broiler is inconveniently located underneath my oven and I have to lie on my stomach on the floor to broil anything, I toast the bread with cheese in the oven until it’s super crisp. Then I top the soup bowl with the oversized cheese crouton. Tres bon! (Was my French correct there?)

IMG_3630 French Onion Soup

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 super large onions, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup sherry
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups homemade chicken stock or beef stock
1 cup thickly grated gruyere
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
4 thick slices of sourdough bread

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and fragrant, 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and sugar and cook over fairly slow heat until the onions turn golden brown and are caramelized with a soft and melty texture, about 25 minutes.
  3. Add the sherry and deglaze the pan, scrapping up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the thyme, Worcestershire, mustard and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat an oven to 400°F (or preheat the broiler if it’s not underneath your oven).
  7. In a small bowl, or on a cutting board, combine the two cheeses with your fingers. Top each piece of sourdough with a heaping mound of grated cheese.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bread is crisply toasted and the cheese is melted, bubbly, and just beginning to brown. Alternately, broil the cheese bread for 4 – 5 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown and bubble.
  9. Ladle the soup into rustic serving bowls and top each one with a piece of cheesy bread. Enjoy immediately.

Serves 4.

My Favorite Things March 2014

IMG_3815Is a quarter of the year already over? It seems as if the days are flying by! And yet, I still find time to stop and smell the roses. I feel so blessed to be busy, happy, and hosting tons of parties. Although I have not been regularly blogging recently, it is my goal for April to do so faithfully. Here are some things that I’ve absolutely loved over the past thirty wonderful days.

IMG_3614My best gal pals! At the start of the month, eight of my favorite ladies joined me at my cabin for a weekend of good eats and fabulous wine. The best thing was the amazing company.

IMG_3747Grilling. Normally I let my dad do all of the grilling, but this spring and summer, I’ve decided to master the grill. Think girl meets grill!

IMG_3806Laura Werlin‘s cheese seminar at the Artisan Cheese Festival. It doesn’t get any better than attending a food festival in your home town! The 8th annual Artisan Cheese Festival was in Petaluma around the corner from my parents’ house. I went to Laura Werlin’s Melt! seminar where I got to taste four different dishes, two grilled cheese sandwiches and two macaroni and cheeses, and each cheese that was used as an ingredient in the various dishes. What with the wine pairings and Laura’s insightful tips, it was very cool!

IMG_3816The flower arrangements at my half birthday dinner. When I picked out pale pink roses, lavender stock, and yellow carnations at Safeway, I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to make the bouquets work. But I threw in some greenery harvested from my parents’ backyard and voila! Gorgeous arrangements I am still dreaming about.

IMG_3853Lillet-gin cocktail. I served this Martha Stewart concoction at my half birthday dinner and I’ve been making and loving it since. It’s a simple, but sublime combination of gin (I used Plymouth), Lillet, and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

Lastly, I would like to wish one of my favorite people, my little sister, a very special happy birthday! Trish cheers to another year! IMG_8032

Inspiration Gathering: SF Themed Dinner Party

IMG_0658Last weekend I was starting to worry about my self-imposed dinner party a month resolution. February was officially half over and my weekend nights for the rest of the month were quickly filling up. Plus, I wasn’t feeling inspired and couldn’t think of a fabulous reason for a dinner party.

Just when I was starting to lose hope, it hit me. An old friend (that is she and I in the photo) and New York transplant is back in town for a few weeks and has brought along her new French boyfriend. What better reason to host a dinner then a long lost friend and her fantastically foreign boy toy?!

eriinvitessI quickly threw together a Paperless Post invite and sent it off to eight dear friends. Since I’ve only got a week to put together this party, the wheels started churning: what would be the theme? The color scheme? The menu?

I’ve decided a simple and clean San Francisco-inspired party with a sea foam, navy, and merlot color palette. The menu will consist of beloved local dishes — Pizzeria Delfina’s broccoli rabe pizza and Zuni’s roast chicken to name a few. I still need to figure out all the little details, but at least the pieces are starting to fall into place. Phew!
eri