Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category



entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

so…we did it! we finished 20 weeks of cooking school at the new school and we couldn’t have loved it more. both bri and i can’t believe how much we learned and how it has changed the way we cook and think about food. i was very apprehensive about signing up. committing to anything for 20 weeks as an adult feels like a tall order but i’m so glad we did and i truly believe it’s one of the best things we could have done for both our minds and our stomachs. it has also really inspired me to continue exploring adult education, i’m in the middle of 10 weeks of watercolor class (i will not be posting my art work here, haha) and plan to continue taking classes, we’re open to recommendations if you have an LA favorites! our last culinary lesson was on canapés (aka small bites) and we made gougères which is essentially a savory french pastry cheese puff. soo good and soo easy! we had just received the insanely gorgeous cocktail book, Floral Libations by Cassie Winslow, and she has us all inspired for floral cocktails. this book is a must buy, the styling and photos are out of this world pretty! – joanie

entertaining tips | designlovefest

cooking school definitely reinvigorated our love for hosting and the power of food, cooking for both yourself and entertaining others. American’s can have such a complex relationship with food, so many diets, and trends and wellness tips and guilt and do’s and don’ts. learning the techniques of cooking is so powerful because it connects you to the process of what you’re eating and it also gives you a respect for the finished dish. i’m a big believer in paying attention to the attitude and mentality in which we eat and share food. is it from a place of guilt or rules or is it from a place of joy? i encourage you, even if cooking school isn’t an option, to crack open a cookbook, to make a meal that sounds delicious to you and to pay attention to the process. turn on some music, enjoy the chopping, don’t stress about messing up the recipe and to enjoy the fruits of your labor. creating a meal out of a place of love is loving and carrying for yourself (and those you serve it to!)

now on to the entertaining aspect! if you’re looking to throw a little spring/summer party here are a couple ideas that will make your guests vvverrryyy happy!

entertaining tips | designlovefest

she had us make a lavender gin for this drink which required using dried lavender (organic!) and infusing it in gin for up to 5 days. we did it for two days and it was plenty strong for us! we buy all our edible flowers from gourmet sweet botanicals. not an everyday purchase but really worth it when you want to bring things up to the next level!

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

lavender gin daisy, serves 2
recipe by: Cassie Winslow
• 1/2 cup lavender gin
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons grenadine
• 1/2 tsp sugar
• ice cubes

  • combined all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well and strain into two cups.

entertaining tips | designlovefest

a margarita is top two favorite drinks for me, alternates with a manhattan, depending on the season. this drink is so delicious and refreshing. the chamomile infused syrup is so lovely and delicate. we used chamomile teabags for this part and it worked great. both of these cocktail recipes are perfect right now when citrus is abundant and inexpensive! our favorite tequila is Espolōn and we used that in this recipe.

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

pansy margarita, serves 2
recipe by: Cassie Winslow

• rose salt
• lime
• 2 tablespoons chamomile syrup
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
• 1/2 cup tequila
• ice cubes
• fresh pansy flowers to garnish

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

first step is to make the chamomile simple syrup: combined  1/2 cup cara cara orange juice, 1 tablespoon cara cara orange zest, 3 chamomile tea bags and 1 cup cane super with 1/2 cup water in a sauce pan. simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. let cool and strain. set aside.

• to make the rose salt, mix sea salt and dried rose petals in a blender and pulse.

• run a lime around the rim of 2 glasses. turn upside down and coat with rose salt. mix the cocktail by adding all ingredients into a carafe and stir. pour into glasses and serve!

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

and now for the gougères! my aunt first taught me to make these last winter and told me to pop them in the oven right before guests arrive to make your house smell amazing and she was right! we made these in class and they are heavenly. airy and salty. best hot out of the oven!

what you’ll need//
serves 4

• 1/2 cup of water
• 3 tb of butter, cut into cubes
• 1/4 tsp of salt
• 1/2 cup of AP flour
• 2 eggs
• 2 tb of chives, finely minced
• 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

entertaining tips | designlovefest

you’re going to make your dough on the stove top. the idea is that you want to cook out as much moisture from the dough as you can. start with the water and salt, add the butter and once it’s melted added the flour. keeping it on the heat, and using a wooden spoon, stir it constantly, it should be a in a ball. keep doing this until the dough starts to dry and a thin layer is left on the bottom of the pan.

entertaining tips | designlovefest

transfer the dough to a mixer with a paddle attachment, turn on medium and keep mixing until the dough cools slightly, about 3-5 minutes. add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. dough may seem lumpy but will smooth out. add in the cheese and herbs. keep mixing. you want the dough to have a webbed look to it.

entertaining tips | designlovefest

• i couldn’t find our pastry bag for this part so i used a plastic bag and cut off the corner, and it worked great! line a tray with parchment paper. you want to pipe these so they stand tall, fill the tray with the puffs. then take a little dish of water and using your finger, dip it in water and smooth the top of each one gently with your moist finger. top with a bit of flaky salt and bake. you can also sprinkle more cheese on top but we found that wasn’t necessary. pop in the oven at 375 for around 15- 20 minutes, cooking time varies greatly depending on how big or small you pipe them! they should look golden brown on the top! remove from the oven, serve hot and bask in the glow of being an excellent host!

entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest
entertaining tips | designlovefest

cocktail recipes by: Cassie Winslow
images by: Ivan Solis 



smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest

we really out did ourselves with this one, if i do say so myself! bri and i learned how to make a proper smashed potato in culinary school (which requires boiling, pan frying, basting and broiling!) and they were so delicious that we had to remake them but with our own twist. the horseradish sour cream really takes these to the next level and bri suggested a garnish of pomegranate which i was a bit skeptical about but it really brings the flavors together. the seeds have a bright flavor which is similar to how lemon zest really brings together the flavors of something savory. go make these!  -joanie

smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest

smashed potato bites
what you’ll need:
• 1 lbs peewee potatoes
• 6 pieces of bacon, cooked
• green onions
• butter
• pomegranate seeds
• flat leaf parsley
• thyme

horseradish sour cream//
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon salt
• black pepper

smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest

• bring salted water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until you can pierce with a fork with no resistance. drain and set aside.

• chop the cooked bacon, parsley and green onion, set aside.

• in a small bowl, add all of the ingredients for the horseradish sour cream and mix together. adjust to your desired flavor profile, adding more horseradish for an extra kick, lemon or salt as needed. dust with a generous amount of black pepper.

smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest

• once the potatoes have cooled, place them on a flat surface. using either the palm of your hand or the back of a measuring cup press gently into them to flatten. don’t use too much force or they’ll break apart.

• heat an oven proof skillet on medium heat, once hot, add oil, swirl and add potatoes, cook until brown and flip. once browned on both sides, add 1 tablespoon butter and a sprig of thyme and turn off the heat. the butter should melt and then start foaming, baste the potatoes by tilting the pan towards you and using a spoon to drip the butter over the cooked potatoes. depending on the size of your pan you might need 2-3 rounds in the frying pan to cook all of the potatoes. once they are all browned, place them on a baking sheet, drizzle leftover butter from the pan and thyme and put them under the broiler until the edges start to get crispy, about 3 minutes.

smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest

place the potatoes on a serving tray and top with the sour cream, bacon, green onion, parsley and pom seeds. serve immediately and enjoy all the thank you’s these potatoes will get ya!

smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest
smashed potato appetizer | designlovefest

images by:  ivan solis
styling by: joanie cusack



chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest

i grew up in a dessert house, thanks to my mom we had it after almost every dinner. which i think actually worked in my favor because as an adult, i love dessert but i don’t have the urge to overeat it because there was an abundance of it. it didn’t feel like a scarce treat that we had to load up on while we had the chance. i think that idea is interesting, treating dessert as something that we had access to almost took the energy out of it, not making it a source of obsession. anyway, this was one of my favorite desserts while growing up. i asked for it to be my birthday cake several years in a row (including one year that i had a gymnastics party and ate two pieces before jumping for an hour on a trampoline which left me feeling very ill). it’s decadent without being too rich. it’s layers of chocolate and meringue with hints of cinnamon and you’re going to want to make this asap. i served it this weekend at a dinner party we hosted and it was a hit! – joanie

chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest

chocolate angel strata pie
serves 10

what you’ll need//

for the crust:
• 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (cinnamon or regular!)
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 stick of butter, melted

for the meringue:
• 2 egg whites
• 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup sugar

chocolate filling: 
• 1 cup chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 egg yolks

cinnamon filling: 
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1/4 cup sugar

chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest

• preheat the oven to 325 degrees. for the crust: mix together the cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. press into a 9″ pan. next make the meringue, beat the egg whites, add the vinegar, salt and cinnamon and beat until soft mounds form. add the 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons at a time and beat until stiff and glossy. pour into the crust and bake 15-18 minutes until lightly brown. Remove and cool.

chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest
chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest
chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest

• make the chocolate filling, melt chocolate and water in a double boiler. once smooth, add the egg yolks. spread 3 tablespoons of this chocolate mixture over the meringue and cool. chill remaining chocolate mixture.

chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest
chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest
chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest

• cinnamon filling: combine sugar, cinnamon and whipping cream into a small bowl, beat until thick. spread 1/2 over the chocolate in the pie shell. mix the remaining 1/2 with the cooled chocolate mixture and spread over the pie.

• chill for 4 hours, cut and serve!

chocolate angel strata pie | designlovefest

photos by: Ivan solis 

more delicious recipes here!



Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

last week we went to vegas for a quick two day trip to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. i was excited to see all the new appliances that Samsung is introducing! i have their flex duo and family hub fridge in my house and they have been great supporters of my cooking journey this past year. i never thought i’d become such a kitchen nerd but i truly am, i get so thrilled even thinking about cooking and i loved learning the in’s and out’s of their new products. The Chef Collection has a lot of the same features of the industrial ovens we’re using in cooking school. i never realized how important temperature is until culinary school, and being able to adjust a burner to super intense heat and also simmer consistently at a very low temp is awesome.

AND! i’m going to show you joanie’s new favorite recipe for pad see ew (so quick and easy) and a look at the new products samsung has available for those of you looking to update your kitchen!

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest
Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

i love how they styled their new Tuscan Kitchen collection. the whole idea with this collection was to bring nature and home together, so they created this earthy tone that goes great with woods and natural textures. i also love that the color really compliments its surroundings and picks up the hues of what it’s next to.

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest
Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

they worked with Samsung Club des Chef members, an advisory board of Michelin-starred chefs for Samsung Kitchen Appliances, including Chef Kostow on creating the Chef Collection, using their years of restaurant kitchen experience and bringing that to the home cook. there was so much cool technology and connectivity (feels like the future) like being able to pre-heat your oven from your phone, knobs that tell you if you left a burner on, steam cooking capabilities, etc. as well as simple nice design details, like how you can get a fridge that blends seamlessly into your walls and cabinets, matching the finish and having a completely flat exterior. the matte black color is super cool too.

thanks for having us, Samsung!

ok, let’s make a recipe…

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest
Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

this recipe is from the night + market cookbook which if you haven’t purchased you definitely should, it’s amazing!

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

what you’ll need// if you have a thai market in your town, go! but if not, many of the items are available for order online.

• 1 cup chopped tofu
• 1/2 cup blanched broccoli, chopped
• fresh pad see ew noodles (some whole food carry them, or your thai market!)
• egg
• 1 tablespoon black soy sauce (this is a thicker, slightly sweet soy sauce!)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
• 2 tablespoons seasoning sauce (this is chef yenbramroong’s special sauce, it’s 1 1/2 cups thai seasoning sauce, 1 cup oyster sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, mix it all up and keep in your fridge to use as need!)

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest
Samsung KBIS | designlovefest
Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

one tip he gives in the book is to not double up the recipe, if you want to make more than one serving, do them in separate batches to maintain the proper heat in the wok and not over crowd it.

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest
Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

  1. heat your wok until it starts to smoke, add 2 tablespoons canola oil and swirl. add in the tofu and cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. add in the noodles, sprinkling with the sugar so they don’t stick. add the 2 tablespoons seasoning sauce and mix. throw in the broccoli.
  3. push everything to one side and crack the egg, let cook for 10-15 seconds and then mix in all together.
  4. pour the black soy sauce over everything and mix well. let sit on the heat for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. remove and serve!

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest
Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

really couldn’t be simpler! don’t be intimidated to try this, once you get the ingredients you’ll have them on hand for many batches of pad see ew to come!

Samsung KBIS | designlovefest

(this post was created in partnership with Samsung)



hey guys, ivan here. thank you so much for your feedback on my previous family recipes post. it’s been such a rewarding project putting together and also such a joy to see others loving the recipes as well! for my next round of recipes i wanted to share some family favorites. these are recipes that my mom makes in no time and can feed a lot of people. i’ve been lucky to have all my immediate family living here in los angeles and these are some of the most requested recipes throughout the year when we get together.

chilaquiles are always such a treat to eat. i remember as a kid my mom would make this on sundays and it would feel so special. this salsa verde recipe is mind-blowing. how most people make the salsa is by boiling the ingredients and then slightly sautéing it in oil before blending. this version skips that step and uses a cast iron to get all the beautiful flavors out of the ingredients.

green chilaquiles:
• 6-8 tomatillos
• quarter yellow onion
• 5 garlic cloves skin on
• 1 small bunch cilantro stems removed
• 2 jalapeños
• 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to adjust)
• cotija cheese (queso fresco is great as well)
• crema
• fried eggs
• tortilla chips

remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash well until the sticky residue is removed. cut into halves. bring a large cast iron to medium/medium hight heat. add the tomatillos, onion, jalapeños (devein if you can tell they will too be spicy!) and garlic cloves with skins on and roast for about 10 minutes; shifting the ingredients every few minutes. once roasted remove the skins from the garlic and place all the ingredients into a blender. add the salt and cilantro and blend until smooth. adjust the salt until you got the right amount that you like.

fry your eggs to your liking. to assemble start by having a base of chips, drizzle over the salsa verde, crema, cotija cheese, and top with your fried egg. garnish with cilantro if you have extra. enjoy! if you are making this recipe for one, you will have plenty of salsa verde left over and will hold well in the fridge for a few days.

• 2 wild caught white cod fillets
• 2 roma tomatoes diced
• 1 jalapeno
• 1 bunch cilantro de-stemed and chopped
• 3-4 lemons juiced
• 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
• 1 large avocado diced

serve with:
• chips or tostadas and hot sauce

cut the white cod fillets into small cubes and place into a large ceramic or glass bowl. devein the jalapeño and dice it up (keep some of the center if you’d like a little heat in your ceviche). add the remainder of ingredients in the bowl and mix well. keep in the fridge at least an hour for the acidity in the lemon juice and salt to cook the fish. a slight note when making this is that I used malden salt when making these recipes and 1 1/2 tablespoons was the perfect amount for me for this ceviche. if using a different salt i would adjust to taste as the density of the salt flakes will make the difference in taste. serve with your favorite chips and hot sauce.

esquites (mexican corn salad):
• 4 ears of yellow corn (kernels removed)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
• juice of 2 limes
• 1 big bunch of cilantro de-stemmed and chopped
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup mayo
• quarter of red onion diced
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
• 1/2 cup cotija cheese crumbled (or feta if not available)
• salt + pepper to taste

serve with: 
• chips and hot sauce

heat a pan on medium heat and add the oil. once heated sauté the corn for about 4 minutes. set corn aside in a large bowl to slightly cool. after a few minutes add the remainder of the ingredients and adjust the spices to taste. this is traditionally eaten in a cup with a spoon as this is street food and topped with hot sauce. but this also goes great served with chips or tortillas and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

also, joanie made an excellent version that roasts the corn and has the addition of avocado, see the original post here!

photography and food styling by ivan solis 

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