Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category



cooking update | designlovefest

it’s hard to believe but we’re more than half way through our 20 week pro cooking class at the new school of cooking pasadena! it has been an amazingly eye opening experience on so many levels. it has changed the way i cook and truly given me the techniques and skills to take on almost anything. when they tell you at the start of each week what the class will be focused it always feels a little intimidating (pork chops! handmade pasta! deboning a fish! lobster bisque! braised chicken!) we’re going to do that?! and then by the end i always feel like that wasn’t that hard and i feel excited to try and make it again at home.

i feel so much more empowered in the kitchen! one of the most important things that i’m taking away from my time in cooking school is that time and effort leads to serious reward. there are so many things in life that feel out of reach out or not part of my skillset and i realize that if i can put focus on something for an extended period of time i will get better and that accomplishment feels amazing. seems obvious but i forget how rewarding it is to grow and learn at something new. i still share lots of cooking stories on monday on instagram if you’re interested in following along!

cooking update | designlovefest

here are some LESSONS i’ve learned along the way, probably more than this but it’s a start!

PATIENCE IS EVERYTHING. learning to enjoy the whole process of cooking, preparing, and staying organized is what’s kept me in the game. i think it’s important to cook when you aren’t hungry, so you don’t rush the process. you watch the soup grow in flavor while it simmers. you wait for the pan to get piping hot for the perfect sear instead of just rushing into it. keep roasting the carrots longer until they are ready. making something from scratch is so satisfying and sometimes we want to speed up the process. but i promise it’s worth it to take your time and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

cooking update | designlovefest

MISE EN PLACE: i am not really a neat person, but i am learning to be. having a clean space is so helpful for my mood so i have been trying to be less avoidant when it comes to cleaning up. i know a lot of people think that when you have all these little bowls it can add up and be so many dishes. but incorporating mise en place (a french culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place”) really helps you keep tidy and makes cooking way less stressful.

cooking update | designlovefest

• i have these small glass bowls that i put all my ingredients in before i start cooking. you can place all the ingredient bowls on a baking tray so you can easily carry the entire tray to the oven, and then to the sink after. rinse the whole tray and all the bowls right away and you will see how much easier the process is. no stuck on food. also having these mixing bowls for larger ingredients and you can use one as your “scrap bowl” that sits right next to your chopping station and all of the extra pieces and ends go in there and then directly into a freezer bag for stock. (or compost, or trash, up to you. i just get giddy about not wasting food.)this bench scraper will help you easily scoop up all of your chopped veggies to put in a bowl or into a pot. it’s also how i clean my cutting boards so quickly. remember how i talked about the patience portion before? if you are like me and don’t like to just stand around in the kitchen, you can take those extra minutes where your sauce needs more time and do a quick cleanup so that when your food is ready, you feel calm and relaxed.

cooking update | designlovefest

KITCHEN TOOLS! i remember when i first started cooking for real (prob about 2 years ago) before justin moved in i had really sad dull knives from ikea, i had just gotten my first set of nice pans for christmas from my parents, and i was lacking a lot of kitchen tools. while having all the gadgets is exciting, it’s also really not that necessary. i know for me it was overwhelming to think of all the things i still needed in the kitchen. take it slow. learn to cook and make a list of things you really want to purchase next. but as long as you have a heavy duty cutting board (boos blocks is cool), a sharp knife (this is a good one and this is a cheaper starter knifea cast iron skillet, a nonstick skillet for eggs, a pot (love these dutch ovens but they are pricier. this martha stweart one i really like. i think the white inside is important so you can really see the browning happening on the bottom), and a spatula, that is a wonderful start. once you get some momentum, a food processor is a great next step. and a microplane is awesome for zesting, grating garlic, and adding touches of cheese to your final plates.


oh! and williams sonoma has 20% off this weekend, good time to get something you need!


cooking update | designlovefest
cooking update | designlovefest

FOOD SHOPPING: groceries and constant meal ideas. also overwhelming! i get it. i use a variety of things that work for us. once a week i go to grocery store. if i don’t have time or just feeling lazy, i use instacart and that saves me a ton of time and the delivery fee is only $5. i also find that i spend less money when i use instacart because i am not strolling through the aisles just adding a bunch of stuff we don’t need. it saves your favorites in a list…





clam chowder | designlovefest

we’re over half way through cooking school (more on that later!) and we wanted to share another favorite we learned in class, clam chowder!! this was definitely one of those dishes i hadn’t thought about making from scratch as it seemed too hard and then i was totally surprised to find that it is both manageable and so insanely delicious to make. rain or snow, this is the perfect thing for dinner!

clam chowder | designlovefest

we had never cooked with clams before this dish and i imagined them to be challenging but they really aren’t, you just wash them, keep them on ice (over a sieve so they aren’t sitting in water!) and then throw them in the dish. you know they are cooked when they open up. if any of them don’t open, throw them away! it means they aren’t fresh.

clam chowder
serves: 2-4 (depending on hunger!) 

• 2 cups clam juice (most grocery stories carry!)
• 1 cup white wine
• 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs of thyme and 5 peppercorns
• 1 lb fresh clams (rinsed and set on ice!)
• 1/4 cup chopped bacon
• 1 medium white onion finely diced
• 1 large russet potato
• 1 cup heavy cream
• salt and pepper to taste

clam chowder | designlovefest

first / chop your potatoes! we’re all about using every scrape of food you can so fo these potatoes we cut off the edges to give us clean lines for chopping (and to avoid having to peel) but save the leftover pieces and dice them up to make a breakfast hash. cube your potatoes and set aside.

clam chowder | designlovefest

2nd / we’re going to make this all in one pot! first, render your chopped bacon which means put it in a dry pan starting on medium heat and let it cook in its own fat. once it’s brown’d, added onion and a pinch of salt. you want to sweat your onion, so cook until it’s translucent. the salt is important as that draws the liquid out of the onion. next you’re going to deglaze your pan by adding white wine. this process should pull up all the little cooked bits on the bottom of the pan. deglazing is fun! you get a little sizzle and steam and everything starts coming together! add a bay leaf (we used fresh by dry is great too) and some fresh thyme and a few peppercorns and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. this process will kill off the alcohol.

clam chowder | designlovefest

3rd / next add your rinsed clams and cover the pot. these should take around 3-5 minutes depending on the size of your clams. smaller will cook much faster! you’ll know they are done when they pop open so watch carefully. if one doesn’t open and all the rest are, toss that one, just to be safe. an open clam means it’s fresh and ready to eat! remove the cooked clams and set aside.

clam chowder | designlovefest

4th / add the clam juice and the cubed potatoes and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. leave uncovered to reduce by about 25%. once reduced add the cream. if you want it to be a little more creamy, take out a spoonful of the broth and mix with a couple teaspoons of flour. return that mixture to the pan and stir, this will thicken it up! remove from the heat, remove the thyme sprig and bay leaf, stir in a tablespoon of butter and add salt as needed.

clam chowder | designlovefest
clam chowder | designlovefest

top with oyster crackers and finely diced chives! make this, you won’t regret it!

clam chowder | designlovefest

images by: ivan solis 



weekend cooking | designlovefest

whatcha cooking this weekend? i’ve been on a deep dive into the night + market cookbook which is one of my absolute favorite LA restaurants. their thai food is out of this world and their cookbook is excellent. so much information for people like me who have never really cooked thai food, where to start, what to buy, the coooking methods, etc. i bought the kindle version that’s $3.50 and i 100% recommend it. the thing about thai food is that once you have the ingredients it’s very inexpensive to make and can feed a lot of people.  i’m having fun playing around with the flavors and i’ll definitely be making a curry this weekend. if you’re looking for weekend inspo here are a few favorites from our archives! and if you make one of our recipes we love feedback, so let us know how it turned out! – joanie

(pictured above are meatballs with cauliflower mash, meatballs are super versatile and can be could be served with greens or polenta or noodles or in a soup!)

weekend cooking | designlovefest

and another meatball! this one lamb and served on pita with cucumber and red onion for a little crunch! we buy these flatbreads at the grocery store and they are great toasted in a hot pan for a minute or so.

weekend cooking | designlovefest

these loaded oven fries and indulgent and the perfect thing to serve at home for a saturday afternoon happy hour!

weekend cooking | designlovefest

how about a tomato and mozzarella tart!? store bought dough and almost any topping will do!

weekend cooking | designlovefest

and last but certainly not least, enchiladas! a personal fave, comforting and delicious!

happy weekend everyone!



family recipes | designlovefest

hey everyone, this is ivan!  i’ve been contributing to the food column with bri and joanie for about four years now! these last few weeks i’ve been working on a passion project of mine that i want to share with you. it revolves around my mom’s recipes.  i came to the realization that if i didn’t sit down and learn to cook them, no one would be able to make all my childhood favorite recipes in the future and food is such an important part of keeping your family heritage alive. both of my parents were born and raised in mexico (my mom is from jalisco and my dad is from michoacan) and the majority of the food we ate growing up was Mexican food, it’s what i most identify with home and the food i make when i want comfort and familiarity. i realized there are so many techniques and traditions wrapped up in my Mom’s cooking and that’s something i want to be able to learn and pass down to my family. for this first post, i made my mom’s rice, carne asada, guacamole and chimichurri (traditionally argentinian). traditionally this was a meal we had on special occasions but it can definitely be made any time of year. my mom’s chimichurri is my favorite, it’s full of fresh herbs and citrus and it’s so good on meat. let me know if you enjoy seeing these recipes! i’d love to keep on posting as i continue to create a cookbook that honors my mom and all the amazing food she’s made for me and my family.

family recipes | designlovefest

this rice dish recipe is not your average side dish. this packs so much more flavor then what you get at a restaurant.

makes 4 servings

spanish rice:
• 1 cup of long grain rice (rinsed and dried)
• 2 ripe roma tomatoes diced
• 1 quarter yellow onion diced
• 1 8oz can tomato sauce
• salt and pepper
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 1 bunch cilantro 

heat the canola oil in a pan on medium heat. add the long grain rice and toss until they are becoming slightly toasted. add the onion and tomatoes and sauté until onions begin to become translucent; constantly stirring as to not let the rice burn. add the 8oz can of tomato sauce and two cups of water to the pan and top with a bunch of rinsed cilantro. salt and pepper to taste. i usually do two healthy pinches of salt and adjust as the rice continues to cook. keep on medium heat until liquid is evaporated, you can also  add more water in case the rice needs more cooking time.

family recipes | designlovefest

this is hands down this is the best guacamole recipe you will ever have. i highly recommend making this for the big game in a couple weeks. the trick to this recipe is not only the perfect balance of heat, salt, fat and acid; but its also the texture. some guacamoles have the consistency of baby food but as you’ll see this is how you’ll make the perfect guacamole.

makes 5-6 servings

• 4 avocados
• 2-3 roma tomatoes diced
• 1 jalapeño diced
• 1/2 onion diced
• 2-3 lemons juiced
• 1 small bunch cilantro chopped
• salt and pepper to taste

slice the avocados into halves and remove the pits. carefully using the knife make criss-cross cuts into the avocado to resemble cubes. scoop out with a spoon and place into a large bowl. add the remainder of the ingredients and toss with a fork. as you are mixing mash some of the avocados while leaving others intact, this will ensure you have the perfect texture and integration of flavors. salt and pepper to taste.

family recipes | designlovefest

carne asadas can be perfect for large gatherings or just a weeknight dinner. here’s a simple recipe we’ve been doing for many years that incorporates chimichurri and using grilled Mexican green onions. serve with rice, guacamole and warmed tortillas.

makes 4-5 servings 

carne asada:
• 2 pounds flank steak
• salt and pepper
• 2 small bunches Mexican green onions
• corn or flour tortillas

• 2 bunches of parsley stems removed
• 1 small bunch cilantro stems removed
• 4 large garlic cloves
• 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
• 1 lemon juiced
• 1/2 teaspoon red chili flaked
• 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• olive oil

family recipes | designlovefest

to make the chimichurri, add all the ingredients minus the olive oil into a food processor (if you do not have one you can finely chop all the ingredients). slowly pour in olive oil and pulse every other second. you’ll want the chimichurri to be swimming in a little bit of olive oil.

generously salt and pepper each side of the flank steaks. if using an indoor grill slightly oil the grill on medium to high heat and add the steaks, cook on each side for 5 minutes if you like yours medium rare. add 2 more minutes to your time if you like well done. once cooked remove from the grill and have them rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes before cutting into them. in the same pan grill the green onions until tender. a trick for more flavorful tortillas is to heat them up in the same grill as they will absorb some of the grease which will add more flavor.

photography and food styling by ivan solis 



winter soups | designlovefest

we are starting to wind down here around studio DLF and it feels so good! we really pushed ourselves these past few months and we’re excited to kick back and enjoy a holiday break. bri reminded me yesterday about this soup (pictured above) and now i want to make it immediately. it’s so decadent and delicious! we have so many amazing soup recipes on the blog that are perfect to make this time of year. we’ve been learning a lot about soups in cooking school (we made clam chowder on monday!) and they’re such a fun and flexible thing to make. they feed lots of people and you can adapt based on what you have on hand! here are a few of our favorites!

winter soups | designlovefest

delicious tortilla soup! i’ve made this a couple of different ways and it’s really easy. add some spice or smoked paprika to the base of even some cream will make it a bit richer.

winter soups | designlovefest

baked potato soup! we snuck some broccoli into this one to make it a bit healthy and you can top it so many ways. really delicious and hearty!

winter soups | designlovefest

white bean and kale soup! one of my husband’s favorite soups! the addition of lemon really takes this soup up a level.

winter soups | designlovefest

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