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Life is Beautiful Blog

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): Hors d’oeuvres From the Garden

Stephanie Kirk

We had an incredible morning last week at the Hors d’oeuvres From the Garden event with Chef Gayle Somers of home/made kitchen cafe & bakery. Thank you to all of the wonderful folks who were in attendance! If you missed it, keep reading for the recipes so you can recreate the event's culinary creations. 

Photo by E.A. Stewart

Photo by E.A. Stewart

Cucumber Avocado Soup Shots

Ingredients:

  • 3 large English cucumbers; peeled, seeded, chopped course
  • 1 large avocado; peeled, pitted, diced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Blend all in blender/Vitamix
  2. Serve chilled with small chopped cherry tomatoes and avocado garnish

Photo by John Autry, Cooking Light

Photo by John Autry, Cooking Light

Zucchini and Pepper Gratin

Ingredients:

  • 3 large (about 1.5 lbs) zucchini with one of the zucchini finely diced and set aside
  • 1/4 cup evoo
  • 1/4 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large tomato; peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • Piment d'Espelette or spicy/smoky paprika to taste
  • 1 tbsp. chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp. chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp. chopped basil
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Sbrinz cheese (can use Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut each of the two whole zucchini into 12 half-inch slices, slicing diagonally, and season with salt. Place on rack for 30 min. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in large pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over low heat, until softened--about 4 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes while stirring.
  4. Add red and yellow peppers, the diced zucchini and cook, stirring a bit until softened, but not browned—about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Add diced tomato, stir a bit and cook for 5 min.
  6. Season with salt and paprika. Stir in mint, oregano and basil.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil in large skillet.
  8. Season remaining zucchini slices with salt and paprika, add to skillet, cook over high heat, turning once, until browned in spots—about 4 minutes.
  9. Arrange zucchini in 9x13" baking dish in single layer and spoon pepper mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in upper third of oven for about 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot or warm.

Note: The gratin can be assembled up to 6 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature until ready to bake and serve.

Photo by Romulo Yanes, epicurious

Photo by Romulo Yanes, epicurious

Taleggio Truffle Flat Bread

Make flatbread as per your favorite recipe, or purchase a supple flatbread. Add chopped fresh rosemary, grated cheeses, truffles and drizzle with truffle oil.

Directions:

  1. Bake in preheated oven at 375-400 degrees F, just until cheese melts nicely, and bread is fragrant — about 3-5 minutes.
Photo by The Kiwi Cook

Photo by The Kiwi Cook

Lavender Panna Cotta

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 quart heavy manufacturing cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out
  • 2 tbsp. dried lavender
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp. + 1/4 tsp. powdered gelatin

Directions:

  1. Carefully and evenly sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl. Let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Have approximately 8-10 soufflé type ramekins (6-8oz in size) ready on a level sheet pan. Spray them very lightly with a pan coating spray—do not over do it.
  3. Warm cream, sugar, lavender, vanilla bean and seeds in saucepan until hot and steaming, just below a scald, but do not let it boil. Remove pot from heat and let mixture steep to infuse lavender—about 15 min.
  4. Strain a small amount of the warm cream into the gelatin and whisk in to blend, then pour entire mixture back into the pot. You only want cream hot enough to dissolve the sugar and then melt the gelatin. After you tempered the gelatin, then pour it back into the rest of the cream.
  5. Pour cream mixture into a stainless bowl, then set bowl into an ice/water bath. Stir until cool, but do not allow to set up or congeal; you just want it slightly cool, not cold; probably no more than 10 minutes in the ice bath.
  6. Dry bottom of bowl of Panna Cotta so water doesn't drip in while pouring. Easiest way to pour into ramekin is to pour into large measuring cup first, then pour into ramekins until they are 2/3 - 3/4 full.
  7. Once ramekins are filled, carefully place on sheet pan in refrigerator to chill. Best to chill overnight.

To serve: 

Have desired plate ready nearby, run thin small spatula around edge of panna cotta. Invert over plate and gently shake panna cotta out of ramekins and onto plate. Remember you cannot move the panna cotta once it is on the plate, especially with a spatula. You can gently tilt plate and shake a little to move it to the center of the plate. The dish is delicious served with a generous portion of strawberries, perhaps slightly sweetened if necessary, and then drizzled with a small amount of aged balsamic vinegar with a small short bread on the side.