Roasted potatoes

This is a super–easy recipe that picky-purist-eaters (like my first-born prince) will actually request. If you’re really in a rush, increase the oven temp to 450° F, and roast for 30 mins, stirring every 10 mins. The fresh herbs dress up the presentation; the dill is especially nice when accompanied by fish dishes.

2 lbs. baby red rose potatoes
¼ c. melted butter
¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. lemon juice
4-6 peeled, fresh garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped, fresh parsley to taste (optional)
Chopped, fresh dill to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 400° F. Wash and quarter the potatoes. Spray with PAM, or grease a 12” x 7” casserole dish. Whisk butter, olive oil, and lemon juice together. Spread potatoes and garlic in the casserole dish, drizzle with the butter mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in the oven. Roast for 45 mins., stirring potatoes every 15 mins., until potatoes are fork-tender. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, if using. Serve hot.

Serves 6-8.

Buttermilk Peppercorn Dip

My sister-in-law paired this dip with homemade root chips once and I was hooked. Honestly, I don’t have her patience to make root chips, but I can do this dip! It’s really easy, especially paired with Trader Joe’s Vegetable Root Chips and simple crudités.  Thank you, Martha Stewart!

1 c. sour cream
2 T. nonfat buttermilk
1 t. coarsely ground mixed peppercorns (black, pink, green)
2 t. minced chives
1/2 t. finely chopped fresh thyme
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 t. salt

To make dip, combine sour cream, buttermilk, pepper, chives, thyme, shallot, and salt in a medium bowl, and stir well to combine. Set aside.

California Coastal Tea menu

In addition to showcasing local California ingredients, this menu also catered to my vegetarian guests…

Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvee (sparkling white wine)

Yorkshire Gold Tea
Good Earth Original Spiced Tea
Milk and sugar cubes

Avocado sandwiches: Sliced California avocados and microgreens served open-faced on whole wheat bread, sprinkled with California walnuts
Cucumber sandwiches: Thinly sliced cucumbers and chopped watercress served open-faced on white bread, sprinkled with grated Meyer lemon peel (from my tree in the backyard)
Blue cheese and pear sandwiches: Thinly sliced Pt. Reyes blue cheese with sliced pears served open-faced on oatmeal bread

Cream scones with chopped California raisins
Mock Devonshire cream
Fresh organic strawberries grown locally at Tanaka Farms
Tanaka Farms Organic Strawberry Jam
Store-bought lemon curd

Sugar-glazed (Meyer) Lemon Cake
Assorted See’s Candies (Dark Bordeaux, Coconut Bonbons, Dark California Brittle, Marzipan)

Rancho de Philo Triple Cream Sherry (from California)

California Coastal Tea

I planned this Tea in honor of an English friend, who came to visit my parents.  I wanted to make her feel at home, but I also wanted to showcase the bounty of California.  On top of that, she is vegetarian, so I factored that into my menu, as well.  I will never forget the look on her face when she walked into my living room.  My tea table was ready with all my tea things, and everything looked so tasty and fresh – it was absolutely lovely!

I sourced my ingredients as locally and organically as possible – sometimes from my own backyard.  It made my preparations even more personal.  Some of my sandwich inspirations came straight out of Tricia Foley’s Having Tea, a treasure-packed book of ideas and recipes.  We had a marine layer that afternoon, so I had lit a fire in our fireplace.  And I had just enough time to cut some roses and make a beautiful bouquet.  It seemed everything just came together to make that afternoon truly memorable.