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the first Simply Delish Gathering

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Last night, I was so excited to host the first Simply Delish Gathering with a fellow foodie, the lovely & talented Stephanie Chang. We were surrounded by great guests, delicious food & fun conversations. Thank you to everyone who attended! I am so thankful to be able to meet new people and be inspired by others.

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Our theme was a late autumn gathering and we decorated the table with pumpkins, persimmons, leaves & each person had an apple with a name tag (idea from Pinterest).

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We served citrus herb roasted chickens as one of the main dishes. This was the juiciest chicken I ever had, made by Steph. Check out her recipe on how to perfectly roast chicken.

I wish I took some more photos of the food but I was just too excited to sit down and start eating! Thank you to Steph for being an amazing co-host and to our new friends :)

weekend recap: apple picking + apple tarts

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My friend Aileen & I decided to go on a little adventure and go apple picking. The nearest apple farms we could find were out in Oak Glen so we took a nice little drive to Willowbrook Apple Farm. It’s over an hour away from Los Angeles so it’s not close but we had lots to catch up on during the drive :)

The farm was so cute. There were several trees we could pick apples from. There is no fee to enter- you just have to pick the bag size you want and pay a flat rate. They also have an apple cider making station and sell yummy caramel apples. It was such a lovely activity to do during the day.

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I was happy to come home with a bag of crisp, ripe apples and decided to make apple tarts. It is so easy to make if you already have frozen puff pastry.

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Just slice the apples and pour brown sugar & salt on top. Then place the slices on top of the puff pastry and bake! You can find my previous post/full recipe on apple tarts here :)

roasted chicken legs with lemon & thyme

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One of my cooking goals is to cook a whole chicken. I have yet to do so but for now, I will settle with roasted chicken legs. I just did my own thing by sprinkling the legs with salt and pepper and then searing them in a pan with olive oil. Afterwards, I put them in a baking pan and topped with sliced lemons, garlic and thyme. Then I let it cook in the oven for about 30 min. It came out juicy and flavorful.. perfect for a simple dinner. I think I will try the same thing with a whole chicken next time! :)

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Ingredients:
chicken legs
olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
fresh thyme leaves
lemon, sliced
garlic clovers

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Pat the chicken legs dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt & pepper on each leg. Add olive oil to a pan and sear the legs until they start to brown.

Place the legs in a baking pan and top with sliced lemons, garlic clovers & thyme leaves. Bake for about 30 minutes.

linguine with clams

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I used to not like clams, only in clam chowder. Yeah weird, makes no sense. But now, I like ordering pasta with clams and decided to try making it at home. I was inspired by the below recipe but did a few things differently. First of all, make sure you clean the clams thoroughly.. you don’t want dirty shells in your pasta! Instead of thinly sliced garlic, I minced garlic and I didn’t use tomatoes. I wanted to make it simple and just used garlic, red pepper flakes, wine, and parsley. I added a squeeze of lemon juice for a fresh taste. I was pretty impressed for my first time cooking with clams. Maybe I should make clam chowder next! :)

Recipe for linguine with clams courtesy of:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Linguine-with-Clams-em-Linguine-con-le-Vongole-em-350683

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1 pound linguine
12 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound New Zealand cockles or 24 Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 (14-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice, juice reserved and tomatoes coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
preparation

Directions:
In large pot over moderately high heat, combine 8 quarts of water to boil and salt. Bring to boil, then add linguine and cook to 1 minute short of al dente according to package directions (pasta should still be quite firm).

Meanwhile, in large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat 6 tablespoons extra- olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add clams and 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes and juice, and 1/2 cup parsley and simmer, uncovered, just until clams open, 7 to 8 minutes.

Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain linguine and add to pan. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until linguine is just tender, about 1 minute. If necessary, add some of reserved cooking water to keep moist. Remove from heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and extra-virgin olive oil, tossing to coat. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.

toast with apples, almond butter, honey & thyme

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I saw a picture of this toast on Tasty Yummies Instagram and had to make it immediately. It just looked so lovely and yummy. It takes a few minutes to make.. just toast bread and spread a layer of tahini on each slice (I used almond butter instead). Then top with apple slices and drizzle with honey and fresh thyme leaves. It’s a perfect breakfast or even an appetizer. It’s got the best of both worlds- a bit of sweet & savory in one bite.

Recipe for apple, tahini toast with honey & thyme courtesy of: http://tasty-yummies.com/2014/09/22/apple-tahini-toast-with-honey-and-thyme/

Ingredients:
4 slices of your favorite bread
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced, I prefer Honeycrisp Apples
2 tablespoons organic tahini, your favorite brand or made yourself
2 tablespoons local raw honey
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
sea salt, optional

Directions:
Toast your bread accordingly.
Spread a layer of tahini on each slice of toast. Top with apple slices and a drizzle of honey, top with some fresh thyme and a little sprinkle of sea salt, if you’d like.

baked chicken milanese with arugula salad + tomatoes

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I usually fry my chicken when I make chicken milanese but decided to try baking it instead. Result: just as delicious as frying and the chicken was juicer! Instead of coating the chicken with flour and egg as I usually do to make milanese, I dipped each chicken breast into a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. I felt better about myself knowing that it wasn’t fried (since it’s such a big different right? hehe). I made a simple salad of greens and put on top of the chicken… it was a great combination and was a light & fresh meal! Next time you are craving chicken milanese, try this recipe! :)

Recipe for baked chicken milanese with arugula salad & tomatoes courtesy of:

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2008/04/chicken-milanese-with-arugula-and.html

Ingredients:
For the Salad:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 small red onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
6 cups baby arugula

For the chicken:
24 oz (3) boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese (or parmesan)
1 lemon, juice of
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
olive oil spray (I used my misto)

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil and balsamic. Add tomatoes, basil and onions; season with salt and pepper. and toss. Set aside at least 10 minutes so the juices combine.

Preheat oven to 450°. Place a large baking pan in the oven to get hot.

Combine breadcrumbs and grated cheese in one bowl. In another bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper.

Lightly pound chicken breasts into cutlets, you should have 6. Wash and dry cutlets well with paper towels; season with salt and pepper.

Dip cutlets into lemon/oil mixture, then into breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to adhere.

Remove the baking pan from the oven and spray with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the baking sheets and spray with olive oil spray on top.

Bake chicken, turning once halfway through for about 15 minutes total, or until chicken is golden. Remove from the oven and top with arugula and tomato salad on top.

tonight’s dinner: steak & soba stir fry

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I love steak. I can eat it anytime, anywhere. Tonight, I ate it at home and in a stir fry and it was GOOD. I’ve made something similar before {http://delishthoughts.com/2014/01/31/my-friday-night-dinner/} but this time, I tried a new recipe from Bon Appetit. I didn’t use almonds & carrots because honestly, I had all the other ingredients at home & didn’t want to go to the market. I was lazy & hungry! :P

The sauce was so flavorful. And I just realized that I don’t think I ever had steak with noodles but I mean, steak tastes good with anything! :)

Recipe for Steak & Soba Stir Fry courtesy of:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/steak-and-soba-stir-fry

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
8 ounces soba (Japanese-style noodles) or spaghettini
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil t
12 ounces skirt or flank steak
Freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
2 heads baby bok choy, quartered t
1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet; toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain; rinse to cool and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook until charred in spots, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Stir until softened, about 1 minute. Add bok choy and carrot. Cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. Add to vegetables; bring to a simmer. Fold in scallion greens and reserved almonds and noodles. Serve steak with noodle stir-fry.

toast two ways

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I love trying different toppings on toast. It’s not just butter and jam on toast now.. there are so many other things you can put. Here are two different ways from Bon Appetit to make toast more interesting and tasty. The first is savory toast with Greek yogurt, radishes & scallions. I like the freshness and crunch from the radishes & scallions. The second is scandi toast with butter, smoked salmon and cucumbers. Smoked salmon is so good and tastes good on anything. If you’re bored with butter & jam, try these recipes! :)

Recipes for savory toast and scandi toast courtesy of Bon Appetit:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/savory-toast

Spread sprouted sourdough or whole wheat toast with Greek yogurt. Top with shaved radishes, sliced scallion, and flaky sea salt.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/scandi-toast

Spread pumpernickel toast with salted butter. Top with smoked fish and cucumber coins.

a perfect meal by the pool

I love long weekends especially when I get time to relax by the pool. It’s the best when you lay out and lounge around, and of course eat delicious food! I wanted to make some kind of sandwich and already had shrimp at home so I decided to make shrimp rolls. This recipe is easy and quick- you can also buy cooked shrimp to save time. I liked how fresh the shrimp tasted with the lemon juice & chives. The rolls along with radishes, pineapple slices & beer made for a wonderful meal by the pool. Happy Labor Day- hope everyone had a great weekend! :)

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Recipe for mini shrimp rolls courtesy of:

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/mini-shrimp-rolls

Ingredients:
Kosher salt
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 small celery stalk, peeled, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Freshly ground black pepper
24 mini soft dinner rolls (each about 1 1/2 x 1 1/2-inch; such as Martin’s potato rolls or King’s Hawaiian)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup celery leaves or crushed potato chips

Directions:
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; season lightly with salt. When water is at a gentle simmer, add shrimp. Poach until just opaque in the center, 2–4 minutes. Drain; transfer shrimp to a medium bowl of ice water to cool. Drain; wipe out bowl.
Whisk mayonnaise, celery, chives, oil, lemon juice, and horseradish in a medium bowl to blend; season to taste with salt and pepper. Chop shrimp into small pieces (about 1/3-inch); add to bowl with mayonnaise mixture. Stir to coat. DO AHEAD Shrimp salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 375°. Using a small serrated knife, make a 1/2-inch-deep cut across the top of each dinner roll and gently pry open roll with your fingers to create a mini New England–style hot dog bun. Lightly brush inside of rolls with butter; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until light golden, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Divide shrimp mixture among rolls, pressing into cut across top; garnish with celery leaves or crushed potato chips.

go here: Commissary

If you haven’t been to Commissary yet, you should go soon. It’s the new restaurant from Roy Choi, located on the second floor at The Line Hotel and it is beautiful! Roy wrote on his Instagram that he was “building a country club for the public” and he delivered. You’re inside a spacious greenhouse, surrounded by plants and the glistening sun. It’s like a magical scene from a movie, like you are in a secret garden. The cocktails are served in big plastic cups, the service is great, and the food is beautifully styled on pretty plates that I want to steal. The food is flavorful and rich, complimented with savory sauces. I have gone twice now and I loved the ambience and food. The restaurant is next to the pool so next time, I plan on laying out for a bit and then enjoying another delicious meal. Well done, Roy Choi! :)

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grilled corn with parmesan, kochukaru, yellow sauce, red sauce

2
deviled eggs with chives, cayenne, sweet relish, red onion

4
seared scallops with lemon and green sauce

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simply beautiful