Monday, May 21, 2012

Secret Table May 12, 2012

On May 12, 2012 we held a "Chef's Night In" Secret Table at a loft-like home in Brentwood.   The menu was a simple South of France style dinner with a colorful table set in Mediterranean colors.

I was meant to join my guests for the duration of the evening but spent too much time in the kitchen orchestrating the dinner.   Sorry for that but still happy for the time I was able to spend one-on-one with my guests. 

We started with bubbles and a raspberry coulis that made a beatiful pink confection...

together with my new favorite cocktail cookies this time around Apricot/Tarragon and Chocolate/Cayenne... they are the perfect combination of sweet and savory with a delicate shortbread base.

We also served a whipped Feta spread that was combination of Feta/Cream Cheese/Cream, half a shallot and a clove of garlic.  The cuisinart did the rest!  I love Middle Eastern flatbreads toasted and cut into triangles for dipping.

Cesar Salads followed with Crispy Thyme Croutons and then we served my favorite pizza inspired by La Pizza in the Old Port in Cannes:  Caramelized onions, Nicoise olives and Gruyere cheese.  I waited years for that reveal and thanks to an article in The NY Times learned that it's all Gruyere baby and no Mozzarealla in the mix...

We next served our new favorite Merguez Sausage Couscous for the main course studded with dried cranberries and fennel.  Dessert was a slice of Lemon Ricotta Poundcake with more raspberries and whipped cream.  Our lovely host made espressons for our guests and my partner, Shannon and her divinely gorgeous husband, Jason, helped me out enormously with KP -- I promise to never do that to them again.  

Egads where was scullery for the night?   All in all it was such a swell night and I thank my guests enormously for their support of The Secret Table!   For a quick look at the night, follow this link:


Lisa & Company

Monday, May 14, 2012

Client Appreciation

Suffice it to say that my food business has exploded.   We have been busier than one-armed paper hangers (one of my dad's favorite and I'm sure politically incorrect analogies) so this blog is really dedicated to all my clients who make my life a revolving door of new faces and places (some of which are mind blowingly fabulous like this particular home in Newport). 

Work aside -- because we all know it's great to do what you love and make a living at the same time -- however, the real reward for a private chef/caterer is how sincerely happy people are with the food we serve, our professionalism and our presentation.  In other words, I feel loved.  And I believe my clients feel loved at the time they partake in eating what I have labored over for days -- investing time, creativity and care to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be.  Even when it's for a two-year old's special birthday party!

As a result of this huge upsurge in business our menus have been expanding as well:  New dishes we're extremely proud of are Chili Prawns -- a combination of jalapenos, lemons, prawns, plum sauce, sesame oil, and garlic chili sauce; Dorie Greenspan's psychotically divine cocktail cookies: Parmesan, almond and rosemary, tarragon and apricot and chocolate cayenne.   Melt in your mouth delicious. 
Empanadillas stuffed with spinach, roasted pine nuts and currants.  Wrapped in puff pastry they are a lunette of rich buttery flavors. 
Strawberry meringue pie and of course, my summery triple berry crisp. 
And due to a lack of fresh figs at the market, I stuffed beautiful plump apricots with honeyed goat cheese, wrapped them in prosciutto and roasted them at 400 degrees until they were the perfect sweet and savory kiss.

And last but not least what has become a new favorite dish on the menu adapted from a Padma Lakshmi recipe is my Merquez couscous studded with the eponymous spicy lamb sausage, fennel and dried cranberries.   A perfect one-dish meal that's been showing up on menu after menu.  Thank you Padma!

So we thank you, all our Secret Ingredient clients, for making our business such a huge success and such a massive pleasure serving you.  For recipes, please email me directly at  Otherwise this blog would have been a novella!
Bon Appetit,
Lisa and company