Saturday, April 24, 2010

Couldn't resist this....bird dinner!

Well, my original post said this was taken at Mr. Z's favorite fish restaurant, Brophy Brothers, in Santa Barbara, a place where we had such good times ...but I took a better look and realized I myself was 'out for lunch' and mistook the's actually GLADSTONE'S in Santa Monica on the beach.........This shot is taken by Ms Z, Mr. Z's daughter... She takes GREAT pictures and I loved this one and had to put it on my food blog! But, it is NOT Brophy Brothers. I should post a shot of that place because he loved it so, but there's always one of US in those shots and you know me and ANONYMITY! Anyway, I loved the picture and wanted to share it..


Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter Sunday was wonderful...sorry this is so late!

I hope all your Easters were as nice as mine......If you didn't see the PRELUDE to my Aunt and Uncle's yearly Easter festivities at their home, please scroll down. And, the post just below this one shows the gorgeous floral arrangements on the outside tables and the dining room centerpiece where the buffet was set out........

My aunt and I laughed at the fact that I nearly got the menu correct in my 'prelude'! She joked that she's predictable but the truth is that she's just a wonderful cook and so I put my wish list there in the original post full of things I've loved at her house. This year was only slightly different, though I got the main course wrong I got the side dishes and hors d'oeuvres pretty close....but the things I didn't guess were just delicious and I particularly wanted you to have the main course recipe which I have also made's deeeelicious and perfect for this coming summer.

Let me tell you the full actual menu first.....we started with my mother's stuffed grape leaves extraordinaire, that wonderful salami I'd hoped for, served with brined black olives, a delicious goat cheese and pita bread, a fifteen year old Cheddar from Wisconsin that was FABULOUSLY full of those little salt crystals you get when you're eating a terrifically aged cheese....stuffed eggs and I think I'm forgetting something but you get the delicious picture...all with red or white wine, of course!

My aunt emailed me the italicized list of the dinner menu when I sent her the link to the piece about her which she really enjoyed!

Or am I that predictable? You're right on ... mostly:
Grilled Skirt Steaks
Potato Salad
Ambrosia (so glad you like it ... I always wondered if anyone did)
Heirloom tomatoes with basil and mozzarella
Sweet corn off the cob in butter
Fresh peas and carrots with butter, parsley and orange zest
Artichokes with Remoulade sauce
Ice Cream bars
Date Bars (wait till you try these ... you'll be addicted)

See how close I was!? It was FABULOUS! And, oh, was she right about the date bars...they're like date cookie-bars and I will see if I can get that recipe for you, too.(Z: update: that recipe will be here soon!)


1 1/2 lbs flank steak (or skirt steak)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 T chili sauce
2 T chili powder
2 T soy sauce
2 T oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 medium orange, thinly sliced
Cilantro sprigs to garnish

Place steak in a shallow baking dish. Combine OJ, chili sauce and powder, soy sauce, oil, honey, orange and lemon peels, garlic, salt and cayenne. Pour over orange slices over meat. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Preheat Grill.

Bring meat to room tep. Remove steak from marinade and discard marinade. Grill steak for 4-6 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Slice diagonally especially if you're using flank steak. Place on a platter and surround with Fresh Fruit Salsa, orange wedges and cilantro sprigs.

Fresh Fruit Salsa:
1 cup diced pineapple, 1 sliced kiwi, 1 cup chopped papaya, 1/2 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper, 1 1/2 T's white wine vinegar, 1 1/2 Ts minced cilantro, 4 tsps sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix well and chill overnight...serve at room temperature.

Serves 4 (just multiply if you're having more, we had about 25 that day, but do not multiply the hot stuff if you don't like things really hot...) Great with grilled fish, too. AND, if you'd like to share some of the delicious things you had, fire away in 'comments' Thanks.
Enjoy...From Z and Z's Aunt and Z's Uncle, who barbecued the meat JUST RIGHT!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Here are some pictures from my Easter.....had to let you see the flowers!! Will do a little piece INCLUDING some incredible recipes...very soon. xxx Z

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Sunday Meal...what's yours?

Our family gathers at my aunt and uncle's for Easter Sunday Dinner.......we get there around 4:00 and have cocktails and marvelous hors'deouvres like terrific cheeses and thinly sliced Soprassata salami served with lavash bread, herbed olives, a red caviar/lemon dip you spread on little strips of pita bread, grape leaves stuffed with rice and onions (sometimes, Mom brings her fantastic grape leaves), an Armenian thinly sliced garlic beef and string cheese, etc.etc....we never know what my aunt might prepare, but we always know they'll be wonderful things that all of us enjoy with our glass of red or white wine. We love gathering at the beautiful home nestled in the hills of Bel Air, on the patio or in the den, some people chatting one on one in the living room, the older kids playing pool in the upstairs den, etc., my aunt checking on the dinner and some of us hanging out with her there to's a great time for us all to be together and that 'together' is usually about 25 relatives and, sometimes, friends of my aunt and uncle's, or one of our friends who's got nowhere to go and is graciously welcomed there.

My aunt has a lovel
y home and makes the absolute most of it with incredible holiday decorations. She's got hutches in the kitchen and shelves and ledges throughout the house laden decoratively with rabbits and baskets and flowers...all shades of yellows, oranges, pinks, blues, white ..... The dining room table will be set with hollow painted eggs on tiny stands, some of which my mother painted for her years ago...some with family names on them, etc. Sometimes, she sets a buffet in there and we eat on the outside tables under an overhang overlooking the pool, other times, she has twelve of the adults around that big dining table which is set with lovely linens and glistening silver, the less older adults around the large wooden kitchen table, and the kids somewhere else..... Tulips, hydrangeas and roses and gerbera daisies will be everywhere...Easter at their home is a treat for the eyes and the mouth!

I'm not sure what my aunt will make this year for dinner but I always try to bring something to help out. This year, I'm bringing Easter
cookies I ordered...they're shaped like eggs and iced with gorgeous pastel colors, I hope they all like them!
This year, my aunt might be cooking ham or my uncle might barbecue lamb chops...I don't know what she's serving this Sunday, but it'll be very good (and I'll report!). She makes a delicious ambrosia and always m
akes a corn dish for my uncle....there might be tomatoes with mozzarella and basil, or a special recipe for green beans or maybe she'll roast spring vegetables or have cold asparagus...maybe a potato gratin or a rice dish...or all of the above! Always delicious, always something to look forward to.

An old Armenian custom some of you might do, too, is the BREAKING OF THE EGGS! My aunt will have boiled tons of eggs and colo
red them (they'll be used as decoration before dinner, gorgeous big baskets tied with satin ribbons), some will have our names on them and we'll all take ours....and, then the fun begins. WHO HAS THE HARDEST SHELLED EGG? We go up to others and take that hard boiled egg in our fist and the opponent does the same and we tap the end of our egg on theirs...whichever doesn't crack goes on to the next opponent. It's kind of fun. One year, one wasn't boiled, boy was that a mess, but adds to family memories!

But, more important and definitely felt, on top of the chocolate Easter eggs and rabbits, and tulips and hydrangeas and baskets and ribbons a
nd bows, will be the meaning of my uncle prays before dinner, all of us standing together holding hands....

This is a home that loves food and family but loves the Lord more than all of that. And we feel it. And so, whether it's ham or lamb or potatoes or rice, Easter cookies or lemon tarts for des
sert......we all know that's not the important thing. It's not about the food (did I say THAT? :-), it's about the resurrection of Christ and His gift of salvation.

Easter Sunday at my aunt and uncle's is like a piece of candy, come to think of and family are the the chocolate layer wrapped around a rich, delicious center of God's provenance and love. I'm a lucky niece. I wish the same to you all.

And I know my whole family would wish you a very HAPPY EASTER! Do you have a special Easter menu or family tradition? Please share it with us...
xxx Z