And the Oscar Pun goes to…

First of all, let me just start by saying that I have been doing food puns at my Oscar parties since the day I hollowed out 4 baguettes, lined them up end to end and filled them with spinach dip for “The Green Mile”. So imagine my distress when my friend, Jenny, sent me a link to the winners of Bon Appétit’s first annual Oscar Food Pun competition! How did I miss this? I suppose the fact that I am about 4 months behind on all my food magazines might be one of the reasons. I am still reading about new twist on classic Thanksgiving menus. Anyway, I just want the record to state that I have been doing this with my sister and friends LONG before BA got in the game. And I would also like to point out that we had all the same ideas that the winners had, plus some!

The Table

So here they are for your viewing pleasure, our official 2014 Oscar food pun menu, in no particular order:

Gravlax-ity

Gravlax-ity – smoked salmon dip on sesame crackers
Full disclosure:  I ran out of time and use Trader Joe’s smoked salmon dip (gasp)
but I have to say it is quite tasty.

American Truffle – originally this was going to be American Brussels Sprouts
but chocolate truffles sounded a lot better than brussels sprouts.

Christian Kale – Vickie’s Spicy Kale Chips.

Dallas Gruyeres Club

Dallas Gruyeres Club starring Manchego McConaughey – Cheese Plate

Phyllomena

Phyllo-mena – Individual Zucchini Tarts with phyllo
This was delicious!  However, I can only take credit for finding the recipe.
Jenny’s execution of the recipe was divine.
Click the above link for the recipe on 24 Carrot Life 

The Croodites

The Croodité – Crudité Platter
We had to have something healthy!

The Lemon Square

The Lemon Square – Lemon Bars
Now this one I did make from scratch and will try to post the recipe soon.

Frozen

 Frozen Cocktails – Robin really outdid herself with this one.
I need a whole separate blog post to discuss all the tasty cocktails she made.
My favorites were the Strawberry Basil-tini and the Cantaloupe Margarita. 

The Wine of Wall Street
The Wine of Wall Street – simple and straightforward.

George Clooney is hot

And an Oscar tradition – George Clooney is hot and so is this… (insert hot item here)
This year it was Samantha’s amazing Jalapeno Cheese dip.
Can we get an Amen!

 

PS – I might not have won Bon Appétit’s Oscar Pun competition, but I did win our Oscar pool (again!).  hee hee hee

 

 

Keep It Simple

It has been super busy around Lark these days  (what’s new, right?).  A husband who had vertigo and is working on a crazy independent film.  A four year old with a broken arm (cast is finally off!) and an eye patch to correct his Amblyopia.  My work getting busy.  Visits from parents, step-daughters and in-laws (all wonderful) so it has been a bit quiet on the blog front.  I am always waiting for the time to take the perfect photos of the perfect recipe and write the perfect blog.  But that isn’t what this blog is about.  It’s about cooking, life, my home, my family, my friends and what is happening at Lark.  And yes, I can strive to find time to work on my photography and emulate some of the amazing food bloggers that I love to follow but for now, here are a few snapshots of life at Lark.

Summer vegetables coming in

Sun Gold Tomatoes on the Vine

Exploring simple vegan squash blossom recipes

(apparently it is as simple as sautéing the blossoms with some olive oil, fresh thyme and a pinch of sea salt)

My amazing son taking the patch and the cast all in stride

(with some distraction help from Nana & Papa)

Pizza Night

Celebrating my birthday on a rooftop with friends, at a spa, a decadent lunch, a family dinner & a shared celebration with my mom at The Burbank Starlight Bowl

My step-daughter, Charlie, coming home for a visit

Ollie & Charlie

Simple Sarnies – two ways

Roasted Pepper Sandwiches

Simple Roasted Pepper Sarnies – two ways
(or if you want to be fancy – Tartines)

For the vegetarian (me):

Roasted Peppers*
Fresh Basil Leaves
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

For the meat eater (Charlie):

Pizza Sauce (or any marinara)
Roasted Peppers*
Fresh Basil Leaves
Pepperoni
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Layer the ingredients on a good ciabatta roll and broil until the cheese is brown and bubbly.  Serve warm with more fresh basil leaves on top.

*I used the roasted peppers in olive oil from Trader Joes

See I told you it was simple and did I mention our summer veg has come in?

IMG_5026

Lightning McQueen and a House Full of Four Year Olds

I can’t believe my baby is four years old!  His party was a smashing success.  This was his first birthday party where the house was filled with almost as many children as there were adults (almost).

Car Races & Water Fights

While the kids ran races in the cars my husband made out of old boxes and soaked each other with the water shooters my parents brought, the adults sat around on our decks, enjoying the view and the company, and eating “Luigi’s Lasagna Bites” and “The King’s Kale Salad.”

The weeks of planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, creating and decorating were exhausting and overwhelming, but completely worth it when the first child arrived and my son, in a voice filled with awe and pride, said, “Come see the Lightning McQueen cake my mom made for me.”  Then they stood and stared at it for quite some time.  Actually, I think that was one of the only times the entire day that I saw Ollie stand still.

I was so pleased with how the cake turned out, and I couldn’t have done it without my mom, who stayed up until midnight with me the night before the party, mixing colors for the frosting, helping put the “road crumbles” and white lines on the cupcakes and generally cheering me on.

She often goes on about how she doesn’t like to cook and how she’s not so good at it, and this always make my sister and me roll our eyes.  First of all, the vegan dishes she has been perfecting over the last year are delicious.  But more importantly, when I think back on my childhood parties, the main thing I remember are the cakes that my mom created for us.  Beautiful hand decorated cakes or ones with the most delicious butterscotch frosting that my sister and I still make for each other’s birthdays. Home cooked meals are alive and well in my house, and despite the protestations I know I will hear from my mom, they are because of her.

PS – I would be quite remiss if I didn’t thank my dad as well.  Not only for enthusiastically eating everything my mom, my sister and I have ever made for him, but also for the incredible amount of work he also did to get our house and yard ready for the big party.

Fluffy Vanilla Cake

Please visit sweetapolita’s blog for the recipe I used for Ollie’s cake.  It is by far the most moist, delicious white cake recipe I have ever found.

Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Butter Frosting

From Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

1/3 cup soft butter

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons milk

Blend butter and sugar.  Stir in vanilla and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.  Add more milk to thin out frosting for spreading if necessary.