An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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An Autumn Wedding Feast to Celebrate Your Marriage

Posted by on Oct 5, 2009, 9:38 am in Celebrations, Food and Drink, Menus, Seasonal Celebrations, Special Events | 1 comment

Incorporate the rich colors, scents, spices and flavors of autumn to your wedding feast as metaphors to remind you of your vows and love for each other as you encounter those objects throughout your lives together.

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A Tropical Themed Party for a Warm Summer Evening

Posted by on Aug 28, 2009, 10:12 am in Food and Drink, Menus, Shameless Self Promotion- Sharing Successes, Small Pleasures Catering | 0 comments

A Tropical Themed Party for a Warm Summer Evening

A catered birthday party with a menu designed to accompany Margaritas and Mojitos, the only drinks the client intended to serve.

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A Perfect Menu for an Outdoor Summer Wedding

Posted by on May 20, 2009, 6:00 pm in Food and Drink, Menus, Pet Peeves and Rants, Seasonal Celebrations, Special Events | 0 comments

A room temperature menu of sun-kissed foods is perfect for a wedding in the heat of summer.

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The Caterer’s Garden – an Update

Posted by on Apr 1, 2009, 7:04 pm in Events, Food and Drink, Menus | 0 comments

Here are a couple of Cal- Med style menus highlighting the produce of the garden. Also some pics of the freshly planted little seedlings. Ciao, Gisele www.smallpleasurescatering.com Menu #1 Mesclun Mix of Field Greens and Herbs with Roasted Red and Yellow Beets, Walnuts and Goat Cheese Garnished with Pansies and Served with Balsamic Vinaigrette*** Fresh Pea Soup Puree Garnished with Mint Cream *** Pan Roasted Salmon Served with  Swiss Chard, Brown Butter, Mixed Medley of Cherry Tomatoes and Fingerling Potatoes *** Pear Frangipane Tarts Menu #2 Salad of French Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes Garnished with Nasturtium Petals and Herbs served with Tarragon Mustard Vinaigrette *** Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms Served with Tomato Butter Sauce *** Lamb Loin with Eggplant, Roasted Pepper and Tomato Gratin Garnished with Roasted Cippoline Onions ans Marjoram Pesto *** Mixed Berry Lavender Shortcakes with Lemon Curd and...

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More December Celebrations- Kwanzaa

Posted by on Dec 24, 2008, 9:41 am in Food and Drink, Menus, Seasonal Celebrations, Small Pleasures Catering | 0 comments

Celebrate family, culture and community with a first-fruits Kwanzaa party. Kwanzaa which begins on Dec. 26th and lasts for 7 days, was created by Dr. Ron Karenga in the tumultuous 1960's to honor African heritage in America. Here we are, less thana month before the inauguration of the United States’ first African American President, a day many of us never dreamed of seeing in our lifetimes. Regardless of your ethnic background, why not consider using Kwanzaa this year as a teachable moment for your children. Put out a spread of selections from the African Diaspora and remind them of the long civil rights journey that has led to this historic moment. Start with Jamaican Jerk Chicken Skewers and Cod Fish Cakes- full of flava’, mon… Then a buffet of West African Roast Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Okra, Fried Catfish, Fresh Corn Pudding, Candied Yams and a Melange of Collard, Mustard, Spinach and Turnip Greens Sautéed with Garlic inspired by the American South. To finish-what else but Pecan Pie? Bon Appetit! Gisele small pleasures...

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December Celebrations- Have a Hanukkah Dinner

Posted by on Dec 14, 2008, 9:59 am in Food and Drink, Menus, Seasonal Celebrations | 0 comments

Okay- here’s the first non-Christmas December celebration. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is observed for 8 nights, so there are lots of chances to get together and and enjoy the company of your loved ones. It celebrates the miracle of a single container (normally enough for only a single lighting of the eternal flame in the Jewish temple) of consecrated oil lasting for 8 days.  Because oil is an integral part of the celebration it is traditional to eat fried foods at Hanukkah- like blintzes, latkes (potato and other vegetable pancakes), and doughnuts. For dinner, start with tray passed Mini Cheese Blintzes topped with Warm Blueberry Maple Sauce. Then there’s nothing like a Slow Braised Brisket smothered with a mountain of deeply colored Caramelized Onions- you don’t have to be Jewish to love this special treat. Serve it with Potato Pancakes and Chunky Apple Compote, accompanied by Roasted Winter Vegetables. End with desserts for the kid in all of us- Hanukkah Cupcakes, decorated with blue and silver sprinkles and Stars of David, and the updated version of jelly filled doughnuts, Beignets sprinkled with Powdered Sugar and served with a Tart Cherry Compote. Yum!!!...

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Creative Menus for Tough Times

Posted by on Oct 6, 2008, 8:41 am in Food and Drink, Menus, Small Pleasures Catering | 0 comments

Creative Menus for Tough Times

Speaking of the current economic climate, my latest issue of "Biz Bash" magazine (a trade publication for event professionals) featured an article titled "New Takes on an Old Bird"- a response, obviously, to the tough times we're in. While only a year ago, catering publications were touting a return to beef, the times now demand a new look at chicken. The article showcased "budget-friendly" chicken dinners created by several caterers. Now I know we all tend to think of the old moniker "rubber chicken" when we think of catered meals featuring the bird, but I, too, maintain that it's possible to have a great chicken entree. The menus items featured included Chicken Breast with Apricot and Cornbread Stuffing served with an Ice Wine and Apricot Sauce; Sous Vide Chicken Leg Stuffed with Mushroom Mousse served with Spinach, Chanterelles and Fried Parsnip Chips and a Panko-Crusted Chicken Roulade with Porcini Red Wine Jus. I have found that stuffing chicken breasts, rolling them into roulades and using the dark meat of chicken, offer very interesting methods for a tasty chicken dish. Stuffing helps maintain moisture as well as add flavor, and the dark meat is just naturally more tasty and moist. An old favorite of mine is a Spinach Stuffed Breast of Chicken served with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce and a new favorite is Mustard and Shallot Crusted Chicken Thighs  served on Braised Leeks, a recipe adapted from Suzanne Goin's  Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table . I also love making roulades from turkey breasts- Herb and Prosciutto Stuffed Turkey Breast Roulades served with Roasted Garlic Sauce and Shiitake Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breast Roulades with Wild Mushroom Sauce are two of my favorites. Clients who are serving a smaller number of guests at Thanksgiving love the roulades, finding them just the right size. They also appreciate that they are easy to slice, hence bypassing the whole carving issue. Here's a pic of the sliced turkey breast below served with a Sweet Potato Puree with Pecan Praline Topping. Really yummy! More value friendly menu ideas coming up later this week. Bon...

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