dinner party w/ the yellow table

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com Untitled-1

When someone asks you if they can come over and throw a dinner party for you and your friends, you say yes. Resoundingly, yes. To be honest, I struggle with throwing dinner parties – they’re a LOT of work and at the end of each one I always say to Jack “let’s just meet friends at a restaurant next time.” My friend Anna – from The Yellow Table – however, is a pro. She’s on a mission to make this year “the year of the dinner party.” She just spent a month driving from NYC to LA throwing 8 (EIGHT!) dinner parties along the way, including a stop at our place last weekend.

Why would someone put themselves through something so crazy as a Cookbook Roadtrip? “Something magical happens when people gather around table,” she told me… “I just love that sense of connection.” Her passion for bringing people together over delicious food was the inspiration behind the cookbook that she created (and blogged about for 100 days in a row). I can tell you first hand that her recipes are beyond delicious… but here’s the thing:

We have to kickstart that cookbook! CLICK HERE, to preorder your copy of The Yellow Table Cookbook, which will fund the first round of printing. Your copy will arrive this fall, just in time to lend some inspiration to your holiday gatherings.

And now, some pics from our party!!

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Anna created her menu using tons of local ingredients: Heirloom cherry tomatoes garnished her creamy gazpacho. Beautiful shaved carrots got tossed into a huge lemony kale salad. Juicy peaches and blackberries became a (make-ahead!) crumble with a crispy oat topping. (All of the recipes are in the book, btw).

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

I set the table with mismatched chairs, vintage dishes and assorted patterned napkins. (Being a food blogger, I don’t own “sets” of anything). I designed little menu cards to tie the look together. Anna plated soups just before guests arrived – icy cold gazpacho was perfect for this hot summer night.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

The night was filled with good friends, (and new friends!), and of course great food. The main course (not pictured b/c Jack was too busy eating it), was grilled skirt steak and fish topped with roasted red pepper chimichurri – a delicious twist on a classic.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Everyone sat around the table and enjoyed wine late into the night…

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Special thanks to Anna for coming to our house and creating such a magical evening! And thanks to Whole Foods who provided all of the groceries and wine!

food by: Anna / photography by: Jack / tables & graphics by: yours truly

tomato, peach & avocado bruschetta

tomato, peach and avocado bruschetta

It’s peach season over here! (I know, it comes early here in Texas). But when it’s peach season I have just one objective: Eat as many peaches as possible until it’s not peach season anymore.

tomato, peach and avocado bruschetta tomato, peach and avocado bruschetta

On Saturday, I came home from the farmers market with these beautiful heirloom cherry tomatoes, sweet peaches, and my favorite nine grain (Easy Tiger) bread. I truly believe summer food should be simple, so I made this easy bruschetta for dinner along with a huge salad. It was perfect for a hot summer evening along with ice cold white wine.

I used creamy avocado this time instead of any sort of cheese, but it would also be nice with a little burrata or even a slather of goat cheese.

raspberry polenta cake

raspberry polenta cake (vegan) / loveandlemons.com

What do you make with leftover polenta and leftover raspberries? Cake, of course! But not just any cake – cake in a skillet. Because skillets = summer.

raspberry polenta cake / loveandlemons.com raspberry polenta cake (vegan) / loveandlemons.com

Aside from the little bit of butter I used to grease the pan, this cake is vegan and made with coconut oil. It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup and, of course, the sweetness that comes from the raspberries. (note: you can grease your pan with coconut oil).

It’s a (smaller) version of this peach cake I made last summer – in my 10-inch skillet this cake is just 4 servings, but you can double it if you have a larger skillet and more mouths to feed. I prefer it straight out of the oven with melty ice cream on top. Although, the leftover slices were delicious (sans the ice cream), for breakfast the next morning.

raspberry polenta cake (vegan) / loveandlemons.com

Oh, and it goes without saying that you could top this with any fruit you like.

peanut butter bourbon milkshake

vegan peanut butter bourbon milkshake / loveandlemons.com

It might not be summer everywhere yet, but here in Texas, it’s hot. Lately our weekend afternoons have consisted of long sweaty walks followed by sweet frozen treats.

vegan peanut butter bourbon milkshake / loveandlemons.com

This ice cream has been our treat-of-choice over the past few weeks – mainly because when you experiment with new recipes, you make a lot of versions. And thus, a lot of ice cream. It’s not a bad problem to have.

vegan peanut butter bourbon milkshake / loveandlemons.com vegan peanut butter bourbon milkshake / loveandlemons.com

This recipe is a 2-parter, you can stop at the ice cream, or go a step further and make it into a milkshake. Instead of our regular coconut base, we did a nutty version using raw cashews, peanut butter and Almond Breeze. The bourbon adds a nice rich flavor that doesn’t actually taste boozy (although you could add more bourbon to your milkshake if you want). If alcohol isn’t your thing, we found that a bit of apple cider vinegar created a similar balanced flavor.

This one is a little equipment heavy, as you need a vitamix-type-blender and also an ice cream maker. (I have to be honest, I’m not into extra gadgets but we get tons of use out of both of these items). And while this recipe might not be light on the calories, it is light on the number of ingredients. So if you have all of the above, this will be a snap to make and a fun summer treat!

a trip to new york with samsung

samsung club de chefs

This past week, Samsung flew me out to New York as part of their Club de Chefs collaboration. I had the opportunity to preview some amazing appliances at the Samsung Living Atelier (like a pop up shop), and chat with some pretty major Michelin star chefs.

Along with fellow bloggers, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Éric Fréchon of the restaurant at the Hôtel Le Bristol in Paris, Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa, Michel Troisgros of La Maison Troisgros in Roanne, and (surprise chef!), Daniel Boulud of the restaurant Daniel. They were all so kind. Our afternoon session was all smiles and laughs – I found myself forgetting that I was sitting with people who make some of the most incredible food in the world.

One thing that made me feel good about my personal approach to food is that all chefs agreed that cooking at home has to be light, and it has to be simple. “Quick simple beautiful ingredients,” says Chef Michel.

My biggest takeaway was one common element – food is love. When I asked about cooking at home, 3 out of the 4 of the chefs replied with “my wife cooks, or I cook with my wife.” I just love how, even for rockstar Michelin star chefs – cooking is about family. I thought it was especially sweet to listen to Chef Michel talk about his wife:“I’m amazed at what she does with nothing.”

But it was Chef Éric that described cooking in the most heartwarming way. “You must cook the way you love to cook. Take time and be meticulous. But cooking has to come from the heart to make a difference. It’s about sharing what’s in your heart while you prepare the for the person you are cooking for.”

samsung club de chefs

You may be thinking “what does this have to do with Samsung?” Someone really smart at Samsung decided to find out what these amazing chefs would actually WANT in their kitchens at home – and with their help the new Chef Collection line was born. I walked away with some serious appliance-envy (hello, oven that can cook at two different temps at the same time(!)… and fridge with sparkling water dispenser where you can choose your level of fizz).

Later that evening (pictured), they cooked for us (and many others) at the final press event. At the end of the event they gave us each a signed apron. All and all, a super inspiring trip.

This post is in collaboration with Samsung