Let’s Have a KiKi Christmas 2019

“A kiki is a party
For calming all your nerves
We’re spilling tea and dishing just desserts one may deserve
And though the sun is rising
Few may choose to leave
So shade that lid
And we’ll all bid
Adieu to your ennui”

The Scissor Sisters “Let’s Have A Kiki”

It’s my thirty-fifth holiday season as a caterer.


I thought I’d drop a little advice on you, for making the most as a host in the upcoming months.  Let’s turn every party into a “KiKi!”

I love Christmas, mostly because glitter, but everything else, too.

Our holidays over here on McCollum street are homegrown, and we sure have fun.

We have a Christmas Eve feast with our extended tribe and then go caroling in the streets of Echo Park.

We are phenomenal. We don’t look like this.

I mean, seriously.

That is an actual snap of carolers for hire in Los Angeles. They were singing at one of my parties. Have you ever seen me sing?

I’m on the right…in the middle row…honestly…

It’s frightening.

Tip #1: Somebody, quick, pass me a cranberry cocktail!

In order to make a fancy large ice cube, you gotta freeze the bottom layer first, to secure the fruit or whatevs at the top of the cube and allow two days for the entire process, and a proper freeze.

Do you see the secure cranberries?

Tip #2: Another way to entertain with food that people love… SOUPS!

You can make a pot of soup with some crusty bread, and then curate a potluck around it.

Always, always tell your friends what to bring exactly.

It’s not being bossy, it’s being smart, with attention on delicious.

This is my sunshine ginger soup from my cookbook, with a chubby crouton.

Tip #3: Here’s a good one – Twelve Days of Appetizers!

Get all your buddies to bring an appetizer, invite twelve people, set out the bar and pre-heat the oven.

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!

Or call us, we love appetizers…

Cranberry Wonton, Mac & Cheese Bites, Pigs, Empanadas!! 

I’m not a fan of “Just Dessert” parties, because I eat myself into a coma. But I would love to give a shout out to my favorite autumnal delight.

Tip #4:  Try Caramel apples.

I did these with the little local apples, so cute.

Tip #4(A): I also like chocolate covered strawberries! Easy to procure and they don’t melt in the winter!

Tip #5: Don’t underestimate an old fashioned cookie exchange… Martha can help with that.

Tip #6:  For heaven’s sake, pull out all the sparkle!  It’s the most
wonderful time of the year!

Here’s a snap from our party –  I couldn’t do it without the help of all the kids, their mates and the hubs.

Our house is small but mighty when it comes to entertaining eighty people,  we make it work!  So sing a little song, drink a little drink and eat well this holiday season!

Potato, Endive & Avocado Al Fresco Salad Recipe


Could not live without them. They are so versatile and satisfying. I like them every way. Perogies, smashed with Pommery Mustard, salt, roasted, steamed with butter and salt, and here’s my dirty little secret, ketchup, yum. I mean come on, french fries!!

Potato chips give me super powers!!

We make a bomb roasted potato salad with a couple of secrets I’m willing to share.  So simple –  we roast red potatoes in salad size pieces, when just done but not too brown, allow to cool slightly, toss with Mayo and a healthy dollop or Pommery mustard. Oh, and a bunch of sliced scallions, too. Do not refrigerate, the starch in the potatoes gets too hard, so prepare this dish before you are ready to eat. It’s warm and different and delicious.

We use Veganaise at the shoppe to keep it vegan!

I recently slow roasted a leg of lamb in celery, onions and white wine, and added these beauties the last half hour. Oh my.

The recipe I’m sharing today is in my cookbook.  Oh, and BTW,  my publisher lauded in the L.A. Times!  I think this recipe came to me by way of Alice Waters, but honestly, I don’t remember.

It was probably her, she’s very clever.

You’re gonna love it. Now, get some cake, call your friends and get together over supper.

You can thank me later.

Raspberry Salmon Recipe

Many moons ago, when my big brother was my head chef, he created a recipe. Not because he was infinitely clever, but because he was under the guidance of his superior little sister chef, who really crafted this sweet salmon masterpiece. I’ll spare you the whole process, but when you read the recipe you’ll think it’s a rather weird combination of things, not unlike my brother. (That’s him in the goofy t-shirt getting his hair pulled.)

I know it seems weird putting jam on salmon. Just go with it, it works out. It’s a great dish for a crowd and it looks great on the plate and…
it’s raspberry season people!

In the summer, nothing makes a better side dish for salmon than corn pudding…This recipe is also in my cookbook, and to make it easy, I updated the Amazing Corn Sensation recipe so it’s easy to find (first published in 2009!)

Happy eating everyone!

Put a Hole in it – Stay Cool with Ball Jars & Elixir Recipe

watermlon 5

Photo by David Kiang

I get a hammer and a screwdriver and put the disk part on top of the ring. I pound a hole into the disk with the screwdriver, being careful not to drive it so hard that I damage the table beneath.water lid Then I flip the lid and whack it with a hammer to seal the scratchy edges.  I usually have to wiggle in a bigger hole with the screwdriver,  because I like fat straws.

Do this. Don’t buy water in plastic bottles. Just don’t.watermelon 1

And drink this all day – (from my book of course).

Homemade Watermelon Ginger Elixir 

3 quarts lemonade
2 cups watermelon juice (puree watermelon in a blender to make juice)
2 cups or more ginger juice
Sprigs of fresh mint, rosemary, or lavender

Mix everything together in a beautiful pitcher. Garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs.

Excellent wth a shot of vodka.


2 cups sugar – –  2 cups fresh lemon juice – – 3 quarts water

Melt sugar and lemon juice together in a small pan over medium-high heat just until the sugar melts and the mixture is smooth, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, combine them in a pitcher and stir until the sugar is melted, also about 10 minutes.) Remove from heat and mix in enough water to make 1 gallon.The concentrate keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. Mix with water before serving.

Ginger Juice

1 pound fresh ginger, unpeeled, sliced or chopped in a food processor – –  4 quarts of water

Place ginger and water in a stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook at a high simmer until reduced to a quart, about 1 hour. Remove from heat, strain ginger pieces from the liquid, and store in a clean quart container.

(To make a cup of healing tisane, mix 1/4 cup Ginger Concentrate with 3/4 cup hot water and a squeeze of fresh lemon and sweeten to taste.)

Buy the book at Indie Bound, read reviews on Amazon.

Samantha’s Backyard Wedding

Once upon a time, a little girl loved a little restaurant called the Double Dutch. Her Momma loved it too. When it was vegetarian wedding time, the decision was simple! Call Jennie!! We reminisced, shared recipes and created a lovely backyard celebration.

The space was petite.  We had to wait till after the ceremony to set up the tables. It all worked out of course, it always does.

They made these cute party favors, and guests used them, too.

There were about 100 guests tucked into the small space, and you’d never know. Everyone was very happy to rub elbows with their neighbors.

It was our second Henson Cake of the season! This was a three tier, naked  funfetti cake. Back before Ms. Piggy left her Frog. (Breaking news – they reconciled.)

It was a joyous occasion! It’s not often that we get a request for the corn sensation, but when we do, it’s usually an old Double Dutcher.  Cheers to many more shared recipes, intimate events and… Babies!!

Oh!  One more thing –  I loved these glasses available when guests arrived. The ceremony was sun kissed and this was a nice change from fans and parasols. It’s fun to mix it up.