Fourth of July Menu

I’ve been hosting Fourth of July at my house going on three years now. The last two years I’ve done traditional hot dogs and hamburgers. But this year I’m changing it up a bit and doing Beef & Chicken Teriyaki Skewers. I saw Paula Deen’s recipe for it when watching the Food Network at the gym. (Yes I’m one of those people). Here is the menu so far but still subject to change:

Fourth of July Menu:

Beef & Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

Corn, Bacon & Chives Salad with Fresh Diced Jalapenos

Heirloom Tomato and Buratta Caprese Salad with Pesto

Angel Hair Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

Corn Bread with Creamed Honey

Homemade Peach Pie and Ice Cream

Cheesecake and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Does this feel like its missing something? I can easily throw some veggies on the grill or cut up some watermelon. I’m trying to go a little on the fresher side this year instead of weighing everyone down with hamburgers and potato salad. Thoughts?

Fondant Round 2

As you may or may not know from a previous post – I have a love hate relationship with the fondant. I want so badly to master the skill of making fondant cakes and yet at the same time am frustrated to point of wanting to quit my schooling in this sugary art. I decided to take another stab at making a fondant cake and called my friend Erika for support. She agreed to give me a lesson but I needed to show up with cakes and products ready. So I made the cakes and they fell flat. Literally. They were like an inch high. But fortunately this was just for learning so we covered these micro cakes with fondant and below is the proof. Thank you Erika – you made me a believer that I could not only make something with fondant but gave me the drive to try again (see next fondant post coming soon!).

Caprese Salad with Burrata, Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil/Cilantro Pesto


My client Tasha gave me this recipe after we had a complete bonding moment over our love of cooking at her pre-wedding photo session. Its was hilarious. I think her fiancé/now husband Dillon was amused by our loud ongoings on the corner of Anacapa & Canon Perdido St. in downtown Santa Barbara. There we were standing on the sidewalk avidly exchanging recipes like the information was as valuable as learning about sunken treasure. After trying her recipe for this caprese salad it WAS as valuable as sunken treasure! Its so delicious and refreshing and the secret is the half basil half cilantro in the pesto. It makes the flavor of the pesto so more refined and less punchy. I could eat this salad every day and have made it now several time. I’m planning on making this for Fourth of July and I think you should too!


3-4 heirloom tomatoes with varying colors sliced

whole basil leaves

2 large balls of burrata cheese sliced (I get the tub at Trader Joes and it has two in there)

olive oil & balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

Pesto (recipe to follow)

Pesto Recipe:

1 cup packed basil leaves

1 cup packed cilantro leaves

1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoles)

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese

2/3 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

salt & pepper to taste


In a food processor pulse garlic cloves until finely minced. Add basil, cilantro, olive oil and pine nuts. Pulse until smooth. Salt & pepper to taste.

Spread pesto on the bottom of a serving dish. Layer  tomato, basil leaves and burrata until all the ingredients are gone. Season with a little salt & pepper and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Beer Can Roast Chicken on the Grill

I love barbecuing but never thought I’d be cooking a whole roasting chicken on the grill! This recipe is super duper easy and the flavors from the BBQ really make this a tasty delight. Enjoy!


1 16 oz can of beer

1 whole chicken

salt & pepper

Preheat your gas grill to medium high heat.

Clean and remove any pin feathers from the chicken. Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the chicken. Pour out half the contents of the beer can and with the chicken upright (so the beer doesn’t spill out) insert the can into the cavity of the chicken. Prop the chicken upright on the grill so that the beer can is upright. The chicken should balance so you can leave it there with the bbq grill hood closed. (Measure your grill beforehand to be sure it fits!) Cook until thermometer reads 160 for at least 15 seconds or until juices run clear. Enjoy!

Tea Sandwiches

Ever had a small gathering that doesn’t require a huge meal but you still want to offer something of substance? Try these fabulous little sandwiches out on your friends – they’re sure to comment! I have both a savory and sweet option that are sure to please. And don’t be surprised if the kids and husband love them too!

Loaf of Crustless white bread with remove crusts


Raspberry Jam

Conte Cheese Sliced


Dijon Mayonaisse

Make a sandwich with the Nutella and Raspberry. Cut into 4ths making bite size sandwiches. For  Salami sandwiches, first spread dijon mayonnaise on both sides of the bread before layering with salami and then conte. Cut into 4ths as well and serve them on a platter