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May 6, 2015

Mother’s Day: A Pizza Your Heart

We know how challenging it is to show our mothers appreciation that does our thanks justice. This Mother’s Day, we chose to love on our moms the best way we know how: with food!

A homemade meal shows thoughtfulness in preparation, and also gathers the family together for a meal – two things that mom is sure to love. Our menu inspiration of pies (pizza) and pies (peach) includes uncomplicated but interactive recipes for fathers and littles to make together, while being elegant enough in presentation to wow everyone! Give mom a “pizza your heart” (and don’t forget the champagne!).

Pro-tip: Prep the dessert pie ahead of time and have it bake off while enjoying pizza!

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Pizza My Heart (Arugula and Prosciutto)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup your favorite marinara sauce

1 (8-ounce) your favorite pizza dough

4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

2 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/3 cups baby arugula

 

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Take pizza dough and flatten with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Start at the center and work outwards, using your fingertips to press the dough to ½ inch thick.

3. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. Spoon marinara sauce on top of pizza. Top evenly with mozzarella.

4. Place pizza directly on middle oven rack. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until bottom of crust is browned and cheese melts.

5. Remove pizza from oven; blot away any liquid from cheese using a paper towel. Top pizza with prosciutto.

6. Combine lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add arugula; toss well to coat. Arrange arugula mixture over pizza. Cut pizza into 6 slices. (Double the recipe to fill more hungry stomachs!)

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Peachy Keen On You (Old Fashioned Peach Pie)

Ingredients:

Pastry for a double-crust 9 inch pie

5 cups fresh peaches, sliced

1 cup sugar

1/3 – 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. Mix together peaches with the combined dry ingredients.

4. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan and dot with butter.

5. Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

6. Cover the edges with foil to prevent over browning. Remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking.

7. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.

(In lieu of a traditional lattice or crumb topping, we cut out hearts from our extra pastry. This is a great task to keep little hands busy, while adding an extra special touch to dessert.)

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Photo credit: Mike Villa Visuals

Linens (napkin only): Luxe Linen

Pie Dish and Server: Anthropologie 

 


June 9, 2014

School’s Out! Planning Healthy Summer Kids Snacks

It’s Summer!  School is out!  Healthy summer snacks are a must for keeping kids happy and active during time off from school.  Toss out the junk food and start making snack time fun again!

Check out these creative, tasty, and healthy summer snack recipes and ideas for kids of any age:

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The Kids MedzoBox – Mediterranean Bento Snack Box

Mini meatballs, edamame hummus, babaganoush, and cucumber yogurt sauce with crunchy veggie sticks

Recipe:

Edamame Hummus

  • 1/2 pound frozen shelled edamame (green soy beans), about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons), juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

 Directions

  • Boil the edamame in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed.
  • Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with the suggested vegetables, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.

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Hummus

  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini (we used Krinos)
  • Half of a large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste
  • 1 teaspoon garam marsala
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • Dash of ground paprika for serving

Directions

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then turn on and process for 30 seconds. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making smooth and creamy hummus possible.
  • Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and the salt to whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process another 30 seconds.
  • Adding the Chickpeas…Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid then rinse well with water. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor then process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, add remaining chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and quite smooth
  • Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until the consistency is perfect.

 

Mini Meat Balls

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups stale Italian bread, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup olive oil

Directions

  • Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add the water 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape if rolled into meatballs. (I usually use about 1 1/4 cups of water). Shape into meatballs.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Pan-Fry meatballs in batches. When the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. (If your mixture is too wet, cover the meatballs while they are cooking so that they hold their shape better.)

 

Creamy Yogurt Sauce

  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large English cucumber, diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for salting cucumbers)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (or both, depending on preference) or 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot minced

Directions

  • Peel cucumbers and dice. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt (draws water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minute. Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel.
  • In food processor or blender, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill and/or mint, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend.
  • This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.
  • If you can’t find the thicker Greek Yogurt Cheese, you can use regular, plain yogurt that is either full fat or low fat. To thicken, spoon yogurt into cheese cloth that has been quadrupled. Draw the corners of the cloth up and tie together. Suspend above a bowl for 2 hours so that water can drip out. The consistency of the yogurt should be like that of sour cream.
  • You can skip this draining process, if you want, but you will have a moderately messier, runnier result.

On a small platter, arrange fresh cut vegetables 2oz of each hummus, 1 oz of creamy yogurt sauce, 1 piece of pita cut into triangles and 2 meatballs cut in half (you can also buy your favorite hummus and tzatziki from your local grocery store and platter up the perfect snack!)

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Rainbow Yogurt Parfait

Layered greek yogurt, mangos, strawberries, blackberries, blue berries, kiwi, and granola (colorful and easy to make!)

  • Greek yogurt
  • Granola
  • Chopped fresh fruit

Directions

  • In an glass of your choosing, add in Greek yogurt.
  • Cover the yogurt with granola and fruit and then adding more yogurt.
  • Finish by sprinkling with fresh strawberries or fruits of your choice.

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Tune in next week for Kid’s Popsicles!  Nothing sounds more appealing than an icy-cold, fruit-filled Popsicle (homemade).

Photo Credit: Marlin Salazar Photography


February 4, 2014

Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two

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Skip the crowded restaurant this year, and make your own luxurious and intimate dinner for two, from indulgent steamed lobster tails to a twist on risotto, these portioned-for-two dinners are ready in a hurry.  And who could forget the flourless chocolate cake, the perfect dessert for this deliciously romantic dinner.

So get ready for some fun and romantic V-Day inspiration below. You’ll also get advice on how to set the mood from our Creative Director Arpi Torosyan, followed by our next blog post of our Valentine’s Day photo contest  on details on HOW TO WIN A FREE DINNER FOR TWO cooked by award-winning Executive Chef Ashley Santo Domingo!

Now grab a bottle of your favorite wine, a feel good romantic movie, cozy up and enjoy!

My Heart Beets for You Salad

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Jen O’Sullivan Photography

Ingredients

Roasted Beets 2 each, sliced ¼” cut out with heart cookie cutter

** (to roast beets: lather with salt, pepper and oil, then roast off in the oven at 325 until tender, leave whole ( : cool completely, once cool use a paper towel to remove the skin of the beet)

Shaved hearts of palm 2 oz

Grilled artichokes 2 oz

Arugula 2 big handfuls

Your favorite vinaigrette 3 oz

Goat cheese 2 oz

Fresh herbs, chopped 1 oz

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, mix everything but the goat cheese together, evenly distribute salad on a small salad plate or share out of a bow, top with goat cheese and enjoy!

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Jen O’Sullivan Photography

The Perfect Lobster Tail Preparation

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Jen O’Sullivan Photography

Ingredients

2 8-oz Lobster Tails

2 sticks butter; melted, (up to 3)

Instructions

1.Thaw out tails. Do this at refrigerator temperature. Do not Use water. Take out of Freezer at least 36 hours before expected meal.

2.Boil enough water to cover 2 tails, This is for 2 8-10oz. tails When it is at a rolling boil add tails. Leave tails in for exactly 3 minutes. Water need not boil again. Take out as soon as the time is up. Pre-heat oven to 450.

3.Take the tails out of water right away. Let them rest for a few minutes to cool off. Use a pair of good scissors to slit top of shell to ½ inch from end of tail. Not all the way or you will have 2 tails.

4.Pull the meat out of shell but leave the very end attached, that would be the end in the ½ inch you didn’t cut at the shell. Push the shell together and drape meat over top of shell carefully. ½ in and ½ out is best but if shell is not stiff enough just drape over shell best you can. Just push it together the best you can.

5.Score the meat from end to end about ½ inch on the top if this wasn’t accomplished with the shell cut. This will cause the lobster to puff up nicely when cooked.

6. Put the tails on a rack over a pan in your preheated oven. Make sure and put about 1 cup of water in the pan below the rack. Put on middle rack of the oven.

7. Cook for about 12 minutes. Add an extra 5 minutes for the bigger tails.

8. Turn oven to broil. Baste tails with melted butter.…Cook time should be about 10 minutes after the broiler is heated up. Use spoon to baste butter on tails to make them crispy and lovely on the top. The tail will turn opaque white from translucent white. When the tails are done, the meat should feel firm when you press it.

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Jen O’Sullivan Photography

Sweet Corn Risotto

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Jen O’Sullivan Photography

Ingredients

3 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1/2 cup sweet corn cut off the cob

5 ounces roasted butternut squash, ¼ inch diced

1/2 shallots, diced

1/2 cup Arborio rice

2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons dry white wine

sea salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1 tablespoon butter

 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil.  Keep the stock warm over very low heat.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock and stirring until it is absorbed between additions.  After about half of the stock has been added, stir in the corn and roasted butternut squash, then add the remaining stock. The rice is done when it’s al dente and creamy, about 25 minutes total. Stir in the cheese and butter; season with chives, salt and pepper.  We used a cookie cutter to cut out a shape of a heart!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Jen O’Sullivan Photography

Ingredients
1/4 cup unsalted butter,  plus 1 tablespoon, softened

1/8 cup sugar

1/4 pound semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1.5 tablespoons amaretto

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch kosher salt

Raspberry Coulis, recipe follows

Confectioners’ sugar, for decorating

1/4 cup fresh raspberries

1/4 cup toasted almond slivers

Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Raspberry Coulis:

1 cups raspberries (about 6 ounces), rinsed

0.375 cup Simple Syrup, recipe follows

3/4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 tablespoon cornstarch

Simple Syrup:

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

 Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Using 1 tablespoon of the softened butter, grease 3 ramekins (hey… we had to make one more for late night!). Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar into each ramekin and shake to coat the bottom and sides of each, evenly. Place the ramekins in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and set aside. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer.

3. Combine the chocolate, remaining butter and amaretto in a metal bowl set over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler. Melt the chocolate, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes; reserve.

4. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, remaining sugar, the vanilla and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy and almost doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Fold 1/3 of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Repeat this process 2 more times-until all of the egg mixture has been folded into the chocolate.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared ramekins and add enough water to the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of each ramekin. Bake until the cakes have risen slightly and the edges are just beginning to set, about 20 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and cool slightly. Use a dull knife or butter knife to gently loosen the cakes from the edges of the ramekin. Invert each cake onto a plate and invert the cakes again (so that the tops face upwards) onto a baking sheet or serving tray. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

6. Remove the ramekins from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Spoon Raspberry Coulis onto individual dessert plates and carefully transfer the cakes to each plate.  Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, fresh raspberries, toasted almonds and fresh mint (if desired).

Raspberry Coulis:

1. Bring the raspberries, syrup, and lemon juice to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are very soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle the cornstarch over 1 teaspoons cold water and stir to dissolve. Pour into the simmering raspberry mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

3. Strain through a fine-mesh wire sieve into a medium bowl; discard the seeds. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Freeze any leftover coulis in a plastic container for up to 1 month.)

Simple Syrup:

1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour the syrup into a container and refrigerate until completely cold, about 45 minutes. (The syrup can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

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Jen O’Sullivan Photography 

 

A Note From our Creative Director Arpi:

I had so much fun decorating this Dinner for Two. Valentine’s Day is the one holiday where you can go as “cheesy” as your heart desires – put hearts on everything!  I wanted to share a few tips to help set a fun and beautiful table for your loved one(s)!

Placemats – step away from the traditional once in a while.  I love using the sheets of paper from Paper Source for anything and everything. They have the most amazing patterns and colors, so you’ll be sure to find something you love! In this case, they made for perfect disposable placemats.  One sheet was perfect for two placemats.

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Flowers – Stop by your local florist, Farmer’s Market, or grocery store and pick up a bunch of cut flowers.  I love sticking to one color and type of flower. I chose beautiful red ranunculus for the table centerpiece.

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Vinyl – At 24 carrots, it’s safe to say we’re obsessed with vinyl-ing.  We have the Silhouette Cameo, but if you’re doing something simple, you can pick up sticker letters from any craft store.  I vinyl-ed “XOXO” on the plates, but also love having each person’s name on their plate.

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Hanging Garland – For special occasions, it’s always fun to hang something special. Our light fixture was perfect for this, so if yours is too, take advantage! It’s worth it!

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Greeting card from Carolyn Suzuki

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