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February 2, 2015

Valentine’s Day- Love You a Brunch Part II

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Happy February!  We hope your February is filled with lots and lots of LOVE.  Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away, and lucky for us— it is on a Saturday this year!

Start your Valentine’s morning off by preparing a romantic brunch to serve up in bed to the one you love.  Nothing says “I love you” more than heartwarming fare… especially when it’s served in bed.  Valentine’s morning is the perfect excuse to indulge in a Lover’s Egg’s Benedict and heart-shaped Valentine’s Day Tuna Tartar, paired with his and hers Sex on the Beach.

Now dish up a little love for your sweetie, prep your favorite flowers, light some candles, put on a feel good romantic movie, cozy up, and enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day Tuna Tartar

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Fresh diced ahi, burning chilis, pine nuts,  sriracha aioli, bloody citrus, red berries, and beet chips

Ingredients: 

1 cup ¼ inch diced ahi

1 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

1 tbsp. brunoised fresno chilies and jalapenos

½ orange blood orange segments

4 pieces grapefruit segments

2 berries brunoised strawberries

1 tsp. yuzu

dash aji amarillo paste

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. fresh grapefruit juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp. brunoised cucumber

Instructions:

Mix everything well and let the tuna marinate for a few minutes.

Place a heart shaped cookie cutter on the plate and stuff it with the mix, then slowly pull it up while lightly pressing down on the tuna mix.

Repeat to make two hearts on the plate.

Garnish with shaved radish cut into hearts, micro greens, and your favorite chili sauce, heart-shaped croutons, and beet chips.

 

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Lovers Eggs Benedict

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Two English muffins topped with smoky chorizo and grilled asparagus, two poached eggs,  and chipotle hollandaise

Ingredients: 

2 English muffins cut into hearts

4oz chipotle hollandaise

6oz cooked chorizo

2 poached eggs

8 pieces cut and trim grilled asparagus

Roasted red pepper cut into a heart shape

Instructions: 

Toast muffins with butter and place on plate.

Smear hollandaise on bottom of both muffins.

Place grilled asparagus on top of the bottom muffin, then top with the roasted red pepper.

On the top muffin, stack  chorizo, a poached egg, and then coat with chipotle hollandaise.

Garnish with micro greens.

 

Chipotle Hollandaise

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 large egg yolks

2 tbsp. hot water

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sauce from a canned chipotles in adobo

Instructions:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it is foamy but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and using the double boiler method, set a small bowl on top of the saucepan (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water).

Add the egg yolks to the bowl, 2 tablespoons of hot water, the lemon juice, salt, and adobo sauce, and whisk until foamy and just starting to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Slowly add the melted butter a little bit at a time and whisk the sauce until it is smooth. Turn off the heat and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the sauce stand over the warm water for up to 30 minutes before serving.

 

Mini Skillet Breakfast Potatoes

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Home-style potatoes, paprika and spice, roasted peppers

Ingredients:

2ea boiled whole russet potatoes, cooked until just tender (do not overcook) then diced ¾  inch

1 cup diced red peppers

½ cup diced red onion

2 tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. sea salt

Pepper to taste

Instructions: 

Mix ingredients, coating the potatoes with the seasoning.

Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until peppers, onions, and potatoes are tender.

Heat in a pan with a small amount of oil and crisp potatoes.

Once hot and crispy, place in mini skillets and garnish with cilantro.

 

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Beet Chips

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His and Hers Sex on the Beach

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Blood orange juice, splash of cranberry juice, vodka, peach schnapps, served tall, and on the rocks

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 oz vodka (our favorite Is Hangar One Mandarin Blossom)

1/2 oz peach schnapps

2 oz cranberry juice

2 oz blood orange juice

Instructions:

Add vodka and peach schnapps to a highball glass over ice. Fill with equal measures of cranberry juice and orange juice, stir, repeat to make two.

 

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Stay tuned for our next blog post of our Valentine’s Day Second Annual Photo Contest on details on HOW TO WIN A FREE DINNER FOR TWO cooked by award-winning Executive Chef Ashley Santo Domingo!

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Photo Credit: Studio EMP Photography

Creative Director: Arpi Torosyan

 


February 26, 2014

Vintage Romantic Wedding: Nicole + Billy

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Nicole and Billy’s wedding was particularly special to 24 carrots. Nicole is the daughter of our Controller here at 24 carrots, so catering this spectacular vintage wedding was near and dear to our hearts.  When these high-school sweethearts were planning & deciding on their wedding venue with High Society Events, they knew they wanted a unique, outdoor space that was private, secluded, dreamy, romantic, and had natural beauty to complement their own down to earth & relaxed vibe.  Couple that with tigers, zebras, alpacas, birds, lynx, and life flowing all around and what you have is Rancho Las Lomas.   Every last detail of this gorgeous vintage-inspired wedding is perfection.  It’s impossible to talk vintage without mentioning their rustic wood tables with mismatched chairs from Found Rentals,  soft lavender hues and sensational roses & florals and décor by Inviting Occasion, it was a day that was rich in love-filled moments and whimsical details aplenty.

It was a day of non-stop emotion as “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri arranged for string quartet was playing in the background as Nicole walked down the aisle, to personalized gifts handed to their family during the heartfelt ceremony.   These moments were so emotionally powerful and we felt incredibly lucky to witness such true love!

Simple and elegant, their wedding proves that a natural setting can provide a romance in a class all on its own.  A big thank you to Sargeant Photography for capturing one insanely beautiful moment after another.

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Photographer: Sargeant Photography
Caterer: 24 carrots Catering and Events
Wedding Planner: High Society Events
Florist: Inviting Occasion
Venue: Rancho Las Lomas
Rentals: Archive Rentals and Found Rentals
Entertainment: DJ: Elevated Pulse Productions
Entertainment: Band: The Electric Violinist
Videographer: Lunch Pail Video
Photo booth: Mir Mir
Makeup and Hair: Design Visage


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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