A few weeks ago, my good friend Ragan had the genius idea to throw a party. Only the guests were going to be in charge of the cooking. GENIUS. The concept was simple. We all met at the Farmer’s Market in Hollywood on Sunday morning promptly at 9am.
Except for the promptly part ;). Love you, Virginia!
Ragan broke us out into teams…with people we had never met (gasp)! We each drew for the course we would be in charge of and the rules were this—everything had to be made using ingredients from the Farmer’s Market and we would meet back at Ragan’s to put it all together. May the best (wo)man win!
Steve and I drew the “Cold Main” course and we had about an hour to figure out what we were going to make and buy all of our ingredients. OHMYGAHIMSOSTRESSED! No, seriously, I tried not to stress about the fact that I’m much better when I have a plan and a recipe, but hey, I’m cool, I can be spur of the moment, I can be spontaneous! (Ha, Ha, Ha. Do you know me at ALL?)
Ragan had a grand old time playing paparazzi, watching the rest of us sweat!
Dave looks worried. (He should be, mwahaha)
The Hollywood Farmer’s Market doesn’t hold a candle to the food Mecca that is Santa Monica (where all the chefs shop), but the produce is gorgeous and I’m grateful it’s just up the street from where we live. Look at that citrus!
And these flowers! These are ranunculus from Silver Lake Farms —aren’t they gorg??
After some deliberation, we settled on a cold noodle dish, so we started hunting & gathering. Steve knows his way around a Farmer’s Market—note rolling suitcase. Smart partner = I win! Though we only found noodles at the last minute and thought we were doomed!
If it’s English, I’m buying.
We all arrived back at Ragan’s to find her prop room (!!!) decked out with fancy table accoutrements.
So, I quickly stole the prettiest bunch!
While Steve grabbed the rest.
Then we got to work.
Some of us more than others…Dave!
But, he did work the champagne & cocktails which were flowing aplenty. They also lessened the pressure.
Pretty soon, we were all old friends, giving each other tips and learning new tricks.
After all, we were in the presence of a professional French chef! He so generously gave us all a few lessons.
Bradford here on Team One, getting his tuna ready for our appetizer.
Do I spy quail egg? These teams were not playing around.
Just look at that masterpiece!
Team Two was up next and Steve and I managed to snag the best outdoor spot we created to look like an English garden party. Good tactic, no? Divert attention away from the actual food in case it sucked.
But, thankfully it was a hit. Our cold noodles with shrimp, radish & English Peas in a lime mint dressing was kind of amazing. If I do say so myself.
Team Three had it the hardest I think with the hot main. They brought the ambition, presenting us with a savory French Toast with wild mushrooms, asparagus and tomato. Fantastic!
We ate our main course family style alfresco, while bonding over the day’s event.
That is until dessert arrived.
Rose geranium sabayon with lemon pistachio praline and fresh flowers. Have. You. Ever. It was ridiculously amazing and basically art in a bowl. I’m begging for the recipe.
What an absolutely delightful day this was. Thank you, Ragan! This was maybe my favorite “dinner” party ever. In fact, Virginia & Bradford are hosting round 2 this Sunday and I’m bringing my A game. You MUST try this at home.
Recipes coming soon on Ragan’s blog Beauty in the Bite!