Thursday, July 25

California dreaming: shopping, cooking and inspiration from Traditional Home magazine and Thermador

with the talented Traci Zeller working our magic in the Thermador kitchen
A trip to Sunny, southern California inspires 
my end of summer entertaining

Traci Zeller and I shopped for and styled this pretty cheese platter for guests to nibble on with dessert after we all cooked a meal together at Thermador headquarters.  Our cheese plate  was complete with local fresh cheeses, homemade bread, grain mustard, fig jam and California fresh fruit.  We won most "sophisticated styling" for our chalkboard creation

ten of us collaborating together in the kitchen 
how it all began...
You may remember I was chosen with nine other designers to be featured in 
Traditional Home magazine's one time on-line issue called Great Kitchens.  

It was an issue offering various perspectives from 10 different kitchens and soirees.  The stories varied from complete kitchen renovations to specialized parties held in these homes.  Traditional Home chose my Fourth of July party and offered up my tabletop designs and photographs, with my money-saving tips while including links to my Greek cuisine recipes.  I was over the moon to be included.  
In case you missed it, here are some of my photographs.
Great Kitchens feature of my Greek Dinner is on page 64
As a follow up to this amazing experience, 
Thermador (the sponsor for the Great Kitchen issue) reached out to the ten of us inviting us to travel to Newport Beach, California to their headquarters to cook with them and experience their products.  Both the publisher (Beth Brenner) and the Editor in Chief (Ann Maine) of Traditional Home came along with us on this two day extravaganza.  We started our festive time together in lovely Roy's restaurant where we met the restaurant's in-house chef who explained the delicious cuisine we dined upon, telling us about his selection of local cuisine and wine.  
we dined on braised Butterfish and delicious short ribs at Roy's
The next morning we stopped into the largest Whole Foods I have ever seen in Newport Beach.  We were greeted by Thermador's two friendly and informative chefs who walked us through an insider's tour of the Whole Foods as we gathered our ingredients for a day of cooking together. What a treat to hear first-hand from these chefs about their reasons and usage of fresh, local and in-season ingredients when preparing meals.  The chefs taught me about Musto (a thick balsamic vinegar), various cheeses, how to choose oils for their heat capability, why you always always buy heirloom tomatoes when you can get them, and much more.  We gathered our ingredients and headed over to the state of the art Thermador facilities where we worked together to create one beautiful meal:

Chef Kyle walking us through Whole Foods
 I learned something productive from Kyle:
The Environmental Working Group created 
two lists for consumers...
"The Dirty Dozen"
items to choose only organic to assure chemical free ingesting.
Cherry Tomatoes
hot peppers
nectarines (imported)
sweet bell peppers
we filled up our grocery basket with many goodies and headed off to Thermador to cook 
"The Clean Fifteen"
safe to say that these fifteen items show up wth little or no traces of pesticides and therefore, not as necessary to shop organic
sweet corn
sweet peas (frozen)
sweet potatoes
now, that's helpful information, so keep that in your back pocket
the fabulous Ashlina of The Decorista choosing beets and carrots for our lunch

Our Lunch Menu:
goat cheese, beet & heirloom tomato w/toasted marcona almonds & marscapone
seared tuna with sweet corn coulis and cucumber
grilled petite filet mignon on a bed of mixed mushrooms and carrots
grilled peaches with homemade pistachio ice cream and musto 
fruit, cheese and homemade bread platter with fig spread
grilled in-season peaches and homemade ice cream
rare seared tuna was a perfect taste before the heavy entree
What did I learn about Thermador products? 
I like to cook, and a good cook is always learning, 
so after my Thermador experience I am interested in two procedures: 
First, steam cooking... 
Thermador's Pro Grand Steam Oven

Steam cooking sounds like the food could possibly turn out soggy, but quite the contrary the way the Thermador steam wall oven works with cooking from the inside out, the food instead is crispy outside and moist and tender inside. 
Thermador's Freedom Induction
I am also smitten with Induction Cook Tops.  Before this experience, I had a bias against induction cooktops, but after watching the fabulous Lisa Mende work her cooking talent with the seared tuna on the induction top, and see the control she wielded with the level of heat, as well as how quickly the heat dissipates once the appliance is turned off, I was sold.  

Additionally, the induction's seamless appearance and flat surface allows the top to be used as a counter space when needed, which is helpful in smaller kitchens. 
our gracious and generous hosts from Thermador

 we participated in a friendly, fun contest to see which team could utilize the most creativity when preparing and plating the food.  

 One last evening overlooking the Laguna Beach cove while drinking margaritas and nippling on delicious food, and we had the chance to collaborate on more cooking ideas.  I am back in East Hampton for the remainder of the summer (only a few short weeks) and ready to entertain with vigor.  Check back in early August to read about more parties in my home, plus a beach dinner party in the works, and see what inspired me from this fabulous trip. 

Thank You Thermador and Traditional Home!
Happy Nesting XO