It’s Never Too Early: Tips & Recipes for Holiday Entertaining
Following last week’s post about the beautiful party Kimberly Denman and Laurent Rebuffel hosted for Snyder Diamond and DesignLA, we wanted to share the couple’s thoughts on hosting a holiday party. We asked Kimberly to give us a few of her favorite ideas on how to make a party special, and we asked Laurent to divulge a few of his favorite sources and recipes. They didn’t disappoint!
Kimberly Denman’s Holiday Entertaining Tips:
As far as holiday tips, the first one is to surround yourself with the people you love and to be together without cell phones.
Plan your shopping, prep and dinner ahead of time so there is no stress the day of. Laurent prepares a timeline so nothing is missed and we keep on schedule.
LA has some incredible resources for products such as the Bread Lounge, great fish markets for oysters, fish and shellfish, and the Truffle Brothers, as well as Surfas for great dough, butter, etcetera.
Use your good china, crystal and sterling.
Have after-dinner drinks and move the celebration to your living room.
Cook, even if you’re not a great chef—it’s the effort that counts. And experiment with food. There are some amazing cookbooks out there.
Champagne is always a good idea!
Laurent Rebuffel on Menu Planning and Cocktails:
I designed the food and the cocktail menu together with Kimberly. It’s a fun, creative process for us as we try to pair the food and the alcohol. This time we tried the El Presidente cocktail—rum-based to complement the seafood we were serving. We have now a wide collection of cooking and bar books, or sometimes we adapt the recipes. Many recipes we use are from the French Laundry cookbook.
As far as the food was concerned, we wanted to provide a wide range of tastes and to keep it interesting, visually, with color and texture. We had 13 different dishes that night, which is pretty typical with us, because when I find a new item to add and want to take one out, Kimberly says “but it’s so good and people love it,” so we keep it and just add one more. Even though they were small bites, by multiplying the amount of flavors, guests felt satisfied in terms of the amount of food and pleasure. We also do things this way because we love having people stay late and they need to feel good and satisfied.
The cocktail menu, which has actually become Kimberly’s domain, is so important. Being in LA and experiencing the renaissance of the cocktail has of course influenced us, thanks to incredible places like Employees Only in West Hollywood and the Giannini Bar at Nomad in DTLA. We also work with Joe Brooke, brand ambassador for the 86 Co. (Ford’s Gin, Caña Brava Rum, Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Tequila Cabeza) to design cocktails. Like the food, we make almost everything. The bitters, fresh squeezed juices and syrups are all made by us and we provide a wide range of tastes. We also add an interesting cocktail for the adventurous. This fall, we’ve been experimenting with rum cocktails, as they’re a little more unusual.
The Original El Presidente
1 ½ ounces white rum, such as Caña Brava
1 ½ ounces Dolin Blanc vermouth
1 teaspoon dry curaçao, such as Pierre Ferrand
½ teaspoon grenadine
1 dash Angostura bitters
Twist of orange peel, for garnish
Maraschino cherry, for garnish (optional)
Directions: Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the rum, vermouth, curaçao, grenadine and bitters; stir, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Twist the orange peel over the surface of the drink, expressing the oils, then drop the peel into the drink if you like. Add a cherry, if desired.
I had trouble choosing which recipe to share from the event but the most useful is probably my Lamb Crostini because we just started cooking with the sous vide technique and the results are incredible. It’s a really easy recipe and introduces you to the sous vide technique, and the lamb comes out tender and pink. You can also adapt this recipe to make a main course meal for a dinner party.
Take the lamb loin out and just salt them on both sides. Roll them in plastic wrap to give them their round shape. Heat the water to 144 degrees and put the wrapped loin in its sous vide plastic bag once the water has reached temperature. Immerse the lamb for 35 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the bag and unwrap. The great part is from there, you can refrigerate until you are ready to serve!
Pull the loins out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before searing to bring to room temperature. Warm up a pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil. Add the crushed garlic clove, thyme and rosemary for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the loin and sear both sides until you have a nice crust (4 to 6 minutes). Remove and let rest or 5 minutes
Lavender sauce (prepare prior to searing): Add the cream and the lavender to a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Let steep for 30 minutes. Put the lavender sauce through a sieve, pressing on the lavender leaves to extract the essence. Put the cream back on stove and reduce by 1/3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep the sauce warm.
For the croutons, I think the rule #1 is to choose the best bread you can buy. We use the Bread Lounge downtown and buy their olive bread for this particular recipe but they have an amazing country potato or baguette. Cut the bread in bite size pieces. Spread olive oil on both sides (you can also add a little salt and pepper to season to the croutons). Turn your oven to a broiler position. Broil the croutons on both sides (about 4 minutes each side) but STAY BY THE STOVE AND KEEP THE OVEN DOOR AJAR! Keep an eye on them. The croutons should have a nice crust but not be too hard.
To finish: Cut the lamb loin in rounds, place on croutons, add the lavender sauce and finish with micro greens.