“Susan MacTavish Best is the David Blaine of parties: She pulls off astounding events and leaves everyone to discuss logistics for weeks to come.
This black olive tapenade is one of her favorite tricks. It’s addictive, deceptively simple, and takes less than ten minutes to make.”
From San Francisco Chronicle:
Some call her the Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley. San Francisco business PR womanSusan MacTavish Best, who has been positioning herself as a lifestyle guru to the start-up set (as noted in this profile in The Chronicle last year), is moving her plans to the marketplace.
She has shipped the contents of her Sacramento Street home to New York, where she’s selling her brand – quite literally — by selling the contents of her home in a pop-up store called Living the Lab in Soho. But you don’t have to be in New York to shop there.
Profile of Susan in the Daily Mail, and tips from her on stress-free entertaining.
"As Silicon Valley’s answer to Martha Stewart, Susan Mactavish Best knows a thing or two about hosting parties. On a given evening she could be hosting any number of friends, usually with next to no warning.
And she doesn’t disappoint. The PR-turned-lifestyle guru, who splits her time between homes in San Francisco and New York, not only impresses with her homemade food and killer cocktails, but her distinctive taste in decor too.”
These are a snap to make. Pull out a couple of baking sheets. Turn the oven on to 350F.
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of white flour
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of water
1 garlic clove minced
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of salt
Mix up the cheddar cheese and the flour together. Add the garlic and the cayenne and a dash of salt.
In a medium-sized sauce pan (one that can hold all the above ingredients), put the water and the butter. Bring to a boil.
Add the flour and cheese mixture to the saucepan and stir enthusiastically with a wooden spoon. The gooey mix should begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cool. Long enough so that when you add the eggs in the next step, they don’t cook!
Add the eggs to the mix and stir.
Grease the cookie sheets so that the batter doesn’t stick. Using two spoons, drop bite-sized blobs of the batter on to the cookie sheets. Make sure there is room between them all as they will grow in the oven.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Little cheesy morsels!
These fancy (to me) baked potatoes only surfaced during the Christmas holidays when I was growing up. Please don’t save them just for December; they’re delicious and easy to make year round. And these are a great standby when you’re having a large sit down dinner. I allow for a half potato for each person .. with a few extras. Growing up in Scotland, I found the baked potato took on a whole new meaning - there the baked potato may well be a meal in its entirety. Cheap, filling and warm.
Potatoes like to be kept at about 45 - 50F, and can be kept at that temperature happily for a couple of months. If kept warmer or colder, eat them up quickly so they don’t go all weird (the starch turning into sugar or just plain old decaying).
Turn on the oven to 385F. This is a little warmer than most folks bake a potato but I like my skin to be crispy. You’re going to bake these potatoes, mash up the insides and add some tasty additions, and then restuff them and bake again
4 Russet potatoes
shredded cheese such as sharp cheddar
1 clove of minced garlic
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup of heavy cream (or half and half)
1/4 cup of butter
salt and pepper
Poke holes over the potatoes so the moisture inside them can be released. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the potatoes when the skin feels crispy and the potato feels soft to the prod.
Let the potatoes cool so they are warm enough to handle, and then slice in half and remove the mealy white flesh into a bowl.
Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the insides of the potato except the cheese. Mash with a fork.
Now restuff the potatoes and sprinkle cheese on top. This can be done ahead of a dinner party.
Rebake the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes at 350F, until the cheese is a melty mess on top.
Elixirs for cocktails. Easy to make, and eye-candy once in a bottle.
Roasted Fig and Balsamic Vinegar
Strawberry, Rhubarb and Basil
Pineapple with Vanilla Bean and fresh Ginger
Sweet Corn with Star Anise and Lime Juice
Get yourself a 3 - 4lb chickie. Rinse and pat dry.
Turn on oven to 450F.
Handful of sprigs of fresh oregano; 3 lemons; a head of garlic; olive oil; salt and pepper; and if you have some tapenade lying around in the fridge, all the better, thus confusing the chicken on whether it’s French or Greek.
Squeeze the juice of two lemons into a bowl. Add twice as much olive oil as lemon juice to the bowl. Slather the chicken in the olive oil-lemon juice mix.
Cut off the end of the head of the garlic. Put the head of garlic into inside of the chicken. Yum, your kitchen is going to smell garlicicious.
Slide a few of the oregano leaves under the skin of the breast. Put the remaining into the chicken cavity with the garlic.
Slice the 3rd lemon into thin slices. Slide those slices under the breast too (will look pretty when cooked). Take all remaining lemon, squeezed parts and sliced parts, and stuff into the chicken insides. It’ll make the chickie have good flavor and will make your kitchen smell heavenly .. thus creating anticipation, yeah!
If you have tapenade, slather the chicken skin with a bit of tapenade.
Pop the chicken into the oven and keep it at 450F for 15 mins. Then I turn it down to 390 and cook it for about an hour. (Use common sense … keep an eye on it and pull it out if done sooner).
Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes so it’ll be juicy and be easier to slice.