White Bean and Herb Salad



Lately, I have been trying to be vegan at least one day a week, and if I am really feeling crazy, gluten free as well.  I try to adopt a flexitarian lifestyle as much as I can.  This is hard for me considering the fact that for years of my life I have consistently had cake and espresso for breakfast, considered cheese a food group, and truly convinced myself prosciutto was good for me.  My parents raised my sisters and me with healthy eating habits that we all rebelled over in different ways once left to our own devices.  When I was first on my own, I was so excited to be able to eat sugar cereal for the first time I raced to the store to buy Lucky Charms, only to be immediately let down by how disgusting they were. From then on I would try to buy items I was used to, like pate and cornichons, which I later realized were just my best food memories of home, not staples.  My sister Dominique’s rebellion involved buying copious amount of forbidden candy that we were never allowed to have–and let me tell you I am not complaining.  My sister Jacqueline’s rebellion is the worst and most hilarious. When she left home, the excitement of being able to eat from fast food restaurants all the time overcame her in a way I have never seen before.  There is no other way to describe this: her face blew up. Her body couldn’t handle the shock to her system and she actually had to go to urgent care. They informed her that she had had an allergic reaction to something. I am pretty sure she has not had fast food since.   My sisters and I still enjoy eating french fries (we are Belgian!) and all other amazing not-so-good for you foods, but we know it is still good to do your best to be healthy some of the time.  This salad takes under five minutes to make, is healthy, has protein and hopefully won’t cause an allergic reaction to your face.

White Bean and Herb Salad

Serves 2

2 cups white beans (cannellini, great northern) either cooked yourself or from a can, Whole Foods and Trader Joes has great canned organic beans

Juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Herbs of Your Choice.  I used parsley, chives and a pinch of dried herbs de provence.

This salad will keep in your fridge for a few days.


Tea Sandwiches

Tea parties have been really popular this year. They are perfect for bridal showers and darling for little girls birthdays.  I never knew the difference between high tea and afternoon tea until a british friend of mine informed me how all of us americans are getting it wrong!  Afternoon or Low tea is what we imagine to be elegant, with ladies seated around low coffee tables eating scones and mini cakes.  High tea is what is more reserved for farm workers and laborers and is enjoyed at high or normal tables and generally consists of hearty breads and cheeses.  I love the idea of taking a break in the afternoon and enjoying a cup of tea and a snack and then possibly a nap.

Here are some popular tea sandwiches from past Heirloom Events.

Goat Cheese and Watercress-  Choose a base for you sandwich like sliced baguette, or sourdough bread cut into circles or squares with the crusts cut off.

I like to use Cypress Grove Humbolt Fog goat cheese either sliced thinly or crumbled onto the bread.

Top with watercress leaves a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Consider two sandwiches per person.  These really could not be any easier!

Smoked Salmon-

Smoked salmon is amazing. I would eat it all day everyday if I could. Every tea party should have smoked salmon. These tea sandwiches are so simple.

For your base- use a thin bread, pumpernickel and rye go very well with salmon. Consider using cucumber rounds as your base if you have a lot of gluten free guests.
I like to use a thin slice of high quality smoked salmon, creme fraiche, capers, sliced shallot and microgreens.


Watermelon Herb and Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelon is not quite in season, but I am really enjoying pretending it is. To compensate my lack of being in season I use lots of herbs from the farm in this salad. I love watermelon as a savory item. It packs such a punch and mixed with the tangy goat cheese, the peppery arugula you are bound to impress! Use this salad for a light first course at your next summer party.

Serves Four

4 cups watermelon cubed

1 shallot finely diced

Juice of one lime

1/2 cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup arugula

2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley

3 sprigs mint

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Place the shallot in a medium sized mixing bowl and let marinate in the lime juice

In small bowl whisk vinegar, salt and olive oil

Add watermelon to shallot mixture and toss with vinaigrette

Add herbs and toss slightly

Transfer to individual plates when ready to serve and crumble goat cheese on top

Sprinkle with cracked black pepper if desired

Pink Kiwi Vodka Lemonade

This drink is a perfect complement to a summer afternoon.  Nothing beats sunshine, good weather, and a cool, nice, refreshing drink.  This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart and is my all time favorite lemonade recipe–with or without the vodka. I often forget just how good homemade lemonade is. Feel free to swap out the cranberry juice for sparkling raspberry or pomegranate juice.  Also, the kiwis can be swapped for lemons, strawberries or any other fruit.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar or 1 cup Agave Syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar or Agave Syrup to Taste
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 4 Kiwis to Garnish


  1. Bring granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium pan over high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  2. Add lemon juice, superfine sugar, cranberry juice, and 1 1/2 quarts water to a serving container. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day.
  3. To serve, fill glass with ice cubes, fill glass 1/4 with vodka topped off with lemonade and garnish with sliced kiwis.  For another touch, add edible flowers like bachelor buttons or pansies.

White Bridal Shower

I love catering bridal showers! Bridal showers have a lot of elements, ranging from the menu to the decor. This bridal shower had an all white theme. The hostess wanted everything white, the food, the decor, the drinks. At first I was a little stressed about preparing an all white menu, but by the end I loved the challenge. We decided on an all white cruditee platter (which included white bean hummus, white carrots, white radishes, white cauliflower, and white Belgian endive), poached chicken salad, aged white cheddar macaroni and cheese, coconut cupcakes, and Belgian white chocolate covered shortbread cookies. I adore the woman who hosted this shower. She handled everything with grace and is such an amazing friend who put together an adorable party in her perfectly charming home. As much as I loved the white I would really like to do an all pink shower! What food comes to mind when you think of all white?

Coconut Cupcakes

I love this Ina Garten recipe! I make it a lot for Heirloom events and only ever receive rave reviews.  All of Ina’s recipe are amazing and flawless.  These cupcakes are no exception. The first time I ever had these my mom had made them for Easter. She died the coconut different pastels and placed mini eggs chocolate eggs in the center to look like birds nests! They are perfect for any occasion–use edible flowers and pretty cupcake papers for an adorable touch.  I usually make half the frosting or make the whole batch and freeze it, which then generally gets eaten with a spoon by my boyfriend. Yep, that’s a true story.

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extract and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Pop Up Restaurant

Heirloom Gatherings is having a special event on Thursday, November 3rd and you should all be there!  We will be hosting a “pop up” restaurant (as in making a restaurant pop up out of nowhere) at our favorite coffee shop, Jungle Java in Ocean Beach.  Griffin Farm will be providing produce for three courses and wine.   Noon Designs made this wonderful flyer for us.  RSVP to amheirloom@hotmail.com, space is VERY limited!

See You There!

Kids Cowboy Party

Heirloom catered a darling cowboy themed birthday party over the weekend.  From the gingham tablecloths, three year olds in cowboy boots and REAL LIFE PONIES the party was oozing with cuteness.  I enjoyed how much the little kids liked pretending to be on a farm, it made me feel a little bit cooler.  On the menu was, an organic cruditee platter, I used multi colored Griffin Farm carrots and I honestly believe this made the little kids want to eat them, onion tarts, organic griffin farm greens with radishes, cucumbers, avocados and King Chavez ranch, roasted chicken breasts with homemade barbeque sauce (my new obsession), scalloped potatoes with chives, rainbow macaroni and cheese, mini brioche buns and a cake with a PONY on it (the pony was wearing a real bandana) made by Michele Coulon.  The hostess and birthday boy’s mom put out little cups of Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies, which were awesome.  Not only did I want to eat them all day, but all the little kids loved them.  One little girl loved them so much that she tried to carry as many of the little cups away in her tiny little arms, and when she saw I noticed she got so scared and ran away dropping almost all of them it was really sad I would have let her eat them all.  Oh and the onion tarts, one little girl licked about ten of them and put them back on the plate.  Kids birthday parties are amazing!

Enjoy the pictures!  Do you have any farm or cowboy themed birthday party ideas?

Griffin Farm Wedding Shoot

Griffin Farm would be a really great place to have a wedding.  With its mountain scenery, big gorgeous barn and country charm it was the perfect setting for a wedding shoot.  Myself, Griffin Farm- the location, Anne Martin- the amazing photographer and stylist, Leslie Miller- event coordinator and stylist, Flower Child- the gorgeous floral arrangements, Noon Designs- Jewelry and Paper Goods, Acute Designs- the awesome head pieces, and the amazing models all joined forces to create the shoot.   It was rustic, meets country meets elegant.   It inspired me to put some focus on table arrangements  at Heirloom Events, and it really inspired me to have a big party at the farm.  Enjoy the pictures!  What style would you like if you were getting married on a farm?

Quinoa Salad

This recipe is for my sister, Jacqueline.  It is so simple I almost didn’t want to post it, thinking the overall response would be, “duh.”  But, my sister is always looking for simple recipes with one major guideline-  it has to be, brace yourself vegan.  No, my sister is not a vegan, (thank god) but her boyfriend is.  It was a little hard for me to deal with at first, but I had to learn that even though I live for butter, and the only milk I drink is the one where you have to push back the cream first and that cheese is like a family member, I learned that surprisingly not everyone is like this.  When they first started dating I would make something and think it was vegan, I would start listing ingredients like eggplant, garlic, olive oil, eggs….  I got a little confused.  I actually thought vegans ate parmesan at one point.

Even though this recipe is extremely simple it will come handy for anything from feeding a vegan or as a nice and healthy side dish to something like fish, or bacon (why not?).  It will keep for days so feel free to make it on Sunday and eat for you weeks lunches.


For every one cup of Quinoa use 2 cups of water.

In a stock pot place quinoa, water a dash of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cover pot, bring to a boil and then let simmer covered.

When water is ALMOST dissolved (leave like a 1/2 teaspoon) remove from heat and “fluff up” with a wooden spoon, a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

In the recipe above I added one chopped cucumber and one bunch of chopped green onions. Feel free to add things like cashews, bell peppers, sauteed carrots, parsley, cilantro, olives or anything else you see fit.