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lovely bites: part 1


and most delicious… My friend Tracie Amend is a ridiculously amazing cook and hostess. You might remember the delicious and beautifully presented spread at Martha’s fabulous forty. Well, Tracie was given access to an apartment at the Ritz Carlton for Super Bowl weekend and invited three of her girlfriends to lunch (which she so lovingly and amazingly prepared all by her little self). Below are images of every little detail and recipes that were too good I had to share.

I’m feeling even more lucky because she will be sharing her passion for food on the blog from time to time and we’re calling it “lovely bites” so stay tuned because we are talkin’ seriously. good. LOVELY. food. Thank you Tracie!


Before Tracie gets going let me set this up for you by first showing you the apartment. It was RED and a little exotic so Ms. Tracie in all her glory embraced that and ran with it from the cuisine to the presentation.

the apartment




the table


the place setting


and so it begins…

from Tracie, Putting on the Ritz:

I love unexpected delights, which is just what I experienced last Friday when my father in-law asked if I wanted to use a condo at the Ritz-Carlton for the weekend.  Um, yes please!  I immediately reached out to my friends to plan an impromptu love lunch.  I wasn’t sure if the icy snowy mix was going to put a damper on our plans but alas the sun came out and we were ready to celebrate.  After seeing the eclectic decor of the condo, I thought of the perfect menu.

pre-lunch cocktail: White Cosmos served with orchid ice



first course: Fresh Spinach Tossed with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Oranges in a raspberry dressing


second course:Organic Tomato Bisque Soup, Served with Sauteed White Onions and Garlic Tomatoes




third course: (my personal fave and perfect for the cold weather) Thai Green Chicken Curry with Sauteed Zucchini and Basmati Rice



fourth course: Decadent Chocolate Molten Cake served with Lavender Sorbet and Honey from my friends farm



the wine and tea: One of the hardest foods to pair with wine is spicy food. When pairing spicy food their are two schools of thought sweet or simple.  If you prefer sweet, I would suggest a White Riesling.  I decided on a simple white so as not to compete with the spice of the curry.  I selected a Soave that was light and crisp and perfect for our Saturday at the Ritz.  For the chocolate dessert, I poured one of my favorite wines of the moment, Molly Dooker’s Two Left Feet, which is always a crowd pleaser. However you can’t go wrong with any of the Molly Dooker wines.

Part of the fun of entertaining is the presentation, so I made a quick stop at World Market to grab a few fun serving pieces.  One of my favorite pieces is an Indian lunch box that layers on top of one another for a perfect grab and go meal.  I also loved this great elephant tea pot that I thought would be the perfect way to serve the tomato bisque.  I love having fun surprises throughout a meal, it’s keeps it fun and is great for conversation starters too.

To end the meal, I found this amazing Jasmine Downy tea at Honga’s restaurant in Telluride, Colorado.  As the tea steeps the pearls unfurl and release the sweet smell of Jasmine.  Yummmm

It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday.



Thai Green Curry with Chicken


by Kit Kitchen   11/26/2008

a cinch to make, but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen.

Total Time: 11 min
Serves 1 – 2


2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 Medium size Zucchini sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 Small Red Chili Pepper
1/2 cup of whole Cilantro leaves
1 bulb of Bok Choy Chopped (white parts only)
kit Thai Green Curry with Chicken


Pour a small amount of olive oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Sautee the chicken until it’s almost done (5-7 minutes). Add vegetables and sauree another 2 -3 minutes. Stir in the green curry sauce and bring to a slow simmer for 5-7 minutes until chicken is heated through and zucchini is cooked. Serve curry over rice.


Tomato Bisque


This is one of my favorite Tomato Bisque Soup recipe’s, how can you go wrong with bacon heavy cream and butter?  Butter makes it better, right?  If you can’t find a spanish onion, a yellow onion works great too.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced bacon (about 1/2 ounce)
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups homemade or low-sodium canned
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
3 parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.

Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.


Decadent Molten Chocolate Cake with Lavender Sorbet

This is the greatest SECRET ever!  The first time I made this dessert for my husband he actually told me I should quit my job and enroll in the Culinary Institute of America, what? It’s the easiest recipe ever and it tastes like you’ve slaved in the kitchen for hours.  I’ve also paired this with blood orange ice cream, yum!  I purchased this easy kit from Barefoot Contessa at Whole Foods.  Easy and Delicious

7 Responses to “lovely bites: part 1”

  1. Lucinda says:

    How wonderful is it that someone still goes to this much effort for a nice ladies lunch. You’re very lucky to have a treasured friend that is so talented.

  2. Kristina says:

    Looks so amazing! I need, need the little elephant tea pots now.

    Quick question: have you tried using an emulsion blender straight into the pot for the soup or does the blender work so much better? I’m all about using as little as I can for clean up reasons!

  3. in love with the “lunch” font!

  4. Martha says:

    It was another a-mazing lunch prepared by our dear and uber talented friend Tracie!!! The entire afternoon turned out to be truly magical.

  5. Tracie says:

    Kristina, the emulsion blender is a great idea. I love anything that can save time too, thanks for the suggestion.

  6. nicole says:

    delicious menu! i really want to make that lavender sorbet.

  7. Karla says:

    Inspiring ladies! I can’t wait to see more in the lovely bites series!

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