Thanksgiving 2015

I have 6 years of Thanksgiving blogs on Unrivaledkitch, which to me, shows my commitment to being there for my family and I am truly grateful that I have been able to take on this tradition for the ones I love and to share these awesome moments with the people who mean so much to me. Thanksgiving, as I’ve said before, is one of my favorite meals to cook. This year I was pretty ahead of schedule with cooking and cleaning, so big thumbs up for me, because, of course, that can be a challenge with an overly ambitious menu. Our Thanksgiving meal has some staples that we always enjoy and then the rest is open to my interpretation, which is the fun part for me.

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Brandon joined us for Thanksgiving this year and I asked him to sit out for the cooking. He cooks all year long and sometimes someone else cooking for you is just the thing you need. I know, when I was cooking, that’s how I felt. My mom and grandma brought a bunch of snacks and sweets and we all made a beautiful meal together. I am so grateful for my family and all the sacrifices and success we have had, and to our extended family, friends and beyond, we hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving with the ones you love! And here is what we ended up with this year:

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Menu
Brined Turkey with Roasted Aromatics, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Hassleback Red Rose Potatoes
Bacon, Leeks, Sausage and Roasted Wild Mushroom Cornbread Dressing
Zucchini, Celery, Scallions and Black Olive Stuffing   
Roasted Cream Corn with Turmeric and Bacon
Creamed Spinach, Broccoli and Green Beans
Roasted Yams with Brown Sugar, Marshmallows and Cinnamon
Sweet Potato Casserole with Agave, Granola, Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice Marshmallows
Pomegranate & Guava Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole
Steamed Corn
Roasted Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
Honey Baked Ham
Bachan Jello
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
Rice Krispies Treats
Spinach Dip
Pimento Cheese
Deviled Eggs
Cheers,
Unrivaledkitch

Amaya’s Tigertastic 2s

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Life seems to be steaming right along.  August was a blur of celebration, grief, love, tears and just being.  Life is so precious that even in the day-to-day happenings we can get carried away with the difficulties or choose to see the joy that is around us and within us.

One of the most joyful days this year was little Amaya’s 2nd birthday party. She is in love with Daniel Tiger, from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS, and with temperatures well over 100 degrees in the valley, we decided to take the party back indoors to one of her favorite places, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym. Last year we celebrated there too, but with children, they always find something new and exciting to explore.

We had a kid-friendly menu that I prepared for our family and friends.  Each dish had a Neighborhood friend theme and my sister put together crafty little accents to make this 2-year-old’s birthday quite a memorable one. Here is the menu!

I can’t believe it’s already the end of September, but life has its own way of quickly moving along. I am so glad we were able to celebrate this little Leo’s love, compassion, courage and curiosity. Happy birthday, Amaya, Auntie loves you!

Daniel Tiger’s Tasty Treats!

Snacks

Daniel Tiger’s Tigey Tails Cheese Curls

Katerina Kitty Kats mini swimmy colorful fish

Prince Wednesdays Popcorn

O the Owls whooo berries

Ms Elainas Sweet, Sweet potatoes

Dishes

Trolly’s Tasty Turkey Sliders

Turkey Burger on Kings’ Hawaiian bread with BBQ sauce and Lettuce

Neighborhood Crispy Crunchy Chicken Tenders

honey-mustard and ketchup

Grrrrific Bacon Burger slider

Ground Beef, Bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese and red onion with Thousand island dressing

Sides

Baby Margaret’s Macaroni Salad

Ugga-mugga Potato Salad

You Gotta Try New Foods Because They Might Taste Good!

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Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat from Judgement

 

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I’ve had a few weeks to reflect and enjoy the memories and events that took place  during our Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat from Judgement at Lido Palms in Desert Hot Springs. This week has been such a busy week of staying in the moment, being present to the flow of opportunity and really being intentional and authentic in my actions and words. I’m truly blessed to be exploring such amazing opportunities in my career and life.

 

I managed to wear my yoga pants and chef coat at the same time. This has been a dream of mine since I stepped away from the professional kitchen and onto the yoga mat full-time. My love of culinary arts will never leave me, nor does it have to. I am at home in the kitchen, just as I am on my yoga mat, which feels like a tremendous honor and privilege to be able to express my passion for union through culinary arts, asana, pranayama, meditation and mindfulness.

 

When the amazingly talented Thea Pueschel (artist of living, body positive yoga instructor and hypnotherapist) asked me to venture out into the desert to look at the venue where we would be holding the yoga retreat, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. From walking around the space and seeing the rooms, I knew that I would be able to make amazing meals there because if there is one thing you learn from working in a professional kitchen, it’s that you don’t need much to make a great meal. I’ve cooked using camp fires, tin cans, hot plates, 20-burner ranges, expensive gas ranges and electric stove tops, but the thing is, they all can be used in ways that produce amazing food.

 

So we took a gamble. After we drove a few hours away, we talked it over and agreed that we should give it a go. Thea made the big moves and put herself out there with the intention and desire to be of service and that’s just what she did. Just a few short months later and we were one room from being sold out! It was an amazing showing of how perseverance and hard work truly pay off.

BBB Yoga practice

The healing mineral water pools and warm desert climate made for the perfect October evenings. Thea offered insightful workshops and yoga sessions, including her signature detox to retox, yoga nidra and gentle practices to soothe and aid the body in compassionate, body positive and deeply connected practices. She also acquired the amazing reiki skills and compassionate body positivity of Adriana Franco, who conducted mini reiki sessions with all of the attendees and offered her graceful wisdom and heart felt conversation and connection with us all. Women from all over joined us and truly met themselves on the mat as they were, with open hearts and open minds. This was truly a retreat from judgement and a gathering of powerful intention to love ourselves deeply and practice self-care.

 

My menus were designed with many things in mind. Even with dietary restrictions, we all cared and nourished our bodies in abundance, which is what Unrivaledkitch is all about. We are more than the things we aren’t and that is what we have to focus on. Many of us seem to highlight the things we can’t do or things we don’t do, instead of celebrating the things we can do and will do, and for me, this goes for food as well. Whether you can or can’t eat something, I always strive to find accommodations for people to nourish their soul and I truly felt that this was accomplished. The menu was a plant-based seasonal vegetarian meal with a variety of vegan options. Here are the menus I created for this special Unrivaledkitch event for the Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat.

 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

Special Fall Menu Prepared by

Chef Kimberly Fujitaki of Unrivaledkitch

BBB Welcome Dinner

Welcome Dinner

Cheese Plate

Vegetarian Honey Goat Cheese, Red Leichester, Pere Brie and Gorgonzola

Crudite Platter of Raw Seasonal Organic Vegetables

(Vegetarian, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Fresh Organic Heirloom Tomato, Basil & Garlic Flatbread BBQ Pizza

with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese and Parmesan

(Vegetarian includes Grain and Dairy & No Cheese Option)

 

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Skewers

with Oregano, Basil and Red Pepper Flakes

(Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Zucchini)

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Autumn Pear Salad

Organic Living Lettuce with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Shaved Pear, Walnuts, Pink Beets and Cucumbers

(Crumbled Blue Cheese on the Side Vegetarian Option)

(No Cheese Vegan, Legume-Free & Grain-Free )

 

Grilled Fall Fruits with Whipped Cream & Cinnamon

Pears, Persimmons, and Apples

(Whipped Cream on the Side Dairy-Free Option)

Welcome Dinner BBB


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Breakfast table

Breakfast

 

Homemade Breakfast Pumpkin Cookies

with Pepitas, Raisins, Cranberries and Whole oats

(Vegan Dairy-Free includes Wheat and Oats)

 

Soy Yogurt

(Vegan includes soy)

 

Greek Yogurt

 

Vanilla Granola

(Contains Wheat and Oats)

 

Dried Fruit & Nuts

 

Whole Grain Toast

with Organic Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Peach Jam

and Organic Mixed Fruit Jam

(Includes Wheat and Oats)

 

Fresh Fruit

(Bananas, Oranges, & Apples)

 

Tea/Coffee

 

Green Smoothies

(Kale, Ginger, Apples, Strawberries, Oranges, Banana & Spinach)

BBB breakfastBBB Practice


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Lunch Table

Lunch

 

Grilled Vegetable Tacos

Assorted Chopped Grilled Veggies spiced with Cumin and Coriander

Zucchini, Peppers, Squash, Broccoli & Cauliflower

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Soyrizo Potatoes

(Vegan, Contains Soy, Gluten-Free)

 

Served on Corn Tortillas

 

Taco Bar Includes

Pico de Gallo, Roasted Jalapenos, Cilantro and Onions,

Lettuce, Guacamole and Cheese

 

Cumin-Scented Mashed Organic Black Beans

(Cheese on the Side Vegan Option)

 

Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Organic Spanish Rice

with Roasted Corn and Tomatillos

(Vegan)

 

Fresh Fall Fruits

Pomegranates, Persimmons, Apples, Pears

BBB Lunch


Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Dinner table

Dinner

 

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” & Polenta

 

Roasted Vegetable Sauce

with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Zucchini,

Carrots, Celery and Onions with Olive Oil,

Garlic, and Fresh Basil

Walnut Pesto with Parmesan Cheese

 

(Spaghetti squash, No Pesto Vegan Option

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free and Grain-Free)

(Vegetarian Option Polenta with Pesto includes Dairy)

 

Spinach Salad

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Cherry Tomatoes,

Avocado, Cucumber and Sherry Vinaigrette

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Roasted Fall Vegetables

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Seasoned Grilled Tofu

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

 

Green Tea & Homemade Pumpkin Bread

(Vegan)
BBB Dinner dishes


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Brunch table

Brunch

 

Mini Vegetable Frittatas

with Mixed Vegetables and Roasted Jalapenos

(Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Autumn Vegetable Hash

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Acorn Squash,

and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs and Spices

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Vegan Sausage

(Vegan includes Grain, Gluten, Barley, Red wine)

 

Fire-Roasted Potatoes O’Brien

with Peppers, Onions and Spinach

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Fresh Fall Fruits

 

Fresh Berries with Yogurt

 

Lemonade and Iced Tea

bbb brunch


 

I was also privileged to teach my signature Deeply Rejuvenated Restorative Yoga practice. Restorative Yoga is such an important practice for self-discovery and self-study. We learn from stillness that our body can gain a tremendous benefit from slowing down, resetting our nervous system and replenishing the oxygen supply in the blood.  Under the beautiful star-filled sky, we offered out our intentions and connected with the inner authenticity as we breathed and let go deeply. This was truly one of the highlights of my yoga teaching thus far and I was truly privileged to teach such an amazing group of empowered women, relaxing and leaving the practice deeply rejuvenated.

Restorative Yoga KFY BBB

The weekend ended with laughing, tears, joy, and for me, a sense of accomplishment, hard work paying off and extreme gratitude for this opportunity to blend my two favorite things in the whole world. I shopped, catered, packed, cooked, cleaned and repeated these steps many times throughout the weekend and I know I will do it again. I am truly humbled by this amazing experience and I hope you’ll join us on our next yoga retreat.

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I want to thank all of the wonderful ladies who came to practice in the desert with us for a retreat from judgement. And of course, an extra special thank you to the amazing Thea Pueschel for bringing me along on this wonderful journey.

 

Namaste!

 

Kimberly Fujitaki

Executive Chef/ Owner

www.unrivaledkitch.com

Yoga Instructor

www.kimberlyfujitakiyoga.com

 

Amaya’s First Birthday Party at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym For All Kids

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A first birthday in my family is nothing to be trifled with. For Amaya’s big day, we had to do something that would keep everyone relatively cool, since August in the San Fernando Valley can get up to 100 degrees or higher. My family has taken Maleeya and Amaya to this amazing play space for a little while now, it’s called We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym and they have so many fun things to play with that allow children of all abilities to come together and be in a very safe and loving super fun space. So my sister decided that we would have Amaya’s Snow White inspired First Birthday at We Rock the Spectrum.
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The decorations were beautiful and the atmosphere was so fun. Between food, jumping on trampolines, zip lining and swinging, the kids enjoyed cake and sang happy birthday to my sweet little leo for her big party. I took some time to make a few apple inspired desserts: little Rice Krispies red apples with graham cracker stems and little green leaves and of course, red candied apples as well as a few caramel ones too. The food was inspired by kids’ favorites so it naturally lent way to finger foods.
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Everyone enjoyed themselves on this beautiful day celebrating this lovely little lady who I can’t believe is already one-year-old! Happy Birthday Amaya, Auntie loves you! I’m so glad I could be with you on your special day.
 
Menu
 
Hot Dog Cornbread Muffins with
 
Turkey Dog Croissants
 
7 Dwarf Layered Bean Dip
 
Fruit Platter and Veggie Platter with Purple Basil
 
Spinach Pinwheels with Hummus and Mortadella
 
Turkey Pinwheels with Cheese
 
Ham Pinwheels with Hummus
 
Mac n Cheese Bites
 
Mac n Cheese with Peas and Carrots  
 
Rice Krispies Treats Red Apples with Graham Cracker Stems
 
Red Candied Apples
 
Caramel Apples

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cheers

Unrivaledkitch

Baby Sister’s Baby Sprinkle!

My sister and brother-in-law are having another baby girl! News to some, but not to others and low and behold she’ll be joining us maybe this month. My sister’s due date is August 27th and secretly, I think my sister is going to try and hold out til September 1st, because we already have so many August birthdays. I don’t really think that I, my mom and my dad would mind sharing our birthday month with baby sister…well, not too much! But whenever she gets here, she’ll be greeted with the most love and anticipation. Last weekend we had a small last-minute gathering in Huntington Beach, about 50 miles away from where we live, but cooler (which is a must for a pregnant woman) and also where my grandma lives. Seeing as the valley can get temperatures over 100 degrees, I don’t think my sister wanted to risk having the sprinkle out here.

I’m so grateful to my mom, dad and grandma for helping me put this little event together to share our love and celebrate our soon to be newest member of the family. I’m a second born daughter, so I know what it’s like to be a baby sister and I’m so excited for her to come out and drive us all crazy! I cooked for the event and we had a Pan-Asian inspired Hawaiian-themed little Luau for baby sister. Thanks to everyone who made this day special, stress-free and all about my little niece number two.  Maleeya is going to be such an amazing big sister I can’t wait to see how they get along. If it’s anything like me and my sister, they’ll love each other and sometimes want to kill each other at the same time–the way all sisterly relationships should be. I love my sister so much and I’m so glad that my nieces will be able to have the kind of relationship, friendship, and love that we have for each other.

Menu

Coconut Cilantro Green Curry with Button Mushroom, Bean Sprouts and Potatoes

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Braised Pineapple Soy Sauce Chicken Legs

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Spam Musubi

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Chicken Katsu with Japanese Curry

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Beef Teriyaki with Ginger and Garlic

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Tangerine, Mirin and Dijon Skewered Vegetables

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Assorted Fruit and Macaroni Potato Salad

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Veggie Fried Rice with Snap Peas

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Chinese Chicken Salad with Crispy Wontons, Red Peppers, Scallions and Mandarin Oranges

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-Unrivaledkitch

Granny’s 80th Birthday Celebration and Catering

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My grandma is a very special woman. She’s such a loving, kind, strong and wonderful person and we were very happy to host her 80th birthday celebration for all of her friends and family. Granny has always been the talk of the town and never met someone she couldn’t charm or take a photograph of. Her personality is best displayed when she played Choco, the adorable little bear mascot for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Her dancing and friendly waves along with blowing kisses to all the children, led her to be requested put on the suit well into her late 70s.

My sister, my brother and I spent countless hours with grandma when we were little. We’d get picked up and taken all the way out to Huntington Beach to stay with grandma for the weekend; some of my fondest memories as a little kid are feeding the ducks at the park, eating toast and tea for breakfast and having French bread and string cheese for snacks. I associate a lot of joyful activities with food as you can see. Grandma was never short on hugs and kisses or presents and spoiling and she’s passed down the fun to my little niece Maleeya. Grandma has the biggest heart and the attitude of someone half her age. Believe it or not, she still cruises out to Vegas in her Corolla on a whim and vacations whenever she can, all between traveling back and forth to come to visit all of us (over 100 miles away roundtrip).

Brandon and I put on a very special catering for all the guests and we were very happy with the outcome. Brandon was in charge of pastries and I helped him assemble some of them, while I took on the savory options, which he lent a big hand in helping with as well. My mom was assigned the snacks department and made our family’s favorite macaroni and potato salad, homemade beans for the chili and mini lemon cupcakes. My sister made the beautiful flower arrangements, all the gorgeous decorations and photo collages. My dad, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and everyone else helped out so much to make this a beautiful, delicious, smooth event for everyone involved. I’m so glad I have this amazing family to call my own. I want to thank everyone who came, who helped, and who made this amazing event happen.
Happy 80th Birthday, Granny! We all love you so much!
Ruthie’s 80th Birthday Party Menu

Appetizers
Fruit Platter
Vegetable Platter
Chips and Dip

Salads
Macaroni Salad
Potato Salad
Baby Mixed Greens with Shredded Cucumber, Mozzarella Cheese, Diced Tomatoes, Pickled Red Onions and Blue Cheese Dressing

Entrées: Served Family-Style
Roasted Pulled Pork
Country Spiced Fried Chicken
Homemade Chili Beans

Sides
Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Gravy
Peanut Coleslaw with Red and Green Cabbage, Shredded Carrots, Green Onions and Asian Dressing
Roasted Corn on the Cob
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange Honey Glaze and Marshmallows

Bread Basket
Corn Bread Muffins
Rolls

Dessert Bar
Lemon Meringue Pie
Banana Cream Pudding
Lemon Cupcakes
Cream Puffs

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unrivaledkitch

March’s Delicious Offerings And It’s Already The End of April…

I wrote this a while ago and realized it hadn’t been posted, their such beautiful memories I didn’t want them to stay on my computer. Enjoy!

I haven’t blogged in quite a while, but I’ve been writing a lot in notebooks and mental scratch paper because my words have been spent teaching and quieting down to prepare to teach. I’m loving the whole process, but sometimes I just need to make a fantastic meal and everything else falls into place. I’ve been quite busy—life’s comings and goings and all the other crazy business that comes with cooking and teaching yoga in Los Angeles, but I couldn’t be happier. My niece will be celebrating her 2nd birthday at the beginning of April so the thoughts for menu and preparations are working in my mind.

I had the great privilege of catering a sweet friend of mine’s (Lizzi) baby shower for her sweet new daughter Audrey, who is on the way. Her wonderful family and friends came together in a beautiful home in Lake Sherwood over food, drinks and anticipation of the families’ grandchild. Love definitely filled the whole occasion from the gorgeous photos to the intricate details of months of planning, it was a beautiful event and I’m so grateful Unrivaledkitch was able to partake in the festivities. Here are a couple of phone photos I was able to take from the event.

arranchini baby shower lizzi chicken baby shower crab cakes egg salad

My sister celebrated her 30th birthday on 3/12. We had the family over for a huge lasagna party. And I’m not joking about “huge.” I spent about 5 hours making the perfect bolognese sauce with just the right amount of everything. A mental recipe that I’ve spent years crafting, but it makes it out for special occasions such as birthdays. I also made a very special creamy bechamel sauce with a hint of nutmeg and Parmesan cheese and layers of luscious meat and cheese sauce, over slowly baked pasta sheets and a touch of ricotta and mozzarella for an added richness. We had plenty left over and I think I probably had lasagna for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next couple of days, which was perfectly fine for me. We also had an antipasto salad and finished the meal off with my sister’s favorite, pistachio pie, made by my mom from years of birthday tradition. It was so nice to have everyone around the table to share such a special day with my sister!

 

Last week I had the great pleasure of sharing my cooking with a fellow yoga teacher. She contacted me after a bit of a scare taking on a 70-person baby shower—for anyone, it is a bit of a shocker. I prepared a delicious roasted vegetable salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette for 70 people and she graciously picked it up from the yoga studio. I’m so grateful to be able to help take some of the pressure off of such a loving event.

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I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to bring my food to my friends and family as well as extended acquaintances. I hope everyone is having a wonderful March! Though the time seems to be flying by, thanks for taking a moment with me to reflect on these special culinary events.
Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Maleeya’s 2nd Birthday

My niece just recently turned two on Monday, April 8th. I can’t believe she’s already two! It really goes by fast and I know that’s a very cliché thing to say, but it does. It feels like just yesterday that my sister told me she was having a baby and now Maleeya is just so adventurous, ambitious and remarkable. She truly is an amazing little girl and I feel so fortunate to be able to see her every day and watch her little spirit grow.

Happy Birthday, Monkey! Auntie loves you very much.

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So for Maleeya’s birthday we had everyone over to Encino Park for some food, of course, and lots of other fun things for the kids and plenty of catching up for the adults. Some of my sister’s friends brought their little children and we were able to get a little kids yoga session to happen while the adults watched. I’m so grateful to the little ones who decided to participate, even with everyone watching. It’s amazing how fearless young children are. So we had yoga, party favors, a huge Minnie Mouse piñata, cake and lots of food.

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The menu this year was more manageable with my current work load and shortage of time, but still delicious and fun. I’m so glad I got to cook for over 50 of our closest family and friends. I’m so grateful for all the support everyone has shown me through my yoga and my cooking. I’m truly living a dream I could only have actualized with all of your help. Thank you!

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Menu

Homemade Balsamic Cumin Barbeque Sauce Chicken

Rainbow Pasta Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Italian Herbs, Black Olives, Broccoli, Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers

Cobb Salad with Hard boiled Egg, Crispy Bacon, Roasted Garlic Turkey, Tomatoes, Avocado and Blue Cheese over Baby Mixed Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted Vegetable Platter

Fruit Platters

My mom prepared our grandma’s special macaroni salad and potato salad, as well as Bachan’s triple-layered Jell-O, which are all family traditions at any event. My boyfriend made delicious pork sliders with jalapeno coleslaw—needless to say, everyone loved them.

We had such a great time celebrating my beautiful niece, Maleeya! I can’t wait for next year. :)

These gorgeous photos are courtesy of the wonderful and talented Lyz Cooper, Brandon’s mom is an amazing photographer! Thanks Lyz for capturing such special memories for out family.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Maleeya’s First Birthday Celebration and Catering

My niece, Maleeya, just recently turned one on Easter, which was April 8th, so we decided that it would be a good idea to celebrate Easter with our family, including a small birthday celebration for her and then, the following Sunday, have her huge birthday celebration at the park. First birthdays, and birthdays in general, are a huge deal for the Fujitaki family, so we knew it was going to be a big production to get everything together; naturally, I was in charge of the food. As the number of guests grew and grew as we approached the party date, I knew that I was in for a good weekend full of catering and cooking, which felt nice because I haven’t done a large event in a while, but boy did my body feel it after cooking for 14 hours, not to mention the countless hours in preparation, shopping, organizing and sourcing. Needless to say, I slept a lot the next day and took a completely necessary yoga class to get my aching back and feet back to normal. 
I didn’t have time to make the cakes but these are pretty darn cute!
The final count for Sunday was about 65 people and I think there seemed to be even more people than that. I have no problem making a lot of food for a lot of people, but with space limitations, refrigeration limitations and my new time limitations (aka Yoga Teacher Training), I found myself planning a different sort of menu.  One person cooking for 65 people in a residential kitchen can be a tricky thing, but with a little patience, a lot of intuition, and a calm demeanor, anything can happen.  I want to thank my sister, my parents and our friend Valinda for helping me put the last minute touches on everything and hauling it over to the park. The whole party was such a success with everyone’s help and I’m so grateful to be a part of such an amazing family and extended family and friends. It’s such a beautiful feeling to see how much love is surrounding this amazing little girl and how it shapes and molds her lovely little soul. Happy Birthday Maleeya! Auntie loves you so much.
Menu

Roasted Chicken, Sundried Tomato, Mozzarella and Spinach Basil Pesto Sandwich on Rosemary Garlic Bread
Chinese Spiced Pork Tenderloin (Char Siu) Sandwich on Toasted French Roll with Spicy Asian Mayo, Cucumbers, Pea Shoots and Carrots
Roasted Salmon Lettuce Wraps with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Quinoa
Sliced Turkey Pinwheels with Hearts of Romaine and CheeseScallion, Black olive and Celery Potato Salad
Rainbow Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, Red Onion and Colby Jack Tossed in Red Wine Vinaigrette
Orzo Salad with Stripped Beets, Broccoli, Cranberries and Fresh Spinach Tossed in Sherry Vinegar Dressing
Purple Cabbage Coleslaw with Honey, Peanuts, Carrots and Granny Smith Apples
Vegetable Platter And Fruit Platter










Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Lake Tahoe Catering Part II

If you missed Catering in Lake Tahoe Part I please review here. Thank you!

After we got everything out of the Jeep, we finally got a little sleep in time to wake up and make it to the property for the walk through. During a walk through, you are able to talk with the staff and see where the set-up, plating and other equipment and cooking will have to be done on the day of the wedding. The wedding took place at the Valhalla at Lake Tahoe on the Tallac Historic Site.The ceremony was to take place on the beautiful shore of the southwest side of the lake and preceding events in the grand hall, just adjacent to the lake.  We walked through the property and I took notes about the width of the space, table space, counters and refrigeration that we would need. We were told that we could plate outside and had a couple of chats about how the front of the house and the back would work together to get things out the best we could. The space was very small, so to the eye it looked as if it would be a little challenging, but we knew we would maneuver past the obstacles.

 

 

Once we finished the walk through, we stopped at a couple of stores and had lunch at Bert’s Café  which was this awesome little diner on highway 50. I had a pastrami sandwich with potato salad, Brandon had eggs Benedict and we shared some biscuits and gravy. All the food was really good and the service was pleasant and attentive. We talked about the game plan, a bit about the food and menu, and what we’d be doing and completing the rest of the day.

After a nice double shot of espresso, we worked the rest of the evening prepping until the verge of insanity: peeling and slicing cases of potatoes and pears, blanching asparagus and purple carrots, mincing and dicing a plethora of veggies and fruits to accompany the immense amount of intricate details, so easily overlooked when people think of eating in general. But when two people are responsible for the ups and downs of the whole meal, those details are the first thing on anyone’s mind. I cooked for about 11 hours straight, which is not normal for me anymore, so indeed it took a bit out of me. Brandon steamed ahead hitting about 14 hours, including stints with high altitude brownie baking, which included a couple of batching to the round bin; roasting chicken; 5- Hour Energy hallucinations in the wee hours of the morning; and struggling with my potato and pear gratins, which seemed to have to cook for more than five hours—crazy—to be completely done without burning or scorching the cheese and cream. The oven was our worst enemy of the trip.

 

This is the menu we accomplished:

Cheese Board

Cotswold cheese cheddar and chive cheese, blueberry vanilla goat cheese, goat Gouda, triple cream brie, manchego, dried bing cherries, rosemary salted candied walnuts, calabrese salami and red grapes

Bread basket and crackers

Three Passed Appetizers

Diced Mango, roasted corn, and watermelon with watermelon vinaigrette served in Endive leaf

Roasted Balsamic Chicken Greek salad with goat cheese and roasted pepper atop hot house cucumber slice with scallion

Sliced Herb encrusted fillet Mignon atop an open faced buttermilk biscuit, whole grain Dijon mustard, watercress and caramelized shallots

Plated Salad Course

Mixed green salad in butter lettuce cup with honey mustard vinaigrette, heirloom tomatoes, mandarin oranges, avocado and candied walnuts

Plated Entrée Choice of One

Grilled Alaskan Halibut served with pear and potato gratin, roasted asparagus and purple carrots with heirloom yellow cherry tomato, basil and white wine sauce

Roasted Chicken Breast stuffed with Calabasitas (Spanish style squash and cheese preparation) served atop pear and potato gratin, roasted asparagus and purple carrots with heirloom yellow cherry tomato, basil and white wine sauce

Roasted Poblano Pepper stuffed with Calabasitas (Spanish style squash and cheese preparation) served atop pear and potato gratin, roasted asparagus and purple carrots with heirloom yellow cherry tomato, basil and white wine sauce

Passed Dessert

Rocky Road Brownie Bites

Mini Coffee and Mint Chip Ice Cream Cones

 

Our day of executions started with the preparation of the final touches. We started at about 9:00 a.m. getting everything packed, finished prepping offsite and making the final adjustments, before we moved onsite.  I candied walnuts and finished popping brownies from the tins and pressing and poking potato gratins for their final warming and cooking through, while Brandon took 75 8-ounce portions of halibut to grill. We cleaned up, situated and packed coolers and hot boxes, then packed the car to make it to our onsite cooking adventure around 1:00 p.m.

When we got on site we unloaded the car with the expectation of using outdoor space for plating and final touches, but as soon as I started to prep out there, a swarm of bees started buzzing around my prep station. Lucky for us, we had a side room that was not mentioned during the walk through, but we were able to plate and finish in that room—a godsend. The convection oven was still outside for our heating of the main courses. Two other people joined us to help do last minute touches and plating. I finished making sauces, making the cheese board, organizing elements of each course, tasted and plated, while Brandon overlooked the other two helpers and started heating the elements for the main course. We worked as a cohesive team, checking and rechecking each other with the least amount of bother the two of us could manage with one another, which can be a difficult task for the two of us at times. Overall, I think we had one of the best catering experiences I’ve ever worked.  Kudos Bistecca!

Anyway, we moved from cheese to apps, got everything ready for entrees, worked and plated entrees, then cleaned up between and went to desserts. It all flowed pretty well with barely a hiccup. I love service for catering; it’s a natural high and a wonderful feeling of seeing everything come together. At the end of the night we packed the rest of our things, chatted about what we’d do differently and what we could do better next time, then made it back to where we were staying by 11:30 p.m. The next afternoon, we made the long trip back and it seemed like we had just arrived in Tahoe. The whole trip was such a great and satisfying experience—I’d definitely do it all over again.

As you can see I’m missing some pictures but cooking takes precedence over photographing when it comes to something like this. I hope you enjoyed this journey with us. If you have any catering needs or questions please feel free to contact me at Unrivaledkitch@gmail.com.

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch