Last week I hosted my girlfriends for dinner at my house (I guess technically you could call it a Galentine’s hang,–I just wanted an excuse to get some of my local ladies together for an awesome meal). The highlight of the night was having Kevin O’Connor, Cobram Estate Chef at Large cooking in my kitchen for us all! Sure takes all of the pressure off hosting! Kevin even made us our pre-dinner cocktails so the only real job I had for the evening was to manage the playlist. Which I’d like to note, that I got a few girls up and dancing at the end of the night so I’d say my job was a success too.
I met Kevin a couple of years ago when Cobram Estate, the amazing Australian and local olive oil brand, invited me to their fall olive harvest. I still hadn’t forgotten the meal he made for us that day, and so when I finally ran into him again recently at our favorite local coffee shop I jumped at the chance to have him over to cook. I told him I was completely open as far as the menu went and he wowed us with his thoughtfully prepared seasonal spring dishes… all enhanced with Cobram Estate olive oil of course. Kevin even foraged the greens, flowers and drift wood that he used for presentation from Folsom Lake earlier that morning.
I hope you enjoy this photo-diary of our night. It was one for the books! Or skip straight to the bottom of this post for Kevin’s Honey Citrus Olive Oil Cake recipe. It was so light, flavorful and the perfect bite of sweet to end the meal. I’m thinking I may try to make for my sister’s bridal shower (Kevin says it’s easy so we shall see…).
On the Menu:
Smoked Carrots and Puffed Grains
Fresh Yuba with Celery Root, Kohlrabi and Almonds
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms and Harissa Sunchoke Hash, Preserved Lemon, Caramelized Shallot
Salmon and All the Green Things (nettles, fave greens, pea shoots, wild herbs)
Honey Citrus Olive Oil Cake
I was just going to serve wine for the evening and keep things casual and easy, but when a couple girls wanted cocktails Kevin looked around the kitchen and came up with a refreshing drink on the spot. Our cocktail of the night: Gin, fresh squeezed citrus, dash of black pepper and sparkling water. So refreshing!
Another fun element to the evening, having our tarot cards read by The Gold Country Witch. This is something my girlfriends and I had all talked about wanting to do, so I was excited to finally make that happen. Alisa had such amazing and calming energy that it made for a really cool addition to the cocktail hour. Leaving us with plenty to chat about!
We all got schooled in what the heck Hoshigaki is. Kevin’s prized dried persimmons that he lovingly hung in his sunroom and massaged for three months until they sugared and were ready for us to eat on top Cowgirl Creamery cheese crostini’s.
When the dancing happened. Thanks to those extra glasses of wine (minus preggers–she was just high on life).
Alicia’s Extra Virgin Citrus Cake:
Rather than icing this cake I decided to add sweetness and texture with fresh honeycomb on the plate. In place of the zest of two oranges I used a blend of Meyer lemon, grapefruit and blood orange zest. Be sure to save the zested citrus for segments to serve the cake with.
• 2 large eggs
• 1 ½ cup sugar
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for oiling the pan and finishing
• Two oranges, zested
• 1 ½ cup flour
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp salt
• Pure raw honeycomb
• Preheat oven to 325°F. Start by beating the eggs and sugar together until smooth and creamy.
• In a separate bowl whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, milk, and orange zest. Stir this mixture into the eggs and sugar.
• In a brand-new bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Now, slowly incorporate this dry mixture into the wet to make your cake batter. Do not over mix.
• Pour batter in to six, well oiled, over sized muffin tins. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out of the center of the cake clean. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.
• To serve, cut the cakes in half and place in a dish on top of spoonfuls of honey comb and fresh citrus segments. Finish the entire dish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a small sprinkle of salt.
Photography | Stephanie Russo