You saw the setting… now let’s get real. REAL hungry… cuz this food was ON POINT.

After dipping into some crostini, prosciutto and gorgeous cherries… and sipping on some ladylike samples of wine…

… it was time to dive into some “big girl” glasses of Judge Palmer, and dig into the main courses. Ragan, from Beauty In The Bite, prepared the appetizers and main course, and Molly, from This Yuppy Life, created the dessert.

They outdid themselves… and we left happy, full and inspired.

And WHOO HOO for you… I’ve got the recipes!

Farmer’s Gazpacho With Basil Oil Drizzle

1 cup of small heirloom tomatoes

2 cucumbers seeded, but not peeled

2 red bell peppers

1 green bell pepper

1 small red onion

2 serano chilis

4 large tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of salt (more to taste)

Juice of 2 small lemons

2 tablespoons of dry sherry (optional)

For drizzle:

1 cup washed and dried fresh basil leaves

1 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

Wash and slice your heirloom tomatoes, set them aside for garnish. Wash and chop all the vegetables into large pieces. Working in batches, whizz them up in a vitamin or food processor until nearly smooth but not pureed. Pour into a large bowl and when all the vegetables are processed, add the vinegar, lemon juice, sherry, olive oil, and salt to the mix, stirring well. It’s best to make this the day before you are going to serve it so the flavors really come out. Keep in the refrigerator and bring to almost room temp before serving. Place the sliced heirloom tomatoes on the top and drizzle with basil oil. Add edible flowers.

Heirloom and Ricotta Tart with Fresh Herbs

Courtesy of Bon Appetit

2 cups ricotta

1/4 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt & pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 small onion, sliced

4 large carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced into coins

1 large egg, beaten

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons small dill sprigs

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk ricotta and cream in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally until soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook, tossing occasionally, 2 minutes. Lightly roll out pastry on parchment paper just to smooth out creases. lightly score a 1″ border around pastry. Brush with egg; bake until golden brown and slightly puffed, 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and spread ricotta mixture over pastry, staying within the border. Scatter reserved onion and carrots over the top. Bake until carrots are tender and starting to caramelize, and pastry is golden brown and baked through, 30-35 minutes. Let cool.

Just before serving, toss herbs and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl; season with salt & pepper, scatter over tart.

Tart can be made up to 6 hours in advance.

Roasted Halibut with Wine-Braised Fennel

(this serves 2 so Ragan quadrupled the recipe)

 3 tablespoons olive oil

3 bulbs fennel


ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 cup white wine

1 tablespoon dry white wine

1/4 cup water

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 small shallot

1 skinless halibut fillet

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add fennel wedges cut side down, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with crushed red pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the fennel is browned, about 12 minutes, turning the wedges half way through. Add 1 cup of the wine, and the water, bay leaves and raisins and simmer over low heat, turning the wedges over a few times until most of the wine has evaporated and the fennel is tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and season the fennel with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, spread the minced shallot in the shape of the fish fillet on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of wine. Season the skinned side of the fillet with salt and pepper and set it down on the mixed shallots. Rub the top of the fish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the halibut on the top shelf of the oven for about 12 minutes, until it is barely opaque in the center.

Transfer the halibut, with its cooking juices, to a platter, spoon the braised fennel alongside and serve.

Gluten-Free Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Adapted from Winnie Abrasion at Healthy Green Kitchen (Found via Rip + Tan) **Molly adapted slightly

3/4 cup rice flour brown

1/2 cup almond flour

1/4 cup almonds ground

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/2 cup plain yogurt, or sour cream, or creme fraiche at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup of olive oil (fruity)


1/4 cup powdered sugar + extra for coating

1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray or brush 2 mini loaf pans (8 count) with olive oil. Or, if you only have one pan, make in 2 batches.  In a bowl combine flours, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon zest and mix. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs and olive oil. Whisk well to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

To make and add the syrup: While the cake is cooling, combine 1⁄4 cup powdered sugar with 1⁄4 cup of lemon juice. Whisk so that the sugar dissolves into the lemon juice. After the cake has cooled for 15 minutes, remove the sides of the spring form pan and prick cake all over with a fork. Drizzle the syrup over the cake. Cool the cake for an additional 30 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar.

Cake can be made up to two days in advance and covered. It is best on the second day.

Homemade Eucalyptus Ice-Cream

*Makes approximately 2 quarts

2 cups whole milk

2 cups half and half

1 cup sugar

4 egg yokes

Approximately 10 eucalyptus leaves (Molly used Eucalyptus glaucescens which has round leaves and are easy to find in floral shops or Whole Foods. If you are using a larger leaf, like what we used for garnish, you won’t need as many.)

Bring the milk, half and half and sugar to 165 degrees. Then, turn down the heat and add the eucalyptus leaves and steep for approximately 20 minutes, tasting every 5 minutes to make sure it isn’t too strong. Add the milk mixture to the egg yokes in a separate bowl, whisking constantly. Let cool. Chill in the refrigerator over night (or until very cold). Then, churn per the instructions in your ice cream maker manual.

Recipe Note: This recipe is inspired by the Eucalyptus ice cream Molly had at the very fabulous hotel La Terrazza dell’Eden in Rome. It is best served as an accompaniment—Molly did olive oil cake. They did an apricot and rosemary tartin with caramel sauce.

After the ridiculously delicious meal above, we were so generously gifted with a second treat… these beautiful Global knives!

Thanks again to Ragan and Molly… and to all of the women who I met over the evening (Holly, Sarah, Virginia, Christi, Elizabeth, Melissa and Christine, who took these amazing photos).

Great food, stellar company and a surreal setting was just what this mama needed!

Additional note: Since this was published… Ragan has been in the process of making a cook book… and I couldn’t be more excited for her… I’ll keep you posted on that!