Guest Diva — Karen

When you’re invited to dinner at Karen and Harold’s you can count on having a great time – their recent party went well into the early morning hours, as always! Really, truly no one wants to leave. And Harold is so generous if you admire the wine, he insists you take a bottle home with you.  The evening always has a theme and without fail is beautiful. Karen is a design expert and her home and entertaining style reflect her wonderful talent. Here’s a peek at a recent party we attended.

We were so enthralled … the setting …  the guests … the wine …  the dog, I only remembered to take one picture of the food.


Karen's killer gazpacho.

Karen’s killer gazpacho.


But anyway here’s what we ate.


Our lobster wasn’t smiling …


corn on the cob slathered with butter!


Get it? Angel food…



Cartoons courtesy of (click below)
Lobster cartoon
Corn on the cob cartoon
Angel cartoon
Cake cartoon

Guest Diva — Lisa

Guest Diva Lisa was so excited to share her carb-free “yummy” dinner she sent a text replete with happy faces.  The salad is:  tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onion and basil with balsamic vinaigrette.  Those are zucchini stuffed with organic chicken sausage, onion, red pepper, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, basil all topped off with mozzarella cheese and baked at 425°.




The Divas “dish” on Lisa’s dishes.    Mimi:  I frequently make a salad like this and tried Lisa’s version.  I like hers better, although, I added feta cheese which she forgot in her preparation.  Here’s what mine looked like.  Sue:  Wow that’s a healthy dinner — lots of veggies!  I don’t know Lisa but bet she’s trim.  Mimi:  Yes she is!  And beautiful too!



Blackbelly Catering Rehearsal Dinner

In a fleeting moment of insanity, I considered doing my stepson’s rehearsal dinner with 65 guests on my own — why not?  I had a huge house, a gourmet ktichen and a whole week to prepare.  Sue told me it would be a great idea to have the rehearsal dinner at the house we rented.  Sue also said to me:  “You’re not going to do all that cooking yourself, are you?”  That’s when I realized, stop, wait a minute, am I nuts?  I’d much rather have a happy memory of enjoying the party than cooking and preparing.  So I limited myself to decorating the tables and hired Blackbelly Catering to do everything else.  It was the right call although I was still on pins and needles about the celebration.  Jeff (the groom) and Kristin (the bride) vacationed in Provence with me, Sue and our husbands last summer.  I was inspired to use lavendar in the centerpieces because it reminds me of that trip.  And, Sue was right, the house created a relaxed atmosphere for everyone, including the children who were running around and having a great time on the golf course.

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The best seat in the house reserved for the Bride's Father and his guests.

The best seat in the house reserved for the Bride’s father and his special guests.

Passed Hors d’ouevres

Grape, pistachio, goat cheese “truffles” 

Chilled Colorado corn soup, avocado salsa

 Fennel cured salmon, cucumber, dill crème fraiche

 Blackbelly sausages, Pickled mustard seed

Beet tartar, belgian endive


Domaine Carneros Brut 2010

Chateau Moncontour Crémant Brut Rosé 2013

WPA Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills 2012

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2012

Michel Gassier Cercius Blanc 2011

Chateau Valcombe Rosé Cotes de Ventoux 2013


Not a single picture of the Blackbelly sausage or the chilled corn soup!  I was too busy making sure I got to taste every single thing and forgot to take the pictures.  The saltiness of the sausage was perfectly offset by the slightly sweet and sour pickled mustard seed.  Sue is still raving about the Blackbelly sausage and is amazed that they raise their own pigs to make it. Unexpectedly, the chilled corn soup had a hint of bacon (I think) which also balanced the sweetness of the corn.  Everyone was enjoying the cocktail hour so much we wanted to extend it for 1/2 hour — of course — Blackbelly was more than happy to grant us our wish.

The Main Event  (other than the Wedding of Course!!!)

 Blackbelly farm leg of lamb, herb chimichurri

Blackbelly farm pork tenderloin, fresh Colorado peaches

Local greens salad, plums, queso de mano and lemon vinaigrette

Melon salad, haystack goat feta, pepitas, mint, basil

Soft polenta, local chevre, summer ratatouille and fresh basil

Rosemary roasted new potatoes

Assorted rustic breads

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Just looking at these photos makes us hungry!  The chimichurri for the lamb had a very delicate flavor — which enhanced the flavor of the meat.  We don’t know what they put in there but boy was it good.  I loved the inclusion of mint and basil in the melon salad.  Sue is a big mint fan, me not so much, but it certainly worked with this dish!  Honestly, we cannot figure out how that polenta stayed creamy until the bitter end.  Sue says it’s the creamiest most delicious polenta she’s ever had.


Vanilla pound cake, plums, black pepper whipped cream

Chocolate chip-bacon cookies

Chocolate Stout Cake Bites, Salted Caramel

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I have a true weakness for mixing salty and sweet so these desserts were right up my alley.  I ate one of each.  There was something different about the chocolate chip cookies and Sue figured out that they had bacon in them.  Bacon makes everything better!

I can’t say enough positive things about Blackbelly catering!  Their food was out of this world.  Even more so, they are a group of people who really care about delivering the best experience imaginable.

Good night friends and family, old and new ... magical night, great memories!

Good night friends and family, old and new … magical night, great memories for a special bride and groom.

Mimi’s Passion for Pasta


Follow the Diva to our website for sauce recipes.

Homemade Pasta (before)

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Four Cheese Ravioli with Sugo Sauce

When I start to feel all self-righteous about making pasta by hand, I’ll just remind myself that Chuck’s nephew Danny made his own ravioli press to make the perfect ravioli.  Danny has me beat in the pasta department for sure!


Ravioli Press

and a Diva Dishes.  I mentioned to my son Johnny that Mimi made her own pasta and that when one batch turned out bad she threw it away and started all over again (which is insane!)  Johnny said you know for Mimi it’s cathartic, for me and you, not so much.  Although, there is nothing like homemade pasta, I’d rather buy mine from a gourmet store.

Guest Diva — Karen


…A Diva Dishes.  This dessert was presented so beautifully I just had to take a picture.  It tasted good too!!!

…and a Diva Dishes.  I enjoyed Karen’s fabulous dessert vicariously through Sue because my husband was too sick to join in the celebration.  Boo Hoo!