Recipe: Shrimp Alfredo Fettuccine

Dining in for Valentine’s Day? Try this creamy and delicious Shrimp Alfredo Fettuccine with just the right touch of romance!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs. shrimp (20-25 count)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 stick butter- 1/4 to sautéed onions-1/4 before flour-1/2 add to the sauce at the end
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (for sauce)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1.5 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (for pasta)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (for pasta)
  • parsley to garnish
  • 1 pack Fettuccine (follow package instructions to cook)

Directions:

  1. Dice onion and transfer into a bowl.
  2. Chop cloves of garlic and add to bowl.
  3. Add butter to a pan over medium heat
  4. Sauté the onion and garlic
  5. Add more butter to the pan and add flour to thicken the sauce.
  6. Cook pasta per package instructions while sauce is cooking.
  7. Add heavy cream to the sauce, stir slowly and bring to a boil.
  8. Let cream simmer for 5 min.
  9. Add parmesan cheese and salt & pepper to taste.
  10. Add sweet paprika (for a pink hue!)
  11. When sauce thickens, remove from heat.
  12. Cut up small pieces of butter and add to sauce, stir until butter melts.
  13. Add shrimp and cook for 5 min. (or until pink in color)
  14. Add cooked pasta to a bowl.
  15. Top with your shrimp and sauce.
  16. Add more parmesan cheese, paprika and parsley for garnish
  17. Serve with you favorite white wine!

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

Recipe: Ikra

A wonderful and simple vegan dip with grilled eggplant and bell peppers!

 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplant
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro optional
  • 1/2 cup parsley optional
  • 1 tbsp. pepper paste
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • pine nuts for garnish
  • salt
  • black pepper

Directions

  1. Use a fork to puncture holes in eggplant and grill both the eggplant and bell peppers until charred.
  2. Remove from grill and peel off the skin.
  3. Chop the eggplant and bell peppers into large pieces. (Clean skin and insides–including seeds)
  4. Use a paper towel to wipe off any residual seed or skin.
  5. Chop onion and garlic.
  6. Chop cilantro and parsley-about 1/2 cup combined (optional).
  7. Add bell peppers into food processor and blend (empty into a bowl and set aside).
  8. Add eggplant to food processor and blend.
  9. Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a skillet and add onions.
  10. Sauté onions, add chopped garlic.
  11. Add pepper paste and tomato paste, mix.
  12. Add chopped bell peppers, thoroughly cook bell peppers.
  13. Add eggplant and continue cooking.
  14. Add parsley and cilantro (optional).
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  16. Cook until excess liquids have evaporated.

Garnish

  1. Olive oil
  2. Chopped Parsely
  3. Pine nuts

Serve with pita chips, pita bread or baguettes! Your choice!

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

 

Oven-Baked Beef Kebab with Eggplant

 

Enjoy this personal twist on a traditional family dish that’s fun to assemble and easy to bake! They’ll come out moist and flavorful every time!

Ingredients

 

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 eggplants
  • 18-20 fingerling potatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo red pepper
  • 1 tsp. mint
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bulgur #1
  • 4-5 mini bell peppers
  • 1 bunch fresh mint for garnish

Sauce

  • 1 tsp . Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tbls. tomato paste
  • 1 tbls. red pepper paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. dried mint
  • 2 cups water

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the eggplant (I prefer Japanese eggplants) in just three sections (don’t need to peel the entire skin)
  3. Cut the eggplants just over an inch wide
  4. Optional: Lightly season eggplant slices with salt and grill. You may also fry them or simply add them to the dish raw.
  5. Chop half the onion (the other half will be used for the sauce).
  6. Add the chopped onion to the ground beef in a large bowl
  7. Add bulger, salt, Aleppo pepper and dried mint to the beef
  8. Mix all ingredients well by hand
  9. Chop the other half of the onion
  10. Heat very little oil to a frying pan and add the chopped onion
  11.  Add salt, tomato paste, red pepper paste, dried mint, water and sugar
  12. Whisk all ingredients together, when sauce starts bubbling, remove from heat
  13.  Cut the edges of the fingerling potatoes so that they are the same length as the slices of eggplants.
  14. Assemble the dish by layering the bottom of the baking dish with some of the sauce (Just enough to cover the bottom).
  15. Make small meat balls with the beef mixture and place around the pan, alternating between beef, eggplant and potatoes.
  16. Add the remainder of the sauce on top of the diesh
  17. Slice the baby bell peppers and add to the top of the dish.
  18. Cover with foil, bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
  19. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.
  20. Garnish with fresh mint and serve!

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

 

Tips on Hosting a Dinner Party

Hosting an event and catering and event both have similar responsibilities—-however, the essential difference for a host to keep in mind is entertaining both our guests as well as ourselves. Being a part of the event is just as important as planning it and sometimes it’s easy to exclude ourselves from the fun because we’re so preoccupied with managing the details. Preparation is important— to plan the event and dress the part—it is equally important to feel included in the festivities. I truly believe it’s important to not only look the part, but to be a part…and enjoy the occasion!

I recently hosted a very special dinner for my cousins. About eight years ago we realized that as our lives got busier with work and our families, we saw each other less and less. It was hard for us to accept distance when we were raised together and had been very close since childhood; so we made a pact to have dinner together once a month, just us. Each of us takes a turn hosting this important dinner, and we have the chance to catch up, share laughs, play games, eat good food, and enjoy each other’s company! Our rules are simple. The dinner is intimate, it’s with cousins only, we prepare the food instead of ordering it, and we don’t use plastic ware. Of course there are some exceptions—life happens. Sometimes our children join us, and we have an opportunity for more games, more bonds, and hopefully more traditions to pass onto them. What’s most special about our deal is that we created it between cousins and it has grown into our tradition.

I truly believe it’s important to not only look the part, but to be a part…and enjoy the occasion!

Recently, it was my turn to host and I had a few things in mind for the dinner. My job as the host is to prepare great food, drinks, and entertainment. Consideration for your guests is important for any event—their likes and dislikes—when planning. Knowing my cousins, I realized they hated cocktail hour, and I needed to give them what they really wanted: sitting together at the table, talking and enjoying delicious food. With this in mind, I made cocktail hour face-to-face, with the same space for conversation but with more food within reach for us to munch on. We sat at the table with low floral centerpieces and a middle runner filled with food. The table was a grazing station with a variety of appetizers and dishes spread across the table. My goal was to have the food flow naturally, just like the conversations we’d be having at the table!

For any event I give myself the freedom to be creative—and while I admit I do procrastinate a bit when it comes to my own events—-I am mindful that planning is important and preparing is necessary. These are a few things I always consider:

  1. The food—I have fun with preparing the menu for my guests, and especially with my cousins, I like to ask what each prefers to eat.
  2. The theme—this is vital for the ambiance—it’s important to set the tone of the evening for guests and the added effort shows you care. In selecting the theme, I always consider the season. The menu selections for the event are usually custom tailored to seasonal food items. The colors of the season also inspire both the table setting and arrangements which contribute to the overall ambiance.
  3. The entertainment—my family loves playing games, these are often competitive but always end with love and laughter!

 

Whether entertaining or hosting, preparing or planning, I always remind myself to enjoy the process. Some of it comes with experience and trying new things, but I like to have fun and be creative every step of the way.

 

For more tips on hosting and how I prepare for an event, click here!

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

Recipe: Fourth of July Caprese Salad

A fun twist to a classic Italian salad.

Supplies

  • star shaped cookie cut out set (You can find it at Michael’s or Amazon)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 5 blue basil stems
  • 1/2 block Karoun Nabulsi Cheese

 

Directions

    1. Start by slicing the tomatoes into halves and transfer it to a bowl.
    2. The cheese is one-inch thick. Cut it in half to make it 1/2 an inch thick. Use different sized star shaped cookie cutters to cut stars
      out of the cheese slices. Add the cheese stars to the tomatoes.
    3. Add blue basil.
    4. Dice your cucumbers in a diagonal. Use the smallest size star shaped cookie cutter to cut stars out of your cucumber slices. Add the slices to the salad. 
    5. Drizzle olive oil on top of your salad and enjoy! 

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

Recipe: Watermelon Salad

Try this easy, refreshing and fun salad. A perfect activity to do with your kids!

 

Supplies

  • star shaped cookie cut out set (You can find it at Michael’s or Amazon)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 2 ounces of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 4 to 5 stems of mint
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey

 

 

Dressing

  1. Whisk your lemon juice and honey together.

 

 

Directions

  1. Cut the watermelon in 1/2 inch thick slices. Use different sized star shaped cookie cutters to cut stars out of the watermelon slices. Place your cut out watermelon pieces in a large bowl.
  2. Add blueberries, crumbled feta cheese and mint.
  3. Drizzle your dressing on top of your salad and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Shushan Darzian is the founder and owner of Ladybugs Catering & Events. Her passion for food, presentation and exquisite detail drive her mission to provide outstanding service for her clients. As a former educator, she is committed to life-longing learning and loves to travel. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.