Dani Goes South.


Let's Eat Outside Pt. 1: Veggie Mezze Platter with Kebabs, the Creamiest Beet Hummus, Garlicky Yogurt Dip, and Roasted / Raw Crudites

Appetizers, DinnersDani ColombattoComment
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Hey, hey, and a happy hump day to you! I hope this week is treating you like a chivalrous date. On my end of things, I just returned from a fun, spontaneous weekend trip back home to San Clemente. My sweet angel of an aunt and cousin surprised my sister, niece, & I with tickets- seriously, what gems! We arrived Friday, and had a little family dinner at my uncle and aunt's house. Those of you who watched my stories got to see the epic toddler dance party that took place, which, by the way, made me feel SO out of touch with top 100 music. Like, I couldn't tell you who's a Bieber, Gomez, or Lovato if my life depended on it. I digress... My dad's side of the family is relatively small, and we've always been super close, usually living about a 30 minute drive from each other for most of our lives. My sister and I were lucky enough to grow up with cousins who felt more like siblings. As we've gotten older not only is it so cool that things always feel exactly the same, no matter how much time has passed, but now we get to watch my sister and cousins do the same with their little kids. Life sure is wild. 

Speaking of family gatherings, every time the weather starts to turn I can't help but think of being outside- particularly, cooking and eating outside. Whether I'm back in California, at my parents' in Idaho, or home in Austin, eating outside is just such a prominent source of happiness in my life. Honestly, what is better than a strong cocktail and sharing some small plates on a warm night? Kind of nothing, if you're asking me. I thought it would be fun to share a few ideas for portable dishes to make and take with you to eat somewhere pretty with someone you love. What better way to start than with an appetizer situation that doubles as dinner? Options are LyFe. Since we're keeping things light and springy, I thought we'd go veggie for our first little soiree, and celebrate some of the best of what's in season now, starting with the creamiest beet hummus. Veggie kebabs, garlicky yogurt, baked feta, lavash, and roasted and raw crudites make for perfect mix and match snacking. In fact, if someone could teleport one of these platters to me now, that would be amazing. Let's get into it. 

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Props C/O Urban Outfitters

Baked Chicken Wings Two-Ways: Romesco-Rubbed & Asian-Inspired

Dinners, AppetizersDani ColombattoComment
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Happy Sunday! I hope that this weekend you've seen a little sun (or enjoyed some cozy time), hung with someone you like, maybe pet a kitten, all the good things! Speaking of kittens, I'm coming at you this morning with heavy eyelids, and from the standpoint that there isn't enough coffee in the world. My cat, Greg woke up at about 3am (the uzhe), and decided we no longer required sleep. By that, I mean screech-meows from the depths of cat hell. He was fed, everything was fine. He just wanted to hang out, which is equal parts cute, cracks me up, and makes me think we are so, so screwed, hah! Anywho, cat antics aside, I could really use an app platter teleported to me whilst I catch up on this final 3 Bachelor business (so much ew). If I had my pick of teleported app, these baked wings would most definitely make the cut. 

I love a little variety, and as I've mentioned before, I also love when things look like more effort than they really are. It's a total make ahead situation. It's a leftover multi-use sauce situation. It's a damn win all around. Let's get into it. 

Dips, Sauces, & Marinades: Romesco & Lemony Za'atar Garlic Yogurt

Appetizers, SaucesDani ColombattoComment
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I. Love. A. Double. Down. In this case, a triple-down. Today, we talkin' sauce. Well, sauces, dips, and marinades (oh my), to be exact. These bad boys also work their way into this Friday's recipe, so if you're a planner who semi-trusts me, this just might come in handy for you. 

First, we have a hearty Romesco, which, if you're unfamiliar is a roasted red pepper dip originating from Spain, that has a base of toasted almonds and white bread. It's roasty, tangy, bright, and makes a delicious accompaniment to crudites, sauce for pretty much all meat and seafood, and, in this weekend's case, marinade for some chicken wings. 

Since I am inching my way towards wing-ville, you best believe I have dips on the brain. A lemony Za'atar yogurt sauce makes such a delicious compliment to Romesco-rubbed wings, or the perfect dip partner for a pretty produce board. It would also be really delicious drizzled on falafel, or a gyro situation. Za'atar is a Mediterranean spice blend that only made its way into my cabinet repertoire recently, but I am oh-so glad it did. It's a blend of oregano, Sumac, cumin, and sesame seeds. Save yourself a trip to Whole Foods (Seriously, they were out when I went, ha!), and whip some up at home. 

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