We Hosted An Outdoor Garden Brunch

December is one of the best months to host a garden party in Southern California. Eight couples attended our outdoor brunch last weekend and the weather was perfect. It was the inaugural gathering in our new outdoor kitchen/dining area. Come to think of it, it was the largest gathering we’ve hosted since moving to Los Angeles. I guess we’re a little shy about these sorts of things.

The guest list is top secret so I don’t have any photos to share from that day, but below is a peak at what our yard looks like after its recent renovation.

It took us a year for the two of us to finish building the pergola- a time of hard work marked by many many long breaks (i.e. months). We designed as we built, so it’s one-of-a-kind to say the least. The pebble paths that now surround our house were a much easier endeavor… we hired a landscaper.

It took us a year for the two of us to finish building the pergola- a time of hard work marked by many many long breaks (i.e. months). We designed as we built, so it’s one-of-a-kind to say the least. The pebble paths that now surround our house were a much easier endeavor… we hired a landscaper.

Our new outdoor kitchen consists of a stainless steel work table, a sink with waste water that flows to a nearby orange tree, and a Weber Genesis II E-410 grill. Our next addition will hopefully be an outdoor wok.

Our new outdoor kitchen consists of a stainless steel work table, a sink with waste water that flows to a nearby orange tree, and a Weber Genesis II E-410 grill. Our next addition will hopefully be an outdoor wok.

Our 10-seat dining table was the luckiest of lucky finds. Crate & Barrel’s Big Sur oak table retails for $1900 but we found one at an estate sale for only $300. I refinished it with Epifanes Matte Wood Finish, which is an incredible marine strength coating that transformed this indoor piece into an outdoor one.

Our 10-seat dining table was the luckiest of lucky finds. Crate & Barrel’s Big Sur oak table retails for $1900 but we found one at an estate sale for only $300. I refinished it with Epifanes Matte Wood Finish, which is an incredible marine strength coating that transformed this indoor piece into an outdoor one.

We created the pergola roof from durable redwood slats that let in just enough light.

We created the pergola roof from durable redwood slats that let in just enough light.

Guests on the day of the brunch brought all kinds of delicious treats including these Meyer lemons- mixed here with limes from our tree.

Guests on the day of the brunch brought all kinds of delicious treats including these Meyer lemons- mixed here with limes from our tree.

Another couple that day brought us a bag of persimmons so I used them along with the Meyer lemon juice to bake a five-spice persimmon tart. We’ve been eating it with mounds of wild blueberry whipped cream. Recipe below.

Another couple that day brought us a bag of persimmons so I used them along with the Meyer lemon juice to bake a five-spice persimmon tart. We’ve been eating it with mounds of wild blueberry whipped cream. Recipe below.

All along the kitchen/dining area, rows of everblooming orange hibiscus contrast the dark gray color of our house.

All along the kitchen/dining area, rows of everblooming orange hibiscus contrast the dark gray color of our house.

Many raised beds and planters made our garden party a true garden party. This bed is stuffed with arugula that we used to serve an arugula-pistachio-pomegranate salad with yuzu dressing.

Many raised beds and planters made our garden party a true garden party. This bed is stuffed with arugula that we used to serve an arugula-pistachio-pomegranate salad with yuzu dressing.

Nearby, another bed in our winter garden is slowly but surely producing cabbage and peas.

Nearby, another bed in our winter garden is slowly but surely producing cabbage and peas.

These rapini weren’t quite ready to serve for the party but this weekend we’ll be flash frying them with garlic and a splash of that fresh lemon juice.

These rapini weren’t quite ready to serve for the party but this weekend we’ll be flash frying them with garlic and a splash of that fresh lemon juice.

As I write this it’s a cool gray day in Los Angeles. A few feet beyond our stock tank bog pond are the steps that lead down to the lower garden. There our chickens, ducks, pigeons, and quail are impatiently waiting for me to deliver breakfast. Not a day goes by when I don’t marvel at the fact that all of this—gardening and bird rescue—is possible within sight of those downtown skyscrapers. Los Angeles is an amazing city and I’m grateful for AK, my partner, who made my dream of homesteading in LA possible.

As I write this it’s a cool gray day in Los Angeles. A few feet beyond our stock tank bog pond are the steps that lead down to the lower garden. There our chickens, ducks, pigeons, and quail are impatiently waiting for me to deliver breakfast. Not a day goes by when I don’t marvel at the fact that all of this—gardening and bird rescue—is possible within sight of those downtown skyscrapers. Los Angeles is an amazing city and I’m grateful for AK, my partner, who made my dream of homesteading in LA possible.

Speaking of those birds, here’s our latest adoptee. This little buff orpington pullet was adopted two weeks ago from LA Animal Services. She is the sweetest hen ever. She follows us around like a little puppy dog and is just as content to fall asleep in my arms.

Speaking of those birds, here’s our latest adoptee. This little buff orpington pullet was adopted two weeks ago from LA Animal Services. She is the sweetest hen ever. She follows us around like a little puppy dog and is just as content to fall asleep in my arms.

Here is the recipe I altered to make my Five-Spice Persimmon Tart. Instead of store bought candied ginger I fried fresh ginger slices in sugar. I also substituted 5-spice powder for the cinnamon and instead of brandy I used blueberry-infused sake. The remaining cup of boozy blueberries were then blended with sugar and vanilla and simmered into a blueberry syrup that we drizzled over freshly made warm rice pudding. Instead of the recipe’s mascarpone topping, I folded some of the blueberry syrup into freshly whipped cream to top it all off.