Tag Archives: food

!nsp!re – A Creative Evening at Meeting of the Masters

I recently had the opportunity to be involved in a panel discussion on the current state of special events, produced by the Las Vegas chapter of the International Special Event Society.

Joining me on the panel were Eddie Zaratsian, creative director for Tic-Tock Couture Florals; Chad Hudson, president of Chad Hudson Events; Doug Miller, president of Zen Arts; and Pauline Parry, president of Good Gracious Events.

I arrived and began to enjoy the open bar and delectable goodies laid out for the attendees at LAVO Italian Restaurant & Lounge at The Palazzo. LAVO has changed quite a bit since the last time I was there a couple years ago for the launch of the Martin RUSH line of lighting fixtures. The space has been transformed from a raucous nightclub into a sumptuously decorated lounge. Leather sofas and chairs, pillows, books, and beautiful art abound, giving the space a luxurious club vibe. After a brief welcome and raffle drawing, the panel took the stage.

LAVO Lounge
LAVO Lounge

Moderator Michael Brown (with Hello! Las Vegas) introduced us and then began asking questions on topics that ranged from new and emerging  trends to the costs of doing business. We discussed the international market, how to educate clients on the costs of their events, and how to diplomatically say “no”. We fielded several questions from the attendees and had a wide-ranging discussion on client/vendor relationships. From lighting and projection-mapping, to costumes and choreography, we covered a lot of ground in our time together. What I found interesting is that, even though the panelists all have different backgrounds and varying areas of expertise, we were all in unanimous agreement that our business is driven by passion, dedication, and a tireless attention to detail; and that we all play an integral part in creating an unforgettable experience.

L to R: Chad Hudson, KC Wilkerson, Eddie Zaratsian, Doug Miller, Pauline Perry
L to R: Chad Hudson, KC Wilkerson, Eddie Zaratsian, Doug Miller, Pauline Perry

In all, it was an evening of great fun with like-minded creatives. Getting out and meeting new people is an important part of creative life; and Vegas always inspires with its unique blend of highbrow and lowbrow. I’m grateful to have been invited to participate in this incredible opportunity!


cre8tive kitchen – Pear and Sausage Asian Salad


Pear and Sausage Asian Salad
Pear and Sausage Asian Salad


12 OZ Pre-cooked Chicken Apple Sausage, cut diagonally

6 OZ Baby Spinach

2 Large Pears (Asian, preferably), cored and sliced thin

1/2 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

2 TBSP Sesame Seeds

1 TSP Soy Sauce

1 TSP Dijon Mustard

1/2 TSP Sesame Oil


Toast the sesame seeds in a 12″ skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Place 1 TBSP of the oil in the skillet with the sausages and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Turn off heat to cool when done.

While the sausage is cooking, whisk the lemon juice, mustard, soy sauce, and sesame oil until mixed. Then slowly mix in the remaining olive oil. Whisk together until thickened.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach, pears, and sausage. Add dressing slowly to taste while mixing. Plate the salad, sprinkle sesame seeds and serve.

Bon Appetit!


cre8tive kitchen – Basil Chicken Stir Fry


Basil Chicken Stir Fry
Basil Chicken Stir Fry

This is a great, fast dinner for two.


2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

2/3 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth

1 TBSP Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Minced Ginger (Fresh or Bottled)

1 TBSP Soy Sauce

2 TSP Cornstarch

1/4 TSP Hot Chile Flakes


Cut chicken into 1/8″ strips.

Heat a 12″ frying pan on high. Add oil, garlic, ginger, chile flakes. Stir a couple times around the pan. Add the chicken. Stir often until the chicken is no longer pink.

As the chicken is cooking, mix the broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to pan and stir for 2 minutes.

Add basil leaves briefly and stir, until they just begin to wilt.

Serve on a bed of white rice.

Bon appetit!

cre8tive kitchen – Maple-Roasted Pears


Maple-Roasted Pears
Maple-Roasted Pears

Super-easy, incredibly tasty dessert!


2 Ripe Bartlett Pears

1 TBSP Unsalted Butter

2 TBSP Dark Brown Sugar

2 TBSP Maple Syrup

1 TSP Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 375°. If you prefer them without skin, peel the pears. If not, leave skin intact. Cut pears in half lengthwise and remove the core (a melon-baller works great for this).

Melt the butter in a cast-iron (or oven-proof) skillet over low heat. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the pears, turning them a couple times to completely coat them in the mixture.

Place the pears cut side down and transfer to oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, basting with the pan mixture occasionally.

Remove the pears from the oven and transfer to a plate. Add the vanilla to the pan juice mixture and stir. If too thick, add a couple tablespoons of water to thin. Pour mixture over pears and serve.

Bon Appetit!

cre8tive kitchen – Endive Avocado Salad


Endive Avocado Salad
Endive Avocado Salad


6 Slices Thick Bacon

1 Head of Curly Endive, trimmed and chopped to bite-size

2 Heads of Belgian Endive, trimmed and chopped to bite-size

2 ripe avocados, chopped to bite-size

1/2 Cup Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese

2 TBSP Minced Shallots

1 TBSP Sherry Vinegar (available online or at specialty retailers like Cost Plus)

1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper


Over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp and brown on both sides. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Crumble once cool.

Combine the lettuce, avocado, gorgonzola cheese, and bacon in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot and vinegar. Add olive oil slowly and whisk until fully mixed. Drizzle over salad, toss, salt and pepper to taste.

Bon Appetit!

cre8tive kitchen – Rosemary Potatoes and Carrots


Rosemary Potatoes and Carrots
Rosemary Potatoes and Carrots

A very tasty, super-simple side dish!


1 1/2 LBS Baby Yellow Potatoes, cut into quarters

6-8 Carrots, cut into pieces similar to the potatoes

3 TBSP Olive Oil

2 TBSP Fresh Rosemary (dried can be substituted if necessary)

Coarse Salt and Mixed Pepper


Preheat oven to 425°. Once the potatoes and carrots are cut, toss with the oil in a large bowl. Pour from bowl into large baking dish, spreading to a single layer.

Sprinkle with rosemary, coarse salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway.

Bon Appetit!

cre8tive kitchen – Apple Currant Pork Chops


Apple Currant Pork Chops
Apple Currant Pork Chops


4 TBSP Dried Currants (These can be found in the dried fruit section at a specialty grocery like Sprouts.)

3 TBSP Unsalted Butter

1 1/2 LBS Golden Delicious Apples, cored, and cut into about 8 wedges per apple

4 Pork Loin Chops

2 TSP Sugar


Heat 1 TSP of butter in a large frying pan, add the currants. Cook for about 3 minutes. Move currants from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.

Add 1 1/2 TBSP butter to the hot pan and reduce heat to medium-high. Place the apple wedges in the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Add remaining butter to a separate large frying pan. Set heat to medium-high and add pork chops. Turn occasionally until meat is done (slightly brown and 165° if you’re using a thermometer). Transfer to platter and keep warm.

Sprinkle the sugar over the apples and return the currants to the pan as well. Mix well. Cook for 1 minute. Spoon apples and currants over the pork chops and serve.

Bon Appetit!

cre8tive kitchen – Spinach Apple Side Salad


Spinach and Apple Salad


2 Cups Spinach

1 Golden Delicious Apple

1/2 Cup Roasted Pecans

Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese

Raspberry Vinaigrette


Roast the pecans at 450° on a flat cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. Chop the apple into smaller-than-bite-size pieces.

Place the spinach in a bowl with the chopped apple. Once the pecans are roasted, let them cool slightly then chop into smaller pieces. Place in bowl. Add raspberry vinaigrette (not too much, just enough to add a little flavor). Toss, then place on plates. Top with a small amount of crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

The portions in this can be wildly adjusted to suit your personal taste. This makes a perfect small starter salad.

cre8tive kitchen – Pecan Haricots Verts

PECAN HARICOTS VERTS (Serves 2, with leftovers)

Pecan Hericots Vertes
Pecan Haricots Vertes


12 oz Haricots Verts or thin green beans

1/2 Cup Roasted Pecans

1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

3 TBSP Sherry Vinegar

1 TSP Sugar

1 TSP Lemon Zest



Preheat oven to 425°. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast about 5 minutes. Chop smaller once roasted.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, trim the ends of the Haricots Verts and add them to the pot with a pinch of salt. Cook until crisp (about 5 minutes) then drain.

While the beans are cooking, whisk the sherry vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil until fully blended (it will thicken as well). Also, grate 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest.

Add the beans and pecans, mix well. Top with the lemon zest. Add pepper to taste.

Bon appetit!

cre8tive kitchen – Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce

Today marks the launch of a new section here on cre8tivity lab – cre8tive kitchen.

Some time ago, I cooked quite a bit. I enjoy being in the kitchen and especially love to entertain guests and cook for them. In 2008, much of that fell by the wayside as I began to do more design work outside my day-gig; and my time in the kitchen was significantly diminished.

One of the things I am hoping to achieve in 2014 is a better balance between the things I love – spending time at home with my family, my job, free-lance design work, photography, and a couple other creative pursuits.

So, I’m heading back into the kitchen, armed with some recipes I’ve collected over the years; many of which I’ve scanned and placed into a binder which will become my standard cookbook. Invariably, I adapt everything to suit our taste (which usually means adding more garlic). I’m really looking forward to this new adventure; and since cooking is just another creative outlet, I’ve decided to share the results (or at least the successful ones!) here on the blog.

First up was this little gem – quick, easy, and tasty.


Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce
Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce


1 TBSP Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Unsalted Butter

3 Cloves Garlic

2 Shallots, Chopped

1 Cup Vodka

1 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth

6-8 Roma Tomatoes, Chopped (or one 32 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes).

16 ounces of pasta. I used Penne Rigate but Fusilli or Farfalle would also be good.

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

Dried or Fresh Basil

Parmesan Cheese


Fill your pasta pot with water and set on high heat, add a pinch of salt and a couple drops of olive oil.

While that’s heating to a boil, place a warm skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, butter, garlic, and shallots; saute for 5 minutes. Add the vodka and reduce by half (about 5 minutes). Add chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring the pan to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Drop your pasta, cook to al dente.

As pasta is nearing completion, stir the heavy cream into the sauce and return to a boil, then remove from heat.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce; top with fresh or dried basil. Add parmesan cheese if desired.

Serve hot with a good garlic bread.

Bon Appetit!