Fandango: Recipes, Parties, and License to Make Magic

Overview

Sandy Hill is rich in imagination, style, taste, and experience. She has climbed the highest peak on every continent. She has kayaked the Arctic and ridden across the Masai Mara in Kenya on horseback. She owns a vineyard in California, and she throws parties that are the talk of whatever town she's in.

Memorable entertaining, for her, is not about the easy this and store-bought that—if it's simple, why bother? It's about inspiration and preparation, about making every occasion ...

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Overview

Sandy Hill is rich in imagination, style, taste, and experience. She has climbed the highest peak on every continent. She has kayaked the Arctic and ridden across the Masai Mara in Kenya on horseback. She owns a vineyard in California, and she throws parties that are the talk of whatever town she's in.

Memorable entertaining, for her, is not about the easy this and store-bought that—if it's simple, why bother? It's about inspiration and preparation, about making every occasion as grand as you would if it were the last thing you'd ever do. To that end, she engages her full imagination, rolls up her sleeves, asks her guests to be co-conspirators, and creates gutsy, one-of-a-kind events of all sizes and shapes at her ranch in wine country.

The results range from the intimate to the ultimate: rowboat suppers for two and July Fourth blowouts for hundreds; Mexican luncheons to celebrate the harvest and feasts honoring Hindu gods; treasure hunts; poetry readings, grape picking and wine tastings; bachelor parties and wedding picnics; and bona fide holidays such as Father's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas as you've probably never imagined they could be. These are parties at which the energy flows both ways, from prepared and inspired hostess to willing and active guest, where people sing or cook or ride for their supper, then talk about it for years to come.

But for all these parties' grand gestures, they're not about precious perfection. The decorations and menus are real and re-creatable. The recipes, 125 in all, run the gamut from new twists on traditional American and Mexican food to rustic Italian, Spanish, Indian, and Scottish, and each is paired with a specific wine, beer, or cocktail. And while you may never have an elephant on hand to give your guests rides at a party, there's nothing to stop you from equally singular flights of imagination, from guests in costume to colorful table linens or the sheer beauty of a natural backdrop. So go on, dream a grand party, with Fandango as your guide.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Magazine
"If Santa Barbara County wine country ever needed a poster girl, it could do no better than Hill."—The New York Times Magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579653385
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 11/5/2007
  • Pages: 313
  • Sales rank: 1,484,226
  • Product dimensions: 9.38 (w) x 12.34 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandy Hill has worked as an editor, a contributor, and a writer for numerous publications, including Vogue, Mademoiselle, Bride’s, Condé Nast Traveler, Allure, Men’s Journal, and USA Today. She may be best known for her successful quest to climb the “seven summits,” the highest mountain on every continent, including Mt. Everest, about which she reported on camera and online for NBC News. In 2000, she realized another dream, to own a vineyard and ranch in California. Sandy now divides her time between her Oak Savanna Vineyard (located in Santa Barbara County), New York City, Miami, and Alamos, Mexico.

Stephanie Valentine is chef at Oak Savanna Vineyard in California. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked for many years at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. Before joining Oak Savanna in 2004, Stephanie was chef at Roxanne’s, the groundbreaking raw food restaurant near San Francisco.

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Read an Excerpt

ABOUT THIRTY YEARS AGO, I WAS A YOUNG MAGAZINE EDITOR IN MILAN ON MY first European business trip. I had always been interested in exotic foods and their specialized table accessories, and I discovered a small cutlery shop on the Via Montenapoleone called G. Lorenzi. Amid escargot forks, asparagus tongs, fruit cutlery, sewing kits encased in tortoiseshell bobbins, shoe button hooks, cigar cutters, miniature pocketknives, and other curious sharp metal items I’d never imagined, I found a little truffle shaving set: a pretty hardwood plank on which sits a stainless steel shaver, a fine dust brush made of horsehair, and a blown glass bell-jar cover to protect the precious commodity. It suggested to me the most simple yet decadent entertaining idea: a shave-it-yourself truffle dinner. The salesman at Lorenzi told me where to buy the best truffles in Milan (I had never even tasted one before) and advised me to serve it over hot buttered pasta. Even with the little truffle smothered inside a box filled with arborio rice and bound by three layers of plastic wrap, the smell of it still filled the plane as I carefully carried the tuber and its set back to my fifth-floor walk-up apartment in New York.

Ever since, it has been my tradition to put a whole truffle—the largest my budget would allow—beneath the bell jar and pass it around the table, the implication being that everyone can have "as much as they want." Of course, most guests are far too polite and sensible to take more than a little, which is a good thing because with Stephanie’s recipes—much evolved since my days of pasta al dente—we have to make the truffle last all the way through to dessert. There are few foods more special than a truffle: expensive, rare, and volatile. Stephanie usually manages to get just one truffle each season (calling upon her professional connections, as most of the best ones go directly to restaurants and bypass the retail market entirely). The arrival of our annual truffle always warrants a special occasion at Rancho La Zaca. And it’s not difficult to get friends to drop everything and come to dinner: The allure of the fragrant tuber is universal.

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Table of Contents

Contents

FOREWORD BY MARTHA STEWART 1
INTRODUCTION 2
STEPHANIE VALENTINE 5
A NOTE ON THE WINE SELECTIONS 6

Wedding Picnic 9
Releasing a New Vintage 21
Fandango: A Fiesta Luncheon 43
Bachelor Party 65
Beach Ride 81
Indian Feast 95
Truffle Dinner 111
Father’s Day 127
Treasure Hunt and Family Cookout 141
Dinner for Two 159
Vintners’ Potluck 169
Independence Day Blast 179
Elevenses: A Dove Hunters’ Brunch 203
Harvest 215
La Cosecha 227
Dinner for Dead Poets 241
Thanksgiving 255
Christmas Eve 275

PARTY PLANNING NOTES & RESOURCES 293
PHOTO CREDITS 307
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 308
INDEX 309

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