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Throwing your own royal wedding watch party? We've got recipes

Throwing your own royal wedding watch party? We've got recipes
Lemon Curd and Strawberry Tart from an inside page of the book, "What's Gaby Cooking" by Gaby Dalkin, published by Abrams Books. (Matt Armendariz)

If you're going to a royal wedding watching party, or throwing one yourself, you know that the food will take the spotlight — after we all get a look at the wedding dress, of course.

To help craft the perfect menu — a Cali-British mash-up worthy of Los Angeles' own Meghan Markle and Britain's Prince Harry — we turned to Gaby Dalkin, creator of the popular Los Angeles lifestyle and food blog "What's Gaby Cooking." Her new cookbook, "Everyday California Food," is a celebration of the way we eat here in Southern California, reflecting the region's diversity, the abundance of fresh, vibrant produce, and the fact that we're always tinkering with our diets. (Translation: Vegans, meat eaters, the no-carb and the all-carb crowds will all find something in its pages.)

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"I can't wait for it," Dalkin said of the wedding. "I will be watching, absolutely. I love Meghan Markle, she a fascinating and independent woman. And she's ours, she's L.A."

A royal wedding brunch could pay homage to Britain and the traditional high tea with scones served alongside clotted cream and lemon curd and finger sandwiches. (Shortcut: Make the sandwich of your choice, cut off the crusts and slice into triangles. Done.)

To add some California sparkle to the menu, there must be avocado, Dalkin said (her first cookbook was titled "Absolutely Avocados.") She suggests an avocado toast bar and lots of homemade guacamole and salty, crunchy chips.

Dalkin also shared three recipes from her new cookbook with us that would also represent L.A. at your watching party: a hot, cheesy poblano chile dip that would go perfect with those chips, Vietnamese-inspired spring summer rolls with a peanut dipping sauce and a fresh strawberry and lemon curd tart. You'll also find more recipes — for scones, tea cakes and more — in our California Cookbook.

"There are so many negative things in the world right now, and a marriage and a wedding are really exciting," Dalkin said, "so it's great to gravitate to something so positive and happy. I think they are truly in love."

Here's to the happy couple!

POBLANO SCALLION QUESO

Poblano scallion queso from an inside page of the book, "What's Gaby Cooking" by Gaby Dalkin
Poblano scallion queso from an inside page of the book, "What's Gaby Cooking" by Gaby Dalkin (Matt Armendariz)

About 1 hour. Serves 8.

2 poblano peppers

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

3 green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

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1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup shredded Oaxaca cheese

2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese

2 tablespoons milk

Chopped fresh cilantro, about 2 tablespoons, for garnish

Tortilla chips, for serving

1. Heat the broiler.

2. On a baking sheet, place the peppers. Place the sheet directly under the broiler and broil, turning a few times with tongs, until blackened on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove from the broiler and place in a bowl, covering it with plastic wrap to steam. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, after 15 to 20 minutes of steaming, remove the skin, chop the flesh and set aside. Alternatively, you can char the poblano peppers over an open flame on the stove, turning with tongs until all sides are charred, before steaming.

3. Adjust the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bring a pot of water to a boil.

4. In a 2-inch-deep cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, green onions and roasted peppers and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and top the onion and pepper mixture with the cheeses. Add the milk and stir to combine.

5. Place the skillet in a roasting pan or baking dish that is deeper than the skillet, and set the roasting pan in the oven. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan or baking dish to come 1 inch up the side of the skillet, making sure the water doesn't come close enough to spill into the skillet. Bake until the cheese is melted and gooey, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Note: Adapted from a recipe in "What's Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food" by Gaby Dalkin.

RAINBOW SUMMER ROLLS

Rainbow summer rolls from an inside page of the book, "What's Gaby Cooking" by Gaby Dalkin.
Rainbow summer rolls from an inside page of the book, "What's Gaby Cooking" by Gaby Dalkin. (Matt Armendariz)

About 1 ½ hours. Serves 4 to 6.

DIPPING SAUCE

¼ cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons smooth, unsweetened peanut butter

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste

1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

In a bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and toasted sesame oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired with additional soy sauce. This makes a a scant ½ cup dipping sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.

SUMMER ROLLS

12 rice paper wrappers

1 cup dry vermicelli rice noodles, cooked according to package directions

2 Persian cucumbers, julienned

1 large carrot, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 mango, pitted, peeled and julienned

3 scallions, white and light green parts, julienned

½ cup fresh mint leaves

½ cup fresh basil leaves

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced

1 head butter lettuce, more if needed, separated into individual leaves

Prepared dipping sauce, for serving

1. Fill a shallow bowl with very warm water. Soak one rice paper wrapper in the water until pliable enough to be rolled, about 30 seconds. Transfer the wrapper onto a clean cutting board.

2. Arrange the fillings along the bottom third of the wrapper leaving about a 1-inch margin on either end of the filling. I use about 2 tablespoons of the rice noodles; equal amounts of the cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, mango and scallions; a few fresh mint, basil and cilantro leaves; 2 avocado slices; and a butter lettuce leaf for each roll. Be careful not to overfill the wrappers or they will be hard to roll.

3. Fold the wrapper over the filling and start rolling it up. About halfway through the roll, stop and fold in the sides, burrito style, then finish rolling until you have a tight roll. Transfer the finished roll to a clean plate, seam side down and drape with a damp kitchen towel while you assemble and roll the remaining summer rolls. Once all of the rolls are finished, serve immediately with the dipping sauce alongside.

Note: Adapted from a recipe in "What's Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food" by Gaby Dalkin.

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LEMON CURD AND STRAWBERRY TART

About 1 ½ hours. Serves 6 to 8.

CRUST

1 egg yolk

1 to 2 tablespoons ice-cold water, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

2 tablespoons almond meal or finely-ground almonds

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of the ice-cold water and the vanilla.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, almond meal, granulated sugar and salt, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is reduced to the size of peas, about 10 pulses. Add the egg yolk mixture and pulse until combined, 10 to 15 pulses. If the dough is still dry and doesn't stick together when pinched with your fingers, add the remaining 1 tablespoon water and pulse it in.

4. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and pat it into a rectangle. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

5. Roll out the dough between 2 well-floured sheets of parchment or wax paper to a rectangle that is about 1/8 inch thick and extends about two inches beyond the dimensions of your tart pan. (Test Kitchen note: We used a 13-inch by 4-inch by 1-inch tart pan and rolled the dough to a little more than 6 inches by 15 inches.) Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan, trim the edges and prick with a fork. Freeze the pan for 10 minutes.

6. Top the tart dough with aluminum foil and weight with pie weights. Bake the tart shell until it is set,15 to 18 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and pie weights and continue to bake until the crust is golden-brown, another 5 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

LEMON CURD FILLING

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, cubed

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup honey

½ cup granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 egg yolks

Pinch of kosher salt

Prepared tart shell

1. Fill a large bowl with ice and water to form an ice bath. Place the butter in a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, and place the medium bowl in the larger ice bath.

2. In a nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, granulated sugar, eggs, egg yolks and salt. Place the pan over medium heat and gently cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is very thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the hot curd over the butter, passing all of the curd and butter through the strainer. Stir to combine and cool the curd. This makes about 2 ½ cups of curd.

3. Pour the lemon curd into the prepared tart shell, smoothing the surface so it's even. You may not use all of the lemon curd, depending on the size and depth of your tart pan. Bake until barely set and the center jiggles slightly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. You could also refrigerate the tart for 1 ½ hours after removing it from the oven to cool it more quickly.

TOPPING

2 cups heavy cream

¾ cup powdered sugar

Cooled filled tart shell

Strawberries

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the tart, leaving parts of the lemon curd showing. Scatter with strawberries and serve.

Note: Adapted from a recipe in "What's Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food" by Gaby Dalkin.

The cover of the book, "What's Gaby Cooking" by Gaby Dalkin
The cover of the book, "What's Gaby Cooking" by Gaby Dalkin (Abrams Books)
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