Watermelon and Tomato Salad
with Arugula, Feta, and Herbs

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Arugula, Feta, and Herbs, from California Cooking and Southern Style by Frances Schultz, Recipe by Stephanie Valentine. Photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewelyn

If ever there were a time for a watermelon and tomato salad, it is NOW in the middle of August. I am writing this from the coast of North Carolina, where I grew up coming in summers, and hun there is no doubt that it is the middle of August. Just ask my hair, Anyway… Continue reading Watermelon and Tomato Salad
with Arugula, Feta, and Herbs


Hey Puddin’!

Butterscotch Banana Pudding from California Cooking and Southern Style, by Frances Schultz. Recipes Stephanie Valentine

Hey Puddin’! While this will be a 4th of July unlike any other, the pesky pandemic does not have to get all the glory. You can make your summer celebration memorable with the best Butterscotch Banana Pudding you’ve ever had. That’s BUTTERSCOTCH Banana Pudding, in case you missed, because it is all about the butterscotch.… Continue reading Hey Puddin’!


A Chat and a Laugh with Flower Magazine’s Margot Shaw

What do bar fights, the Piggly-Wiggly in Tarboro, and spiritual connection have in common? Find out in my interview with Flower Magazine Editor-in-Chief Margot Shaw. When Margot asked me to do an online chat just for fun, I said I am all about just-for-fun. I’m also all about Margot, who is the coolest, and I would do… Continue reading A Chat and a Laugh with Flower Magazine’s Margot Shaw


Deep, Dark, Chocolate Mystery

The Deep, Dark Chocolate Mystery cake in Frances Schultz's California Cooking and southern Style is one of the superstar recipes by Chef Stephanie Valentine, who calls it her "secret weapon cake." The secret is the spicy hint of anise and the best quality chocolate possible. Photo Deboray Whitlaw Lewellyn

Love is a deep dark mystery…and chocolate. Hence this cake. But unlike the truly madly deeply often messy love, this one freezes beautifully, so you can make it now to please you later…This is sexy chocolate, the chocolate you want, crave, desire, deserve…


Gorgeous Potatoes

Pan Fried Potatoes with Lemon and Rosemary, from California Cooking and Southern Style Photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

What new can you do with the plain old potato? How about pan fry with lemon and rosemary? The potato is the culinary Kate Moss. Unadorned it is plain. But embellished in just the right way–not too much–and baby you’ve got a yum-dinger. Try Chef Stephanie Valentine’s Pan Fried Potatoes with Lemon and Parsley. Or… Continue reading Gorgeous Potatoes


It’s Here and It’s Yummy !!!!!!

Wildly anticipated… at long last… just in time for the holidays… TA-DA!!! California Cooking and Southern Style was released yesterday and we are all a-buzz here at Rancho La Zaca. ESPECIALLY about the first official post-publication review in the Head Butler… Click on it. It’s short, I promise, and it includes three free recipes! Here’s… Continue reading It’s Here and It’s Yummy !!!!!!


Best Books for Fall, According to The Glam Pad… and I Agree ;)

A gorgeous fall table setting from Alex Hitz's Art of the Host

Dear Readers, This week I am merrily re-posting this gorgeous and if I do say so myself most discerning selection of great new lifestyle books for fall, including that of yours truly, which you may have heard about , cough-cough, and those of some of my dearest pals and design heroes. Put Ronda Carman, Lisa… Continue reading Best Books for Fall, According to The Glam Pad… and I Agree 😉


Drum Roll Please… Announcing New Book! Sneak Preview!

About time, I know! I’ve been bustin’ to tell you and I hope you’ll be bustin’ with delight, if, um, not at the seams… because it has some seriously good calories. Coming in November, it’s called California Cooking and Southern Style—100 Classic Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Gorgeous Table Settings. A mouthful 😉 but no reason to… Continue reading Drum Roll Please… Announcing New Book! Sneak Preview!


America’s Best Party Hosts… Gosh!

I’m just not one of those people who wins things. Except for that time I played Bingo with my sister at a spa like ten years ago. My prize was shower gel and moisturizer and I had them bronzed for posterity. Now I might bronze my party shoes. What a huge honor–and surprise!–to be named… Continue reading America’s Best Party Hosts… Gosh!


Guess Who’s in Salonniere’s Top 100: America’s Best Party Hosts

Lucille Ball kicking up her heels, via Salonniere.

I am! Don’t know what came over them, but I am so honored.  Oh my heavens. Fell slam off my chair, I did. Salonniere is a brilliant (obviously ;)) and stylish full of beautiful images, chic people, and smart advice about entertaining in particular and hospitality in general, which we can’t have too much of. Thank… Continue reading Guess Who’s in Salonniere’s Top 100: America’s Best Party Hosts


Chocolate Chip Cookies To Die, and Vegan, too! Updated April 2020

I was torn about telling you these unbelievable cookies were vegan, worried it would put off the bacon-cheeseburger set (of which I, too, am a member). But these are so dang good I feel a sudden urge to wear Birkenstocks–which I pray will pass. Recipe by Stephanie Valentine, below. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies Vegan or… Continue reading Chocolate Chip Cookies To Die, and Vegan, too! Updated April 2020