entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: amenity home

by Kristina Gill

These two recipes for avocado goat cheese spread and spicy penne pasta from Amenity Home are so easy to make- there’s no excuse to not try them the next time you’re hungry but don’t really feel like ‘cooking’ (but still want to have something nice to eat). Of course I may be a bit biased because half of Amenity Home is named Kristina, but you can try these recipes and judge for yourself! Click here for the full recipe or just click “read more” below. Buon Appetito! Kristina

About Amenity Home: After becoming friends at art school in San Francisco, Californian Nicole Chiala went on to work in publishing in London and Minnesota-native Kristina de Corpo to the advertising world of New York. Only when they both ended up in Los Angeles–a place where the wild and refined collide–did they see the way to combine their passions. Working from real cuttings taken from their gardens and walks in LA, they craft elegant, untamed designs to be silk screened onto luxuriously pure organic fabrics. The two founded Amenity Home in 2004 to ‘bring the solace of nature home’.

Amenity Home’s Avocado goat cheese spread and Spicy Penne Pasta
Wine Pairing: Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Santa Cruz Mountain Estate 2005

Avocado goat cheese spread (Kristina’s recipe)

• 2 ripe avocados
• 2 logs of goat cheese, about 8 ounces (the cheese to avocado ratio should be 1:1, or 4oz per avocado)
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• salt and pepper

Mash all the ingredients until the mixture is a uniform texture and a lovely shade of pale celadon green.

About this recipe: The beauty of this dish is that it can go two ways: It can be served with hearty tortilla chips to serve with Mexican fare and is a surprising alternative to the standard guacamole, or it can go Mediterranean. We love it because everyone is always stumped as to what’s in it. Whenever we serve it, people always ask for the recipe. It also travels well if you put the seeds from the avocado an inch deep into the spread in a bowl and tightly cover with plastic. Keep it refrigerated until you leave for the party.

Spicy penne pasta (Nicole’s recipe)

This is another quick recipe when you’re having a group over at the last minute. It’s so easy and people are always intrigued by it.

• 4 tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon rinsed capers
• 1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper (don’t be afraid, put it all in!)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon dried red pepper (put a little less if you want it less spicy)
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1/4 cup fresh mint
• 1/4 cup fresh basil
• 1/2 fresh parsley
• 1/4 olive oil
• 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
• extra cheese and parsley for garnish

Add all the ingredients except for the cheese to a blender and slowly add olive oil and blend until smooth. Toss with cooked penne and add pecorino cheese. To serve, sprinkle top with extra cheese and parsley.

About this recipe: People love the unusual contrast of flavors of the mint and spiciness with the fresh expected flavors of the tomato and basil. Grilled sausage goes great as a side dish or grilled chicken marinated in garlic, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper. Like the avocado goat cheese spread, it’s so easy to prepare. It is also a good use of our tomatoes and herbs that we grow every year in our summer gardens. And it’s always fun to serve dishes that get people ingredient guessing!

Photography by Kristina Gill

About the wine:

Ridge Santa Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay 2005 (Click for full review)

These dishes could be served with a full body white wine or a light-medium body red. Given the arrival of summer, I have opted for a full-bodied white.

The Ridge Chardonnay is fermented in-barrel, resulting in great richness with honey and butter flavors. These components will stand up to the tomatoes, cheese and herbs in the pasta. The wine also has very nice acidity and minerality which will compliment the avocado and goat cheese.

The 2005 might be a little difficult to find, but the winery just released the 2006 and it can be purchased at the winery’s website. You could also select a light to medium body red, like a Pinot Noir — with lots of bright fruit and acidity. Of course, these are just some ideas — always trust your own palate. It’s what matters most! -Tom

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  • I had bumped into this web site months ago and i was already impressed, now that i went back, i think im gonna get a copuple of things (on sale!!) for my bedroom.
    really REALLY cool! and as italian, the pasta is so good, my mom used to make it all the time for me … good memories. Ciao

  • Hi Kelly and Peacock,

    I did the food photography for this one, so I can tell you: The dishes for the pasta are by Cote Table, the olives/avocado dishes are mud australia and the tea towel was a gift, but I see the tag on it says “now designs”.

    I hope this helps!


  • so delicious! and so honored to see a Santa Cruz Mountain Winery wine choice! As a native of Santa Cruz I’m quite delighted to see references to the wonderful area.

  • Hi Nicole, your recipe looks delicious. Would you mind clarifying what you mean by 1 tablespoon of dried red pepper — do you red pepper flakes? Much appreciated so I can go buy these ingredients soon!

  • Hi Sue,

    I think she does mean dried red pepper flakes– that’s what I used both times I prepared it! A tablespoon definitely leaves the spice on your lips, especially if you’ve got some very hot peppers!


  • I made the recipes this weekend for Mother’s Day. Both are really really yummy. I always like to try a new recipe on my family. Everything was devoured happily with rave reviews of *my” good cooking. I credited ya’ll. Thanks so much.

    Pasta: I’m curious if anyone squeezed out the seeds and/or skinned the tomatoes before throwing them in the blender. I didn’t squeeze out the seeds, but I did skin the tomatoes.

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