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The Art in Artisan: Well Bread Rises on the Pedigree of Passion


A Cupful of Cherries: Locally Grown Organic Coffee


A Campus Garden: Marshall Chrostowski at the Pacifica Graduate Institute


Acorn Eating: A Santa Barbara Tradition

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Winemaker Dinner at Los Olivos Cafe
Written by Krista Harris   
Sunday, 02 March 2014 15:59


Under the Influence:
A Night of Winemakers and Their Inspirations

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café owners Sam and Shawnda Marmorstein are the winemakers of Bernat Vineyards, so it is no surprise that the restaurant is known for its wine-friendly cuisine and incredible selection of wine. And they are no stranger to hosting winemaker dinners. But recently they came up with a novel twist on the winemaker dinner.

What would happen if you brought together four winemakers to talk about their influences, their inspirations and pretty much anything else that was on their mind? It would probably work if you brought together four really amazing winemakers and if you served a spectacular five course meal. So, that’s exactly what they did. And it was such a wild success that I wouldn’t be surprised if they did this sort of thing again. Until they do, we thought we might tantalize you with the menu and the wine.

First up was Ernst Storm of Storm Wines. He chose to pour his 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Presqu’ile Vineyard, Santa Maria and for his influence he chose his brother’s wine in South Africa, Ashbourne 2008 Sandstone White (77% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay, 3% Semillon), Hemel-En-Aarde Valley. The wines were poured side by side: influence on the left, winemaker’s wine on the right. It was a fascinating way to taste the wines.


The menu was created by Chef Chris Joslyn, with each course designed to pair with both the winemakers own wine and the influence they chose. The first course was a goat cheese panna cotta, roasted beets, watercress and a citrus vinaigrette. It’s hard to describe just how delicious and perfectly balanced these flavors were. Panna cotta is an Italian dessert that is usually made with cream, a little sugar and gelatin and served with berries. Chef Joslyn created a delicious savory version with goat cheese and a perfectly dreamy, silky and creamy texture. At our table we could not stop talking about it.


The next course featured Nikki and Jeff Nelson with James Sparks of Liquid Farm. They poured their 2012 Chardonnay, ‘Golden Slope’ Sta. Rita Hills and their influence was a Francois Carillon 2011 Puligny-Montrachet, Bougogne, France. It was such a pleasure to taste old world next to new world. And we noticed that our local wine was every bit as complex as its old world counterpart. It was paired with seared barramundi, leek, potato and fennel chowder, and clams. There are few seafood dishes that aren’t enhanced by Chardonnay and this was one of those spot on pairings.

The next course was crisp duck rillettes, beluga lentils, black kale, cranberry mostarda. The duck was delicious and what made it even more interesting, was our next winemaker, Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe Vineyards. As Wes entertained us with his stories, we sipped his 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills alongside his influence— from one of the pioneers in our wine industry, Rick Longoria’s 2006 Fe Ciega Vineyard Pinot Noir. It was really spectacular to taste these two Pinot Noirs next to each other. Each one with different nuances yet connected by a sense of place in the Santa Rita Hills.



Our next course was a succulent smoked square cut New York steak, with mushroom and spinach strudel and truffle port sauce. It was well matched with Kevin Law of Luminesce who poured his 2010 Syrah, Thompson Vineyard, Santa Barbara County. It was alongside his influence, a complementary Syrah from Domaine du Coulet 2010 ‘Brise Cailloux’ Cornas, Rhone Valley, France. The evening finale was a dessert of warm, chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream.

We left satisfied and full, and with a deeper understanding of what these four winemakers were all about. To find out about events at Los Olivos Cafe and when the next dinner will be, go to LosOlivosCafe.com.

Holiday Recipe

Amidst the many treats and cookie recipes that we’re all cooking and eating this time of year, I thought it would be a fun to highlight a different kind of holiday recipe. I always hesitate to use the word ‘healthy’ because that sounds like it comes at the expense of deliciousness. You shouldn't have to choose between something you love and something that is good for you.

I recently talked with Jay Ferro, founder of Silvergreens Restaurant, and I learned that he shares my passion for real food, made from scratch. He gave me his recipe for a Kale and Cranberry Salad that was just what I was looking for. It’s something festive that could complement a holiday dinner or just sit in your refrigerator for a quick lunch when you’re busy. It can also be adapted for just about anyone’s dietary needs, and it doesn’t sacrifice great flavor.

Jay_silvergreensSilvergreens Kale and Cranberry Salad

by Jay Ferro

This salad has been a huge hit with our catering customers since we introduced it this fall. The response has been so great that we’re adding it to our in-store menu in the New Year. The secret to this recipe is finding fresh kale from right here in Santa Barbara and combining the water and vinegar used to plump the cranberries with oil to create the dressing.

Note: To make this recipe gluten-free, simply omit the breadcrumbs or use gluten free croutons. To make this recipe dairy-free and vegan, simply omit the cheese or replace with finely ground cashews.

Makes 6 servings

1 pound fresh kale (preferably large flat leaves)
1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1½ cups toasted breadcrumbs or chopped homemade croutons
1½ cups dried cranberries
1½ cups fine ground Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or any similar cheese
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pepitas for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Place cranberries in small pot with the vinegar and water and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside, saving the liquid. Once liquid mix cools slightly whisk in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse and cut out the ribs of the kale. Then stack and roll up the leaves and cut into ¼-inch wide ribbons.

In a large salad bowl, mix the kale, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toasted breadcrumbs, plump cranberries and pepitas.

Drizzle with the warm dressing until desired amount is incorporated and toss together well. Serve in a beautiful dish or bowl and top with any remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.


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2013 Eat Local Challenge Zotovich Dinner
Written by Krista Harris   
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 23:40


Recently we attended a winemaker dinner that seemed tailor-made for my Eat Local Challenge. If you are aren't familiar with the Eat Local Challenge, you can pop over here and read up on all the details.


It was the Wild Game Dinner at Zotovich Cellars in Lompoc hosted by winemaker/partner Ryan Zotovich. Actually it was more than hosted by Ryan—he hunted and caught the seafood and game, as well as prepared it. Who knew that Ryan was such a talented cook? It was also the first time they opened up the barrel room for an event like this, though I have the feeling that it won't be the last.


We started off the evening with a glass of wine and a greeting by Chelsea Rushing (pictured above to my right), who was organizing the event. The setting was magical. It is amazing what a beautiful table setting and little white lights can do for a utilitarian space like a barrel room.


The first course was Yellowtail Tartar. This was the only item that wasn't strictly local, but Ryan speared it off the coast of Baja. This still went with the "wild" theme and Ryan caught it himself, which still captures the spirit of the Eat Local Challenge. So, I happily made an exception to taste it. It had a nice spiciness to it and tasted absolutely fresh and succulent. It was paired with the Zotovich 2012 Viognier. It was so delicious that it was difficult to stop eating it, but I knew we had more courses on their way.


One of my favorite things... Lobster Bisque. Naturally this was spiny lobster that Ryan caught locally. It was rich, yet not heavy and it went beautifully with their 2010 Chardonnay. The bread that accompanied it was Lompoc's own New Vineland Bakery bread. Everyone raved about the bread but we all knew that we needed to restrain ourselves because there were still three more courses...


If the lobster bisque tantilized us with that the decadent lobster flavor, the Lobster and Uni Risotto was about to send us over the top. Ryan doesn't mind picking up a few urchin when diving for lobster, and the two of them went quite well together on our plate. The uni was the perfect creamy complement to the risotto, and there are few things I like better than a simple, but perfectly cooked lobster tail. Every bite was savored. It was paired with their 2011 Chardonnay which had a bit more brightness and acidity, making it ideal for this rich combo.


We then turned from sea to land, specifically the Zotovich vineyard where Ryan caught the quail for this dinner. These delicate little birds were roasted with rosemary and a little seasoning until they were just cooked through but still moist. I loved the simplicity of the dish plated with just a few roasted carrots and beets. Their earthy flavors were still subtle enough not to overpower the quail. The dish was served with their 2011 Pinot Noir, which again was a perfect match—enhancing not overpowering.


The next course was the venison. Ryan jokingly said this was a bit of revenge, for the damage that the deer do to the budding vines can be extensive. But it was interesting to ponder that we were eating meat that was fed with the same plants that produced the wines we were drinking. How often can you say that? This is truly wine country cuisine.

I have not had very many occasions to eat venison and was concerned that it might be tough or gamey. It was neither. Instead it was tender, moist and flavorful. The sauce that was drizzled on top also perked up the creamy mashed potatoes, and some crisp romaine added just the right amount of contrast to the plate. Their 2011 Syrah seemed made to pair with this dish. And I sipped a little more when a platter of cheeses, dried fruit, chocolate and honey was passed around.


As the meal came to a close, I realized that we had probably spent more than four hours. A respectable amount of time to eat leisurely, sip wine and get to know our fellow dinner guests. And what I also came away with was a better understanding of Ryan—as a winemaker, as a cook, and as someone who is more than in touch with local food. His approach and philosophy is what stayed with me, and I look forward to sharing another meal with him sometime in the future. Special thanks need to go out to not only Ryan but to the whole crew of Zotovich Cellars for their gracious hospitality. I have a feeling that this will be one of those dinners that I will talk about for a long time. And it really could not have been better timed with the Eat Local Challenge.

2013 Eat Local Challenge Update


I've been so busy eating locally that I haven't checked in lately, so I have a lot to share. If you are aren't familiar with the Eat Local Challenge, you can pop over here and read up on all the details.

As the Challenge has progressed, I've found myself discovering some new products while at the same time relying on old standbys. So, in a couple of different categories here are some highlights and lowlights of how the Challenge has been progressing so far.

Favorite New Products

I love the crackers and cookies that New Vineland has been bringing to the farmers market. I thought I'd have to do without crackers and cookies, or make exceptions to have them, but now I don't. Their products are made from the wheat that they grow locally right here in Santa Ynez Valley. But even more importantly, they are delicious.

I am very thankful that Drake Family Farms now has an aged goat cheese that can be grated over pasta dishes. I'm also partial to their Brie-like "Glacier" cheese.

Each morning I've been having toast with Sly's Old Fashioned Blood Orange Marmalade, but when I saw him the other day at the farmers market he said that was the last batch until he can find another source for blood oranges. In the meantime, there might be a jar or two still left at C'est Cheese.

And I have to confess my latest addiction is for Santa Barbara Popcorn Company's Honey Dijon popcorn. It is made locally with GMO free, organic California grown corn. All the flavors are tasty, but that Honey Dijon is insanely good. Stop by Isabella Gourmet Foods to pick some up and to see all the other local goodies they carry.

Eating At Home

With local pasta (from Solvang Pie Company made with wheat they grow in the Tri-County) it's been super easy to whip up a quick dinner even when I'm most pressed for time. I usually pick out some vegetables from my Fairview Gardens CSA box and some greens from my Tower Garden — give them a quick saute and there's dinner.

When I have time to plan ahead just a little more, I like making a big pot of soup. This will provide not only for dinner, but several lunches down the line. I also love making a meal of roasted vegetables with some sort of local meat, like pork, beef or chicken. I save the bones to make broth, which then becomes the base for the next pot of soup.

What do I miss cooking during the challenge? That's easy: risotto, soba noodles and baking. As soon as there's a crisp fall day, I feel like baking gingerbread, but with the flour, sugar and spices, that will have to wait until November.

Eating Out

I've been to a couple cocktail hour events where there was not one bit of local food and the only local beverage to be had was a bottle of Firestone 805, which I love, so the evenings were not a loss. But it is interesting that we're still seeing a lot of Napa wines and crab cakes from Maryland on the cocktail party circuit. It would be nice to see that change. So, a gentle reminder to anyone planning an event, please contact one of these caterers and then be sure to tell them that you want what is local and in season.

Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants where you can get local food. Sometimes I'll ask what the most local thing on the menu would be. Often it's the seafood that is the best choice. Meat and chicken can be harder for a restaurant to source locally. And sources change, so again it's best to ask. This is an area that I'm not always perfect about. Sometimes I'll just go to a restaurant where I know the chef shops at the farmers market, and I'll forget to ask about a specific ingredient. Maybe it was local, maybe not. Few restaurants are 100%, and frankly, neither am I. So, it's best not to sweat the small stuff.

As for the big picture, I have to say that the hightlight so far would have to be the Wild Game Dinner that we just had last Saturday night at Zotovich Cellars. It was a spectacular all local dinner, which will be the subject of my next blog entry... stay tuned.

2013 Eat Local Challenge Week 1
Written by Krista Harris   
Monday, 07 October 2013 23:46


The Eat Local Challenge has begun, and it is time for a progress report. If you are aren't familiar with the Eat Local Challenge, you can pop over here and read up on all the details.

Everyone has their own approach to doing an Eat Local Challenge, and I think that's part of the charm of it. The way I approach it may be too daunting for some or far too lenient for others. Each year that I have done the Challenge, I've learned new things and brought a certain mindfulness to the things I eat. And that is my intent. Progress not perfection.

This first week has had me looking at my pantry and adjusting to more substitutions in my cooking. I put all the non-local condiments on a separate shelf and kept the local items (olive oil, vinegars, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, honey, dried beans and wheat berries) on a lazy Susan front and center.


My tamari sauce, toasted sesame oil, coconut oil, quinoa, imported dried porcini mushrooms and rice will have to keep until November, and it's probably better if I tuck them away where I can't look at them. Just looking at them makes me crave risotto.

I've also taken a couple measures that will make it easier to eat as locally as possible. The first is that I joined a CSA, so I'll be picking up a box of produce each week from a local farm. This is what I picked up in my share at Fairview Gardens this week:


The share included strawberries, tomatoes, pineapple guava, apples, peppers, potatoes, pomegranates, red leaf lettuce, letttuce mix, and kale. I picked up eggs, onions and a cucumber from their farm stand. If you are interested in joining a CSA, see our list of Santa Barbara County CSAs here.

The second is that I got a Tower Garden from Montecito Urban Farms for my back deck where I'll be growing herbs, greens and even some late season tomatoes. (I'll have more on how I set it up in another post.) This plays right along with my theory of eating in concentric circles—first eat what you can from your own garden (or deck or rooftop), then source from local farms and local food artisans who source from local farms. And finally, for things that are harder to get (dairy, meat, cheese, grains and specialty products) look first to neighboring counties and then finally to the rest of California. I'm going to try to avoid anything from outside California, with a few exceptions (which I'll get to later).

As for drinking local, I have no problem sticking with only wine, beer and spirits from Santa Barbara County. I also find it easy to drink local water. I'll be looking for locally grown coffee from Goodland Organics at the next Tuesday farmers market, and in the meantime at home and out I'll be drinking locally roasted Green Star Coffee. For tea, I have discovered Goodland Chai, which is locally crafted. And I've heard about a place in Lompoc that is growing and selling dried green tea, so I'll see what I can find out about them. And there is local soda (Pop Culture) and plenty of local juice in Santa Barbara.

Now for the exceptions. It's not uncommon for people doing an Eat Local Challenge in other parts of the country to have exceptions like olive oil, spices, sugar, salt and pepper or even citrus fruit. Well, I have no need to import olive oil or oranges. And believe it or not I may be able to get some salt made from local ocean water from one of our writers (for more on that subject see Nancy Oster's article here). And thanks to Nancy, I also have some locally foraged pink peppercorns to put in my pepper grinder. I'll try to do without sugar and spices as much as I can. But I have a feeling that when eating out, I'm going to have to be a little flexible. And there's really nothing wrong with that. At the end of the Challenge, it will be interesting to look back and see where the tricky parts were.

As the first week comes to a close, I would say things have gone well. I found myself buying more at the farmers market... things like Baba's hummus, Rancho La Vina walnuts, Drake Family Farm goat cheese, New Vineland crackers, and Solvang Pie Company pasta.

I have had most meals at home, and I've made things like pasta with vegetables, pork chops with roasted potatoes and apples, and various salads and sandwiches. I even attended the Green Gala at The Lark, where they sourced local produce and the chicken was from California. It was great to see that even the cocktails were made with local spirits. So, here's looking forward to Week Two!

2013 Eat Local Challenge Begins
Written by Krista Harris   
Monday, 30 September 2013 20:46

The Day Before

If you have picked up a copy of the fall issue of Edible Santa Barbara, you have probably heard of the Eat Local Challenge. But if you are just now stumbling upon this blog or still haven't quite wrapped your head around exactly what this "Challenge" is all about, I think a little introdution is in order…

To paraphrase my recent letter from the editor, there is something about fall that seems to bring on this Challenge. Something in the air makes us want to celebrate the bounty of our local food offerings—to give a shout out to the farmers and food artisans who keep surprising us with new products.

This year we will be sponsoring our fifth Eat Local Challenge for the month of October, and we are pleased to announce the addition of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County to our partners, the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market and the Community Environmental Council. What started out as more of a personal challenge that I wanted to share with our readers, has begun to take hold as a community-supported event. 

I think that is what particularly appeals to me about doing this Eat Local Challenge. It’s a personal challenge—you make your own choices about just how far you want to take it. But you can also tap into the community and get support from the people who are doing the challenge right along with you. Can’t find local grains? Ask a question on the Facebook group. You’ll get answers. I just recently learned about a farm in Lompoc that is growing and selling green tea. That should make the challenge a little easier this year for me.

LocalChallenge_logo_leftIt’s the hunt for new local ingredients that is part of the fun. I don’t really think about what I’m giving up or what I can’t have during the month of October. Instead I see it as an opportunity to try new things. Maybe this is the year I’ll finally try making my own yogurt... or cheese, after watching Alan Irwin's demo at the SOL Food Festival. I hope you try some new things this fall, too. In whatever way you participate or follow the progress of the Eat Local Challenge, there is an opportunity to appreciate what we have in Santa Barbara County. 

You can read more about how the Challenge works and how to make the most of it in the article Your Guide to Eating Local. You can also participate by joining us on Facebook on the Event Page and by joining the Eat Local Challenge Group. You can also join the Google Group. What's more, if you are a writer, photographer or blogger, please email me if you'd like to participate by doing some guest posts on our blog.

And naturally, I hope you all check back frequently to read about my progress this year doing the Eat Local Challenge. There will be photos of food, discussion of where to find food and probably some slip ups along the way. Most of all it will be fun, and I hope to share that with you!

Krista Harris is the editor and co-publisher of Edible Santa Barbara. In addition to starting the annual Eat Local Challenge in October 2009, she is on the board of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens and is a member of the Partnership Council for the Community Environmental Council.

New Digs

Casa Dumetz and Global Gardens

Yet another reason to visit or live in Los Alamos… Casa Dumetz has moved up the street to open a bigger tasting room adjoining Global Gardens, recently relocated from Los Olivos. Winemaker Sonja Magdevski will feature her Casa Dumetz wines at the new tasting room and the original spot will feature local small-production wines and craft beers as Babi’s Tasting Room.

Meanwhile, next to Casa Dumetz, Global Gardens has opened a combination retail shop, olive oil and vinegar tasting room as well as a café, serving owner Theo Stephan’s unique, locally infused “Caliterranean” cuisine.

Casa Dumetz is open Thu noon–7pm, Fri–Sat 11am–7pm, Sun 11am–5pm or by appointment at 388 Bell St., Los Alamos. CasaDumetzWines.com

Global Gardens is open Thu-Sun 11-7 for brunch, lunch, early dinner, beer and wine. Located at 380 Bell St., Los Alamos. GlobalGardensOnline.com

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