Join us in Celebrating the Heroes of our
Local Food Community!
Vote for your “Best of” nominations in the following categories:
Chef • Farmer/Rancher/Fisherman
• Food Artisan • Beverage Artisan
The deadline is December 12, 2014.
Just click to vote. You can only vote once, but you can spread the word.
Winners will be announced at the Edible Communities Annual Meeting and also in our spring issue of Edible Santa Barbara.
Edible Santa Barbara Supper Club
July Supper Club at Scarlett Begonia
We celebrated the local bounty of food and drink at July's Edible Santa Barbara Supper Club in the beautiful courtyard of Scarlett Begonia. Many thanks to our host and proprietor Crista Fooks and chef Avery Hardin, as well as all of you who attended this wonderful evening. Here's a photo recap of the evening.
We started off the evening with a welcome platter of house-made charcuterie, made up of pickled stuff, mustards, toast and sprinkled with the delicate leaves of red-veined sorrel. Our welcome drink was called the Red Martinez, made with Bainbridge Douglas Fir Gin, orange bitters, luxardo cherry, red vermouth, and a lemon twist.
Then a little surprise: an amuse bouche of compressed watermelon, Persion cucumber, espelette, finger lime and sea salt. An exquisite bite. This was just the perfect definition of amuse bouche, which is French for "mouth amuser" and a great way for a chef to express a big idea in a small bite.
Next was our first course of Summer Squash with Roots Farm pickled strawberries, BD's (of Earthtrine Farms) mustard greens, a sprinkling of pine nuts and lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. This was paired with Rancho Sisquoc's 2012 Reisling.
Then it was time for our second course—our main course of a beautifully cooked scallop atop a plateful of savory summer flavors: smoked corn, house-made pancetta, shelling beans, BD's turnips, and more of the lovely red-veined sorret from Montecito Urban Farms. It was refreshingly paired with the Lizards Mouth Double IPA from Figueroa Mountain.
Our final course—dessert—hinted at the idea of a cheese plate but went in an entirely new direction. We were treated to Scarlett Begonia's house-made ricotta cheese, served with their house-made brioche, perfectly toasted and topped with a black pepper olallaberry preserve, a bit of almond brittle and sprinkled with a little fresh mint. It was not overly sweet so each flavor had the opportunity to shine. It was just the right finish to the meal. And paired with the dessert was another innovative choice: a cocktail called The Pharmacy. It's made with Fernet-Branca, ginger beer and rhubarb bitters. Fernet Branca is one of those wonderful Italian digestifs, made with numerous herbs and spices, so it's made to be consumed after dinner.
The theme for the evening appeared to be innovation paired with a passion for showcasing local and artisanal ingredients. Great food, carefully sourced and given the ocasional twist to keep things exciting.
The Edible Santa Barbara Supper Club brings together a small group of people for prix fixe meals at one of the restaurants in our dining guide.
Meals take place at least once a quarter, and we pick a different restaurant each time. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a meal and conversation with like-minded individuals. The publishers of Edible Santa Barbara host each dinner, so expect relaxed conversation about food, farms and life around Santa Barbara County.
Sign up for our email newsletter, at left, or follow us on Facebook to stay in the loop with all our Supper Club events.
Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend Part 2
Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend Highlights
Saturday Afternoon (for part 1, click here)
So many things to learn, so little time. We finished up our BBQ lunch and headed off to the next demonstration and chance to eat some fresh fruit pie.
You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.
Summer Pie Mastery
In her workshop, pastry Chef Elizabeth Colling did both. Using fresh ingredients she created a masterpiece, showing us how to make a simple patè brisée piecrust in the food processor (flour, butter, sugar, salt and water) for rustic galettes and lattice-woven pies filled with fresh-picked, juicy, sweet summer fruit.
Left: Elizabeth Collings. Right: a couple of the pies she brought.
Elizabeth has worked as Food Editor for Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings and was trained at Ritz Escoffier in Paris. She not only makes baking look easy but also explains it in a way that makes it easy to learn.
For the crust: pulse-process the ingredients into a dough, chill, and rollout. Put into pie pan and chill. For the filling, taste the fruit first. For about 2 pounds of fruit you’ll need about ¾ cup of sugar but let your taste guide you. Add about ¼ cup of cornstarch and a little salt, stir and pour into piecrust. Roll out more pastry and cut into strips to weave over the fruit or cut circles to decorate the top.
Elizabeth freezes her unbaked pie for an hour and heats the oven to 400 degrees. She brushes on an egg wash and sprinkles sanding (coarse) sugar on top for “sparkle and crunch.” After 30 minutes, she reduces the heat to 375 degrees and continues baking until juices near the center begin to bubble.
Here comes the hard part. “Let the baked pie cool for 6 hours or overnight.” Fortunately Elizabeth had a selection of thoroughly-cooled fruit pies for us to taste and some hand pies (two small circles of pastry encasing the filling) to take home. She serves her cooled pies with herb-infused whipped cream or ice cream (she suggests lemon verbena or basil).
Delicious! Now I’m going to buy some Bleinheim apricots at the farmers market so I can make the world’s best pie.
How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?
Artisan Bread Baking Demonstration
Bob Oswaks of Bob’s Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos was at the SB Food & Wine Weekend to show us how he brings out the best flavor and texture in a loaf of bread.
For Bob it all started with a backyard hearth oven and some leftover pizza dough. Now, after training at the San Francisco Baking Institute and a lot of experience Bob turns out some of the best bread in the region. Bob uses charts, scales and thermometers to ensure consistency but his skill, driven by a deep love of really flavorful bread, is what I see as the most important ingredient. The blush of pleasure on his face when you bite into an aromatic slice of his freshly baked bread tells you it’s going to be good before you even taste it.
Bob’s dough is very wet, 80% hydration, which some people theorize makes it more digestible for gluten-sensitive folks. He uses a wild yeast starter given to him by Clark Staub, owner of Full of Life Flatbread (also in Los Alamos).
To combine the flour (10% whole wheat), water and starter (20% of the flour weight), he uses the “pinch method,” squeezing it between his fingers. A rest period of 45 minutes (autolyse) allows the gluten formation to begin before he adds 2% salt with a little reserved water.
After that the dough is turned (stretched in each of the 4 directions and pulled to the center) every 45 minutes for about 3 hours. It becomes elastic and stretchy, which indicates that the gluten is working. Bob cuts loaf-sized pieces from the dough and forms them into tight balls that rest on the floured table for about a half hour. He then forms each ball into a loaf and puts it into a heavily-floured willow basket.
At this point the loaves go into a cooler (or refrigerator) for a slow rise. A slow fermentation period brings out the flavors in the flour and gives depth of color and a wild open crumb structure to the finished loaf.
Eighteen hours later, Bob’s loaves go into a 500 degree oven. But first they are gently turned onto the bottom half of heated cast iron combo cookers and each loaf is sprinkled with a mixture of 50% bread flour and 50% rice flour and slashed with a razor blade “lame” cutter to allow the interior of the bread to expand as the surface hardens.
The oven temperature is reduced to 460 degrees and the bread is baked 20 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered. Unfortunately there was no oven at the workshop, but Bob brought lots of loaves of freshly baked bread for us to taste. Good news: Bob’s Well Bread Bakery will be opening in Los Alamos later this summer.
The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.
Cooking with California Gold
Most people don’t know much about uni, the meat inside a sea urchin, except maybe that they tried it once at a sushi bar and were put off by the texture and taste. But Santa Barbara is known worldwide for the quality of our California Gold sea urchin.
Alum, used to preserve uni for commercial shipping, affects both its taste and texture, but living here in Santa Barbara we have the opportunity to eat it fresh without the preservative. And sea urchin diver Stephanie Mutz was at the Bacara with freshly caught unprocessed sea urchin for us to taste.
Stephanie told us that her typical diving day begins in the morning on her boat, looking for rocky bottom areas in the giant kelp forests off our shore. Sea urchin eat kelp and we have plenty of it. She avoids palm kelp because it makes them taste bitter. She listens for the crackling sound of the urchins eating. Then she dives in with her rock rake, measurement tool, and net bag. Diving down 20 to 50 feet, she collects a few urchin and opens them to check for meatiness and color. When her net bag is full, she comes to the surface to trade it out for the next bag. Her customers prefer the red urchins over the purple variety so she collects mostly red. The purple are smaller, with less meat per urchin.
Sea urchin diving has restrictions to keep the fishery sustainable. The measurement tool helps Stephanie ensure that the ones she takes have reached a mature size. She can only take as many urchins as she has orders for. Weather also restricts her harvest. She says when the urchins wash out of the net bag faster than she can put them in, it’s time to call it a day.
Stephanie supplies urchins to restaurants, caterers, and individuals (who order by text messaging her). Part of her job is educating cooks on how to open and use fresh urchin.
Stephanie uses a tool she inserts into the circular mouth opening to split the shell open. At home you can insert scissors and cut a larger circle to reveal the “five pieces of golden goodness” inside each urchin. The shell also contains seawater and partially digested seaweed, which she picks off before using. She often soaks the fillets in orange juice (or another acidic liquid like lemon juice) to help maintain their fresh firm texture. Then she eats them raw, puts them on pizza or in the case of our demo uses them in a pasta dish.
Chef de Cuisine of The Bistro at the Bacara, Chris Turano, joined Stephanie to show us how with a bit of kitchen imagination we can make something like his Sea Urchin with Trofie Pasta, English Peas and Toasted Bread Crumbs.
Chef Turano makes a sea urchin sauce with white wine, shallots, butter and thyme. The corkscrew trofie pasta capture the buttery sauce. He mixes additional lightly sautéed sea urchin fillets, garlic, shallots and English peas into the pasta. But since fava beans are in season right now, he has substituted them for the English peas. He shows us a simple way to get fava beans out of the pod—run a carrot peeler down the edge of the pod to open it. Brilliant solution!
To garnish the pasta, he tosses Panko crumbs olive oil or butter, adds grated lemon rind, salt and pepper and toasts them at 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes, until golden. Just before serving he sprinkles the crumbs on top of the pasta along with basil and chives.
The Ins and Outs of Food Writing
The afternoon sessions finished up with a panel discussion of the fast-changing food publication and media landscape.
Panel members were (pictured from left):
- Russ Parsons, Food Editor, Los Angeles Times and cookbook author
- Denise Vivaldo, cookbook author and food stylist
- Julie Bennett, Editorial Director, Ten Speed Press
- Anne Willan, cookbook author and founder of La Varenne cooking school
- Dianne Jacob, cookbook author and blogger
- Martha Hopkins, cookbook author and agent
- Todd Schulkin, Executive Director, Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts
Panel moderator Todd Schulkin opened with some publishing trend information. While print media in general has declined, cookbook sales are stable. However, a flood of new titles means fewer sales per title. A photo of cookbooks stacked up for review in Russ Parson’s office at the Los Angeles Times graphically illustrated marketplace competition.
While publishers look for an author with a platform (an established following), they also need experts in a niche market—specialized topics that fill a gap in the marketplace. Aspiring authors can build a platform through writing blogs, magazine and newspaper articles, teaching cooking classes and leading food tours.
Panelists noted that many well-known bloggers such as the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, were on the top-selling cookbook lists. It was pointed out that blogging is a way to build a following and to test out ideas, but a blog is not a book. Stapling together a collection of blog posts does not create a book.
And Anne Willan pointed out that if you don’t know how to cook, you can’t really write a cookbook—although many cookbooks have been published by people who don’t.
Suggestions for how to get started? If you have an idea, write a proposal that identifies what is already out there and what you want to do. Look at the topic critically to identify what works and what doesn’t. Narrow your topic down. Teach people something. Find your authentic voice and know your audience. Work with an editor—really good writers usually have really good editors.
Final note: Focus on building your knowledge base and building a platform but the most important step is to sit down and start writing.
Next: Saturday Evening Highlights
Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend Part 1
Written by Nancy Oster
Monday, 16 June 2014 19:25
Photos by Coast Photography
Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend Highlights
If you didn’t get a chance to attend the inaugural Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend on June 6th–8th at the Bacara, don’t worry there will be more. Keep an eye out for the next one. In the meantime, I’ll give you some of the highlights from the panels, tastings, and demos I attended so you’ll know what it’s all about.
The event honored Julia Child and her passion for learning, eating and celebrating local access to unique and delicious foods. A portion of the proceeds went to the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Edible Santa Barbara was an event partner.
Instead of just tasting local foods and wines, we spent Saturday learning where good foods come from, what makes them good, and how to cook them.
Panel of Local Food Experts
To set the tone, the morning opened with a panel and audience discussion of the Santa Barbara food scene: What’s changed and what’s coming next?
Top left: Arthur von Wiesenberger. Top right: Tracey Ryder. Bottom from left: Mary Harris, Matt Kettmann, Krista Harris, Arthur von Wiesenberger.
The discussion was moderated by Tracey Ryder, co-founder of the Edible Communities. She was joined by our own Edible Santa Barbara publisher Krista Harris, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley Executive Director Mary Harris, Independent Sr. Editor Matt Kettmann and broadcaster, author and food consultant Arthur von Wiesenberger.
One of the changes identified was the development of food neighborhoods like the Funk Zone, the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc, the restaurant row in Los Alamos and wine tasting rooms in Los Olivos—all featuring local products.
The subject of food trucks came up in response to an audience question about ways to build local food movements. The growth of social networking has helped spread mobile food popularity. The trucks have been especially successful at festivals, public events, and private parties.
Both food trucks and the new Cottage Food Law are allowing aspiring chefs and bakers to bring their culinary creativity into the marketplace with lower start-up costs. Locally sourced and produced items are showing up on restaurant menus, on the shelves at local markets and at artisan fairs.
It was noted that as prices of food increase, locally-sourced foods are becoming more appealing and the center-of-the-plate focus has begun to move away from large portions of expensive meat protein to a more vegetable-dominant plate with meat-flavored garnishes.
Are we developing a Santa Barbara Cuisine? We are probably best-known for our Santa Maria BBQ, tri-tip, wines and our local seafood. Theo Stephan of Global Gardens has coined a new term: Caliterranean, which underscores the fact that our Mediterranean climate has given us an olive-rich heritage so ubiquitous that we forget how large a role it has played in our history and our current menus.
Olive Oil and Vinegar for Life!
Hmm, a perfect introduction to the tasting and demo I attended next.
Julia Child said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” Theo Stephan, founder of Global Gardens and owner of the new Caliterranean Café in Los Alamos comes to mind when I read that.
Left: Tasting size bottles of olive oil and vinegar. Right: Theo Stephan.
Theo makes olive oils and vinegars from locally grown olives and fruit. In fact, Theo is so passionate about olive oil that she makes her own cold pressed extra virgin olive oil right from her own trees: guaranteed organic and extra virgin. Theo says if your olive oil smokes when you heat it and you don’t feel a tickle to the back of your throat when you taste it, it’s not extra virgin olive oil (over 60% of what is labeled extra virgin, isn’t).
Theo gave us each a set of 12 small bottles, a bread roll and a tasting palette to hold a small amount of each of our 7 oils and 5 vinegars. As we tasted our way from the buttery Arbequina to the Meyer lemon infused olive oil, Theo told us about her Aunt Lou.
As a child Theo noticed that her Aunt Lou’s food at family events always tasted the best so one day she asked her the secret. Aunt Lou sat down with her and handed her a bread bun. She poured Theo a bowl of extra virgin olive oil and told her to dip the bread and taste the depth of flavor. Today Theo uses olive oil in everything … chocolate brownies, baklava and even as a skin moisturizer.
Her vinegars are made with no added sugars, fructose or corn syrup. She demonstrated the use of vinegar rather than oil to sauté a skirt steak from Dey Dey’s ranch in Buellton. It was a strawberry balsamic. She also adds vinegar when she caramelizes onions. Her salad dressing is one part vinegar to three parts oil. For vinaigrette, she uses three parts oil to one part vinegar.
For flaky pie pastry, she freezes olive oil in an ice cube tray, one tablespoon per cube. Then she processes it into the flour mixture in place of butter. That’s an experiment I definitely want to try.
Santa Maria Style BBQ with Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post II
On the lawn next to the The Bistro restaurant, Frank Ostini, owner of the Hitching Post II in Buellton was BBQing aged sirloin over a California Wild Oak wood fire. He learned the art of BBQ from his father Frank Ostini, who purchased the original Hitching Post in Casmalia in 1952, owned today by Frank Jr.’s brother Bill.
Left: Frank Ostini, owner of The Hitching Post II. Right: perfectly barbequed beef.
While we ate the tender beef, grill-roasted onions, mushrooms, eggplant and mushrooms, asparagus, fresh salsa, pinquito beans and toasty garlic bread, along with Firestone beer on tap, Frank shared some of BBQing tips. To maintain a clean soot-free fire, he keeps his coals burning hot with lots of air. He calls it micromanaging. The Hitching Post fire never goes out. At night he buries the coals in ash, then adds wood in the morning to rekindle the fire.
Frank says, “Cook the meat slowly. Don’t overcook it and remember it will continue to cook if you don’t cut it after you take it off the fire.” He pays attention to the grain of the meat. A steak with grain running from top to bottom needs to be turned frequently to keep the juices from flowing out.
Frank has also been making wine since 1984, originally as a house wine for the restaurant. Today Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Winery produces about 15,000 cases a year, primarily Pinot Noirs. Yes, the movie Sideways had a huge impact on his pinot sales and on his restaurant business.
Next: Saturday Afternoon Highlights
Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend
Photo credit: Paul Child, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend
June 6th – 8th, 2014
Join Santa Barbara County’s top culinary talent for three unforgettable days of food and wine. Set within the luxurious surroundings of Bacara Resort, the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend celebrates Julia Child’s lifelong passion for learning, love of eating well and appreciation for Santa Barbara’s coastal bounty. And a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.
There are many activities to choose from—panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, tastings. Each is offered a la carte, so you can take your pick!
Meet the Experts: Overview of Santa Barbara’s Culinary Community
Saturday, June 7
10 to 11 a.m.
Learn more about Santa Barbara’s culinary community during an in-depth discussion with five local experts. This educational session will cover everything you need to know about what’s new, what’s changed and what’s coming next in Santa Barbara County.
- Tracey Ryder, Co-founder, Edible Communities
- Krista Harris, Publisher, Edible Santa Barbara
- Mary Harris, Executive Director, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley
- Matt Kettmann, Senior Editor, The Independent
- Arthur von Wiesenberger, Food & Beverage Consultant, Author & Broadcaster
This is a complimentary session but space is limited. Please reserve your complimentary tickets online.
Addditional Activities Scheduled for Saturday, June 7:
Olive Oil & Vinegar For Life! Cooking Demonstration & Tasting
11 a.m. to Noon
Learn everything you never knew about cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Santa Barbara’s most awarded EVOO producer, Theodora Stephan, Founder of Global Gardens.
Power of Pinot
11 a.m. to Noon
Join Lila Brown of Foley Food & Wine Society and Kathryn Graham of C’est Cheese as they lead you through five pinots paired with five California cheeses.
Santa Maria Style BBQ Lunch by Hitching Post II
Noon to 1:30pm
Join Frank Ostini of the famed Hitching Post II to taste and learn more about what many call the “best barbecue in the world.”
1 to 2 p.m.
There are three different types of meringue and Elizabeth Colling has mastered them all. Join her as she demonstrates French, Swiss and Italian meringues.
Artisan Bread Baking Demonstration
2 to 3 p.m.
Chef Secrets for Impressive Cocktail Party Favorites
If you are like Bob Oswaks of Bob’s Well Bread, you love good bread and are serious about learning how to make it at home. Join him as he reveals the
secrets to make old-world style leavened breads consistently good every time.
3 to 4 p.m.
Cooking with California Gold
Join Executive Chef Michael Blackwell as he reveals the tips, tricks and techniques needed to prepare three impressive cocktail party favorites, each paired with a Westerly wine tasting.
3 to 4 p.m.
The Ins and Outs of Food Writing
Learn more about diving for Santa Barbara sea urchin from Stephanie Mutz, Santa Barbara’s only female urchin diver, followed by a sea urchin cooking demo by Bacara Chef Chris Turano.
4 to 5 p.m.
Farm to Bar Mixology with Patrick Reynolds
Join our panel of seasoned food and cookbook writers, editors and marketers for expert guidance, tips of the trade and insights into the current state of the cookbook market in the fast-changing publishing and media landscapes.
5 to 6 p.m.
Grand Dinner with Master Sommelier Brian McClintic
$25 (price includes two cocktail tastings, recipe cards and Good Land Organics caviar lime to take home) Learn how to craft two of Patrick’s favorite drinks featuring locally-grown
Good Land Organics exotic fruits.
6 to 9 p.m.
Movie Screening of Le Chef
Bacara is opening its famed 12,000-bottle Wine Cellar for an elegant five course tasting menu. Each dish will be paired with a flight of two wines, one from Santa Barbara County and one from its Old World counterpart.
Join us in Bacara’s own 211-seat Screening Room for a special movie premiere of Le Chef (Comme un chef) directed by Daniel Cohen. Le Chef has all the cinematic elements you need—a wonderful cast, a fast-paced script and Paris as a backdrop—not to mention food, glorious food, from pastry to molecular gastronomy. You won’t be able to stop enjoying yourself all the way through the credits. Before the show, enjoy four complimentary tastes of Palmina Wines paired with four handcrafted chocolates by local chocolatier, Jessica Foster.
Sunday, June 8
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Taste your way through the region’s most talked about culinary neighborhoods within the beautiful surroundings of Bacara. This delightful afternoon includes live music, beautiful ocean views, restaurant tastings and farmers market shopping.
Please click here to view the complete event schedule.
Please note: several events are expected to sell out. Please purchase your tickets online in advance.
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.
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.
Silvergreens 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.
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.
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.