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ISSUE 46 • WINTER 2020 –21

Santa Barbara & Wine Country

®

Gather. Nurture. Feed. Repeat. From Garden to Breadboard Baking Bread with Wild Yeast A Taste of Macedonia in Los Alamos Building a Better Meat System L O Y A L

T O

L O C A L


Back, Together

“We would not have survived the crisis without American Riviera Bank. They got me federal assistance and made it easy. Now all my restaurants are open, and all my staff are back. That feels really good.” — Carlos Luna, Owner of Flor de Maíz, Santo Mezcal, and Los Agaves

What does True Community Banking mean? It means working together to find solutions under even the most trying of circumstances. It means we care about your employees as if they were our own. COMMERCIAL LOANS | COMMERCIAL LINES OF CREDIT | COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LENDING

Preferred SBA Lender

AmericanRivieraBank.com • 805.965.5942 Santa Barbara • Montecito • Goleta • San Luis Obispo • Paso Robles


Tasting daily at the Margerum & Barden Tasting Room at Hotel Californian, 19 East Mason, Santa Barbara Margerum Wines are available at margerumwines.com, fine restaurants and food & wine retailers.


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LIZ DODDER

RENAN OZ TURK

Holiday/ Winter

page 56

Departments 6 Food for Thought

18 Edible Voices

by Krista Harris

Cali Calling…London Dreaming by Sandra Adu Zelli

8 Small Sips Preserving the Local Bounty

54 Support Local Guide

11 In Season

56 The Last Bite

Winter’s Don’t Miss Dish Chicken Tikka with Panch Phoron and Tarragon at Bibi Ji 14 Edible Films Gather: The Fight to Revitalize by Liz Dodder Our Native Foodways

12 Farmers Markets

by Krista Harris

16 Drinkable Landscape Mixing Up Zero-Proof, Full-Proof Cocktails

page 10

C AROLE TOPALIAN

by George Yatchisin

2 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


Everyday tonics for heart, joint and bone health Pure organic ingredients & Wild-harvested marine collagen Made in Ojai, California Get Wild: @purewild | purewildco.com


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Features

Recipes in This Issue

20 From Garden to Breadboard Sourdough from Scratch

Soups & Salads

by Rosminah Brown

24 Baking Bread with Wild Yeast by Nancy Oster

30 Armchair Traveling A Taste of Macedonia in Los Alamos by Carmen Smyth

38 Edible Nation Consumers Hold the Key to Building a Better Meat System by Marilyn Noble

44 Gather. Nurture. Feed. Repeat. by Pascale Beale

ABOUT THE COVER A Pear and Pomegranate Pavlova by Pascale Beale, photographed by Mike Verbois of Media 27.

4 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

51 Cauliflower Soup with Stilton and Caramelized Pear Relish 46 Roasted Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Date and Pecan Salad

Bread & Starters 25 Grape Starter 26 Wheat Berry Starter 26 Wild Yeast (Sourdough) Bread Recipe

Main Dishes & Side Dishes 49 Potato and Celeriac Gratin 15 Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa 49 Roasted Cornish Hens with Mushrooms and a Riesling Sauce

Desserts & Beverages 19 Apple and Blackberry Crumble with Lashing of Custard 17 Close-to-Home Syrup 17 Orange-Mom Syrup 51 Pear and Pomegranate Pavlova 17 Tea-Me Syrup

ROSMINAH BROWN

Holiday/ Winter


T h e O l d e s t C o m m e r c i a l W i n e ry i n S a n ta B a r b a r a C o u n t y F A M I L Y O W N E D & O P E R AT E D S I N C E 19 6 2

Lafond Winery & Vine yards

Santa Barbara Winery

T H A N K Y O U T O O U R S A N TA B A R B A R A C O U N T Y C O M M U N I T Y & F R I E N D LY V I S I T O R S F O R Y O U R S U P P O R T we’d like to extend our sincere gratitude for the support & friendship of the santa barbara community & our loyal wine club members over the years. w e a re h o n o re d t o b e p a r t o f t h i s s p e c i a l c o m m u n i t y.

P I E R R E L A F O N D . D AV I D L A F O N D . M I C H E L L E L A F O N D

S A N TA B A R B A R A W I N E RY S A N TA B A R B A R A F U N K Z O N E TA S T I N G R O O M & W I N E R Y 2 0 2 A N A C A PA S T R E E T, S A N TA B A R B A R A | 8 0 5 . 9 6 3 . 3 6 3 3 W W W . S B W I N E R Y. C O M

L A F O N D W I N E RY & V I N E YA R D S W I N E R Y & V I N E YA R D S I N S TA . R I TA H I L L S 6 8 5 5 S A N TA R O S A R O A D , B U E L LT O N | 8 0 5 . 6 8 8 . 7 9 2 1

S A N TA B A R B A R A F U N K Z O N E TA S T I N G R O O M 1 1 1 YA N O N A L I S T R E E T, S A N TA B A R B A R A | 8 0 5 . 8 4 5 . 2 0 2 0

W W W . L A F O N D W I N E R Y. C O M


FOOD FOR THOUGHT A Slice of Life

STE VEN BROWN

It has been many months since our last printed issue of Edible Santa Barbara, and we are thrilled to be back. If you missed our Summer/Fall digital issue, you can find it on our website at EdibleSantaBarbara.com. It’s well worth a read, and there are many recipes in it that are perfect for these times.

The pandemic has disrupted our lives, but it has also made us realize the importance of our homes, our families Krista Harris wearing a locally made mask from the Etsy shop IttleTings. and our community. Our new lives may find us cooking and baking like we’ve never done before, stocking and organizing our pantry and yet still craving something more. I remember in the early days of the pandemic having a dinner party on Zoom with friends who lived only a few houses or blocks away. There were nine of us in four households; as we ate dinner and sipped wine in front of our tablets and laptops, we felt connected and also wistful about what we were missing. I’ve grown as accustomed to Zoom meetings and socializing as I have to wearing a mask in public. It has become normal. Well, sort of. It’s routines that help us adjust to change and feel somewhat normal. For me, it’s the simple act of cooking dinner that has helped me get through the challenging times. I take great care in the planning and execution of each meal. I find myself reading through recipes and assembling my ingredients and equipment as a prelude to cooking. Then I give my undivided attention to prepping the ingredients and cooking, although music and occasionally singing along is acceptable multitasking. And the payoff: Along with a tasty meal, I have escaped for an hour or so into a world of the senses. I once took an art class where, after a three-hour lecture and critique, the instructor, Tom Wudl, took us into the tiny kitchen in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB, and we cooked lunch. He told us that we could learn much about art by cooking. He encouraged us to use our senses, to try new things and to appreciate the transitory nature of the creations we made. He also told us that when something didn’t turn out, whether in the kitchen or on canvas, to throw it away (or paint over it) and start over. A good lesson that I have not forgotten. As we set aside 2020 and look toward 2021, I think it will be a time of starting over. And I begin by bringing you this printed issue and wishing you all the best in the New Year.

edible

SANTA BAR BAR A Member of Edible Communities

Edible Communities James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year (2011)

PUBLISHERS

Steven Brown & Krista Harris EDITOR

Krista Harris RECIPE EDITOR

Nancy Oster COPY EDITING & PROOFING

Doug Adrianson GRAPHIC DESIGN

Steven Brown & Krista Harris ADVERTISING

ads@ediblesantabarbara.com SOCIAL MEDIA

Jill Johnson CONTRIBUTORS

Sandra Adu Zelli Pascale Beale Rosminah Brown Liz Dodder Krista Harris Marilyn Noble Nancy Oster Carmen Smyth Carole Topalian George Yatchisin Edible Santa Barbara® is published quarterly and distributed throughout Santa Barbara County. Subscription rate is $28 annually. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission from the publisher. Publisher expressly disclaims all liability for any occurrence that may arise as a consequence

Krista Harris, Editor and Co-Publisher

of the use of any information or recipes. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your

Email us at info@ediblesantabarbara.com to let us know how you are doing and what you’d like to see us cover in the next issue. Tag us on Instagram with what you are cooking @EdibleSB. 6 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Thank you.

®


EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 7


small

SIPS

Preserving the Local Bounty SIERR A BUE T TNER

by Krista Harris

Sideyard Shrubs

Figure Ate Persimmon Vinegar

Sarah Bourke (pictured below) started making smallbatch shrubs at home until her passion launched a business. Not be confused with the shrubs from the 17th century, when the term referred to a fruit liqueur based on brandy or rum, these days a shrub refers to a nonalcoholic syrup made of a combination of concentrated fruits, vinegar, aromatics and often sugar. Sarah sources her fruit from local farms, such as Fairview Gardens, and doesn’t add sugar, making her shrubs more intensely flavored, lighter and healthier.

Known for their work in regenerative agriculture, White Buffalo Land Trust is now expanding into food products with their brand Figure Ate, which has released a new batch of Persimmon Vinegar. Persimmons are in season for such a fleeting moment each year that it makes sense to preserve the harvest with this wild-fermented, locally produced vinegar. It is made with organically grown persimmons and has a multitude of uses as well as health benefits. Naturally, it can be used in salad dressings, which is especially appropriate if your salad includes some fresh Fuyu persimmons.

While her shrubs make a delicious drink with sparkling water or a cocktail, they can also be used in salad dressings and sauces whenever you want a sweet yet tangy punch of flavor. Seasonal flavors vary. Right now we love using the Pomegranate Shrub to take the place of red wine vinegar in salad dressings and to deglaze a pan. The Spicy Tomato Shrub is perfect for adding a kick to cocktails. Find Sideyard Shrubs locally at Heritage Goods & Supply, Satellite, Helena Avenue Bakery, Handlebar Coffee, Cuyama Buckhorn, Fairview Gardens, Bettina Pizza and Farm Cart Organics. Visit DrinkSideyard.com for more information.

Also, try it as a beverage with sparkling water or use it as an ingredient in cocktails. A splash of it is also a nice finishing touch for sauces and savory dishes. It’s a good thing to keep in your pantry and to give as a gift this holiday season.

8 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

MIKAELA HAMILTON

Proceeds benefit the White Buffalo Land Trust, a nonprofit working to create healthy food and farming systems. To order, visit FigureAteFoods.com.


ADD SOME

ALTITUDE. Elevate your next wine pairing with LE GRUYÈRE® AOP, made for over 900 years from the purest cow’s milk in the Swiss Alps. Gruyère AOP’s nutty complexity sings with Chardonnay, boosts a Beaujolais, and perfects a Pinot Noir. For more information and some great recipes and pairing ideas, visit us at gruyere.com.

Switzerland. Naturally.

Cheeses from Switzerland. www.cheesesfromswitzerland.com


CAROLE TOPALIAN

10 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


in Season this Winter Winter Produce

Year-Round Produce

Winter Seafood

Artichokes Avocados Basil Blood oranges Broccoli rabe (rapini) Brussels sprouts Cabbage Celery Celery root Chanterelle mushrooms Cherimoya Cilantro Citron Collards Dill Escarole Fava beans Fennel Grapefruit Green garlic Kiwi Kohlrabi Kumquats Limes Mustard greens Onions, green bunching Papayas Parsnips Pea greens Peas, snap Persimmon Pineapple guava Pomelos Radicchio Romanesco Rutabagas Sapote Strawberries Sunchokes Sweet potatoes Tangerines/Mandarins Tomatoes, hothouse Turnips

Almonds, almond butter

Halibut Mussels Ridgeback shrimp Rock fish Sardines Spiny lobster Spot prawns White seabass

(harvested Aug/Sept)

Apples Arugula Beans, dried Beets Bok choy Broccoli Carrots Cauliflower Chard Dandelion Dates

(harvested Sept/Oct)

Edible flowers Garlic

(harvested May/June)

Herbs

(Bay leaf, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme)

Kale Leeks Lemons Lettuce Mushrooms Onions, bulb

(harvested May/June)

Oranges Pistachios, pistachio oil (harvested Sept/Oct)

Potatoes Radishes Raisins

(harvested Sept/Oct)

Shallots Spinach Sprouts Squash, winter

Year-Round Seafood Abalone (farmed) Black cod Clams Oysters Rock crab Sanddabs Urchin

Other Year-Round Coffee (limited availability) Dairy

(Regional raw milk, artisanal goat- and cow-milk cheeses, butters, curds, yogurts and spreads)

Eggs Fresh flowers Honey Olives, olive oil Meat

(Beef, chicken, duck, goat, rabbit, pork)

Potted plants/herbs Preserves Wheat

(Wheat berries, wheat flour, bread, pasta and baked goods produced from wheat grown locally)

(harvested July/Oct)

Walnuts, walnut oil (harvested Sept/Oct)

Yams

(harvested Aug/Sept)

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 11


S A N T A

B A R B A R A

C O U N T Y

For some locals, a Saturday morning stroll through one of the area’s biggest farmers markets is a habitual start to every weekend. Arrive at the downtown Santa Barbara Farmers Market empty-handed at 8:30am and leave with armfuls of vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs, meat, cheese, bread, flowers and plants from as many as 90 vendors. Head to the Tuesday Farmers Market on State Street and make an evening of it— meandering down the street for shopping, wine tasting, live music and dining. Our farmers markets are generally year round and rain or shine, but hours can vary from season to season, so check market websites or call for more information.

Lompoc

Carpinteria

Carpinteria Farmers Market

800 block of Linden Ave. Thu 3–6pm SBFarmersMarket.org

Camino Real Marketplace At Storke & Hollister Sun 10am–2pm SBFarmersMarket.org

Santa Barbara

Orcutt

Central City Farmers Market Oak Knoll South Corner of Bradley Rd. and Clark Ave. Tue 10am–1pm Farmers Market Orcutt on Facebook

Montecito Farmers Market

Saturday Fishermen’s Market Santa Barbara Harbor Sat 6 –11am CFSB.info/Sat

Downtown Fridays Corner of Main St. & Broadway Fri 5– 8pm (Seasonal) SantaMariaValley.com

Corner of Santa Barbara & Cota St. Sat 8:30am–1pm SBFarmersMarket.org

Old Town Farmers Market

Santa Maria Farmers Market Broadway & Main St. (located in Town Center West) Wed noon–4pm SantaMariaValley.com

Downtown Santa Barbara Farmers Market

500 & 600 Blocks of State St. Tue 3–6:30pm (Daylight Savings Time) Tue 4–7:30pm (Standard Time) SBFarmersMarket.org

12 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

Santa Maria

1100 & 1200 blocks of Coast Village Rd. Fri 8–11:15am SBFarmersMarket.org

Ocean and I St. Fri 2–5pm Facebook.com/ LompocCertified FarmersMarket

Goleta

Lompoc Certified Farmers Market

Montecito

Solvang

Solvang Village Copenhagen Dr. & First St. Wed 2:30– 6pm (until 6:30pm in summer) SBFarmersMarket.org

Vandenberg Village

Route One Farmers Market 3745 Constellation Rd. Sun 10am–2pm


ChocolateMaya.com 15 West Gutierrez Street • Santa Barbara, California 93101 Phone: (805) 965-5956 Fax: (805) 563-1263

Monday–Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 10am– 4pm

How it works:

1 2 The Food Action Network, our regional farmers markets, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, and Edible Santa Barbara invite you to Stay Home (and Eat Local) for the Holidays. Together, we have developed a safe, affordable, and healthy option for celebrating the holidays – and supporting our local farmers – during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit SBCFAN.org/holiday for full details.

Shop at a participating farmers market during the 2020 holiday season (see list on our website). Check in at the farmers market info booth and grab a shopping guide (or download from our website) – includes suggested budgets for small gatherings, sample menu, shopping list with easy-to-follow market map, and recipes by Edible Santa Barbara.

3

Explore the market and discover delicious and affordable in-season produce to showcase on your holiday table.

4

Ask farmers market staff if you need assistance finding an ingredient or want advice on recipes or substitutions.

5

Enjoy a locally sourced holiday meal with your household.

No matter what you decide to make, you’ll be supporting our local food system while feeding your household a fresh, nutritious meal. From our table to yours – stay home, be safe, and eat well.

INVEST IN OUR

FOOD ECONOMY

INVEST IN OUR

HEALTH & WELLNESS

INVEST IN OUR

COMMUNITY

INVEST IN OUR

FOOD SHED

Supporting healthy people, a healthy economy, and a healthy environment.

www.sbcfan.org

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 13


edible

FILMS

Gather

The Fight to Revitalize Our Native Foodways by Krista Harris

G

ather is an intimate portrait of a growing movement among Indigenous Americans to reclaim their spiritual and cultural identities through obtaining sovereignty over their ancestral food systems, while battling against the historical trauma brought on by centuries of genocide. The film is intimate and character-driven, shot without talking heads and instead woven together through a series of scenes. The characters’ journeys include an Indigenous chef who embarks on an ambitious project to reclaim ancient foodways on the Apache reservation; a gifted Lakota high school student, raised on a buffalo ranch, who is proving her tribe’s native wisdom through her passion for science; and a group of young men of the Yurok tribe in Northern California who are struggling to keep their culture alive and rehabilitate the habitat of their sacred salmon. 14 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

All these stories combine to show how the reclaiming and recovery of ancient foodways is a way for Native Americans to bring back health and vitality to their people. The film is the result of a two-year collaboration between the nonprofit organization First Nations Development Institute and Indian-American documentary film director Sanjay Rawal. For nearly 39 years, using a three-pronged strategy of education, advocacy and investment, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally compatible stewardship of the assets they own—be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources—and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.


Recipe Indigenous Cultivars: Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Recipe by Chef Nephi Craig Makes 6 servings 2 butternut squash Olive oil NEPHI CR AIG

Smoked paprika

Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa.

Kosher salt Pepper Honey 4 ounces cooked white quinoa 2 ounces cooked red quinoa 1

⁄ 4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

1

⁄ 4 cup bias-cut scallions

1

⁄ 4 cup small-diced Roma tomatoes

2 lemons Fresh herbs, for garnish Pumpkin seeds, for garnish

RENAN OZ TURK

Preheat oven to 400°.

Twila Cassadore is a master forager, an elder and medicine woman of the San Carlos Apache tribe.

Cut butternut squash horizontally at the point where the cavity of the squash begins, separating the neck of the squash from the tip of the cavity. Peel and set necks aside. Split and deseed squash cavities. Cut into roughly 6 pieces to produce a sort of “bowl” shape. In a large mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Place skin side down on a sheet pan and roast in a 400° oven for 15–20 minutes to get good roasted color. When roasted and soft, remove from oven and lightly drizzle with honey and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mix both colors of quinoa, add parsley, scallions and diced tomatoes. Season with olive oil, lemon juice to taste— should be clean, cool and bright.

RENAN OZ TURK

To serve, heat butternut squash briefly, spoon 3–4 ounces cool quinoa salad over warm butternut squash. Garnish with fresh herbs, smoked paprika and pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.

Sammy Gensaw of the Yurok Tribe in Northern California.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 15


drinkable

LANDSCAPE

Mixing Up Zero-Proof, Full-Proof Cocktails by George Yatchisin PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVEN BROWN

L

ast year one in five Americans participated in Dry January—that is, abstained from alcohol for the month. People really want to start off a new year clean/be healthy/save money/see what sober is/atone for the previous too much of a year prior. Less glibly, if this year’s Tales of the Cocktail can be trusted, one of the hot trade phrases is non alc. The term popped up in several seminar titles, not the least being “From Fad to Future: Integrating Non-Alc into Modern Consumer Culture.” Forget Dry January; hello, Dry Any Night of the Week. Lorelei Bandrovschi, founder of the Brooklyn-based Listen Bar, one of the country’s most popular non-alc concepts, put it this way during that seminar: “We’re moving from a narrative of restriction—I’m not drinking because I’m pregnant or driving or because of my religion—to a narrative of preference.” Bandrovschi instead suggested the bar business should choose the term alcohol-free. “That makes it like gluten-free, cruelty-free—it’s then a choice, a mind-set, a release,” she suggested, adding “alcohol-free is then AF, which is a funny play on words, too. Think about plant-based versus vegan: restaurants saw a huge skyrocket in sales when they started using plant-based. It’s positive and more casual and permissive.” 16 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

So, instead of one set cocktail, this column is here to provide you with an invitation to play. Let’s create our own AF drinks that are still special, zippy, fun and sipped from gorgeous glassware. Let’s move from any sense of shame to create non-buzzed delight. To do that, included are three takes on a simple syrup that will pass for gin. (Don’t use the term mocktail—that’s oh so 20th century, like a restaurant having a portobello burger as its only vegetarian option.) All three center on the juniper berry, that coniferous powerhouse that keys the typical gin’s essence. And if you think the term berry is a misnomer for these ball bearings full of forest-y goodness, you’re right. They are actually cones, just tiny and tight enough to be both dense and sticky and tough to mash. So if you do it with a muddler, be prepared to muddle for longer than you at first would guess. Or flatten them with a heavy canned good or your cast-iron pan; just watch, though, as they love to roll away from you and skitter across your kitchen. By the way, while it might seem adventurous to go forage your own juniper berries, note there are many varieties of juniper. A tiny percentage have poisonous berries, but most are simply too bitter to bother with. Even if you found the right ones, you would need to let them dry to use them, and that


takes several weeks. I simply prefer to forage the spice section at my favorite store. If you only do one of these recipes, pick the flavors you most like. The Tea-Me version provides the most traditional gin taste, while the Orange-Mom ends up quite orange-forward and sweeter. The Close-to-Home is very rosemary, but that just doubles down on the juniper—you’ll feel like you’re drinking a pine forest. To make an AF “gin” and tonic with these, shoot for 1 ounce of syrup to 8 ounces of tonic (splurge on a good one), add ice, and a citrus wheel for looks and more olfactory punch. And then get to playing. If you put 1 ounce of the simple syrup and 1 ounce of Global Gardens’ delicious Blood Orange Balsamic vinegar in 8 ounces of sparkling water and add a lime wedge garnish, then you’ve made a Greyhound AF that will leave you running back for more. George Yatchisin happily eats, drinks and writes in Santa Barbara. He blogs at GeorgeEats.com.

Recipes Orange-Mom Syrup Adapted from Julie Reiner of the Clover Club 3 tablespoons muddled/crushed juniper berries Peel of 1 small orange, as little pith as possible 3 cardamom pods

Tea-Me Syrup Adapted from Kaitlyn Goalen of the Liquor.com 2 tablespoons muddled/crushed juniper berries Peel of 1 Meyer lemon, as little pith as possible 1 pinch loose black tea (English Breakfast works)

Close-to-Home Syrup My variation 3 tablespoons muddled/crushed juniper berries Peel of 1 Meyer lemon, as little pith as possible 2 springs fresh rosemary 2 bay leaves

For each variation, add all the ingredients to 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean jar. Let cool. Use immediately or it can be kept in the refrigerator for at least three weeks.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 17


edible

T

VOICES

here are more verses of this poem—“The Dinner Hour” by Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton. However, this snippet has always stuck in my mind. I received this poem as an 18-year-old graduate of the culinary program at Colchester Institute in the East of England. It feels like a lifetime away, and yet like it was just yesterday. I have gained experience after a long and varied career cooking in the fastpaced world of London restaurants. But I am still as humbly inspired by learning as I was back then, some 20+ years ago. Of blood, sweat and tears there were plenty, such as working for the likes of Marco Pierre White, and being the head pastry chef at Ottolenghi Islington, long before Yotam Ottolenghi became a best-selling author and household name. I enjoyed plenty of laughs, banter and friendships with fellow chefs that have lasted the test of time and distance.

Cali Calling… London Dreaming by Sandra Adu Zelli

Growing up between London and the countryside of the East of England, I feel it was inevitable that I would become a chef. Food— the growing of it, the shopping for it, the preparation and, most importantly, the eating of it—was an integral part of family life. And my siblings and I always pitched in to help. I have many happy memories of picking (or foraging, as it called now) for wild blackberries and elderberries in the neighboring fields. In the orchards of our family home, apples and pears were readily available for picking, and I was always ready to help my mum make a crumble with our bounty. Apple and blackberry with lashings of custard was my absolute favorite.

SIENA ZELLI

My siblings and I would go for adventures in the woods around the small village where we grew up and be gone for hours. These were the days before cell phones. Our parents had no idea where we were, what we were up too, yet trusted we would always be back safe and hungry in time for dinner.

Sandra Adu Zelli selects apples at the farmers market.

“We may live without poetry, music and art; We may live without conscience, and live without heart; We may live without friends; we may live without books; But civilized man cannot live without cooks.”

18 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

I feel lucky to have been surrounded by and exposed to the art of food from a young age. I think of Saturdays in East London, going to Walthamstow Market, which is the longest outdoor market in Europe (about 1 kilometer long) and has been in existence since 1885. It not only sells fruit and vegetables from all over the world but clothes, kitchen equipment—you name it, you can probably find it. As my mum and siblings would make our way down the long street market, it would be jam-packed with shoppers and stallholders of all ethnicities; a true melting pot of cultures. It was pure visual stimuli and sensory overload—the stunning colors of saris worn by beautiful women set against the drab background of the urban setting and often gray English weather. African headwraps of colorful prints were worn by glamorous “aunties” who would greet my mum in their mother tongue of Ghanaian Twi. We waited, fidgeting and trying to be patient as they finished their conversations. I loved the orderly chaos of it all, the stallholders shouting their wares in their East London slang and the myriad of other languages spoken. Even as a kid, I knew it was a special way to shop. I loved the sense of community it fostered. All you had to do was show up and shop.


Recipe Apple and Blackberry Crumble with Lashing of Custard Makes 6 or more servings 4 ounces unsalted butter 6 ounces all-purpose flour 3 ounces cane sugar 2 ounces oats 2 pounds apples (Bramley apples are commonly used in England but a Pink Lady is a good alternative — I adore the ones from Fair Hills Farms) 1 ounce unsalted butter 2–4 ounces of sugar depending on the sweetness of apples 1 pound of fresh or frozen blackberries Zest of 1 lemon, optional 1 vanilla bean 1

⁄ 2 pint whole milk

1

⁄ 2 pint heavy cream

8 egg yolks 3 ounces cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a stand mixer or with your hands, rub the 4 ounces butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the 3 ounces sugar and oats until there are lumps or nuggets of crumble. Place in the fridge until ready to use. Meanwhile peel the apples and cut into quarters whilst removing the core. Then cut in half. Turn and cut in half making approximately 1-inch rough cubes. Mix the cut apples with the 2–4 ounces sugar. In a cast-iron skillet melt the 1 ounce butter over medium heat until foamy. Pour in apple-sugar mixture and spread out in a single layer; cook until the fruit juices begin to caramelize slightly. Turn apples over gently. Cook for 3–5 minutes; there should still be a slight firmness. Tip into ovenproof dish and leave to cool. Add lemon zest, if using, and gently mix in fresh or frozen blackberries. Sprinkle crumble mix on top without pressing down. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until nicely browned. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving with lashings of custard. To make the custard, cut a vanilla bean in half and scrape the paste into a saucepan. Pour in milk and heavy cream and warm over medium heat until it starts to steam. Take off heat, cover with a lid and leave to infuse for 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, separate egg yolks from whites (use whites for another recipe or scramble). Pour sugar over yolks and whisk until pale yellow. Pour over a third of the milk/cream infusion and mix until well combined. Add remaining milk/cream. Pour back into pan. Place over medium heat and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir continuously until the mix thickens — do not let it boil. Serve custard warm or cold with crumble.

Fast forward to my adult life as a chef: I discovered the joys of Borough Market in London Bridge, another market with a long history and legacy. The visits brought back that same giddiness I felt as a kid, of being surrounded by orderly chaos. With my newly found superpower of cooking, the market enabled me to re-create the dishes I was learning to make in the restaurants I worked in. I bought the same top-notch food and took it home to our house in the South East London suburb of Gipsy Hill. I made dishes like pan-fried red mullet with a sauce vierge, and I perfected silky smooth pomme purée (the secret is sinful amounts of butter). Arriving in sunny Santa Barbara some 12 years ago, I was obviously thrilled to discover the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, in all its glory. I was instantly blown away by the abundance of produce available and the discovery of new names for familiar veggies. Beetroot simply became beets, courgettes were zucchini, aubergines were eggplants, and so on. As I would walk back with a stroller, laden with my haul and a baby, Samuel, the farmers market quickly became my treasured Saturday ritual, just like it had been since my childhood.  I can’t help but smile when I realize how I’ve come full circle in regard to shopping at the market, just like my mum did. My kids have been introduced to the joy of market shopping, learning where their food comes from and who grows it. The farmers have watched my children grow up right in front of their eyes, and both my kids have a discerning palate when it comes to food. I have made dear, much loved and cherished friendships, from simply showing up and shopping. And like my mum, I love to stop and chat with friends I run into. Though my children are not as patient as I was as a child. They are quick to tell me that I talk too much and that they are so bored. In these times of “shelter in place” I am comforted by my memories and the ability to re-create food from my childhood. It’s an opportunity to slow down and reacquaint myself with my cultural and culinary roots. I can take the time to make proper fish and chips—going all out with thrice-cooked chips and mushy peas (which is delicious, by the way). And if I close my eyes, I could almost imagine myself sitting on a bench, at a beach, eating said fish and chips out of paper wrappings. Probably shivering whilst looking out onto the North Sea, dreaming of sunnier climes. And I have the chance to continually improve. Currently, I’m working on making jollof rice that is as good as my mum’s. I’m still not there yet, but I relish the challenge. And I look forward to the day that we can all eat together at the table, and I can hear my mum’s very honest opinion as to whether I passed the test… or not. Sandra Adu Zelli hails from England, where she worked in London for some of the country’s leading chefs. She is chef owner of Gipsy Hill Bakery, specializing in hand-crafted baked goods with a modern twist. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and two children. Follow on Instagram @gipsyhillbakery.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 19


From Garden to Breadboard Sourdough from Scratch Words and photos by Rosminah Brown

20 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


W

hen the panic shopping started earlier this year, people cleared the shelves of baking supplies. And those who found themselves healthy, hungry and with spare time to cook at home got busy making sourdough bread. If there’s something to be proud of during lockdown, it was former non-bakers taking up the challenge of building and feeding a starter and baking beautiful loaves to feed themselves and their neighbors. Kudos to you home bakers! It doesn’t matter that the bread was less than perfect because every time you tried, you got better. We’ve gone generations without dedicating time to this basic life skill, and now it has fully revitalized. That’s big. Don’t stop now, especially now that we are heading into winter. Baking bread is a combination of art and science. The anatomy of wheat, the ubiquitous presence of yeast, the chemical reactions and respiration that occur when flour, water, salt and yeast all come together produce browned crusty loaves that comfort and feed us.

Nancy Oster’s article “Baking Bread with Wild Yeast,” published in Edible Santa Barbara exactly 10 years ago, is even more relevant than ever. It has all the background and techniques of bread baking covered. We have included an abridged and updated version of it here, along with her recipes. Last autumn, I joined a community garden near my home, Trinity Gardens, located at La Cumbre Road and Foothill Road. At the front entrance of the garden is a seasonal field that grows pumpkins in the summer, houses a Christmas tree lot in late autumn and is a field of cornflowers or bachelor buttons in the springtime. This year I noticed that there were also patches of what appeared to be grass. It turned out to be wheat and oats. Small amounts of grain seeds had been scattered in the field with the intent to harvest the mature grains as a demonstration for the nearby preschool. But since the preschool was no longer on-site, I gathered the grain and attempted to make bread fully from scratch. That’s right, I collected the wheat by hand and threshed and winnowed it myself. There was nothing glamorous or easy about it. My tools were my gardening snips, a few bowls and my hands. Threshing the wheat separated the wheat from the

Opposite: Wheat grown locally near Trinity Gardens. Above: A load of bread made from the locally grown wheat.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 21


After winnowing the wheat grains are ready to be milled.

chaff and was accomplished simply by rubbing the grain with my hands. When the wheat breaks away from plant sheaths, they are separated but still intermingled. Winnowing is the process of removing the chaff, often using wind or a fan to blow the lighter chaff away, leaving behind the heavier grain. For this, I stood in my garden with platters of threshed wheat during the late afternoon when the breezes pick up in the foothills and lightly tossed handfuls of wheat in the air. My garden became covered with chaff, but the wheat itself—about six pounds— was proudly hauled into the kitchen for baking. Nancy Oster and I split up the wheat, and she lent me one of her spare grain mills. This beast sounded like a jet engine, but it ground the wheat into fine whole-wheat flour with lots of bran. Both Nancy and I baked bread and shared bread. Her style used a higher percentage of whole-wheat and kneading, which she has been doing for years. I prefer the lazy route, using the no-knead technique of time and patience alongside simple folding to build the gluten. Nancy also used a starter made entirely from our Trinity wheat and its clinging wild yeast—the terroir of Trinity Gardens, if you will. In contrast, I used the wheat to feed my existing starter, which itself was a decades-old levain starter. It was created from local Pinot Noir grapes by Clark Staub long before he settled in Santa Barbara to start Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos. Aside from using earplugs while running the flour mill, it was an absolute pleasure to drop in the wheat berries and see fresh flour come out, warm and aromatic with a nutty scent. 22 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

I could also drop in other grains for variety, mingled with the wheat berries. I tried oats to mimic the grains that Trinity grew and rice to make rice flour for dusting my bannetons. Each baking session produced two lovely one-pound boules. Each session had different variations on wheat and white flour combinations—rye or oats or both—and 100% leaven with our respective starters. I fermented my dough overnight and baked them to a dark brown caramelized almost burnt crust while Nancy’s loaf was lightly browned with a fine crumb. Half of one loaf went to my parents, half a loaf went to Trinity Gardens’ manager (or anyone else nearby when I’d come by with fresh bread). Half a loaf went to Nancy in exchange for half a loaf of her bread, and the last half stayed with me, of course. We marveled at how these scattered seeds made wheat and yeast, which then made beautiful loaves of bread with just a little water and salt added. We reminded ourselves that it actually wasn’t that easy. It relied on having a fancy grain mill that most of us aren’t likely to have just hanging around and the privilege of time to bake at home. Mother Nature was doing most of the work while our hands simply manipulated the wheat from the garden to our breadboard. For that, we are grateful and thankful. Rosminah Brown is a Santa Barbara native who types fast and eats slow. She raises a toast (of sourdough or a stiff drink, your choice, maybe both) to everyone trying to hold it down during this pandemic. She hopes everyone is staying healthy and safe.


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24 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


Baking Bread with Wild Yeast by Nancy Oster

A

packet of dried commercial yeast makes bread making more convenient but using wild yeast offers a much broader range of flavors.

Sourdough bread is made with wild yeast. However, a bread made with wild yeast is not always sour. As a young woman in Ohio, my grandmother made all her bread from a starter shared by family members. She told me the first time she tasted sourdough bread, she spat it out and announced, “This yeast has gone bad.” She never really did develop a taste for sourdough bread. A starter consists of flour, water and wild yeast. Sourness depends on the particular starter and the length of time the bread is allowed to rise. Wild yeast is present in grains of wheat and also on ripened fruit, especially grapes and plums, where it sticks to the white waxy bloom on the skins. A symbiotic relationship develops between the wild yeast and beneficial lactobacilli in a starter. The wild yeast provides the rise and the lactic acid, produced by the lactobacilli, contributes to the sour flavor. According to Ed Wood, MD, pathologist and author of Classic Sourdoughs, “Evidence indicates that the lactobacilli produce an antibiotic that protects the culture from contamination by harmful bacteria.”

To get started, you can either ask someone with a starter to give you a portion or you can start your own. Here are recipes for a grape starter and a wheat berry starter.

Grape Starter 1 cluster of organic grapes (or raisins) 2 1 ⁄ 2 cups filtered water, warm 2 cups flour

Put grapes (or raisins) on a piece of clean cheesecloth and tie opposite corners together to make a pouch. Mix water and flour in a 4-cup canning jar. (If using raisins, soak them in the warm water for a couple of hours before adding the flour.) Crush grapes slightly and press down into mixture. Put waxed paper or a flat-bottomed coffee filter on top and secure with the canning lid ring. Leave jar on the counter and stir daily. If liquid begins to separate in a layer on top, add more flour to absorb the liquid. When mixture starts to bubble, remove the grapes and begin feeding your starter. EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 25


Wheat Berry Starter 1

⁄ 2 cup (100g) wheat berries (kernels)

21

⁄ 2 cups (375g) filtered water

11 ⁄ 2 teaspoons (3g) salt 1 cup (125g) whole-wheat flour

Soak wheat berries in 1½ cups of the filtered water for about 8 hours. Drain and rinse. Put berries into an 8-cup canning jar. Cover opening with cheesecloth and secure with canning lid ring. Lay jar on its side in a dark place. Rinse berries daily as they begin to sprout. When the primary sprout is equal in length to the berry, combine the salt with the remaining 1 cup filtered water. Put sprouts into a blender, adding enough of the salted water to blend them into the liquid. Add this to the measured whole-wheat flour along with any remaining water. Mix well and put into a 1-quart canning jar. Cover the opening with waxed paper or a flat-bottomed coffee filter and secure with canning lid ring. Store jar on counter top, stirring every 8 to 12 hours. When it starts to bubble, you can begin feeding it.

Starter Feeding and Maintenance To feed your starter, discard half and stir in 1 cup flour and 1 cup water. In the beginning the mixture will be like thick pancake batter. As it becomes more active (bubbles and begins to rise more quickly) you can use less water. (I prefer a thicker, mashed-potato-like starter.) Put a rubber band on the jar to mark the starter level just after you feed it. Each time it doubles, discard half of the starter and feed it again. When your starter doubles within a few hours, you can begin to use it in bread (no commercial yeast needed).

Storing Your Starter Use a glass container to store your starter. I usually cover the top with waxed paper or a flat-bottomed coffee filter and then the lid (avoid storing starters in metal containers). If it’s actively bubbling, don’t tighten the lid. Put your starter into the refrigerator if you don’t plan to use it again within 12 hours.

The Ultimate Loaf In 2010 when 16-year-old Ila Rutten requested an Edible article on bread making, I was eager to explore the world of bread with her. Ila likes a thick, crunchy crust, and I like a moist delicate interior. We both look for flavor. Ila and I did a lot of experimentation to arrive at the simplest, most reliable recipe for this article. In the process, we learned more about how to control crumb and crust. We found that a higher proportion of water in the dough made it easier to produce a bread with large, irregular holes and the longer we left the lid on the Dutch oven during the baking, the thicker and crunchier the crust. While I prefer a short kneading period, Ila was more familiar with the noknead method popularized by Jim Lahey in 2006. Both approaches work, but I love to knead and kneading is particularly helpful with whole-wheat flour, which tends to make a denser bread. We found we could either leave the dough to rise in a covered container on the counter at room temperature or leave it out until we saw active rising and then put it into the refrigerator to extend the rising time until a more convenient time for baking. We found that longer rising increases the sourness, but may reduce the volume of the rise. We chose not to preheat the Dutch oven so we could do the final rise right in the pan, rather than try to transfer the sticky bubbly dough to the hot pan. As the Dutch oven warmed to oven temperature, the bread got an additional burst in height, called oven spring. The hands-on time for making this bread is brief, but scheduling needs forethought. I find countertop rising works best if you can bake your bread in 8 to 12 hours. Using the cool-rise method, you leave it on the counter for 4 hours, and then refrigerate it for 8 to 12 hours (with another 2 hours to warm back to room temperature before baking). Once you’ve tried our recipe, go ahead and experiment with flour combinations, rising times and baking times. Personal tastes vary, as do flour and starter characteristics, and kitchen humidity and temperature. As you become familiar with your starter you will recognize when your bread needs more flour or is ready for the next step without adhering rigidly to the times or proportions given in our bread recipe. Our recipe is just a starting place.

Wild Yeast (Sourdough) Bread Recipe

If my starter has been in the refrigerator for a few weeks without feeding, I discard all but a couple of tablespoons of the starter before I feed it. This gives the yeast fresh food to reinvigorate it. It’s OK if the top of the starter turns a bit gray and fluid accumulates. Just pour and scrape off the top. If your starter turns red, discard it. I keep a cup of my starter frozen just in case something happens to the one I keep in the refrigerator. (Most, but not all, starters will survive freezing.)

1 cup (228g) water

Gradually you will develop a relationship with your starter. You will know, just by looking, when and how much it needs to be fed and when it’s ready to use. Be sure to label the jar so it doesn’t get thrown out during a refrigerator cleaning.

*For a wheatier bread, I use 1½ cups (212g) bread flour and 1 cup (135g) whole-wheat flour instead of all bread flour. You can use a higher proportion of whole-wheat but expect a denser loaf. You can mix your dough by hand or use a standing mixer with a dough hook.

26 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

2 teaspoons (8g) kosher salt 2 1 ⁄ 2 cups (350g) unbleached bread flour* 2 tablespoons coarse-grain cereal (optional) 1

⁄ 2 cup (85g) sourdough starter

Parchment paper round cut to fit inside bottom of Dutch oven


1 Mixing Dough by Hand Mix salt and water in bowl. Put flour and optional grains on top of water. Add starter. Using a wooden spoon, a stiff spatula or your hands, stir mixture until it forms a shaggy mass that can be picked up and shaped into a sticky ball. At this point, you can choose to knead the dough or not to knead.

Why Knead?

CAROLE TOPALIAN

Kneading distributes the ingredients more evenly, making the bread texture more uniform. It also helps to develop the gluten in the flour more quickly. Gluten is like chewing gum… gum is extensible (stretchy) and becomes more elastic (snaps back) as you chew. As you knead, the gluten in your dough stretches farther without tearing and snaps back when you let go. Gluten provides the elastic structure that traps gases that develop during fermentation so the bread can rise without collapsing. Gluten will also develop with no kneading at all if the dough is allowed to rise slowly (8 to 12 hours). So if you don’t enjoy kneading, you can skip the next step.

down onto the board. Stretch the dough upwards, then fold it away from you. Quickly pull your hands away from the dough. Grab the right-hand edge to pick it up, slap it down and fold again. At first it will feel like trying to knead oatmeal. Don’t worry if lumps of dough remain on the board or stick to your hands; they will eventually incorporate into the mass. Continue until the dough forms a tighter ball and the surface becomes smoother. You can use a scraper to loosen bits that stick to the kneading board. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to thoroughly knead the dough. However, even when the ingredients are evenly distributed, the dough will feel sticky. Now you’re ready to let it rise.

2 Mixing Dough with a Standing Mixer Put water and salt into mixing bowl. Measure in flour and optional grains. Add sourdough starter on top. Using the bread hook attachment, mix ingredients until the dough comes together into a smooth ball. The dough hook does the kneading for you so you don’t need to knead by hand.

Kneading a Wet Dough

Let It Rise

Wet dough is challenging to knead. I use a slap-and-fold technique, well suited to working with a sticky dough. Scrape the dough out onto an unfloured wooden board. Grab the edge of the dough with your thumbs and fingertips to lift it off the board, and slap it back

Put dough into a lightly oiled container, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and leave on the counter for 8 to 12 hours. An alternative method is to leave the container on the counter for 4 hours, then refrigerate it for another 8 to 12 hours. See sidebar “Making It Fit.” EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 27


Making It Fit: Three Ways to Schedule Your Bread Baking Bread for Breakfast (Countertop-rise method) 8pm

Mix dough and let rise in covered container on counter.

6am

Form dough and put into covered Dutch oven for final rise. Preheat oven to 500°.

6:30am

Score bread and put covered Dutch oven into hot oven.

6:55am

Remove Dutch oven lid and reduce oven heat to 475°.

7:10am

Check bread to see if it is sufficiently browned.

Bread for Dinner

(Countertop-rise method) 6am

Mix dough and let rise in covered container on counter.

6pm

Form dough and put into covered Dutch oven for final rise. Heat oven to 500°.

6:30pm

Score bread and put covered Dutch oven into hot oven.

6:55pm

Remove Dutch oven lid and reduce oven heat to 475°.

7:10pm

Check bread to see if it is sufficiently browned.

Bread for Lunch

(Cool-rise method) 6pm

Mix dough and let rise in covered container on counter.

10pm

Put dough into refrigerator.

8am

Form dough and put into covered Dutch oven for final rise.

9:30am

Preheat oven to 500°.

10am

Score bread and put covered Dutch oven into hot oven.

10:25am Take lid off Dutch oven and reduce oven heat to 475°.

Forming and Baking Bread To form your dough into a round loaf, remove it from the container to a floured wooden board (or countertop), trying to deflate it as little as possible. Lightly stretch one edge and fold into the center, then stretch and fold the opposite edge to the center. Stretch and fold in the sides. To get a rounded shape, rotate the ball of dough between both hands on an unfloured surface, until the dough forms into a tight round loaf, called a boule. Spray-oil the inside of your Dutch oven. Line the bottom with parchment round and spray that as well. Put the boule into the Dutch oven, put on the lid and let it rise. A loaf risen at room temperature can go into the oven as soon as the oven reaches temperature. If your dough is cold from refrigeration, it will take about 2 hours to come to room temperature and rise. Preheat oven to about 500°. If a dimple remains when you press the dough with your finger, your bread is ready to bake. Just before baking, use a serrated knife or razor blade to slash the top of the loaf (this allows the bread to expand without tearing). Put the covered Dutch oven into the hot oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove lid from Dutch oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 475° and bake an additional 10 to 30 minutes. If you prefer a darker crust, bake longer, but check the bottom to be sure it is not burning. If you are concerned about whether your bread is fully baked, the internal temperature of the baked bread should read about 205° on an instant-read thermometer.

10:40am Check bread to see if it is sufficiently browned. Note: Word has it that you should let the bread cool for about 15 minutes before slicing. No one in my house pays attention to this rule—not even the dog, who has been known steal loaves of hot bread right off the countertop.

28 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

A longer version of this article was originally published in the Winter 2010 issue of Edible Santa Barbara. Nancy Oster practices bread-baking therapy to manage stress. She currently alternates between a honey-fed rye starter given to her by a friend from Poland, a starter she made from Rosminah’s Trinity wheat berries, and a starter made from fresh locally grown corn. Additional starters are on vacation in the freezer. During the pandemic, the number of loaves of bread stored in her freezer has grown significantly.


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Pinot Noir grapes at Chateau Sopot in Macedonia.

30 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


A R M C H A I R

T R A V E L I N G

Words and Photos by Carmen Smyth While many travel plans are on indefinite hold, writer Carmen Smyth takes us on a pre-pandemic wine journey to Los Alamos and Macedonia.

E

ntering the Casa Dumetz Wines tasting room in Los Alamos is like taking a step back in time and place. The quaint atmosphere welcomes visitors, and the smiling faces behind the counter draw you inside. Old black-and-white photos decorate one of the walls and engage you. They tell a story of generations of family members from Macedonia drinking, dining, laughing and enjoying life. The experience transports you to a bygone era where you can gaze into a family’s past and imagine a country’s history. The adjoining room features draft beers, saisons, ciders and food. It is called Babi’s Beer Emporium and Tap Room; Babi (meaning grandmother) is named in honor of owner and winemaker Sonja Magdevski’s Macedonian grandmother.

Magdevski’s family emigrated from Macedonia to Michigan, from where she eventually made her way to Los Alamos in Santa Barbara County, bringing her unique Macedonian heritage and lineage with wine. Magdevski’s interest in wine began in 2004 when she planted a small vineyard in Malibu. Although the vineyard struggled, she sourced grapes from the Santa Ynez and made wine in her garage. “It was the most basic winemaking on the planet,” she says. “It was really about having fun and having community. It was beautiful!” What happened next? “The wine was amazing! It was delicious! I had fun! It was interesting and fascinating. So now what?”

Above: The wall of family photos at Casa Dumetz in Los Alamos.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 31


Sonja Magdevski, winemaker and proprietor of Casa Dumetz Wines and Babi’s Beer Emporium.

32 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


A journalist by trade, Magdevski wanted to know more about the winemaking process. She began taking winemaking classes at Allan Hancock Community College in Santa Maria. Then she decided to bring in a ton of Viognier. In her winemaking process, she broke all the rules. “I left the Viognier on the skins. I barrel-fermented it and let it go through full malolactic fermentation. It was totally delicious!” she says. That launched Magdevski into her commercial business and led her to open a tasting room in Los Alamos in 2008. Magdevski chats about her business after being open now for 12 years. “I’ve learned so many things. It’s hard to make a living making wine,” she says. “My issue is: If I know too much, then I scare myself from doing something. If I know there are sharks in the water, I am really afraid to go swimming in the ocean. But if I never knew that, I would go swimming for miles,” she asserts. “But [in this business] what you get to do, and what you get to see, working with the earth, working in the vineyards, it’s the most magical thing on the planet.” My meeting with Magdevski made me curious. And it incited me to add Macedonia to my travel plans of Eastern Biljana Trajkovska of Traikovsky Wine and Spirits in Macedonia. Europe (fortunately, well before the pandemic hit). Where is Macedonia? personality that exudes confidence. North Macedonia has been producing Macedonia borders Albania to She is a natural host. the west, Kosovo and Serbia wine since the 13th century BC. The Trajkovska is a self-made woman. to the north, Bulgaria to the She was educated in Bulgaria, where tradition of home winemaking for family east and Greece to the south. It she earned a BA and an MBA in gained its independence from consumption remains integral to the marketing. She studied winemaking Yugoslavia in 1991 and became in Slovenia with a focus on spirits and present-day culture. its own country, officially started Traikovsky Wine and Spirits called the Republic of North 18 years ago. Her success comes from sourcing fruit from 15 Macedonia. small local farmers in the nearby villages, from which she creates North Macedonia has been producing wine since the 13th award-winning Riesling, brandy, mastika (which is comparable century BC. The tradition of home winemaking for family to ouzo) and rakija, a fruit brandy. consumption remains integral to the present-day culture. As We met in the small wine-growing town of Negotino, in the one drives through the countryside, small plots of vines are Tikves growing region. Trajkovska was joined by her mother, a visible in front and back yards. The grape-growing areas include slight woman in her late 60s with graying hair and a furrowed a series of microclimates that make Macedonia a unique region complexion. She had come to help her daughter host the tasting for wine cultivation. and welcome me to her home. We drove through the rolling The popularity of family wines and winemaking in green hills of southern Macedonia to an elevation of 2,100 Macedonia has spawned an industry with 80 registered feet before descending into the valley where the distillery and wineries and grape cultivation and wine production equaling winery operated behind the family home. a substantial 20% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Grapes are the second-most-exported agricultural product in the country. Traveling into Macedonia from Croatia into Montenegro is an adventurous but worthwhile trip. Arriving in the Lake Ohrid area provides the traveler with one of the most amazing vistas Europe has to offer. Upon my arrival in Macedonia, I met with Biljana Trajkovska, a tall, stylish woman in her 30s, with a glowing

It was a modest structure with an outside dining area shaded by walnut trees. The small winery stood in a separate building. Trajkovska led me on a tour of the facility. We entered the first room in the barn-like building, housing a towering stainless steel tank filled with chilling Riesling. She grabbed a fresh sample of the latest vintage. We then moved into the second room, where large distillers were used for making rakija, mastika and brandy.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 33


Trajkovska attributes her success to her family. “These recipes are from 1921. They have been transferred from one generation to another. We just improve on what our ancestors made,” she said with a smile. “This business is a family affair,” she explained. “My mother and father both help in the winery and distillery. Even my nephews come to help; we all work together.” As we talked about the rigors of the industry, Trajkovska recounted, “I couldn’t do any of this without the help of my family. We have three generations here. The energy you give is the energy you get,” she said emphatically.

Georgievska is a petite woman in her 30s, beaming with energy and professionalism. She studied for a master’s degree in agriculture, then got an internship at Chateau Kamnik Winery and has been here ever since. The winery is impressive. The two-story castle-like building sits on a hill overlooking vineyards with the capital city looming in the distance. They have been in business for 15 years. As we sat outside trying one of her sparkling wines, Georgievska talked about her winemaking philosophy. “We want the best. We chase perfection, and we do it with passion. That is our motto.” Her mother laid out a Georgievska makes 13 wines, As we sat outside trying one of her spread of traditional foods to including three sparkling wines. When sparkling wines, Georgievska talked enjoy with our tasting. On the asked about challenges in the industry, about her winemaking philosophy. tree-lined patio we dined on she exhaled and smiled. “When you proceed to solve one problem, small sausages, local sheep milk “We want the best. We chase there will be another one. Every day cheese, homemade beans and perfection, and we do it with passion. is different. You have to put real halva, a traditional sesame seed energy from beginning to end. It’s a dessert. Then she lifted a glass of That is our motto.” challenge.” her favorite spirit, rakija, and we all toasted with a resounding “na zdravje!” Inside, the winery is a gleaming state-of-the-art facility. Countless stainless steel tanks tower overhead on the first floor. When asked what inspired Trajkovska to become an The underground floor is filled with barrels of aging wines entrepreneur, she replied, “It was an upbringing. I wanted to from Pinot Noir to Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and make something that would succeed. You just jump, then you the indigenous Macedonian varietal Vranec—an intense red build a parachute.” described by Georgievska as “a steel fist in a velvet glove,” The parachute of winemaking has spread to other the mainstay of Macedonian culture, served in homes and innovative women throughout Macedonia. restaurants throughout the country. I met Sandra Georgievska in the capital, Skopje. She is the head winemaker at Chateau Kamnik, a boutique winery boasting estate fruit and a myriad of varietals and wines.

At the top of the stairs to the second floor, the tasting room opens up—filled with modern furniture, grand tasting tables and a floor-to-ceiling glass-enclosed wine room. Georgievska does it all here, from managing the vineyard to winemaking. “I feel like every fermentation is like my child. You have to feed it, know if it is crying and if it needs oxygen or food,” she said. “Wine is like a life. I love making every bottle.” The on-site Hunters Lodge Restaurant prepared bite-sized appetizers to pair with the wines Georgievska had selected. We started with smoked salmon and red caviar, moved on to creamy brie, then prosciutto and serrano ham. Following this delicious appetizer sampler, she insisted on lunch at the lodge. The hospitality continued to be intimate and memorable. Asked about the challenges of being a woman in the industry, she replied, “If you love your work, it is easy to reach an understanding.” And the challenges in winemaking? “The orange wine,” she responded immediately. Orange wine is made from white grapes using a natural process with little to no additives, yeast or sulfites. “It is a risk, but every wine vintage is a challenge.”

Kristina Angielkova, the head winemaker at Chateau Sopot in Veles.

34 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


Sandra Georgievska is the head winemaker at Chateau Kamnik in Skopje.

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Chateau Sopot.

As lunch was nearing an end, I shared my disappointment that I was unable to connect with the female winemaker from Chateau Sopot, in Veles. My host exclaimed, “That is Kristina! And she is an hour’s drive from here.” “You know Kristina?” I answered with surprise. “There are only 80 winemakers in Macedonia. Everyone knows everyone,” she responded. Georgievska immediately called Kristina, arranged my visit to Velez, and insisted I follow her to the winery because she said, “Chateau Sopot is difficult to find, and the road to the winery isn’t really a road.” The Macedonian hospitality continued. We ventured back to the rolling hills of wine country and into the tiny town of Velez. Here I met Kristina Angielkova, the head winemaker at Chateau Sopot. The winery was a new concept in boutique wineries springing up recently in Macedonia. It was the brainchild of a builder and an enologist and started in 2006. Angielkova was in the middle of harvesting her Riesling and up to her elbows in grape juice. She was a tall woman, in her mid-30s, with a long blond ponytail. She greeted me with a smile and insisted we sit down, get something to eat and then taste the wines. We sat in the outdoor restaurant overlooking the vineyards of estate fruit. The patio was bustling with people and families from old to young. “It is Sunday,” she commented. “Sunday is family day in Macedonia.” 36 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

Angielkova has been working as a winemaker here for 10 years. She studied enology in Bulgaria. “I am from a small town in Macedonia. Every house has a vineyard and wine production. That is why I chose this profession,” she said. Asked about the favorite part of her work, she replied, smiling, “I love this time of year, harvest. We are in nature, and it is really pleasant work.” What was her winemaking style? Angielkova explained. “I like to make fresh aromatic whites and full-bodied reds.” What was her winemaking philosophy? “Focus on quality. It’s a personal passion. I’m always reaching for perfection.” When asked what the biggest seller at the winery was, she replied, “Temjanika.” a variety of Italian Riesling. Chateau Sopot also makes Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vranec and rosé. When asked about other women in the winemaking field in Macedonia, she said, “It’s about 50/50. They say this is masculine work, but it’s not. It’s for women too.” I asked her what she thinks of the future of the Macedonian wine industry. She replied, “Macedonia has quality wines, both red and white. We have potential. The biggest challenge is we are a small country, and we sell 90% of our wines locally. You have to sell the wine you make every year. We need more exports for our wines to expand and succeed.” She added, “Wines of Macedonia [WOM] is a group of wineries that have banded together to promote their wines throughout the world.” WOM,


established in April 2010 as an NGO, provides strategic support to the wine and viticulture industry aimed at increasing the export of bottled and bulk Macedonian wines. Our tasting ended with a large wooden board filled with local cheese, bread and big scoops of homemade raspberry jam. As the sun set over the vineyards and mountains, I headed back to Skopje, savoring my Macedonian experience. Upon returning home, I reflected on my visit with Magdevski in her tasting room in Los Alamos. Similar to the women winemakers in Macedonia she said, “Every day is a test of what you can do, running a business, making it successful, and hopefully making people happy and creating a beautiful product for them to share.” Her goal: “I’m always trying to improve, to do it better… I mean every day. I can’t stop seeing things that way. Otherwise it’s no fun.”. Magdevski’s winemaking style and sentiment, like her female counterparts in Macedonia, is deliberate, full of tradition and filled with love. “Minimal intervention and maximum attention,” she said. “I want something pleasurable, accessible, elegant. I’m not looking for deep extraction. I’m looking for more of an uplifted, sincere style.” She wants to create a flavor as she describes it. “I want a fresh, ripe peach. I don’t want a peach jam. There is so much complexity in simplicity. That’s what I look for. I’m not here to impose,” she explained. “I’m here to shepherd.” It resides with the culture, with the long-term heritage of Macedonian wine history. The similarities between these winemakers struck me. It brings us back to a culture connected by the land, by the grape and by the family. Food and hospitality follow, which create community and connection. What I found on my trip to Macedonia and meeting Magdevski were the commonalities of strong women, strong family, community and the never-ending striving for perfection. Now let’s eat and, of course, taste wine! Na zdravje! Carmen Smyth is a freelance journalist and photographer living in Ventura County who reports on wine news and trends at home and abroad.

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E D I B L E

N A T I O N

Consumers Hold the Key To Building a Better Meat System by Marilyn Noble

A

ll it’s taken to expose the precarious state of our modern industrial meat supply is a tiny bit of infectious genetic material wrapped in a protein coat.

JAMES EKSTR AND

The coronavirus pandemic has shone a not-so-friendly light on the inhumane ways both animals and people are treated in a system dominated by four major companies: Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef. Over the past 40 years, as the meat-packing industry has consolidated in the name of scale, efficiency and profits— and while consumers have been the beneficiaries of cheap meat—producers, rural communities, slaughterhouse workers and the environment have all paid a steep price.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 39


PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE C ALLICR ATE

As the virus rampaged through enormous packing plants in the Midwest, sickening thousands of mostly immigrant workers and, as of June, killing more than a hundred, the packers slowed production and claimed a meat shortage was imminent, sending meat prices soaring and panicked consumers to clean out grocery store meat cases. In the meantime, decreased packinghouse capacity meant farmers had nowhere to sell their animals and were forced to exterminate millions, mostly hogs and chickens, the disposal of which by burying or incineration has created serious groundwater and air pollution. In the modern industrial system, once animals reach their slaughter weight, there’s no alternative to mass euthanasia and disposal if the facilities aren’t available.

Mike Callicrate, a rancher in St. Francis, Kansas, owns a small slaughter plant, along with a processing plant and retail store in Colorado Springs.

“What do you do with a million cattle and no slaughter capacity? You cannot keep feeding them,” says Mike Callicrate, a rancher in St. Francis, Kansas, who owns a small slaughter plant, along with a processing plant and retail store in Colorado Springs. He’s also a fiercely outspoken advocate for small family farms. “These companies are so unbelievably fragile,” he adds. “One little thing happens and they fall apart. It’s just a house of cards.” In the late 1960s, the U.S. was home to around 9,000 medium and small-scale slaughter plants scattered throughout the country. By 2018, that number had shrunk to about 800, with the vast majority of beef and pork processed in only about a dozen extremely large plants concentrated in the Midwest. Not only does this leave the meat supply vulnerable to disruption, but as small plants have disappeared, it’s become harder for livestock growers to opt out of the industrial system, and small rural economies have collapsed as competition has disappeared and dollars have been siphoned off by massive corporations.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE C ALLICR ATE

Callicrate places many of the problems inherent in the commodity meat system at the foot of USDA for several reasons, but especially when it comes to truth in labeling, another issue depressing prospects for small producers. “We’ve got USDA out there acting like they’re the food police and making sure our food is safe and wholesome, and yet they are complicit in one of the biggest labeling frauds in our history, ‘Product of the USA,’” he says. “We’ve got to realize that USDA does not represent the people’s interest anymore.”

40 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

Consumers may think they’re buying American beef when they read “product of the USA” on the label, but meat can legally carry that terminology even if it’s imported from countries like Australia or Brazil, as long as it’s processed in a U.S. packing plant. The misleading “product of the USA” label goes hand in hand with the end of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef. When Congress allowed the industry to drop the country of origin from the label in 2015, the doors opened wide for consumer confusion, especially with grass-fed beef. “The USDA rule that allows multinational corporations to shop for grass-fed beef in the cheapest markets in the world and then sell it to the most lucrative market in the world [the


PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE CALLICR ATE

U.S.] and call it ‘product of the USA’ is a major issue,” says Will Harris. He’s the fourth-generation owner of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. In the mid-1990s, he began transitioning his commodity cattle operation to a pasture-based, multi-species model, and now is vertically integrated, with two slaughter plants and a robust sales and marketing department that moves product through several different sales channels, including retail, food service and direct-to-consumer. In the years since COOL ended, Harris says he’s seen his business revenues drop almost 25%. “We’re selling the same amount of beef,” he says, “but our margins are dropping because we’re competing with cheaper meat from other countries.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE C ALLICR ATE

But there’s one pandemic-related glimmer of hope: When the Big Four slowed and shut down plants, small producers who had direct-to-consumer sales channels in place saw an onslaught of business. For both Callicrate and Harris, it was unexpected and somewhat overwhelming. “We’re just trying to figure out how we’re going to adapt,” says Callicrate. Harris says his farm was inundated with orders from new customers, and that left some of their regulars in the lurch. “I was embarrassed that I allowed our regular customers to go without,” he says. His team is building a loyalty program to potentially alleviate that situation in the future, and he’s considering increasing capacity in the farm’s fulfillment center if business keeps up.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 41


PHOTO COURTESY OF WHITE OAK PASTURES PHOTO COURTESY OF WHITE OAK PASTURES

Will Harris is the fourth-generation owner of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia.

42 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


But will the sudden interest in local meat from small family farms last and create meaningful change in the industry?

Resources

Callicrate says it’s up to both the government and consumers. “Part of it depends on what the government does,” he says. “If we continue to allow these big meat packers to run chains at 400 head an hour and have workers standing shoulder to shoulder, paying them below living wage, and allow the continuation of these animal factories that are inhumane and polluting, and if we don’t protect the better local or regional model, nothing will change. It’ll go back to hiding behind the curtain again, as it has been for 30 years. Right now, consumers are learning about what’s actually happening. They’re seriously concerned.”

Local Meat Producers

But he adds, “One of the worst, most deadly diseases in our country is aggressive price-shopping consumerism because it wipes out your economy. Eventually it’s all gone. Your money is being siphoned off into the Walton family bank account, along with a handful of other multinational corporations. So that’s the really big dread, that people will not start considering more than price in their purchasing.” Harris believes that if consumers shop their values, meaningful change can happen. “Right now, there aren’t very many people doing what we’re doing, maybe about 20 of us in the whole country. I don’t think any of us care about becoming hundred-million-dollar companies, but if there were a hundred companies doing what we’re doing, then we could build those regional food systems.”

We are fortunate to have many local ranches and meat producers here in Santa Barbara County and nearby worthy of supporting. Their offerings vary. You’ll find some of them at farmers markets and others have online ordering with pickup or shipping options. Check out the individual websites below for more information.

Casitas Valley Pastures http://www.casitasvalleypastures.com

Cuyama Lamb https://www.cuyamalamb.com

Fess Parker Ranch https://www.fessparkerranch.com

Gaviota Givings https://www.gaviotagivings.com

Jimenez Family Farm http://jimenezfamilyfarm.com

So how does an aware and enlightened consumer help grow a sustainable and healthy food system? Harris offers some tips:

Larder Meat Co.

Decide what values you want to support, whether it’s animal welfare, regenerative agriculture, healthy food, local farms or a combination.

Motley Crew Ranch

Find a farm or ranch that fits your values and don’t rely on package labels or certifications. In these days of social media, it’s increasingly easy to learn about how businesses run. Most family farms have websites and engage with interested potential customers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and others. Ask questions; get to know the people producing your food.

http://www.lardermeatco.com

https://www.motleycrewranch.com/

Pork Palace https://www.porkpalace.com

Rancho San Julian https://www.theranchtable.com

Once you find a farm or two, buy their products and support them. “Consumers buying from us is the air we breathe,” says Harris.

Rocky Canyon Farm

Callicrate sums it up: “The consumer is the only way we get out of the ditch. They’ve got to support something better.”

At the Santa Barbara Farmers Market

https://www.facebook.com/rockycanyonfarm/

Sage Hill Farms Valley Piggery

Marilyn Noble is an independent food and agriculture journalist based in Arizona. In the past three years, she’s written regularly for Edible Phoenix and is a contributing writer for The Counter, a nonprofit, independent newsroom that investigates the forces shaping how and what America eats. One of her articles was selected by Samin Nosrat for inclusion in the Best American Food Writing 2019 anthology. In addition, she’s written several Southwestern-themed cookbooks, the latest of which was published in May 2020. Follow her on Twitter @mariwrites or visit MarilynNoble.com.

https://www.valleypiggery.com

Watkins Cattle Company https://www.watkinscattleco.com

Winfield Farm https://winfieldfarm.us

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Gather. Nurture. Feed. Repeat. by Pascale Beale

“This is the power of gathering: It inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful; in a word, more alive.” — Alice Waters

I

celebrated my third Thanksgiving in America by traveling to Napa Valley. With no family in town and friends otherwise engaged, my English then-boyfriend and I had left the hustle and bustle of a hot and dusty Los Angeles in search of autumnal weather and holiday fare. We arrived late on Wednesday afternoon, just as the sun was setting over the crimson and ochre patchwork carpet of trees and almost-dormant vineyards that blanketed the valley floor. Wisps of smoke curled up from chimneys, gossamer strands of mist drifted through the vines and the air smelled woodsy, earthy and slightly sweet. We stopped by the roadside to take in the view as we crested a rise. It was picture perfect, down to the gratifying crunch of walking in mounds of dried russet-hued leaves. The hotel was equally charming. Our room had a fireplace where logs crackled and sighed satisfyingly in the hearth. I curled up in front of it with a good book and relaxed with a glass of an excellent local red wine in hand. This, I thought to myself, is what this holiday is all about. On Thanksgiving Day, we went for a long walk bundled up in warm jackets and scarves as the crisp air turned the tips of our ears red. We worked up a hearty appetite for the meal to come. At the appointed hour, we walked up to the lavishly decorated dining room, festooned with vine leaves, gourds, horns of plenty and bushels of apples and pears. The maître d’ led the way, threading a meandering path around large tables where families had gathered en masse, to our lone table for two. I looked around as we took our seats, taking in the multigenerational cacophony that surrounded us. I sensed a pitying glance from an elderly matron seated at the head of a nearby

table of 16 and felt a slight uneasiness, but couldn’t quite put my finger on what was amiss. The food arrived. It was excellent, as was the wine, yet that niggling disquiet that had emerged as we sat down grew throughout the meal. We both felt it and tried to ignore what became increasingly obvious. The clamor of laughing families and the familial banter echoing around the room made our twotop seem rather lonely and forlorn. Although the setting was, in every sense, sublime, the one missing element, and the one which was most important, was sharing the occasion with those we cherished most. As we scuttled back to our cozy retreat, we mused on this. Our great escape had failed to provide the comfort we sought. A brief review of the annals of seasonal gatherings throughout history quickly reveals that these occasions are more about those we share these events with than the food itself. In archeological digs around the world, researchers have found evidence of humans celebrating their harvests together for thousands of years. We gather today to give thanks in November, and each family may have its favorite holiday dishes, but are they as good if we cannot make and share them with those we love? I have been pondering this question as we head into the end of year festivities. From Thanksgiving to Hannukah, Kwanza and Christmas, to New Year’s Eve and beyond. How do we celebrate if we cannot gather? Over the last seven months, with the arrival of all that is Covid, everyone has had to adapt to muted celebrations. We have gathered outdoors, shared socially distanced picnics and potlucks in the park.

Opposite: Roasted Cornish Hens.

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However, with the arrival of more inclement weather, we will inevitably withdraw back into the nests that are our homes, but without the ability to bring our friends with us. How then do we nurture each other? Like many families, mine is scattered across different countries and many States, spanning a 12-hour time difference. It is unlikely that we will be together for the holidays. Faced with travel and quarantine restrictions we have been working on a solution, and also looking at the opportunity that cooking for fewer people presents. Have you ever wanted to try a new dish but dismissed it because you were preparing food for 16? We are usually around that number for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. This year we may be four. This is the occasion to stretch one’s culinary boundaries and delve into something new! Instead of turkey, why not try roasted duck or Cornish hens? What about an “everything but the turkey” feast, making all the side dishes the focal point? Have you wanted to try food from a different part of the world? Or maybe explore your family’s culinary heritage? This is one year where we will have the luxury of time. Of course, certain dishes always have pride of place on most family’s festive dinner tables, usually accompanied by an amusing family tale as to how that dish came to be. Much like those whose holiday traditions include a reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” at my good friends Alan and Harriet’s Thanksgiving the guests gather around the host for a ritual known as “The Drilling of the Mashed Potatoes.” I’ve not witnessed this firsthand, but understand that it is a melodramatic telling of Alan’s first “Chosen Family” Thanksgiving in Isla Vista decades ago and includes something about a missing potato masher, the ingenuity of friend Chuck Cail and a drill. How then do we share the yearly telling of “that” story if we cannot be in the same room together? Enter modern technology and the now-familiar live streaming platform of your choice. In our house, preparations for holiday meals begin early in the morning. We start by making stuffing and cranberry coulis. This year we plan on making them together via Zoom. The timing may have to change a little to accommodate different time zones, but with the same ingredients in hand we will still be able to cook together. Our olfactory senses have long memories, and what better way to share a family tradition than by reawakening our taste buds. Our respective kitchens will be filled with the perfume of grated orange zest, the woodsy, sweet aroma of cinnamon, and simmering cranberries plop-popping little bursts of tart-citrusy sauce. By cooking the same dishes together, we will be able to share the day, the simultaneous experience of preparing food 46 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

and even sampling the same dish. Although our connection will be virtual, our physical senses will still have a shared experience. We can laugh together, give advice about a pie crust, avoiding soggy bottoms, and how to make sure the mashed spuds are well and truly mashed. We will pop in and out of view through our screens, be they via computer, tablet or phone, offering a real-time window of our steaming kitchens. The light filtering in will reflect an early morning and late afternoon; some may be in pajamas, others back from an afternoon walk; but most important of all is that we will be together. Our festive season will be different this year. It is up to us to make the most of the opportunity. Bon appetit!

Recipes Roasted Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Date and Pecan Salad Makes 4 servings

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon Dijon or walnut mustard 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

FOR THE VEGETABLES 2

⁄ 3 pound Brussels sprouts, sliced

Olive oil Salt Black pepper 1 small bunch kale, rinsed and chopped into 1-inch slices 8 pitted dates, roughly chopped 1

⁄ 2 cup pecans, dry roasted for 2 minutes

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients to form an emulsion. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the Brussels sprouts onto a large rimmed sheet pan or into a large shallow baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and 5–6 grinds of pepper. Place in the center of the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, add the kale and mix with the Brussels sprouts. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting for 8 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, dates, pecans and chives to the salad bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.


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Roasted Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Date and Pecan Salad.

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Potato and Celeriac Gratin Makes 4 servings 4 ounces crème fraîche 3

⁄ 4 cup cups cream

Salt and pepper 1 pound potatoes (russets or Yukon Golds), peeled and very thinly sliced on a mandoline 1 pound celeriac (celery root), peeled, very thinly sliced on a

Roasted Cornish Hens with Mushrooms and a Riesling Sauce Makes 4 servings 1 ounce butter Olive oil 8 shallots, peeled and quartered 2 Cornish hens, about 1½ pounds each

mandoline

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

6 ounces (200 milliliters) Riesling

3 green onions, finely sliced 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche and cream. Add a good pinch of salt and 5–6 grinds black pepper and whisk once more.

3

⁄ 4 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered

1

⁄ 4 cup lemon juice

1

⁄ 2 cup crème fraîche

Preheat oven to 375°.

Layer the well-coated potatoes and celeriac slices in a large gratin dish or individual gratins, slightly overlapping them.

Put the butter and a little olive oil into a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the Cornish hens and the mushrooms. Place the pan on the stove top over medium-high heat, add in the shallots and cook until just golden. Remove the shallots from the pan. Add the Cornish hens to the same pan and sprinkle them with salt and pepper and cook on all sides until they are golden brown. This will take about 10–15 minutes in all.

Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the top of the gratin is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Add the wine to the pan along with the shallots. Turn the hens once or twice in the wine and then place the roasting pan in the oven and cook for another 45–50 minutes.

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well. The easiest way to do this is with your hands. It’s a little messy, but fun!

While the hens are cooking, heat a little butter in a large frying pan placed over medium heat. Add the mushrooms in two batches, sautéing them until just golden brown. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat, leaving the mushrooms in the pan. Once the hens are cooked remove the roasting pan from the oven. Set the hens aside on a plate and keep warm. Place the roasting pan over high heat and reduce the cooking liquid by half, scraping up all the delicious bits at the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and stir in the crème fraîche and mushrooms and simmer until heated through.

Opposite: Potato and Celeriac Gratin.

Cut the Cornish hens in half and place each half on a warmed plate. Pour some of the Riesling sauce and mushrooms over the Cornish hens and serve at once. EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 49


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Pear and Pomegranate Pavlova.

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Pear and Pomegranate Pavlova Makes 6–8 servings 3 egg whites at room temperature Pinch of salt 6 ounce ultra-fine sugar (1 cup less 2 tablespoons) 11 ⁄ 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract

4 sprigs thyme 1 cauliflower, leaves trimmed away and florets separated 1 bay leaf Zest of 1 lemon 3 tablespoons apple cider 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock Salt and pepper 4 ounces Stilton cheese

11 ⁄ 4 cups cream

2 tablespoons crème fraîche

1 tablespoon sugar

Pour a little olive oil and the butter into a large saucepan placed over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the onions, shallots and the thyme and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5–7 minutes.

1 tablespoon butter 1 teaspoon sugar 3 pears, peeled, cored and sliced Seeds of 1 pomegranate

Preheat oven to 300°. Draw a 8-inch circle on parchment paper, using a compass or dinner plate. Place the parchment paper on a baking sheet with drawn circle side down. Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until satiny peaks form. Then beat in the ultra-fine sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla over the whipped egg whites. Fold in lightly using a rubber spatula. Mound the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it to the edge of the circle. Flatten the top and smooth the sides. Place the meringue on the bottom rack of the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250°. Bake for 1¼ hours. Turn off the oven. Let the meringue cool with the door slightly ajar. Remove from oven when the meringue has cooled completely. Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks. Top the meringue with whipped cream. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and the pear slices. Cook until golden and caramelized. Let cool in the pan. When the pear slices are cool, place them on top of the whipped cream. Top with pomegranate seeds.

Cauliflower Soup with Stilton and Caramelized Pear Relish Makes 4 servings

Add in the cauliflower, bay leaf, lemon zest, apple cider and stock; season with some salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is completely soft. Remove the bay leaf from the soup, add in the Stilton and then process the soup either in a blender or with an immersion blender until the soup is completely smooth. Whisk in the crème fraîche and keep the soup warm until you are ready to serve it. Serve the soup in warm bowls with a spoonful of the pear relish (see below) in the middle of each bowl.

FOR THE PEAR RELISH 1 pinch saffron 1

⁄ 4 cup dried golden raisins and/or dried cranberries

1 tablespoon butter 2 pears, cored, peeled and chopped 1 tablespoon sugar 2 sprigs lemon thyme 1 cinnamon stick Coarse sea salt Black pepper

Soak the saffron in a small bowl of hot water with the dried fruit for 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the pears, sugar, thyme and cinnamon stick. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in the dried fruit and saffron and cook for a further 10 minutes. You should have a soft golden mixture. Season with some coarse salt and pepper.

Olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

Pascale Beale grew up in England and France surrounded by a family that has always been passionate about food, wine and the arts. She was taught to cook by her French mother and grandmother. She is the author of The Menu for All Seasons, Salade II, Les Fruits and Les Legumes. Visit her website and blog: The Market Table at PascalesKitchen.com.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 51


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edible

SA NTA BARBA R A COUNT Y

SUPPORT LOC AL GUIDE Now more than ever, it’s important to seek out and support local businesses. Here is our guide of some of the current and past advertisers that we fully support and hope you will, too. Click on any of the websites for a direct link to get more information about what they offer and any updated hours of operation.

Winfield Farm 805 686-9312 www.WinfieldFarm.us Taste the magic of Winfield Mangalitsa! Mangalitsa ground pork (the real hamburger) and hickory-smoked bacon are now featured in the Larder Meat Company’s Larder Club meat box, delivered monthly throughout California (sign up at www.LarderMeatCo.com). You can also order through our Mangalitsa Market on the Winfield Farm website—please call first! Follow us on Facebook (WinfieldFarmBuellton), Twitter (@ WinfieldFarm.us) and Instagram (Winfield_Farm).

Food & Restaurants Ballard Inn & Gathering Table 2436 Baseline Ave., Ballard, 805 688-7770 www.BallardInn.com Elegant accommodations, attentive staff and awardwinning cuisine make the Ballard Inn & Gathering Table one of the most sought-after small luxury inns in the Santa Barbara Wine Country. Gathering Table open to the public Wed–Sun from 5–9pm.

Bob’s Well Bread 550 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805 344-3000 www.BobsWellBread.com Making bread the old-fashioned way: handcrafted in small batches with the finest ingredients and baked to perfection in a custom-built stone-deck oven. Drop in to taste what visitors and journalists are raving about as “worth the drive”—signature Pain au Levain, awardwinning artisanal breads, croissants and specialty pastries. All-day menu of made-to-order breakfast, lunch and weekly special dishes. Indoor-outdoor picturesque café. Thu–Mon 7am–6pm. Café closes at 3pm. Closed Tue and Wed.

temptations that are made from the highest-quality chocolate (Valrhona, Felchlin, Conexion, including small bean-to-bar artisans couverture) fresh local ingredients and exotic findings from their travels overseas. Covid-19 hours noon–4pm every day. Closed on Wednesday.

Il Fustino La Arcada 1100 State St. San Roque Plaza, 3401 State St., Santa Barbara, 805 845-3521 www.ilFustino.com Il Fustino is Santa Barbara’s first and finest olive oil and vinegar tasting room. Il Fustino purveys only the finest and freshest olive oils, all grown and milled in California. They also provide an unparalleled selection of artisan vinegars. San Roque Plaza: Open Mon–Sun 11am–5pm. La Arcada: Open Thu–Sun noon–4pm.

Pico 458 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805 344-1122 www.PicoLosAlamos.com

Ramen Kotori 1618 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang, 805 691-9672 www.RamenKotori.com Mom-and-pop ramen shop offering farmers market– inspired Japanese dishes including traditional Shoyu ramen, Karaage Japanese fried chicken, gyoza pot stickers, kimchi fried rice and seasonal pickles.

Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro 3315 State St., Santa Barbara, 805 569-2400 1324 State St., Santa Barbara, 805 892-280 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, 805 324-4200 www.RenaudsBistro.com Renaud’s is a bakery specializing in French pastries and French-style cakes, as well as a bistro offering an extensive menu for breakfast and lunch. Open Mon– Sat 7am–5pm; Sun 7am–3pm.

Located in the historic 1880 General Store, offering a casual dining experience with innovative cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. The extensive wine list has earned a Wine Enthusiast “Top 100 Wine Restaurant” award two years running. Open Tue– Thu 3–9pm; Fri–Sat noon–10pm; Sun Burger Night noon–9pm.

Plow to Porch 805 895-7171 www.PlowToPorch.com Plow to Porch Organics is a local organic/pesticide-free produce and grocery delivery service to members who subscribe. They simplify the purchase of local fresh organic produce and other organic, local foods in order to inspire good nutrition, support local farmers, protect the environment and make eating healthy food fun! Subscriptions start at $22.50.

Chocolate Maya

PureWild Co.

15 W. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara, 805 965-5956 www.ChocolateMaya.com

www.PureWildCo.com

Chocolate Maya handmade chocolate confections: a variety of velvety truffles and chocolate-dipped

delicious way to better health. Available for purchase at Rainbow Bridge, Westridge Markets and Pacific Health Foods.

PureWild Marine Collagen Infusions combine organic juices like blueberry, lime and mango with wild harvested marine collagen and adaptogens for a

54 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21

COLIN QUIRT

Farms & Ranches


Wine & Beer

Rhône-style wines. Tasting room and picnic area open daily 10am–4pm. Call for more information on winery tours and private event space.

Au Bon Climat 813 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara, 805 963-7999 AuBonClimat.com

Specialty Retail

The tasting room and the Jim Clendenen Wine Library are known for world-class Chardonnays and Pinots, yet other varietals are available. Jim Clendenen has been making wines of vision and character for over 30 years. Amazing lineup of current releases and library wines on hand. Tasting room open Mon–Fri noon–6pm, Sat and Sun 11am–6pm. Outdoor wine tasting daily. Reservations recommended.

ella & louie

805 691-9106 www.EllaAndLouie.com Floral designer Tracey Morris has two great loves: flowers and people. Relying on more than 25 years of design experience, Morris helps clients celebrate their big occasions with exquisite and expressive floral arrangements. Ella & Louie produces a range of looks from classic elegant designs or brightly colored flower crowns to unusual yet stylish. Local delivery.

Babi’s Beer Emporium Great beer. Impeccable selection. Great fun. Adventurous beer drinkers can discover unique, hardto-find craft beers, ciders and special projects—on tap or in bottle. Stay to have a bite from Dim Sama’s menu. Thu–Sat noon–7pm, Sun noon–6pm, Mon noon–4pm, Tue–Wed by appointment only.

Buttonwood Farm Winery 1500 Alamo Pintado Rd., Solvang, 805 688-3032 www.ButtonwoodWinery.com Since 1983, the vineyard and its award-winning wines have been hand-raised and hand-crafted with the goal of environmental responsibility. The vineyard now has 38,000 vines highlighted by Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, along with small blocks of Semillon, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tasting daily by appointment 11am–3:30pm.

Casa Dumetz 388 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805 344-1900 www.CasaDumetzWines.com A boutique winery specializing in Rhône varietals crafted with premier Santa Barbara County fruit. Their wines are sold almost exclusively at their tasting room in historic Los Alamos and through their wine club. Thu–Sat noon–7pm, Sun noon–6pm, Mon noon–4pm, Tue–Wed by appointment only.

Lafond Winery Vineyard: 6855 Santa Rosa Rd., Buellton, 805 688-7921 Funk Zone: 111 Yanonali St., Santa Barbara, 805 845-2020 www.LafondWinery.com Lafond Winery & Vineyards is the sister label to neighbor Santa Barbara Winery. With the first grapes belonging to Lafond Vineyards being planting in 1962, owner Pierre Lafond established the first commercial winery in Santa Barbara County. The Lafond label specializes in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Visit the Funk Zone tasting room Sun–Thu 10am–6pm, Fri–Sat 10am–7pm or the vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills 10am–5pm daily.

Margerum & Barden Tasting Room at the Hotel Californian, corner Winery Tasting Room, 59 Industrial Way, Buellton; 805 686-8500 www.MargerumWines.com Enjoy wine tasting, order from their menu, and stock up on provisions at the combined Margerum and Barden Tasting Room across the street from Hotel Californian in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. Indoor and outdoor patio seating, with an indoor mezzanine that can host private events. Handcrafted Rhône varietal wines from Margerum Estate Vineyard and from grapes

C AROLE TOPALIAN

380 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805 344-1911 www.BabisBeerEmporium.com

grown at top Santa Barbara County vineyards. All complemented with a simple fare menu—cheese and charcuterie, pizzas, paninis, salads and other foods to complement the wine. The winery in Buellton is open by appointment for wine tasting and winery tours.

Riverbench Vineyard & Winery Vineyard Tasting Room 6020 Foxen Canyon Rd., Santa Maria 805 937-8340 Santa Barbara Tasting Room 137 Anacapa St., Ste. C., Santa Barbara 805 324-4100 www.Riverbench.com

Professional Services American Riviera Bank 525 San Ysidro Rd., Montecito, 805-335-8110 www.AmericanRivieraBank.com 1033 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara 805 965-5942 www.AmericanRivieraBank.com Offering a local and sustainable approach to banking. The founders of American Riviera Bank are a carefully selected group of successful, prominent, experienced and influential community and business leaders who understand the unique needs of the Santa Barbara community. Montecito branch open Mon–Thu 9am–5pm; Fri 9am–5:30pm. Santa Barbara branch open Mon–Thu 8am–5pm, Fri 8am–6pm.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973, when the first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the bank of the Sisquoc River, known as the Santa Maria Bench. Visits currently by appointment only; please go to Riverbench.com to read current policies and make reservations.

Santa Barbara Winery 202 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara 805 963-3633 www.SBWinery.com

805 967-5741 www.FoodbankSBC.org Working every day to move people from hunger into health. The mission of the Foodbank is to provide nourishment to those in need by acquiring and distributing safe nutritious foods via local agencies and providing education to solve hunger and nutrition problems in Santa Barbara County. For information about their Covid-19 relief efforts, please visit https:// foodbanksbc.org/disasterrelief/.

SBCC Foundation

Santa Barbara Winery is the oldest winery in Santa Barbara County. Established in 1962, Pierre Lafond pioneered the commercial vineyard business under the Santa Barbara Winery label in the Sta. Rita Hills. The winery and tasting room is located in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone and is one of the only fully operating wineries of its kind in the urban district. Tasting room open Sun–Thu 10am–6pm, Fri–Sat 10am–7pm.

Taste of Sta. Rita Hills 2923 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, 805 688-1900 www.TasteOfStaRitaHills.com Taste of Sta. Rita Hills is the go-to store for unique Sta. Rita Hills and Central Coast wines, featuring hard-tofind wines by Sea Smoke, Paul Lato, Bonaccorsi and many others. They offer some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Central Coast.

805 730-4401 www.SBCCFoundation.org The SBCC Foundation was established in 1976 to provide Santa Barbara City College with private philanthropic support. The foundation acts in partnership with the college and bridges the gap between available public funding and institutional need, as determined by the college leadership. The SBCC Foundation provides more than $4 million annually for student success programs, scholarships, book grants and other critical needs of the college in order to support SBCC students as they prepare for careers, transfer to four-year universities and pursue lifelong learning goals.

Santa Barbara County Food Action Network SBCFoodAction.org

Zaca Mesa Winery 6905 Foxen Canyon Rd., Los Olivos 805 688-9339 www.ZacaMesa.com Since 1973, Zaca Mesa Winery has crafted distinctive wines from their unique mesa-top vineyard. As an early pioneer of the region, they now have 150 acres planted, specializing in the production of estate-grown

The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network connects, aligns and activates a network of food system actors to develop a robust local food economy, a healthy and just community and a well-stewarded, resilient foodshed.

EdibleSantaBarbara.com HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21 | 55


AS

T

THE

L

Winter’s

Don’t-Miss Dish Words and photos by Liz Dodder

Chicken Tikka with Panch Phoron and Tarragon at Bibi Ji Indian-American sommelier Rajat Parr is widely known for his extensive knowledge of the world’s great wines, and for developing and managing wine programs for more than a dozen famous restaurants across the United States. He also makes wines right here in Santa Barbara County, with his various labels sourcing fruit mainly from the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. But Parr’s first love was food. He grew up in India and studied to become a chef, eventually graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Now, Parr and restaurant partner Alejandro Medina offer that taste of Parr’s home at Bibi Ji on State Street, with a hyper-local focus on ingredients. These days they offer patio dining, takeout and online ordering. This Chicken Tikka is one of Parr’s personal favorites, and he frequently makes it at home. The dish features local tarragon plus red cabbage and spring onion from John Givens Farm at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. The Panch Phoron (Indian five-spice, consisting of cumin, brown mustard, fenugreek, nigella and fennel) is roasted, ground and blended in-house, to ensure the particular taste of home Parr’s mom would make herself. To prepare Parr’s Chicken Tikka, mix 2 cups of whole yogurt, 3 tablespoons of Panch Phoron (available at spice shops or online), 3 tablespoons of kosher salt, 5 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 5 tablespoons of local olive oil. Cover 6 pounds of chicken thighs with the paste and marinate for 2–6 hours. Whisk together ½ cup of rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper and a dash of sugar or honey. Add in a pound of thinly sliced red cabbage and ½ pound of thinly sliced spring onion and toss. (This can also be made ahead of time and marinated.) Grill the chicken thighs until tender—or heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat and add chicken thighs. Cook about 5–6 minutes, then flip and cook for 5–6 more, or until done. Add a pat of butter and a sprinkle of chaat masala to the pan and a dash of lemon. Place the hot chicken on top of the cabbage slaw, add a dash of lemon and serve. Liz Dodder is a drinker, eater and traveler who has eaten five kinds of foie gras in one day. She’s also a blogger, writer, photographer, recipe developer, web designer, social media maven and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). CaliCoastWineCountry.com

56 | EDIBLE SANTA BARBARA HOLIDAY / WINTER 2020–21


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