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“Being an artist, I think we eat with our eyes as well as our other senses,” says photographer Leela Cyd, who illustrates that concept with style in her new, mouth-wateringly beautiful cookbook, FOOD WITH FRIENDS: THE ART OF SIMPLE GATHERINGS (Clarkson Potter, $25, available at Chaucer’s Bookstore, 805-682-6787, The Santa Barbara native is known for her food, lifestyle, and travel images that have appeared in this magazine as well as Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, among many other publications. But she also had been a personal chef and a longtime blogger for The Kitchn when she envisioned a project that would combine her talents: She could prepare the food, take the photos, and share the stories behind dishes she loved. The 85 recipes, all vegetarian, are divided into five sections that highlight casual meals and entertaining—Breakfast and Brunch, Teatime, Potluck and Picnics, Cocktail Hour, and Tiny Takeaways. “This is how I cook and eat,” says Cyd. “I make something simple and have friends and family over. These are easy recipes, but they have something special.” For example, she points Clockwise from top: A lemon-strawberry tart; FOOD WITH FRIENDS ; SAVORY TARTINES topped

with chèvre and radishes; raclette and asparagus; tomato; and a SWEET TOAST spread with

wheat germ, bee pollen, and honey.

to a basic sugar cookie where the addition of a pressed edible flower makes it beautiful as well as delicious. “It becomes a jewel.” Growing up in Santa Barbara has influenced both Cyd’s palate and her palette. “It’s a given that you’re cooking seasonally and with natural and fresh ingredients,” she says. Her love of color and texture becomes obvious in recipes such as Spring Green Couscous Cups. “Israeli couscous is larger with a great texture and a pearl-like bite,” says Cyd. Add kale pesto, tempered with cheese, nuts, olive oil, and a little basil, and “visually, it’s green madness!” The Beet-Pickled Eggs on the book’s cover, edged with a startling fuchsia, are another example of a dish with eye-popping appeal and unexpected flavors. And her favorite recipe? Cyd thinks for a moment, then decides on Think Pink Faloodas, her version of an Indian dessert. “It’s like a boba [bubble tea] gone crazy,” she says. “It’s food that makes you feel like a kid. How could you not smile?” ● S A N TA B A R B A R A

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Profile for Santa Barbara Magazine

Spring 2016  

His + Hers Style, Food with Friends, and our Guide to be a Bride 2016 Camilla Belle Well Suited for Spring

Spring 2016  

His + Hers Style, Food with Friends, and our Guide to be a Bride 2016 Camilla Belle Well Suited for Spring