Archive | Spring 2010

Brunch Salad with Almonds and Pixie Tangerines

4 ounces rucola (an aromatic Italian salad green)
1 cup pitted and sliced green olives
½ cup toasted almonds
½ fennel bulb
4 peeled Pixie tangerines, separated into segments
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
8 ounces Ricotta Salata
Salt and pepper to taste
Place rucola, olives and almonds in a large bowl.
24 edible ojai&ventura County spring 2010
24 edible ojai&Ventura County summer 2009

Cut the fennel half in half; then, using a sharp knife, shave fennel lengthwise into paper-thin slices. Add fennel slices and tangerine segments to bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Toss salad and transfer to a large serving bowl. Using a fine-rasp grater, lightly shred Ricotta Salata over salad and serve.

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Prawn Cakes

Santa Barbara Spot Prawns, a Southern California catch, are technically shrimp but are oversized and taste like sweet lobster. Named for the distinctive white spots on their reddish-brown shells, Spot Prawns have a delicate flavor and firm texture.

3 pounds Spot Prawns
2 tablespoons red chile sauce
4 eggs
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
4 tablespoons ranch dressing
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter

Put two quarts of water into a pot, add two tablespoons salt and bring to a boil. Add prawns and cook for two minutes. Remove pot from heat and drain contents into a colander. Set prawns aside to cool. Remove the tails, peel them, coarsely chop and set aside.

Put chile sauce, eggs, parsley, lime juice and ranch
dressing into a mixing bowl and mix well using a
whisk. Add shrimp, then breadcrumbs, and mix. Set
mixture aside for half an hour before forming prawn
cakes. To form the cakes, divide mixture into eight
equal-size balls and press each into a flattened cake.
Set aside on a large plate.

Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
Add prawn cakes to pan but do not crowd. Cook
each cake for about … Read More

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Ridgeback Shrimp with Roasted Corn Cakes and Mixed Greens

8 ounces shrimp, chopped
2 cans roasted and shelled corn
1 red pepper, diced
2 scallions, chopped
9 large eggs, beaten
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound mixed salad greens
3 key limes
4 ounces additional olive oil

Heat an ounce of olive oil in a saucepan; add red pepper, scallions and corn. Then add shrimp, mix, remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl combine eggs, breadcrumbs and flour. Heat remaining oil in a cast-iron skillet. Drop silver-dollar-size “fritter” in hot oil, cook until fritter is brown (approximately 2 minutes per side), remove from oil, dress greens with lime juice and olive oil and serve.

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Eggs Avocado, Benedict Style

(serves 2–4)

For a scrumptious-tasting brunch, a smooth sauce of avocados mashed with lemon replaces Hollandaise sauce in this delicious variation on the traditional

Eggs Benedict.
2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
4 slices Canadian bacon
2 English muffins, toasted
4 poached eggs
Parsley for garnish

Cut avocados into quarters and remove pits. Then spoon avocado pieces into a zip-top plastic bag. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper, press out air and seal bag. Cut tip off one end of bag and stand it up.

In a skillet, cook Canadian bacon until lightly browned around edges. Place one slice of bacon on each muffin half. Top with a poached egg and squeeze avocado spread over egg.

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Serves 4–6

1 cup white flour
1/3 cup whole-grain flour
1 teaspoon anise seed
¾ teaspoon salt
4 ounce stick unsalted butter
1 large farm-fresh egg, beaten with a little water

Combine the flours, anise seed and salt in a small bowl. Grate the cold butter over the flour using the largest holes of your cheese grater. Add the beaten egg to the flour mixture and mix with a fork until the mixture starts to come together. Use your hands to quickly form the mixture into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

3 tablespoons butter
½ cup shallots, sliced lengthwise
2 small cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 fennel bulb, cut in half lengthwise then sliced thinly across
2 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, rosemary
2 bay leaves
4 small turnips, scrubbed and chopped into ½-inch pieces.
4 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and sliced ½ inch thick
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon local honey

Using a 9- to 10-inch cast iron fry pan, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter for 10 minutes on a medium-low flame. Salt and pepper as you go. If you do … Read More

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Marty Fujita

By Steve Sprinkel
Photograph by Claud Mann

9 February 2010

Marty Fujita died yesterday. She left much unfinished business for us to continue and an example of dedication and inspiration that will serve to guide us in fulfilling the work she began. Death mitigates one’s lack of focus and exposes the false calm of procrastination, neither of which afflicted Marty Fujita, whose goals are now ours more than ever. She was a co-founder of Food for Thought, the nonprofit group aiming to improve children’s diets in and out of school as well as educate people in the Ojai Valley about the importance of local food production.

Farmers and their friends in Ojai lost an influential champion in Marty’s passing. She truly loved food from the ground up. Money was hardly her motivation for selling fruit with Jim Churchill and Lisa Brenneis at the farmers’ market on Sunday. Neither was it the reason she helped pack fruit with them at their orchard, or why she organized countless meetings and events, networking with other groups, businesses and government to bring people together.

Marty frequently held working lunches at The Farmer and The Cook, particularly when out-of-town somebodies were in attendance. I would … Read More

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By Ramona Bajema

People are talking a lot about food these days. What to eat. What not to eat. Where it comes from. How to cook it. It has become as common a topic as the weather. Makes sense since we are starting to identify ourselves by what and how we eat. Even on Facebook, food seems to be the primary topic. I have a couple of friends who summarize their political views as “vegan.”

And I have started to eavesdrop.

While I was doing some last-minute grocery shopping on Christmas Eve, I noticed a high school–aged young man walking with his grandmother in the market. The grandmother was stooped over her cart and clearly in charge of what was going into it. They stopped in front of the dairy cases, where there were also refrigerated prepared foods.

“Oh, darn. They ran out,” the grandmother said, looking very dispirited. A sad grandmother on Christmas Eve—butter must have sold out, I thought.

The young man, who was probably a football player, seemed to know the cause of her duress:

“Why don’t we just make the sugar cookies from scratch, Grandma? We can get the flour and sugar and whatever else …”… Read More

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Spring Awakening—White Wine Time

Spring is here. The markers of fragrant, delicate blooms and emergent green growth are abundant. My garden literally teems with explosive life, and as I gather up this season’s lettuces, herbs and vegetables I naturally begin planning for a spring dinner fête with friends. Of course, my mind wanders to wine choices and they are all fresh, light, lively and white.

I sip what the season dictates, and there can be no better match with fresh green salads, spring pea soup and herbed and grilled fish and chicken than a crisp, chilled glass of lovely white wine.

The great thing is that no matter what your palate, there are so many lovely choices at this time of year, all anchored in great wine traditions from around the world. For me, wine is a passport. During the times in my life when I could not travel, I found myself cultivating a passion for foreign wine. By picking out a nice wine from a particular country, I could literally taste the region. Fine wines from around the world, made with care and with respect to long-standing wine traditions, have the power to transmit culture and place.

For those of you who typically … Read More

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By Joe Zentner

It is called brunch, and it is weird. A linguistic and culinary hybrid, brunch is a breakfast that often begins with a cocktail. Or a lunch that’s organized around a stack of blueberry pancakes. It’s neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring, although all three items can wind up on the same plate.

Many people’s favorite meal of the week, brunch is usually served at a civilized hour, rarely before 11:30 in the morning and seldom later than 2:30 in the afternoon. Depending on your group, brunch can last for an hour or linger on until the cocktail hour begins around 5 p.m.

The origins of brunch aren’t clear. We do know that on Sundays, it was common practice among early Christians to have a large post-church meal. Catholics require fasting before Mass, so after
leaving their place of worship, many people ate a large celebratory meal combining breakfast and lunch.

America may not have invented the concept of brunch, but we definitely made the meal a hit. Citizens of this country became very taken with brunch after World War I. During the Roaring ’20s,
partygoers created … Read More

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By Steve Sprinkel & Olivia Chase
(the farmer and the cook)

signs of spring in the peaceable kingdom

The snake barely moved when I brushed it with my hand, accidentally, while I was cutting lettuce with Quin a few days ago. It was a big red and gold striped garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis, and my, wasn’t February a bit early for a slither? Yes, confirming our El Niño as a source of many phenomena, including night after night without frost, big grasshoppers dropping in early and fresh cold-blooded creatures, wakened too soon and hungry.

The many red boxes on the garter’s flanks seemed like windows on a night train. It was tame. Too tame. Or just in a coma from having eaten whatever rodent was obviously ballooning its belly. I would move a few feet on my knees and do my work and the snake would slide forward just out of reach. We slid down the row together for an hour. The snake sat there with its head on its coil, watching me and in no big hurry to escape from its biblical enemy, sworn to an eternity of enmity. Could it not see the eight inches of cold, … Read More

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