Archive | Spring 2011

Spring 2011 Table of Contents


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Food for Thought

Edible Notables

In Season

Seasonal Recipes

Edible Leftovers: Hash

Edible Garden: Companion Planting

Vegetable Literacy: Two Spring Plants: Sorrel and Rhubarb

Liquid Assets: Gypsy Canyon’s Angelica

What the Grownups Are Drinking

Edible Santa Barbara Dining Guide

Salt of the Sea: Fisherman Steve Escobar Experiments with Local Sea Salt

An Artisanal Approach: Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro

Julia’s Kitchen: Julia Crookston and the Good Land Kitchen

The Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Farmers Market

The Rituals of a Meal

Edible Source Guide and Edible Events

The Last Bite



Fresh Pea Soup

Sorrel Lentil Soup


A Spring Salad

Endive Salad with Fava Beans and Herbs

Main Dishes


Provençal Leg of Lamb

Sorrel Omelet with Cream


Classic Cherry Clafoutis

Green Rhubarb Puree with Grapefruit

Cover photo by Fran Collin

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Julia’s Kitchen

Julia Crookston and the Good Land Kitchen

Melissa Gomez and Julia Crookston at the Good Land Kitchen.

By Carrie Clough

Photography by Erin Feinblatt

Julia Crookston and I met after a presentation on raising chickens at the Faulkner Gallery, about a year and a half ago. Katherine Anderson of Blue Oak Ranch introduced us, knowing we were both chefs. I liked her immediately. It wasn’t just her enthusiasm for food that appealed to me—it was her enthusiasm for life. She seemed like a kindred spirit.

What intrigued me most about Julia was that her business was focused on food preservation: the canning, pickling and fermenting of surplus farm produce. “How absolutely fantastic,” I thought. Not only fantastic because those three methods are a wonderful way to both prevent spoilage and enhance the flavor of foods, but also because we have so much produce in Santa Barbara County that ends up in the compost.

Julia is what you might call a seasoned chef. During the course of her 30-year career, she has worked for Chez Panisse, for Jeremiah Towers—of Chez Panisse fame—at Stars, for the catering placement agency, Bon Appetit, for nearly 10 years, as a cooking instructor at the Southern … Continue Reading

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Edible Garden

Companion Planting

By Joan S. Bolton

Photograph of ‘three sisters’ garden above by Jaspenelle Stewart

A perfect match. Whether green onions with broccoli or basil with tomatoes, certain pairings in the garden are just meant to be. Or in the case of beans, corn and squash, a threesome is fine, too.

Companion planting has been around for centuries, long before applying commercial chemicals in the garden became a modern way to grow ample crops. Folks who relied on food from their gardens couldn’t afford to lose their cucumbers to beetles or their cabbage to moths. So they turned to pairings that relied on the natural qualities of various plants to control pests, attract beneficial insects and encourage vigorous, healthy growth. While there might not have been scientific proof, the combinations simply worked.

One of my first forays into companion planting was some 20 years ago, after a particularly persistent pack of fuzzy, gray aphids decimated my broccoli. Determined to not let that happen again, yet equally determined not to drench my broccoli with pesticides, I planted green onion sets between the rows on my next go-round.

The result was downright miraculous. The onions’ scent deterred the aphids from moving in and my … Continue Reading

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An Artisanal Approach:

Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro

by Jennifer LeMay
Photography by Fran Collin

Every day at 7am people are at the door, waiting for Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro to open. A mere 30 minutes earlier, trays of flakey, buttery croissants and other delectable breakfast pastries come out of the oven, ready to be savored by discerning and highly appreciative customers. What goes into making these delicacies and an array of breakfast and lunch offerings is a blend of careful orchestration, attention to detail, the freshest ingredients and true artistry. The attraction for many of Renaud’s fans is not only the high quality, delicious pastries; it’s the opportunity to experience these absolutely authentic French treats.

A day typically starts around 4am for Renaud Gonthier, executive pastry chef and co-founder of Renaud’s with his wife, Nicole. He and his cooks begin the breakfast pastries, cookies and tarts with specially prepared dough and mixtures that were made the day before. Every item involves multiple steps and perfect timing, but even
Renaud is amazed at how often their creations come out of the oven at almost precisely the same time—down
to the minute—each morning. Perfect timing can be chalked up to experience, and the same can … Continue Reading

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Salt of the Sea

Fisherman Steve Escobar Experiments with Local Sea Salt

by Nancy Oster
Photography by Fran Collin

Growing up near the beach in Southern California, I’ve swallowed my share of ocean water while playing in the waves and know first-hand that it’s pretty salty. But I’d never considered looking beyond the grocery or specialty market shelves for salt until a discussion during our Eat Local Challenge made me wonder if local sea water might yield edible salt.

Steve Escobar, a local crab, lobster and spot prawn fisherman, is always on the lookout for new culinary treasures hidden beneath the surface of the ocean. “I own a live fish market in Newport Beach called the Dory Fleet. My customers always ask me how to cook stuff,” he says. He often sells his customers Macrocystis kelp, a local seaweed, to steam with their lobsters. “It makes a fragrant poaching liquid and tons and tons of it comes up in my traps.

Steve’s Portuguese heritage has given him an appreciation for often-overlooked items like shield and rock limpets, which are commonly served at Portuguese festas. He is currently looking for new uses for the fresh kombu seaweed—used in Japanese dashi—found in deep water. Between fishing … Continue Reading

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Gypsy Canyon’s Angelica

by Laura Sanchez

Early Spanish explorers may have consulted elaborate treasure maps in their search of the mythical gold of El Dorado, but Santa Barbara County winemaker Deborah Hall had to follow a series of cryptic historical clues—quill-scrawled letters, a frayed 18th century tome and a modern-day DNA sample—to find treasure in the Sta. Rita Hills.

In 1994 Hall and her family moved from Los Angeles to their 130-acre Gypsy Canyon property, between Buellton and Lompoc, with the dream of planting Pinot Noir grapes. The land’s rugged beauty and quietude resonated deeply for the recently widowed mother of two. In addition, the property’s location within the Sta. Rita Hills appellation—one of California’s optimum climates for Pinot and Chardonnay—meant an opportunity to support her family and fulfill her late husband’s dream of raising world-class grapes.

Thus, Hall began clearing some of the property’s hillside slopes. Beneath the thick sagebrush and blackberry brambles she and fellow workers discovered the gnarled trunks of nearly 1,500 dormant vines—remnants of an ancient vineyard.

Hall consulted several local winemakers who identified the vines as Zinfandel. She also interviewed elderly neighbors, reviewed property deeds and sought out official county records to ultimately determine that the vines had … Continue Reading

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