Spiritland Bistro Wine Night

What a fun evening tonight was at the Spiritland Bistro in Santa Barbara. My menu was featured for their Rose’ BYOB wine lovers evening. George and I met some wonderful people and had a great time. I highly recommend these monthly wine nights to anyone who loves wine and great company! For their website:

The menu for this evening started off with a Orange, Fennel Salad; Blackened Spicy Snapper served over California Fiesta Quinoa Salad with a side of Summer Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Herbs. The dessert was Chilled Rhubarb Strawberry Soup served with a Madeleine cookie.

If you would like to prepare these great dishes at home, they are posted here. Enjoy and please write to me about your experience!


Orange & Fennel Salad
(serves 4)

4 large juicy oranges or blood oranges
2 Tbs. orange zest
1 large fennel bulb, sliced very thinly
1 small red onion, finely sliced
8 plump black olives, thinly sliced
1 fresh red chili, deseeded and very thinly sliced
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Finely chopped parlsey for garnish.

1. Grate rind from the oranges and reserve. Remove all the white pith from the oranges, working over a bowl to catch juices. Cut oranges into thin wedges.
2. Toss the oranges with sliced fennel, orange zest and red chili pepper. Whisk olive oil into the saved juice and then spoon over oranges.
3. Sprinkle the olive slices over the top and garnish with a few slices of red onion and several thin slices of olives. Final garnish is chopped parsley.
4. Serve with slices of French bread.

California Fiesta Salad

California Fiesta Quinoa Salad
(Serves 6)

Absolutely one of the most loved salads with by my clients, students, family, and friends!

l cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup fresh tomato, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
½ cup cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
½ cup fresh or frozen corn, blanched
½ cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup black olives, pitted and diced (Kalamata is the best!)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes, hot (or more to taste)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar or ¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt

1. Boil 2 cups water and add salt. Rinse quinoa in strainer thoroughly and place in boiling water, cover, and reduce to medium low flame. Cook for 20 minutes or until grain is fluffed and water is absorbed. Remove from pot to large bowl and cool before adding vegetables.

2. Slice tomatoes into ½ inch slabs and remove the most of the seeds. Then cut tomatoes into sticks and crosswise into ½ inch cubes. This will give you evenly sized tomato pieces without them getting mushy over the next few days.

3. Celery is cut by going down the rib in the center once or twice. Depending on the size of the celery you might need to cut it in thirds. Then cut crosswise into ½ inch pieces again.

4. Slice cucumber lengthwise in 4 strips and then remove center seeds. Chop crosswise these strips into ½ inch pieces. Remove root ends of scallions and cross chop into ¼ inch pieces.

5. Toss cooled quinoa with all remaining vegetables, beans and olives. Mix vinegar, oil, hot pepper flakes, and salt together. Toss lightly with salad. Refrigerate for an hour before serving or longer. This will last 5 days.

Serving Suggestions: My favorite way of having this as a leftover in scrambled eggs! Just before the eggs set hard, I add ¼ cup or so of this salad and give it a stir. Very yummy breakfast!

Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower

Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower
with Fresh Herbs
(Serves 4-6)

I love this variation of my Roasted Winter Vegetables recipe. So sweet and satisfying and easy. It also smells wonderful while they roast!

2 cups cauliflower (white, yellow, purple or Romanesco)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large matchsticks or
2 cups peeled and thickly sliced winter squash (butternut, buttercup, Hokaido)
1 large fresh red onion, quartered or 12 baby red onions
1 bunch baby carrots
1 large leek, green top removed, bottom sliced 1-inch diagonal
2 cloves of elephant garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh tarragon leaves
½ tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh chives, chopped
2 Tbs fresh parsley, minced
¼ tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut cauliflower into small bite-size pieces. Sweet potato should be peeled and sliced into large matchstick-style cuts. Red onion can be sliced into quarters or into rounds. Baby carrots should just be cleaned and trimmed.

2. To clean leeks, cut across the leek where the white and green parts meet. Keep top and bottoms separate. Cut white part on a one inch diagonal cut. Soak in water to remove dirt for several minutes. Rinse and drain and add to the remaining vegetables. Reserve green tops for soup stock at a later time. Chop garlic coarsely.

3. Place all vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle oil liberally over the vegetables and toss.

4. Add thyme, chives, parsley, tarragon and salt and toss again. In a large baking pan or cookie sheet layer vegetables on one single layer. If the pan is too small to accommodate all these vegetables use a second pan. Do not cover. Bake for 40 minutes. Vegetables should be tender and a little caramelized at the tip. Depending on the size of the cut you made, you will have to adjust cooking time a little less or more minutes. The smaller the matchstick the quicker it will cook.


Bites of Insight: If you presoak an onion for 10 minutes before you peel and chop, you will avoid irritated eyes, and the onion will peel much easier. Sorry, should have told you earlier. Always use fresh whole carrots. The popular “baby” carrots are one tenth of the nutritional value of a regular carrot. They are made from the broken carrot pieces during harvest that are shaved and shaped into a “baby” carrot.

Chilled Strawberry & Rhubarb Soup
(makes 3 cups)
Non-dairy version of a summer’s favorite chilled soup!

• ½ lb. rhubarb, washed, leaves removed, sliced into 1-inch pieces
• 1 cup orange Juice
• 1 cup water
• ¼ cup evaporated cane sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cinnamon stick (2 inches)
• 1 pint strawberries, washed and hulled
• ¼ cup prepared cashew cream (see below)
• 2 Tbs. minced fresh mint leaves
• 2 Tbs. lime juice

1. In a medium size pot, add the rhubarb, orange juice, water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes ore until rhubarb is tender. Strain juice from rhubarb and discard pulp. This should yield you 2 cups of juice. Cool completely.
2. Pour into a food processor; add strawberries until it is a smooth puree. Add cashew cream, mint and blend again. Refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours).
3. Serve topped with a dollop of cashew cream; sliced fanned fresh strawberry and a sprig of mint.
Optional: Do not blend cashew cream with the soup. Cook strawberries and rhubarb together and strain. Thicken this with organic cornstarch to make a beautiful red soup. Top with cashew cream.

Cashew Cream
1 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1 Tbs. agave syrup

Blend until silky smooth. Chill. Some will be used to blend into soup, some of it will be used to garnish. The cream will thicken in the refrigerator and will last for 4-5 days. If it gets too thick, add a little almond milk and stir to blend.

Madeleine Lavender Cookies

Light, delicate and sweet is the best description for these mini-cakes.

1 stick (1/4 lb. of butter)
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unbleached white flour
¼ cup almond flour
1 Tbs lavender honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Madeleine pan by buttering and dusting with flour. Shake excess flour out.

2. Melt butter in a skilled on medium until it is golden brown. Add honey, turn off heat and set aside.

3. Beat egg whites, sugar, wheat flour and almond flour together with an electric mixer. Add honey and butter mixture and blend again.

4. Fill each Madeleine mold with approximately 1 Tbs. of batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool slightly before removing them from the mold.

5. Dust cookies with powdered sugar.



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