Archive | Spring

Strawberry Lavender Tart

Courtesy Ellie Lavender, chef and proprietor, Lavender Design + Cuisine in Santa Cruz

1 pound strawberries, washed and butterflied
1½ cups instant oats
1/3 cup toasted almonds, slivered
1/3 cup sweet butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
½ tablespoon lavender petals, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lavender honey to brush on strawberries
1 tart shell
Few lavender flowers to sprinkle over strawberries

Preheat oven to 450° F. Process almond in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the oats and sugar and process for another 2–3 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl. Add sweet butter, lavender petals and lemon zest. Mix lightly.

Place the mixture in a tart shell and press it down firmly. Arrange the butterflied strawberries over the spread. Brush the strawberries with lavender honey. … Read More

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Moroccan Couscous Salad with Lavender Lemon Tahini Dressing

Courtesy Ellie Lavender, chef and proprietor, Lavender Design + Cuisine in Santa Cruz

Serves 6 to 8

Take a trip to beautiful Morocco, the land of heavenly spices! Enjoy!

¼ to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dried Morello cherries
½ cup toasted hazelnuts
2 cups couscous
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1½ cups roasted artichoke hearts, lightly chopped
½ cup fennel, thinly sliced
1 Meyer lemon or lemon
½ cup small cherry tomatoes
½ cup black and green olives
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh basil, lightly chopped
1 cup canned butter beans or chickpeas

Toast hazelnut over medium heat (stirring continually) for a few minutes. Remove from stove … Read More

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Lavender Meyer Lemon Salad Dressing

Courtesy Ellie Lavender, chef and proprietor, Lavender Design + Cuisine in Santa Cruz

Makes about 2/3 cup

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse grain mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon culinary lavender petals

Whisk all ingredients together and let stand for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Whisk again and drizzle over salads, roasted veggies or pasta. Keep refrigerated.

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Courtesy Jordan Champagne, chef, instructor
and co-founder, Happy Girl Kitchen



Be forewarned that your miso will take a minimum of a year to ferment. But it’s worth the wait. Aside from being a versatile and delicious condiment, miso is also a complete protein containing all of the amino acids essential to human nutrition. In addition, it contains an alkaloid called dipicolinic acid that binds with heavy metals and carries them out of the body, making it very detoxifying.

Miso can be made out of various beans and grains, each lending a different color, texture and flavor to the final product; experiment by making different combinations in small batches. Traditionally miso is made with soybeans, koji and salt. Koji is made from grain or beans that have been inoculated with … Read More

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Steelhead Trout, Crispy Skin, Wild Oxalis and Smoked Steelhead Roe


Courtesy John Cox, executive chef, Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur

Serves 4

Steelhead trout is an important species of fish in the Big Sur watershed. Unfortunately the wild population has reached critically low levels, so we use sustainable steelhead from Mt. Lassen, Calif., in this preparation.

For the Trout In the restaurant we cook the trout sous vide and then quickly brown it in a sauté pan. This creates an incredibly delicate flavor and texture, infusing the trout with the aromatics. But if you are not set up at home to cook sous vide, simply cooking the trout in a sauté pan also works well.

2 pounds steelhead trout filets, skin carefully removed
1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small bay … Read More

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