California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A Very California Salad
and a bit of Oregon too

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
Willamette Valley Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt
Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

A soft-ripened goat cheese accented with a line of bluish ash reminiscent of the fog often blanketing the expansive Humboldt County, California coastline is the centerpiece of this salad.

Pioneering American cheesemaker Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove conceived Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese in the early 80s in homage to cow’s milk French Morbier, with ash separating its light cakey layers.

Beets are available at California Farmers Markets year-round. And hazelnuts come from our wetter neighbor just to the north, Oregon (close enough).

Peppery arugula, earthy beets, toasty hazelnuts, and a tangy yogurt harmonize with the elegant and luscious goat cheese in this quintessential West Coast salad. A sweet-tart beet vinaigrette adds sunny notes with hints of herbs and fruit.

Arugula Flowers

Blooming in January, pretty arugula flowers come from my Southern California garden. Arugula flowers make a delightful garnish, they taste like light arugula leaves, maybe with a hint of sweetness.

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt, Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

Cypress Grove describes their cheese with flavors of buttermilk and fresh cream, complemented with floral notes, herbaceous overtones, and a clean citrus finish. As Humboldt Fog matures, the creamline develops, the flavor intensifies and the subtle tanginess grows more pronounced.

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

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Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party
Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ninety of us gathered at the Bluewater Grill at sunset in King Harbor, Redondo Beach amidst the sailboats and palm trees to celebrate the holiday season.

It was my pleasure, once again, to host our annual Rolling Hills Country Day School holiday party. With the help of fabulously creative colleagues, a super-fun theme, and a waterfront venue that exceeded expectations – this gala was another smashing success.

Guests arrived for Après Ski in ski lodge attire, presumably after a day on the slopes, as the sun was setting over the Pacific. They mingled during a cocktail hour with an open bar enhanced with an array of passed appetizers.

As the sky turned from hues of blue to shades of red, orange, violet and yellow – the DJs played a nostalgic mix of Christmas music and our favorite songs (saving those hot dance tunes for after dinner). The photo booth was a big hit as groups of skiers grabbed props to strike a pose.

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

To set the holiday mood, just before dinner, guests gathered around the “piano and fireplace” (actually the DJ booth and cocktail tables with candles) for a group sing-a-long. With lyrics in hand, everyone joined together, enthusiastically belting out White Christmas along with Bing Crosby. Dean Martin’s Let It Snow was sung in verses alternated by the guys and the gals. So fun!

Immediately after the sing-a-long guests took their seats for dinner. Waiters served the award-winning New England Clam Chowder, then table-by-table guests were invited to the buffet featuring carved-to-order prime rib roast. The meal concluded with a Dessert Station and Hot Beverage Bar brimming with whipped cream and all the accoutrements to warm a winter evening.

The night continued with general merrymaking, dancing, photo booth pics with ski lodge antics and prizes. Before leaving, guests picked up a cozy blanket and made a trip to the Hot Chocolate Bar to personalize hot cocoa to take home.

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Got Frozen Salmon? Make This.

Smoky Salmon Stew with Tomato, Potato, and Fennel

Smoky Salmon Stew with Tomato, Potato, and Fennel

We live in Southern California, where we can walk to the docks and pick up local fresh fish arriving by the hour. Our markets are full of fresh fish that is flown in daily from around the world. So, why buy frozen fish?

  1. Convenience of having protein in the freezer, on hand, ready to thaw.
  2. Value where frozen is typically 20 to 25% less per pound than fresh.
  3. Availability when fresh fish is not in season, frozen is always there.
  4. Taste and texture are not sacrificed, especially in a recipe like this stew.

The frozen farm-raised Atlantic salmon comes from Whole Foods Market where they source from responsibly managed fish farms that aim to help maintain sustainable seafood supplies. Their salmon are raised in carefully monitored, low-density pens and tanks without antibiotics, pesticides or added growth hormones.

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living. For a cold weather meal, I loved the idea of a smoky fish stew and added another layer of smoky heat with Korean chili threads (shilgochu). They are finely-sliced dried chilis that are reddish brown in color with smoky red pepper and fruity flavors, and a medium degree of heat. Along with fennel fronds, the chili threads add a savory embellishment to the final presentation.

Smoky Salmon Stew Recipe

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Baran’s 2239 ~ Rainbow Carrots with Hazelnut Truffle Aillade, Carrot Caramel, Hollandaise

Baran's 2239 ~ Rainbow Carrots with Hazelnut Truffle Aillade, Carrot Caramel, Hollandaise

Baran’s 2239 Baby Rainbow Carrots
Hazelnut Truffle Aillade, Carrot Caramel,
Browned Butter Hollandaise

Leave it to Chef Tyler Gugliotta of Baran’s 2239 to take the humble carrot and turn it into a root vegetable fantasyland. Visually stunning, the colorful carrot-garden-in-a-bowl has three wildly distinctive sauces: a heady hazelnut truffle aillade, a sweet and earthy carrot caramel, and the rich silky hollandaise made with nutty browned butter.

Baran’s 2239 is arguably the hottest restaurant in the South Bay. The culinary collaboration by owners and brothers, Jonathan and Jason Baran and their friend Chef Tyler Gugliotta, opened earlier this year in Hermosa Beach, California.

“Fantastic pedigree in the kitchen.” -Los Angeles Magazine

“Progressive. Delicious. Unexpected.” -LA WEEKLY

“Best New South Bay Restaurant” -LA WEEKLY

“Atmosphere is casual, food is not.” -Los Angeles Times

#4 restaurant for “Best Overall” restaurants in Los Angeles -OpenTable

Jon Baran and I have been colleagues for several years and enjoy discussing recipes and esoteric ingredients…and it turns out that Tyler’s dad, Chef Greg Gugliotta and I worked together decades ago at Chez Melange. Small. World.

It has been my honor and pleasure to shoot Tyler’s food. His dishes are inspired, innovative, refreshingly original. Baran’s 2239 super-seasonal menu is fun and adventurous, this carrot dish is a perfect example. I loved this dish and asked if he would share…

Thank you for this wonderfully imaginative recipe, Chef!

Chef Tyler Gugliotta
Chef Tyler Gugliotta
Baby Rainbow Carrot Recipe
By Chef Tyler Gugliotta

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Palos Verdes Pastoral Featuring Basque Cuisine

Palos Verdes Pastoral, A Garden to Table Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral
A Garden to Table Dining Experience
Featuring Basque Cuisine

The art of good eating and culinary style are at the heart of Basque culture. Basque cookery is influenced by the landscape featuring both cuisine from the coast and cuisine from the mountains and fertile valleys.

Terranea Resort’s Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra prepared dishes inspired by the land of his childhood at a dinner where the hills and coastline of Palos Verdes, California mirror the terrain of his beloved Basque Country.

The Chef brought a true garden-to-table concept to the event introducing diners to the flourishing textures, colors, flavors and aromas of the charmed Basque region with predominantly French and Spanish influence.

Palos Verdes Pastoral is a fundraising event that brings people together amidst nature for an exclusive al fresco dining experience with magnificent views of Catalina Island on a warm Autumn evening. The enchanting meal created by Chef Bernard, showcased the best of California-grown, hand-crafted, organic, and sustainable food and wine.

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Olive Harvest Celebration and Palos Verdes Pastoral

Olive Harvest Celebration and Palos Verdes Pastoral

Olive Harvest Celebration and Palos Verdes Pastoral

It just doesn’t get more local than this! At the upcoming Palos Verdes Pastoral to be held on October 9th at Terranea Resort, Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra will be serving an enchanting dinner inspired by the dishes of his childhood. “The mountains were my backyard and the sea was my front yard,” reminisces Chef Bernard about growing up in France’s Basque Country.

The menu will awaken diners to the flourishing textures, colors, and aromas of the charmed Basque region. The Chef brings a true garden-to-table concept to the event – not because it is fashionable, but because it is natural, the way cooking should be, he says.

In France, they relied on local products and let the season dictate what is on the table. Menus would follow the rhythm of Mother Nature.  The Palos Verdes Pastoral dinner will be flavored with uber-local ingredients from the Palos Verdes Peninsula including estate-grown olive oil, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, lemonade berries, rosemary, sea salt, and honey.

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