Adopt-A-Goat and Charred Goat Cheese Salad

Adopt-A-Goat and Charred Goat Cheese Salad

Charred Goat Cheese Salad
Fennel, Cantaloupe, Cucumber
Smoky Chile Walnuts, Charred Parsley Vinaigrette
Mustard Flowers, Watercress, Mint, Cilantro

I adopted a goat. I named her Miss Chèvre Chaud. She’s a gentle soul who devours mustard plant with wild abandon and is deliriously happy to munch on wild fennel.

For the past several years, hundreds of goats like her have been employed to graze on non-native weeds as part of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy restoration project.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s Adopt-A-Goat program supports their effort to turn the weedy hillsides into native coastal sage scrub and grassland habitats – supporting threatened and endangered plants and wildlife, such as the California gnatcatcher and cactus wren.

Goats are an ecologically sound, cost-effective, and efficient means of habitat restoration. As a bonus, their droppings provide a natural top-soil fertilizer. The goats make very little noise, leave no trash, and are a charming addition to the community for the time they spend with us.

Invasive Plants: Mustard and Fennel

Invasive non-native plants while pretty to look at, and pretty tasty to eat…cause damage to the ecosystem by crowding out and reducing native plant species ultimately reducing shelter and food for native animal species.

These non-native plants tend to have shallow root systems which do little to help with soil stabilization on the hilly slopes. And both mustard and fennel grow quite tall, unfortunately blocking out necessary sunlight for native species.

Native of Europe, black mustard Brassica nigra, is an annual plant that covers the Peninsula after the winter rains. It sprouts easy and densely, so as to crowd out the native plants that are home to native birds. It is short-lived, so when the plant dies the dried stalks remain standing and present a significant fire hazard.

Native of Southern Europe, fennel Foeniculum vulgare is another invasive species that grows in dense thickets and crowds out native species. When the fennel plants die in late summer, the dried stems remain standing and can be fuel for wildfires.

Savory Fruit Salad with Goat Cheese

This delicious savory fruit salad was created to showcase Miss Chèvre Chaud’s affection for reducing our local mustard and fennel (aka goat-candy) population while promoting fresh cheese made from goat’s milk.

To highlight the good work Miss CC and her team do to clear the hillsides and reduce wildfire danger…the salad has three charred elements; charred parsley vinaigrette, charred/caramelized goat cheese, and smoky walnuts. Simultaneously the mustard flowers do indeed taste like yellow mustard and add a punchy savory note to the salad.

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Abalone Cove Grand Re-Opening

Abalone Cove Grand Re-Opening
Sacred Cove and Inspiration Point, Rancho Palos Verdes, California

The Palos Verdes Nature Preserve (PVNP) has over 30 miles of trails through rolling hills, steep canyons and rock outcrops, with significant habitat and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Elevations range from approximately sea level along the coastal edges of Vicente Bluffs, Abalone Cove, and Ocean Trails to approximately 1,300 feet above mean sea level.

The Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve (64 acres located within the PVNP) features two beaches  – Abalone Cove and Sacred Cove, tide pools, beautiful bluff-top viewing areas, and dramatic crisscrossing trails. Two promontories, Portuguese and Inspiration points, frame Sacred Cove with its sea caves, black sand, and rare plants. (from www.pvplc.org)

I was thrilled to have been invited by Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to the Volunteer Recognition and Abalone Cove Grand Re-opening and to join in celebration of the volunteers’ dedication and commitment to PVPLC’s programs. It is my honor to provide photographic documentation of fund-raising events such as the PV Pastoral Garden-to-Table Dining Experience and to participate in the popular White Point Home Tour.

After over two decades without any major improvements, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park was in need of renovation. A state grant helped fund the improvements including paths and trails, signage and interpretive panels, landscaping, picnic areas, benches, and binocular stations. The Grand Re-Opening festivities held on October 25th included nature walks, food trucks, a beer garden, kite exhibit, native plant workshop, en plain air demonstrations, Art To Grow On, a pop-up library, and more!

Abalone Cove Grand Re-Opening
HIKE

Come take a hike around our newly restored Abalone Cove with me!

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Palos Verdes Pastoral @ Terranea Resort

Palos Verdes Pastoral @ Terranea Resort

Palos Verdes Pastoral

A Garden-to-Table Dining Experience on the Peninsula

Candlelit tables elegantly dressed in white linen with sparkling glassware were arranged on a hill overlooking the moonlit Pacific. The vibrant autumn menu was created by Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra – showcasing the best of California-grown food expertly paired with hand-picked wines. For the third year in a row, the event was a smashing success.

Palos Verdes Pastoral @ Terranea Resort
The evening is designed to bring people together amidst nature for an exclusive dining experience featuring the best of California hand-crafted, organic, and sustainable foods. After a fabulous wine and appetizer reception on the patio, 200 guests took their seats at sunset to enjoy the artisanal creations by the Chef and his talented team.

Palos Verdes Pastoral @ Terranea Resort

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Palos Verdes Pastoral – A Garden-to-Table Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral

Palos Verdes Pastoral

It was my honor and pleasure to participate as official food photographer for this year’s Palos Verdes Pastoral, the premier al fresco garden-to-table dining experience of the peninsula, which took place on October 6th at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

PV Pastoral is a fundraising event to support the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s mission to preserve and restore habitat for the enjoyment and education of all. I also happen to be a beneficiary of the Land Conservancy’s work, as we’ve been hiking the local trails and enjoying our open spaces here along the coast for decades.

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A Garden-to-Table Dining Event & A Lovely Melon Salad

Melon Prosciutto Salad
Melon Salad
Cantaloupe, Prosciutto, Saint André Cheese, Arugula, Marcona Almonds

The following is an excerpt from a piece I wrote for Harbor Living Magazine to promote the
Palos Verdes Pastoral – A Garden-to-Table Dining Event on October 6, 2013.

Imagine a field of candle-lit tables elegantly dressed in white linen with sparkling glassware arranged under a harvest moon on a hill overlooking the blue Pacific. Imagine a vibrant autumn menu created using farm-fresh, seasonal foods from our local vendors and growers expertly paired with hand-picked regional wines. This is the Palos Verdes Pastoral, the premiere al fresco garden-to-table dining experience of the peninsula, which will take place on Oct. 6 at Terranea Resort.

Terranea Resort

After a fabulous wine and appetizer reception on the patio, 200 guests will take their seats at sunset to enjoy the artisanal creations by Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Merhej of Terranea’s acclaimed Mar’Sel restaurant. Her sophisticated presentations and strict attention to detail bring innovative imaginative cuisine to the peninsula.

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Home Tour – Part I: The Yellow Deck

white point home tour
the yellow deck

It was my honor and pleasure to have my home join six other distinctive San Pedro homes on the WHITE POINT HOME TOUR & RECEPTION hosted by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. All the proceeds from the event support site improvements and habitat restoration at the White Point Preserve. The White Point Nature Preserve features 102 acres of restored coastal sage scrub habitat, hiking and handicap accessible trails overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.

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