Sunday, November 8, 2009


2 cups CANTALOUPE chunks, about 1"

2 cups WATERMELON chunks, about 1"

1/2 cup CHERRY TOMATOES, cut in half

1/2 cup FETA CHEESE, crumbled

1/4 cup SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, cut into slivers


2/3 cup OLIVE OIL


1/2 tsp SALT

1/4 tsp PEPPER

1/8 cup SHALLOTS, minced

1 tsp each MINT/BASIL, chopped

1/2 tsp LEMON ZEST

pinch of cayenne

Place the cantaloupe, watermelon and the two types of tomatoes in a bowl and crumble the feta cheese on top. Drizzle the dressing over the top.

Monday, October 19, 2009


So Simple Chile Relleno

8 chiles (I used piquillos, espelletes and poblanos)
6 oz blue cheese

Instructions: Burn your chiles over the flame of your gas stove-top turning to blacken as evenly as possible. Try not to burn them to a crisp. Place chiles in a bowl with a plate on top while they cool.

So So Simple Fresh Corn Sauce

1/4 cup shallot, chopped
a little oil
corn kernels from 3 ears
a pinch of smoked salt (if not...regular salt will do)

Cut the corn off of the cob using a serrated bread knife. Saute the shallot and then add the corn kernels cooking for 2 or 3 minutes. Add a little water to thin it out.

Fry the chiles in a tiny bit of olive oil just enough to brown, allowing the cheese to melt. Serve the chiles over the corn sauce.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Wallace Condon from "Small Potatoes" farm gave me the painted pony bean seeds at the Eco-Farm seed exchange. We planted about a half of a row of these beans. Francisco let them dry in the field and then shelled them for us. We ended up with about 3 or 4 lbs of these delicate brown and white spotted beans.

Tonight I boiled a pound of the beans in lots of water with some shallot, garlic and a bay leaf. I boiled them for 45 minutes. At the end I added smoked salt, more garlic and some very fine olive oil. I roasted 2 tomatoes, 1 jalapeno and a poblano chile on the burner; I then peeled and roughly chopped them up along with 2 avocados and another white shallot. I squeezed a half of a lemon over this. I ladled this salsa into our beans.
It was so lowly and so delicous that I am sorry you were not here to share this meal. I am also sorry not to have anymore beans.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Katy discovered this recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is sublime, when I made it I added some onion too.

you will need: fry pan, measuring spoons, knife

zucchini, the smaller the better, about 2 lbs
butter 3 Tbls
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
honey, 1 Tbls
mint leaves, 3 Tbls minced fresh

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch thick rounds.

Place butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. When foam subsides, add the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Raise heat to high and cook, stirring occassionally until the squash becomes tender and begins to brown (about 10 minutes). Stir in honey and mint, check for seasoning, and serve.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


savoy cabbage - about 4 lbs
vinegar - 1 tbls
olive oil
onion - 2 cups, chopped
garlic - 1 clove, chopped
ground sausage (chicken or pork) or shitakke mushrooms- 14 oz
breadcrumbs - 7 slices of wholegrain bread or 7 oz
salt and pepper
nutmeg - pinch
parsley - 2 tbls
egg - 1

butter- 2 tbls
carrots - 1 cup
onion - 2 cup
celery - 1 cup
dry white wine - 1/2 cup
stock - 1 cup
bay leaf - 1
Find a medium to large pot and bring salted water to a boil. Add a dash of vinegar.
Separate all of the leaves of the cabbage and rinse each leaf.
Boil 6 or 7 leaves at a time, for 5-8 minutes, until tender. Drain the leaves in a colander in your sink.

To make the breadcrumbs:
Cut the bread into quarters and toast the bread in the oven at 300' for 25 - 40 minutes until and crumble in a blender or food processor.

For the stuffing:
Saute the onion in a large frying pan over medium heat until tender.
Add the garlic and sausage meat and cook until tender but not browned.
In a large bowl, combine the sausage meant, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley and egg.
Mix thoroughly.

To assemble:
Create 4 piles of cabbage leaves by size. Arrange the largest leaves in a circle, overlapping them slightly and placing the curling edges up. Place 1/3 of the stuffing on top of the cabbage leaves. Top this with another layer of the next smallest leaves over the stuffing. Place another 1/3rd of the stuffing on top of those leaves. Do this one more time.

Take a long piece of cotton string and place it under the layers of cabbage and filling. Pull the string up around to the top bringing the bottom layers of cabbage up so it looks like a big cabbage; cross the string and bring it back down to the bottom. Cross the strin over and under the cabbage 2 or 3 times to hold the shape of the head. Flip the whole thing over. I hope this is easier than it want to have a cabbage leaves on the outside and the stuffing inside.

Heat the butter over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, stock and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes more.

Place the stuffed cabbage in a deep baking pan surrounded by the sauce. Cover and bake at 375' for 50 to 60 minutes.

To serve:
Place the cabbage on a serving platter surrounded by the sauce and vegetables. Cut and remove the string and cut into wedges to serve.

Monday, April 27, 2009


It has been a month since I planted the peas and now I've begun to harvest the shoots. The seed was purchased from Evergreen Oriental Seed Company for $27.00 a lb. and is called Dou Miao or Muy Caro thought Steve when I told him how much I'd paid for it. I am new to this and thought I should buy the seed that explictly said "Olivia, this is the seed for growing the pea shoots".
Later my web search told me you can also use Oregon sugar pod II and Oregon giant, all disease-resistant bush snow peas developed at OSU or Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas. Also suitable is Cascadia, a disease resistant variety of snap pea also developed at OSU. They can be purchased for around only $8.00/lb. Snow peas are the flat edible peas and snap peas are the plump edible peas. I planted the seed in two long rows (Steve would know how many linear feet the rows are).

Last week my pea shoots looked to be about 6 inches tall, tall enough thought the internet; so I picked some. The stir-fry I made tasted a bit like fried compost. Different web information said pick only the end shoots having 3 or 4 leaves. On Saturday Devin and I crawled down the rows on our hands and knees and picked 6 small cups of pea shoots, three-quarters of the way down the row (Steve would know how many linear knees we had travelled) and after about 1 hour, we were both done! I immediately put the peas into the refrigerator of my EuroVan and later soaked and spun them dry.

At the farmer's market on Sunday I was unsure of my shoots. I gave a bag to Grace to munch on when she came by. I sold a bag to the amazing chef, Claude Mann for $2.00 instead of $3.00. Later that evening we were fiddleing around at the farm when Steve noticed his farmer's market chicken was warming up nicely on the front seat of his truck. We decided that was a message from someone much smarter than us, to go home. As I walked in the door I put it in a pot, poured a beer over it, threw in some leeks and fennel and turned on the heat. The phone rang, the cafe was slammed and we needed to go back to the Farmer and the Cook. Oh... how I wanted to stay home. We returned to the house at 8 pm and sat down to a perfectly cooked chicken and a simple pea shoot and kumquat salad. Today Liz and I planted 20 square feet of peas.

pea shoots, 3 cups
kumquats, 4 sliced thinly
shallot, 1 small, minced
vinegar, 1 Tbls
olive oil, 2 Tbls
salt and freshly ground pepper

Monday, April 13, 2009


you will need: 1 saucepan, 2 small fry pans, colander, garlic press, measuring cups and spoons, cheese grater

gold beets, 4 to 5 medium
bay leaf
olive oil, 2 Tbls
leeks, 3-4
garlic cloves, 3
parsley, 1/4 cup, chopped
a pinch of fennel
sea salt
walnuts, 3/4 cup
a large pinch of dried herbs..thyme or marjoram
olive oil, 1/4 cup
marmalade, 2 Tbls
gruyere cheese, 3 oz

1. Boil the beets in a saucepan covered with salted water, with a bay leaf, until done. This will take anywhere between 20 - 35 minutes
2. Cut the leeks into rings, rinse in a colander to remove sand.
3. Press the garlic.
4. Saute the leeks, garlic and fennel in the oil until soft and lightly browned. Salt. Add the parsley at the very end.
5. In another pan saute the walnuts until browned adding the dried herbs at the end.
6. Cool the beets enought to handle and peel and slice them.
7. Combine the beets, sauted leeks and walnuts and toss with olive oil and citrus marmalade
8. Arrange on a platter of mixed greens.
9. Top with grated gruyere cheese

Friday, March 20, 2009


I roasted the gailan or Chinese brocolli as you would asparagus. In fact, at $1.50 a bunch, it is a very affordable alternative to asparagus. I removed the leaves from the the gailan stalks and rubbed the stalks with La Nogalera walnut oil (available at the Ojai Farmer's Market) and a small clove of garlic...a dash of salt and roasted the gailan in my little toaster oven at 350 degrees for only 10 minutes or until the stalks are tender.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I grew so many chiles and knew eventually I would make a chile powder and so I have. I started by checking Paupered Chef's blog. He is a cook from Chicago who really delves into each recipe explored. I looked at his recipe for chile powder and then I looked at Alton Brown's recipe and sure enough they are almost identical. As is my nature, I too followed along. I started with three kinds of chiles, roasted some cumin seed, added garlic powder and followed that with oregano. I usually like to add ginger or cloves to my chile sauces but thought I would play with that later. By the way... i've planted cumin and Mexican oregano for next years chile powders.
The kitchen was full the day I made my powder, we had Justin, Katy, Erica and Megumi. We all discussed a possible name around our big wooden work table. I thought of calling the chile "handmade" but then Justin came up with the perfect name "hecho a mano" ... not only did we grow the chiles at Mano Farm but we roasted, ground and blended all of the spices by hand. The Spanish translation is perfecto.

I made a chili last night and it almost knocked Steve over, here's the recipe:


1 lb bison or beef steak cut into thin slices
1/2 cup beans, dry ( pintos or white)
2 Tbls olive oil
1 cup onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbls chile powder
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups water

1. Cook the beans in 4 cups of water for about 1 hour or until soft.
2. Brown the sliced bison or beef in a deep skillet. Remove from the skillet onto a plate (to be added back later)
3. Heat the oil in the same skillet (don’t wash it out), saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper until the onions are lightly browned. Add the salt and chile powder.
4. Add the tomato sauce, red wine and water. Gently simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Add the bison or beef slices and beans back to the pot and simmer it all together for about 5 minutes…just enough to cook the meat.

OPTIONAL ..serve with chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, lime wedges and grated cheddar cheese...leave out the meat if you are vegetarian.


you will need: a saucepan, measuring cups, wire whisk, muffin tins, parchment paper, cheese grater

3 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup organic polenta, dry
2 Tbls organic ancho chile powder
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt

Add salt to the water and bring it to a rapid boil. Add the polenta slowly to the water. Stir with a wire whisk to avoid any clumps. Turn heat down to a very low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stir occasionally. During the last 5 minutes of cooking the polenta will begin to thicken and you should stir continuously. Add the chile powder and the parmesan cheese. Pour into 8 muffin molds. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn out and serve with a saute of vegetables or with chili.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Here is the link to the article that just came out in the Sunday LA Times magazine ...when we were photographed eating a paella, prepared a hungry girl named Lara Zarubin.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Much of cooking is knowing which part of the plant is edible. I can still remember eating my first artichoke, choke and all. Out in field I get a chance to nibble on every part of the plant and note exactly what can be eaten.
you will need: knife, wide shallow pan with a lid, zester or grater, measuring cups and spoons

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter
4 to 6 fennel bulbs, depending on their size, cut into 1/8ths lenghtwise
3 leeks, washed and sliced in quarters, lengthwise
1 tsp whole fennel seed, ground in a mortar or pounded with a rolling pin
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 cup white wine
zest of 2 lemons
4 cups spinach, washed and stemmed

Cut the tops of the fennel bulbs right where they begin to send out branches and trim the smallest amount off of the bottom of each bulb. The bottom core is soft and edible. Discard the outer leaves if they look tough. Cut each bulb into 1/8ths lengthwise.

Prepare the leeks, trim off the root end and about 1/4 inch of the white base. Remove any ragged, coarse outer leaves and discard. Chop the dark green tops off right where they turn light green. Slice each leek half way down the center starting from the root end and soak in cool water to remove all of the soil. Drain and cut into quarters, lenthwise.

Heat up your oil or butter and add the fennel, leeks, fennel seed, garlic and salt. When the leeks are limp add the wine and cover your pan. Braise at a low flame for 30 or more minutes. What you want is for the fennel to be soft and succulent…don’t let it brown and don’t let it dry out. Add some water if needed. Keep on cooking and tasting until the fennel is soft.

At the end, add the lemon zest and 4 cups of spinach. Cook until the spinach is just wilted.

Delicous as a side dish or served with Baja California diver scallops. They can be purchased from Alicia at What a Deal Seafood… you can order the scallops and Alicia will deliver them to you doorstep the next day.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Last night I roasted fennel, potatoes, golden beets, mission figs, chantrelles and asparagus...and I drove the tractor. Served the roasted beets with a red quinoa pilaf and a parsley sauce. Steve's parsley is the sweetest, imagine getting excited over parsley. Oh and did I mention the tractor? I was inspired by the gremolata sauce I had a couple of weeks ago; on top of paella. It was cooked by Lora Zarubin.. in Jim and Lisa's orchard for an article which will be coming up in LA Times Sunday magazine. It started out as a blustery day but suddenly Lara blew us and the rain away.

This is how I made my sauce:

you will need a grater, a juicer, a measuring cup, a garlic press and a knife

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 small limes, squeezed
zest from 1 orange
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Combine parsley, lime juice, orange zest, garlic, olive oil and salt to taste.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


you will need: a knife, measuring spoons, a peeler

1 head radicchio
1 baby curly endive
3 oranges, peeled and sliced, cut into quarters
1/2 red onion or 2 shallots, sliced thinly
8 dried figs, cut into quarters

3 tbls olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbls honey
1 pinch cinnamon
2 tbls orange juice
1 tbls ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Wash the radicchio and endive thoroughly and drain well. Tear into bite-size pieces. Add the orange pieces to the salad leaves, along with the onion/shallots and figs.

Whisk the oil, vinegar, cinnamon, orange juice, ginger and honey in a small bowl. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over the salad and toss.


you will need: a wok, blender, knife, measuring spoon, measuring cup

2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp honey

Toast the chile at 200' for 3 minutes. Place chiles in a small metal or ceramic bowl with enough hot water to just cover the chiles...let sit for 10 minutes. Blend until smooth. Add the soy sauce and honey and blend to combine.

1/2 cup yellow onion, cut into long strips
2 cups broccoli, stems peeled and cut
1/2 cup peanuts
1 Tbls vegetable oil

Stir-fry the onion and peanuts in the hot oil, add the broccoli and move continually until broccoli is soft but still bright green. Add the chile sauce and cook for 1 minute more. Done

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


what you'll need: roasting pan, foil, knife, measuring spoons, measuring cups, 1 quart saucepan

6 medium beets (1/2 lb), topped
1/3 cup water
3 Tbls olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Trim and scrub or peel beats. Quarter beets. Place in a shallow roasting pan and pour in water and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender (fresher, smaller beets cook faster). During the last 10 minutes of cooking uncover to evaporate the liquid and brown the beets. While the beets are cooking make this sauce…

2 cups dry red wine
1 tsp honey or sugar
2 Tbls shallot or onion, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp thyme
salt and pepper

Pour wine, honey, shallot or onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Pour wine sauce over beets.

Serve with whole yogurt (you can add ginger, horseradish, dill, wasabi or mint to the yogurt if you’d like)

I like to serve over a bed of beet greens, just saute them for about 4 minutes before the beets are done.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Selling next door to Friend's Ranch at the Ojai Farmer's Market gives me a chance to watch Emily's son Oliver learn the business of belonging to a citrus family.

I've am crazy for marmalade ....and look forward to winter citrus. It begins with satsumas in December and then navels and blood oranges and then my favorites; the giant pummelos. The last batch of marmalade I made with the pink cara cara oranges grown by Muriel Lavendar.

This is my basic recipe for marmalade...follow the directions but experiment with your favorite citrus and add sugar or honey until the taste amazes you.

what you will need: knife, coarse grater, measuring cup, juicer, wide and heavy saucepan, deep pot, canning jars and lids, lifter, canning funnel


grate citrus peel from about 5 oranges, using the coarsest grater you have….you’ll need 3/4's of a cup.
Cut down to the flesh with a sharp knife..discarding any pith or peel.
Cut the peel off of another 4 orange and cut the oranges into quarters and trim the core and seeds off of each quarter, cut into small pieces …you'll need 5 cups
Squeeze 1 cup of lime juice.
Simmer the citrus peel, the orange segments and the lime juice in a heavy, wide pot for 30 minutes.
Add 3 cups of sugar or 2 cups of honey and simmer for another 40 to 90 minutes or until it starts to look like marmalade…spoon a small amount onto a plate and put in the refrigerator... if it is too thick add some water, if it is too thin then cook it more...taste it and add more sweetner or another bit of tart lime or lemon juice to balance the flavors…tangerine juice is the best if you need more citrus sweetness.

Boil jars for 5 minutes
Ladle boiling water over lids
Sterilize ladle and funnel in the boiling water
Ladle jelly into jars, top with lids; boil submerged for 10 minutes.

makes 3- 9 oz jars

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The farmer and the cook label was designed by my friend Katy Overstreet; but I had the idea to include a dicho on the inside of the label...a prize, if you will, inside of every box. Now a dicho is an idiom or saying of which my Colombian mother has many. Whenever I see her she has remembered a few more gems for me. Here are some now:

"Mas popular que un chupon in el orphanato"
More popular than a pacifier in an orphanage

"Un boca cerada, no entra mosca"
A closed mouth doesn't let in flys

"El ambition, rompe el saco"
Ambition breaks the bag

"Mata un hormiga y un million viene al funeral"
Kill an ant and a million come to the funeral

Sunday, February 8, 2009



you will neeed: knife, ice, pot for blanching the kale, heavy bottomed saucepan, colander, measuring cup, measuring spoons

4 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed and cleaned
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 sprig rosemary
1 dried chipotle chile, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided, more as needed
2 tablespoons water, optional

1. Blanch the kale in a large pot of salted, boiling water just until softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the kale and immediately place it in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again and set aside.

2. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan heated over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onions, rosemary and chipotle. Gently sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt. Continue to cook until the onions are transparent and just beginning to color, an additional 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Stir the kale into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 30 to 40 minutes. As it cooks, it will turn a deep dark green, almost black color, and the texture will go from soft to almost a little crisp from caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. This is good and will enhance the flavor. If it becomes too dry, add a little stock or water to moisten the bottom of the pan. Season with the remaining one-fourth teaspoon salt and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Note: Adapted from Suzanne Goin of Lucques via an article in the LA Times

Thursday, January 29, 2009



You will need :
a colander, knife, a pot of simmering water, a gratin dish (shallow baking pan), measuring spoons, a measuring teaspoon

1. Wash a large bunch of chard. Cut the stems off the chard and simmer in water for 10 minutes.
2. Chop the leafy parts into small pieces and add to the water during the last minute of
simmering. Drain all of it in a colander...squeezing out the excess water.
3. Peel and chop a head of garlic.
4. In a fry pan...pour in some olive oil and some butter and saute the garlic...sprinkle with salt
pepper and a 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle pepper (if you like spicy)
5. When the garlic smells add the chard leaves and stems.....stirring it around.
6. Add 2 tsp. of flour and stir until dissolved, then slowly add a cup of milk; bringing it to a
7. Place in an oiled gratin dish. Top with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and bake at 350'
for 20 minutes.