Posts in Places To Know
Legend, Lunch & Lemon Dressing
Outside Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California

Outside Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California

Last August 2016, I finally found myself outside the hallowed Chez Panisse Restaurant and Cafe in Berkeley, California. Founded in 1971 by Alice Waters and a few other like-minded friends, the food principles that perpetuate this eating establishment have changed our food culture forever in this country.

Alice Waters, food activist and food icon, has taught has us the value and pleasure of eating locally, supporting our artisan farmers, eating seasonally, supporting food sustainability, and igniting the concept of school gardens for our children.

I meet Alice Waters at Chinos Farms, part of their Good Food, Great Chefs events for the celebration of her latest cookbook, The Art of Simple Food II. 

Meeting Alice Waters at Chinos Farm, Rancho Santa Fe, December 2013

Meeting Alice Waters at Chinos Farm, Rancho Santa Fe, December 2013

Over the years, Alice Waters has mentored many talented floral designers, talented chefs, and cookbook authors such as David Liebowitz and Joanne Weir who worked, trained, and enhanced their careers at Chez Panisse.

Alice Waters has influenced me. She has that gift to inspire and motivate others. When I read food books about Paris and Provence, occasionally I run across her name and presence. The week after I visited Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Alice Waters was actually cooking in Thomas Jefferson's kitchen for an event. She has inspired me to grow as much of my own food as possible, be sustainable, and eat seasonally.

Cafe Water Carafe Etched "Chez Panisse"

Cafe Water Carafe Etched "Chez Panisse"

Lunch was delightful and delicious, needless to say. The entire time I kept savoring details of lunch, the table, the clientele, and the setting. I share with you now Alice Water's Creamy Meyer Lemon Dressing I had that special day over bright green billowy bibb lettuce .

Creamy Meyer Lemon Dressing

Makes about 1/2 cup. This is a creamy dressing that coats lettuce in a luscious way. The flavor is light and sprightly filled with lemon juice and zest. Alice Waters especially likes it on sweet lettuces such as butterhead or romaine or a mix of small chicories and radicchio.

Stir together in a large bowl: 1 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper.

Taste and adjust as needed. Whisk in: 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, and 3 Tbsp. heavy cream. Taste for salt and acid and adjust as needed.


 

Lunch in Provence Cooking Classes!

I Have a Place Setting for You and Friends!

I Have a Place Setting for You and Friends!

Many thanks for everyone's interest and enthusiasm in the "Lunch in Provence" Cooking Classes. Perfect to treat yourself, a special friend, or loved one for a birthday, milestone, or to just experience a relaxing day in South France.

There are still a few place settings available for the Thursday, October 6, 2016 "Autumn in Provence" cooking class and the Thursday, November 10, 2016 "Que Syrah, Syrah" cooking class, see FALL CLASS SCHEDULE DETAILS.

 

Carolyne Roehm, Garden Glamour
Carolyne Roehm Signing Books After Her Presentation

Carolyne Roehm Signing Books After Her Presentation

The Prado at Balboa Park was the perfect setting for a rare San Diego visit last week by one of America’s most important tastemakers, Carolyne Roehm.  Roehm has been a part of American design culture for decades with career chapters in fashion, gardening, entertaining, publishing, and decorative arts.

Currently traveling the country promoting her latest book, Carolyne Roehm at Home in the Garden, The Village Garden Club of La Jolla was pleased to present Carolyne Roehm as this year’s “Meet the Master” grand event.  

“Meet the Masters” was inspired by one of the club’s founders, Adrienne Green, and is held yearly in her honor. Each year The Village Garden Club of La Jolla brings world-class floral designers to San Diego to speak and demonstrate their master floral creations. This educational event is a gift to the club’s members, the greater San Diego Community, and beyond.

Beautiful, stunningly statuesque, and dressed in a bone-colored monochromatic pant suit, Roehm spoke to over 230 devoted luncheon attendees in a warm and charming manner about her 33 years of personally creating and refining the pastoral lands, gardens, and ponds on her historic 1765 property in Connecticut called Weatherstone.

Roehm shared her incredible life’s ups and downs, paralleling her Weatherstone property’s ups and downs, often using metaphors between life and a garden.  One common thread throughout her life has been her love affair with flowers, and “a garden is a canvas for making colors, textures, and shapes.” Her passion for flowers is what drives her garden philosophy. She carries her garden palette, what she is planting, tying it through to her table, dishes, and what works best with what.

Roehm ended her presentation with one of her favorite quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you.”

A timely article from One King's Lane visits Carolyne Roehm at her Weatherstone home. For more information, visit Carolyne Roehm.

Entrance to The Prado, Balboa Park

Entrance to The Prado, Balboa Park












"Flora, Floats, and Fun" Article
Local 92024 Magazine, January/February 2016

Local 92024 Magazine, January/February 2016

Many thanks to my local 92024 Magazine, January/February 2016, for their "Flora, Floats, and Fun" article on page 42. Their recognition highlights how I was chosen to ride Scotts Miracle-Gro float in the 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade, with it's special California Grown certification.

I've been a resident of Encinitas for over thirty years, and know how much flower growing has been a rich part of Encinitas history. The sandy soil and temperate climate were ideal for flower and bulb growing. 

I was thinking of my Encinitas community on Rose Parade Day, honored to be representing my community, California home gardening, and symbolically bringing a little bit of Encinitas from my own garden, in the form of olive tree branches, rosemary, and lavender foliage to be on the float along side me.

A Special Invitation
Interview & Photo Shoot in My Garden

Interview & Photo Shoot in My Garden

 

 

Recently, I received a special invitation. I am one of four California gardening connoisseurs selected and invited to join Scotts Miracle-Groer Team for this year's 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade and ride on their float on New Year's Day.

Scotts Miracle-Gro is a proud sponsor of the historic Tournament of Roses Parade for several years now. Their float this year promises to be particularly exciting as it embraces a "California Grown" theme, and is endorsed by the California Cut Flower Commission. This means that 85% or more of the flowers, seeds, and plant materials used in creating this float are grown in California. 

The float's theme of "California Grown" goes further by recognizing others who are important to gardening and growing in California. Two California flower farmers, Mel Resendiz of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers out of San Diego County, and Harry and Michele Van Wingerden of Myriad Flowers out of Santa Barbara County, will be spotlighted and riding on the float.

Scotts Miracle-Gro recognizes the importance of California home gardeners. As one, I am very honored to be selected, and in a symbolic gesture I will be sharing and providing specific flowers and plant material from my garden for this special float.

We all know how important school gardens are to our children and the community. This is the second year that Scotts Miracle-Gro has supported the Pasadena School Garden Program headed up by Mud Baron, and he will be riding on the float. 

The icing on the cake, is the charismatic HGTV home design guru, Ty Pennington, celebrity spokesperson and part of the Miracle-Groer Team, also riding on the float New Year's Day.

Clipping Plant Material from My Garden

Clipping Plant Material from My Garden

On a recent blustery Tuesday morning, I had the good fortune of a visit from Scotts Miracle-Gro camera crew for a garden interview, glimpse of my garden, and look at some of the plant materials that will be I bringing to Pasadena for the float. 

I invite you all to start your New Year's Day 2016 watching the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Look for Scotts Miracle-Gro float with all of us proudly riding it, and reflect on all that this float represents--our magnificent flower farmers, our school garden programs, the millions of Californians who love to garden, how we care about our homes and gardens, and all of us who care about giving back.

This coming Tuesday, November 24, 2016 is Scotts Miracle-Gro "California Grown" Kick-Off at the John Muir Ranch Pasadena High School in Pasadena. This day will be full of activities, such as helping Ty Pennington make raised garden beds, helping distribute Thanksgiving produce baskets to the community, enjoying a delightful "Garden-to-Table" lunch, and a chance to meet the Scotts Miracle-Groer team in person.

 

"Field to Vase" Dinner Tour at Kendall Farms, Fallbrook
Farmgirl Flower Bouquets With Flower Fields As Backdrop

Farmgirl Flower Bouquets With Flower Fields As Backdrop

The setting at host family farm, Kendall Farms in Fallbrook, California, couldn't have been prettier for the "Field to Vase" dinner, second to the last of what has been a whirlwind 10-city dinner tour across the country promoting American-Grown flowers.  

Each dinner has been beautifully orchestrated and it is the ultimate in "al fresco" dining  featuring a four-course "farm to table" dinner, locally grown and made wines, and a special floral designer to highlight the host farm's flowers. Guests are encouraged to mingle with the host flower farmers, featured flower designer, and farm-to-table chef. Goodwill Flower Ambassadors, Kasey Cronquist of Certified American Grown, and Debra Prinzing, Founder of the SLOW FLOWERS movement are present to speak about the evening's event and carry the torch for the growing movement to support and buy American-Grown flowers from your local flower farmers.

Even the Tractor Was Dressed for the Occasion

Even the Tractor Was Dressed for the Occasion

I'm sure not many of the 144 guests who attended knew what was in store for them as they were guided on meandering dirt roads that twisted higher and higher and eventually came  to an open expansive area where the event was held. One continuous table was set in a half circle to take advantage of the postcard-perfect vista and the surrounding landscape of various flowers such as wax flower, sunflowers, myrtle, and silver dollar eucalyptus.

Jason Kendall gave the dinner group a brief history of the farm and tour before dinner commenced. Being a farmer is never easy, and there have been some setbacks such as the 2008 Rice Fire which burned a majority of the farm. What did they do, turned "lemons into lemonade" and the farm has comeback stronger and is thriving. Kendall Farms was Jason's father, Dave Kendall's dream, and the family has embraced his dream. Jason Kendall and his cousin, Troy Conner, are savvy flower farmers in what they grow, how they market, how they build their infrastructure. It was a joy to share this evening with them, and experience first-hand their fortitude, ingenuity, and beauty of their flowers.

Evening Glow Over the Table

Evening Glow Over the Table

Floral Designer for this event was Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers. Chef was Richard Bustos of Heart of the House Catering for Appetizers, Salad, Entree, and Side. Robin McCoy of Robins Nest Desserts, made the Chocolate Torte accompanied with an infused Rosemary Ganache. Fallbrook Winery served their tasty local wines.

Chef Berard at La Bastide des Saveurs
Gracious Chef Réne Bérard

Gracious Chef Réne Bérard

In hot pursuit of cold rosé wines, my husband, John, and myself found ourselves in the fairytale region of southern Provence near the Bandol area. It is breathtakingly beautiful much, like the lower Rhône Valley with medieval hilltop villages and rugged rolling landscapes, with the blissful addition of the glistening Mediterranean in your sight.

We stayed in the hilltop village of La Cadiere-d'Azur, where some of the village's defense walls date back to the 13th Century still stand. By recommendation we stayed at the Hotel Bérard, a quaint family-owned and managed hotel that also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant. In fact, father, René Bérard, and his son, Jean-François are the chefs.

In my research I noticed on their website, Bérard Hostellerie, there was a property in a garden setting, La Bastide des Saveurs, in which they offered cooking classes, sommelier food and wine pairings, and special events. I innocently asked if we could see the garden at La Bastide des Saveurs--thinking it was a grand vegetable garden. The tour was arranged and the next morning Chef Rene Berard personally met and escorted us the three kilometers to his property.

Yes, La Bastide des Saveurs was a grand vegetable garden or potager and so much more to my surprise and delight! It proved to be one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen, mixing herbs, flowers, and vegetables together. Typical of a potager is a focal point, pathways, and divided parts of garden planted in herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Arches of happy blooming roses billowed along the pathways. I saw one of my favorite climbing roses over and over in full glory, the lovely Pierre de Ronsard, or better known in the United States, as the climbing Eden rose.

Arches of Roses in His Potager

Arches of Roses in His Potager

Chef Berard was so gracious to detail and explain how he used these herbs and vegetables in his cooking. Chef Berard speaks a bit of english, and I speak a bit of french, but we were definitely speaking the common language of "cooking from the garden." On this beautiful morning, the light and landscape added dramatic drama to this incredible garden. I thought to myself, this must be one step away from heaven.

Staked Spiral Tomatoes

Staked Spiral Tomatoes

Chef Berard showed us how he plants many different varieties of tomatoes, and how he successfully stakes them individually, and anchors them with end poles. I must try and find this tomato pole for next year's growing season.

Provence Fountain, Olive Trees and Lavender

Provence Fountain, Olive Trees and Lavender

Everything was spectacular about this property, down to the Provencal fountain holding court amongst the olive trees, lavender, and iceberg roses. I highly recommend looking into cooking classes at La Bastide des Saveurs. Chef Berard will customize cooking classes for a group of six or more. You can find more detailed information at Hotel Berard.

Intrigue for the Rose "Intrigue"

I can't take credit for this incredible bouquet of roses. It was on our lunch table at the gorgeous Rose Story Farm Last spring I had the exciting opportunity to visit Rose Story Farm, a real-life rose farm in Carpenteria Valley just south of Santa Barbara, California. Rose Story Farm is a family owned and operated farm which grows 150 different rose varieties amongst 25,000 rose bushes. It has been on my radar since I first saw an article about it in Martha Stewart Living.

All of these roses are cultivated in soil, cut fresh, and flown all over the country for special events. As you can imagine the variety of roses grown at Rose Story Farm have to meet rigorous standards with very desirable rose characteristics. The mauve rose caught my eye in particular, and I learned it was the "Intrigue" rose. I love the color, and was looking for a great rose for my garden and worked my garden palette.

I was able to find the Intrigue rose and bought several for mass planting curb appeal in the front of my home. It is first of all, a truly striking rose which has small clusters of large, loose magenta blossoms on long stems. It blooms continuously from spring to fall. It is a large rose reaching 4-5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It's dark plum-tinted foliage is an additional plus, and adds a pleasing color contrast to it's roses. It is  an AARS awarded winner. Here it is blooming to bloom for the first time in March in my garden.

  If you are a rose enthusiast, you must plan on taking a tour at Rose Story Farm. Try and visit the end of April, beginning of May, when the roses are at their height of bloom and beauty. Please share if you have visited Rose Story Farm. Please comment on your favorite garden rose.

Composting with Grape Pomace

DSC_0971 I'm a firm believer in backyard composting. I love the idea of recycling what you have from your own garden, property, and kitchen scrapes into your own personal compost recipe. It is especially important to compost when you have backyard chickens. In fact, I really delve into this subject of backyard composting and backyard chickens in my book, Gardening with Free-Range Chickens for Dummies. See also my previous post, How To Compost In Your Backyard.

I call backyard composting a personal compost recipe of your life, because it is the layering of greens and browns, essentially by-products of your cooking, gardening, and property which create this custom compost mixture. My husband, John, and I have a small backyard vineyard. We use the grape pomace in our compost each fall. Grape pomace is the skins, seeds, and stems of the vineyard grapes after the wine making process. Grapes are a form of green or the fire that heats up the compost mixture, where the browns such as our chicken bedding, or rice hulls is considered the browns and fuel for the compost. Grape pomace heats up our compost to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, an incredible temperature for a backyard compost mixture. Composting with our grape pomace creates a rich organic material called humus, which will go back into our garden soil, and flowerbeds.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit Annie's Annuals and Perennials with my fellow garden bloggers attending the three day San Francisco Fling. One of the highlights of this three day adventure was Richmond east bay nursery, Annie's Annuals and Perennials. If you are ever in the Bay Area, make a visit to Annie's Annuals. A truly incredible nursery. Plants can be purchased online and shipped, too. While visiting Annie's Annuals, I noticed a sign and display, that grape pomace is one of her favorite compost materials.

DSC_0064

This was the middle of summer, and not Halloween, as this sassy and colorful mannequin greeted you at the nursery entrance. I can only imagine how she is costumed this week, two days before Halloween!

DSC_0056

Annie and I know a good thing, composted grape pomace. Try contacting your local vineyards in the fall, for possible sources of grape pomace. It is a great way to enjoy the colorful autumn season, maybe have a quick wine tasting, and purchase wonderful grape pomace for your backyard composting.