Tag Archive for 'garden'

Happy Hour

Who doesn’t love a good Happy Hour?  That lull of a time between work and dinner is joyfully spent catching up with friends over a glass or two of wine and some appetizers.  Come visit the Wine Bistro for Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 4:30-6:30pm.

Featuring the wines of Santa Barbara Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 5

Pinot Gris 5

Chardonnay 5

Pinot Noir 6.5

Syrah 6.5

Chef Nathan’s Appetizers

Hummus with Grilled Garlic Flatbread 5  (try it with the Chardonnay)

Steamed Mussels 8   (try it with the Pinot Gris)

Cured “Carpaccio” & Crostini 7

Artisan Cheeses 9

Prawn & Artichoke Pesto Flatbread 9

Smoked Chicken & Roasated Red Pepper Flatbread 8

Garden Tomato & Arugula Pesto Flatbread 6

Salami & Sundried Tomato Romesco Flatbread 7

2nd Annual Vegetarian Wine Pairing Dinner

In recognition of Earth Day
Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro will host the
2nd Annual Vegetarian Wine Pairing Dinner on
Tuesday, April 21 at 7:00pm.

5 courses
Chilled Artichoke & Leek Soup
Santa Barbara Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Garden Tomato & Farro Salad
Santa Barbara Winery Pinot Gris 2007
Crispy Corn Cakes with Chimichurri “Aioli” and Chayote
Lafond Chardonnay SRH 2007
Grilled Vegetable Strudel with Assorted Grilled Summer Vegetables
Santa Barbara Winery Pinot Noir 2007
Strawberry & Tangerine Shortcake with Chantilly and Basil Syrup
Zardetto Spumante

95.00 includes gratuity and tax
Donation from each ticket will go to the Community Enviornmental Council
Reservations Required as this event will sell out 805.962.1455
Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery

Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro Vegetable Garden

It is almost Spring and time to think about our Lafond Vineyards vegetable garden. Last year we experimented with various vegetables, some exotic some not, with the purpose of providing fresh vegetables for our Wine Bistro Restaurant. This year I think we have it down to what we can grow, here in Santa Rita Hills and what we can’t. We hope to provide the restaurant during the summer with a fresh selection of natural produce.

The photo shows David Lafond constructing the greenhouse with the garden in the background. Click the image to enlarge the photo.

Taste of the Town

The Pierre Lafond Bistro attended Santa Barbara’s 27th Annual Taste of the Town event, serving up shrimp with a tomato basil salad and parmesean gougeres (a French style cheese puff).  Ryan RalstonSanta Barbara Winery assistant winemaker, also attended and poured samples alongside over 80 of Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants and premiere wineries.  The event was held on Sunday, September 7 from noon-3 at the Riviera Park Gardens overlooking the ocean and all of the proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation.  This organization is the only nonprofit dedicated to discovering the cause and cure for arthritis.  While helping a great cause attendees got the opportunity to embark on an “epicurean adventure.”

Parmesean gourges are delicious appetizers that are perfect your your next dinner party.  They are easy to pass around, and they explode when paired with a glass of champagne or prosecco.  The light dough used to make these little balls is referred to as choux pastry (pate a choux).  It is the same time of dough that is used to make profiteroles, eclairs, beignets, and cheese puffs.  The ingredients are quite simple and consist of only butter, water, flour, and eggs. 

Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery

The Bistros Vegetable Garden

Rose Moradian’s garden is looking fabulous. The combination of flowers and vegetables is a wonderful combination. Driving into the winery’s property the 10 foot high Sunflowers are impressive, standing as guards at the entrance. Several years ago we wondered what would be a good use for this small plot — too small really for grapes — and I think we came up with the right solution.



Delicious Cob of Corn

After much deliberation and excitement, I picked the first ears of corn today! I plucked an ear off, tenderly tore the husk and silk off and bit right into a DELICIOUS cob of corn! I could feel the magic of the earth carouse through my body, an exciting rush of natural sugars triggering my fantasy of rolling around the corn field devouring every ear in sight.

It made me giddy! I had to wait a few hours to drive I felt so high from eating it right there on the spot it was grown! I am surprised, because corn can be a tricky crop to grow and bugs love it. Organic methods of corn bug control are few. Because of the pollination requirements the wind is the only force that can pollinate corn, unlike open flowered crops like squash in which bees’ bumble around drinking nectar from flower to flower inadvertently pollinating the crop.

Since I don’t have even an acre to plant on, I was worried that I may not have planted enough close together. I grew peas in with the corn to provide a natural nitrogen boost to the soil and corn is a natural trellis that supports vines. I went ahead and planted sunflowers there, too, just for artistic effect. The choices of corn varieties are many so I decided to plant just one kind at that time to ensure proper pollination. The following 4 successions of corn plantings I had 50% success unfortunately.

Then the time came where I had to decide what to do with the two side shoots that occur on each stalk as the plant begins to gain in height. UC Davis and many other agricultural website I consulted advised to leave them on but with no explanation as why. Many of my Latino friends advised to get rid of them immediately, it was bad for the plant. So, I left some on a few and got rid of a few.

Months later the side shoots I left on formed ears that are short, stumpy and flat that popped out of their husk before any thing else was ready. The bugs loved those. Incredibly, the regular ears developed normally with NO insects! Nature made a little catch crop! The corn makes those homely little pretend ears of corn to protect the good stuff. Smart plants! Good information to know for the home gardener!

My co-worker, Mirella, at Lafond Vineyards, told me that she makes a creamy corn and pasilla soup with queso fresco cheese. The way she described it made my mouth water. I personally cannot get the corn home to cook it, I end up eating it raw the moment I touch it. I promise to restrain myself enough to bring to the Bistro and Market Deli for you to enjoy!

An Abundance of Beans by Rose Moradian

I’ve been growing peas and beans right next to each other a our Bistro Garden. I installed two 80′ trellises, and grow beans on side peas on the other. Its easy to see and reach to pick that way. We had great peas earlier and I will plant them again in the Autumn, but now its BEAN TIME! I have a mixture of pole beans, bush beans and french filet beans all together. There are several types of beans I’m growing; POLE BEANS – In general, pole beans are later than bush beans but have larger pods.

They should be given poles, string, or a fence to climb on and usually will climb about 8 feet.”Northeaster” gives a very heavy yield of very long flat green beans and is early for a pole bean. “Goldmarie” is a wonderful wax bean similar to Northeaster. It has long flat yellow pods, is a heavy yielder, and is perhaps slightly earlier than Northeaster “Romano” is large and slightly flat with a wonder flavor. FILET BEANS – These are French green beans that are generally early producers.

They are usually picked when the pods are very slim. Older varieties develop strings fairly rapidly but newer varieties tend to be stringless. “Fin de Bagnols” is a traditional long podded variety. The pods of “Deuile fin Precoce” are long and large and heavily streaked with purple. The large seeds are buff speckled with purple. “Blue Lake” is a heavy yielder with beans that remain tender and stringless for a long time. BUSH BEANS-short and early, I’m growing “Purple Podded” “Rattlesnake” striped beans as well. RUNNER BEANS – Runner beans have large showy flowers, usually red or white, and will cross with each other but not with other beans.

The plants have runners from 4′ or 5′ long to twice that length. They like a lot of water and should be given something to climb on. The pods are long and plump, and rough textured. The oval seeds are very large and plump. Eat as a snap bean, or a fresh or dry shell bean. I will be growing Fava and Lima beans as well as Cowpeas in the near future. My favorite way of eating beans is straight off the bush, but I’m funny that way. Aside from that practice, if the beans is Romano type, that is, long, I will cut them up and sauté with butter and garlic.

The best way I like to eat beans at a restaurant is Niçoise Salad, so satisfying! When I went to Las Vegas and stayed at the Bellagio, I ordered this in for my lunch and dinner! All of these ingredients, except for the fish, can be acquired a few steps away from each other at the Lafond Vineyard. So fresh, so healthy, so delicious! If we are what we eat, then I’m in health heaven. Look for Lafond Produce to be featured at Pierre Lafond Deli Montecito soon, as well as the Bistro.
Bean Appetit!

Bistro Vegetable Garden Slideshow


[ Image can be enlarged by clicking. ]

Photos taken this week of the Bistro Vegetable Garden at the Lafond Vineyards. The garden was created and is managed by Rose Moradian. Rose will shortly, as well as supplying the Bistro, be displaying her work at the Pierre Lafond Deli in Montecito.

This is the first year of the garden and we will be experimenting with different items seeing what grows best in this environment. Using the French concept of ’terroir’, as we do with grapes, to produce the finest product we can.

Squash Blossoms

Rose Moradian on Squash Blossoms
Squash blossoms are an old fashioned delicacy. Because they are delicate and perish quickly,you won’t find them in many grocery stores. Farmers will bring some to the market for their elderly customers who remember back in the day. In America, such delicate blooms would be ruined in transit. Luckily for us, we grow squash and I will be bring Squash Blossoms to the Bistro.

Any kind of squash, summer or winter, sets blossoms before they fruit. Bees love this! I counted 8 bees in one blossom the other day having some kind of pollen party. Squash blossoms are thick and sweet like no other sweet. Many people stuff them with Ricotta cheese and herbs fresh from the garden, eaten uncooked as an appetizer. This is a beautiful display. Squash Blossom Omelets are pretty common in Spain. They are great in quesadillas. Some people stir fry them.

Some people float them on top of cream of squash soup. Many people get creative. Picking squash blossoms help curb the abundance of summer squash. Pick only the male blossoms, which are on a longer stem and are a smaller bloom. Female squash will actually have a tiny lump of a fruit at the end of the blossom. By picking off some of the males, you ensure less reproduction of the plant by the bees pollinating them. Which is good if you’ve planted too many plants.

Cross pollination happens in the field and often you will find strangely beautiful zucchini like yellow with dark green stripes. If you like what you see, let the squash grow big and save the seeds for next year! Here is a recipe for Squash Blossom Quesadillas I found on the web.
In fact this web blog has some very exciting recipes and beautiful images:
For 1 quesadilla (but I know you’ll want to make more than 1), you’ll need:

1 large flour tortilla
3 or so squash blossoms
1 tblsp cottage cheese, or queso fresco, or any soft white cheese
A few sprinkles of cheddar cheese
1 tblsp salsa

In a saute pan on medium heat, brown tortilla and then flip. On one half of the tortilla, add squash blossoms (I like to leave the petals facing outside.), a spoonful of cottage cheese, or queso fresco, or any white cheese, and a scoop of salsa. Fold the other half of the tortilla over to seal in the heat.

Cabbage from the Bistro Garden

Rose Moradian for the Bistro Restaurant & Wine Bar:
This week at the Bistro, we will have “Gonzalez” heading type cabbage.We were fortunate to have cool Spring time weather in order to get this cabbage, as it is a cold to cool season crop. And we’ve been fortunate to have avoided any major pests. Doing our garden organically and successfully involves lucky weather as well as skills from the farmer.

Cabbage is in the “Brassica” vegetable family that includes Broccoli and Cauliflower. Cabbage comes in many forms and is quite beautiful, I think. The shapes can be flat, conical or round, the heads compact or loose, the leaves curly or plain. Cabbages can be prepared cooked, raw or fermented. Kim Chi is the Korean version of the German SauerKraut, both using vinegar and salt to ferment the cabbage.

Kim Chi is thicker and spicier than the German Kraut. Of course, “Coleslaw” is an American favorite, which is used raw as well, mixed with mayonnaise and other veggies. Yummy. In the United States, the most widely used cabbage comes in compact heads of waxy, tightly wrapped leaves that range in color from almost white to green and red but Chinese Savoyed Cabbage is considered superior for culinary uses.

“Savoy” type of vegetables generally refers to curly and bumpy leaves and can be found in more than cabbages. We will have Chinese Savoy Cabbage in a few weeks. Cabbages are high in Vitamins and contain significant amounts of glutamine, an amino acid which has anti-inflammatory properties. Cabbage is a very important and age old remedy for arthritis. In general, cabbage is cleansing tonic type of plant. Many a smart mother has substituted Cabbage for lettuce in kids lunch sandwiches.

Its wonderful as a component in soup. Its a delicious and healthy vegetable. In England in the late 1950s, French language teachers taught from a textbook the phrase “ma petite chou” — my little cabbage — as an endearment from a man to a woman. This is still used today. In England, cabbage is a slang synonym for “cash”, especially paper money. Stayed tuned for the next crop of Savoyed Chinese Cabbages fresh from our Garden at Lafond Vineyards, ma petite chou!