Tag Archive for 'vegetables'

New Breakfast Menu

Our new Spring Breakfast Menu will be served starting tomorrow, June 2.  Categories of the menu include ‘light breakfast,’ ‘from the griddle,’ ‘omelets and scambles,’ ‘specialties,’ and ‘sides.’ 

Indulge in Eggs Benedict, a Lobster Omelet, or Cheese Blintzes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.  On the lighter side of that morning spectrum enjoy Housemade Granola, Slow Cooked Oatmeal, or the Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Omelet

Assemble your own assortment of sides to create your own breakfast.  Choose from fresh fruit, half grapefruit, muffins, bacon, chicken apple sausage, bagels, and whole grain toast.

The focus is on the freshest ingredients available to create these recipes.

Full Breakfast Menu

Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery

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.

Rose and Abelmoschus

Rose Moradian rhapsodises about Okra

I love pretty flowers and delicious healthy vegetables, and Okra fits the bill for both! A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known vegetable has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare. Okra is in the Abelmoschus or Hibiscus botanical family, Okra is valued for its edible green or sometimes red fruits.

A truly wonderful and useful family of plants; based on research on Okras cousin plant, “Kenaf” scientific name; Hibiscus cannabinus, Okra could, at least in principle, have a future producing things that are strange for a vegetable crop; being grown as a building material, for making paper, cattle feed and fuel.

Okra is easily grown with little or no care, is pest resistant or at least is a survivor of insect infestations, as I can vouch for. Okra needs water weekly before becoming established and from then on needs little water if at all. The flowers are beautiful, as you see, it really is a Hibiscus flower but with out the pests that bother hybrid hibiscus.

I use Okra as a support plant for my vining plants such as cucumbers and some tomatoes as it gets to be 4′ tall. I discovered an article that shows 8′ Okra on the web. At the Pierre Lafond Montecito Deli carries a brand of prepared Okra called “Smokra”. True to its name the Okra in Smokra is pickled with brine in a smoky chipotle red salsa. I regularly devour jars of this and keep the smoky spicy brine for making my vodka cocktails. In Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Yemen and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean, Okra is widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and meat.

In Indian cooking, it is sauteed or added to gravy-based preparations and is very popular in South India. In Caribbean islands Okra is cooked up and eaten as soup, often with fish. Breaded, deep fried Okra is served in the southern United States and of course, Okra is the ubiquitous ingredient in Gumbo.

The products of the plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic “goo” when the seed pods are cooked. In order to avoid this effect, Okra pods are often stir fried, so the moisture is cooked away, or paired with slightly acidic ingredients, such as citrus or tomatoes.The cooked leaves are also a powerful soup thickener. Okra leaves may be cooked in a similar manner as the greens of beets or dandelions. Okra oil is a pressed seed oil, extracted from the seeds of the okra.

The greenish yellow edible oil has a pleasant taste and odor, and is high in unsaturated fats such as oleic acid and linoleic acid. The oil content of the seed is quite high at about 40%. I am using Okra right now in my Lima bean and tomato soup!

Rose Moradian on Gardens

Rose Shopping for Seeds

When I began seed shopping, I thought of what sorts of veggies would be fun to cook with. I have had stuffed round summer squash before and thought I’d plant that. Round Zucchini have been popular in Europe for years.

The Italians have their dark green Tondo di Piacenza, the French have the light green speckled Ronde de Nice, the Dutch have the “Roly Poly” (a loose translation from Burpee’s marketers) and the British have their single serve striped marrow, Tender and True. There is even Chinese produced seed of an almost white round zucchini.

The common thread is that these zucchini are actually rather nice; solid, nutty, sweet with a low water content so they keep the round shape when cooked. They are extremely early producers and are prolific if you keep harvesting the fruit. I grow a blend of round and near round types that were marketed to chefs and hand collected by a group of seed savers on the East Coast.

The colors range from yellow and silver to dark green and bicolors, all meant to be used in the baby (2-3″) stage. They are so cute! The main ingredient in stuffed zucchini is the insides scooped out and mixed with ricotta cheese and herbs. Some people use meat. I prefer my veggies to be all veggie.

I found a vegan recipe online: Vegan Rice Stuffed Zucchini.

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 large zucchini OR two to three small round zucchinis
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
8-10 basil leaves, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 shredded vegan mozzarella

Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add basmatic rice and let cook for about 45 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Do not cut zucchini in half. Core out the center of the zucchini, leaving a nice cylindrical shell. Take zucchini center that you cored out and chop up.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet saute garlic and onion for about 4-5 minutes. Add basil and saute another minute or two. Add tomato, zucchini, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Cook until zucchini becomes soft. Mix cooked rice and cheese with zucchini mixture and spoon into zucchini cylinder.

Place in a glass baking dish and put into the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Rose Moadian for the Bistro & Wine Bar

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.

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.

Cucumbers from the Bistro Vegetable Garden

Rose Moradian on Cucumbers

Cucumbers are known for their green skin, but did you know that they come in different colors? White cucumbers are probably better known in Europe and Asia where they are used in cooking and pickling. Because of their high water content, cucumbers are very cool; their internal temperature can read much lower than the surrounding air temperature.

I decided to grow unusual cucumbers, both heirloom and newer hybrids this year. So I turned to the Asian seed catalogues and a small seed collective in Long Island for some unusual cucumber hybrids. As you can see, we have success. We have “Boothbys Blonde” which is an heirloom variety which turns orange when over ripe but still tastes very good; “Pearl”, which is an Asian cucumber and “Cucino” which is a green cucumber.

Generally there are three types of cucumbers; slicing which are long, smooth and slender;or pickling kind that are large, spiny and chunky, or the beloved “Lemon cucumber” that is round and yellow. Then there’s gherkins or corniches; tiny little cucumbers that taste a little more lemony than regular cukes. Cucumbers are technically a fruit, containing their seeds, but are perceived as a vegetable because of their flavor being bitter sweet site.

Cantaloupes and cucumbers are kissing cousins and in some countries cantaloupes are pickled when they’re young and fuzzy and eaten like pickles. Cucumbers are vines that you can support on a trellis as I do, or let them snake around on the ground. They prefer heat. They are susceptible to fungus on the leaves so its important to keep the leaves dry when watering.

Fertilize regularly with fish emulsion. Pick them carefully with sharp scissors, as twisting them off can disturb the rest of the vine. I love my cucumbers raw but there are many recipes that include them. In India, cucumbers are staple, so you’ll find them in many Indian dishes. “Raita” is basically dill and cucumber soup that is a dip in India. See CookThink and Recipe.

When I’m in the field harvesting, having a juicy cucumber is the best treat; its as satisfying as any sweet treat and helps to rehydrate.


Rose Moradian on Chinese Brocoli

Rose Moradian writes about Chinese Brocoli:
Although it is not widely available in Western markets, Chinese broccoli is quite versatile and is very common in Asia. A member of the mustard family, this handsome vegetable can be prepared much as you might prepare broccoli, although it looks more like kale. The flavor is a bit stronger than Western broccoli—peppery and pungent in the aftertaste.

It’s delicious—and most typical—in a stir-fry, but also makes a tasty addition to a fresh salad. This is entirely different than the Italian Broccoli Raab, which I have tried with little success. The average Spring/ Summer temperature at the La Fond Vineyard is perfect for Chinese Broccoli. There are at least five different hybrids and we will grow much of this versatile vegetable. “Green Lance” is the variety we are growing at the La Fond this season.”Green Lance” hybrid has thick stems with white flowers and green stalks.

The stem, leaves and buds are edible. I’ve had four harvests from this crop so far and have at least three left. Chinese Broccoli is used in stir-fries with meat, chicken or prawns or in soups with noodles, mushrooms, pork, seafood or chicken. There are many varieties of Chinese Broccoli, as the Chinese have been doing this much longer than I. “Te You” is one of the best selling Chinese kale/broccoli open pollinated varieties on the market. The dark green leaves are smooth with long thick stems.

The stems of this vegetable are considered the best part of the vegetable. This variety is heat tolerant and can withstand cool temperatures as well. Young thick stems and leaves are crispy and flavorful. “Te You” is delicious when blanched, then stir-fried with garlic then dressed with oyster sauce. Chinese Broccoli is loaded with anti inflammatory amino acids, vitamin C and is in the Brassica family, which includes regular Broccoli and Cauliflower, both of which we grow.

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!