There’s plenty going on in our neck of the woods as the summer winds down. A visit to The Lark and The Lucky Penny this past week and a pilsner at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. impressed, giving me a glimpse of the spectacular transformation of the Funk Zone. They are definitely doing it right.
I was looking forward to a jaunt to Les Marchands Wine Bistro as well, but sadly there was not enough time.
When I make it back at the end of September from the East Coast, I’ll be sure to poke around and fill you in if you haven’t made it down by then. You can fit in the beach, wine tasting and a great meal with cocktails — all on foot.
The Santa Barbara Public Market on West Victoria at Chapala looks to be opening this fall with a cavalcade of exciting food choices. There are links on its website and you can follow it on Twitter @SBPublicmarket for frequent updates.
I have also been hearing rumblings about water in the valley as the wine business continues to expand. Seems to be a hot topic, and I’m looking forward to digging in this fall.
The market is overflowing with pristine produce. I’ve found the shoulder season between summer and fall is oftentimes the best, not to be overlooked as the temperature peaks and then slowly begins to cool off our area. (Now is a great time to pickle and can the bumper crop we will be seeing at the market.)
If you can’t make it to the farmers market, Mesa Produce is the go-to spot. If you do go, be sure to pick up a pint of Cinnamon Spun Honey. You’ll never pair peanut or almond butter with jelly again. What a find!
Here is a great salad we have been eating all week in Santa Barbara; we can’t get enough of it. The beets are so sweet that they only need to be simply roasted without salt, and seasoned just before mixing into the greens. This salad is as simple as it gets once the shopping is finished and the beats are roasted.
2-3 bunches of large beets (yellow, white and pink have been great; buy even more and roast for a snack all week)
3 heads of little gems lettuce
2 apples (Fuji, Braeburn, Granny Smith … plenty to choose from!)
3 oz fresh chevre
3-4 oz blistered garlic and herb almonds (at the market!) or Marcona almonds
3 Tbsp fruity extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Cut the beet greens from each bunch and reserve for another use. Wash the beets and arrange on a roasting pan covered with foil.
Roast beets in a 400-degree oven, turning every 30 minutes until they can be easily pierced with a sharp knife to the center. Remove beets, cool and peel with a sharp paring knife.
Cut into bite size pieces or slices, sprinkle with salt and reserve in a refrigerator until use.
While the beets are roasting, trim and wash the little gems lettuce and dry in a salad spinner or on paper towels. Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and reserve in a large mixing bowl.
Peel, core and chop the apples into bite-size pieces. If not using immediately, store in cool water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning.
Toss the greens, beets, almonds, apples and chevre in a large mixing bowl. Add the Dijon mustard first and toss to coat. Add the vinegar to start and then the oil. Be sure to incorporate the ingredients well. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Check if you need another splash of vinegar or oil and serve.