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Edible Ojai Ventura Winter 2014 : Page 12

ODE TO OJAI After a quick flip through Ojai’s Table: Savoring Ojai’s Mediterranean Terroir it is apparent that it’s much more than a cookbook. Sure, its pages are filled with mouthwatering recipes for every season, so that cooks can savor and celebrate the flavors of Ojai throughout the year, but in-terspersed throughout are stories about Ojai’s history, its traditions and its people. “I approached Ojai like it was another coun-try. It helped me define what makes a com-munity, and in this case, its the people and the terroir,” author Karen Evenden says. She in-cludes recipes inspired by local ingredients like avocados, citrus, walnuts, lavender, olive oil and honey. Readers will find a wide range of imagina-tive recipes for every part of the meal, like Brown Rice Tabbouleh Salad with Lavender; Lettuce and Arugula Soup; Chicken with Or-ange, Mint and Avocado; and Pork Tenderloin with Lavender Lemon Mustard Cream. Des-serts include treats like a Lemon Polenta Olive Oil Cake (which is delicious, trust me) and Cranberry Walnut Beet Cake. There’s even a recipe for Avocado Chocolate Pudding. Her CPO Pot Roast (recipe on page 11) is inspired by a steak with coffee sauce she remembers hav-ing years ago at the Deer Lodge. Ojai’s Table: Savoring Ojai’s Mediterranean Terroir (New Oak Press, 2013) is avail-able at Rains in Ojai, Made in Ojai, the Ojai Valley Museum, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and Farmer and the Cook. It’s also at the Santa Paula Art Museum and We Ol-ive in Ventura. —A.C. (cont’d from previous page) In a small bowl, combine pomegranate juice, espresso powder and honey and add to the onions. Bring to a simmer and stir in the cinnamon and orange peel strips. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the beef and add to the pot. Spoon the onion mixture over the meat and tightly cover pot. Place in the oven and braise until the meat is very tender, 3½–4 hours. Remove the orange peel and the cinnamon stick. Cook’s Notes: r Use a potato peeler to make the orange peel strips. r If you prefer thicker gravy, remove the beef to a warm platter and tent with a piece of aluminum foil to keep warm. Return the pan to the stovetop and reduce the sauce over moderately high heat until it reaches the desired thickness. Alternatively, you can thicken the sauce by blending 3–4 tablespoons of flour with just enough cold water to form a thick liquid. Stirring constantly, add the flour mixture in increments until the gravy has reached your desired consistency. r If you have a crockpot, now is the time to use it! Just follow the manufacturer’s directions for cooking times. r This recipe is also delicious when made with lamb. GARLIC MASHED POTATOES It is easy to infuse a gentle garlic flavor into mashed potatoes. Just add a couple of fresh garlic cloves to the potato pot and then mash the cloves with the potatoes before serving. Serves 4–6 1½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 2-inch cubes 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into quarters ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt 5 tablespoons whole milk 2 tablespoons butter Kosher salt or fine sea salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Place the potato cubes along with the fresh garlic pieces in a medium saucepan, cover with water and add ½ teaspoon salt. Over medium-high heat bring the potatoes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, 15–20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain the potatoes completely, return them to the pan and immediately add the whole milk and the butter. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a hand mixer until you achieve the consistency you desire. (Do not over-beat or potatoes will get gluey.) Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm. 12 winter 2014 edible ojai & ventura county

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