Eat Good Food

Vinaigrette Recipe: Classic Dijon Salad Dressing

This classic Dijon vinaigrette is simple and delicious. It is traditionally mixed together in the bottom of a large salad bowl. After it’s made, lettuce and any other ingredients are added to the bowl and gently tossed to completely coat the greens, while leaving any excess dressing at the bottom of the bowl.

Dijon Vinaigrette

Small clove of chopped garlic
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons good olive oil

Salad greens such as endive, bibb, or other leaf lettuces plus fresh tarragon leaves

Wash the greens and dry them well, first in a salad spinner and then by rolling them up in a towel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place a small clove of chopped garlic into a wooden salad bowl, add a pinch of coarse salt and some freshly ground black pepper, and use the back of a wooden salad spoon to mash them into a coarse paste.

Add dijon mustard and red wine vinegar, mix that around a bit, then pour in olive oil and stir together.

Let the vinaigrette sit in the bottom of the bowl until just before serving, then add the salad greens and a few fresh tarragon leaves.

Bring the bowl to the table and toss the salad toward the end of the meal.

Bon appetit!

Artisan Producers, Cooking, Farming, Field Notes

How the OAEC Cookbook Also Teaches about Life

oaec cookbook

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC) folks have lived peacefully in an intentional community for nearly 25 years, co-owning some 80 acres of pristine growing grounds near the ocean. From this place of centering, they teach thousands of people how to farm and how to honor and preserve biodiversity.

They maintain, enlarge, and propagate a “mother garden” that contains a wild amount of biodiversity and offers a continuous food production cycle amid West County’s wild weather. They paint and hold Chauttauqua and even produced a cookbook.

All of which is to say that the OAEC community is pretty amazing. But there are some things that they do that you might be able to do, too. Like grow a garden. Like buy what you can’t grow from those who can. Like cook at home. Like remembering to smile.

These and other simple lessons are among the pleasures of the OAEC’s eponymous Cookbook (Chelsea Green; $40), a richly illustrated photo-heavy 416-page declaration of intent, process, and good ways to eat from the land — whatever your land might be.

Founded by seven friends in 1994 as the Sowing Circle intentional community and soon incorporated as a 501(c)3, the OAEC exemplifies the human interdependence that their innovative permaculture design work encourages in the plants and trees that surround them.

Hosting workshops and classes, retreats and day visits, the OAEC has a robust seasonal schedule, so the recipes in its cookbook are cleverly calibrated for either four to six people or 30 to 40 hungry folks.

They’re used to feeding a crowd, and an enduring and crowd-pleasing dish that visitors have come to expect is one of their epic salads.

Called the “biodiversity salad mix,” this collection of propagated and foraged foods changes with the seasons, as the cookbook deftly illustrates. Mother Garden biodiversity director Doug Gosling, in charge of the collective’s nightly salad, has such a wealth of options available that he sometimes picks solely for color palette.

In spring, it might contain tulip petals and broccoli leaves amid the myriad; in the summer, rose petals and celery flowers. While his salads always feature a lettuce or green of some type, the point being celebrated is that “salad” isn’t solely Romaine or iceberg glopped up with something from a bottle but rather, a living expression of what’s happening on the earth the very day you sit down to eat it — and that said eating should be fearless in its wandering and appetite for taste.

As pleasurable to simply read as it is to cook from, the OAEC Cookbook, primarily written by Olivia Rathbone but naturally contributed to by all members of the community, offers such wisdom as that chamomile will get bitter if boiled (and make you sleepy!); how best to cook cactus; that seed saving is a radical act; how to start your own sourdough; what the role of rosemary is in transforming whipped cream; that carnations taste of cloves; why lemon verbena is good with steamed rice; and how sometimes in the winter you are simply so very glad that all visitors have gone home and you’ve got the whole 80 acres to yourselves.

Join us on Thursday, March 15, when members of the OAEC are honored at a special Taste of Place dinner featuring recipes in their cookbook.

Eat Good Food

Edible Seaweed (plus a recipe!)


Seaweed is abundant on the California coast from May to July. Naturally high in glutamates — which offer the rich umami flavor we crave — seaweed is found in several varieties, colors, and textures.

A miracle of versatility, seaweed can be used to thicken sauces or such stocks as dashi. It can also be used raw, steamed, marinated, fried, or pickled. Yes, you can simply pick it up from the sea and eat it.

Along our Northern California coastline, individuals can gather up to 10 pounds a day of sea vegetables without a license.

The June 9, 2017, full moon offers the lowest tide of the year and the most light for plants to grow, which should translate into an abundant harvest, but any summertime full moon provides a delightful ambiance for coast-walking, hunting down seaweed.

When dried, seaweed will keep indefinitely; fresh, it will keep for 10 days in the refrigerator.

Here is our guide to seaweeds commonly found on the California coast. Many thanks to Heidi Hermann of Strong Arm Farm for her insights!

Often used medicinally to treat thyroid disorders, bladderwrack is high in iodine and iron.

A thicker, darker variety that turns deep green when cooked. In Nova Scotia and Maine, dried dulse is often served as a bar snack.

Kombu is the Japanese name for the dried seaweed that is derived from a mixture ofLaminariaspecies. Excellent with beans, kombu is also used in Japanese cuisine to flavor dashi broth.

A mild seaweed often wrapped around a small handful of rice, nori grows as a very thin, flat, reddish blade. With a mild flavor, nori can also be crumbled over food as a condiment, or massaged with oil and toasted as with kale chips.

Sea Lettuce
A tender green algae used in salads and soups, sea lettuce is a delicate variety of seaweed. In its sheet form, sea lettuce can be used to wrap fish.

One of the most popular and commonly found seaweeds, wakame has a higher fiber content than nori or kale, and is rich in niacin, calcium, riboflavin, and thiamine.

We feature a daily seaweed salad in our SHED Larder and often on our Café menu. To prepare a version at home, here is a recipe from Chef Perry Hoffman.

Seaweed Salad with Shaved Vegetables and Kimchi Vinaigrette
Serves 4

8 oz fresh seaweed (suggestions: dulse, sea palm, ogo, fucas, cat’s tongue, nori, or chain bladder)
1 large watermelon radish, shaved paper thin on mandolin
1 fennel, shaved paper thin on mandolin
1 Japanese cucumber, shaved paper thin on mandolin
2 cups snap peas
2 large handfuls pea shoots
8 oz Hodo Soy firm tofu
20 small basil leaves
20 cilantro leaves
10 padron peppers, raw, shaved thin, with no seed or stems

Kimchi Vinaigrette
1 cup kimchi
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp white soy sauce (shoyu)
1 tbsp golden sesame oil
4 tbsp rice oil

In a blender, add kimchi, vinegar, soy, and sesame oil. Blend until smooth. Drizzle in the rice oil.

Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and serve.

Eat Good Food

Carrot and Cilantro Salad

This recipe is inspired by a simple carrot salad served at Buvette Gastrotheque in New York. A delectable pile of julienned carrots laced with coriander, cilantro, and lemon, and topped with pistachios, this bistro salad is beautiful and delicious.

Carrot and Cilantro Salad
Serves 4

1/4 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 garlic clove, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lb. carrots, peeled and julienned (or coarsely grated)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, and flowers for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pistachios on a small baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing frequently to prevent them from burning. Set aside and allow to cool completely; chop coarsely.

Toast the coriander seeds in a dry skillet, tossing frequently, until fragrant. Remove immediately from the heat.

Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush coriander seeds, then add chopped garlic and mash to a paste.

In a small bowl (or your mortar and pestle), whisk together the garlic and coriander seeds, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking vigorously, until emulsified. Season with salt to taste.

Toss the julienned carrot with the dressing and allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Toss with the chopped pistachios and fresh cilantro leaves. Garnish with cilantro flowers before serving.

For more recipes from Buvette Gastrotheque owner/chef Jody Williams, we recommend the cookbook Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food.