April Flowers


Typically we anticipate April showers to bring May flowers.  However, the seemingly limitless sunshine this year has brought out the stone fruit blossoms and roses.  Our Wedding Garden, already in full bloom – features over 100 different varieties of classic and heirloom roses.  These warm floral breezes, bring out the summer inspiration in all of us.  Meanwhile down the road, Chef Cal’s ever-expanding home orchard is bustling.  It has grown to over 40 rare fruit trees, an herb garden, a dozen chickens, 40,000 honey bees and a few lazy farm cats.

Blossom Cat

Now is the time for gardeners to start thinking about planting vegetable beds and perusing the stacks of seed catalogs.  For now, we are embracing the asparagus, artichokes, peas and fava beans – while we wait for summer squash, stone fruit and melon.

Celebrating Local Salmon Season

Recreational fishermen will get their first chance to catch salmon along the California Coast south of Humboldt County starting on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The season for commercial fishermen will open south of Point Arena (Mendocino) on May 1. The fish that spawn in the Sacramento River and its tributaries make up 90 percent of the salmon caught in California and 60 percent harvested in Oregon. The big fish pass through San Francisco Bay and roam the Pacific Ocean as far away as Alaska before returning three years later to spawn where they were born in the Sacramento River.


Monterey Bay Wild King Salmon
slow cooked, snap peas, celery root purée, pea tendrils
serves 6

6 wild salmon filets
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 cups heavy cream
2 ½ pounds celery root – cubed
½ pound (or 18 pieces) sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon butter
½ lemon – juiced
garden herbs, fennel fronds, pea tendrils for garnish

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Season salmon filets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in shallow baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes or to desired doneness.

In a small pot, cover the celery root with cream.  Bring to a simmer and heat until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and purée in a blender. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

In salted, boiling water – blanch the peas 30 seconds.  Strain.  Warm a sauce pan over medium heat with olive oil.  Add the peas and lemon juice.  Sauté for 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper.

Divide warm celery root puree between 6 plates.  Top with salmon and sugar snap peas. Garnish with herbs.

Chef Cal Stamenov

Eat your vegetables – and have your cake too.

Nothing says spring quite like fresh cookies and cakes.  These Carrot Cake Cookies mostly rely on the natural sweetness of the shredded carrots and when sandwiched with cream cheese frosting, become decadent and rich.  Packed with rich spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, this tastes like the highly regarded traditional carrot cake – now in an easy to eat sandwich cookie.

Carrot Cake Cookie

Carrot Cake Cookies
Chef Cal Stamenov

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups sugar
1 pound butter
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins
4 cup currents
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon ginger

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, softened
½ pound butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Using a hand mixer or Kitchen-Aid, cream together butter and sugars together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time.  Wait until each one is combined before adding the next.  Mix in vanilla. Fold in carrots, raisins, oats and pecans.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Slowly add mix to wet ingredients.  Scrape after each addition.

Scoop by tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake 15-18 minutes at 350° until golden. Cool on rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.  Cream together the butter and creams until smooth.  Add vanilla and sifted powder sugar.

Create cookie sandwiches.