Tomato Lovers Rejoice!

Over 600 varieties of great Heirloom Tomatoes will hit the markets soon. With the heat of August and September, we will be in produce paradise, happily steeped in a host of delectable options, all embodying long hours of sun, converted into rich and bold flavors.

heirloom tomatoHeirloom tomatoes just can’t be beat for their outstanding flavor and the diversity they add to recipes with their many shapes, sizes, and colors. The names are just as creative, varieties include, Giant Oxheart, Green Zebra, Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, Red Pear, Cherokee Purple, White Wonder, Stump of the World, Watermelon Beefsteak, Nebraska Wedding, Mr. Stripey, Indian Moon, Bloody Butcher, Banana Legs, Abraham Lincoln and  Black Krim.

A few years ago we added a Bloody Mary Topping Bar at our annual Heirloom Tomato Lunch, The bar was a hit – and something we have continued to add to and brainstorm on. The possibilities are truly endless!


Bloody Mary Bar
Chilled Shrimp
Lemon Wedges
Lime Wedges
Shucked Oysters
Pickled Vegetables (Green Beans, Radishes, Asparagus, Carrots )
Warm Bacon
Cherry Tomatoes
Chopped Basil and Cilantro
Grilled Corn
Crab Claws
Marinated Mushrooms
Onion Rings
Thyme and Rosemary Sprigs
Whole Roasted Garlic

 Tomato 1

Bloody Mary Mix
2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 ½ ounces Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco
1 tablespoon fresh grated horseradish
2 ounces olive juice
1¾ ounces A1 steak sauce
fresh ground pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Bloody Mary Assembly
4 ounces bloody mary mix
1 ounces Skyy Vodka
1 lime wedge
1 lemon wedge

In a cocktail shaker, combine ice, vodka and bloody mary mix. Squeeze juice from lemon and lime. Shake.  Pour over ice



from the garden to the kitchen

Bernardus Lavender

Lavender-Strawberry Shortcake


1 ¼ cup of butter
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers, chopped
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
Pinch salt
3 ½ cups cold cream
crystal sugar

Cut butter into small cubes pieces and place in the freezer until the other ingredients have been measured.  Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl fit with a paddle attachment.  Mix on speed #1 until butter pieces are crumbly.  Slowly add the cold cream in three increments; stopping the mixer frequently to stir (by hand) the dry ingredients up from the bottom of the bowl. Stop mixing before the dough comes together.  Press dough into a large mass.

Using plenty of flour, roll out dough into a large rectangle.  Give dough 1 single turn (fold in thirds) and place on a well-floured silpat. Roll out dough to about an 1” thick or to the size of the silpat. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  (no longer than 24 hours)

Remove and roll out dough to an ½” thick. Using a well-floured cutter, cut dough into 3” circles. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and top with crystal sugar.  Place pan in 350 degree oven and immediately reduce to 325 degrees.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.


Strawberries & Whipped Cream

2 pints strawberries – stems removed and quartered
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

In a small bowl, combine sugar and strawberries.  Let rest for up 20 minutes. In mixer fit with a whisk attachment, combine heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar.  Whip on low-medium speed until fluffy.

Supporting our local Carmel Valley rancher and beyond

In most places today there is someone producing handmade, artisanal products. It might be jam, fresh goat cheese, honey, or a pick-your-own berry farm. Seek out opportunities that may exist in your neighborhood. If possible, plant a garden of your own and discover the singular pleasure of nurturing and then harvesting your own lettuce, herbs or green beans.

In the city, shop at markets that take pride in their produce department or butchery. Develop a rapport with the store’s buyers; chances are they’ll be happy to bring in items you request. In many urban areas, enterprising farmers and co-ops offer seasonal assortments of farm-fresh produce. Sign up for a weekly or monthly community supported agriculture (CSA) service to receive a box of whatever is freshest on your doorstep.

Chef Cal hopes his beliefs and the choices he makes in acting in accordance with them will resonate and prompt guests to think about the many options that exist when it comes to choosing food. Knowing what you’re buying, what’s in it, where it comes from, and who produced it are excellent starting points. Is natural beef or organic chicken better for you? Maybe, probably, but he is not in a position to argue the point. His main concern is with the taste and quality of the meat, and he stands firm that meat from free-range animals, raised without hormones and antibiotics, tastes far superior to the average product found on supermarket shelves.

Carmel Valley rancher raises and grazes her Carmelo Peak Ranch cattle on the land she loves. – Monterey County Weekly: 831 (Tales).Rare Beef