Although she didn’t relish the spotlight, the humble California food pioneer seems to have gotten her 15 minutes of fame after all.
“She was such an amazing human being, and she pointed us in so many good directions in life,” said Hoffman, the youngest chef to win a Michelin star at 25, when he cooked at the Domaine restaurant. Chandon. “I was inspired to cook in Yountville because of my grandparents.”
Additional copies of “Six California Kitchens” are expected to be printed soon. To order, go to philoapplefarm.com. It will also be available at Copia in Napa, Chef Thomas Keller’s Finesse-The Store in Yountville, Farmhouse Mercantile in Boonville, Boonville Hotel and Farmstand at the Apple Farm in Philo.
The following recipes are reprinted with permission from “Six California Kitchens” by Sally Schmitt (2022, Chronicle Books).
“The inspiration for this salad was a recipe in the African Cooking volume of that amazing cookbook series, ‘Foods of the World,’ which Time Life began publishing in the late 1960s,” Schmitt said. “I added the sliced avocados and placed the dates and onions on a bed of aggressive greens, but the sprinkle of peanuts came with the original recipe. It’s such a beautiful contrast in texture and flavor.
Salad of dates, onions and avocado with peanuts
For 6 persons
8 ounces Medjool or other good quality dates, quartered lengthwise
½ large sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– Pinch of salt
– Pinch of sugar
— Green vegetables, preferably arugula or garden cress
— 2 avocados, sliced lengthwise
— Chopped roasted peanuts
Combine dates and onion in medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and sugar. Add the dressing to the dates and onion and toss well until they are completely coated. The dates will likely absorb any excess dressing. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
To serve, divide the greens among 6 plates, scatter a few slices of avocado on each bed of greens, spoon the date mixture between the avocado slices and sprinkle generously with the peanuts.
“As an all-in-one meal, this was a favorite lunch offering during our Apple Farm weekends,” Schmitt said. “It was also a perfect use for candied lemons that we like to make and have on hand.”
Asparagus & Candied Lemon Pasta
For 6 to 8 people
1 pound dried pasta, such as linguine, fettuccine, or pappardelle
¼ cup butter or olive oil
1 bunch (1 pound) asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-2 inch pieces
¼ cup or more canned lemons (recipe follows)
— Piece of good parmesan cheese
— Fresh lemon wedges
— Best quality olive oil
Bring a large pot of water for the pasta to a boil. When it comes to a full boil, add a generous amount of salt and the pasta and cook until the pasta is tender. just tender. Remove and reserve a generous amount of cooking water. Drain the pasta in a colander.
While the pasta cooks, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt or heat the butter or olive oil. Add the asparagus and sauté until almost tender, but still crisp. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered.
Chop the candied lemons, including the zest and the pulp. (You can rinse the lemon before chopping it to reduce the salt.)
In a large bowl, toss the asparagus and preserved lemon with the pasta, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to soften the pasta if needed.
Grate the parmesan with a micro-grater, or shave it with a vegetable peeler to make pretty curls. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the pasta and serve immediately with the lemon wedges and a drizzle of your best olive oil. You can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end for extra spice.
“There are many variations of these lemons, but this is my way of preparing them. I prefer to keep them simple and pure, without any other ingredients,” Schmitt said.
3 or 4 lemons
1 cup kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
Wash and dry the lemons. Cut each into eight wedges and transfer to a medium bowl. Mix with the salt.
Pack in a ½ pint glass jar, squeezing the lemons in their juice. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 week, shaking occasionally. Store in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 1 year.
To use, finely dice or slice the preserved rind.
“After a hearty winter meal, this refreshing dessert is light, easy on the eyes and very, very satisfying,” Scmitt said.
Compote of marinated citrus fruits
For 6 persons
2 cups of white wine
1 cup of sugar
½ cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
Place 3 of the oranges on a work surface and, using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest in strips (without the bitter skin). Stack the zests and cut them into very thin strips. Blanch the zest by placing the strips in a small saucepan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and immediately drain the water and remove the zest.
In a medium saucepan, combine the wine and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the zest and continue to simmer until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Pour the Grand Marnier or the orange liqueur.
With the 3 oranges that you have zested, cut the skin and cut or slice the oranges. Repeat the operation with the other 3 oranges, peeling them with a knife to also remove the skin. (Variations: add or substitute blood oranges or add kumquat slices.)
Transfer the oranges to a bowl and pour the syrup over them. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. They will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for three days.
Serve in tall stemmed glasses or your prettiest bowls with simple crispy cookies, a scoop of any citrus sorbet and/or fresh blueberries.
Managing editor Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or [email protected] On Twitter @dianepete56