Author: Natalie Goble

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The Tale of the Humble French Fry

Two summers ago, Handline participated for the first time as a vendor at the Gravenstein Apple Fair, our little town’s vibrant celebration of its most beloved fruit. We had set our sights on a hopeful, perhaps slightly unrealistic, goal of an early summer opening for the restaurant; however, midsummer was already upon us and we were still in the final phases of construction. This meant that preparing for our debut at the fair was going to bring a unique set of challenges. I had been perfecting our Inglewood burger recipe for the menu and planned to serve it with fries but hadn’t begun recipe development yet. The week before the fair, I set to work on a rented deep fryer experimenting with the humble French fry. I had dabbled in the Lowell’s kitchen with a wedge-cut style fry cooked on the makeshift stovetop fryer we use there, but it wasn’t long before I realized that in order to truly perfect the golden crunchy exterior, fluffy soft interior fry of my dreams it was going to …

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Handline’s Smoked Trout

We are thrilled at Handline to be featuring TwoxSea’s beautiful McFarland Springs Trout on our menu year-round. It’s farmed sustainably in Northern California and fed a 100% algae based vegetarian diet. It has a wonderfully delicate, sweet, pink flesh that lends itself well to a light smoke. You can find the trout in our Monterey Salad featuring local greens and seasonal ingredients as well as on our Happy Hour Menu in the Smoked Trout & Clam Chowder. The key to this recipe is time and restraint. We don’t want to overwhelm the delicacy of the fish with too much salt or smoke. It’s a minimum of 24 hour process from start to finish but the end result is totally worth the wait. Before getting started, you’ll need to collect some equipment to fashion a stovetop smoker: 1 half sized metal hotel pan (4” deep) 1 half sized perforated metal hotel pan (2” deep) 1 bag of cherry or apple wood chips Step 1: Brine the Trout To brine something is to submerge it in cold …

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Smothered Summer Squash with California Mole

This recipe was dreamed up as a great way to use up the bounty of summer squash we grow at the farm each summer. Luckily, the California mole is versatile enough to use on just about any roasted vegetables throughout the year, including potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and eggplant. It can also be used to accompany meats such as chicken or lamb. The recipe makes enough to save the leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for the next time you need a quick vegetable side dish. For the Sauce (makes 1 pint) ½ cup almonds ½ cup pumpkin seeds plus 1 tablespoon for garnish ½ cup tomato puree 1 dried chipotle chili 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled 1 shallot 1 lemon 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 cup for garlic confit Salt to taste Toast the almonds and pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven, stirring once, until golden brown and fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. In a small saucepan add 1 cup olive oil and whole peeled garlic cloves, …

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Handline Fisherman’s Stew

Cioppino originated in San Francisco as a one-pot meal enjoyed by fishermen at the end of a long day on the water hauling in the day’s catch. Typically it consisted of whatever the fishermen had on hand, including Dungeness crab, squid, mussels and clams. The stew is inspired by a traditional Italian fish stew, its broth is a base of wine, tomato and the briny liquid released by shellfish as they are cooked. I like to use a crisp, dry white wine, which gives the soup a bit of a lift, making it versatile enough for a warm winter day (of which we have plenty here in Northern California) or a cold, stormy winter night. Last year was a really terrible year for Dungeness crab fisheries due to a huge algae bloom off the Northern California coast, raising the levels of domoic acid in crab to unsafe levels for human consumption and resulting in an extended season closure. The catastrophic implications this has for the fisherman is a vivid example of the importance of the …

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Handline’s Beer Battered Fish Tacos

For me, there’s nothing more representative of coastal Californian cuisine than a delicately fried fish taco with crunchy cabbage and a handmade tortilla. Its an ode to both the expansive Pacific waters that stretch the length of shoreline that we call home and the Mexican heritage of this area. It’s a dish enjoyed in any season, as long as the fish is fresh and caught locally!  Prep all your ingredients first, shred the cabbage, slice the radish and make your aioli. Clean and slice the fish into 1oz portions then refrigerate. Make the batter last and keep it as cold as possible, this will ensure a nice crispy fried fish. Ingredients: 2 lbs Fish (rock cod works best here) 1/2 Cup Cornstarch 1/2 Cup Flour About 8 oz of Beer 1 Quart Frying Oil 1 Cup Habanero Aioli 12 Tortillas 1/4 head Cabbage 4 Limes 4 Radish Cilantro For the Aioli: In a food processor add 1 egg yolk, 1t dijon, 1t vinegar, 2 garlic cloves, a squeeze of lime and 1T habanero hot sauce …

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Handline Vinaigrette

This salad dressing is full of the bold flavors of cumin, vinegar and citrus. To balance out this boldness, I like to keep the salad itself really simple, with just a few ingredients. Tender greens work beautifully but the dressing also could stand up well to heartier greens like kale, etc. Shaved radish and toasted pepitas add a little texture without overcomplicating things. The vinaigrette is meant to be broken (not emulsified) so don’t fret when the oil separates from the rest of the ingredients, just be sure to stir it well before dressing your salad. The acid component makes it great as a palate cleansing course, something to be eaten alongside rich, spicy or fried food. For the Dressing: Juice of 2 lemons, zest of 1 Juice of 2 limes, zest of 1 Juice and zest of 1 orange 2 oz. apple cider vinegar 1 1/2 C. olive oil 1/2 tsp. ground cumin1t ground coriander 1/2 tsp. ground chili 1 tsp. dried mexican oregano 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbl. honey Salt and pepper to taste` Makes about 2 cups of dressing …

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Everyday Pasta

It’s midday on a Friday in the kitchen at Peter Lowell’s. The lunch rush hits early and continues on through the late afternoon. Tickets pour through the machine on each station abuzz with hustle. Every one of the eight burners on the stove is lit, chicken stock slowly bubbles away in the back corner, a pot of beans next to it foams over, water for pasta boils rapidly next to that. Pans crash down onto its surface, only to be picked up again moments later as ingredients hit sizzling oil. The lunch staff is working at full throttle, hardly taking a moment between each task, seamlessly picking up each order as hours tick by in the blink of an eye.  As the chef, I’m not working the line at the moment, although I can feel its heat viscerally.  I am always keeping one eye on the ticket machine, ready to jump in at a moments notice if they fall behind, something that could happen with just a single misfire. Amidst the chaos, my focus is …

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From Whole Vegetable to Whole Farm

It’s not news amongst veteran farm to table cooks that food waste is a huge problem in the U.S. and it’s particularly bad in the restaurant industry. There’s a growing trend toward making use of the whole vegetable — meaning the less than perfect ones with blemishes and the parts normally discarded such as radish tops and mushroom stems. Every year 40% of our food in the U.S. is wasted which makes this a very timely and healthful conversation to be having. At Peter Lowell’s, we are constantly challenging ourselves to explore new ways to do this. In much the same way that we approach our whole animal program, always making use of all the parts of the cow, pig, lamb or rabbit, we extend this idea to produce. In the kitchen at Lowell’s, fennel fronds or onion trim often become a stock, which in turn becomes the base of a delicious sauce for pastas, fish or meat. Out at Two Belly Acres, our fully dedicated family farm, we get to see first hand just how remarkable …

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Handline Ceviche

Classic Ceviche (serves 6-8) Here in warm Autumnal California, we look for ways to use up the last of the abundant tomato and pepper harvest we’ve had this year.  This dish is a simple version of classic Mexican ceviche. It is a refreshing and satisfying way to really showcase beautiful fresh fish. To this end, always use the freshest fish you can find which will ensure superior flavor and texture. Give the fish ample time to marinate as this will allow it to ‘cook’ in the lime juice. Also, never skip the second marination as this allows the dish to develop complexity of flavor. Great paired with your favorite crisp lager on a summer day. 2 pounds rockfish fillet, cleaned 4 limes, zest and juice ½ red onion, finely diced 2 jalapenos, diced, seeds removed 1 bunch cilantro, chopped salt ½ T agave nectar 2 ripe medium sized tomatoes, diced 1 bag tortilla chips cut the rockfish into 1/4 inch cubes add the zest of 2 limes and the juice of 4.  cover with plastic wrap …

peter lowells food photography, dawn heumann, farm to table, sebastopol, sonoma

Summertime Seared Salmon with Tomato Peach Salad

There’s a lot to be excited about midsummer at Peter Lowells. Beautiful bright produce abounds, overflowing our walk-in and pantry. This is the season for California king salmon. Many folks don’t even realize there is a season for salmon, but the freshly caught fish is nothing like its pale, bland, farmed look-alike that’s available year round. The color of the flesh is closer to that of a perfectly ripe early girl tomato. It’s flavor more like a burst of sea. The simplest way to enjoy this magnificent fish is seared to medium rare, it’s skin golden and crispy, it’s flesh succulent and flavorful. It can be served over simply roasted summer vegetables with a little salt and a drizzle of good olive oil, or over a tomato and peach salad tossed with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of balsamic. Nothing says summer on the west coast quite like king salmon. Seared king salmon with tomato and peach salad Here are some things to keep in mind: Pick the freshest fish you can find. …