Saturday, October 11, 2014

~Probiotic Soda Class~

Discover The Benefits!
September 26th Mina and I hosted a really fun Probiotic Beverage Class at Soul Body Yoga in Moorpark. We learned about all the amazing health benefits of probiotic soda while sampling lemon balm soda, elderflower soda, strawberry-rose soda, nettle-ginger soda and lavender kombucha!

Traditional fermented foods help balance the production of stomach acid, ease digestive discomfort related to either too much or too little stomach acid, help the body produce acetylcholine, (for healthy brain function - remember the gut/brain connection) increase bowel movements, act as a potent digestive aid, improve pancreatic function, and help inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

Lacto-fermented soda is a fizzy, sweet, and tangy soda that is lower in sugar and higher in minerals and enzymes than the sodas you may have grown up with.

Water kefir soda is light, sweet, and fizzy.  Because of its high mineral content it is a popular electrolyte beverage.  It is delicious when flavored with fruit or herbal tea which make it especially well suited for hot summer days.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has a tangy and assertive flavor.  It is gaining in popularity for its delicious health benefits.  Because of the detoxifying properties of kombucha some find it slightly dehydrating - so it is best consumed in smaller quantities.

Cheers To Probiotic Soda!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Delicious Refreshing Heat Remedy

As the temperature rises I continue to find new ways to stay comfortable.

One of the best ways to stay juicy and hydrated in hot dry weather is to drink plenty of protiotic-rich fermented beverages.  They are super hydrating, refreshing, full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes, a great source of electrolytes, and they taste delicious.

Although my refrigerator is fully stocked with a variety of water-kefir sodas such as nettle-ginger soda, chamomile soda, elderberry soda, june berry soda, and strawberry soda, and I will be hard-presssed to find more room in it for more soda, I decided to venture down a new avenue of soda making today.

In anticipation of more warm days ahead, as well as the possibility of parched friends stopping in, I began four double batches of lacto-fermented soda today.  Strawberry-rose soda, elderflower soda, nettle-ginger soda and lemon balm soda are sitting on my counter in the first stage of fermentation.

I am on my way to the kitchen to pour myself a refreshing glass of soda.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Even Hotter Today

With the temperature rising I would like to be able to say I kicked back and went to the beach today.

Instead of going to the beach - maybe this weekend? - I cooked for a very special client in his kitchen.

I prepared Roast Chicken with every kind of Root Vegetable imaginable, Egyptian Lentils, White Bean and Escarole Soup, Chicken Curry, and Spinach with Golden Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts.

You might wonder what a single man could possibly do with all this food?  He freezes most of it and then eats it over a period of several weeks adding a salad or vegetable here and there.

After work today I chilled out at yin yoga.

To make it easy on myself after all that kitchen time I relied on left-overs for my dinner.  I prepared a quick medley of fresh kale, chard and spinach and then tossed it into the left-over pasta.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pasta With Toppings

This has been my first summer in a house that is over 100 years old and that doesn't have an A/C. Knowing how much time I spend in the kitchen it has been a challenge to continue to eat well without feeling over-heated in the process.

My favorite strategy is to do most of my cooking early in the day while the air is still cool and fresh.

Another strategy that has worked for me is to use a clay rice cooker to cook rice or steam vegetables.  It doesn't heat up the kitchen.

Lately I have been cooking pasta with something green such as broccolini, kale or spinach.  Then I store the pasta in the fridge until I am ready to use it.  When it is time to eat I gently warm the pasta and then I dress it up in variety of ways.

Some of my favorite toppings are chunks of fresh ripe heirloom tomato, a sprinkling of minced red onion, sun-dried black olives, a dash of olive oil, chopped mexicali avocado, (a wonderful small avocado with paper-thin skin that is edible) finely grated parmesan cheese, and fresh basil from the garden.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Delicious Farmer's Market Fare

Beautiful Summer Color!

During the warmer times of the year when all the luscious summer produce is at the peak of perfection I make most of my food preparations during the cooler parts of the day.

Today I visited the farmer's market and brought home arm-loads of produce.  Today I found organic tomatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, snap peas, fresh peaches, strawberries, wild sage honey, fresh black figs, corn on the cobs, yams and sweet potatoes.

Fresh peaches and strawberries make the BEST late afternoon snack btw.

When I am not in the mood for salad I often make a pot of soup.  Tonight I am making a wonderful Italian Minestrone.  It is one of my favorite soups and is chock full of beautiful farmer's market vegetables and beans.

When I team this soup up with a slice of sourdough bread it is wonderfully satisfying - a regular meal in a bowl.

Tonight my neighbor Suzanne is making a sourdough pizza on her outdoor grill.  Now that is a great idea - and she is going to send a slice to me!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

~ Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival ~

Today I attended the fourth annual Fermentation Festival in Santa Barbara.

The Fermentation Festival, which was held at Fairview Gardens, is all about revitalizing traditional food preparation methods and promoting local food and farming.  Right up my alley.

Making my way between the Pickled Pavilion and the Fermentation Station for various classes as well as stopping to chat it up with local vendors and purveyors of such sundries as kombucha, kefir, kimchee, pickles, olives, cider, cultured veggies, sourdough bread, and even cultured salami and meats, my taste buds were kept in a fairly constant state of excitement.  I was especially thrilled to finally taste my very first Jun ever ~ which is a somewhat magical and, up until now, elusive elixir which is brewed from green tea and honey and which is reputed to have devotees that sing and chant to it.

On a personal note: the absolute biggest highlight of my day was winning the Screaming Pickle Contest ~ not once ~ but TWICE!   I won in two out of three categories.  My blood orange beet kvass won in the beverage category and my catsup won in the fruit category.


I came home with all sorts of new alchemical accoutrements and I am looking high and low ~ even checking out the closets  ~ trying to find space for more ferments.  The finicky ones especially need to have just the right conditions.

The top two photographs "Two First Place Awards" and "Screaming Pickle Contest" which were taken at the festival are compliments of Ashley Renee - food photographer.  Ashley Renee can be found at

The bottom two photographs "Pickled Pendants" and "Fruit Catsup and Blood Orange Beet Kvass" are compliments of Dan.



Well-prepared food is like yoga ~ both energizing and calming ~ good food nourishes the body because it is wholesome and it nourishes the soul because it tastes so good.

As many of you know I work as a personal chef, teach cooking classes, am the creator of Serene Cuisine, and most especially am passionate about preparing delicious, healthy, gourmet meals.  I believe that the freshest and finest ingredients are essential to good health and good cooking.

When I prepare food I think a lot about the energy in the food and how I can help prepare it so that our body and the environment come into greater harmony.  Eating local food and shopping at farmer's markets are two great ways to help our bodies maintain optimal health, withstand stress, and stay well adapted to our environment.

This next month I am very excited to have the opportunity to combine two of my favorite things - yoga with Mina and a delicious summer repast made with love by me.  

You can be sure that the meal I serve will be balanced and in harmony with the summer season ~ creating a flowing and dynamic state of health, energy and well-being.

For more information check out Soul Body Yoga at

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

~Summer Soda Days~

Today was one of those auspicious days when all the stars line up in the kitchen.

Last night Dan and I harvested elderberries.  The elderberries were so darn ripe I had a shower of them falling on my head.  Buried in berries?

I knew when I got up that I would have about 3 plus pounds of elderberries waiting for me.

I knew today would be a big kitchen day.

I began my day by making a pot of lentil soup.  This particular soup is an old favorite of mine that I have been making for the last 35 years - and I never tire of it.

After soup-making I bottled a batch of grapefruit, chamomile, cardamom kefir soda.

Then I prepared 8 bottles of beet kvass and played around with ginger and orange juice flavorings.

Then I prepared 6 bottles of kombucha.  I flavored the kombucha with elderberry syrup from my freezer stash, ginger, and lemon.

Then I started the next gallon batch of kombucha and put it in the cupboard.

Then I felt sorry for the baby kombucha that was left so I brewed up all the tea I had which happened to be green tea with a touch of white tea.  I have no idea how this will turn out.  Especially since I didn't have any starter from the previous batch to add to it because I didn't know I was going to be inspired to start a second gallon.  So I quickly read online about what to do and I added 1 1/2 c. distilled white vinegar instead of 1 1/2 c. of brewed buch.  Then I covered it with a tea towel and rubber band and set it in the cupboard with its brother batch.

Then I ate lunch.  Thank goodness I had some lentil soup.

Then I cleaned everything up.  I always carry towels out for fear of cross contamination of cultures - which is always a possibility - and started a load of laundry and I loaded the dishwasher with all the dishes I had used for same reason.  All kitchen surfaces were scrubbed with vinegar solution.

Then I began phase two of my day in the kitchen and I have been buried in berries ever since.

Elderberries take a lot of TLC because you have to pick them off the stem.  They are bubbling on the stove right now.  I should have enough to make a savory elderberry catsup and a jar of jelly for Dan.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

~Limited-Edition Faerie Magic~

~ Elderflower Cordial ~ 

Sunny and subtle, with an almost ethereal quality -Elderflower Cordial is like nothing you have ever tasted before.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Real Food Forager And Chef

SERENE CUISINE Estd. 2000 is committed to GMO-FREE, ORGANIC food.

I am located in a great new space, with the biggest kitchen I have ever had.  On March 20th 2014 I hosted my first celebratory cooking class/gathering in my new kitchen.  Together we celebrated the first day of spring.


We sampled raw cultured kefir, kombucha, three varieties of homemade fermented vegetables, and among other things.  We discussed why certain foods provide exceptional health and build beautiful faces and facial and dental structures as well as help stave off bone loss and osteoporosis.

Many of the foods we discussed are also considered sacred foods for fertility that help insure the birth of healthy offspring so that each successive generation can be blessed with even more exceptional health and beauty.  What a blessing that is!