Edible Monterey Bay


Courtesy Jordan Champagne, chef, instructor and co-founder,
Happy Girl Kitchen Co. in Pacific Grove

Yield: 12 4-ounce jars

Many people have great memories of going blueberry picking in the Northeast. One of my favorite children’s books is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, in which a mother and child head out to the bush for a day of blueberry picking and have quite the adventure before returning home to make jam. Blueberries are tiny and make a wonderful sound as the fall into a bucket. It takes a lot of work to harvest enough of any small berry to make jam, but it is a lovely way to spend the day.

Here on California’s Central Coast, it used to be that even cultivated local blueberries were uncommon. But it seems … Read More


Courtesy Emily Thomas, proprietor, The Cremer House in Felton

My grandmother was the secretary to the U.S. ambassador in several Latin countries and I was fortunate to travel with her throughout Central America, where I developed a love of Latin cooking. Panuchos are one of my favorite Yucatan street foods. Typically a late night snack made with shredded chicken or turkey, I love the depth that smoked black cod brings to them. They go great with beer.

2½ cups dried masa
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 cup beer (I like a pilsner)
Smashed or refried beans
Smoked black cod (I love the one from Real Good Fish)
Cabbage slaw (finely chopped cabbage, cilantro and lime juice)
Pickled red onions (make from finely sliced red onion, white or … Read More


Photo of Tabitha Stroup by Jake Thomas

Courtesy Tabitha Stroup, founder and chef,
Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. in Soquel

1/3 cup Prickly Purple Heart Jam or cactus pear syrup
Citrus-infused bubble water or splash of tequila and one squeeze of lime

Add jam or cactus pear syrup to a highball glass. Top with citrus-infused bubble water or a splash of tequila and one squeeze of lime.

Cactus Pear Syrup

4 medium/large cactus pears (about size of medium avocado)
1 cup simple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sea salt

De-spine cactus pears if necessary (Stroup recommends a blowtorch) or use gloves to handle. Halve and strain pears. Blend with simple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.

Photo by Tabitha Stroup

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Photo by Camilla M. Mann

Adapted from Tabitha Stroup, founder and chef, Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. in Soquel

Serves 4, with leftovers

3 pounds pork rump or shoulder with a nice fat cap intact
2 tablespoons coriander, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon chili sea salt
1 lime, juiced
1 to 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño juice
8 fresh prickly pears or 1 jar of Friend in Cheeses’ Prickly Purple Heart Jam
2 cups orange juice
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 jalapeño
6 garlic cloves, divided
3 bay leaves
Corn tortillas
Salsa verde
Pickled radishes, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine coriander, chili sea salt, lime juice and jalapeño juice and 2 tablespoons minced garlic and massage into the meat. Marinate overnight or for whatever time you have to … Read More


Photo by Patrice Ward

Courtesy Cesario Ruiz, founder, My Mom’s Mole in Watsonville

Chef Ruiz says that while this recipe could serve 12 as a side dish, once you taste it, you may want to eat the whole thing!

2 pounds cactus (nopales) cut into small strips (about 3-by-0.5 inches)
4 ripe tomatoes, cut into small wedges
½ small red onion, julienned
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2 bunches kale, chopped in bite-sized pieces
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
½ cup olive oil

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat and sauté garlic slices until browned. Set garlic aside, and let the oil cool completely.

Once the oil is cooled, … Read More