Edible Ink

A Taste of Ojai by Chef Robin Goldstein

June 18, 2015
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Cover Page of A Taste of Ojai: A Collection of Small Plates

A Taste of Ojai: A Collection of Small Plates

Chef Robin Goldstein and Ojai’s climate both draw inspiration from the Mediterranean. For Goldstein, who has traveled extensively, there’s the added layer of Middle Eastern flavors to her cooking. She brings together the regions to mingle and meld in her slim new cookbook, A Taste of Ojai: A Collection of Small Plates. (The cookbook is the first in a planned series focusing on different areas.)

Being small plates, the flavorful, savory recipes are ideal for entertaining and light meals, served solo or grouped for sharing. There’s even a Crackers and Breads chapter, so cooks have all the elements they need. Goldstein also provides a section of Condiments, Spreads & Sauces— like the Spicy Tomato Chili Jam recipe below—to turn the everyday into something special.

Recipes like Zucchini Kofta with Spiced Tomato Sauce are a welcome introduction of new flavors. Others are familiar, like the Blistered Tomato Soup, so cooks can toggle between the two.

Locally popular lavender spices a mascarpone spread for cheese plates or as dessert topping, and adds a twist: a bit of rosewater. In the recipe’s tip, the private chef and cooking instructor explains that the fragrant Middle Eastern ingredient complements lavender’s floral tones.

Cooks will enjoy spending time with the recipes—beautifully illustrated by Ojai-based photographer Karen Nedivi and designer Tracy Smith—and their stories. Goldstein talks about where she was introduced to a dish and explains its origins. In Tomato Rissoles, a gluten-free croquette with Greek flavors, Goldstein shares how the dish brings back memories of “moped rides to watch the spectacular sunsets in Oia on the [Greek] island’s west side” with her “bestie.”

For more info, visit ATasteOfOjai.com.

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