Our Barn Dinner at Sunset

Photos by  Chelsea Mitchell

If ever there was a day I fantasized about living on a farm it was our afternoon spent at Heartstone Ranch. Chickens clucked, a horse talked to me curiously as he poked his head in to see what we were doing as we decorated our Autumn table. That evening in early October, we had our harvest dinner in a big ol' beautiful, wood barn. It was a night I'll never forget! A warm Santa Barbara evening, with that gorgeous dusk light of fall, sweet melody in the air and a lovely balmy breeze enticing us to slow down.

I've always wanted to attend a barn dinner at sunset. I imagined hay bale seating, wood plank tables, fall evoking melody wafting in the air and a feast to behold. Well, the amazing venue and the good people of Heartstone Ranch made recreating a childhood dream easy. Harvesting fall leaves, folding forty napkins in twine and twigs with love, dusting off my favorite old pewter roosters, platters and woven baskets. We set out to try to make that dream a reality.

In the end however it was Nicole and David's gorgeous spread of organic, farm fresh foods, all artfully infused with chocolate notes.... and Maya's chocolate ganache wafting in the air, thick and rich with rosemary oils that made the night. I loved the giggles you got from the guests as they rolled truffles in their palms. Good, messy fun… sneaking bites as they worked. Reminded me of that old I love Lucy episode at the chocolate factory were she shoved the candies in her mouth like a chipmunk collecting acorns, packing them in her cheeks. Too charming!

If there is one thing that these events have taught us at Fruitful Collaborations, it's to not loose that childlike sense of wonder for learning we've enjoyed during our workshops… or how important it is to slow down and enjoy the simple things! Cook together, share a good meal and break bread with friends. Drink a glass of wine and look up from maddening pace of life once in a while and just breath it all in. At least for me, that day with all you beautiful souls I felt thankful. Thankful for great friends, for delicious food, for art and for nature that day... in all its barn life wonder. So we thought to share it a bit with you here. I hope you enjoy it like we did. Happy fall to each of you, our lovely friends.

Have a look at the rest of Chelsea's beautiful images from the evening in the gallery section.

More Autumn Harvest Recipes!

Here are a few more recipes from our Autumn Harvest dinner... including Chocolate Maya's amazing truffle recipe. Enjoy!

Photos by  Chelsea Mitchell

Chocolate & Rosemary Braised Short Ribs

1/4 cup diced pancetta (Italian bacon; about 1 1/2 ounces)
6 pounds bone-in short ribs
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups dry red wine
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups chopped drained canned diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 very large fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons shaved or grated bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary


Heat heavy large pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown ribs in drippings in pot over medium-high heat until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to plate. Add onions and next 4 ingredients to pot. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add wine. Boil uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pancetta. Return ribs to pot, cover partially, and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and simmer until rib meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours longer.
Transfer ribs to plate; discard bay leaf. Spoon fat from surface of sauce. Boil sauce until beginning to thicken, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add chocolate, cocoa powder, and rosemary; stir until chocolate melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return ribs to pot. Simmer to rewarm, about 5 minutes.
 Serve over creamy polenta… We add about ¼ cup whipping cream to polenta to give it additional richness.

Sweet Potatoes Andouille Sausage Soup

1 lb andouille sausage, diced (I found the pork Andouille sold at the Fresh Market in Santa Barbara to be the closest in flavor to Louisiana Andouille)
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks Celery, diced
1 tsp. thyme
3 tbs. olive oil
2 lbs peeled sweet potatoes  diced into 1 inch squares
2 quarts chicken broth
Pinch of each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper
2 oz brown sugar
2 oz dark chocolate
¼ tsp. pepper
Salt to taste
3 oz heavy cream
Heat olive oil in a medium stock pot.  Add sausage and cook for 5 minutes.  Add onions and celery and cook until tender.  Add thyme and sweet potatoes.  Sauté for 5 minutes.  Add chicken stock and brown sugar.  Add pepper cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg and 2 oz of the dark chocolate.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.  Puree in blender in small batches.  Once pureed return to pot and add cream and salt.
Garnish with a fried sage leaf.  To fry sage leaf just fry sage leaves in warm olive oil. Fry 6–8 sage leaves at a time until crisp, 2–3 seconds. Transfer with a fork to paper towels and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

For a vegetarian version of the soup, replace chicken broth with vegetable broth and eliminate the Andouille sausage.

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Recipe provided by Maya Schoop-Rutten of Maya Chocolate

For the ganache:

3/4 cup heavy cream
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
a pinch of fleur de sel or 1 - 3 tsp of cognac or port wine (any other favorite liquor)

For the coating:

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped.
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir the chopped chocolate, stirring until melted. Add your liquor or fleur de sel. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

The next day, let your ganache warm a little before using a melon baller to scoop the truffle mixture into small balls, then set them on a plate. Chill the truffles again.

Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler. Spread the cocoa powder into a bowl.
Cover your right hand with some melted chocolate, pick up a truffle with your clean hand and put into your chocolate covered hand, coat the ganache, then drop it into the cocoa powder and roll it around so the cocoa powder covers the truffle.

When all the truffles are done, place them in a strainer to remove the excess cocoa powder. Can be kept up to 10 days refrigerated.

Happy Autumn!

A gentle October breeze, a cozy barn in the Santa Barbara foothills... long plank tables, hay bale seating, soft folk melody playing in the background and the smell of sweet and savory spices cooking, was the back drop to our Harvest dinner. Lots of friends all gathered excitedly at the table for a five course meal... me included. We had planned multiple courses infused with chocolate notes. Being a truffle workshop it seemed likely a lovely tie in. However, I had no idea how our chefs Nicole Hernandez and David Eng would pull it together for us! Braised Short Ribs with Chocolate and Rosemary, Sweet Potatoes, Andouille Sausage Soup, Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage over Linguini with Chocolate Dust and a lovely light little Salad with a Chocolate Vinaigrette Dressing. INCREDIBLE... oh and my personal favorite, the Roasted Grape Crostini appetizer! I ate wayyyy too many!

As the evening came to a close our guests asked us to share these delectable recipes with them and as promised dear friends, here are a couple to get you started. We will follow with more recipes next week, along with a few more photos from our dinner. Enjoy and Happy Autumn to one and all!

Roasted Grape Crostini 

2 cups of Seedless Grapes (more depending on how many to serve)
3 - 4 TBSP Olive Oil, plus extra to drizzle on bread
Pyramid Salt
1 - 2 tsp Honey
sprigs of fresh Thyme (or ½ tsp dried Thyme)
2 cups of fresh Ricotta Cheese
French Baguette cut into ½ inch slices


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Drizzle 1 tablespoons of Olive Oil on baking sheet.
  2. Remove Grapes from stems and place on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle remaining Olive Oil over Grapes and sprinkle with a pinch of Salt.
  4. Roast Grapes in the middle of the preheated oven for about 12 - 18 minutes or until soft to touch.
  5. In the meantime, prepare ½ inch bread slices.
  6. Lightly drizzle with Olive Oil on one side.
  7. In a Panini press (or on a grill), toast bread on medium heat until golden marks are formed and it is perfectly toasted to your liking on both sides.
  8. By now the grapes should be ready. Remove from oven to cool for a minute.
  9. Mix a teaspoon of honey into 2 cups of ricotta cheese
  10. Now assemble your Crostini.
  11. With the olive oil side of toast, top with 1 - 2 tablespoons of Ricotta Cheese. Top with a spoonful or two of the Roasted Grapes sprinkle with pyramid salt and fresh thyme leaves.
  12. Serve immediately while warm.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage over Linguini with Chocolate Dust

1 large butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
Pinch ground nutmeg
6 fresh sage leaves, cut in thin strips
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated or shaved Pecorino Romano
Chopped walnuts, for garnish
Grated dark chocolate bar for dusting


  1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise to remove the seeds and strings. Peel the skin using a paring knife and cut the squash into small cubes.
  2. Place the olive oil and shallots in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the shallots begin to color, add the squash and season with salt and pepper. Saute a few minutes to lightly caramelize the surface of the cubes. Add the bay leaf, nutmeg, sage, and chicken broth. Cover the pan and cook until the squash is tender but still holding its shape, about 8 minutes.
  3. Puree the sauce with a standard or immersion blender and serve with potato gnocchi. Top with grated cheese and chopped walnuts and grated dark chocolate dust before serving.

Autumn Harvest Dinner by Nicole Hernandez & David Eng

As relative newcomers to Santa Barbara, Nicole Hernandez and David Eng both saw food as a way to bond with new friends and co-workers. They created an intimate dinner series as a way to make new friends. Avid foodies, Nicole and David shared a real passion for creating great food and sharing it with good company. Hearty meals were created together to commune with friends and loved ones and have since become a regular tradition in their new hometown. As gourmet cooks and food enthusiasts, Nicole and David draw their inspiration from a myriad of sources that include their respective pasts living in New Orleans and up and down the California coast, recipes from renowned chefs such as Alice Waters and Nancy Silverton to memorable meals at the local deli, taqueria or izakaya, and the freshest offerings at the local farmers market. While the inspirations are many, the goal is singular: to create food that nourishes and delights, and draws us all closer to each other.

For this latest gathering of Fruitful Collaborations, Nicole and David invite you to pull up a chair and enjoy their savory dishes with dark chocolate infusions... all inspired by our Chocolate Workshop that night hosted by Maya Schoop-Rutten, Chocolatier and owner of Chocolate Maya. Nicole and David feel Chocolate lends silkiness and complexity to savory dishes and marries well with the warm dishes made from the amazing produce from the fall harvest. We can't wait to taste their artful creations, won't you join us?

Heartstone Ranch

Heartstone Ranch is a beautiful estate nestled in the Santa Barbara foothills and is the location for this month's Autumn Harvest Dinner. You might remember this spot from last year's Kinfolk Bee Keeping Workshop we hosted? We made great friends with owner and bee keeper extraordinaire, Nick Wigle, who's been kind enough to open his home one last time to us.

If you missed it, this estate is a gem filled with gorgeous vistas, not one but two beautiful homes and a charming array of horses, rabbit and goats out on the pasture. We feel especially honored to be hosting with our old friends one last time before it sells to some lucky soul. This time in their rustic old barn!

Together we are breaking in the fall season on the eve of October 18th by creating a seasonally inspired autumn feast and chocolate making workshop. A organic "comfort food" menu filled with subtle notes of chocolate. We will learn the art of truffle making and enjoy a feast with rustic charm. Won't ya join us?

Heartstone Ranch - 4188 Footlhill Road, Carpinteria, CA 93013 - Montecito Properties

Chocolate Maya

photos by  Chelsea Mitchell

A couple weeks ago, we stopped by the fabulous Chocolate Maya, to talk to owner Maya Schoop-Rutten about our upcoming Harvest Dinner. Maya will be joining us on October 18th out at Heartstone Ranch to show us how to make our own chocolate truffles! If you haven't visited her lovely shop, you really should make a trip. She has an amazing selection of handmade chocolate confections... rosemary, pear, fig and honey, chile, lavender... the combinations appeared endless, and were all enticing. Maya was happy to answer our questions, helped us pick out a couple to sample, and we sat down in her cozy lounge to enjoy. What a treat it was to savor these amazing chocolate creations!

Maya’s goal since opening the shop in 2007 has been to introduce her customers to the best chocolate from around the world... grown on plantations where workers are treated with respect and growers are paid fair market prices. In addition to a fine collection of organic and fair trade chocolate, Maya creates her own delicious creations using the highest quality organic chocolate, creams, butter, spices, purees, nuts, and herbs. She looks for local seasonal ingredients and each chocolate is carefully hand dipped and decorated.

We're so excited to welcome Maya to our Harvest Dinner on October 18th! Hope you can join us!

photos by  Chelsea Mitchell

Chocolate Maya | 15 W. Gutierrez St, Santa Barbara, CA | chocolatemaya.com

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

Italian Sunday Sessions

with Nicole Hernandez & Amy Withers Riedl

Cooking has a sensational way of bringing the flavors and memories of other places and cultures home. One of the greatest gifts Nicole has mentioned in life was the pleasure of living in New Orleans long enough to not only work on the preservation of its beautiful historic architecture but also to learn some of the amazing local recipes from friends. With its roots in Spanish and French and Caribbean culture, New Orleans is famous for its unique, spicy dishes. Now that fall is approaching, you may be ready to get back into the kitchen and spend a cool afternoon cooking.

Jambalaya is a New Orleans favorite and is great for serving to large groups.  One of my favorite traditions of local New Orleanean families is to set up a spot on the Mardi Gras parade routes and cook and serving Jambalaya with cocktails to accompany the festivities.  Jambalaya was created in Louisiana and has its origins in Spanish paella. Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meat, vegetables, and is completed by adding homemade stock and rice.

Meat - Chicken and Sausage

Cook Chicken and Stock:

1 whole chicken
2 stocks celery with leaves chopped in thirds
1 whole onion quartered
1 garlic clove - slice in half
2 cups long grain white rice
Place entire whole chicken in large pot and surround with celery, onion and garlic. Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour until the chicken is fully cooked.  Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Strain out vegetables from the stock- the rich flavor of the complete dish comes from this homemade stock.

Add 2 cups of white rice to the chicken broth and set to boil. As soon as it boils, lower heat to medium-low and cover for 20 minutes to cook the rice. Once the chicken has cooled, finely shred the chicken and set aside.


New Orleans also has some of the most flavorful hams and sausages and add so much flavor to their dishes. Variations we used included, andouille sausage, a smoked, spicy sausage made using pork and tasso ham. Tasso ham is a specialty of south Louisiana cuisine. It is a spicy, peppery version of smoked pork. It is used in dishes ranging from pasta to crab cakes, soup to gravy. Appropriate to its roots, tasso is most often found in recipes of southern or Cajun/Creole origin, such as jambalaya.

1 pound of andouille sausage chopped to small pieces (this is found in most grocery stores all over the country)
1 pound of tasso ham chopped to small pieces (this is much harder to find outside of Louisiana-and can be substituted with a thick spicy ham.)
Sauté the sausage and ham until brown in a large skillet and set aside.



Many traditional New Orleans recipes start with what the local cooks call “The holy trinity” which is equal parts of chopped onion, celery, and green bell pepper.

1 yellow onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot pepper sauce (like tabasco)

In a large skillet sauté your "holy trinity" for 8-10 minutes until soft and onions are translucent.
Add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and a 8 oz can of tomatoes and stir.


Add the vegetables, shredded chicken, sausage and ham to the rice and stir thoroughly. Add two bay leafs, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste and thoroughly stir. Cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes then serve warm with fresh crusty French bread.

Sol Food Festival

We here at Fruitful Collaborations are very honored to be a part of Alison Hensley's growing vision, Santa Barbara's own Sol Food Festival. This year we are super excited to announce that we will be running their Scratch Cookin' Kitchen booth!! Creating six workshops using organic and locally grown produce in all sorts of tasty and creative ways. Please come support our local community and foodie friends Saturday, September 27!!

more info solfoodfestival.com


Savory Hatch Chili and Shrimp & Goat Cheese Crepes

Italian Sunday Sessions

with Nicole Hernandez & Amy Withers Riedl

The first sign of fall is the appearance of flavorful green chilies from Hatch, New Mexico. Famous for their rich flavor combined with the perfect amount of spicy heat, they fill the crispy fall air with the most amazing smell when they are being roasted. If you are looking for a great unique recipe in which to use these seasonal treats, this savory crepe recipe is decadent as the delicate crepes add a elegant base for the spicy shrimp chili cream sauce. The crepes can be a a great main course for brunch or dinner or they can be sliced for an impressive appetizer.

1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 Hatch Chilies - Roasted (directions for roasting below)
1 pound raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz goat cheese
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Crepes (recipe to follow)

Roasting Chilies

Put 3 Hatch Chilies on a parchment lined backing sheet in the broiler or place chilies directly over a grill until one side is well charred and turn them over.  Once evenly charred remove from the oven and put into a paper or plastic bag to cool.  The steam loosens the skin.  Once cool, peal the skin off and remove inner seeds from chilies and discard and finely chop the meat of the chili.

Filling for Crepes

In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add  the chilies with 1 pound chopped raw shrimp and saute until the shrimp turn completely pink.  Add 4 oz of goat cheese and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cream along with a dash of salt and pepper and saute until the sauce thickens.  If the sauce is too thick add a bit more cream and set aside.

Topping for Crepes

In a sauce pan heat 1/2 cup cream with a bay leaf and salt and pepper just to warm.


1 cup organic unbleached flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons melted butter

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs.  Gradually add the milk, water  and mix completely.  Add the salt and butter and beat until smooth.

Add a small pat of butter to a round skillet over medium heat and let melt.  Pour a 1/4 cup of the patter into the melted buttered pan, tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter thinly coats the surface evenly.

Cook the crepes about 2 minutes until the bottom is a light brown and easily to slide a spatula under a flip to cook the other side. Put on a plate and start next crepe.

Assemble. Fill each crepe with the shrimp and chili cream sauce and roll, drizzle the warm bay leaf cream sauce over the top and serve warm.

Strawberry Semifreddo


Italian Sunday Sessions

with Nicole Hernandez & Amy Withers Riedl

Several weeks ago, we featured the French Cheese, Crème Fraiche, with Peaches as a dessert. Today we are letting Italian Mascarpone Cheese be the star paired with California Strawberries for a refreshing summer desert. Mascarpone cheese is a creamy, rich, slightly bitter Italian cheese similar to American cream cheese.  It is most famous for being the key ingredient in Tiramisu.  Often used in making a rich risotto Nicole commented "it lends itself to sweet and savory giving the recipes a distinct Italian essence." Semifreddo means "half cold" in Italian and maintains a soft, velvety texture for this lush, creamy Italian dessert.

This weekend we created a sweet strawberry semifreddo with shaved chocolate.  It serves well like a richer whipped cream to which you can add as or with a favorite topping to give your dessert something new and unexpected. After a hot Sunday at the beach,  Nicole went on to serve what was left to friends in between shortbread cookies to make a little semifreddo sandwich. This also made a perfect marriage to which she added  "The sweet cookie brought out the creamy richness of the semifreddo and made a great beachy summer dessert."

Strawberry Semifreddo

1 small basket of strawberries chopped.
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
½ cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz mascarpone cheese
5 Tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar

Put the chopped strawberries and tablespoon of water in a sauce pan and boil together for five minutes to make a syrup - then let chill

Whip the cream, mascarpone cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl for a minute until resembles whipped cream, add the strawberries and syrup and chill in the fridge.  We chilled this version but found it spread in between shortbread cookies also worked beautifully... and just savored the complexity that the mascarpone gives to this dessert.

Chocolate Workshop in October!!

Autumn Harvest & Chocolate Maya at Heartstone Ranch

We're excited to officially announce that our fall event is scheduled for October 18th at Heartstone Ranch in Carpinteria! It’s a chocolate making workshop featuring chocolatier Maya Schoop-Rutten, owner of Chocolate Maya in Santa Barbara. An autumn harvest dinner in a rustic barn will follow, menu created by gourmet cook and foodie blogger Nicole Hernandez. If you'd like to join our mailing list, we will let you know as soon as tickets are available. Just send us an email!

Where: Heartstone Ranch
When: October 18th
Time: 4pm - 7pm
Theme: Autumn Harvest
Workshop: Art of Chocolate Making with Maya Schoop-Rutten of Chocolate Maya
Cook: Nicole Hernandez & David Eng
Tickets: $65, available mid September

Sweet Corn & Goat Cheese Salad, with Blood Orange Dressing

Italian Sunday Sessions

with Nicole Hernandez & Amy Withers Riedl

Freshly picked from the farmers market, raw corn is a wonderful and unique base for any slaw salad and can be mixed easily to suit your mood or what's in season. Sweet, healthy and with a great watery corn crunch, this chopped salad has become a favorite addiction. Today, we mixed together an eclectic combination of fruits and veggies by combining some famously paired flavors like Strawberries and goat cheese. Mixed then with sweet apples, heirloom tomatoes and corn's it's sweetness was balanced with a tangy dressing, sharp arrugala, onion and roasted salty almonds.

Some favorite add in's are mentioned here that Amy's used in the past... "Some favorite variations have been chunks of avocado, peaches, raspberries,cucumbers and homemade croutons. Don't forget to play with your cheese selection too. Feta and balsamic reduction offer up a whole different set of flavor!". How about varying your dressings? Well it has been topped with anything from lemon and honey to a more traditional vinaigrette dressing. But we're partial to the beautiful flavor and color that comes from a freshly squeezed blood orange. So that's what we've chosen for you today... enjoy!

Mix in a large bowl...

4-5  "shaved" corn cobs worth of pulp
15 mini heirloom tomatoes, varying colors
10 diced strawberries
2 whole diced small apples
1/2 c. Roasted, salted almonds 
1/2c. onion finely chopped
1 c. Arugula
1/2 c. Goat cheese pinched and placed as garnish

Homemade Pepper Pasta

Italian Sunday Sessions

with Nicole Hernandez & Amy Withers Riedl

One of the first conversations I had with Amy was about our mutual love of Alice Waters, the chef that inspired our generation to make cooking with fresh, beautiful ingredients as a way to enrich every ordinary day.  So this pasta recipe is from the Chez Panisse Café cookbook.  It was such an amazing treat for me to be able to make this pasta with my fellow devoted Alice Waters fan Amy and her sweet, little 2 year old Harrison, whose little hands were happily busy helping knead the dough.

Homemade Pepper Pasta

2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp olive oil
1 tablespoon water

Blend the flour and salt and set aside. Blend the eggs, oil and water in a separate bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture with a spoon and pour egg mixture into the bowl and gradually start mixing into the flour mix until well blended and continue to knead until you have a smooth elastic mixture. Flatten the dough and wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 45 minutes. Then you can start pulling off pieces and running through the pasta cutting machine.  I flattened to #5 on the machine and cut the fettuccine. After 45 minutes cook pasta in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes and drain to add to sauce.

Note:  Roll and cut out all the dough into pasta as the dough does not save well.  You can refrigerate the pasta once cut for a day if you have too much.
While pasta is resting for 45 minutes. Prepare the sauce - makes enough sauce for 4 servings.
This sauce has a Spanish flair with a spicy Anaheim hot chili pepper and Spanish Manchego cheese that give it a robust distinct flavor while the cream gives it a elegant richness.

Pepper Cream Sauce

1 spicy chili relleno pepper (medium spice)
3 sweet peppers in a variety of colors and shapes (1/2 of each)
1/4 onion or shallot
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2  cup heavy cream
Shaved Manchego cheese to taste

Amy and I ran across the most amazing peppers at the Farmers Market. The reds, oranges, yellows were stunning and the different shapes so elegant as they were all sort of thrown together to make the perfect painting there on the table. We both love a little spice so we chose one of the chili relleno peppers, a three sweet peppers red, orange and another long, multi-color, Italian sweet pepper.

Thinly slice the peppers and onion. Heat olive oil in skillet and add the peppers and onion and crushed garlic and saute until vegetables are soft, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the fresh pasta to the skillet and mix, add the cream and stir for 2 minutes for sauce to thicken slightly.  Serve and top with fresh shaved Manchego cheese.

Chef Ashley Mulligan Schutz

My love of Ashley Mulligan Schutz's food began about five years ago and it was, of all things, an array of homemade COOKIES! Now, I'm a bit of an "expert" cookie eater. Over a lifetime of eating at least one a day, Ashley's creations left a mark... Hearty, dense, flaky and drizzled with sweetness, infused with orange. When we started these events at Fruitful Collaborations years later, I asked Ashley to work with us. I knew she was a chef and figured that if her cookies where that memorable what must her other dishes be like... boy was I right!

A true jet setter, Ashley has spent years traveling the globe as a personal chef leading food tours in Morocco, Italy and Spain. It was during those travels that Ashley developed her own vision or sensibility regarding food. "By using organic and native ingredients my hope is to offer an experience of traveling through our tastebuds and by choosing wisely what we put in our bodies, allowing food to be our medicine." Through her many travels Ashley's collected artful and unusual recipes almost as unique as she is.

Last season, she worked with us here at Fruitful Collaboration on our Kinfolk Magazine December workshop, and this month we are lucky enough to have her back again!!! This time teaching us all about the art of creating homemade sweet and savory berry galette on an old fashioned farm. She's also cooking up a beautiful organic picnic spread for us all to share at Summerset Farm on Saturday, August 2. Won't you join us? You know we'd love to have ya!

July Sunday Session, Part 2

Flatbreads on the Grill

One of our all time favorite things to cook is flatbread, it is an opportunity to use a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables with an array of cheese and it always comes out delicious. If you have a favorite pizza dough recipe… this is the base of your flat bread. If you are in a time crunch and need a shortcut… Whole foods and Trader Joe's have excellent pizza dough that allow you to quickly roll out an elegant lunch, dinner or appetizer. We chose to roll out rectangular flat bread and one eye catching irregular shape too, added mozzarella and dotted it with pepperoni for the kids to munch on.

Fig & Goat Cheese Flatbread

Figs are one of the most beautiful and visually pleasing fruits, due to the rich variations of purple on the outside skin and the pinks on the interior. Figs have a unique flavor that goes well when cooked as a savory dish especially with the saltiness of prosciutto and rich bitterness of goat cheese. Topping a grilled flatbread with the figs will give you a beautiful centerpiece for any table. The grill gives the dough a slightly smoky flavor that adds even more richness.


1/3 of a ball of pizza dough
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 slices of thin prosciutto
2 Tablespoons soft goat cheese
4 fresh (sliced) semi firm figs
2 Tablespoons balsamic glaze


Roll out pizza dough and place directly on the grill for 2 minutes on each side. This gives the dough a chance to be a little crispy without over cooking. Remove from the grill and spread one side with olive oil. Add a layer of prosciutto over the dough and sprinkle softened goat cheese over the top and sliced fresh figs and drizzle with a balsamic glaze. Return to grill for approximately 5 minutes covered until cheese is melted.

Fresh Tomato Grilled Squash Blossom Flatbread:  

One of my favorite memories of Italy is the fresh squash blossoms featured at the open air markets. So, it was wonderful to discover that our farmers market sells them, as well. The beautiful delicate yellow petals are so enticing to use in a recipe and offer a subtle flavor that completely unique. They are often stuffed with goat cheese and fried, but I found they add a delicate light flavor to a margarita style flatbread.


1/3 of ball of pizza dough
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 small fresh tomatoes
1 minced garlic clove
Salt & Pepper
Red pepper flakes
4 fresh basil leaves
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
4 fresh squash blossoms


Dice fresh tomatoes (use yellow, orange and red for bright summer colors that really make the process of chopping such a pleasure, because it is just eye candy to look at as you chop) add one minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, and a few red pepper flakes (the spice of the red pepper gives an essential kick to the recipe) stir to combine and set sauce aside. Place the rolled out dough directly on the grill and cook for 2 minutes on each side. This gives the dough a chance to get a little crispy without over cooking. Remove from grill and coat dough with olive oil and then add the fresh tomato mixture, add thinly sliced basil, top with sliced fresh mozzarella and squash blossoms. Gently tear the blossoms and lay them on the pizza. Return to the grill for approximately 5 minutes covered until cheese is melted. For extra flavor, we suggest adding thinly sliced shallots sautéed in a separate pan for 10 minutes at low heat with olive oil or add some fresh arugula just before serving.

Nasturtium Blossom Salad

2 heads of romaine, chopped.
4 cups of of wild Arugula lettuce for added sharpness
8 diced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of roasted and salted almonds
1/2 of thinly sliced crescent strands of red onion
1 cup of croutons
1 cup of sliced heirloom tomatoes in yellow, orange and red.
(Optional half cup of diced cilantro)
10 heads of brightly colored nasturtiums on top as an artful edible garnish

Maple Dressing

... a not too sweet blend of maple and lemon flavors that pair beautifully with the sharp taste of Arugula and fresh ripe strawberries.


1 large freshly squeezed juice of a lemon to cut the sweet
1/3 cup of your favorite maple syrup
1/3 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Will make enough for one large salad.

We are on the Grill!

One of the things we've enjoyed most about creating events in Santa Barbara has been working with all sorts if wonderful local chefs, sharing in creating and enjoying the unique flavors and recipes each gifted cook brought to our table. That's why we've decided to kick off this season by sharing a few of these wonderful recipes each month with you at home.

After the first afternoon cooking with my dear "foodie"  friend and cook Nicole Hernandez, we both were so inspired by our Sunday spent cooking together we playfully dubbed this new ceremony among friends as our "Sunday Sessions." We're both excited by the prospect of more of these days to come... enjoy!



Grilled peaches:

My friend Nicole commented, "California peaches are absolutely irresistible.  I have always been a fan of Colorado Peaches (my hometown)… but California’s just blow me away!  It is almost impossible to go through the summer farmers’ market without a bag of peaches and I have found that I am always looking for great peach recipes.  I often throw them in a simple tart or soak them in sugar and lemon and top with whipped cream.  But on a warm beautiful Sunday afternoon, Amy and I just wanted to be outside. So, grilling peaches sounded like a great way to savor the day. Plus, the thought of the nice grill marks on the peaches seemed visually enticing to us both." After tasting the firm, white peaches at the farmers’ market, we fell in love and bought a bag.


3 white firm peaches, halved
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup crème fraiche
2 Tablespoons honey (plus extra for drizzling)


We cut 3 peaches in half and brushed the open side with olive oil.  Grill peaches for about 4 minutes each side (we had firm peaches that needed, a ripe peach may take less time so keep an eye on them.)  We recommend the slightly firm peaches because the crispy texture was perfect once warm. Remove from the grill then sprinkle with cinnamon.  Combine a ½ cup of crème fraiche with 2 teaspoons honey and spoon on the open side of each peach and then drizzle with honey. The honey and cream start to drip giving a beautiful pattern to a decadent dessert that is actually very light and perfect for a warm picnic on the patio.  A nice surprise was that the grill darkened the outside colors of the peaches to a deep, rich hue.

Stay tuned for more recipes from July's Sunday Session in the coming days!

Summer Solstice Shindig

To welcome the start of summer each year, my husband and I host an annual Summer Solstice event here in Santa Barbara. A less formal party, we kick off our shoes, listen to live music, and eat a spicy BBQ spread that only my co-host, and chef of our Kinfolk October workshop, Emma Cantu, can add to the mix. Enough cake for a small army followed, including 100 cupcakes and six full cakes! Peanut butter and chocolate, vanilla and coconut iced red velvet, hot & spicy chocolate pepper cupcakes, homemade strawberry & chocolate ice cream, fresh flower topped cakes... it was amazing! A day to remember for sure filled with friends and the sweet sounds of The Kinds. Check out the gallery of photos, by our very own Chelsea Mitchell! Have your taste buds been tempted? Please follow our blog, facebook page, Instagram #fruitfulcollaborations and look for recipes that will soon be found in our upcoming fruitful collaboration DIY/cookbook! More on that very soon!

And don't forget! Our first event of the season is in just a couple weeks! Join us at Summerset Farm August 2 from 10am - 1pm for berry picking, galette making workshop and picnic by the fabulous Ashley Mulligan Shutz! Tickets are $65, and are going fast. Don't miss out!

August Workshop: Summerset Farm

Intrigued by a review I read about an old fashioned farm full of colorful autumn gourds and organic produce, I made a little trek through the Santa Ynez Valley to Summerset Farm. A produce stand located just north of Solvang and Santa Ynez. Summerset Farm was filled with all sorts organic vegetables, herbs, flowers, budding gourds and to my surprise rows and rows of delicious raspberries and blackberries in the Summer! That's when the idea of a pie workshop for summer was born.

In that spirit, Fruitful Collaborations is happy to announce that we will be hosting the first event of our second season this August at Summerset Farm! A morning spent picking fresh berries, followed a lesson on how to create handmade galette tart/pies. We will taste and learn how to make both sweet and savory variations. Guests will collect recipes from our featured chef, Ashley Mulligan Schutz, and take home some homemade toppings so they can create their own with the harvest from the day.

But the event would not be complete without a gourmet picnic! A chance to soak in the farms quiet beauty, meander around the bountiful gardens, and visit with both old and new friends. Please join us from 10am - 1pm on Saturday, August 2 at Summerset Farm!

The stand is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.
Summerset Farm - 3450 Baseline Avenue - Santa Ynez, CA 93460

A Brand New Season

Photos by  Chelsea Mitchell

Grab your sun hat for an old-fashioned day on the farm! We're kicking off our second season on Saturday, August 2, with a day at a beautiful berry farm. Join us while we pick fresh raspberries and blackberries, learn how to make a rustic galette with our harvest, and enjoy a artful picnic by Chef Ashley Mulligan Schutz. Tickets are $65, and will be available on our website July 1. Please RSVP to reserve your spot on our "wish list " and you will be notified as soon as they are available. As always, our events sell out early due to limited space, but we hope to accommodate you all. We here at Fruitful Collaborations are so excited to see you all again very soon!


Summer is Coming!

Summer is coming! We here at Fruitful Collaborations have kicked off the frost of winter and are busy preparing a brand new season of workshops! After a year of hosting gatherings for Kinfolk Magazine, our team is carrying on that same spirit of tradition and community. We've built a new family of friends during our workshops and look forward creating some new memories together. As always, we will focus on locally inspired gourmet food and craft, in a unique setting. Perhaps our favorite part of all is getting a chance to meet and chat with other artful souls here in our own community. First up: Summer! A chance to harvest from nature and create something delectable together...are you ready? Details coming soon!