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Santa Barbara, CA, United States
I enjoy creating original wine-pairing recipes that are healthful and delicious. I work for Touring & Tasting a Santa Barbara based wine club and national magazine as Food Editor. However, I am not paid for this blog and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I received my Personal Chef Skills Competency Award from the SBCC's School Of Culinary Arts. In 2012, I started Inside Wine - Santa Barbara with pal Lila Brown which features wine tastings with winery owners and winemakers. I also serve on the Board of the Santa Barbara Culinary Arts group, which had Julia Child as one of the founding members and funds scholarships for SBCC culinary students in her name.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Success! Inside Wine - Santa Barbara

My "baking buddy" Lila and I started a new Meetups group called Inside Wine - Santa Barbara and we had our first event last Thursday. It was a great success! 60 people attended, they loved the wines and the food. Here are some of there rave reviews:

What an amazing evening!! The organizers are very wine savvy, offering us a wide variety of choices and background with each wine. The appetizers were scrumptious, especially loving the fig topped brochetta!! -- Elvina

I had a great time looking forward to the next meetup! -- Robin

This was an absolutely wonderful event! Not only was it in a fabulous venue, but it was great to make some new friends AND learn about the wine being poured. PLUS - I won the "mystery wine" contest -- how cool is THAT! Thanks so much, Tama & Lila for a great event. I'm looking forward to future events!  -- Pattie

Had a great time! -- Jennifer

Great evening out, Good wine, food and presentation. Very gracious sponser! Enjoyed the evening, nice group of people, First meet-up it was a great success! Glad I joined. -- Sandy

I made three kinds of focaccia: caramelized onion cooked with Passito, sun-dried tomato with Romano cheese, and olive oil and rosemary, also the cucumber/roasted beet/creme fraiche appetizers shown below. Lila made amazing crostini with sundried tomato and sweet figs in balsalmic. Yum!

Tama's Roasted Beet and Cucumber Appetizer:
Ingredients For the Roasted Beet:
1 large beet, peeled
approximately 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
spray olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients For the Appetizer:
1 cooked beet
1 Japanese cucumber (with edible skin)
1/2 cup sour cream (regular or Tofutti) OR 1/2 cup soft goat cheese OR crème fraîche
1 slice lox, minced
approximately a dozen chive stems
1 teaspoon dill
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon or more of salt, to taste

Directions For the Roasted Beet:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the peeled beet in quarters, then slice each half into 1/4" slices. Put on a baking tray (use a piece of foil between the tray and the beets for easier clean-up) and spray the beets all over with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Roast in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until tender on the inside and slightly caramelized on the outside, turning once or twice during the roasting process.

Directions For the Appetizer:
Slice the cucumber into 1/4" slices. Cut off the top 2" of the chives and set aside. Slice the rest of the chives thinly. Mix the sour cream, lox, chives, dill, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings--the mixture should be slightly on the salty side. Spoon a bit of the sour cream mixture on each cucumber slice and top with two slices of roasted beet. Slice the reserved chive tops lengthwise and use to decorate the appetizer.

These pair with a number of wines--for a red, Pinot Noir, for a white, an Albarino.

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