Becoming a restaurant owner wasn’t on Sondra Bernstein’s radar when she graduated from college. “I actually have a degree in photography,” she told us. “When I graduated, I looked around for jobs in photography, but couldn’t find anything.” So Bernstein did what many people do. She got a job as a waitress. It changed her life … and her career path.
Today, Bernstein, 51, is the owner and chief executive of the girl & the fig and ESTATE restaurants in Sonoma, Calif., as well as the fig café & wine bar in nearby Glen Ellen. The acclaimed eateries serve ingredient-driven cuisine highlighting fresh, seasonal vegetables, fruits and other foods. The hyper-busy Bernstein also is working on her second cookbook.
When we asked Bernstein what vegetable to showcase in our September eNewsletter, she pointed to summer squash, noting that home gardeners have loads of the stuff this time of year. (Click here to see the September issue of our In Season eNewsletter.
The summer squash dish Bernstein shared with us is something she enjoys for lunch and dinner. Baby summer squash are cooked briefly in boiling water, or blanched, and then cut in half. They are sautéed in extra virgin olive oil until browned at the edges.
The cooked baby squash are tossed with fresh marjoram and crumbled feta cheese. They get a finishing sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. (Click here to see the recipe.)
At Bernstein’s restaurant, the chef roasts the baby squash in a wood-fired oven instead of sautéing the pieces. We’re betting you could roast them in your own oven if you prefer, whether it’s wood-fired or not.
Your friends at California Olive Ranch