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About Sondra Bernstein
One sure thing that can be said about Sondra Bernstein is that she has no idea how to relax. Her passion for the hospitality business is her driving force and continues to inspire her to create and recreate. She opened her first restaurant in 1997 after four years at Viansa Winery and many successful years in restaurant management in both Los Angeles & Philadelphia.
Currently, Sondra is the Proprietor/CEO of the girl & the fig and ESTATE restaurants in Sonoma & the fig café & winebar in Glen Ellen. She is the author of the “the girl & the fig Cookbook” published by Simon & Schuster in April 2004. Her gourmet FIGfood product line is available nationwide under the girl & the fig label. With a passion for food and wine, the trip from Philadelphia to Sonoma County was inevitable. Having restaurants in Sonoma County is a tribute to the efforts of the farmers, ranchers, cheese makers and, of course, grape growers & vintners in this bountiful landscape. When she is not busy working on her restaurants menus, accounting or marketing, she can be found playing in one of her many projects including; the Très Bonnes Années label wine, The Farm Project, her second cookbook, development of the girl & the fig iphone application and the company’s new website to name a few.
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The Plats du Jour menus are an ingredient tour through the year. The 28 three-course menus are arranged by season, and include a cheese pairing for each menu. While there are set menus, there is plenty of opportunity for creativity. Readers can mix and match the recipes from various menus according to taste, which allows for creativity and versatility. The menus are a guide to plan ahead for a dinner party or family gathering. All of the recipes serve six people, allowing for a weekend dinner party or a weekday dinner with a day or two of delicious leftovers. This fits Sondra Bernstein's philosophy that friends and family commune best over a great meal.
In the girl & the fig Cookbook: More than 100 Recipes from the Acclaimed California Wine Country Restaurant, Bernstein offers an inspired collection of simple, yet sophisticated recipes from the restaurant, featuring the finest, freshest ingredients. These are restaurant-quality recipes adapted for the home kitchen, with dishes for beginners as well as experienced cooks. Bernstein brings the culinary traditions of France to the California wine country.
The author's devotion to seasonal ingredients is wonderfully apparent in every recipe—from the savory appetizers, soups, salads, and large plates to the innovative desserts. Starters such as Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, Cauliflower Gruyère Soup, Shrimp and Salmon Cakes, and Grilled Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette make the most of the region's bounty. Large plates such as Grilled Salmon with Lavender Beurre Rouge, Pan-Seared Scallops with Orange-Tarragon Beurre Blanc, Wild Mushroom Risotto, and Grilled Pork Chops with Apple Cider Sauce make wonderful main courses, while French classics like Coq au Vin and Duck Confit with Lentils, Applewood Smoked Bacon, and Cabbage will comfort you on a cold winter's night. Side dishes that can complement a large plate or be eaten alone include Braised Fennel, Citrus Pearl Couscous, Apple-Yam Gratin, and buttery Basil-Scented Potato Cakes. Bernstein's desserts range from the sinfully scrumptious (Chocolate Pots de Crème and Lavender and Wildflower Honey Crème Brûlée) to the unique (Roasted Figs with Honey and Vanilla Ice Cream and Warm Fig and Thyme Crisp with Fig Syrup).
With gorgeous photographs throughout, the girl & the fig Cookbook also offers tips on wine pairings, highlighting California wines inspired by the Rhône Valley; imaginative ideas for aperitifs, charcuterie platters, and cheese plates; detailed sidebars on ingredients (including Bernstein's favorite food—the fig!); and brief glimpses of the author's favorite artisan food purveyors.
This is country food with a French passion, perfect for a casual dinner or a formal dinner party. Let the girl & the fig Cookbook bring a taste of California to your kitchen.