It was one of those magical days on the ranch! The weather was warm with a light breeze and, no joke, a butterfly followed me around as I set the tables. This was my first Ranch Table meal in over a year and to make the day even more exciting, this gathering had been made possible because Chip and Joanna Gaines, creators of the new Magnolia Network, offered to sponsor a meal on the ranch for a group of my choice. I immediately connected with some nurses from our local hospital.
The guest arrived on a classic Santa Barbara trolley around five in the afternoon. The sun was just starting to set and a warm light glow was beginning to stream through the trees. After greeting my guests and giving them the history of the ranch, we gathered under the redwoods where they would be enjoying their meal. The tables were set in our classic ranch style, and refreshments were at the ready with fresh lemonade, iced tea, and local wine from winemaker Alison Thompson to greet our guests.
The meal began with charcuterie and cheese boards and freshly picked apricots from our orchard stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with honey. For the entree, I made one of my favorite dishes, Buttermilk Fried Chicken drizzled with Rancho San Julian Honey, accompanied by Dill Potato Salad, a huge garden salad and freshly baked bread.
While my kitchen dream team and I were finishing up the dessert of angel food cake with fresh cream and berries in the Casa kitchen, the sounds of laughter wafted through the open window. A sound that I have profoundly missed.
After a beautiful evening, the guests boarded the trolley with gift bags in hand from Magnolia and treats from local artisans. My heart was filled with joy and appreciation for the heroes of our country and this world. I am so grateful for the opportunity to thank our local nurses for the acts of service, bravery, selflessness, and dedication over the past year. They are our heroes. Thank you Chip, Joanna, and Magnolia team for giving me the opportunity to give back to our community.