Serving up a Dash of Southern

November 2015

Santa Barbara Sentinel

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Richard Mineards’ Montecito Miscellany

May 28 – June 4, 2015

Montecito Journal

Richard Mineards Miscellany

Lovely ladies lunching at club

April 2, 2015

Santa Ynez Valley News

The building housing The Santa Ynez Valley Woman’s Club is not new but it is a place of great charm and beauty. It is surrounded by a white picket fence and fragrant flower gardens and you can absolutely sense that it has been treasured by generations of Valley women.

As a matter of fact, this club is 100 years old! Inside is an antique couch and comfortable chairs. On St. Patrick’s day, party tables were covered with gold satin tablecloths and the main table sparkled with silver sequins! Each table had centerpieces of fresh white roses.

On this day the guest of honor was the author Peg Ivy, who gave a delightful presentation about the recipes in her book, “A Dash of Southern.” In addition to that, the members and their guests were treated to a luncheon of her personally prepared southern dishes.

We started with warm turkey salad with sourdough rolls and iced tea or sparkling wine to refresh our pallets. When the beautiful dessert arrived, finger tips were kissed as guests tasted the heavenly cherry cheesecake. This lady is somehow able to create rich and satisfying dishes and still cut down on calories.  She worked her magic so well that guests lined up to buy copies of her cookbook. Southern cooking had really lived up to its reputation of being both unique and hearty.


Indulging in Peg Ivy’s Sweet and Savory Style

Longtime Santa Ynez Valley Caterer Releases Cookbook A Dash of Southern

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Santa Barbara Independent

By Matt Kettman

Longtime caterer Peg Ivy’s savory Southern accent sounds authentically sweet when she talks about anything — from her Alabama upbringing, early escape to California, and initial accounting career to the many recipes she’s now sharing with the world in A Dash of Southern, the deliciously rendered cookbook she self-published earlier this year.

Personally engaging and creatively instructive, the book, which has been in the slow works for about a decade, is much like a conversation with Ivy, who moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in 1980 and started her catering business in 1985. With the support of two photographers, Ivy did all of the styling herself — in fact, she fired a hired stylist early on when he tried to garnish one recipe with a weed — and the featured table settings and linens are all her own.

What follows is a condensed and edited version of the conversation I had with Ivy last month, along with some of her favorite dishes.

How’d you come to California? I visited California while I was playing alto sax in the high school band, and we won the national championships. I had a teenage marriage that fell apart, so I came here as a young girl to get away from the South and start over.

Why did you turn a successful accounting career into catering? I did some menus for our corporate events, and they asked me to cater. I found out that they liked my food a lot. It didn’t matter that I got them through a wonderful audit. It was getting them the wonderful food.

What defines your Southern cooking? It’s not really Southern cooking. I may have given the wrong impression. There’s a few Southern dishes that are my family classics, but there is not a sweet potato pie or fried chicken. It’s more recipes from my catering. Everyone says it is really Southern Californian.

Did you eat well growing up? My whole life we were very poor, but we ate like royalty because our food was so wonderful. Feasts like you have on Thanksgiving? We had those all the time. Everyone is having a good time around food, and that’s why I loved catering so much.

How do you use recipe books? I’ve got a large collection. When I want to be creative and not stagnant, but I can’t quite put my finger on it, I’ll start going through my cookbooks and reading the Internet to get an idea.

How did you learn to cook? I was taught to cook without cookbooks and without measuring spoons and measuring cups. We did it by taste. Everyone came to our house to eat because my mom’s food tasted so good. With my staff, I will not let them take something out to serve or create something until they taste it. You’re really developing your palate when you do that.

How should people use your cookbook? I hope people will read my recipes and take ownership of them. If you don’t have this particular herb or spice, or you’re not fond of it, switch it out with something that you love and create your own dish.

Why do this book now? I did this as legacy for my daughters. When I’m gone, my girls, my grandchildren, my friends, and my neighbors can always come to Peg’s table because it’s in this book.

Does the Santa Ynez Valley resonate for a native Southern lady? I love it, honey! The rolling-hills landscape with the horse farms and the vineyards and the farmlands — that speaks to me. I like the quietness and the peacefulness.


Famous Cherry Cheesecake: “I’m known in the Valley as the cheesecake guru because I have 101 different types of cheesecake,” said Ivy. “There’s only a half-cup of sugar in this cheesecake, and everyone raves about it. It’s not like a New York cheesecake that’s heavy, thick, and dry. It just melts. You feel like you can eat the whole thing. Nobody can believe that I have finally given up the recipe.”

Warm Turkey Salad: The brown rice, turkey, peas, almonds, red bell pepper, and green onions served warm on a bed of lettuce are “just a good combination,” said Ivy, “but what sets it off is the fresh tarragon vinaigrette.” She’s even convinced meat-and-potato men to serve it as a wedding entrée.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Brie: This can be made ahead of time, which is critical in catering when “you cannot prepare everything on the day of the party,” said Ivy, who takes the top layer off of the brie, puts on the pesto, wraps it up tight, and refrigerates overnight. “That pesto just permeates right down into the brie,” she explained. Warm it up to serve.

23rd Annual “Taste of Solvang” Set for March 18-22, 2015

taste_logos_final_23rd~New Events include Larner Vineyard Winemaker Dinner on 3/21/15 and Bubbles & Brunch on 3/22/15

Solvang, California, USA – Presented by the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau since 1993 with sponsorship support from Visit Santa Ynez Valley, Taste of Solvang features locally grown foods, wines and diverse cuisine to celebrate the rich cultural and culinary heritage of the area. The 23rd annual Taste of Solvang offers savory flavors and sensations from Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday, March 22, 2015. Two new events have been added to the festivities including the Larner Winemaker Dinner featuring Bacon & Brine’s Chef Pink on Saturday, March 21 and Bubbles & Brunch on Sunday, March 22.
Tickets are available now ala carte or part of ticket packages. Here is the detailed schedule of events:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
2:00-6:00 p.m.: Solvang Village Farmers Market (First Street between Mission & Copenhagen Drive); find farm-to-you fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, meats, cheeses, breads and savories from around the Central Coast.

2:30 p.m. Solvang Village Farmers Market Chef Walks & Dining Experiences: Meet at the corner of First Street and Copenhagen Drive. Choose an experience from Chef Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn & Restaurant (followed by gourmet seated dinner, price TBA); Chef David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante (followed by a fresh, wood-fired pizza making demo and tastings utilizing guests’ goods found that day–free); or Chef James Owens of The Bistro at The Hadsten House (experience TBA).

Friday, March 20, 2015
7:00-9:00 p.m.: The deliciously popular Sips & Sweets (previously known as the Dessert Reception), features a dozen or more different confections accompanied by local wines and beverages at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, 1765 Mission Drive. Attendees also will be treated to live indie music from the Sean Wiggins Band. Returning this year is the Dessert Contest open to amateur and professional chefs (who must live or work in the Santa Ynez Valley) competing for three awards: Best Dessert–People’s Choice (chosen by event guests); plus Best Dessert–Amateur and Best Dessert–Professional (chosen by three judges: Peg Ivy, author of A Dash of Southern; George Yatchisin of the Santa Barbara Independent and Claire Anderson, TV anchor/reporter KCOY/KEYT/KKFX). Ala carte tickets are $30 per person including souvenir wine glass (purchase in advance at; by calling 1-800-468-6765 or at the door if available).

Saturday, March 21, 2015
11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: Grand Tasting (previously known as the Walking Smorgaasbord) features more than 30 taste stops around the village featuring delicious bites of Danish, American plus more cuisines and beverages. Ala carte tickets are $35 per person including detailed map and menu (purchase in advance at; by calling 1-800-468-6765 or the day of the event if still available at Solvang Visitors Center, 1639 Copenhagen Drive).

5:00-8:00 p.m.: Wine & Beer WalkDay 1 offering more than a dozen stops at downtown tasting rooms pouring their vintages into the prized Taste of Solvang souvenir glass. Ala carte tickets are $40 per person (purchase in advance at; by calling 1-800-468-6765 or the day of the event if still available at Solvang Visitors Center, 1639 Copenhagen Drive). Wine & Beer Walk ticket is valid for both Saturday and Sunday.

6:30 p.m.: Larner Winemaker Dinner with Bacon & Brine’s Chef Pink
For the first time, a limited number of guests will enjoy dinner with local winemaker/vineyard owner Michael Larner of Larner Vineyard & Winery, and taste the fruits of his labor at this multi-course sit-down dinner with a carefully curated pairing menu by Bacon & Brine’s Chef Pink. The dinner will be held at the magical Greenhouse Café in downtown Solvang. Ala carte tickets are $95 per person (available only in advance at or by calling 1-800-468-6765).

Sunday, March 22, 2015
11:00 a.m. Bubbles & Brunch
New this year, savor Danish food favorites and farm-to-table foods artfully prepared by Chef Louise Smith of Louise’s Kitchen Table paired with sparkling wines from local Flying Goat Cellars. Winemaker Norm Yost will be personally sharing his “Goat Bubbles” sparkling winemaking process. The event will be held in the gallery of the Wildling Museum, 1511-C Mission Drive, to add an artistic flair. Ala carte tickets are $65 per person (available only in by calling 1-800-468-6765).

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Wine & Beer Walk—Day 2 offering more than a dozen stops at downtown tasting rooms pouring their vintages into the prized souvenir Taste of Solvang glass. Ala carte tickets are $40 per person (purchase in advance at; by calling 1-800-468-6765 or the day of the event if still available at Solvang Visitors Center, 1639 Copenhagen Drive). Wine & Beer Walk ticket is valid for both Saturday and Sunday.

There are three 2015 Taste of Solvang ticket packages now available: 2015 Weekend Passport includes tickets to Sips & Sweets, Grand Tasting and Wine & Beer Walk plus Souvenir Wine Glass, Wine Charm, Taste of Solvang Map, Visitors Guide and Souvenir Tote Bag for $85 per person. 2015 VIP Brunch Passport includes tickets and early admission to Sips & Sweets; Grand Tasting; Wine & Beer Walk; and Sunday Bubbles & Brunch plus Souvenir Wine Glass, Wine Charm, Taste of Solvang Map, Visitors Guide and Souvenir Tote Bag for $150 per person. 2015 “Whole Shebang” Package includes all of VIP Brunch Passport tickets plus Winemaker Dinner for $245 per person.

2015 Taste of Solvang ala carte ticket prices per person are: Sips & Sweets-$30, Grand Tasting-$35, Wine & Beer Walk-$40; Larner Winemaker Dinner-$95 and Bubbles & Brunch-$65. All attendees must be age 21 years or over with valid ID.

2015 Taste of Solvang advance purchase of ticket packages or ala carte tickets is highly recommended at or by calling 1-800-468-6765.

For more information about Solvang year-round lodging, dining and attractions visit

Peg Ivy publishes ‘Pegilicious’ cookbook

Santa Ynez Valley News
by Mary Ann Norbom

Peg Ivy has been cooking for family, friends and celebrities for decades, and now the Santa Ynez resident is sharing her favorite recipes in a new cookbook, “A Dash of Southern.”

The book pays tribute Ivy’s Alabama roots and also to her life for the past 34 years in the Santa Ynez Valley.

“I grew up in Gadsden, Alabama, not far from Birmingham, and all our celebrations revolved around food. All the women, and just the women, in my family cooked,” she said.

In particular, Ivy credits her late mother, Grace Lee Martin, who with very little money, managed to turn out daily feasts for her nine children. Little by little, Ivy learned her mother’s culinary secrets by shadowing her in the kitchen, and cooking became her world.

Peg and her husband, Jarvis Ivy, began visiting the Santa Ynez Valley from their home in Los Angeles in the late 1970s when his brother moved here, and it was pretty much love at first sight for the then-home chef.

“We moved to the Valley in 1980, and raised the youngest of our three daughters here,” she said.

She launched her catering business five years later, leaving behind a successful accounting career. Before long she was catering for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Bob Hope, participating in Sunset magazine food shows, and was in demand to cater local business events and private parties.

Ivy said she put the same love into producing her first cookbook as she does with her food, and insisted it be every bit as authentic. The book contains 160 recipes, most with stunning color photographs, yet Ivy refused to use a food stylist for the pictures, something that’s standard in the industry.

“I was adamant that the food in the pictures looked like it came out of Peg Ivy’s kitchen,” she said.

Ivy’s home kitchen is more like the average residential space than the massive commercial kitchens seen on TV cooking shows. She’s been using the same single oven for the 34 years she’s been in the house.

The book is geared toward the amateur cook, with user-friendly recipes for dishes like Ivy Manor Chili-Coated Pork Tenderloin, Peg’s Potato Casserole, Christmas Eve Salad, and Grace’s Amazin’ Raisin Torte. Each recipe has notes and tips to help simplify it.

The book also has party-planning and decorating tips, and helpful hints to get the home cook through just about any dilemma. Inside the front and back covers are also photographs, taken by the author, of her favorite views of the Santa Ynez Valley.

Ivy is now busy at work on her Pegilicious Store, her online site for ordering everything from kitchen gadgets to delicious treats.

“I’ve trademarked ‘Pegilicious’,” she laughed.

She’s also traveling the country, making appearances and doing book signings in support of “A Dash of Southern.”

In Solvang, she’ll be appearing at The Book Loft, from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, and The Home Connection, from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6. And because this is Peg Ivy, appetizers will be served alongside the books that are for sale.

Holiday recipes from the Valley’s top chefs

Santa Ynez Valley News
by Mary Ann Norbom

The Santa Ynez Valley has become a food lover’s paradise. Restaurants catering to every possible taste, and to most budgets, are scattered from Los Olivos to Buellton. There are local chefs with national reputations, who have authored cookbooks and have epicurean fans who’d follow them anywhere.

The Valley News asked several of these top chefs to share recipes for some of their favorite dishes that would be perfect for your holiday table.

Start your dinner with a seasonal soup, and serve lamb or seafood (or both) for the entree. For sides, we have a delightful potato dish and zesty grilled mushrooms. Sinfully delicious desserts — along with some of your own holiday favorites — complete the meal.

ARTICHOKES AND POTATOES AU GRATIN – Peg Ivy, author of the new cookbook, A Dash of Southern

  •   1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  •   1 ½- cups grated Gruyere cheese
  •   1 ½-pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced-about 1/8-inch, divided
  •   3/4-teaspoons sea salt, divided
  •   1/4-teaspoons pepper, divided
  •   1 gloves garlic, minced
  •   2 ½-cups drained Cara Mia marinated artichoke hearts
  •   4 cups heavy cream, divided

Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees.  Grease a 15 by 11-inch baking dish with butter. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses. Line the bottom of the baking dish with half of the sliced potatoes, overlapping the slices to form rows and make a single layer. Season the potatoes with ¼-teaspoon salt and ½-teaspoon pepper, or to taste. Sprinkle with the garlic. Add the artichoke hearts, arranging them in a single layer over the potatoes. Scatter ½ of the grated cheese mixture over the artichokes, and then drizzle with half of the heavy cream. Arrange the remaining potatoes in a single layer over the cheese. Season with ½-teaspoon salt and ¼-teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with the remaining cream, and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Butter the underside of a piece of foil to keep the cheese from sticking, and use it to cover the baking dish. Bake the gratin until the potatoes are softened and almost completely cooked, 45 minutes to 1 hours. A knife should easily pierce the potatoes. Uncover the gratin and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool slightly on a rack before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.


A new friend, an ace in the kitchen

Santa Ynez Valley News
by Elaine Revelle

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to meet Peg Ivy, the Pegilicious personae with a penchant for perfect parties.

She has Southern charm, a quick wit and definite finesse in the kitchen. A resident of the Valley for nearly 35 years, Peg has been cooking for family, friends and more than a few celebs.

Peg came to The Book Loft recently for a signing to help launch her beautifully written and photographed book, “A Dash of Southern,” which is subtitled, “Classic Recipes for Family & Friends.” and brought a delicious appetizer.

What a treat — sun-dried tomato pesto brie and crackers. Not only had she decorated it for the season, it was tasty. I could have made it my dinner.

It was a total delight to meet her. She’s my kinda cook, one who promotes cooking to taste. “Peg’s notes” are sprinkled liberally throughout her book. For the brie recipe, Peg says, “I freeze the brie for 30 minutes, so I can remove the top rind more easily.” And adds, “Don’t worry about being exact with the measurements. Just throw in the basics and adjust them to your taste.”

As I said, a cooking style that’s right up my alley.

Peg agreed to let me share a couple of her recipes, the Brie and a delightful turkey salad that could easily be made with leftovers from your holiday bird.


  • 1 2-pound wheel Brie cheese, chilled
  • 5 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
  • 5 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 10 oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, minced, plus additional, halved for garnish
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, whole leaves for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, additional for garnish

Chill Brie well before handling. Remove rind from top and place cheese on a serving platter. Combine all other ingredients except pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse to blend well. Add pine nuts and pulse just a few more times to chop nuts. Press pesto into top of Brie and decorate as desired with sun-dried tomato halves, basil leaves and pine nuts. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or longer. For optimum flavor, remove from refrigerator and allow let stand 30-60 minutes before serving. Serves 16.


  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
  • 1/4-cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 pound turkey tenderloin*
  • seasoned salt
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, drained
  • 1/4-cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4-cup sliced green onion
  • 1/4-cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • tarragon vinaigrette:
  • 1/2-cup peanut oil
  • 1/4-cup tarragon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, plus the juice from grating
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water to boil. Add salt and brown and wild rice. Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. While rice is cooking, season turkey tenderloin with seasoned salt, brown until done, then cut into cubes. Measure two cups green peas, rinse under cool water and set aside to drain, do not cook. Toast almonds in a preheated 350-degree oven for about five minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Make vinaigrette by whisking oil, vinegar, mustard, ginger and pepper in a large bowl and set aside. When rice is done, add turkey cubes, peas, green onion and almonds. Combine well and toss with vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves eight to 10.

*an equal amount of cut up leftover turkey may be used.

Happy and healthy holidays to all.