Friday, April 24, 2015

Cooking with California Native Sage

It is hard to believe that the California Native Sage Festival took place nearly a month ago. How time flies by! This was our second year celebrating the greatness of sage including having booths that featured sage related products, native food tastings and demonstrations, and sage advice for your garden. This year (same as last) I was helping to hand out samples of food that incorporates our native sages (Salvia). I always enjoy sharing information about the wonderful native plants of California but when I can share information about food made with native plants, I am doubly happy. Today I would like to share with you a recipe for the Lemon Sage Shortbread that I prepared for the California Native Sage Festival March 28, 2015. If you enjoy this recipes and want to learn more about preparing food with California Native Plants please register for the upcoming California Native Food Symposium (November 14 and 15, 2015). I am very excited to be a part of this event. Antonio Sanchez (Nursery Production Manager) my collaborator and fellow enthusiast in native food is playing a key role in the symposium and will be giving a presentation on California Chia, Beans and Berries: How Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and friends can help develop low-water foods for the future. Antonio frequently teaches a native food workshop at the RSABG and some of his recipes have been posted here.

Lemon Sage Short Bread

Author: Naomi Fraga adapted from Cookie and Kate
Serves: 32


  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt salt 
  • 2 tablespoona chopped fresh sage (I used Salvia clevelandii ‘Winifred Gilman’)
  • 2 lemons zested 
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, salt, sage and lemon zest. Pour in the olive oil and stir until it is incorporated. 
  3. Transfer the dough to a 9 X 9 inch baking dish (I sprayed mine with vegetable oil). Use your fingers to squish the dough into an even layer. Prick the surface of the dough all over with a fork. Bake for about 45 min until the surface feels firm to the touch and is lightly golden around the edges. 
  4. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool for 20 minutes (no sooner and no later, 20 min is the right stage, or else it will be too soft or too hard). Then, using a very sharp knife, slice the shortbread into 8 even columns and 4 even rows. Let the cookies cool before removing them from the pan using a small spatula. 
  5. Enjoy!