• Loria Stern's pantry •

All photos by  Sarah Ellefson

All photos by Sarah Ellefson

By now, we’re all familiar—and completely obsessed—with Loria Stern’s delicate pressed flower cookies. Loria’s R&D takes place in her Southern California kitchen, where edible flowers inevitably find their way into everything (i.e. carnation-scented mayo, bottled rose water, and mason jars of dried calendulas, peonies and chrysanthemums). While her kitchen is most visibly rooted in the garden-to-table movement, Loria also looks to the past for inspiration: recipe testing can’t happen without her vintage brass tasting spoons, and her edible flower collection takes a cue from historic Victorian kitchens, where floral notes were de rigueur. Read on for more of what Loria keeps on hand, from fruity-floral Ethiopian coffees to botanical-infused jun (kombucha’s rarefied cousin) to her beloved sourdough starter, affectionately named “Steffi Graf” (what else?).

Shop Loria’s Pantry

Her style

  • “My food style is botanical, colorful and eclectic.  I love all when my kitchen is full of edible flowers and herbs so I can infuse a dish right away.  I also love when I’m stocked with homemade items-- like dips, dressings, chutneys, jams, pickles, crackers, breads, granola, syrups, infusions, etc.  That way you can turn any meal into something extra special and gourmet.

  • Nature is my greatest inspiration!  I love using all natural and minimally processed everything in my cooking, from food colorants to decorations, everything I use is natural.  In terms of developing new recipes-- I’ve found a practice that really works for me-- eating small bites of ingredients while hungry so I really taste the essence and complexity of the full ingredient.  I do this a lot with edible flowers.

Markets & shopping:

  • I like to shop locally and seasonally. I prefer to buy from local farmers, artisans and makers.  Living in Southern California, almost all fruits and vegetables grow throughout the year (tomatoes and strawberries grow year round) although there are some fruits and vegetables here in California that truly have a season-- like the Buddha’s hand lemons of late fall or the sweet mulberries of early summer.  

Fridge must-haves:

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Pantry staples:

  • Coffee!  I look forward to a morning cup and it can be personal ;)  There’s not much worse than a weak cup of coffee. I enjoy Canyon Coffee Ethiopian roast.

  • I also love dried fruits and toasted nuts-- green hunza raisins and toasted hazelnuts are among my favorites!

  •  Jade green rice is always on rotation in my diet and on client menus.

  • I’m in love with this limited edition of flower infused Jun (a green tea and raw honey fermented alcoholic beverage) from a local meadery that my friends own.  

  • I also love dried flower petals-- cooking with them and adding them to a finished dish. Not many people know that edible flowers were once a pantry staple (mostly in the Victorian ages) and this practice has since been lost with the industrialization of agriculture.  I’m fascinated with using fresh and dried flowers in my cooking and developing new recipes that highlights botanicals.

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Tools:

Cookbooks:

  • There are so many and it’s tough to narrow down, but several that I constantly refer to:

To Sum it Up:

  • Pantry item she can't live without:  coffee, toasted nuts, dried flowers, oats, almond flour

  • One or two items that are always in her fridge:  homemade items: dressings, mayo, apple sauce, chutney, pickles, jam, Steffi Graf (my sourdough starter named after favorite tennis player)

  • Her go-to inspiration cookbook: Joy of Cooking-- has every basic recipe

  • Her most trusted kitchen tool: Olive Wood Rolling pin (it’s probably rolled over 10,000 cookies)

  • 5 adjectives that describe her pantry style: Botanical, Colorful, Eclectic, Bountiful, Happy

  • Her all-time favorite market: Santa Barbara Farmers Market on Saturday morning

  • Women she pines for:  Women business owners, always inspired by their sacrifices, vision and tenacity

  • Her favorite music to jam out to in the kitchen:  Music runs deep in my family history so it’s an important inspiration in my life.  The music I’m listening to depends on my mood! I love all sorts. To list some, in the morning-- Chilly Gonzales solo piano albums. Django Reinhardt for dinner parties, All day: Jazz, Alternative / Indie (currently-- Soft Hair), French pop (Clea Vincent), Guitar Blues (JJ Cale), to get pumped up-- rap music + 90’s R&B!  So much more !

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