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Living Color

An exuberant palette sets the stage for an intimate summer barbecue

August 19, 2007|Barbara Thornburg | Barbara Thornburg is the senior style editor of West.

Artist Jane Gottlieb leads a Technicolor life. To start, her two-story, late '70s Constructivist-looking Santa Barbara home sports an array of delicious hues ranging from Key lime pie green to cotton candy pink--as well as yellow, lilac, turquoise and purple. "If I was one hill closer to town," says Gottlieb, who lives high above the ocean in the Riviera neighborhood,

"I would have had to paint the house in earthy Mediterranean colors."

Just as eye-popping is the home's 1-acre garden she planted with yellow daisies and kangaroo pods, magenta bougainvillea and hot pink roses, purple lantana, agapanthus and Mexican sage. Gottlieb, decked out for a barbecue in a flowing lime green-and-pink skirt, chartreuse top and pink sunglasses, says she's "a color fiend . . . I'm obsessed by it."

The riotous, uplifting palette continues inside the home. Walls are peppered with her multicolored, hand-painted Cibachrome prints of cars, villas and gardens. The home also features brightly hued Italian-modern furnishings, as well as collections of '50s ashtrays, glass vases, vintage Fiesta Ware pitchers (more than 50 at last count) and Art Deco silver-enameled mirrors and brushes--all set against wall-to-wall turquoise carpet.

Upstairs, Gottlieb's walk-in closet holds clothes hung in color groups--"they're easy to find and put outfits together. If I put on a black outfit it might make me look thinner, but I feel better in color," says Gottlieb, pushing back her curly hair the color of fresh lemonade. Her husband, writer/executive producer David Obst ("Revenge of the Nerds" and "Too Good to Be Forgotten: Changing America in the '60s and '70s"), indulges her passion by dressing in the full-toned shirts and pants she selects for him. Today he's wearing a peach shirt with matching flip-flops, which go nicely with the cedar-planked peach crumble. "He calls me his " 'color genius,' " says Gottlieb. "That's a lot better than being married to another artist, who might second-guess my color choices."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, September 07, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Plants: In West magazine's Aug. 19 issue, an article on a summer barbecue hosted by artist Jane Gottlieb said that kangaroo pods are among the plants in her garden. It should have said kangaroo paws.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday September 16, 2007 Home Edition West Magazine Part I Page 13 Lat Magazine Desk 0 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
The article on artist Jane Gottlieb ("Living Color," Aug. 19) said that kangaroo pods are among the plants in her garden. It should have said kangaroo paws.

With color so much a part of their lives, a menu of comfort foods as brightly hued as their home is a natural choice for their intimate summer barbecue for six: grilled tuna with saffron risotto; sweet peppers (orange, red and yellow) with yogurt ranch dressing; and a frisee salad with raspberries and sliced nectarines.

She chose nonalcoholic agua de sandia and agua de pepino as much for color as for taste, and they're refreshing at the end of a hot summer day. And the mango lime sangria with mint leaves, sliced limes and cubed mango is "almost too beautiful to drink," sighs Gottlieb. "If I were a chef, I'd color-coordinate all my dishes."

The food looks so gorgeous, in fact, that she decides to get her camera, then changes her mind when she spies David's green pistachio ice cream melting atop the warm peach crumble. "What a great color," muses Gottlieb, taking a bite. "It tastes as good as it looks."

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-Menu-

Grilled Tuna With Saffron Risotto

Grilled Sweet Peppers With Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Frisee Salad

Cedar-Planked Peach Crumble With Ice Cream

Mango Lime Sangria

Agua de Pepino

Agua de Sandia

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Grilled Tuna With Saffron Risotto

Serves 4 to 6

1 cedar plank, soaked in cold water for 1 hour

3 tablespoons butter

1 small white onion, finely diced

1 cup arborio rice

1 teaspoon saffron

1 cup Chardonnay

4 to 5 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, chervil), chopped

2 sushi-grade tuna steaks,

2 inches thick, 12 to 16 ounces each

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

In a heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and the saffron. Stir well for about 1 minute to coat the grains of rice with butter. Add the Chardonnay, stirring until most of the wine is absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring slowly and constantly to allow the rice to absorb the liquid before the next addition. Keep stirring until all of the stock is absorbed and the rice is creamy and tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Line a tray with foil or parchment paper and evenly spoon the risotto onto it. Cool to room temperature.

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