Gardens to Tables

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Welcome to Gardens to Tables

Bring Your Garden to the Table

From tiny patio herb gardens to larger community plots, this site is part of a movement, a movement back to growing and making our own fresh, delicious, healthy food. Our mission is to share gardening tips and recipes with others who share our passion for sustainable agriculture, even in the smallest urban settings.

We also feature travel ideas, classes, workshops and other great ways to learn about gardening and cooking from the experts, and publicize ways to support organic farms and farmers markets, and the restaurants and hotels that use local produce.

If there's anything you'd like to see or ideas you'd like to submit -- or just comments you'd like to make -- please send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also feel free to check out our Facebook page, which features links to events and stories of interest to gardeners and cooks, in addition to those posted here.

 
Italian Style + Southern California Produce = the Peach Bellini at Locanda de Lago Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Monday, 03 August 2015 00:49

Lago peach belliniIt's peach season, which means it's the best time of year for Bellinis (especially if you are like me and don't want canned peaches for the purree). Below is a post from three years ago about local restaurant Locanda de Lago (or Lago, for short), which is still offering a great blend of Italian recipes and fresh California produce from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Hope you're all enjoying the summer (and all those summer peaches!).

It’s always nice to find a gem you didn’t know about in your own back yard. In my case, the back yard is Santa Monica and the gem is Locanda de Lago, which has been on the Third Street Promenade for 20 years. I have to admit I’ve walked by it a million times but didn’t realize until a recent visit just how much care and energy the restaurant spends in not only creating a true Northern Italian (specifically, the Lake Region) experience but also in crafting that experience using the best in local produce. It doesn’t hurt that their location is steps from the legendary Santa Monica Farmers Market, which means many of the farmers are able to walk their produce right into the kitchen.

The summer menu, which changes weekly depending on the fare at the farmers market, includes Borage Tortellini, Verdure Carta Fata (vegetables steamed in parchment paper), Summer Filetto (with eggplant caviar, sauteed zucchini and summer truffles) and a burrata salad highlighted by market tomatoes and a basil sorbet. Even better, the burrata is made locally and traditionally by an Italian family. (You may utter a quiet guttural “mmmmmmm” now.)

Also on the current menu are cocktails named after celebrities with summer homes at Lake Como (the De Niro, the Madonna and the Clooney, which features blood oranges) and, particularly appropriate because of the preponderance of peaches available right now, a White Peach Bellini, made using the original recipe from Harry’s Bar in Venice. If you’d like to make it at home, the recipe is quite simple: just muddle a quarter of a ripe white peach and then fill the rest of the champagne glass with prosecco. Like Lago, it’s the perfect combination of seasonal produce and Italian style.

 
Zucchini Bread with Pineapple and Pecans Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Friday, 12 June 2015 08:25

It's that time of year when, if you've planted zucchini, you might have a LOT of zucchini. Here's a recipe that was posted a few years ago when I had one of those abundant years. Enjoy!

As I have mentioned on the community garden blog, the early summer star in my garden has been the zucchini. By last count, I have harvested 15 huge zucchinis from the one small seedling put in two months ago -- and it shows no signs of stopping. Naturally, that has led to a need for zucchini recipes. Here is the first (more to follow, including a recipe for Sicilian stuffed zucchini): a recipe for zucchini bread that was handed down from a friend's grandmother. I made the bread today for the 4th of July potluck at the community garden and it turned out great (very moist), so enjoy!

Zucchini breadIngredients
3 eggs beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmug
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Add zucchini and crushed pineapple. Combine dry ingredients and add them to zucchini mixture. Mix well. Add pecans. Pour mixture into two greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool 10 minutes in pans. Very moist. Will last a week or two in refrigerator. Freeze well.

 
Preserving Farm-Fresh Flavor at Sacramento's Grange Restaurant Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Monday, 06 July 2015 14:51

Grange RestaurantIf your garden is like mine, you're starting to an abundance of tomatoes from your garden (or local farmers market) so I thought I'd bring back this recipe that Chef Michael Tuohy shared with us in 2009 when he was the executive chef at the Grange Restaurant & Bar in Sacramento. The highly regarded Grange is still in Sacramento, with Chef Oliver Ridgeway now in charge, while Chef Tuohy has a new assignment as the executive chef and general manager for the new arena being built in downtown Sacramento. What hasn't changed is the focus on farm-fresh ingredients, including (yes) summer tomatoes. Enjoy!

Surrounded by the fertile Central Valley of California and with a weekly farmers market just outside its front door, the Grange Restaurant & Bar in Sacramento prides itself on using the freshest seasonal produce. Local farms such as Capay Organics and Del Rio Farm are even credited on the menu, which changes daily based on what’s in season. Even the wine list is focused on the local, featuring small production, boutique wineries from approved viticulture areas in California.

As this is the season of the tomato, we asked Chef Michael Tuohy for some tips on how to get the most out of those lovely heirlooms:

Chef Michael Tuohy“In a perfect world, tomatoes would be ripened by the sun and enjoyed directly off the vine,” said Chef Tuohy. “In order to preserve farm-fresh flavor, I suggest storing heirloom tomatoes on their shoulders and out in the open air. Storing tomatoes refrigerated cuts flavor and brings out acidity.”

Chef Tuohy offers more seasonal tips (and his own ode to summer tomatoes) on his blog at http://michaeltuohy.typepad.com/

But, in the meantime, enjoy his Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho (click "read more" for the recipe). If you’re looking for a wine that will go well with the gazpacho, Chef Tuohy suggests the Albarino, Ca’ del Solo, Soledad, 2007 to accompany it. The wine is from Bonny Doon’s Biodynamic estate vineyard, Ca' del Solo. For more information, visit https://www.bonnydoonvineyard.com/

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Spring Cocktails Bloom in Downtown L.A. Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 12:28

Klaus Puck at Ritz-Carlton cocktail garden

The Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles are launching their spring cocktail program today. Included on the roster are the "Spice of Spring" at gLAnce; "Orange You Glad It's Spring" at the Mixing Room; and Nest at WP24's "Flower to Flute," featuring herbs and blossoms picked from the Ritz-Carlton's rooftop garden, which we first wrote about in 2012 (story and cocktail recipe below). Hello Spring!

It's always good news when a garden opens up in an urban setting like downtown Los Angeles. It's even better news when that garden is filled with more than 15 varieties of fruits, herbs and flowers -- including basil, chervil, chives, fennel, lemon, lime, mint, orange, pansy and verbena -- to be used in a garden cocktail list that changes with the seasons. Situated 26 floors up at the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, the new cocktail garden, which is overseen by Beverage Director Klaus Puck, serves both the Ritz-Carlton's "BLUE" rooftop pool bar and Wolfgang Puck's WP24 Restaurant & Lounge. The recently announced summer cocktail list features drinks such as Verbena Lemonade, which includes Kalamansi lemons and verbena leaves straight from the garden. Even better, Klaus Puck (pictured in the garden, above) was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

Verbena Lemonade

WP24 cocktails1.5 oz. Ketel Citroen Vodka
.5 oz. Kalamansi puree
1.4 oz. verbena-infused simple syrup (see below)
Juice from half a lemon
Lemon-lime soda

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass while adding the lemon-lime soda; fill to top. Garnish with verbena leaves.

For Verbena Simple Syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Generous handful of fresh lemon verbena leaves

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then let cool to room temperature. Remove lemon verbena leaves; the syrup should be a light yellow-green color and have the definite flavor and odor of lemon verbena.

 
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