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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Chef Tylun Pang on "What Maui Likes to Eat" Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Pang on farmMaui food. I only have to say the words and your mouth begins to water thinking of all the fresh products -- from local fish to Maui onions -- available on the island, doesn't it? Obviously, the best way to get Maui food is to, well, go to Maui -- and enjoy it yourself at one of island's many food outlets, which range from local stands to fine dining restaurants (some of which were featured in our story "Celebrating Agricultural Abundance on the Island of Maui").

A new one to add to the list is Ko at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, which translates to "sugar cane" in Hawaiian, and celebrates both the agricultural abundance of the island and the mix of cultures that came together during the plantation era. Even better, Ko's executive chef, Tylun Pang (pictured above at Otani Farms), sources 90 percent of his produce from regional farms, including Hali'imaile Farms, Escobedo Farms, Kula Farms, Keaau Farms, Evonuk Farms, CN Farms, Allen Nago Farms, Anuhea Farms, Kamuela Farms, Shishido Farms, Pacific Produce and Island Paradise Farms. As Chef Pang says, "Listening to the farmers and fishermen and their stories helps me understand what they produce and what's being caught. I can then use my knowledge and training to take the flavors to the next level."

For those who'd like to bring some of those flavors home, Chef Pang has a book called "What Maui Likes to Eat" (click on the Amazon link on the right if you'd like to order) that is filled with recipes and stories from the island. Even better, 100 percent of the sales from the book are donated to the local culinary academy on Maui. And, Chef Pang was kind enough to share one of his signature recipes with us. See below for his Kobe Beef Poke, which uses island favorites such as Kula onion, Maui raw sugar, Hawaiian alaea salt and Japanese cucumber. Enjoy!

Read more...
 
Seasons 52's Cliff Pleau Talks Beets Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Seasons 52 beetsAs many of you may know, Seasons 52 is part of a unique chain of restaurants found throughout the continental U.S. that focus on healthy food using fresh seasonal ingredients (nothing on the menu is over 475 calories). As part of that focus, the Century City location features an indoor herb garden, a chef's garden and a spectacular outdoor living wall. At the preview, we were treated to a series of dishes created by Cliff Pleau, the Seasons 52 Culinary Director. The highlight, for me, was his beet carpaccio (pictured here) so I asked him for some tips on working with beets at home for those of us who are growing them or looking at them at the farmers markets and he was kind enough to send his thoughts (below). Enjoy!

Beets are awesome if you think of them as a natural root that has all the nutrients to push a plant through the soil and allow its leaves to reach sunlight. Their earthy quality allows for lots of flavor combinations. I like using gold beets and chiogga beets, but whatever is in the market is fun and tasty. Beets do need to be washed well. The tops can be de-stemmed and steamed. I like to eat them with sea salt, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Roast beets by putting them in a roasting dish with a little bit of water (just a little in the bottom), some olive oil and sea salt to cover. Roast until almost tender in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 45 minutes. Then let them rest covered for 15 minutes. They can be chunked or peeled, and used for various creative applications. To peel, just rub off the skins with your hands and a paper towel.

For a beet carpaccio, slice peeled beets thin on a mandolin and plate with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and add an herb salad mixture. A couple of flavors and ingredients that work well with beets include: goat cheese, wasabi (mix with sour cream), herbs, grains, citrus, ginger and black pepper.

 
Willie Jane Brings the Cook's Garden to the Table in Venice Beach Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Willie JaneChef Govind Armstrong has found a way to bring a true garden-to-table quality to his Willie Jane Restaurant in Venice Beach through a partnership with Master Gardener Geri Miller, whose Cook's Garden is found right next door. "Geri's vision to create an expansive garden on a vacant urban lot next door to Willie Jane presented us with the opportunity to take the garden-to-table concept to a different level," said Armstrong. Not only is Miller's garden supplying Willie Jane with a number of ingredients for the restaurant but the two are working together on a series of fall classes -- through Miller's company, Home Grown Edible Landscapes, for both gardeners and cooks.

At Willie Jane, ingredients from the Cook's Garden (including both produce and eggs from the garden's coop) are used both for dishes such as a salad made using garden lettuces, sunchoke, roasted grapes, Point Reyes & pumpkin seed dressing (click here for recipe) but also in the cocktails created by Mixologist Derrick Bass. Willie Jane restaurant was kind enough to share recipes for both the Coal Miner's Daughter (click here), which adds fresh ginger, lemon juice, honey and lavender ("slapped" lavender, no less) to a bourbon base, and Chef Armstrong's salad recipe (click here). You can also find both under the recipes tab above. Enjoy!

 
Connecting Gardens to Tables at the Hermosa Inn Print E-mail
Written by Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco   

Garden to table is more than a trend; it's something that we do on a daily basis here at LON's at the Hermosa. While we do purchase from local farmers (and, for many restaurants, that's all they need to say they are "farm to table"), we also have a one-acre on-site garden behind the kitchen and durum wheat from my own family's farm here in Arizona is used to make our house-made gnocchi and other pastas. So, while it may be a passing phase for others, it's something we take great pride in here at LON's.

We grow more than 20 ingredients in the garden -- from lettuce, arugula, English lavender and Bloomsdale spinach to onions, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes and various types of squash. Lemon, orange and grapefruit trees are also scattered throughout the grounds and used in many of the dishes at LON's, along with our signature cocktails at Last Drop at the Hermosa.

While it's a labor of love and takes hard work, it's also great training ground for my culinary team and instills a deeper connection and a sense of pride in the food we serve when we have to personally plant, water, weed and harvest. It's how I was raised and something I like to share with others. It's what brought me to this business and continues to drive me and our team, and is what inspires our recipes.

One such recipe is our Local Gem Lettuce Wedge with goat cheese vinaigrette -- all made from locally sourced ingredients. (Click "read more" for recipe.)

Read more...
 
A Fleurishing Concept Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

NoFleurish flower barthing says Valentine's Day like flowers. For most that means the store-bought variety but for those who want to add the special touch of creating a bouquet themselves — or, perhaps, learn how to take the flowers from their own gardens and make them into beautiful arrangements, a visit to the new Fleurish flower bar in Brentwood, California, might be in order. The brainchild of Amy Marella, who also owns The Hidden Garden Floral Design and founded Fleurish with Allyson Arons and Alex Frost, Fleurish creates the space and offers the expertise (from tablet tutorials to professional floral designers on hand) to help people create custom bouquets using seasonal flowers. Beginners can start with the FleurKits, which provide a recipe card, vase, fresh flowers and other cuttings and all the tools needed to create a particular seasonal arrangement (below is the one I made from the Winter Solstice kit during my visit last Thursday), while those looking for more instruction might be interested in the beginner and intermediate classes or special workshops offered throughout the year. (Yes, there are Valentine's-themed events all next week.)

Fleurish arrangementThe Fleurish space is also available for private or semi-private group events, ranging from parties for "petite fleurists" (children over 7) to those celebrating birthdays or showers to corporate events. Groups are even free to bring in their own food and drinks at no extra charge.

For most of us, the garden(or farm)-to-table idea conjures thoughts of the herbs, fruits and vegetables we use in our kitchens but the truth is the garden-to-table concept can also be applied to flowers. As we all know, it's important to have flowers in our gardens to provide an environment that keeps the beneficial insects (including the all-important bees) happy but, the truth is, they also keep us happy. I have to admit that nothing brings a smile to my face like seeing fresh blooms in my garden, which range (depending on the season) from roses to poppies to lilies to chrysanthemums to zinnias. So what could be better than bringing that happiness to the table (especially in an arrangement we created ourselves)?

Happy Valentine's Day!

 
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