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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Lanai Adds Nobu Garden Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Mell at Nobu GardenOnce known primarily as a producer of pineapples, the Hawaiian Island of Lanai is again getting some attention for its agriculture offerings - this time with a much more diverse array of produce designed to go straight from "field-to-plate" at the island's restaurants. The latest addition is the new chef's garden created specifically for the Nobu Lanai restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay.

Appropriately named the Nobu Garden, the half-acre site is overseen by Executive Chef Sean Mell (pictured) and grows a variety of herbs and vegetables, including baby lettuce, tomatoes, squash, scallions, watermelon radish, red beets, carrots, green beans, asparagus and cilantro. Specialty produce grown specifically for the Nobu menu include daikon, Japanese eggplant, edamame, shishito peppers, cucumber flowers and sesame.

Currently, more than 65 percent of the Nobu Lanai menu comes from the garden and the restaurant has identified a goal of sourcing 80 to 90 percent of its produce from the island itself. Already, all of the produce used in the restaurant's Lobster Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing and the Bigeye Tuna Sashimi Salad with Matsuhiba dressing is island grown, with the resort itself sourcing 65 percent of its ingredients from within the state of Hawaii (including neighbor islands Maui, the Big Island and Oahu).

 
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Showcases the Work of Local Farmers Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Hawaii Food & Wine FestivalThe recently completed Hawaii Food & Wine Festival attracted a stellar array of chefs (75 in all, from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Australia) but, in a way, the real stars were the local providers of the produce, seafood, beef and poultry used in their dishes. At the two events I attended -- "Taste Our Love for the Land," held at the Hawaii Convention Center on September 7, and "Girls Got Game +1," held at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa on September 8 -- the work of local farmers was prominently displayed.

At Taste Our Love for the Land (above), each chef listed the local producers who contributed to their dishes. For instance, Taste's Mark "Gooch" Noguchi highlighted Ho Farms and Paepae o He'ela; Foodland's Keoni Chang showcased Hawaii Island Ranchers, Ka Lei Eggs and 'Nalo Farms; and Halekulani's Mark Freischmidt celebrated the work of Big Island Bees (good work, bees!).

Hawaii Food * Wine FestivalAt the Girls Got Game +1 event, which featured women chefs and farmers, the farmers were there in person to show off their wares. They included Kahuku Farms' Kylie Matsuda-Lum, a 4th generation farmer who has helped open the family farm up for tours and added a cafe; Wailea Agricultural Group's Lesley Hill who, with Michael Crowell, has restored former sugar cane lands on the Big Island to produce Hawaiian heart of palm, tropical fruits and spices (left); and Naked Cow Dairy Farm & Creamery, started by sisters Monique Van der Stroom and Sabrina St. Martin four years ago and the only Hawaii producers of butter and cows-milk cheese.

 
Perfect for All Those In-Season Oranges: Pantescan Winter Salad Print E-mail
Written by Tasha Zemke   

Winter Pantescan SaladIf the increasing number of oranges and grapefruits given to me by friends whose trees are going nuts is any indication, we are smack dab in the middle of citrus season. As such, it seemed appropriate for me to remind you all about this wonderful recipe — first posted here four years ago — for a Winter Pantescan Salad from Tasha Zemke. Enjoy!

Oranges are a real treat each winter for Sicilians. Although the fruit does grow here on the Italian island of Pantelleria, my mother-in-law always looks forward to the annual visit from a vendor who hails from the southern Sicilian town of Sciacca. He arrives here via ship and drives his enormous truck around our narrow streets, stopping for whomever flags him down, until his shipment is gone. It doesn't take long. My mother-in-law buys a good six kilos from him and then uses the oranges in a salad each Sunday when we gather for a family lunch. There is something truly amazing about these oranges -- they aren't the famous Sicilian sanguinelli (blood oranges) but are some of the sweetest, best oranges I've ever tasted.

The salad, which I've come to refer to as the Pantescan Winter Salad, makes great use of good oranges; without good oranges, it is simply passable. It's as bright on the table as it is low fat (the dressing consists only of salt, pepper and olive oil) and, as the cut-up tomatoes and oranges make it a bit runny, you should have some crunchy bread on hand to sop up the remaining juices at the bottom of the salad bowl. (For recipe, click "read more").

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Preserving Farm-Fresh Flavor at Sacramento's Grange Restaurant Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

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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Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork Celebration Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Sacramento beetsLocated at the geographic center of a region filled with an abundance of farms, growers, food producers and culinary leaders, Sacramento will be celebrating that bounty with its second annual Farm-to-Fork Celebration, which got under way last Friday and runs through September 28. The two-week-long celebration in the city, which has been designated by the state of California as "America's Farm-to-Fork Capital," includes a "Legends of Wine" event on September 18, a farm-to-fork festival on the Capitol Mall on September 27 and a gala dinner on September 28 on Tower Bridge that sold out in three minutes.

For those unable to get to the festival, Sacramento offers Gardens-to-Tables-types five full-time and six seasonal farmers' markets and a number of food tours and restaurants featuring local products. One of those -- restaurant ten22 in Old Sacramento -- was kind enough to share their recipe for Roasted Beet Salad (pictured). Enjoy! (Click "read more" for recipe.)

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