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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
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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Italian Style + Southern California Produce = the Peach Bellini at Locanda de Lago Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Lago peach bellini

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.

 
Victoria Public Market at the Hudson Opens Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Victoria Public MarketThe new Victoria Public Market at the Hudson has opened in Victoria, British Columbia. Modeled on public markets such as the Ferry Building in San Francisco and the Atwater Market in Montreal, Victoria's public market is located in the historic Hudson building in downtown Victoria near the spot where a farmers' market ran from the late 1800s until around 1960. The new market will feature day tables for farmers and a commercial kitchen for cooking classes, urban agriculture workshops and special events.

Also included will be semi-permanent kiosks and permanent vendors that include local favorites Silk Road, Salt Spring Cheese and Wildfire Bakery. Tours of the market and a larger farmers' market will be available on Wednesdays. Regular hours are expected to be 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information on the new Victoria Public Market, visit victoriapublicmarket.com.

 
"Pool Side" at the Hotel Palomar's BLVD 16 Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Blvd 16As we near Labor Day weekend, it seems appropriate to post a recipe for a refreshing cocktail that showcases some of the late-summer produce -- in this case, lemons, cucumbers, grapes and mint. The "Pool Side" was created by Reuben Games, the resident bartender at BLVD 16 (right), the restaurant and lounge at the Hotel Palomar Los Angeles-Westwood. The restaurant was named after Los Angeles' famed Wilshire Blvd. (the location of the hotel, with the 16 representing the length of the street, which runs from the beach to downtown) and features a menu that's updated frequently based on what's in season by Executive Chef Richard Hodge, who suggests pairing the cocktail with their quinoa salad, which also includes cucumber, oven-roasted tomato, feta cheese, olives and mint pesto. Yum to both. Enjoy!

Pool Side
2 oz. Hendrick's Gin
2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz. Organic Blue Agave Light
3 ea. Red Grapes
3 ea. Mint Leaves
2 ea. Cucumber Wedges

Directions: Muddle cucumber, grapes and mint with agave. Combine all ingredients in shaker and shake. Strain into a high-ball glass with fresh ice. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.

 
New for Spring: The Grand Del Mar's Apricot Jul-Up Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

The Grand Del Mar Mint Jul-up CocktailIt's at about this point in the spring season that it feels appropriate to start thinking about creating a great spring cocktail using seasonal produce that we can break out at parties celebrating grads or dads or whatever else you'd like to celebrate. To that end, I bring you -- courtesy of The Grand Del Mar in Del Mar, California -- the Apricot Jul-up, using fresh mint, apricot-honey syrup and apricot-infused bourbon, in honor of another great spring celebration: the Kentucky Derby. Enjoy!

Apricot Jul-up

Ingredients
3 oz. apricot-infused Bulleit Bourbon
1 1/2 ounces apricot-honey syrup (recipe below)
8 leaves of fresh mint
Fresh mint for garnish

Method
Muddle mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with mint.

Apricot-honey syrup
1 cup dried apricot
2 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir constantly for approximately three to five minutes. Before using or storing, strain out apricot pulp and let the syrup cool to room temperature.

 
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