Gardens to Tables

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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Mii amo's Jicama Salad Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Friday, 12 October 2012 08:36

Mii amo jicama saladNothing says fall like citrus and pomegranates (at least in the fruit realm). Add them to yummy crunchy jicama and a lovely vinaigrette and you have the Jicama Salad from the Mii amo spa at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. Seasonal, low-cal and delicious. What more could you ask? The recipe, you say? See below. And enjoy!

Vinaigrette (yields 4 cups)
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp Dijon
2 lime zests
2 cups canola oil
taste salt & pepper

Add all ingredients into blender except oil. Blend well. With blender running, slowly drizzle oil in until well emulsified. Add seasoning. Arrange salad ingredients as shown in picture and top with vinaigrette, pomegranate seeds and salt.

Salad (6-8 servings)
2 lbs. jicama, cut into thin matchsticks
4 each oranges, segmented
2 each grapefruits, segmented
2 bunches wild watercress
6-8 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds
taste Smoked sea salt

 
The Jolly Oyster Brings Aquaculture-Farm-to-Table to Ventura's San Buenaventura State Beach Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:46

Jolly OysterWhen Mark Reynolds wanted to go into the business of farming healthy, local, sustainable seafood, he quickly learned that the only real sustainable seafood option was to raise filter-feeding molluscs. So he started with oysters and clams. In addition to being sustainable, oysters are packed with vitamins and minerals and low in calories -- only about 10 calories apiece, according to Reynolds, who said that was one less than licking a stamp (and a whole lot tastier).

Reynolds and business partner Mark Venus started their venture down in Baja California in 1997 and seeded their first farm in 1999. They now have two farms producing Kumamoto and Pacific oysters and Manila clams. Many of their oysters and clams go directly to restaurants but consumers who want to buy directly from the source can now visit The Jolly Oyster at San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura and either buy the molluscs to take home or just shuck them right there at the park -- which offers picnic benches and outdoor barbecues for a true seaside feast.

If you're interested in doing the latter, you'll need a shucking knife for the oysters (and some charcoal and a skillet, if you're going to be grilling the clams). You'll also need some sauce. Reynolds was kind enough to share his recipes for a mignonette sauce and a Thai chili sauce, both of which go great with the oysters. Even better, the ingredients include many of the things growing in our gardens. Enjoy!

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Tips for Hand Bed Preparation from the Esalen Farm and Garden Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 13:52

Esalen Bed PrepGood organic gardeners will tell you that they don't grow plants, they grow soil -- and by that they mean a soil rich in organic material. As we begin to pull out our summer crops and get ready for fall planting, it's a good time to take a look at the soil in our garden and do what's necessary to create the "healthy dirt" -- or humus -- that will give life to our new seedlings. For some, it might be time to put in a cover crop. For those ready to put in their next round of seeds or seedlings, here is a step-by-step "Guide to Hand Bed Preparation" created by the food folks at the Esalen Farm and Garden, who have some of the healthiest beds (and, hence, crops) you'll ever see. I made a few edits for the home gardener but it's a great guide to get you started. Happy fall planting!

1. Clear all plant waste of previous crops and weeds from the bed using a short-handled fork, hard or soft rake, and a compost bin or trash can.

2. Check that there are suitable stakes (i.e., able to have a string easily tied to) at each corner of the bed. Stakes should be between 42-48 inches apart. If a stake is missing, drive a new stake into the ground to create the appropriate width; move existing stakes to create the appropriate width.

3. Connect parallel corner posts with string to mark the length of the bed along the pathways.

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Finding Classic Ottoman Cuisine at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace Kempinski Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 26 August 2012 07:17

TugraAs I mentioned in my post on "Finding the Familiar (Produce-wise) in Turkey," one of the interesting trends I found on my trip to Istanbul earlier this year was the return of Ottoman cuisine. And one of the restaurants serving this cuisine is even located in a renovated Ottoman Imperial Palace: Tugra, the signature restaurant at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski hotel (pictured, right). Interestingly, for us gardens-to-tables types, one of the things that distinguishes Ottoman cuisine is a return to slower ways of cooking involving local seasonal ingredients -- which means, of course, that now we can all say, "if it's good enough for the Sultans, it's good enough for me."

For those who want to attempt Ottoman cooking at home, Tugra Chef Ahmet Kara was kind enough to share one of his signature recipes with us: the Triple "Gozleme" (stuffed pastry). Even better, the recipe includes a number of things probably found in our gardens (or farmers market) -- spinach, radishes, baby carrots, etc. Now, it may be hard to find pastirma here in the states but I am sure you can substitute the cured meat of your choice -- or leave it out for a vegetarian version of the dish. Enjoy!

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Celebrating the Gardeners at Esalen Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Thursday, 16 August 2012 13:06

Amigo, Shirley and WendyThe article below was first posted on this site on May 5, 2010, after I attended an organic gardening workshop led by three people I call the rock stars of the gardening world: Amigo Bob Cantisano, Shirley Ward and Wendy Johnson (pictured, from left to right). I recently attended another workshop they led up at Esalen Institute, this one called "High Summer in the Full Moon Garden: Growing Food and Ourselves on the Esalen Land." As with the last one two years ago, it was surprising to me -- given the level of knowledge being imparted (one participant said she felt she'd wandered into a Harvard-level education) -- that there were just seven of us taking the workshop. On the other hand, I feel incredibly blessed to be able to spend such quality time with three such amazing people and feel that not only my gardening but my life is fuller as a result. Should they offer the workshop again (and I sincerely hope they do), I highly recommend it. In the meantime, here are some great starter tips for gardeners that I compiled after the last class.

A funny thought occurred to me midway through the organic gardening workshop I took last week up at Esalen: In recent years, we’ve turned a lot of chefs into celebrities or even, really, rock stars. And yet the gardeners and farmers – who are so important in providing the actual materials for that food – remain anonymous. I think that's too bad because, let's face it, I don’t care how good a chef you are, you can’t make a good caprese without a great tomato.

So, here’s to the rock-star gardeners, three of whom  -- Amigo Bob Cantisano, Shirley Ward and Wendy Johnson – led our workshop. All three are passionate and knowledgeable but also offer their own unique perspective when it comes to gardening, with Amigo providing the science, Wendy the art and Shirley the intuitive. The information they provided was amazing (if, at times, a little overwhelming) and could (and has) filled books. After awhile, though, some patterns emerged and I was able to coalesce at least some of the information into four categories that provide a good place for newbie gardeners to start (click "read more"):

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