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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Tiato Kitchen Bar Garden in Santa Monica Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Tiato thanksgivingYou've gotta love a place that's not only named after an herb (Tiato is a Vietnamese herb in the mint family) but surrounded by a garden filled with herbs and citrus used in its dishes. You've also gotta love a place that comes from a family known for a revered garlic noodle recipe that's revealed only to family members (and made famous at the Crustacean restaurants in San Francisco and Beverly Hills). But you've REALLY gotta love a place that manages to take a vegetable that's fun to grow but not to eat (I'm talking about you, Brussels sprouts) and turns it into a wonderful chopped salad-type side dish by roasting it and adding roasted kale, dates, almonds and garlic in a lime wasabi sauce. I'm going to work on getting the recipe to share here for those growing kale and Brussels sprouts but in the meantime I am happy to introduce you to the House of An's Tiato Kitchen Bar Garden in Santa Monica, which offers breakfast and lunch in both a sit-down cafe and a grab-and-go market.

And, for those who want help with part or all of their Thanksgiving dinner (and want it to be fresh, healthy and organic), An Catering is offering a Thanksgiving dinner (pictured above) available to go from both Tiato and AnQi, their bistro in Costa Mesa and available for pick up the day of or day before Thanksgiving. The menu includes organic, free-range turkey that's been brined in citrus and herbs for 48 hours, a choice of stuffing (turkey-apple sausage and leak; mama's sticky rice with Shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage and chestnuts; and a gluten-free version with caramelized onions and herbs), and a long list of side dishes that include cranberry-orange chutney; haricot vert with water chestnuts and ginger in a butter sauce; smashed yams with rosemary garlic; and, yes, "An's famous" garlic noodles. For more information or to order, visit Tiato Thanksgiving.

 
Mii amo's Jicama Salad Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

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

 
Finding Classic Ottoman Cuisine at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace Kempinski Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

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
Written by Ann Shepphird   

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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Sicilian-style Stuffed Zucchini Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

zzucchiniAs promised, for those of you who (like me) have an abundance of zucchini currently growing in your garden, here is a recipe for Sicilian-style stuffed zucchini, courtesy of my friend Tasha Zemke, who happens to live on an island off of Sicily. As you will see, the recipe is very Italian -- no amounts to the ingredients and a lot of smooshing and using your hands -- but that's what makes it fun, right? If it helps, throw in the occasional "abbondanza" while you work. Also, in her recipe, sardines or anchovies are suggested, but I'm guessing salted meats would also be good. Enjoy!

Cut a zucchini in half and hollow it out. Chop up the insides roughly and set them aside. Boil a pot full of salted water and stick in the halves and let them cook until you can prick them with a fork and they seem tender. Be careful, though, because if you overcook them, they'll fall apart and you want them to keep their shape.

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