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Oxbow Produce Market's Fuju Persimmon and Avocado Salad Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

oxbow marketOne of the most fun things for me to find in any city is the public market. The town of Napa, naturally, has a wonderful one. The Oxbow Public Market offers an array of goods -- from coffee to oysters to olive oil to spices. At the Oxbow Produce and Grocery, they not only offered fresh, local and organic produce that included currently-in-season persimmons and avocados and arugula but also a great recipe that brings them all together. Below is their recipe for Fuju Persimmon and Avocado Salad. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp white miso
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
3 firm ripe avocados, sliced
1 pound firm ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
2 bunches arugula

Dressing
Blend lemon juice, miso, salt and pepper until smooth. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow steady stream to create emulsion.

Toss gently the sliced avocados and persimmons with the miso dressing to coat evenly.

 
10 Steps to Help Get Those Seeds Started Print E-mail
Written by Maree Gaetani, Gardener's Supply Company   

SeedlingsWe've noticed a significant increase in consumers wanting to either try seedstarting or elevate their capability with new equipment and lights. Here are 10 steps along that make seedstarting simple and successful:

1. Choose Seeds Wisely. If you're new to seed starting, stick with easy-to-grow vegetables and flowers such as tomato, cucumber, basil, squash, morning glories, bachelor buttons, calendula and cosmos. Don't start your seeds too early. Find the last expected frost date in your area and count back from that date based on the seed packet recommendations to determine when to start seeds indoors. Starting too early will create monster plants that need to be tamed because the outdoor environment isn't ready for them yet.

2. The Right Equipment. You can start seeds in just about any container, provided it's sturdy and allows for water drainage. However, for those new to seedstarting, complete systems are also available.

3. Start with the Right Organic Mix. For best success, use a seed-starting mix that contains peat moss and vermiculite. These ingredients provide a medium that holds moisture, drains water, and is light enough to germinate and grow even small seeds such as pansies.

Read more...
 
A Tasty Way to Explore Sacramento Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Armstrong   

Local Roots farmLocal Roots Food Tours was developed in 2010 with a simple concept: I wanted to share my passion for the great local cuisine found in the Sacramento area. After participating in several food tours across the nation, my husband and I realized that many of the dishes being offered consisted of ingredients from our own Sacramento Valley. As a gardener and a chef, I wanted to highlight the farm fresh food and inspiration of our local chefs -- so I researched restaurants offering local food and the history of some of the oldest neighborhoods in Sacramento.

Our first tour was the "Origins of Sacramento," a walking tour that ventures into Midtown's Sutter District and East Sacramento's Fabulous Forties. The tour showcases restaurants that provide authentic tastes from the diverse groups that forged our great city and created its agricultural dominance. I hand-select the establishments that have rich California history and support local farms by using fresh fruit, produce and meats.

Local Roots wineLast March we launched a tour in nearby Murphys, California. Aptly named the "Queen of the Sierras," the old mining town of Murphys is the perfect destination for a food and wine tour. Another new tour is the "Gourmet on K Culinary Walking Tour," which shows participants everything gourmet along one of Sacramento's most historic streets. Folks are guided down the city's original main street, exploring the beautiful architecture with many stories dating back to the 1800s. Locals and tourists alike enjoy this culinary excursion as it enlightens their views of the most controversial street in the city.

More tours are on the way. And, for those interested in more information on local food and history, my Local Roots blog is updated daily with recipes, events and coverage of Northern California "foodie" news. Along with the tours, this virtual table provides another opportunity to connect with fellow food enthusiasts, fostering that most intangible -- yet valuable -- result: a sense of community, right here in Sacramento. You can also visit our Facebook page or find us on Twitter @LocalRootsFood.

 
Zucchini Bread with Pineapple and Pecans Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

A few years ago, the star in my garden was the zucchini. You know how it is -- suddenly you have dozens of giant zucchinis from one small seedling. Naturally, that has led to a need for zucchini recipes. Here is one I found for a zucchini bread that was handed down from a friend's grandmother. I made the bread today for a potluck at the community garden and it turned out great (very moist), so enjoy! You can find more (including a recipe for Sicilian stuffed zucchini) on the recipes tab.

Zucchini breadIngredients
3 eggs beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmug
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Add zucchini and crushed pineapple. Combine dry ingredients and add them to zucchini mixture. Mix well. Add pecans. Pour mixture into two greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool 10 minutes in pans. Very moist. Will last a week or two in refrigerator. Freeze well.

 
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.

 
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