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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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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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Willie Jane's Garden Lettuces with Sunchoke, Roasted Grapes, Point Reyes & Pumpkin Seed Dressing Print E-mail
Written by Chef Gavind Armstrong   

Willie Jane saladPreheat oven to 325 degrees
Serves 8

Ingredients
1/2 Red Flame seedless grapes with stems
1 mixed baby lettuces (we use red and green oak, little gems and butter lettuce leaves)
1/2 cup soft herb salad (leaves of parsley, chervil, mint, dill and tarragon)
1/4 pound sunchokes (washed, scrubbed and thinly sliced on a mandolin)
2 shallots (thinly sliced on the mandolin)
4 T. toasted pumpkin seeds
Point Reyes Blue Cheese

Directions
Lightly brush the grapes with evoo S&P and place on a baking sheet. Roast the grapes for 25 minutes or until slightly shriveled up. Keeping the stem on will prevent the grape from leaching out all its delicious juices. Once roasted, set aside to cool to room temperature, then remove the grapes from the stem.
In a large salad bowl, gently dress the lettuces, herb salad, sliced hsallots and shaved sunchokes in the pumpkin seed dressing, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Plate the salad by layering hte leaves with the sunchoke and herb salad, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese.
Garnish with the roasted grapes and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seed dressing

Pumpkin seed oil
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
4 cups blended oil.

Puree in blender, strain through cheesecloth-lined chinois

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
2 lemons (juice)
1 T. dijon mustard
1 T. honey
1 T. soy sauce
1 cup pumpkin seed oil
1/2 cup blended oil
1/4 cup yogurt

Directions
In a blender combine yolk, acid, Dijon, honey and soy. Puree until smooth. Add oils in a slow steady stream. Whisk in yogurt and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

 
Connecting Gardens to Tables at the Hermosa Inn Print E-mail
Written by Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco   

Garden to table is more than a trend; it's something that we do on a daily basis here at LON's at the Hermosa. While we do purchase from local farmers (and, for many restaurants, that's all they need to say they are "farm to table"), we also have a one-acre on-site garden behind the kitchen and durum wheat from my own family's farm here in Arizona is used to make our house-made gnocchi and other pastas. So, while it may be a passing phase for others, it's something we take great pride in here at LON's.

We grow more than 20 ingredients in the garden -- from lettuce, arugula, English lavender and Bloomsdale spinach to onions, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes and various types of squash. Lemon, orange and grapefruit trees are also scattered throughout the grounds and used in many of the dishes at LON's, along with our signature cocktails at Last Drop at the Hermosa.

While it's a labor of love and takes hard work, it's also great training ground for my culinary team and instills a deeper connection and a sense of pride in the food we serve when we have to personally plant, water, weed and harvest. It's how I was raised and something I like to share with others. It's what brought me to this business and continues to drive me and our team, and is what inspires our recipes.

One such recipe is our Local Gem Lettuce Wedge with goat cheese vinaigrette -- all made from locally sourced ingredients. (Click "read more" for recipe.)

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Fresco's Bruschetta Flavored by Hawaiian Farms Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Fresco BruschettaAs some of you no doubt already know, the word "bruschetta" really just means grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. What you put on top of that is really up to you -- even though many people (especially in the U.S.) associate bruschetta with chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion and basil. At Fresco, the new Italian restaurant in the Rainbow Bazaar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay -- inspired by the name of the restaurant ("fresco" means "fresh" in Italian) -- decided to take the flavors of local farms to create his version of the dish.

"Going out to the farms brought to light how much the flavors of one simple fresh vegetable or spice can transform into a single dish," said Ibay. "When I first tried the tomato straight off the vine at Waimanalo Farm, that first bite is what motivated me to create my bruschetta."

In addition to the "traditional" tomato bruschetta, Ibay highlights other local produce with a macadamia-crusted avocado bruschetta and a roasted Big Island mushroom bruschetta -- and was kind enough to share his recipe here with us (below). Enjoy!

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