Gardens to Tables

November is time for:

Fall Planting

The D. Landreth Seed Company and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds have great suggestions for planting this time of year.


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Garden Poll

What's the best fall garden activity?
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!

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

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.

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

The Jolly Oyster Brings Aquaculture-Farm-to-Table to Ventura's San Buenaventura State Beach Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

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!

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!

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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