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Farm-to-Table Street Tacos from the San Diego Convention Center Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

San Diego Convention CenterIt's one thing to provide farm-to-table fare in the home or a small restaurant. It's quite another when you're doing it for really large groups, but that's just what Executive Chef Jeff Leidy does in his position at the San Diego Convention Center. At a recent gathering of, oh, a few thousand people, Leidy provided a reception-style Mexican fiesta with ingredients sourced from within 100 miles (which includes the northern Baja region of Mexico) of the center. Even better, Leidy is now offering some of his signature recipes sized down for home cooks. Below (click "read more") is his recipe for Carne Asada or Chicken Street Tacos, filled with all sorts of great spring and summer produce like tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, limes and cilantro. Additional recipes can be found on the San Diego Convention Center's site. Enjoy!

A Spring Cocktail Menu That Honors Farmers from Locanda del Lago Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Lago caprese martiniIn honor of spring, Locanda del Lago restaurant in Santa Monica has launched a spring cocktail menu that celebrates the farmers who grow the produce used in the cocktails -- all regulars at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, located right outside the restaurant's door. For those of us for whom spring brings thoughts of TOMATOES (and Tomatomania, which has started its annual seedling sale -- click here for locations and dates), there is The Wong Farm, a Caprese-style martini made with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and cubed mozzarella as a garnish. For those who like their cocktails a bit more sweet, Maggie's Farm features fresh sage, cucumber and prosecco. Recipes for both are below. Hello Spring!!!

The Wong Farm (Caprese Martini)
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 sprigs fresh basil
A dash of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 oz. Crop Organic Tomato Vodka
Fresh mozzarella

Muddle tomatoes, sugar and basil together, add vodka and vinegar and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a skewer of alternating cherry tomato halves and cubed fresh mozzarella

The Maggie's Farm (Sage Mist)
4 sprigs fresh sage
4 slices cucumber
2 oz Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka
1 tsp sugar
1 oz. prosecco

Muddle cucumber and sugar, add vodka, then shake vigorously. Note: Do not muddle sage; it bruises the leaves and leaves a bitter taste. Serve in chilled martini glass, then top off with a prosecco floater. Garnish with a floating cucumber slice.

Parmesan Risotto with Parsnips, Kale and Watercress from Laguna's Three Seventy Common Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef Ryan AdamsIt's no secret that Laguna Beach, California, is a bit of a farm-to-table foodie paradise -- something I covered recently in a story for What's even better is the number of young chefs who've opened their own restaurants in the city's downtown with an emphasis on farm-to-table. These include Chef Ryan Adams (left), who opened Three Seventy Common last year. A Laguna native, Chef Ryan grew up working with the fresh fruit and vegetables from his mom's extensive garden. He still does: When we were there she had recently come in with bushels of Meyer Lemons and Blood Red Oranges, which he turned into new menu items and fresh cocktails.

During our visit, Chef Ryan told us that due to the end of mushroom season, he was about to switch out his very popular wild mushroom risotto with one that featured parsnips, kale and watercress. Even better for those of us who are more likely to grow parsnips, kale and watercress than to forage for wild mushrooms, he was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

Kozlik's Green Peppercorn Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Kozlik Mustard at St. Lawrence Market


1/4 pound goat cheese
1/2 tbsp. salt
24 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. Kozlik's green peppercorn mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
basil to garnish


In a medium-sized bowl, combine cheese, basil, salt and pepper and Kozlik's green peppercorn mustard. Mix until well blended. Cut the top off each cherry tomato. Using a small spoon, scoop out the pulp to make a hollow shell. Drain off any juice that maybe in the tomatoes. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture and carefully stuff it into a tomato shell. Repeat until tomatoes or cheese mixture is used up. Garnish on a platter and serve.

Garden Cocktails (for a Good Cause) from Lanai Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Four Seasons Lanai Jeremy SidmanThere are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce and then there are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce AND help restore native environments. That would be the Cocktail with a Cause, found at the Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai. Created by Beverage Manager Jeremy Sidman (pictured left), the Tree-tini not only highlights local flavors but the proceeds from its sale are used to help restore native plant seedlings along the Koloiki Ridgeland on the island through the Four Seasons' partnership with the Lanai Native Species Recovery Program. Sidman created the program to help support their overall farm-to-table philosophy. "In Hawaii, we have access to the freshest produce and ingredients, therefore it was very important to develop organic cocktails that are a reflection of our natural paradise," said Sidman. "We take pride in creating the ingredients in house."

For home gardeners who want to create their own cocktails, Sidman recommends starting with herbs such as mint or thyme. "It's a quick and simple way to add a nice aroma and flavor to any cocktail," said Sidman, who then recommends combining those herbs with citrus, such as limes, lemons, oranges or calamansi, and then muddling together. "The citrus cuts the alcohol and helps balance the acidity."

Sidman offers more ideas -- and a new cocktail recipe -- every Friday on the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai Facebook page. Even better, this week's, the 100-Mile Cocktail, is made with local ingredients from four of the Hawaiian islands: Lanai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island (all within 100 miles). And below is the recipe for the Tree-tini. That's a lot of Aloha!

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