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What kind of tomatoes are you growing this year?
 
The Gardens of the Huntington Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Saturday, 21 April 2012 15:56

Huntington Japanese GardenIt somehow doesn't feel right using the word "tucked" when describing the location of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. The fact that the Huntington spans 207 acres would seem to make it difficult to tuck it anywhere. But that is exactly the feeling one gets after leaving the Los Angeles freeways that take you into Pasadena, past CalTech and then into the residential community where the Huntington is located. Originally a ranch, Henry Huntington bought the land in 1903. His superintendent William Hertrich then helped develop the plant collections for the botanical gardens, which now feature more than 14,000 different varieties of plants in more than a dozen garden areas.

Huntington Rose GardenThe Huntington's Japanese Garden (above), originally built in 1912 and a favorite since the Huntington opened to the public in 1928, recently reopened after a year-long $6.8 million renovation. New elements include an authentic ceremonial tea house, a restoration of the original Japanese House, repairs to the water infrastructure and pathways, and the addition of a waterfall. Additional gardens on the expansive grounds include the Australian Garden, Camellia Garden, Children's Garden, Chinese Garden, Desert Garden, Herb Garden, Jungle Garden and the Rose Garden (right). Upcoming events of interest to gardeners include the Huntington's annual plant sale, going on Sunday, April 29 (with a members' preview on April 28). For those who can't make the bigger event, there's a free garden tour and plant sale on the second Thursday of every month. Or there's the popular Tea & Tour, which includes a morning docent-led tour of the gardens followed by English tea in the Rose Garden Tea Room.

For those that want to further their "Huntington" experience, nearby The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, also offers beautifully landscaped gardens (including a Japanese garden) as part of its 23 acres. The hotel is featuring a "Gastronomy in the Garden" dinner on August 23, where Royce Chef David Feau will create a tasting menu featuring seasonal produce from the hotel's organic garden. For more information, call 626-585-6218 or visit pasadena.langhamhotels.com.

 
Discovering Kozlik's Canadian Mustard at Toronto's St. Lawrence Market Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Saturday, 03 March 2012 16:13

Kozlik's at St. Lawrence MarketOne of my favorite things to do when traveling is to find the local fresh market as it's where you really learn what it's like to live -- and eat -- as a local. In Toronto, this was the St. Lawrence Market, an easy walk from almost anywhere in the downtown area and open Tuesday-Saturday, with a special farmers' market added on Saturdays. Highlights of the 120 vendors at the market include the Carousel Bakery and their "world-famous peameal bacon sandwich," and the Market Kitchen, which offers cooking classes.

But for a truly local experience, Anton Kozlik's Canadian Mustard -- a staple at the market since 1948 -- is the place to go. Made in a variety of spicy, savory and sweet flavors using local ingredients, it can be hard to choose. I went with a Dijon by Anton and a Lime & Honey that's been great in salad dressings. Even better, they offer recipes for each of the mustards. With tomato season on the horizon, here's their recipe for Green Peppercorn Tomatoes with Goat Cheese. Enjoy!

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A Focus on New Mexico's Best at the Corn Maiden Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 09:27

Corn Maiden at Hyatt Regency TamayaOdds are that when you think of local produce from New Mexico you think of chile peppers, as the state is famous for growing some of the best (and hottest) peppers in the world. One of the restaurants that takes advantage of the local peppers -- and many more local products -- is the Corn Maiden at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa. Known for its rotisserie, the signature dish is the Corn Maiden Classic ("k'uchininak'u" in the local Tamayame language), which features New Mexico Chorizo Sausage, Fresno Chile Chicken and Red-and-Green-Chile-rubbed New Mexico Heritage Beef. The Corn Maiden makes a point of sourcing its meat from New Mexico Ranches that have been chosen for their humane treatment of cattle and their dedication to preserving ranch lands and wildlife habitat. Other locally sourced items at the resort, according to Executive Chef Cheryl Scantlebury, include cheese, pecans, pistachios, pinon seeds, blue corn flour, honey, jams and jellies, bolita beans, pinto beans and herbs from their own Tamaya Herb Garden.

The Corn Maiden's Chef de Cuisine, Sam Reed, also sources as much seasonal produce as possible. During a recent visit, he took advantage of in-season beets and butternut squash (and, yes, peppers) to create an amazing beet bisque -- and was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

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Finding Farm-to-Table at the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews, Scotland Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 27 November 2011 18:44

Old Course Hotel in St. AndrewsThere are a number of things one expects to find in St. Andrews, Scotland: some of the most celebrated golf courses in the world (including the “Old Course” aka the Home of Golf); the beach featured in the iconic scene from “Chariots of Fire” (hum the Vangelis score and it'll come to you); and a certain university where a certain William and a certain Kate met. What is perhaps not as expected is an emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine, but that’s exactly what I found on a recent trip to the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St. Andrews (pictured, left).

Chef Marshall of Old Course HotelThe emphasis on sourcing “what’s on our doorstep” comes from Ross Marshall (right), head chef for the hotel’s award-winning Road Hole Restaurant. Chef Marshall says he loves using local suppliers because “you can trace the products that you use and speak to the suppliers and farmers on a daily basis. And you know that when it is local, it’s got to be at its best.”

Some of the local suppliers used by Chef Marshall include wild berries from Brasters Far in the summer and winter cabbages and sprouts from Leaven Larder. In season – and being featured in the kitchen – now are grouse, pheasant, partridge venison, cabbage sprouts, pumpkin and the last of the kale.

Also currently in season are butternut squash and arugula (which is called rocket in the U.K.) and Chef Marshall was kind enough to share the hotel’s recipe for a salad that combines the two with pine nuts and sage and a honey dressing. Enjoy!

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